4 Focus Areas for Converting ‘Likers’ into ‘Buyers’
Growing your Facebook community or even getting more people to land up on your website offers no guarantee of a sale or a conversion. But building social proof, trust, peace of mind and continuity in to your marketing communication does. Let us look at 4 focus areas.
Managing Instagram or Facebook accounts for our online businesses is a time consuming process. We promote our posts in the right communities, carefully target our ads to be visible to the right TA (Target Audience), we focus on the SEO (Search Engine Optimization), invest in adwords marketing, basically doing everything in our control to get the right people to land up on our website.
As entrepreneurs, Acquisition – that is acquiring more followers and site visitors, gets a big chunk of our attention and hence, efforts. But when sales don’t go up in proportion to the site visitors, it is important to look at friction points in the conversion funnel.
What is conversion rate?
Conversion rate is the number of people who took a desired action (e.g. bought / subscribed / shared content) divided by the people who landed on the website.
In my experience, conversion rate ends up being the party spoiler more often than not. Have a look at the conversion funnel for an e-commerce jewelry startup that we consulted for.
Google Analytics conversion report for an e-commerce jewelry startup
As you can see, the conversion rate for this particular online store (lets call it June’s jewelry store) stands really low at 0.16%. Quick Math shows us that June needs to work on her conversion rate much harder than her acquisition numbers. Her acquisition needs to increase only threefold for her to hit her revenue numbers while her conversion rate needs to go up by a whopping 16 times (see the table below)for it to be in the industry average rate.
The average benchmark for conversion rate stands anywhere between 2 to 3% but this is dependent on too many factors. Your target audience, the products you sell, your industry, the quality of traffic you are driving to your business and more, all of which play a large part in your conversion rate. The key is to look at where you are and set your conversion rate target from there. If you are at 0.5%, set a target of 1%. Once you hit 1%, target 2%.
Of course, both the metrics of acquisition and conversion are equally important for the healthy bottom-line of the business in the long run, but a quick look at the numbers for June’s jewelry clearly points us in the direction of making efforts to clear the sales funnel at conversion stage.
For June’s store, ensuring that shoppers convert into buyers takes precedence over driving traffic to the site.
Luckily, improving the conversion rate rarely costs money. Let us look at four main questions that you as a small business owner need to ask yourself to assess if you are doing enough to drive conversions:
Are you building enough Social Proof?
One of the top reasons why people buy online is the availability of reviews and recommendations. When a friend has given a high rating to a book on Goodreads, many of us end up reading the same book.
June uses Facebook(FB) as her main social media platform. 36% of her site visitors are from FB and those coming from the web FB are spending 5.45 minutes on her site (far surpassing any other acquisition medium). (refer to first table)
- Activating the reviews and ratings tab on Facebook & ensuring that enough people to rate & review your business is the first step. It takes the anonymity out of your online store. It is comforting for shoppers to read about how others experience your brand, especially on FB, where the social identities of the reviewers are open. Get your friends and family who have tried the product already to do the initial reviews. Incentivize buyers in your offline sales to review you on FB after their purchase. Watch the momentum build-up. As more people review or recommend you, the higher your FB page ranks which in turn leads more people to find your FB page.
- It works even better if buyers share pictures using the product with their quote / story of why they love your product. Incentivize your fans to share your information. Its more credible than your sharing it.
- Google Ratings and Reviews is another overlooked but highly effective platform to build social proof. 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine. (Interconnected World: Shopping and Personal Finance, 2012). Placing positive social proof prominently on this highly visible platform is sure to get results. Another big benefit is that it helps in your SEO too, pushing up your SERP (Search Engine Ranking Position).
- Integrate your offline and online initiatives. Event announcements on social, sharing pictures of the offline event on social gives people proof and reassures them about your business, increasing their trust in your brand and making it easier for them to spend money on your product.
Are you giving the buyer ‘peace of mind’?
- An easy and full money back return policy is a necessary evil for any business owner, more so for an online one. The shopper needs to feel in control at all times. It will give her peace of mind and definitely get her to check out the cart faster and more often. As a small business owner, it is not easy to offer this but it happens to be a very important conversion factor in e-commerce.
- As a small business owner, if you can additionally offer a physical location where the buyer can check out the product, it helps in putting the buyer at ease while keeping the returns low.
How smooth is the shopping experience at your e-store?
- Offering cash on delivery will take care of the shopper who is uncomfortable sharing her credit card details on a new site or doesn’t use Paypal or does not want to make the effort of inputting the details.
- You can give her a telephone number to call (within office timings) for any questions that she may have.
- Highlighting your WhatsApp helpline number or having an option of live chat is a good idea. As a small business owner, it is not possible to offer a 24/7 customer helpline but live chat / phone service can be offered within office timings. And thanks to fantastic mobile apps, it is now manageable for the business owner.
- UX (User Experience) of the site plays a very important role in conversion and an exclusive post on that will follow. But keep the shopper’s journey in mind and clear all the low hanging obstructions to make it an easier journey to the checkout cart for the shopper.
Are you fixing your leaky bucket from day one?
Here we are referring to a step before retention – ‘converting’ your site visitors into first buyers. Time, effort and money goes into driving traffic to the site. Under ‘usual’ circumstances, these visitors will not make the purchase on their first visit. They will require multiple touch points and nudges to convert, sometimes over the course of days or even weeks. An average of 68% of people abandon their carts (Source). You need a re-targeting and a re-marketing in place from the day one that your store goes live.
- Re-targeting comprises showing display ads to people who have expressed interest in your product before – visited your site, clicked on your paid ad, searched for particular keywords, etc. These are “top of the funnel” leads that need to be nurtured. Re-targeting reminds them of your existence. It helps you get into a TOM (Top of mind) position makes it highly likely for the casual visitor to choose you when she is buying in the category next. Also, re-targeting ensures your relationship a continuing one with the site visitors and not a one-time experience.
You only need a minimum 100 visitors to your site before you can re-target to them using one of the most robust retargeting platform - Adroll. Here is an immensely useful infographic on devising your re-targeting strategy.
- Re-marketing uses email as a tool to give the final push or nudge to people who have reached the very bottom of the conversion funnel. They perhaps added products in their shopping cart and abandoned it (we have learnt close to 70% will do). It can also be used to cross-sell e.g. sending a mail with a promotion on a camera bag after a camera purchase on the site.
Sending abandoned cart mails with an offer and a creative message is considered the most effective form of email marketing. Remember that email marketing is still considered the best digital channel for ROI (source). You don’t have to choose between re-marketing and re-targeting. Both can be used simultaneously to influence the buyer at different stages in the conversion funnel. The trick is to be creative and discretionary in usage.
Remember that a site visit does not guarantee a sale or a conversion. Building social proof, trust, peace of mind, great UX, top of mind recall and a continuing relationship does.