Focus on Just 2 things

Marketing is a boundless playground and you can drive yourself nuts trying every flavor of the moment. So you need to narrow your focus. After nearly 8 years of testing I can tell you the only 2 things that matter are answering these 2 questions:

1: How can we do a better job converting first-time buyers?

2: What caused a first-time buyer to place their first order?

These are the only 2 questions that matter. Period.

First_Time_Buyer.png

The 1st question requires a telescope mindset. We’re looking at a big data set and picking up patterns. You will find a lot of valuable data in your Google Analytics.

The 2nd question requires a microscope mindset. It doesn’t matter if your site generates 2 or 45 first-time purchases in a month. What matters is if you specifically understand why transaction ID #4566 occurred. It’s really important we talk to these brave first-time buyers. They have taken a leap of faith on you and we need to understand what switch happened in their mind that caused them to make that leap. There are many forces that push the ‘almost’ shopper to quit, and it’s our job to understand how transaction ID #4566 overcome those opposing forces to place their first order.

These 2 questions are strongly related. By better understanding Question 2 you can better answer Question 1.

Your Free Sales Army

Having a sales force is expensive, which is why only large businesses have them. But, even little ecommerce sites have access to a sales force; their customers. This dormant force can triple the visibility of your brand, and they don’t even need a sales commission.

But, to activate them you need to establish an authentic relationship first. And it’s not like you have to sell a cool item like giantmicrobes.com to have a relationship with customers. Even a vanilla product like “business loans” can have an active customer marketing army.

But your customer’s wouldn’t market for you on their own, even if they love you. The relationship has to be kindled, and the only way to kindle it is to send heartfelt agenda-free custom communications (aka emails). Scott Jordan, CEO of Scottevest.com randomly selects 2 new customers each week and makes a personal “thank you for buying Scottevest customer” video for them. The video isn’t super polished, it doesn’t have to be. But it is 100% authentic and it makes it clear to the buyer that Scott cares about his product and customer.

You don’t have to copy Scott, in fact, you shouldn’t. But you should start thinking about ways in which your product or service is truly remarkable. And don’t think you aren’t remarkable, that’s a slap in the face of the brave shoppers who trusted you with their credit card info. You are remarkable, you just need to spend time thinking about this.

Take 4 weeks thinking about this. It’s a fucking important question.

Once the answer is clear start talking to people who bought from you. Email people who bought 2 years ago and didn’t buy since. Email the new order you had from Birmingham, Alabama 2 days ago. Email the customer who just wrote a review on your Facebook page. Email the person who just placed their 3rd order.

I know, the list looks daunting. You are busy and don’t have time to send personalized emails all day long. Are you planning on spending indefinitely to acquire new customers? Because if you aren’t then you don’t have a choice. So just get over it.

Also, using software automation to get the job done isn’t an option. Stop being lazy. Also, software automation doesn’t work. An online e-tailer had 7 customer reviews on their product page. They were sending the standard template “review request” email to new purchasers, to which hardly anyone responds. They then updated their review request email and made it super personal. The outcome? A 4.6x improvement in customer reviews collected.

If you do this one thing well you will singlehandedly change the trajectory of your business. Do it.

Difficult Choices Kill Conversion Rates

We think choices are good, but if you don’t clearly describe the differences between choices you are most definitely hurting conversion rates. Consider this: A shopper is looking to buy a wireless temperature sensor for their grill. They land on https://store.weber.com/accessories/category/igrill-products/1640 product page:

weber_product_page

The item sounds impressive and within their price range. But now the shopper notices a second option called iGrill® mini and it’s priced lower:

Weber_Mini.png

The shopper is viewing this page on their mobile phone (small screen) and they’re switching back and forth between the 2 options to understand why the mini is cheaper. They like the lower price but a voice in their head says, “what’s the catch here?”

And unless they clearly understand why the mini is cheaper they aren’t going to buy.

It turns out that the difference between the 2 models are the number of probes you get. But in the 10 minutes I was playing on these 2 product pages I simply couldn’t figure it out.

I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but neither are many of your potential customers. You aren’t designing experiences for the smartest shoppers, you’re designing them for average, easily distracted shoppers.

Here is an idea: add a piece of code so that if a shopper first visits iGRILL® 2 page and then goes to iGrill® mini, on mini page we add new bolded content under product description that says:

The difference between iGRILL® 2 and iGrill® mini is that with iGrill® mini you get just 1 probe slot and with iGRILL® 2 you get 2 probe slots.

This would make my choice clear.

Show Your Personality Every Chance You Get

John Bonini is a copywriter. He uses his site johnbonini.co to market his copywriting services (it’s all serious business stuff). The site lists testimonials. One of those testimonials is by his mother:

John_Testimonials.png

It’s such a sweet touch. Lesson: Just because you are in the all serious business of being an online retailer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use humor and humanness to connect with your customers.