Between 2015 and 2020, retail sales will reach $523 billion, Forrester projects.
As e-commerce growth accelerates, marketing departments will prioritize the need to develop content that increases website traffic, with 65 percent of marketers investing the biggest part of their budget in social marketing, according to Gartner.
But while focusing on traffic, it’s easy to overlook the design elements that make product pages sell. Here are some key ways to create effective product pages through design, testing and implementation.
The header image helps make the sale by speaking to peoples’ emotions. And, imagery is an especially important consideration in industries like clothing, where detail makes the difference. Accordingly, the Gap’s home page is dominated by images of models posing in various clothing items, with minimal text.
Product names can also speak to peoples’ emotions and create a rational appeal to buyers. To enhance emotional impact, include benefit-oriented descriptors in your product name fields.
Add buttons for buying items or adding items to a sales cart, followed by prices. In some cases, you might be able to showcase price discounts as well as prices. For instance, a TireBuyer product page for Goodyear Tires highlights a money-back offer in the space above the fold.
Use product headlines that draw attention to the overall benefits.
Include product reviews, additional photos or gallery photos and full product blurbs or specifications. These elements speak to the shopper who may already be considering a purchase, which can help close the deal.
Testing to improve conversion rates is another important step in page design. Many Internet marketing A/B split tests focus on tweaking details, such as alternating images, colors and fonts.
WordStream founder Larry Kim says these minor tweaks can sometimes boost your conversion rate a few points. But if you want to double or triple your conversions, focus on items that have a bigger impact on sales persuasiveness.
The biggest element you can improve is changing your sales offer. Many industries use offers that sound essentially similar to their competitors. For instance, most software providers offer free trials. You can make a free trial offer more compelling by making it more specific and unique, Kim says.
For instance, to promote his company’s online advertising service, Kim’s team used an online tool to offer visitors a free AdWords campaign performance grade evaluation; the company offered 40 hours of PPC analysis in 60 seconds or less.
Other elements you can adjust include the usability flow of your design and re-marketing to visitors once they leave your site.
Successful page deployment also requires effective marketing implementation. This includes covering social media promotion and order fulfillment.
The balanced scorecard is a strategic planning and management system that is used extensively in business and industry, government, and nonprofit organizations worldwide to align business activities to the vision and strategy of the organization, improve internal and external communications, and monitor organization performance against strategic goals.
In this context, value is not necessarily monetary.
Moody’s, the preeminent service and research company for investor financials, is making itself valuable to consumers by offering finance courses online.
“Moody’s Analytics is a subsidiary of Moody’s Corporation established in 2007 to focus on non-rating activities, separate from Moody’s Investors Service. It provides economic research regarding risk, performance and financial modeling, as well as consulting, training and software services.”
This is indirect marketing at its best.
Without ever saying the words, Moody’s reminds the consumer that it is the most knowledgeable in its field. This is how you build total authority.
One defining characteristic of indirect marketing is that it is omnidirectional. There is participation from the consumer that goes beyond printing a coupon.
A staple in children’s book publishing, Scholastic Books is using the social network site Pinterest very well in its indirect marketing approach.
“Scholastic Corporation is an American publishing, education and media company known for publishing, selling, and distributing books and educational materials for schools, teachers, parents, and children. Products are distributed to schools and districts, to consumers through the schools via reading clubs and fairs, and through retail stores and online sales.” – Wikipedia
Its Pinterest boards include fun, interactive topics, such as Book Bling and Hosting a Book Bash.
Not only does the Pinterest board keep Scholastic relevant as a book publisher, it lets the users place their ideas, which creates a type of dialogue between the company, consumers and potential customers.
“Listerine is a brand of antiseptic mouthwash product. It is promoted with the slogan “Kills germs that cause bad breath”. Named after Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, a pioneer of antiseptic surgery, Listerine was actually developed in 1879 by Joseph Lawrence, a chemist in St. Louis, Missouri.” – Wikipedia
Before 2005, Listerine mouthwash ads made the claim that it could replace flossing as an effective way of preventing tooth decay.
In one massive indirect marketing swoop, Listerine convinced consumers that its mouthwash was as good as flossing.
Like all great indirect marketing, the campaign took on a life of its own and made the Listerine brand name synonymous with all mouth wash.
The Listerine lawsuit in 2004 deemed the ads as misleading, forcing the company to stop running them, but the campaign had already done its job.
A class action civil suit was ultimately thrown out in 2010 because the judge found the claim overly broad since most people had not seen the relatively short-run ads.
Social responsibility is another of the indirect marketing features.
Toms Shoe Company (Twitter) used this to gain great leverage as well as do some good for children in need.
“The company was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie, an entrepreneur from Arlington, Texas. It designs and sells shoes based on the Argentine alpargata design as well as eyewear. When Toms sells a pair of shoes, a new pair of shoes is given to an impoverished child, and when Toms sells a pair of eyewear, part of the profit is used to save or restore the eyesight for people in developing countries.” – Wikipedia
The way we do business and generate sales has changed greatly in just the past 10-20 years.
For better or worse it has been the Internet that has caused a major shift in how business in done.
Clients and customers no longer feel as though the local shop in town is the best choice for their needs.
They can go online and outsource work and get products direct from suppliers for a much lower rate. That is why it is so important that you have the ability to close sales.
However, this is where things start to get really difficult for people in sales. You can no longer act as though you are getting the sale.
IMPORTANT: Read below to learn more – but don’t discount the #1 thing to kickstart sales: “Build more campaigns – create a sales video, create a landing pages or opt-in page and drive traffic to it with ads, social, emails and organic!”
Let’s take a step back in time to the age of disco balls and awesome polyester suits.
Back then it was perfectly fine to be a salesman and you knew what had to be done to close a sale. Customers and clients knew they were going to be in for a hard sell. Don’t believe me?
Ask your parents or grandparents what it was like trying to buy that Chevy Impala.
They knew they were going to sit in that car dealership sweating in the summer heat until they collapsed and bought the car.
Salesmen were expected to be pushy, ignorant, and saw the client as a bonus.
Times have changed all of that, which I think most of us can say is a good thing. In today’s world salespeople are expected to listen to the customer and make sure they are getting what is best for them.
It is not about pushing the most expensive product.
So that leaves many of us in the proverbial pickle. How is it possible to close a sale without it seeming like it is a close? That seems like a question better left for a college philosophy class.
You don’t need a philosophy degree to close more sales. In fact, we are going to discuss five of the most uncommon ways you can close more sales. Better yet you don’t need the cheap polyester suit to do it.
These are smooth and go with what customers expect out of good customer relations.
1 – How Much Content Do You Produce?
One of the most uncommon ways of closing more sales is through the use of content marketing.
It is so important to make sure that the content you are creating for your websites and social media accounts are working for you. It is important that the content you create focuses on what your clients need and hope to obtain.
Of course, all your content should have a soft sell directed toward your other products and services. Your website should be tailored to be a silent salesperson, closing sales 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If it is not doing this for you, it is important to hire someone who can help create that type of content.
2 – Forget About Your Sales
That would seem like an unlikely way of closing a sale, wouldn’t it?
However, it is vital that you forget about trying to sell to your clients.
Your number one goal should be focusing on their needs.
Do you have a solution to their problem?
If you think about their needs over everything else you are going to be able to close the sale every single time.
In fact, think of yourself as a problem-solver and not a salesperson.
3 – No Two Clients Needs Are Ever The Same
One of the most important aspects on closing a sale is realizing that no two clients are ever the same nor are their needs.
You cannot give the same solution over and over, it is vital that you actually listen and work with the client to give them what they need.
Too many salespeople will “listen” to their clients only to give them a “cookie-cutter” resolution.
By choosing to close a sale this way will only insult the client and send them elsewhere.
Instead, engage the customer in a real conversation that focuses on what they need. Be proactive and make them feel comfortable. By doing so, you have a much greater chance of closing a sale as opposed to the generic closing speech.
4 – Understand Your Client’s Expertise And Needs
Once you have been working in a business for months or years you begin to know it quite well. You, in fact, become an expert in your field.
Your clients come to you for your expertise and knowledge and hope that you are able to guide them in the right direction.
There will be times you have client’s who believe they know what is best for their company and will be adamant about choosing a product or service, even if you know it is the wrong decision.
When moment’s like this appear in your daily routine it is the opportune time to take the high ground and close a sale, unlike no other way.
In the past, you would have just accepted the sale and went on with your daily basis, never once again thinking about your clients wrong decision.
However, if you know it is the wrong decision, you have to assert your expertise and simply deny the sale. Inform your client that you cannot under good faith allow them to make that purchase.
Two things are bound to happen here:
One they are going to curse you out for not letting buy what they want. However, they will be impressed with your level of integrity and the potential of losing a sale and will go with your recommendation.
Two, they will curse you out and walk out the store. In this case, if you were originally right, they will come back to you more impressed than ever with your business integrity. It is important to remember that not every lost sale is a bad thing, there are always opportunities.
5 – Be Truthful
Imagine that, telling the truth would be one of the most uncommon ways of closing the sale. Far too many businesses will lie and manipulate until their client buys a package or product.
There is a drive among many salespeople to promise anything they can to get a new lead or client in the door.
Even if they are unable to meet the clients needs and expectations they will say they can just to get that client’s business. What do you think happens with this client in a couple of weeks or months when their expectations are not being met? They leave the business and are highly dissatisfied.
While it may seem counter-intuitive it is best to let the client know you cannot meet their expectations at this time.
Whether they are looking for high-quality web content or 1-gigabyte high internet speed. It is best to explain you do not offer that service at the moment, but you will do your best to make it available as soon as possible.
The client will appreciate your honesty and integrity more than if you had just signed them up for the next best thing you had.
Remember to ask for their contact details and when you are able to accommodate them, give them a call and offer a free trial.
You will more than likely close the sale with your exceptional customer service skills and willingness to please.
By following the tips in this article you will see that you are not only closing more sales, but you are cultivating clients that are going to respect you and buy from you over and over.
These relationships are priceless in business and only a few are needed for long-term success.
As your reputation grows due to your integrity so will the number of referrals and clients.
In the case of service business such as mechanics, plumbers, doctors, plastic surgeons, realtors and veterinarians, a lead magnet can be:
free online tools such as specialized calculator
tips to be a smart buyer
free coupons (with expiration date)
how-to content for DIY projects
educational download about the industry and what to avoid
In the case of software business, it can be a
free member account
premium features for a week
free trial of software tool
industry research report or white paper
downloadable desktop app with limited features
Things You Need to Do before Creating Lead Magnet
One way to find out the most effective lead magnet for your business is to create a number of things without putting too much thought into it and test them all.
However, this is inefficient and very costly way of doing things.
How to create a lead magnet, you say?
Many people make the mistake of putting too much effort into an idea that they think will work but ultimately it turns out that nobody or a very few people want that thing. You can never be sure which idea will click with potential customers.
A better way to do is think about your target audience, their goals and how your lead magnet can help them.
The first step in the process is to figure out the demographics of your niche. It will help you in figuring out the goals of your targeted customers and how you can help them. Take a notepad and start brainstorming.
Write down as many ideas as you can and start creating headlines. Take 5 to 10 of these ideas (which you think are the best) and write them down on a separate sheet of paper.
To choose the best among these, turn to your existing customers and ask them about their opinion. You can give them a call or meet them face to face or use online forms.
This will give you some winners and now you can build upon those ideas and split test them.
This process will save you a lot of time, money and energy.
Examples of Highly Effective Lead Magnets
This lead magnet is successfully used by many businesses such as Infusionsoft and Hubspot.
In the case of Hubspot, visitors are asked to click a button (Step 1) and then enter their information to download the State of Inbound Report (Step 2). However, visitors need to give their e-mail to get the information and custom downloadable report.
Similarly, Infusionsoft asks the visitors to take the assessment test and visitors are asked to input their website & e-mail to see the results.
Additionally, a visitor can opt-in to other ‘juicy’ marketing and business tips.
This lead magnet works as people have already invested a few minutes of their time and do not want to lose that investment. A vast majority of visitors give their e-mail address to find out more about their website.
In another example from hubspot (in los angeles, ca), we see an a presentation of a direct, one-pager (above the fold of the page) squeeze page with an offer (bribe) for the “How To Get 100,000 readers for your blog”:
Special Deal Offer
The ‘special deal’ lead magnet is used by a lot of service companies. They usually offer a coupon or special deals in return for e-mail of the visitor.
Since people always want free stuff, they are ready to pay the small price of giving their e-mail address to get a coupon that can be worth a few dollars.
Video or Podcast
Videos are the in thing. Everyone loves to watch videos on Internet. In fact, it is estimated that 70% of Internet bandwidth is consumed by video content.
So, create a great video with proper editing and an interesting title to capture leads. Keep the video short so that visitors can watch the whole video in one sitting.
Podcasts are also gaining popularity. It is possible that some of your potential customers like podcasts. So, you can also give them the option of a free podcast in place of video.
Free Shipping or Discount Coupons
Various shipping options and unique use of coupons are ideas from the most effective lead magnets for e-commerce companies.
Many companies offer a discount coupon for first order or free shipping coupon on the first-order in exchange for their e-mail.
This is a very powerful way of building up a subscriber list of potential customers who can be e-mailed again with special offers and discounts.
Overall, the goal is to create highly targeted lead magnets.
Generic freebies that are not relevant to your business and not helpful for your customers are not going to work well as people are bored of those things.
It is important to use separate lead magnets for different products and services.
Do not forget to split test your lead magnets and retain the one with the highest conversion rate.