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Getting lots of hits for your online store is great, but true growth won’t begin unless you have these hits turn into conversions. But what is a conversion? Simply put, it is when the users of your site do something that you want them to do.

“Conversion” Defined

When unique visitors switch from being virtual passersby to users who are actually engaging with your website and completing desired actions, it is conversion.

These actions can be seemingly tangential acts like clicking on a specific link, viewing a key page on your site, fully completing a survey, availing of your services or purchasing one of your products. It also includes their registering as a member of your community, subscribing to an email newsletter, downloading items from your site—typically actions that are beyond superficial browsing and are valuable to your website or business.

Conversion Rate in Action

The number of passersby successfully turning into active users by completing desired actions shall comprise your conversion rate. More specifically, it is the amount of successful conversions divided by the number of hits, or page views.

When your conversion rate is high, it tells you and prospective partners or investors that your online marketing campaigns are effective. Of course, increasing your conversion rate is likely to result in corresponding increases in profits, the opposite of which can put your online venture out of business at its extreme case. How do you improve your conversion rate? Let’s take a look at some of the tried and true methods.

[heading color=”black”]Five Techniques to Improve Conversion Rate[/heading]

Improve-Conversion-Rate

1. Create and maintain a solid UX design.

Simply put, UX or user experience design is the means through which humans interact with any software platform. To engage both new and repeating visitors, your website must be user-friendly, be it in terms of site or page usability, web design and layout, or any other factor contributing to a website’s usability.

As web design expert Steve Krug says in his book of the same title, “don’t make me think.” Your site’s visitors must have an easy and enjoyable experience when browsing through your site.

It’s not that simple, though. UX design extends to ALL aspects of a digital platform. The interaction between a user and a website, for example, is the first step. The next steps involves the user’s discovery of the site, their clicking through pages, placing orders, receiving these orders, customer support—how a service is used.

Tips

Avoid noisy and flashy graphics on your page. People tend to be put off by information barrages. Your website should direct people towards where you want them to go, but they should think that it is where they want to go. Check out the sites of your role models in the industry. How was your experience with them? Strive to emulate it for your own business.

2. Practice content marketing.

Content marketing has long been recognized as a great complement to—if not an outright replacement of—traditional advertising methods. It refers to the practice of engaging potential customers by publishing original, thought-provoking content that leads them to your product or service. It involves targeting prospective readers, listeners, or viewers and capturing their attention by creating content that is in line with their interests, helping them make informed purchasing decisions.

Tips

One difference between content marketing and outright advertising is that the former pulls people in, as opposed to overtly demanding for attention. It seeks to educate, letting customers come to you.

With the openness of the Internet, using content marketing has never been easier. Make yourself heard. Get on social media platforms, make a blog and host a channel on YouTube. People are drawn to great content, so start creating.

3. Utilize the directness of email marketing.

As a proprietor of an online business, chances are you’ll already have a mailing list of your customers. Take advantage of this resource by writing to these people and indicating your appreciation. Make it worth their while by providing incentives and exclusive discounts or services for loyal customers. Conversion isn’t just about making one sale—it’s retaining customers for the forseeable future.

Tips

How does email marketing work for visitors who aren’t your customers yet? If you employ a registration system on your site, you’ll have access to the user directory for that as well.

Let registered users know of promotions on your site and offer benefits for their patronage. As much as possible, try to be as personal as you can. Correspondence does wonders for engaging people’s interest. However, keep in mind that email missives have to be opted in by users. Otherwise, it’s just spam.

4. Leverage the power of social signals.

The importance of social media and its gradual rise among the main sources of information and venues for marketing has been recognized by small businesses and multinational conglomerates alike. This  is why you see small startups able to hold their own against these megacorporations on Facebook and Twitter.

Social signals are the indicators of your online presence on social media websites. This includes “Likes”, Shares, and friends on Facebook; Retweets, conversations, and followers on Twitter; and other interactions on Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Tumblr, among others. The importance of social signals was formalized when the big search engines included them in their ranking algorithms—having more social signals are a factor in your appearance on search engine results.

Tips

Put yourself out there. Apart from being seen by the Google and Bing robots, being on the prominent social media platforms will create a personal, relatable face for your company, leading to visits and conversions in the process.

5. Provide exceptional customer service.

Customer service can be considered as the mortar that holds the bricks of your business together. You might be able to provide great products, but if you are unable to provide support when things go south, you can expect your reputation to plummet in a similar fashion.

Customer service is also an extension of the UX design covered above. Think of it as following through with your promises of products and services that are worthy of the time and money of your customers.

Tips

Forming relationships with your customers is the key here. Relationships are mutual, so you need to forge one that the customer wishes to maintain and pursue.

Address all of their questions. Make yourself available to them. Keep support staff on hand to deal with complaints. Be helpful throughout every step of your interaction. Underpromise and overdeliver. Basically, treat them as you would a friend—make them feel important and valued, and you’ve got the makings of a loyal customer.

The accessibility of the Internet has given us tools to engage people in ways previously impossible. As long as you know who your target audience is, you have the capability to transform them from people who have a passing interest in your online store to customers willing to swear by your practices.

Are there other ways to improve your conversion rate? Which methods have worked for you? Share your experiences in the comments!

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Posted by Vincent Sevilla

Vincent is a professional graphic designer and marketing consultant for Salehoo.com, an online wholesale directory and community for onlinetraders, traditional retailers and eBay sellers.

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