Recently, I’ve talked about website design elements that will help drive sales and yes, having an appealing look and feel is imperative. But that’s only the half of it. When it comes to e-commerce, there are a variety of other elements that play a major role in converting sales.

Optimizing your pages is the first step in increasing sales and revenue on your website. This means getting the copy, calls to action and shopping cart right.

But there are other strategies that you should consider to get the most out of your digital marketing efforts.

Improve Your Page Load Speed

Believe it or not, page load speed has a direct effect on conversions. It was reported by Aberdeen Research Group that a 1 second delay, on average, translates to a 7% reduction in conversions. Furthermore, if a site takes more than 3 seconds to load, 40% of visitors will abandon a website, according to Akamai.

There are many tools where businesses can manually check page speeds.

You can also implement continuous monitoring of your pages. Platforms such as Maxly provide continuous page load speed monitoring with hourly updates detailing the issues that are slowing down your site's page load speed.

It can be important to implement continuous monitoring because the addition of 3rd party scripts and unknown changes by your service provider can block elements as pages are loading and slow down page load speeds.

You can check your page load speed for free (without hourly updates) with a Google Analytics account. You can also see how your site speed compares to the top 1000 sites receiving the most traffic at Fasttimes.

Conversions aren't the only thing affected by page load speed. Google and other search engines have made it clear that they will give higher ranking to sites with faster page load speeds.

Take a Look at Your Competitors To See What They're Doing

How can you beat your competition if you don't know what they're up to?

It's a good idea to look at the websites of a few of your top competitors to see what they're doing. You can also take it a step further with platforms that will do the spying for you.

Kompyte actually visits the website, social profiles, advertisements and newsletters of your competition in real time. Every time one of your competitors launches a new campaign, changes their pricing or a new competitor enters the scene--notifications are immediately sent to keep you aware.

Personalize the Visitor Experience

You've probably seen personalization in action on sites such as Amazon where visitors are greeted by name and shown products that they might be interested in. Personalization tailors each visitors experience to their specific needs.

Brainshark implemented the Evergage personalization platform to their strategy in an effort to get more freemium users to sign up for their Slideshark 30 day trial. Their goal was to coordinate personalization with user behavior to upsell and educate users.

Slideshark was able to present features and persuade users to sign up for their trial at just the right time. They also implemented personalization on their website and targeted messages that promoted their webinars, ebooks and PowerPoint templates. They saw impressive results. Sales inquiries were increased by 9 times. There was also a 150% increase in trial sign ups and a 15% increase in webinar registrations. The personalization strategy accounted for more than $1.1 million in the Brainshark sales pipeline.

Use Social Media Creatively

If you'd really like to create buzz--get creative.

FINIS is a line of swimming gear founded by Olympic gold medalist swimmer Pablo Morales and John Mix. In an effort to grow the brand and remain competitive, they decided to ask their fan base to give them a hand. They used the technology of ReadyPulse to identify their top 1% influencers on social media.

FINIS launched an "Introduce Yourself" campaign that generated 1,511 pieces of content from social media. The hashtag mentions reached close to 2.2 million people and was able to engage 38,458 consumers. Then they displayed the content on their website pages with "Buy Now" product buttons.

Analytics showed that 16% of visitors were clicking on the social media content. It was just the social proof that they needed. But there were even more impressive results. They saw 50% customer engagement and an increase in average order value of 73%.

Go After Visitors Who Have Abandoned Your Site

It was reported by Baymard Institute, that on average, 65% of all shopping carts are abandoned by shoppers.

Those are discouraging statistics but all is not lost. You can still re-coop your marketing dollars by going after those abandoned visitors.

Liftopia provides huge deals up to 85% off mountain and ski activities. Yet they couldn't figure out why they had such a high abandonment rate. They went after those abandoned visitors with the Rejoiner retargeting platform. Analytics quickly revealed that they were losing close to 1.3 million dollars in revenue each month during their prime season.

30 minutes after shoppers abandoned their carts, an email sequence went out to them. And then another 24 hours after abandonment. They were able to use intelligent frequency capping to keep from annoying prospects with too many emails. In the email they mentioned the tickets that were left behind. When recipients clicked on the link, their previous carts were dynamically regenerated so that transactions could be completed quickly.

Using this retargeting strategy, Liftopia was able to regain 17% of their revenue in just 4 months time. This meant that $714,251.16 was added to their top line revenue.

Keep in Mind:

If you're serious about taking your digital marketing efforts to the next level and increase your websites conversion rate--keep your page speeds fast, check out your competitors, personalize the visitor experience, get creative with your content, and go after abandoned visitors.

Analytics don’t lie. You must use yours to constantly evolve and grow your website. And once you get in the groove, it’s actually kind of fun!

Published on: Sep 8, 2015