How to Transform Random Visitors into Customers

Most shops online are like nice storefronts. People stumble on them by searching on Google, if the shop is already established and has a good search engine ranking.

They might come from online advertising.

Or they found the shop following a friend recommendation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, they found something you posted on Pinterest, or followed a link from another website.

Any way they find your shop, it’s amazing because people are now on the doorstep, and you can’t wait for them to come into and get tons of your products.

Except.. they don’t.

You cannot expect people to buy from you just because you have a store up and running.

People running into your shop must go through a path. You dream they follow this path: Random visitors ➡️ Buyer ➡️ Raving fan

But this happens rarely, and very rarely for new shops. You can expect this from bigger brands, but it’s difficult for them too.

What happens instead is

Visitors comes from friend recommendation ➡️ Looks around your site ➡️ Reads the About page ➡️ Goes on your blog ➡️ Looks up if you’re a legitimate shop ➡️ Looks if the site is secure ➡️ Goes to dinner ➡️ Sleeps ➡️ Forgot about you


Visitors comes from friend recommendation ➡️ Looks around your site ➡️ OMG it’s beautiful! ➡️ Add to cart ➡️ Credit card expired ➡️ Looks up how to renew it ➡️ Forgot about you


Visitors comes from friend recommendation ➡️ Looks around your site ➡️ OMG it’s beautiful! ➡️ Add to cart ➡️ Mmm let me see if I can get the same item for less on Amazon ➡️ Finds cheaper item ➡️ Forgot about you

What is your current conversion rate? 1%? 5%? The first thing you should do is measure it, and keep track of the changes in the weeks following any change you do, to find out what caused an increase (or a decrease) in the numbers.

Not everything can be fixed of course, but your goal should be to increase that percentage to the maximum level you can.

Get people on your email list

It’s very hard to make a customer purchase immediately as they see your website.

It’s also hard to get a person to come back to your shop after the first visit.

So, what should you do?

Transform your visitors into email subscribers.

If you’re new to the subject, you might ask “I want to sell things, not to email people”. Yet an email list is one of the most frequently mentioned life-changing things that people implement on their shops.

Why? Because research says

  • it takes 6 to 8 touches to generate a sale.
  • 80% of sales require 5 follow-ups
  • only 3% of your market is actively buying. 56% are not ready, 40% are poised to begin
  • businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads

You can’t expect people to see your shop and buy. They need to know you. They need to trust you.

So an action plan here is to offer something for free, in exchange for signing up to your email list. Technically this is called a lead magnet.

If you sell coffee, you might want to make a free guide on how to make the perfect coffee at home.

Add something valuable that the customer cannot wait to read, or in any other way consume.

If you are not already familiar with the email list concept, you may be wondering whether in the era of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, you still need to use an old style system like email.

In fact email is a fundamental tool for any online business.

Sending emails to a list of customers is not a system by which people spam, as you might be thinking, of it’s a system where people interested in your content or products can have more information about them, or about new products that you could provide in the future.

Email marketing is one of the most effective systems with which people are converted over time from visitors to customers, but not only: people in your list have explicitly asked to receive more information from you in the future.

This does not mean sending an email after 8 months asking them to buy your new product, but the right way to approach this is to ask yourself how you can help your customers.

Through the list you build over time loyal customers, you create a relationship, you keep in touch. Your task with the list is to train people on the subject you are talking about, to give you anticipations about the upcoming news, but try to keep the focus on the customer rather than on you, as a person will not be in your list forever, but as long as you will be able to keep your interest high.

Let’s make an example. This is the system that use most successful blogs: you reach their site coming from search engines or Facebook, a popup appears (more or less invasive) with the request to enter your email to have a small gift, you’ll get the gift via email and you’ll enter this cycle where you will be offered a variety of products over time.

You get from being a random visitor to becoming a possible customer via a series of emails.

The best way to learn about this is signing up for other people email lists. The more “meta” the list is (e.g. a list of some person explaining how to build email lists or in general online marketing), the more you should learn from it, as the person is an expert of the field.

If it’s true that 20% of your subscribers will take more than 12 months to buy, you can see the value of this.

50% of your revenue could easily come through your email list, over time. Have a new product out of the door? Announce it on your email list! Are you preparing something special for Christmas or Black Friday? Turn on the hype!

Don’t forget that people love receiving emails about what interests them. So even if you are thinking that email is annoying because of your own experience, take it as a fact.

Little things that add trust

Do all you can to make sure the customer gets from your shop a feeling of trust and isn’t turned away from some little things that matter.

Have a clear return policy

People want to know if they should put their money on the table and be sure they can get them back if their bet was not good.

They want to know if you’re willing to be true to your message, and get back your products if they do not satisfy them.

Have a great pre-sales customer service

Have a quick turnaround to questions, have a live chat on the site to make it easy for customers to ask and get their questions answered. If you follow up with web leads within 5 minutes, you’re 5 to 10 times more likely to convert them into buyers.

Have a low entry point for free shipping eligibility

Include the shipping price in the product price as much as you can, having free shipping is a huge plus for impulse purchases.

Secure checkout

This is a must for every decent shop, and in addition to technical reasons, you should have it because customers are increasingly checking the security of their purchases.

Those 4 aspects will be a great help adding trust and make the first sale easy on the customer. But, you should make sure this first sale will happen, and there is one way of making sure you don’t lose people that are not yet ready to buy right now: get them into your list.

I hope you had a good read, and you found out a couple things you can do to improve your shop conversions! If so, please recommend or share it.

Please comment below if you have something to add or ask.

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