You study your analytics every day, eagerly awaiting an increase in visitor numbers. But as great as it is to have website visits, unless you’re in the business of showing off how great your site is, those visits mean nothing if they don’t translate into dollars.
A good site design is a great start, but your design needs to do more than just look good. It needs to be fully functional, easy-to-use, and encourage customers to make a purchase or call your customer service number. Here are a few tips for converting your visitors into customers:
- Give customers the information they need. If a customer has found your business through typing in the name of your city and the type of business (i.e.: “local plumbers”), that customer wants to know several things up front. Your services, your prices, and how to contact you. This simple information should be easily accessible on the main page. Make sure your phone number and e-mail address is clearly visible. Customers don’t want to fill out a form and wait for someone to call them. Customers will move on to the next service provider listed and you’ll see yet another visitor who didn’t follow through.
- Register your place with Google Places. Today’s Internet surfers are searching for businesses via smartphones and tablets, making location-based searches essential. By appearing on Google Places, your site will be visited by customers who are nearby and looking for services like yours.
- Study your customers. Analytics can tell you what visitors are doing. Study the search terms being entered and click-throughs to determine whether or not your site is addressing the needs of your customers.
- Consider offering free shipping. This isn’t the best business model for everyone, but the words “Free shipping” can be enticing to consumers. If your item shops fairly inexpensively, consider, at the very least, offering limited time free shipping offers to boost sales.
- Make your URL visible. Print your website URL on all shipping materials, invoices, and business cards. Sites like Amazon.com and O.co have branded their URL as much as their own business name. This keeps the URL fresh on consumers’ minds when it’s time to once again shop your location.
- Include reviews. When a customer buys a product in a store, he or she can actually see the product and feel its dimensions and quality. These aesthetics are not always communicated through a picture. Clothing retailer Delia’s combats this by including a “reviews” tab on each of its clothing items. This allows consumers to post comments such as, “Runs small” or “The color looks red in the picture, but it’s actually pink.” While it may seem that this sort of thing deters sales, it actually helps build a trust between you and the customer that keeps them coming back.
- Set a good return policy. While you may fear losing money on an item, you’ll lose even more money if a customer is afraid to commit to something they can’t return. If you offer money back on a $10 item but the customer has to shell out the cost to ship the item back, by the time they’ve paid for round-trip shipping, they may choose to keep the item…and simply never buy from you again.
As studies have shown, most customers never complain. You just never see them again. This is even more the case with website visitors, who will never verbalize why they didn’t buy from a site. By taking a long, hard look at your business website, you can turn those visits into sales.