1. Web Statistics Packages – most web businesses have one but most don’t use it to its potential. Find out how long people are spending on your site, what keywords people search by, which page they leave at, and where people click on the screen. An excellent free option is Google Analytics.
2. Eyetracking – where do people look on your site? Maybe many don’t see the important registration button or spend too long looking at the ads instead of your site? ClickHeat is a free open source heatmap statistics application.
3. Click Mapping – this refers to where people click. What action do you want people to take when they visit your website? Are too many people clicking on unimportant links? Or are people skeptical and clicking on your ‘About Us’ page to find out more? Click Mapping can provide an invaluable insight into what your visitors do and what they are thinking.
4. Surveys – don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from your customers. No one knows why they bought your product better than them.
5. Copy Your Competitors – this shouldn’t be your main strategy but if one of your competitors is doing something right then don’t be afraid to copy it. Copying their good points and improving on their bad points can be an effective strategy in the short-term.
6. Product Placement – identify your top selling products and make sure that they are positioned at the top of the relevant product pages. These products are obviously popular so make sure visitors to your website actually see them.
7. Top Sellers Web Page – go one step further and create a web page of your top-selling products. It uses the concept of safety in numbers. People feel reassured when they know that other people have purchased the product that interests them.
8. Have a Guarantee – buying online is still seen as risky by many people, especially when it’s something that traditionally needed to be seen first and tried first, such as clothes. Have a guarantee and make it as generous as possible. Many people won’t take it up, but the increase is sales could be significant.
9. Phone Number – display a phone number in a prominent position, preferably on the home page and not tucked away on the ‘Contact Us’ page. People like to know that if they are any problems they can speak to someone so make sure they know that you have a contact phone number. Don’t worry, hardly anyone will actually call the number.
10. Testimonials – many businesses don’t bother with testimonials because they say that anyone could fake them so their customers wouldn’t believe them anyway. The evidence actually shows that people do value testimonials, particularly those from the media. To increase the credibility of your customer testimonials try to include their full name and even a photo if possible.
11. Information Above The Fold – research shows that people expect all the important information to be right there in front of them when they visit a website. In fact, many people never scroll down meaning that if important information is down there it’ll never be seen by them. Take into account different screen and resolution sizes when evaluating what aspects of your website are above the fold.
12. Images – vitally important if you’re selling products, don’t leave anything to guess work. You wouldn’t expect people to decide to buy a t-shirt in a store having seen it lying flat on the ground. Try out different images or, better still, offer a selection of images, including different angles, the product being used or worn, and so on.
13. Don’t Have Tiny Images – let people zoom in on images so they can clearly see what they’re buying.
14. Image Captions – one thing that research shows is that people do read image captions. This is valuable information and something that should be used to your advantage. Display captions under products reaffirming the benefits of the product. For example, if you’re selling large gloves insert ‘Never let your hands feel cold outside again’ in the caption.
15. Adopt A Customer Mindset – what are the common objections or worries from your customers? Bring peace of mind by addressing them all.
16. The Registration Form Length – do you really need all the details that you’re asking for? Long registration forms are an obstacle. Don’t let them be one for your business.
17. Timely Reassurance – whenever you ask for information or a booking confirmation provide a timely reassurance, such as ‘We’ll never sell, rent or share your personal details” and “Product is fully refundable if not satisfied.”
18. Accept Telephone Orders – people like to have a choice when deciding how to purchase a new product. Some people are still concerned when it comes to buying over the internet, partly illustrated by the huge numbers of people who research products online before setting off to the shops to buy them. Therefore start accepting telephone orders. May businesses don’t realise how easy this is to set up through getting a PayPal Virtual Terminal.
19. Discount Deterrents – boxes such as “Enter your Promotional Code” can actually turn away people who don’t have a code. If possible remove this.
20. Credibility Logos – if you’re a small business the chances are that someone who finds you through the search engines has no idea who you are, and as a consequence you need to build their trust. One excellent way of doing this is to piggyback on the credibility of existing brands through displaying their logos on your site.
21. Show Your Face – people actually like buying from small businesses. Show who’s behind the company in the ‘About Us’ page instead of portraying your company as a large faceless organisation.
22. Small-Scale Viral Marketing – after an order is placed low cost viral marketing techniques can be used, such as “Recommend us to 5 friends through entering their email address below and we’ll give you 10% off your next order.” It won’t increase your conversion rate but it will increase the value of each customer to you through having them spread the word and encouraging repeat orders.
23. Different Browsers – is everyone seeing what you see? Check what your website looks like in different browsers.
24. The Length of Tests – when testing two different ads or layouts don’t end the test too soon. Quick judgments can lead to wrong assumptions. Split Tester is a good tool for this.
25. Content – use the word ‘you’ so that it’s as if you are speaking to your customers.
26. Test, Test and Test Again – finally, don’t be afraid to continually test different formats and ideas. If something doesn’t work your conversion rate may fall temporarily, but for everything that does work you’ll have a higher conversion rate forever.