Maximising your market penetration in the competitive online world is a challenge faced by companies of all sizes. In the online world, every company starts at the same place, with just a simple website and e-commerce solution. It is what the company does with this humble beginning that helps shape its future profitability and public awareness. Leverage the following technical and customer-specific “growth hacking” techniques to create a nimble site, responsive social media program, and targeted advertising designed to keep customers coming back for more.
1. Turn to Your Customer Base
The most elegant sites and advertising campaigns are ultimately worthless if you are not able to provide a service that the consumer will willingly recommend to another. Utilize product reviews and testimonials throughout your site to constantly inform the new customer how others have viewed your services in the past. When handled properly, you may improve your sales by nearly 10% and increase website traffic by a third. A major “growth hack” involves adding these testimonials to outgoing advertisements like emails and online ads.
All of this is meaningless if you do not create a connection with the clients by turning your site into a destination. Utilize social media, for instance an onsite blog, to showcase the human element to your company. By successfully showing that your customers are working with actual people that care about the products and their experiences you will be an in ideal situation to transform one-time clients into lifelong customers.
Having the right data is essential in this endeavor. Segment is online suite that is focused on providing you with the information you need, when you need it. Segment is utilized by companies in a wide variety of companies ranging from news agencies to hotels and online gambling establishments. It is focused on providing a holistic picture of your clients and their experiences, providing you with every metric needed to make on-the-fly decisions that will improve each encounter.
The tool suite can be utilized in third party solutions like Google Analytics, Optimizely, and Salesfource.
2. Experiment with Different Channels
There is an old quote, “Don’t lose sight of the forest for the trees.” This quote holds true in nearly every facet of business except one – advertising. The smallest details can make or break sales, making it vital that you constantly strive to find the optimal configuration of fonts, pictures, and interface tools to ensure your clients enjoy using your site.
Start off by integrating a feedback tool into the e-commerce process. Then alter one section and monitor the results. Depending on consumer feedback and changes in sales, make the decision to go with either Option A (say, larger product pictures) or Option B (the inverse, smaller pictures.)
Make managing this process easier with an easy to use online tool. Popcorn Metrics specializes in providing you with information about how users interact with your site without forcing painful code redesign decisions. It is extensively used with A/B testing, enabling quick alterations based upon accurate real-time feedback on the key metrics you choose.
Beyond the site, itself experiment with the different means of communication at your disposal. Starting out you will be able to collect contact details from clients, leverage this for a variety of outreach projects. Some that have shown great success with established online retailers include online pushes through web browsers, geotargeted SMS messages (requires a smartphone, specially designed app, and in-premise wifi,) and traditional email campaigns. This is an ongoing process, with the goal being to not only identify new customers but to maintain a loyal base with a vastly lower advertising overhead.
3. Turn You New Customers into Lifelong Brand Ambassadors
Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson hit the mark in 1992 with their song, “The Best Things in Life Are Free.” When it comes to advertising, every bit of interest you can generate without using cash or human resources just adds to the bottom line. It is imperative that you take every opportunity available to turn your consumer base into a free form of advertising. There are three main ways you can do this:
Make certain your product includes your logo in a place that your consumer’s friends and family will see regularly. While not directly related to e-commerce, it is vital to remember that the most effective advertising campaigns integrate both traditional and new Internet-based forms of advertising.
Reviews and Testimonials
Following the sale and upon receipt of the product make certain that your customers can swiftly and easily provide feedback. Beyond providing key details on how to improve your services, it also ingratiates you with the client and improves brand loyalty. A happy and loyal customer is one that will sing your praises to others that may be in need of your services. For very loyal customers, promote their reviews on your home page or blog. This shows that you are actively seeking to maintain a loyal consumer base.
Leverage online social media to your benefit by providing customers with the ability to share their purchases on popular sites. The primary way to handle this is to include social media “share” buttons upon completion of the purchase. This enables your customers to literally advertise the products they just purchased, potentially increasing sales by a significant margin.
4. “Push” Customers to Upgrade
An e-commerce store enables consumers to shop without feeling pressured by sales people or feeling the sting of money leaving their wallets. Take advantage of this by integrating mentions of the next service tier your company provides. For instance, if you sell a composition notebook for two dollars, then include an option to buy a five pack for eight dollars.
Another tactic you can use involves a bit of reverse psychology. Put the item the client is seeking next to extremely expensive options. This technique is known as “price anchoring” and takes advantage of our tendency to utilize the details we first discover, mainly price.
To make the process easier turn towards a data analysis tool with a record of success. Kissmetrics focuses on understanding the why behind a customer’s decision. Its mission is to reduce customer churn in half while helping you guide your clients to accept more upgrades.
5. Don’t Forget the Real World
Seasons and holidays come and go with reckless abandon. Do not allow the march of time to leave your e-commerce site in the dust. As each major holiday or season approached in your targeted geographic area adjust the theme for your site and run specials targeting the upcoming event. This will help keep your site fresh while drawing in consumers looking for a good price on the goods or services your company offers.
This is a process you cannot do on the fly. Most companies start planning several months in advance, say in August for the winter holidays. Remember – advertising campaigns are equally concerned with keeping current clients and acquiring new ones.
6. A Fast Site Translates to Better Sales
According to Kissmetrics, a single second delay in loading your web page can drop your successful conversion rate by seven percent. There are many ways to eliminate slow site issues, including:
Optimize Site Code
There is one significant similarity between a website and a book – each is filled with words that the reader (browser for sites) must process. The less verbiage that has to be read, the faster and easier it is to handle. Have an expert go through your code and identify ways to optimize it. This will reduce the bandwidth required to load your site while ensuring compatibility with modern web browsers.
Use a Fast Service Provider
Your web host can cost you sales if it is not able to provide the speedy bandwidth your site needs to succeed. Read reviews from other businesses about their experiences with your service provider and be ready to “move house” if there is a better host available.
Avoid Resource-Heavy Features
Sites that include a wide variety of multimedia content (videos, music, certain graphics) forces the browser to load specialized modules to handle the content. This slows down loading your site. Instead, utilize strict HTML5 compliant code to make it easy for your client’s browser to load your page.