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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.

Choosing a Merchant Services Provider

September 26, 2011

Accepting credit cards isn’t a do-it-yourself project. It requires a credit card processor (also called a merchant services provider) who establishes and administers your merchant account. During a transaction, the processor also acts as a middleman between the merchant and the credit card issuer to make sure the process goes smoothly.

Choosing the right merchant services provider requires an understanding of your credit card processing requirements and research into the various deals that are available. Here are five steps you should take when making your decision:

1) Learn about merchant accounts and the associated fees. You must establish a merchant account before you can accept credit cards. Basically, a merchant account is a bank account that acts as the depository for credit card transaction revenue. Once your merchant services provider has processed your transactions, it deposits the proceeds into your merchant account. The provider charges fees for its services — ask about them upfront and make sure you understand them.

2) Consider your technical requirements. What types of credit card processing are you planning to do? Traditional point-of-sale (POS) at a credit card terminal? Online processing from your website through an electronic gateway? Mobile or wireless processing when your business takes you on the road? Mail order/telephone order (MOTO)? Are most of your transactions card present or card not present? What business expansion or diversification plans do you have for the near future? It could be you need one or more credit card processing options, and you should make that clear to the merchant services providers that you are considering so they can come up with the best package deal for your needs and budget.

3) Identify merchant services providers who want your business. Not all processors work with all businesses. Some don’t deal with start-up operations or merchants with bad credit histories. Many will not service so-called “high risk” businesses, a category that includes adult-related businesses, online casinos and businesses located outside the United States. Look for a reputable processor who deals with businesses similar to yours.

4) Compare fees and services. Once you’ve compiled a list of potential merchant services providers, compare their fees and services to see who comes closest to meeting you requirements. Ask detailed questions about the types of hardware and software each offers. If you’re in the market to change processors, determine if your current system is compatible with their technology. When it comes to fees, going with the cheapest may not be your best bet. Be sure you know what you’re getting for your money, that it fulfills your needs and fits your budget.

5) Scrutinize security. Solid, reliable security may be the only thing standing between your business and disaster. It’s no secret that credit card fraud and identity theft are major threats to merchants and consumers alike. Make sure your credit card processing takes security seriously and is PCI compliant. Your merchant services provider should be able to answer all your security-related questions and train you and your staff in the proper protocols to keep you and your customers safe from a data breach.

Guest post by Marc McDermott, the Online Marketing Manager at Merchant Express, a full-service merchant services provider that has helped thousands of businesses with their credit card processing needs since 1998.

In Honor of 10/10/10– Ten Top Ten Lists

October 10, 2010

Today is 10/10/10, and we won’t have another day as exciting as this until 11/11/11, so here’s Ten Top Ten Lists you might enjoy or learn from.


1. The 10 Social Media Metrics Your Company Should Monitor— A pretty straightforward article. Whether you agree you can (or should) calculate ROI for social media, I think few of us will disagree that keeping track of blog interactions is a good thing.


2. Top 10 Expectations of Social Media in 2010— This one is fun because it’s almost the end of the years, so you can see if they were right.


3. Top 10 SEO Myths of All Time— #8 is my favorite since I deal with this one all the time.


Client: I got a call last week from a company that guaranteed my first page ranking.


Me: For pay per click?


Client: No I’m pretty sure it wasn’t pay per click.



Riiigggghhhhtttt.


4. Top 10 Google SEO Ranking Factors— Of course, this assumes that Google hasn’t changed anything in the past ten months— or the past ten minutes. But it’s still a pretty good list.


5. 10 Ways to Reduce Friction in Your Purchase Process— There’s nothing more frustrating than losing a client at the shopping cart. Basics on reducing those chances.


6. Top 10 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Blog Using Linked In— LinkedIn is an untapped gold mine for many. It’s worthwhile to learn a bit more about it and use that knowledge to your advantage.


7. Top 10 Ways to Tweak Your WordPress Theme— These are easy for just about anyone to do.


8. Top 10 Social Bookmarking Plugins for WordPress— Which is your favorite? I like Get Social.


9. Top 10 Funniest Fail Blogs— Every Top 10 list needs a little levity.


10. The 10 Best Top-Ten Lists And, of course, what’s a best top 10 list without a Top 10 List of Top 10 Lists šŸ™‚

Online Stores ā€“ 5 Common Mistakes That Can Kill Your Business

October 5, 2010

So, you’ve just opened the figurative doors to your online store, and you’re waiting for the money to start rolling in. After all, you’ve got great products, so it’s just a matter of time until customers start flinging open their wallets, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

If you’re making any of the following 5 mistakes, your online business may never get off the ground:

Doing what you want instead of what your target audience wants

On the internet, your target audience is everything. You have to address their needs, desires, and questions. If you get caught up in what YOU like, instead of what your target audience likes, your store will never succeed.

Annoying visitors with too much flash

Sure, you want to catch people’s attention, but unless you’re selling used Pinto’s, skip the bright red letters and flashing graphics. You do not want to miss out on profits because people find your website obnoxious.

There are plenty of ecommerce templates out there that can help you design your layout. Stick to the basics – prices, product descriptions, product photos, related items, and your online shopping cart. Avoid templates that offer too much, or else you’ll turn people off.

Having too many categories

Unless you’re selling millions of items, keep the categories to a minimum. Having too many categories can be overwhelming. For example, instead of having “White Baseball Caps”, “Black Baseball Caps”, and “Gray Baseball Caps”, just have one category – “Baseball Caps”.

Having a checkout process that can only be deciphered by rocket scientists

When people are giving you their hard-earned money, make it easy on them. If you ask too many questions, or lead them through too many checkout pages, they are much more likely to get frustrated and just scrap the whole purchase.

Expecting customers to remember a long domain name

If you want return business, avoid domain names like “BestComputerPartsInTheWholeWideWorld.com”. If customers can’t remember the name of your site, they can’t come back and spend more money!

Guest post by Kirsty LaVier—Editor for Shopping Cart Reviews, the leading shopping cart information website.

Can I Make Big Money Online?

June 21, 2007

Guest post by Matthew Henrickson

This blog poses the question, Can I Make Big Money Online? It’s very possible to make money online, but big money is another subject.

Many bloggers are starting to use other sources, than just blogging, to earn money online. They have multiple revenue streams.

Multiple Revenue Streams

The golden rule in blogging, when it comes to making money online, has become “Don’t put all your eggs in the google basket.” Monetize your website or blog in other ways. Experiment and try new things, they just might earn you some money.

Take that rule one step further, don’t put all your eggs into one website. There are other things you can do to earn money.

Surveys

I just finished writing a post about making money online with surveys. “Big” money can’t be made here, but it is an option. If you add the 30-100$ per month that could be made here to the total of your monthly earnings, you may be earning “big money”.

Multiple Blogs

I have more than one blog that I can earn money on. Blog about your Blog is getting pretty popular, and after the google rank update, I think it can be a real money maker. Blogging Addiction has become a personal blog for me, where I can do a number of sponsored posts. Finally, Fantasy Football N’ Stuff is a hobby of mine. I am really into fantasy football and the NFL, this has potential to be a money earner.

Online Stores

I have yet to really get into this, though I have seen several bloggers open up their own online stores. At the Million Dollar Experiment, he is ‘experimenting’ with free online stores. In his article, he states he spent 5$ on advertising, and made 12$ in sales. If those figures stay true, he could go bigger and spend 25$ and earn 60$. If he wanted to make BIG money online, try 500$ and 1200$!

To successfully continue to make money online, you need multiple revenue streams. A website that you count on to make money could close down. Or the online store you use isn’t getting sales. Or the blog you run isn’t getting any advertisers.

This post was guest blogged by Matthew Henrickson. You can see which blogs I write for in the body of this post. Please visit them, and I would love comments on this post.

Internet Marketing Tips From Around The Net 3/30/2007

March 30, 2007

Here are some useful Internet marketing articles I came across this week:

Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Principles on Successful Blogging and Affiliate Marketing
Really nice list of tips for blogging and affiliate marketing. I also think they can be applied to the art of writing sales letters.

5 Ways to Tap Hidden Money Making Opportunities With Your Blog
Wendy’s guest post on problogger is an excellent look at how to make money with non-product blogs.

5 Tips For New Money Makers
Nice list of tips for people starting up a blog like this one. I would put a HUGE emphasis on the “be unique” tip.

7 Ways to Promote your Site with a Bit of Money
Daniel wrote a nice post about ways you can spend money to promote your site. I spend money promoting some of sites, I just don’t talk much about what I have discovered in that area. My personal favorite method is pay-per-click, because of the control I have in determining the amount of traffic I get.

5 ways to find out what your readers are interested in reading
Nice list of ways to find out what your target audience wants.

Price It Right
Great tips on product pricing for ebay and other auction sites.

My Internet Marketing Review of Easy Profit Auctions

February 6, 2007

While I was in Florida, I got an offer from Alex Jeffreys to take a look at Easy Profit Auctions (aff). Now, let me start this off by saying that I am not really interested in getting involved in selling products on ebay. However, after taking a look at Alex’s product, I am having serious second thoughts about that.

So here’s the deal…

Through tons of trial and error, Alex discovered a system of making money through ebay by building email lists, selling products, and selling products on the back-end to his list. His system is rather interesting and definitely worth looking at, especially if you are interested in selling ebooks and/or other products.

He also has some great audios, videos, and a private membership forum. There was one tip in his audio interview with Jason James that I would have paid at least 100 dollars for. It was something I have been wondering about for a long while.

Of all the products I have reviewed in recent times, Easy Profit Auctions hand’s down gives you the most bang for your buck. Based on other products I have bought and/or reviewed I would say that Alex should be charging around 1000 dollars for a lifetime membership, but he is only charging a one time fee of $97 dollars for a lifetime membership.

My guess is that Alex will change over to a monthly membership fee soon, because his membership site is WAY underpriced.

Normally, at this stage in my review I would tell you what I didn’t like about the product, but quite frankly I am having a hard time doing that. I guess Alex could have made more audios, and videos for the site, but since he is working on doing just that I can’t really think of a downside to Easy Profit Auctions.

Anyway, I highly recommend checking out Alex’s Easy Profit Auctions site by clicking here. I am glad I did.

Internet Maketing Review – Instant Web Profits Sytem

December 29, 2006

One of the things that you told me in one of my polls is that you want me to review more Internet Marketing products. So I have decided to give you what you want…

A few months ago, I purchased a new Internet Marketing course called “Instant Web Profits System” by Dan Lok. Dan has created a niche for himself in copywriting as “The Website Conversion Expert”.

For starters, I get a really good vibe from Dan Lok. His staff has always given prompt answers to my questions and they were always very upbeat and positive. Dan strikes as me as someone whose truly desires to help people make money online.

As for “Instant Web Profits Systems“, I wanted to start by letting you know what this course is not:

  • It is not a course on blogging


  • It is not a course on making money with Adsense
  • It is not a course on Affiliate Marketing


  • It is not a course on making money without raising a finger

The purpose of this course is to reveal how to increase the online sales of your products and/or services.

I SO wish I had this product when I was starting out. I know it would have made a HUGE difference in the success of the first product I created.

The one thing I don’t like about the course is Dan’s occasional use of colorful language. However, many times in the course it did help him get across the importance of the message he was conveying.

For the most part, it is NOT a step by step guide. With one exception…

The step by step CD that gives you the 11 steps for creating a winning sales letter. I can see how following the 11 steps that Dan reveals in this course can produce an awesome sales letter. I will certainly follow them the next time I need to create a sales letter.

There is a lot of excellent business and Internet Marketing advice in the audio CDs, much of which you can use even as an affiliate marketer or blogger.

What is included in the Instant Web Profit System?

It includes:

  • 4 audio CDs that reveal 101 Ways To Make Your Website SELL Like Crazy!
  • 2 audio CDs that reveal How To Avoid The Deadly Mistakes That Can KILL Your Online Business!
  • 1 audio CD that reveals 11 Steps To Creating Killer Web Copy!
  • 8 CD Roms that show Dan Lok making over other people’s website sales letters (this was my personal favorite part of the package).
  • 6 Audio CDs with uncensored Interviews with some of the world’s top Internet Marketing experts!
  • Plus a 1-hour “private” mentoring session with Dan Lok.

While Dan covers many topics in this package, the topics that are hit the hardest are copywriting and website conversion. This product shows you how to write better copy and how to convert your visitors into customers.

My favorite part of the product is the 8 CDs that contain video of Dan transforming underperforming sales letters into sales letters that sell. I found these videos to be worth the price of the whole package. I have seen free videos on these topics that don’t come anywhere near the quality and depth that these videos go into. I strongly recommend them to anyone who wants to learn how to sell a product or service.

The audio CDs were sprinkled with some Internet Marketing advice that I haven’t heard too many people talk about outside of products that you have to pay for. Here are some (not all) of the main topics discussed in the audio CDs:

List Building
Negotiating
Increasing Website Traffic
Ezine Creation
Joint Ventures
Copywriting
Writing Ads
Website Conversion
ebook Authoring
and more!

This a solid product, that I believe will really help you convert your visitors into customers. It is an excellent product if you have a product or service to sell. Go sign up for his free newsletter by clicking here and you can learn more about Instant Web Profits System and Dan’s other products.

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Treat Your Customers Like Royalty

December 14, 2006

Jill and I just got back from a short trip to San Antonio. We stayed at the Omni on the Riverwalk (aka. Omni La Mansión del Rio). It was a very nice hotel, the people there were very nice and it was a nice room. Overall, I would recommend it.

I have stayed at a wide variety of hotels over the years, however there is one hotel I will always remember.

A few years back, I went back to my home town of West Palm Beach, Florida for my friend’s wedding. Since our youngest was three months old, and since it had been a while since I had been in West Palm Beach, Jill and I decided to book a room at a really nice hotel. It turned out to be the BEST hotel either one of us has ever been to…

It was the “Ritz Carlton in Palm Beach”. Wow, was it nice. I don’t recall the rooms being much better than the rooms at the Omni. Well, I take that back, we had an Ocean view and that was really nice.

The real thing that set the Ritz Carlton apart from any other hotel we ever visited was the Customer Service.

The employees at the Ritz Carlton treat you like royalty!

Everyone on the staff called us by name. I am not sure how they knew our name all the time, but they must be trained in some sort of Ninja name memorization technique.

One of Jill’s favorite things about the customer service at the Ritz Carlton was the number of times she heard the words, “It would be my pleasure Mrs. Manty.”

In fact, when we got back to Houston Jill wanted to teach the kids to say, “It would be my pleasure Mom” everytime she asked them to do something. Needless to say we haven’t trained them to do that (yet).

I will never forget the Ritz Carlton, and we will definitely go back there sometime. I think my wife said it best, “Everyone should get a chance to stay in the Ritz Carlton and be treated like Royalty.”

If you treat your customers like Royalty, they will remember you for a very, very, very long time.

Internet Marketing is NOT DEAD!

November 14, 2006

Just so you know, I really like Mike Filsaime’s new free ebook.

However, I think the title is misleading. Obviously, Internet Marketing is NOT dead. If it were then Mike would be quitting and he is not.

There is a ton of money to be made on the net with all kinds of sites (blogs, wikis, forums, download sites, affiliate marketing, Adsense, ebooks, services, copywriting, seo, web design, software, games, membership sites, Internet Marketing, drop shipping, etc). There are all kinds of statistics out there about how fast the Internet is growing and how much money consumers will spend on the net.

So if you are trying to make money online, don’t worry. There is plenty of money to be made on the web and just like Google Adsense, Internet Marketing is NOT DEAD!

I just wanted to make sure I was clear about that.

That said, “The Death of Internet Marketing” is still a good read.

The Bottom Line – End of the Make Money Online Series

August 28, 2006

Originally, in this series I planned on reviewing various ways of making money online. I was going to include surveys, selling on ebay, selling products and services, using Adsense, blogging, forums, informational sites, drop shipping, ecommerce, affiliate programs, and the like.

I have decided to cut this series short, because what most of you have told me in a previous poll is that you are interested in making Big Money.

You can’t expect to make big money online with some of these things. In fact, making big money online almost always takes hard work and a unique business idea. So with that said, I am going to drop this series and instead focus on other things like reviewing products that will help get both you and I to the point where we are making Big Money.

To start things off, here is my list of the top 10 things that I believe you and I need to do to make Big Money Online:

1. Be Remarkable!
2. Be Remarkable!
3. Be Remarkable!
4. Be Remarkable!
5. Be Remarkable!
6. Be Remarkable!
7. Be Remarkable!
8. Be Remarkable!
9. Be Remarkable!
10. Be Remarkable!

I have mentioned in the past Seth Godin’s book, the Purple Cow and how important it is to be remarkable. While there are many ways to monetize a site:

1. Adsense
2. Affiliate Links
3. Products (Software, ebooks, etc.)
4. Services
5. Various Pay Per Click services like Chitika, etc.
6. Selling advertising
etc.

The way I see it, you have to find a way to make your online business stand out over the long haul to make big money online. Whether you create a blog, website, wiki, etc. The bottom line is that to make Big Money online you have to be remarkable.

Start thinking of ways to make your current website or a new website remarkable, make it stand out from the crowd. That’s my current plan for making big money online. I will let you know how it goes…

Mailing Lists and Website Traffic

August 17, 2006

Last week, I answered a question from a reader about getting traffic to an ecommerce site. With all sites, but especially ecommerce sites just about every Internet Marketer will tell you that it is very important to build a list of customers and potential customers.

If you really hate the idea of running a newsletter then you at least need to maintain a customer list. Research has shown that it is around five times easier to sell to someone who has already bought from you.

Also, with a customer list or newsletter you won’t be as reliant on Search Engine Traffic to make good money. If your Search Engine rankings go down the tubes and you have a solid customer list or a solid newsletter subscription base you will still have people you can sell your products and services to.

Note: This is also true of a blog readership, via RSS subscriptions. Which is why it’s important to get people to subscribe to your blog feed.

Not only do most Internet Marketers suggest this, but I have personally found having a newsletter to be very valuable as well.

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