One thing that frustrates many of us are disappointing sales numbers from a newly founded online store. You set up your site, began promoting it, but you’re just not getting the kind of results you had hoped for.
Now what? The trick is to tweak some things on your site as well as your offsite (marketing) strategy. Since you’re only just starting out, you simply haven’t found the right combination of website optimization and promotion strategy yet. Let’s take a look at 7 things you can do to optimize your sales right now:
1. Bug test your site
You know exactly what your website does and you’re familiar with your experience running it. But do you understand the customer’s experience? If your potential customers are having a hard time navigating your store, instead of writing you a long letter of complaint, they’ll just leave.
So since your visitors won’t tell you, here’s some points to look for:
- Is my checkout intuitive?
- Are there too many checkout fields or steps?
- Is all the text on my website clear and free of spelling errors and typos?
- Are there any dead links (404 pages)?
- Do I have a clearly written F.A.Q, contact page, shipping & returns information and about page that gives our users a clear idea of how it works?
- Does my website work well on mobile devices and tablets?
- Is there anything else that could throw off potential customers? For example; conflicting information, unclear instructions or unusual / unintuitive navigation.
An easy way to make sure your website’s usability is good, is by visiting established online stores and see how their navigation and usability compares to yours. If it seems like you’re doing something that’s out of the ordinary or just clutter, remove it.
2. Optimize your copy
Does your website simply convey technical information, or does it compel people to buy products from you? Optimizing the copy on your website is at least as important as optimizing the design and will increase your conversions dramatically.
According to a study by Nielson Norman Group, on average, visitors only read 20% of the content on a web page. Good web copy ensures the most important points stand out.
Besides optimizing your pages’ content, you should have strong product descriptions that list the benefits for the customer alongside the plain, technical facts.
3. Optimize your product images
Be honest: would you buy products from a web store that has unclear or blurry product images? Or how about product images that don’t clearly represent the product being sold? These are clear signals something is wrong with your store and this must be fixed.
If you’re working with a dropshipping supplier, find out if they have better product images available. If you can’t find any on their website, send them an email.
Alternatively, you can take product photos yourself and use those. Note that if you’re dropshipping from AliExpress, you might want to order 1 of each product and take the product images yourself.
If you already have HQ images but they’re a little too dark, use a photo editing program like Photoshop to fix the flaws. You can also hire a cheap freelancer on Fiverr.com to do this for you.
4. Double down on the good traffic
Let’s say you’re getting some traffic and have had some sales, but nothing to write home about. Instead of giving up, why not investigate how you can double down on the traffic that did convert?
This is why it’s very important to keep a close eye on your analytics. It is important that you understand which visitor did what. For example; 20 visitors from Pinterest left right away, whereas 20 visitors from Facebook visited more pages and 1 ended up buying a product.
Once you’ve identified the good traffic sources, go ahead and increase your efforts on that platform. Is it a forum? See if you can post more, or start contributing on similar forums as well. Is it Facebook? Maybe it’s time to cut out your Tumblr efforts and focus all your energy on Facebook instead.
Assuming you’ve had enough traffic and time to test with, you should cut out traffic sources that don’t work and focus on the ones that do.
5. Tweak your ads
Are you running any paid ads? Time to optimize. The goal of paid ads is to have a positive ROI on your traffic. This means that for every $1 you spend on advertising, you want to make $2 profit in return. Running break-even on ads can be rewarding, if the lifetime value of a customer is higher, but anything below a positive ROI is usually bad.
Split test multiple different ad copies and audiences until you’ve found an ad that at least breaks even. From there on it’s pretty easy to get to a positive ROI (e.g. return customers or optimizing product copy).
Running Facebook ads? Consider different ad types and read this Copy & Paste Guide: How to Drive a Flood of Ecommerce Sales Using Facebook Ads by Neil Patel.
6. Optimize your social media efforts
Are you establishing yourself as an expert in your field through social media? Are your social media accounts a good source for potential customers to find information about your brand and products?
As the name says, social media is social. This means that it’s more than just a place to dump your links and hope for the best. Potential customers enjoy reading about your products, your niche and your brand, and being reachable on social media will help get those people to buy.
For more information about post frequency, image sizes and other best social media practices, check out Hubspot’s social media optimization guide.
7. Get more traffic
50 visitors a day and no sales? What if those 50 visitors are mainly junk traffic in the first place? By attracting larger numbers of quality traffic, you’ll be able to see which sources are doing good and which ones are a waste of your efforts. Then you can double down on the good ones and burn the bad ones.
You won’t be able to properly analyse your web statistics until you’re attracting a reasonable number of daily unique visitors from a wide range of sources, like social media, forums, paid ads, content marketing or email.
Take a look at Shopify’s 50 Ways To Make Your First Sale to learn more about getting people interested and on your site.
By applying some of these principles and looking at your current situation and desired results, you’ll be able to eventually find the right combination that works for you.
Most importantly? Don’t give up. Overtime you will gain the experience and expertise you need to effortlessly run your own online business and you’ll find it hard to even imagine you ever had these problems to begin with.