Without awareness and traffic, your website will never be able to convert customers. On the other hand, most businesses put too much emphasis on generating traffic, and invest insufficiently in optimizing their websites for conversion.
According to research from Eisenberg Holdings, for every $92 that the average company spends to attract people, it spends just $1 to convert them. This explains the abysmal conversion rates many companies suffer from (with rates typically under 3.5 percent, according to Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly’s data). It also explains why generating revenue and staying profitable are among the most pressing challenges that businesses face today.
Thankfully, your business can be made more profitable. Ample research has been conducted on what it takes to take your company out of the red and into the black. Here are five research-backed principles guaranteed to hike your revenue.
1. Smart, personalized email marketing
Research shows that email is the most effective of all marketing channels -- both inbound and outbound. Data from the Direct Marketing Association shows that you can expect an ROI of $38 from every $1 spent on email marketing. And research by Monetate, which analyzed over 500 million shopping experiences, found that email (at 3.19 percent) beats search (1.95 percent) and social media (0.71 percent), combined, when it comes to driving sales.
If you haven’t invested in segmented or triggered email-marketing already, it’s time to start, since doing so could double your revenue. Once you’ve gotten started with email, take things a step further by fully personalizing your messages. According to Marketing Sherpa, simply personalizing your emails can boost your sales by up to 208 percent over using the general “batch-and-blast” email approach.
2. Up-selling and cross-selling
Extensive research has shown that up-selling and cross-selling are two of the most effective ways to boost revenue in a business. At one point, Amazon attributed up to 35 percent of its revenue to cross-selling, and JetBlue was able to generate $190 million in additional revenue in 2014 simply by up-selling its users. According to social ecommerce platform Viral Style, simply enabling upsells can “automatically increase your average profit by an additional 15 to 25 percent.”
The two challenges involved with upsells and cross-sells are relevance and timing. Make sure that your content-management system is capable of associating related products together. That way, when you offer an upgrade or a multi-item bundle, that move will make sense, given your site visitors’ browsing patterns.
Also, to ensure that your offer doesn’t turn off a prospect who would otherwise become a converted customer, consider setting it to appear as part of the checkout experience instead of as a suggestion on a product page.
3. Increase your trust factor.
Trust plays a major role in the average customer’s decision whether or not to buy from you; and unless you can effectively optimize and increase your trust factor, your business will basically be leaving money on the table.
While there are many ways to amplify your company's impression of trustworthiness -- and, ultimately, every tip in this article will help you do that in some way -- here are some of the most effective ways:
Enable SSL: Enabling SSL (Secure Sockets Layer security technology) has been observed as massively boosting sales; when people see the green padlock and “HTTPS” in their browser’s address bar, they’re more likely to buy from you.
Use security seals: Research shows that displaying security seals on your website is the foremost way to get people to trust and buy from you. Simply embedding a familiar security seal will go a long way to increase your trust factor and maximize sales.
Make an address and phone number visible: Available data shows that having a visible phone number and physical address on your website can boost sales by up to 5 percent.
Have a social media presence: Even if you’re a brick and mortar store, you’ll lose out on a lot of business if you don’t have a diverse digital footprint. In addition to your website, you should maintain an active, attentive presence on each of the major social networks.
4. Opt for a faster website.
How much do you think each one-second delay in site loading time costs ecommerce giant Amazon? That’s a massive $1.6 billion annually. Yes, every single year! And it’s not just Amazon we’re talking about. It’s been estimated that a one-second delay in any site’s load time will result in a 7 percent loss in conversions.
People simply don’t have the patience to watch web pages slowly render in today’s “everything on-demand” climate. Slow websites cost the U.S. ecommerce industry as a whole around $500 billion annually.
Simply making your website faster can -- and will -- boost sales dramatically. According to data from Gomez, which monitored real user data from 33 major retailers, decreasing page load time from eight to two seconds increases conversion rates by a whopping 74 percent.
5. Leverage the authority of social proof.
The “Milgram Experiments” of 1963 were designed by psychologists at Yale to observe the extent to which humans are willing to go when it comes to obeying authority figures. Surprisingly, the studies found that approximately 60 percent of people will remain obedient even to the point of inflicting significant harm on others.
Thankfully, converting customers with your website involves harming no one, and it’s relatively easy to use the principle of human obedience to amplify your site’s sense of authority and improve your revenues.
The key here to boosting sales lies in using this psychological phenomenon as a form of social proof: Simply having someone respected as an authority in your niche endorse your product can double or triple sales. Just ask Weight Watchers.
When Oprah Winfrey announced that she had invested in the company, a form of authority endorsement, its stock prices shot up by 110 percent overnight. If you are struggling to convert sales and generate revenue, consider sponsoring a relevant industry authority -- or influencer -- to endorse your brand.
As the studies referenced here show, increasing your business revenue by 30 percent, 50 percent, 100 percent or even more is certainly within reach. Leverage the above principles in your business, and watch your revenue and profit skyrocket.