As a site owner, you put a lot of effort into driving traffic to your website. You write blog posts and invest time and effort into organic SEO and social media marketing. You publish an email newsletter, send email blasts, and leverage email automations and follow up campaigns. You’re a guest on podcasts, you guest blog on other popular websites, you host webinars, and you even invest in paid traffic like Google AdWords, Facebook ads, and Instagram ads.
After all of that work, the very worst thing that could happen when someone visits your website is that they leave without taking a single action. Once a person reaches your website, your job is to get them the information they need quickly and easily, persuade them to stay on the site longer, and then get them to take action.
There are five core ways to easily provoke action on your website and increase conversions:
01. Call To Action Position
If you want your call to action to perform well, it must be visible and obvious. For years, the mantra was “put your call to action above the fold,” but mobile devices and tablets have made scrolling a normal part of everyday life an has all but eliminated the idea of the fold.
Today the position of a call to action is still critical to maximize conversions, but there are many more options. When considering where to place your call to action on a page, think about:
- What the visitor experiences on that page
- What the next logical step is
- There the best place is to make the offer
For example, on a blog post there are three natural places to include a call to action:
- Offer an in-context content upgrade in the the post
- Offer a call to action at the end of the post that helps them take the next logical step
- Leverage an opt-in pop-up that appears after a certain amount of times or a certain number of pages visited
If placing an opt-in in the sidebar, consider placing it at the bottom of the sidebar (or making it the only thing in the sidebar) and making it sticky so it stays on the screen as readers scroll down the page.
TAKE ACTION: Evaluate the positioning of your current calls to action. Make sure they are in the best position for maximum visibility and best place to naturally offer visitors the next step.
02. Offer A Sample
Baskin Robbins is famous for its pink spoon samples. You can try as many flavors as you want before deciding on the right one for your cone or sundae because they want you to love your dessert. Baskin Robbins taught us all a powerful lesson: never underestimate the power of the free sample.
Not everyone will be ready to buy right away, but a free sample can move someone from the consideration phase to the decision phase much faster. With this approach, consumers have the opportunity to try before they buy and confirm that making a purchase is the right decision.
According to The Atlantic, offering free samples has:
- Financial benefits: Samples have boosted sales in some cases by as much as 2,000 percent
- Behavioral benefits: Samples can convince people to buy things they don’t need or never used to buy
“Reciprocity is a very, very strong instinct,” says Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University. “If somebody does something for you — such as giving you a quarter of a ravioli on a piece of wax paper — you really feel a rather surprisingly strong obligation to do something back for them.” Ariely adds that free samples can make forgotten cravings become more salient. “What samples do is they give you a particular desire for something,” he says. “If I gave you a tiny bit of chocolate, all of a sudden it would remind you about the exact taste of chocolate and would increase your craving.”
TAKE ACTION: Is there a way to offer prospects a free sample of what you’re offering? Is there something you can offer on a small scale that gives them a taste of what they’ll get if they buy?
03. Provide Incentives
One of the easiest way to move a potential customer from the consideration stage to the decision stage—from thinking about buying to actually buying—is to offer incentives to sweeten the deal and make the purchase irresistible.
Popular incentives include:
- Special bonuses
- Free trials
- Free shipping
- Price-match guarantee
- Loyalty points
- Free upgrade
- Buy one, get one
- Extra products
- Additional features
- Discounted upsells and cross sells
Today more than 50% of eCommerce merchants offer free shipping — the numbers are so high that free shipping is now often expected by savvy online shoppers. In fact, 47% of shoppers say they’ll abandon a cart if there isn’t free shipping available, and 93% of online shoppers said they would buy more if free shipping was available.
Just remember that any incentive you offer will cost you time, energy, effort, money, or resources, so make sure that the incentive you offer relates to the item you’re selling and actually gets prospective customers to make a purchase.
TAKE ACTION: What incentives do you offer prospective customers? How successful has it been? Can you do better? If you haven’t yet used incentives to boost sales, what can you offer that provides high-value to your audience without eroding your profits?
The biggest mistake website owners, bloggers, and ecommerce store owners make is making the content all about themselves and how great they are and not about the customer and what they want and need. It’s a harsh reality, but consumers don’t care about you until they know you have what they need or can help solve their problem.
A customer-centric website focuses on the customer — what they are looking for, how they feel, why they are on your website, and what information they need to trust you and feel good about buying from you. All content needs to be focused on answering the questions:
- What do I need to know?
- What is the best solution for my problem?
- Why this product?
- How will it help me?
- What are the benefits to buying?
- What exactly do I get?
- Have others had success or a positive experience?
In addition to focusing the website content on the consumer, yous calls to action need to also be customer-centric. A call to action can be process-oriented (focused on taking action) or value-oriented (focused on the benefit received).
- Process-oriented: Sign up today for my sales-free sales webinar!
- Value-oriented: Double your close rate with this sales-free sales webinar!
Process-oriented calls to action focus on you and what prospective customers can do in relation to your offer. Value-oriented calls to action on the other hand, focus on the benefit to the customer and why they should take action.
TAKE ACTION: Evaluate your website content, product descriptions, and calls to action. Make sure the content is tailored to your customers and prospective customers, that you have content for each stage of the buyer journey, and that your calls to action are value-oriented.
05. Scarcity And Demand
No one wants to miss out on an opportunity and if people believe that they’re going to lose out, they will be prompted to act more quickly. Scarcity happens when a product or service has or is perceived to have limited availability and as a result, is seen as having a higher value or being more desirable. In general, people place a higher value on something that is scarce, and a lower value on those that are in abundance, especially when they believe that others also want the same product or service.
When demand is high and availability is low, there is scarcity, which in turn creates urgency to purchase. You can create scarcity to boost sales with:
- Limited time offers: Save 50% today only!
- Low quantities available: Only three left!
- Time-sensitive offers: Order in the next hour…
Just make sure to use scarcity ethically. Don’t try to create fake urgency by stating that there are “only three left” when you’re selling a digital product that anyone can buy at any time. If your customers are smart and they realize that even after a purchase there are still “only three left,” the tactic will hurt your brand more than help your sales.
TAKE ACTION: Is there an opportunity to ethically and honestly use scarcity in marketing to increase sales? Can you offer a limited time deal or sale?