Here are a few sage pointers to help you do just this:
Google Analytics – the Devil’s in the Detail
Have you ever seen in a basketball game when a shot goes halfway down the basket, only for the ball to spin around and (seemingly against the laws of physics!) pop out again?
Well that's a feeling we online marketers are all too familiar with. Because nothing's more heartbreaking than checking our Google analytic data and seeing that a potential customer came to our site, loaded up their shopping cart…only to leave empty-handed.
Don't get discouraged by this, though, as only 2% of visitors make a purchase on their first trip to an ecommerce website. It's how you bring back the other 98% that makes the difference.
What is the "Buying Funnel?"
The buying funnel is the journey prospective buyers go on when they buy something. The further down the funnel they go, the closer they are to making a purchase.
The buying funnel has four stages:
- Awareness: the prospect is aware he or she has a problem or requirement.
- Education: the prospect is conducting research and gathering information on potential solutions/options.
- Evaluation: the prospect narrows down his or her options.
- Decision: after weighing all the options, the prospect makes a decision and follows through by making a purchase.
Sometimes the trip down the funnel takes only a few moments. I know if I want to buy the new Neil Gaiman novel, I go to Amazon.com, type in the title or the name of the author, and hey-presto, my purchase is completed. But some purchases require more care. Buying a house or a car for example can take many months.
A common trap marketers fall into is having a lack of regard for the buyer's journey. Like the gigolo who wants to take that woman he’s only just met at the bar five minutes before back to his place, without all that tedious, ‘Can I buy you a drink?’ and actually getting to know her, palaver; marketers want to skip ahead and go right to the sale instead of nurturing the buyer through the process. Understanding where the buyer is and will go on their buying journey will help you optimise your website to reduce bounce rates, keep your prospects wanting more, and nail down that purchase.
The First Step in E-Commerce is Being Found
Before you can bring prospects back for multiple visits and turn that traffic into conversions, you'll naturally need to get that first visit taken care of.
Prospects will already be at the Awareness stage in the sales funnel before they visit your website. That's the whole reason they’re searching on the web in the first place. They know they have a problem and are looking for solutions. You of course need to be found when the would-be customer is searching for what you sell, online. And that comes down to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
Needless to say we have no shortage of resources to help you in this first and ALL IMPORTANT step -- This is SEO North Sydney, after all! So to learn more about SEO, you can browse our other SEO and SEM related blog posts at your leisure. We also offer a variety of very competitive SEO packages to help make sure Google's algorithms feel all warm and fuzzy when they measures your website’s worth.
Guiding the Customer Through the Buying Funnel
Okay let’s imagine you’ve been running a successful SEO and/or SEM strategy, and the customer finds you website link, while conducting a search online. What then? Because when someone does come to your website, you need to be prepared to guide them past the Awareness stage and through the rest of the buying funnel. As you'll never get the prospect to the Decision stage if you don't lead them through the Education and Evaluation stage.
Right Now Your Product Doesn’t Matter to the Customer
Before they even lay eyes on your product page, you'll need to give the prospective customer complementary, brilliantly written content that helps satisfy their search query. And from there you need to lay the trail of breadcrumbs to lead them to their final (buying) destination.
Brilliantly Written Content is King
The prospects are hungry for information. That’s why they’re there after all. So help them jump from the Awareness stage to the Education stage.
Give Them Answers and Solutions - Not a Sales Pitch
At this point you're no longer an internet marketer. You're a professor. You're an authoritative source for the topic the prospective customer is researching. Therefore your content needs to offer solutions/options to satisfy/answer the questions or requirements the prospect has. After all, you've created a website that offers them what they’re looking for. You just have to help them come to that realisation!
Here's the tricky part though: you can't at this stage, focus on your product. Because the prospect isn't on your website to read a glorified ad. They're on your website looking for information that satisfies their needs or answers their questions. So talk (via your content) about the core of the issue at hand and the desired end result, not about the product that will get them there. The reader doesn't want to buy (for example) a frying pan; they want to fry up some delicious chicken. They just need a new non-stick frying pan in order to do this.
So show the prostpect what they need to do to solve their problem. Think of Benefits rather than Features. Yes your product is great. Yes they’d love it if they bought it. But if you want them to get buy you need to help them through the buying funnel so they realise all this.
Selling Your Stuff
Now that the prospect is armed with a new knowledge and understanding of how your product can solve their needs, they will need to evaluate their options. Don't be surprised at this stage if the prospect leaves your website…only to come back and buy at a later date. Responsible buyers will want to do due diligence and compare products. It’s only natural. You do and I do it. So expect them to do it too.
When they do end up back on your product page, it's time to do what you've been waiting to do all along: Sell your stuff.
The prospect is now informed and actively engaged with what you’re selling. They have specific questions about product details and features. They're looking at prices, warranties, and shipping information. So give them what they need in a well-designed product page overflowing with brilliantly written words, professionally shot pictures and (ideally) classy high-end videos.
Getting the UX Right
The UX (User eXperience) is super important if you have an ecommerce store.
Is information accessible and easy to understand? Does the website look great on both desktop and mobile devices? Is the website quick and responsive? Is checkout simple, yet secure? If not, you could once again lose a sale despite your hard work. 74% of online shopping carts were abandoned by shoppers. So make sure your website is user-friendly and looks the part. Having a cheap looking ecommerce store is like a salesman wearing a cheap suit. Neither engenders trust in the prospective buyer.
The End Game
So build a great website. Simplify the checkout to make it easy for prospects to buy what they’re looking for. Populate the website with great written content, quality product shots, and informative videos. Hire an SEO company to get your website on the first page of Google, and to run a competitive SEM campaign across multiple channels (so you don’t have all your eggs in one basket). Then sit back and wait for the money to start rolling in!
Beyond the End Game – it’s All in the Follow-up
If you've optimised the buying funnel as described above, you're well on your way to converting the prospect into a sale. However the buyer's journey doesn't stop at the sale. To really get the most out of each visitor to your website, you want to keep up the relationship after the cheque is cashed.
Your company's Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy is vital to making all your work efficient and worthwhile in the long haul. So build your database, then email them regularly with special offers, and great content on the topics that interest them. This way your company’s brand will be top of mind whenever they’re looking for what your ecommerce shop sells.
Let Us Help
A consumer's buying funnel will never involve your business if they never get to your website in the first place.
SEO North Sydney is a leading Australian agency that offers SEO and SEM/PPC services perfect for small to medium sized businesses, just like yours. So Contact us for a no-obligation quote or confidential discussion.