Sales is the ultimate test of the success of any online business, be it B2B or B2C. Site visitors are notorious for coming in, taking a look, and leaving without buying anything. This is unavoidable to a certain extent, but business owners and marketers need not lose hope.

All marketers know that the right branding strategies can bring in more visitors to your online retail store. Now we can go one step further and explore ways to convert casual visitors and prospects into paying customers. Here are some lesser-known, but effective ways…

1. Appeal to emotions

The first step to getting more conversions is to understand that a conversion goes far beyond the sale. An emotional purchase decision gives the customers an experience that involves far more than the transaction itself.

As Zig Ziglar said, “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” One theory bases the human purchasing decision off of six motivations: Greed, fear, envy, pride, shame, and altruism. Decide which feeling fits your company best and it use it to your advantage. Here is an example of how the social cause Futures Without Violence uses altruism in their landing page:

If you want to create long-lasting, meaningful customer relationships, you can look ahead and develop predictive models to maximize engagement at multiple touchpoints. The folks at Wider Funnel talk about contextual analysis of customers’ emotions using a Limbic model, using which you can attempt to influence their shopping behavior.

Experimentation and testing are crucial throughout the process of determining and appealing to the right (read, profitable) emotions.

2. Balance useful and interesting content (for both B2C and B2B)

Shoppers are tired of sales or brand-related information. They have probably been through every feature, benefit, and use case of the product they want to buy before they visit your site. A smart shopper might probably be able to differentiate your product from the competition better than you!

So, what does that leave the average ecommerce retailer with? How do you distinguish your products and promote your USP (if you even have one)?

For B2C businesses, the good news is that you can draw and keep attention of your customers even without a remarkable product – if you have a remarkable story to tell. One that can relate to. One they can imagine happening to them.

When you write your product descriptions, think like a journalist:

  • What kind of a person would love to use this product?
  • In what circumstances is the product more useful than that from a competitor?
  • Why should someone buy this product right away?
  • What’s the fastest way to use this product?

And if you still fall short, look to the malt whisky brewers!

For B2B businesses or those selling digital products, the plot thickens. There is no easy way to provide all the information to serious buyers – they aren’t exactly looking for a story behind the brand, and the product value is too high for them to make a split-second decision by going over a landing page or a few blog posts.

Where stories or deals fail, comprehensive research and valuable information succeeds. I like the approach that The Zebra takes in order to encourage lead engagement in even a boring industry like insurance. Instead of the usual landing pages that offer “quick comparisons” of home or auto insurance providers or sell you a policy you don’t really understand, they have a whole section on their site with in-depth research on auto insurance with studies and surveys on practically every one of the myriad factors that affect car insurance in the U.S.

3. Reassure customers

One small but concrete step to inspire trust even further is by eliminating any risk from a purchase. Including an easy-to-understand return policy can actually help increase sales, since it gives your customers the confidence that there is less risk in making a purchase.

Offering sweet deals like a 30-day no questions asked return policy, free trial options, or easy exchange process may make a potential customer feel more comfortable – since they can back out if they don’t like the product. The return policy page from the online shoe store Greats is an excellent example of how to state your return policy in clear, simple language that people can understand.

Parting thoughts

Regardless of your niche, product line, brand or nature of your business, your revenue growth is directly linked to the amount of sales you make. You might bring them in via referrals, word of mouth, or an ad campaign on social media or Google. But the only real questions that matter are: Will they buy? How much (or for how long)? Will they come back for more?

What strategies do you use to keep your customers coming back? How does SEO help? How does UX help? Let’s discuss!