When it comes to making more money, many of us are confused as to why our competition online is doing so much better than us. How can they be selling more—ours is better than theirs! You may be absolutely right, but unfortunately, potential customers are not even really looking at what you sell. They decided what they wanted when they entered that keyword search phrase into Google or Bing, and the rest is history. In the moment after that click, what happens next is interesting and infuriating for people who care more about their product and quality than they do about marketing and tossing ads into the wind. Consumers go where their eyes tell them to go, and many times, that’s not always where the best goods and services are. So what can businesses do to enhance financial success and beat out the competition without breaking the bank?
Privacy: In the aftermath of “Targetgate,” many consumers are absolutely horrified to spend money online or even use their credit cards at the store. Make a very big deal about privacy on your website, and display it prominently—let your customers know you use encryption and let them know their information is safe in your hands. Offer them the option to call to place orders if this makes them feel more at ease. Then follow up with an email with purchase details, a confirmation number, the name of a human representative they can reach during business hours, and of course, absolutely NO mention of their credit card number.
Keep it consistent and steady: If your store’s logo looks one way on your website, another way on your Facebook page, and another way on an invoice or email, you’ve basically created the perfect storm of brand non-recognition. A coherent look and feel with the same images from one platform to the next are crucial to your financial future because buyers buy what they remember they like. If your product was the best in its class they had ever had but your brand is completely incoherent with its online presence, you can say goodbye to future sales to that customer. While it is important to always be generating new content from social platforms to blogs, and more, the core message and especially the voice need to be consistent. Your brand’s signature is its logo and its voice.
Be bold: No one likes a flashy website with a thousand blinking buttons and a million “CLICK HERE!” links. Go easy, but do sell yourself. Acall to action must be vibrant. Use what graphic designers have known for years: People come to websites and scan from left to right—that means have vivid imagery and video, concise language and brand information to the left, calls to action somewhere in the middle, and the opportunity to purchase with a “buy now” button on the right. And color matters too: those “add to cart” buttons often fade into the background if you designed them with the same color scheme as the rest of the website in mind. True, it may look sleeker to have it in the same color pallet, but if making that sale means making the “buy now” button orange or any other highly contrasting color to the rest of the site, do it, and leave what you know to be right in the world of aesthetics behind.
If you’re selling a service: Try labeling things differently than you have in the past. For example, that “Start Your Free Trial Today!” link becomes a colorful badge, and puts the potential buyer in the driver’s seat: think orange background, and in bold letters, “Begin My Free Trial Here!”—when you do this, you’re telling the consumer it’s all about them and their decisions, and that reassurance gains a lot of brownie points, even if it’s only on a subconscious level.
And of course, never forget that that everybody loves free, just about anything free. If you have the financial wherewithal to offer free trials, free sample packs, free subscriptions for a set service period, and so on, do it. And when you do, make sure that word “free” is big, bold, all-caps and an unmistakable promise from you to the people on your website. It’s not just about offering free stuff or service though—you will have to deliver stellar performance for the freebies to keep them on, but if you do, there’s a good chance they’ll choose you over anyone else, especially if they also feel their information is safe with you and that you aren’t just a brand—when they feel there are real people on the other end of that click of the mouse, loyalty becomes far likelier.