The hardest part of running a business website is converting your visitors into customers. It’s much like that old proverb about how “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
Thomas Jones, a customer support agent at ViralRace, informed me that “customers tend to be wary in general, especially on websites they’ve never used before. It can take a lot of convincing to bring them around.”
There are a lot of subtle ways that you can encourage these leads through the content and design of your website. Below are five changes that you should make in order to seal the deal.
Include a live chat function
Buying anything online is always an uncertain process. There are often a lot of little questions that you might have that aren’t answered on the website itself. Sometimes it helps to have somebody there to clarify everything and give you a little more reassurance.
That’s where having a live chat can come in handy. It gives the customer somebody to talk to if they’re feeling apprehensive or cautious about making the leap.
“The purpose of live chat is to provide customers with enough information that they feel comfortable in making a purchase decision,” says Sabrina Edwards, a customer support agent at ViralUpgrade.
Live chat has proven beneficial for many businesses. In a study by the American Marketing Association, it was found that B2B companies experienced a 20 percent increase in conversions after implementing a live chat feature.
It can also be used to build trust with a potential lead. Whenever a new customer starts a live chat for a first time, you can ask them for their name and contact information. Then, if they ever visit again, you can pull up the information that you’ve saved and personalize the discussion for them.
Feature reviews, ratings, and testimonials
Another thing that gives customers confidence is seeing the opinions of others who’ve made the plunge. This is why websites such as Yelp have achieved such prominence. Their review and rating systems have given people something more concrete to base their decisions upon.
Marketers have started to call this phenomenon social proof. Simply put, it’s where people are more likely to follow the most voiced consensus on a subject.
By adding demonstrations of social proof to your website, you can give your leads some incentive in making a purchase. This can come in the form of reviews, ratings, testimonials, endorsements, and likes.
Reviews in particular have a powerful influence over customers. Figleaves, a British lingerie retailer, found that products with reviews had an overall 12.5 percent greater conversion rate than products that didn’t have any reviews. Furthermore, products with over 20 reviews tended to have a massive 83.85 percent increase in conversion in comparison to those without.
This example proves a few things. For one, it shows that social proof works. It also reveals that the sheer quantity of proof can amplify its effect.
Draw attention to deals and promotions
It’s hard to resist a good deal. Whether it’s a limited-time discount or the offer of free shipping, there’s something about a promotion that stirs temptation in a customer’s heart.
If you are going to promote a deal, you should make sure that it’s placed front and center. Don’t hide it off in some obscure corner. In fact, the best place for it would be right at the top of your homepage. That way, it’s the first thing that every visitor will see when they access your website.
You shouldn’t be afraid to show the full price of items on sale, either. It actually has a positive impact on conversion rates. In some research conducted by Oneupweb, 95.5 percent of consumers said that seeing the full price and shipping information upfront was a major factor in their decision-making.
If you’re uncertain about running a promotion, perhaps you should try a low-risk experiment first. Maybe there’s a poorly selling product that you want to clear from your stock. A clearance sale, with the added urgency of a countdown timer, might be the perfect trick to get customers to jump on it.
Instill a sense of safety with security badges
Concerns about security is a common source of hesitation when it comes to internet purchases. Nobody wants their private information stolen and their bank account drained by some hacker.
A seal of approval from a trusted source could do a lot to relieve any safety-based anxieties. It tells them that the website is legitimate and will do its best to protect them.
Blue Fountain Media once conducted an A/B test just to see how effective these trust symbols can be. It did this by incorporating Symantec (formerly known as VeriSign) symbol on their Request a Quote page. This resulted in a 42 percent increase in sales.
Write attention-grabbing headlines
Headlines are the most important part of any website. They’re the very first things that customers look for as they’re orienting themselves and gathering information about the page they’ve just opened. So if you aren’t making the most of your headlines, it’s time to change that.
A strong headline is bold, concise, and informative. It should give the customer a basic idea of what the page is about, and stir their curiosity to read the body content to learn more. Keep it clear and lean, as too much wordiness can cause confusion. Also, try to be exciting and lively, as a boring or mechanical headline can kill a viewer’s interest quickly.