Selling online has never been more important – pre-Covid-19 making online sales was tough enough, with escalating competition, Google’s algorithm changes, increasingly complex digital marketing channels and a wide range of restrictions making clinching a sale a real challenge.
The advent of Covid-19 has significantly amplified that challenge – added complexities around what you can and can’t say, skewed consumer search behaviour, reduced budgets, nervous consumer market and logistical challenges mean you really, really have to sharpen your focus…
But it’s not all doom and gloom – whilst Covid-19 is by no means gone or over, there has been a slow return to a number of normal behaviours, and with deliveries very much available for online buying, this is a genuinely good time to really focus on your value proposition, online sales strategy and digital platforms.
To help you refine and hone your online sales strategy, we’ve put together some pointers, as follows:
1. Honesty is the best policy
Especially at a time when consumer confidence is shaky, and the world feels turbulent, customers will look for brands that speak openly and honestly about what products or services they offer, and what the actual features and benefits are. Avoid overstating these in your product or service descriptions and keep your language friendly and approachable. And a great way to really inspire confidence in customers is by using well-shot, high-resolution and multi-angle photos, or even a video, of your products.
2. Maximise E.A.T
As with the first point, consumers are looking for brands to trust, who they feel will support them with information, products and services that genuinely give them what they’re looking for. Google’s mantra of Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (EAT) are of paramount importance. Make sure the content on your site – regardless of what it is describing – is as clear, up to date, correct and comprehensive as possible.
3. Time is of the essence, and that’s ok!
Don’t be afraid to make offers for limited periods only, and let people know – a sense of urgency in a sale, as long as you’re not being ‘pushy’ in your descriptions, is a perfectly normal and acceptable way to encourage sales. Be clear in your communication of limited offers so that people don’t feel let down if they miss out.
4. Keep the Focus
There are few things worse than sitting down in a restaurant and being handed a menu with hundreds of options. Stay sharp and focused on what you’re selling – from products and services to information, the more refined your offer, the more easily a customer will find making a purchase decision.
5. Use the Digital Tools at your disposal
There are a number of digital tools that you can employ to help you boost sales – from Ad Extensions in AdWords and Bing, and targeting lookalike audiences on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and other channels to creating highly-detailed buyer personas, there are really clever ways to refine your digital sales strategy to work for you beyond its first implementation.
6. Check and Test your buying process
There is quite literally nothing worse for a customer (and therefore for you) than to get into a basket checkout once they’ve made the purchase decision, only to find a clunky, outdated and confusing process. The number of people who drop off at this point is remarkably high, and it’s largely because the basket process simply does not let them make their purchase quickly and easily. Check and test your process regularly and correct any areas which could cause confusion or frustration.
7. Be Omnichannel and Consistent
Don’t imagine that because your website is running well and your basket process is good, and you’ve got a few ads up on Google and Facebook that your sales are suddenly going to skyrocket. You need to consider every available channel and ascertain which are most suitable for reaching your target audience. Email marketing, YouTube, radio adverts and other options may well be the most effective for your particular business, so explore these and use what works best. And be consistent – ensure that your brand is represented with the same level of quality and attention to detail across all channels, as this will inspire confidence in your customers, and help you build your brand in the process.
8. Be interactive
If you’re running pages on social media or have on-site feedback be sure to monitor these and answer every query, comment, criticism or suggestion that comes in. People like to know that you’re paying attention to what they have to say, and that you respond in a timely and appropriate manner. This helps to build trust, affinity and ultimately sales.
9. Measure, measure again, implement, test, refine…
There are really so many analytical tools that you can employ to track every aspect of a sale (or drop-off) – tools such as Google Analytics, HubSpot, Search Console, Hootsuite and more can give you all the parameters, performance indicators, trends you need to understand every aspect of your customer, your website’s performance, your digital marketing performance and a host of other processes. Make use of these daily, and most importantly re-invest the information you extract to refine your strategy and process for efficiency gains.
The above may seem daunting, but actually much of it is simply common sense, and can easily be implemented, managed and refined over time. There are, of course, also digital marketing experts who can help you set up and manage all aspects of your strategy to ensure your business grows and flourishes in these challenging times.