Sales is the number one challenge the majority of online businesses face, and it’s the top reasons most businesses fail. Ultimately, most businesses are created to make profits, but without sales there can’t be profits.
Unfortunately, a lot of businesses and bloggers are under the impression that what is required to make more sales and profit is to increase their marketing budget. That can’t be farther from the truth! According to data from the Startup Genome Project, one of the top reasons businesses fail is because they spend too much on customer acquisition without optimizing their funnels to effectively convert these customers.
You could easily spend more on marketing or keep improving and tweaking your products, but the reality is that you can make some very small changes to your website, sales funnel, and payment processing system to double or even triple sales. This article shares 4 proven ways to get more people to buy your products. These tactics can be used individually or with one another.
1. Introduce scarcity to get more people to buy your products
“What we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value” – John Jakes
The above quote sums up the importance of scarcity; when something is available to us all the time, we value it less. We’ll always get what we can get tomorrow… tomorrow. Unfortunately, “tomorrow” will never come. However, if we can only get something now, we’ll want to get it at all costs.
Various studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of scarcity in getting people to buy things — in fact, the reality is that people will start paying attention to what they’ve longed ignored when they learn that it will disappear tomorrow.
This was effectively demonstrated in 1700s through potatoes — while potatoes are very common now, this wasn’t always the case. The French connected potatoes to leprosy, the Germans only used them as feed for their livestock, and the Russians thought they were poisonous… until Catherine the Great made them more scarce. By building high fences around her potato fields and placing signs asking Russians citizens not to steal her potatoes, the peasants who had initially thought potatoes were poisonous revolted immediately and wanted them more than anything else.
It was their potatoes, not the aristocrats’ so no one is taking it from them!
That’s the real power of scarcity in action — make it clear that people won’t be able to access your products after a certain period. Then they’ll want to snatch it up before the product expires!
2. Incorporate social proof into your sales messages
Social proof will get most people to take action more than anything else, sometimes even more than knowing that their actions can save the world.
This was effectively demonstrated in a 2008 Arizona State University study conducted by Robert Cialdini. The main purpose of the study was to observe the effectiveness of social proof in getting people to reuse towels. The messages were communicated via placards placed inside hotel rooms. Four messages were placed on different placards in different hotel rooms and the image below shows the 4 messages and their conversion rate:
The more social proof was used to encourage people to reuse towels, the more likely they were to do so.
In other words, when people feel like other people are using your products, they’d be more likely to buy. However, when they realize that other people like them are using your products, then you’ll make even more sales.
3. Simplify your payment process
When choosing a payment processor, it’s very important to ensure you’re able to customize and simplify your payment process if you want to. Just so you know how important simplifying your payment process can be, we’ll take a look at two recent studies:
The first study is a 2010 survey by Webcredible. In a survey of 1,200 online users, Webcredible tried to find out why people abandon online shopping carts or fail to complete the payment process. While there were many reasons, 10% of those surveyed cited “lengthy checkout process” as one of the reasons they fail to complete their checkout.
Imagine how a 10% increase in sales could impact your business.
Another study that is more surprising is a recent finding by online travel firm Expedia. In an attempt to increase sales and revenue from its website without increasing its marketing budget, Expedia removed a confusing field from its payment form. This field asked people to enter their “Company” name. Surprisingly, just removing that one field led to an additional $12 million in annual revenue for Expedia.
If at least 10% of online buyers find lengthy checkout processes irritating, and if an online firm was able to make $12 million more by removing just one field from its payment form, how much more can you make by simplifying your payment process?
There are thousands of businesses online and people don’t have time to waste on just one. By simplifying the process involved in paying for your products or services, you’ll be able to make a lot more sales.
4. Help them overcome their fears and risks
There are many risks in doing business for both you and your customers, but there’s a limit to the kind of risks your customers will take for you.
For example, data from Unisys Security Index has revealed that the number one fear Americans have in the midst of the global financial crisis is the fear of being victim to credit or debit card fraud. In fact, it has been revealed that this fear supersedes fears of terrorism, computer viruses, and even personal safety.
For your customers, entering their payment details on your website is a huge risk. Buying your product without assurance that it’ll work is another huge risk.
You can overcome your customers’ fears of being a victim of card fraud by using a reliable payment processor and letting your customers know about it. You can even take things further by having seals from reliable sites like Visa, MasterCard, and the BBB etc. on your website.
If you effectively use social proof as explained above, you’ll overcome the fear that people have about your product not working to an extent. You can take things to the next level, however, by personally assisting them in getting results from your products.
You can also offer money-back guarantees in case your product doesn’t work as promised. Guarantees like this can double or even triple sales on your website.
How have you increased sales on your website? Add your insights to the comments below.