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5 Ways to Increase Ecommerce Conversion Rates

February 23, 2012

There are several ways to increase the number of actions that the visitors to your ecommerce website take. The following will discuss some of the best ways. There is strong evidence to show that these techniques work and are very likely to help increase conversion rates of your online business website.

1) Offer Live Chat

Live chat allows the opportunity to provide good customer service. It is the equivalent of approaching a customer in a store and asking, “Can I help you?” Live chat is personalized and makes it easy for customers to ask any questions they have about your ecommerce products. Providing a live chat service has been shown to consistently result in a significantly higher conversion rate compared to providing other support channels, such as email. Some online commerce websites have reported increased conversion rates of as much as ten times, as a result of live chat implementation.

2) Publish Amazing Content

Providing quality and useful content is great for users and help tremendously for SEO. Users are more likely to take action if they can see that you have strong content to offer. Search engine are looking for unique and quality content to differentiate your site from others. This content can be in the form of user reviews, ratings and blogs. This content should aim for quality rather than quantity and it should be considered a resource that people want to keep coming back to. This helps to develop a following and establishes you as an authority. This increases the trust from your audience and directly leads to conversions.

3) Email Marketing

Even though email isn’t the newest or trendiest form of reaching out, it can be the strongest. Email marketing just works. This is because your subscribers are your targeted audience and they are on your list because they are already interested in what you are offering. There are a number of ways to maximize your email marketing effectiveness. Email frequently keeps you in your audience’s mind and keeps the communication flowing. Write great content in your emails and make it as interesting to read as possible. Offer a promotion to provide the incentive to make a purchase. Offer a gift or something for free. This makes your audience take notice of your and arouses attention. Email marketing has been reported time and time again to increase conversion rates for ecommerce stores.

4) Offer Internal Search

Offering search functionality within a website increases conversion rates. This is because search makes it easier for customers to find what they are looking for rather than navigating through predefined categories which users usually aren’t familiar with. Internal search also allows you to analyze if there are particular products that customers are searching for. This provides the opportunity to shift the most searched for products to a more prominent position. If there are many searches for products that you don’t offer, this could be strong indication of which products you should potentially be offering.

5) Beautiful Web Design

If the investment is made to create a professional looking web design, visitors are more likely to convert for online commerce sites. Just like a physical store, if a website is cluttered and unclear your audience will be turned off. Visual design reflects quality and users are more likely to trust the website as being professional and trustworthy. Traditional marketing, online marketing and other techniques used to convert visitors will not be as effective without strong visual design of your website. This is a very important aspect of your business and your visitors will quickly judge your business based on how the website pages look.

Guest post by written by Mitchel Xavier, an expert in Magento Commerce and provides web design services for e-commerce businesses in Sydney, Australia.

10 Ways Small Business Marketers Can Crush Big Competitors

February 1, 2012

As a small business, it can seem difficult to compete with the big guys of the world. After all, you don’t have the same financial resources, or the manpower, to engage in a great deal of high-priced marketing. The good news is that the Internet can act as a great equalizer. You can attract more notice, and you can build a following for yourself, competing with the bigger companies—and even winning.

If you are looking for ways to distinguish your small business from the bigger competition, we have 10 ways you can put yourself forward:

1. Focus on the High Quality and Uniqueness of Your Product

Your first move is to offer a high quality product that your audience wants. Even if your product is similar to what someone else is offering, you can distinguish it in some way. Is it made using the finest materials? Do you have some sort of handmade product that is unique? Focus on the way that your product is different, and show how it offers something above and beyond. Discerning customers will appreciate the quality of your offering.

2. Offer Superior Customer Service

Word gets around when you offer superior customer service. A big company can lose site of individual customers. However, as a small business, you have a chance to connect on a more personal level with your clientele. Provide customer service that is accessible, and high quality. Work to make your customers happy, and they will not only remain loyal to you, but they will become fans that share you product with friends and family.

3. Create a Strategy for SEO

When writing content for your blog, or when writing descriptions of products and services, consider your SEO strategy. The major keywords might all be hogged by the big companies, but there are ways to focus your efforts. Use a keyword tool to help you identify successful keywords. Also, focus on phrases, rather than single words, and don’t underestimate the power of long-tail, organic results. Pay attention to the long-term, and keep your SEO strategy in mind, and you will be more likely to find success.

4. Strategize with PPC

Yes, PPC advertising costs money. However, it might be worth to you if getting in on high-revenue keywords is too difficult. Carefully evaluate your keywords, and what you want to happen with your keywords. Then, target a few high-yield keywords for PPC advertising. You can pay for the ads, and you likely find good results. However, research is essential, since you don’t want to waste your money. It’s about putting your money where it will do the most good.

5. Create a Social Media Profile

Interaction with others is essential for success on the Internet. As a result, it is vital that you set up a social media profile. A social media profile that allows you to use keywords (social media profiles are increasingly searchable), and allows you to share your insights on relevant topics, can draw more people to your web site—and even result in more sales. Your social media profile should be consistent across web sites so that visitors can readily identify your brand.

You don’t need to join every social media site, but you can benefit from identifying the sites your audience is most likely to visit. Establish a presence, sharing useful information (don’t just push your products), and interacting with customers, and you will build a loyal following that rivals the big companies.

6. Pay Attention to Inbound Analytics

Use analytics to tweak your approach to marketing your products and services. Pay attention to where traffic is coming from (what sites refer visitors), as well as what times of day the traffic is heaviest. You can also use inbound analytics to see which keywords and keyphrases are most popular for driving traffic to your web site. Use this information to adjust when you post new content to your blog, as well as to focus on different keywords. With the right analytics information, you will be able to direct your resources more profitably.

7. Use the Right Technology

Determine what technology is likely to help your business grow. As a small business owner, it can be difficult to do everything all at once. The right technology can help you automate some tasks, such as sending out emails, submitting to social bookmarking web sites, and generating coupon codes. Figure out which technology is likely to help you the most, and then use that technology. You will free up more of your time for building your business, and spend less time fretting about smaller housekeeping tasks that can become time consuming and tedious.

8. Build Your List

Invest some time and effort into building a solid opt-in list. Your list should include leads that can be used to improve your business. You will need to encourage people to sign up, so that means spending time creating attractive landing pages, and encouraging people to find you on Facebook. Offer premium content, or insider deals. Think of ways that being on your list could be seen as a benefit. More customers will opt-in, and you will see more repeat business and better success as you reach out to leads through your list.

9. Be Flexible

One of the advantages to owning a small business is that you have a certain amount of agility that the big guys don’t always have. Remain flexible in your business. Be willing to change your approach if something isn’t working. Quickly react to industry news, and adjust to the demands of your market. Your ability to be flexible can give you an edge as you work to expand your business.

10. Hire Good People

Even a small business occasionally needs to make hires. Before you hire someone, though, you need to make sure that you will be filling a need. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledge areas that need improvement, and then hire someone to fill that need. You should find someone who is knowledgeable about something you don’t understand as well. Hire good people who can help you navigate the waters, and provide you with expertise that you need.

It is possible to compete with the big guys as a small business. While you may not end up with billions in revenue, you can still do quite well—no matter how small your business is. With the right planning, and with a little ingenuity, you can hold your own, and grow your company.

This guest post was written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a large neon open sign company that provides various custom made neon signs.