Starting your own online business can seem like a daunting task. You’ve got a ton of competition from both established businesses as well as other new marketers.
That’s why it’s important to think long term from day one. You need an evergreen strategy for growth that will continue to fuel your business for a long time to come.
Here are 5 strategies I highly recommend you put to use in your own business to help you improve your conversion rates and give you a rock solid business foundation.
1: Market Your Product Before It’s Ready.
This might be highly counter intuitive but it’s a sure-fire remedy for creating a product that people actually want to purchase.
According to CBInsights, the #1 reason startups fail is because there is no market need for the product. In fact, 42% of failed businesses made this mistake, while only 19% got outcompeted.
Product-market fit (PMF) means you’ve got the right market for the right product that solves a problem for that market. And while your product doesn’t need to solve every problem of your target market, it does need to be a minimal viable product that addresses a real need.
Think of flying a plane by hand, without autopilot. Because of shifting winds, you’re continually readjusting course to get to the target. Creating a new product is similar in that you have an idea of what the product will be, but in the beginning, you are allowing the market to tell you how to change / adapt / revise / add on to the product to make it something the market will be eager to buy.
Creating an online course is an excellent example. You can outline what you think the course will look like and then offer it to your customers, letting them know they are the beta testers, and you will be working closely with them to make the course into what they want. You charge very little to your beta testers, you work with them to find out what they want and need, and you create the course based on their feedback.
An older method of getting customer feedback when creating a product is to set up a sales page before the product exists and see how many visitors hit the check out button. If the percentage is high enough, you create the product. The problem with this is it’s a yes/no situation and you don’t know if small changes could have dramatically affected the outcome.
It would be better to do your market research, create buyer personas and identify what is important to your market. Then speak to some of them, asking what they need, what they want, and how they want it delivered.
Even after you have your ‘final’ product, it’s a good idea to use feedback to continually refresh and improve the product. Add in the things you forgot but customers keep asking for. Watch to see which areas are difficult for them and find ways to make it easier, clearer or even offer done-for-you solutions at higher price points.
It’s no longer enough to create a product, put it out there and forget about it. Products and courses need to be fluid and dynamic, changing as the market changes and incorporating new technologies and information as needed to stay viable and continue making sales.
2: Improve Page Loading Speed
According to studies, pages that take two seconds to load experience a 9% bounce rate, while pages that take five seconds to load experience a whopping 38% bounce rate.
People simply don’t wait for a slow page to load. And if a person never makes it to your page, they can’t take the action you seek such as joining your list or purchasing your product.
When Walmart improved their site’s page loading speed by 1 second, they grew their revenue by 1% because conversions increased in proportion to bounces decreasing.
If you have a WordPress website, you’ll find tools and plugins that help you speed up your site.
And when choosing website hosting, it pays to choose a service that can handle more user requests than you’ll think you need, just in case your traffic grows faster than you expect.
3: Offer Real Time Support
The average company takes 12 hours to respond to an email from a customer. And the odds of making contact with a potential customer decreases by a factor of 10 if you let more than five minutes lapse between the inquiry and response.
While taking your time in answering customer questions might have worked a decade ago, today you need to be much faster for a couple of reasons.
First, customers expect to receive a reply quickly. If the reply takes a long time, they lose faith in the business and are less likely to make a purchase because they simply don’t trust that they’ll get good customer service after the purchase.
Second, if a prospect has a question about a product, you want to respond while they are still considering the purchase. Think back to when you were considering a purchase, but you had a question. If you received an answer right away, you likely purchased not only because your confidence was bolstered by the quick reply, but also because on some level you were grateful to receive quick attention and service.
But what about the time you asked a question and didn’t get a response for 12 hours? You likely cooled off on the product and were no longer eager to purchase.
Support automation tools such as live chat software and chatbots can provide great customer service, increasing your sales by 38% according to CrazyEgg.
Here’s a neat little trick that works like gangbusters: When you receive a question directly from your sales page and you’re able to answer right away, offer them a coupon code that expires within a very short amount of time. You’ll find the combination of a quick response and a discount sends your conversion rate sky high.
4: Offer Free Trials
One of the fastest ways to increase conversions and grow your business is to offer a free trial. This works especially well if you sell software as a service, but it can also work for things like membership sites, courses and more.
Extend your free trial duration for a good amount of time, too, for maximum conversions.
Let’s say you offer software. Let your free trial user have enough time to discover how great your software is and how indispensable it is to their business. In other words, you’re getting them hooked and then you’ll start charging.
Imagine offering web hosting for just a buck for the first month or longer. Once they have their site on your hosting and everything is running smooth as silk, they’re not going to leave and they are going to let their membership run for as long as they need it and like it. By giving away that first month or two or three, you can hook some customers into paying for years to come.
5: Do Your Own Remarketing
Remarking is advertising that targets people who have visited your site. Once they leave your site without a purchase, they see ads on other sites encouraging them to revisit your site and make a purchase.
But times are changing. Rules and regulations about cookies are changing, which is why I encourage everyone to build their own email lists, SMS lists and social media lists, too.
Become an expert at capturing your visitor’s data or getting them to join you on social media so that you can continue to market to them time and time again, and even do it for free.
He or she who controls the traffic makes the money online. And when you have a responsive email list and SMS list, you can make money any time you like simply by pressing send.
Conversely, if you rely on other services to handle remarketing for you, then you and your business are at their mercy.
One Last Thing…
These simple strategies can help to gain and retain customers ultra-fast, setting your business apart from the competition and ensuring a long, healthy life to your new venture.