Every online entrepreneur I know asks the same question, "How can I increase my online sales?"
Online selling is essentially a numbers game. The more visitors to a site, the more sales that site will make. The number of sales made divided by the total number of visitors to a site is called the conversion rate. A typical site will have a conversion rate of between 1 and 2 percent, or 1 to 2 sales per 100 visitors.
It is obvious that if the number of visitors increases, and the conversion rate remains the same, then sales will increase. Traffic is the first variable that most online marketers attempt to influence when they begin there online marketing campaigns.
There are two basic problems with the increase traffic method. The first is that it is expensive to run advertising and improve a site's ranking in the search engines. The second, and more subtle issue, is that there is no guarantee that the conversion rate will remain constant.
So what about increasing the conversion rate? Using our example above, if we could increase the number of buyers from 1 or 2 per hundred visitors to 2 to 4, we will have doubled our sales! So what can we do to increase our conversion? Below I list five techniques designed to accomplish this goal:
1. Provide plenty of testimonials. These testimonials should be from previous customers and should include specifics as to how the product or service helped them solve a problem.
Obtaining testimonials is no problem, just ask. People love to be asked what they think, most will be willing to share their thoughts on your product or service. Implement a process of following up with your customers with a questionnaire. Leave plenty of room for their comments and make it clear that their comments may be used in your advertising.
2. Improve your follow up. Many people will not buy the first time they see your product. In fact, some experts claim that people must see your message seven times before they are ready to buy. Auto responder courses are a great way to follow up with the potential customer. There are many free auto responder services on the web, I use FreeAutoBot.com.
3. Give away free samples. By letting your customers try before they buy, you can significantly increase your sales. If you sell an information product, provide a few paragraphs or even the first chapter by auto responder. This technique also helps to improve follow up by guaranteeing you obtain contact information.
4. Give a bonus product. Everyone likes to get something for nothing, especially if that something is perceived as valuable. E-books make a great bonus, especially if they contain original content. If you are unable to create your own e-book, you could give away someone else's. Free-eBooks.net is a good resource for finding an E-book to give away.
5. Focus the web site. Set your web site up as a Direct Response Site. A direct response site is one where the customer's choices are very limited. Essentially they can buy the product, bookmark the page, subscribe to your ezine, or leave the site. The more options a visitor has, the less likely they are to make a purchase.
6. Follow on sales are crucial. It is well known that successful businesses make 75% of their sales to repeat customers. Start a free ezine and get your customers to subscribe. Get their permission to send them information on upgrades and new products. On their receipt, mention a product that compliments their purchase.
Don't have a product to offer for follow on sales? Find and join an affiliate program offering products of interest to your target market.
Copyright 2002 Tony L. Callahan, All Rights Reserved
Tony L. Callahan is president of his own Internet marketing company, Link-Promote.com. He also publishes Web-Links Monthly, a newsletter full of tips, tricks, tools and techniques for successful web site promotions. To subscribe, send e-mail to: < [email protected] >.