I often hear from clients that they just do not think that they are doing as well as they can be. “My conversion rates are too low, I do not get enough traffic, my site is just not fast enough” are all common comments. They also think that all of the other brands they follow are doing much better than they are. I have news for you—everyone wishes they could be doing better! And we can be doing better by following some very basic concepts. Nothing new and earth shattering here but helpful reminders to deal with your “basic blocking and tackling.”
You have to give yourself a chance when someone comes to your site especially with traffic coming via mobile devices continues to increase. If customers are waiting for all of your elements to load and they cannot interact with the page almost immediately they are likely to abandon. Using Chrome and the Inspect function, you can see all of the details of any page on your site and for any type of device. There is a lot of data here but it will give you some perspective of what is actually happening when someone visits your domain. There are also tools in the market that will show you exactly what your revenue increase could be with an increase in page performance.
If you are using last click as your attribution method, STOP. We know that it’s wrong, so why continue using it. You might say that the other available methods are also wrong so why bother changing. Moving towards a model that allows for revenue to be attributed to all of the marketing channels in the customer journey (time decay as an example) gives a better view of what is really happening. When you start to include cross-device in the conversation, you will quickly see that you need to abandon last click.
Manage your marketing Spend
Traffic/Visitors have long been a measure of how we are doing in our online business and although you certainly want to increase the number of people getting to your site, focus on the “qualified” traffic. In connection with the attribution model that you settle on, you might very well change where you are spending your money. I have had situations where we brought together all of our marketing partners in one room and we went around the room and asked them how we did last year. They all said, and proudly, that we were up 20% last year. That came from the SEM guys, the affiliate guys, the retargeting guys— the problem was that my business was up much less than 20% that year. This goes back to attribution and who is taking credit for the sale, so you need to be relentless here and pull back on the advertising that is just not meeting your ROI goals. I am becoming more and more skeptical of retargeting initiatives and their role in the customer journey and their true ROI. Push your vendor and be certain that you know what they are doing and how they are controlling spend, especially after someone buys from you.
I see so many sites that have no capability of testing. If you do not have A/B testing capability today, stop, do not walk, and figure out how to get it. Start small if you have to, but get it. Find the dollars and the resources even if you start with changing the shape and colors of buttons on the site. You would be very surprised at how some minor tweaks can improve performance. I have seen that sometimes, less content is more content, simply because it becomes clearer to the customer. It’s hard to take messaging and content off your site, but try it and see if you can do more with less.
Once you have that order, you have to service it. If you are not offering some form of free shipping, you must. If your delivery times are more than a few days, you must find ways to shorten it. Consumers simply do not want to pay and they certainly do not want to wait. Also, communication is key. Its amazing that you still see retailers telling you that they will respond to your email within 24-48 hours. Really? Customers want a reply immediately, even if they use email. Sure, most sites offer chat but some customers simply are not comfortable and prefer email and you need to be able to get back to them immediately.
Take a breather
We all have so many meetings that it often feels like we have no time to think. Force yourself to think. Get out of your office, with your team, with your partners, and talk about the current state of your business, what has changed, how are we going to change in the coming months. We have sometimes brought in people to speak to our team, from other brands. It helps your team to realize that others are dealing with the same challenges that you are. Also, make some time, perhaps one day per month, to have “vendor day.” Plan to bring in 2 or 3 vendors of services or technology that you do not use today. We must plan for the future and we need to keep up with the changing landscape. Going to a conference is not enough. Get people in your space and focus on your business.