This guest post is by Isaac Atia of Howitoo.com
It’s that festive time of the year again: the holidays will soon be at our doorsteps. While many will be celebrating the holidays, us bloggers have to work hard to reach our sales goals.
Hopefully we can celebrate this season in a different manner: by improving our sales and boosting our profits. With competition always around the corner, it’s vital to formulate and apply solid strategies that get real results. Here are my favorite ways to boost sales over the festive season.
1. Create attractive landing pages
It doesn’t matter if you’re selling a product or a service. In order to really convert plain traffic to a final transaction, you must create effective landing pages that list all the benefits of whatever it is you’re offering.
For a landing page to produce good results, it must have a purpose and a goal. What’s your target revenue? Set a time frame, aim high, and work towards your goal.
More importantly, the page must emphasize the ultimate advantage of your offer while stimulating the prospect’s mind. Get in the reader’s head—what are they thinking? To earn the visitor’s trust, link or quote authority figures and websites. Offer your product to a few individuals for free to create buzz and so you can get persuasive testimonials. Feedback is potent and cannot be underestimated. With a little bit of tweaking, landing pages are simply the best way to boost your offer’s sales numbers.
2. Offer incentives to improve sales
There are plenty of incentives to consider.
In the event that your website is promoting a tangible product such as a book, for the buyer, your offer of free shipping can be the deciding factor between making the purchase or ditching the product altogether.
Believe it or not, offering free shipping can actually make you more money. To qualify for delivery that’s free of charge, websites usually require a minimum order. That way, the buyer purchases at least one fairly expensive product or two products at a regular price. How many times did you visit an online store to buy one thing but then bought something else as well just to qualify for free shipping? I know I’ve done it plenty of times.
Who doesn’t love the buy-one-get-one-50%-off deal? How about buy one, get one free? If you slightly raise the price of the first item and include a separate shipping and handling charge for the second, you could be earning almost the same profit you would by selling both items at the regular price!
How about promoting the older ebook that’s been sitting on your blog’s shelf for quite some time? Maybe throw it in as a free bonus to guarantee the sale. If you’re advertising a valuable service such as blog consultation, how about offering 25% off your first lesson to get things rolling?
Many thriving blogging mentors such as Jon Morrow offer package deals such as “sign up for five classes and get one free,” which can help achieve promotional goals. This is smart because it doesn’t cost you anything and creates more value for your buyers.
Other proven techniques to consider are cross-selling and up-selling. Have you ever bought a shirt and shoes from the same website at the same time? That’s like buying a theme framework and a skin for the design.
The point I’m trying to make is that you can convert sales to even more sales if you address the customer’s needs. The best way to do that is by dedicating a section on your website that links to related products. Placement is important so the related product(s) should be displayed in a highly visible area, preferably on the sidebar or right below your current product.
These are some powerful tips to think about. Keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong incentive that can make or break your sales this holiday. Your success will be mostly measured by the effort you put in and the strategies you apply. It is, however, possible to determine the most ideal incentive for your operation through continuous testing (shifting things around).
3. Rely heavily on email marketing
Email marketing is so powerful because it’s right in your face. When I get an email from ProBlogger’s newsletter, 95% of the time I click on it and read it thoroughly. Why? It’s simple, I’ve been sold on Darren’s ideas as he gained my trust and loyalty as a reader.
I wanted to know this is true for sure so last week I emailed a few successful bloggers and asked about their experience with email marketing. Every single one of them responded with truly positive comments and one person mentioned that it’s beneficial to any web campaign.
I agree—in fact many web gurus have said that a large percentage of their sales come from email advertising. It works because it’s a direct form of sales that builds relationships based on trust. Most importantly, it’s targeted towards a crowd that’s already following your lead, which makes it easier to convert the sale.
Take into consideration that it’s not always just about making the sale. It’s imperative that your value your loyal readers and offer them substantial value in return. Sometimes it’s enough to just get more downloads, views, or subscriptions.
4. Shoot for repeat business through social media
The people who are already following your moves on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are usually the first ones to know when you release a new product, run a promotion, or publish a new post. Connect with people you’ve already convinced in the past. Make them feel at home by dressing up the design of your social network page to a holiday related theme.
Doing this will naturally encourage holiday shoppers to pick up the book you recently published on your website for their family or friends. Maybe they’ll even purchase a service you offer on their behalf. Guess what? You just sold two people without even knowing it.
5. Test your website early and frequently
If you’re expecting a serious wave of traffic for the holidays, the last thing you want is to have any errors such as broken links or pages on your website. If your planning is poor and your website is not fully functional, you could be losing substantial revenue.
Proof read as many pages as you can to check for grammar mistakes, especially the pages where an offer is based on visitor action. The images on your site should load quickly to avoid the visitor from exiting your page.
Your page shouldn’t take more than two to three seconds to load for the same reason. It may also be a good idea to go through a test transaction to make sure that your order link is working properly. This way, if there are any issues, you’ll be the first one to know.
So, how exactly do you improve sales through your website during the holiday season? By implementing the above strategies to your website and making buying easier, more comfortable, and rewarding. Share your extra tips in the comments, so we can try them too!
Isaac Atia writes about blogging tips, SEO advice, and other closely related topics. The goal of his blog is to help other bloggers improve their overall blogging knowledge. You can subscribe to his blog for more posts.