Marketing tricks to increase sales conversions on your website

One of the most effective ways to convert a customer is to focus on their emotions. Emotional decisions tend to override logical decision making from time to time. You want to tap into that to increase your sales.

Supermarkets do it all the time, and the big companies employ teams of researchers to study human behavior and how to increase sales through ‘mind tricks’.

Some common real world store tricks are things like changing the location of items every couple of months, so that you have to scan the shelves to see where they have been moved. You might see something else that you ‘need’ and buy that too. How about putting the premium products at eye level and, and the sweets and ‘bad’ things at a level that kids can see and grab them. Ever wondered why the bakery is at the back of the store? That soothing smell of freshly baked bread is enough to pull you in from outside the store and drag you right through the isles to the bakery in the back. Aroma is a big thing to get right in a real world store. Ever removed some meat from the refrigeration and all of a sudden its not so ‘red’? The lights in the fridges enhance the redness of the meat to make it look better. Ever noticed the music in the store? Its designed to make you spend, in fast food outlets its chosen to move you along quickly, while in expensive restaurants its chosen to keep you eating and spending as long as possible.

So before you slate me for bringing up some of these methods, go crap on your supermarket manager first!

One technique that online sellers often use, is to make an offer that sounds too good to be true. Now I am not saying lie to the customer, but if you can present the facts of your product in a way that SOUNDS better than they are, without lying, your sales conversion ratio skyrockets. Use words like ONLY, and LIMITED AVAILABILITY etc

Think Infomercials, think web, now think web-infomercial, this is the type of site that makes the big bucks. TV infomercial promotions use a few good techniques that can be adapted quite easily to be used on your website.

Targeted marketing is essential when making the alternative seem worse than it is

Focus on the problem that brought the customer to the website, while they were looking for a solution, and blow it right out of proportion. If your marketing is specifically targeted to a niche market, this wont be a problem. Your site basically needs to focus on why they are there (they have a problem), and what you can provide them (the ultimate solution to their problem) to remedy that problem. Create a sense of hope for the customer, if you can invoke this emotion, half the work is already done. You have no doubt seen infomercials on the TV where you can see blatant over exaggeration of the problem before the solution, this can be done online too. Tell them what they want to hear, within reason. Don’t overkill the idea, just plant the seed.

List testimonials stating how good your product or solution is

People like to think they are important, if you mention to an existing customer that you will need a picture, and would like some information about how the product has helped them, more often than not, they will be glad to do it. People also sometimes tend to do things that they believe will make others like them more. This is why some people often don’t complain as much as they should, why they do things they don’t really want to do, and probably why you will get your nice testimonials if you just ask.

The testimonials are where the sales happen. You have seen these sales pitch sites, and tv infomercials, there are always loads and loads of testimonials. If you are told something often enough, you believe it. This is no different in the infomercials and shouldn’t be different on your site either. Testimonials on your site should have a picture, and should focus on telling the story of the problem, and how your product was the best and only solution. The picture is to subconsciously make the human connection with the customer. Adding a picture to a testimonial makes it much more credible and believable, and makes the site more ‘human’. This is where the big boys play with the emotions too, with testimonials telling the visitor how bad it was before for them, the family, the business, and how life in general sucked. Then came your solution, and ‘almost immediately’ things changed for the better! Don’t forget to include how now, months later, things are still going extremely well, and they haven’t looked back.

NB: Don’t fabricate the testimonials! If you are getting any sales at all, then they should be easy enough to get, also try to contact the customer soon after they have your product, so as to reduce the risk of them giving a bad review. Make sure you edit it to slightly favour your product.

You need to always appear unbiased in on your site, it may even pay to list some competitor products (using your affiliate link), as other options for the visitor to choose from. If you do this, make sure that you put yourself forward as an authority, listing unbiased good and bad points of your own and other products.

Offer discounts, and create a sense of urgency

Many people love to get a deal, they will cut coupons religiously, and will even drive great distances for discounted items. Start your product off at a higher price, and bring it down substantially if the customer buys immediately. You now target the impulse buying part of their brain, and their logical mind which will say it is better to buy now and save, than if you buy tomorrow and pay double. Create a sense of urgency with the product, give them the feeling that this offer is not going to last long and they need to act quickly. People also like to ‘save’ money, so if you offer 2 for 1, or buy 2 get 1 free etc, your sales pickup too.

Tell them to buy and leave little alternative

That’s right, flat out tell them to buy now, tell them they need to order immediately to qualify for the discount, or whatever offer you are providing. Make sure you have a quick and easy way for the customer to make the purchase, and make it the only thing they can do on the purchase page. I mean, even remove unwanted navigation from your purchase page, so that they don’t leave and look at your other products or information. Make the customer focus on paying immediately and then take them to the normal site with the full navigation.

Make the customer feel good

You don’t want the customer to feel awkward and uncomfortable once they have made the purchase. Totally eliminate the chance of customer ‘second-thoughts’ by buttering them up once they have made a purchase. I am talking about the web equivalent of carrying their shopping to their car, and asking them to ‘please come again’.
Have a decent ‘thank you’ page, throw in a freebie if you can, send them an email thanking them and offering your help and assistance if they need it. There are loads of different ways, just choose a method that works for you.

Remember its a real person who makes the purchase

Ultimately its a real person who has the credit card, visits your site, makes the purchase, recommends your link, bookmarks your page, refers you to friends etc. Bear this in mind when creating your site. You are creating for a real person, of a particular mindset, specific to your niche, with a problem that has a specific solution. You have that solution, and you know what those people are thinking and feeling before they even arrive at your site. Just think about that when you create your site, and you will make loads of sales.

Offer a refund of some sort, make the customer feel safe

Even if a customer is unhappy, you can almost bet on it that most wont ask for a refund. As I said before, they don’t want you to not like them. Some are lazy and just never get round to it. Some blame themselves for making a stupid purchase on a whim and never return the product. The point is, that even if you sold junk, you still wouldn’t get 100% returns, although the word would spread that you sell crap, and your sales would probably stop altogether. Always offer a refund, it’s a safety net that makes the purchaser feel safe and protected, and much more willing to spend. The fact that over 70% of unhappy customers wont return a product is beside the point.

Be a contactable friend

Lastly, be visible, contactable, and open to the customers. Put a phone number, email address, support and contact information, privacy policy etc on the site. If you can, put up logos that give you more credibility. If the customer can see what you look like, it can really help with sales. Even better is to post a video of yourself online. Try to make friends with the visitor, and try to talk to them as a friend in your sales pitch. Its easier to get a sale as a friend recommending a product, than a sales person shouting a sales pitch to a customer.

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    How true… by following some of your advice i already did multiply my conversion ratio.. Now thats too good to be true

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    This is the most informative and well written post I’ve read on online sales techniques. Working in the web development industryfor the last 8 years, I’ve personally used the online sales framework you’ve outlined here. I wish my clients would read this so that they could understand that successful e commerce websites are so much more than pretty pictures and an expensive PPC campaign.

    Thanks for such a great post!

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