In our previous article, we showed you how to accelerate your ability to recover your investment in your e-commerce site. More specifically, we pointed out the common roadblocks to customer purchases and showed you how to correct them. But how do you get customers to visit your site in the first place?
Perhaps a small percentage of your customers are ordering from your site already. That percentage must grow fairly substantially for you to stay profitable. So, once you’ve tackled the tips from our previous article, it’s time to start attracting more traffic to your site on a regular basis. It starts by becoming “top-of-mind.”
A customer’s perception of your company, specifically whether you have their best interests at heart, plays a very big part in whether you are their “top-of-mind” distributor. While visitors will enjoy using your site because of its look and feel and ease of use, you’ll need to do more in order to stand apart from your competitors.
To become your customers’ first choice, go-to solution, your website must offer them value that goes over and above simple product ordering. Show customers that you are their partner and that you have their business success as one of your goals. Give customers the supportive information that they see as beneficial to them. Your customers will become more trustful and look to you more often to fulfill their needs. They’ll then begin to create the habit of ordering from your site simply because their visits will become more frequent. Here are six strategies that will get you there.
- Turn Your Website into a Useful Tool
Provide more than products on your website. Provide benefits and tools. The ability to easily access order history, statements, and past invoices is a big value for your customers not only because it saves them time but, more importantly, it makes their lives easier. For customers who don’t have an accounting department, allowing them to pay their bill through your website will save them time and effort (and probably get you paid a lot faster, too!) Put your feet in the shoes of your customers. Think about what else you can include on your website that will help customers and that they will use often.
- Include Content Dedicated to the Problems You Can Help Solve
Every day your customers wake up with business problems to solve. As a distributor, you can make some good guesses about what those problems are – they need faster delivery, they need better pricing, they need a lot of things – but guesses will only take you so far. Ask your customers, whether through surveys or salespeople, what they need to become more successful and what problems they need solved. The answers may surprise you in their simplicity, and there is a good chance that your company has the resources to help them. Once you’ve discovered the pain points you can resolve for them, generate problem-solving articles and posts on your website, and write about industry information that helps them build and strengthen their organization. Make their visits to your site time well-spent. Providing advice and solutions will remind them that you are their partner. This information will also increase your site’s search engine optimization (SEO), leading to even more visits from customers and prospects.
- Use Classic Promotions and Discounts
Replicate what the big “brick-and-mortar” retailers do to drive traffic to their websites. Any promotion you see that is run more than once on a commercial website has been repeated, in all likelihood, because it worked. For example, coupon codes are very powerful for online purchases and are used quite often. Don’t offer huge discounts – that wouldn’t be practical – but rather, make your promotions unique and distinctive from any other offers you or your competitors may already be running. Remember to be generous with the time limits you place on coupon codes and other discounts. Promotions attract customers. Once a promotion ends, so does the attraction. Get good at balancing the law of scarcity with the goal of driving people to your site.
- Go Heavy on Product Information
While it can be frustrating to live through the slow growth of your website, use this slow-growth period to steadily enhance and add additional product information. Go over and above your competitors by providing better information. Include extra media (videos, images) and additional product information (product reviews, customer testimonials, and additional specs.) Adding this additional information will also increase your SEO results.It’s worth saying again that you must remember your customers are searching for solutions to their problems. If a certain product solves one of their problems, add a sentence into the description that will attract more eyes (and search engines.)
Sometimes a customer isn’t sure what they need. The key is to know what people are searching on and respond. Just like face-to-face sales, your customers want to know you can provide answers to their questions or solutions to their problems before they make a purchase, and your website should be able to do that 24/7.
- Make Sure Customers Know You Have Something That Will Help Them, Besides Products
Once you are comfortable that your website is ready to receive visitors, it’s time to heavily promote it. Every piece of marketing material you publish should also promote your website. Place your URL everywhere you have your brand or logo, including your email signatures, invoices and statements, and any other printed materials you develop. Be sure everything is consistent so that people remember you exist and how they can find you. If your website has been recently enhanced (also known as ’new and improved!”), mention that, too, so past visitors know that you’ve gotten better. Create a full-blown relaunch campaign to build buzz and grab attention.Be sure your salespeople understand the benefits of your website so they can best promote it. Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools, and a trusted salesperson can be your liaison for increased penetration into a customer’s buying habits.
- Track Your Growth
Start tracking your site’s analytics now. As your website takes on a good shape and you’re attracting more traffic, measure what is working and what is not, and adjust accordingly.With the right tracking in place, not only will you see traffic growth, but more importantly, you’ll see who is visiting your website, what brought them there, how long they stayed on a page, which products they looked at, and much, much more.
Good analytics can increase your profitability tremendously. For example, if you have a customer who purchases $75K – $100K in wire each year, and your analytics tells you he’s spending time researching products in your power distribution category, wouldn’t you like to know? At the same time, if you spend $10K on a promotion that attracts very few visitors, you’d want to know that, too.
When you can see that the number of unique visitors to your website is growing steadily over time, you will know that what you are doing is making an impact with both customers and potential prospects. This growth in visitor traffic will increase the flow into your sales funnel, and you’ll sell more products. And as an added bonus, with all the data you collect, you’ll be helping your salespeople by giving them warmer leads and more targeted prospect information.Tagged with best practices, e-commerce, marketing