3 Little eCommerce Mistakes That Cost Online Stores Millions of Dollars

Whether you’re a large or small business, chances are you’ve made at least one of these eCommerce mistakes. But the good news is, they can all be easily fixed and/or avoided. Read on to learn more…

3 eCommerce mistakes that cost online stores millions of dollars

ERROR 1: Focusing on SEO More Than Improving Conversion Rates

It's great to get organic traffic from Google, but how much of that traffic are you converting? It takes a lot of consistency and effort to see solid results from search engine optimisation (SEO), especially through blogging and content marketing. There's no magic button you can press to make search engines love your content. In fact, Google keeps very quiet about the inner workings of their search algorithms, only a small amount of basic SEO principles are released to the public.

If you are generating enough organic traffic, then it is well worth the time and investment to ensure you have appropriate conversion strategies in place. As with any marketing strategy, there are ups and downs, but a well established plan can make all the difference. Ensure you aren't making these conversion mistakes below:

Sales Funnel Tunnel Vision

If you've been experimenting with your own sales funnels, then you know how easy it is to get excited about increased traffic spikes. However, it can be easy to lose sight of what really matters when you get all worked up about traffic.

Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of correlating visitor metrics with potential sales. Although you will theoretically get more sales if you get your product in front of more people, that doesn't mean the juice will be worth the squeeze.

In other words, to ensure your profit margins are higher, concentrate on how you can draw out the most from your current traffic volume. After-all, why spend more on your marketing budget, when you could make more from your existing traffic?

The Solution: Better Copy Writing

Stop what you're doing right now, and open another tab in your browser. Go to your online store, and take a look at the content on your pages. If you notice any sentences that could be improved, then you've got a big problem. If you can see it, then your traffic can definitely see it.

Bad copy writing is usually at its worst on product descriptions. Most online store owners just throw up a basic product description with a few bulleted lists and a couple of sentences. This could be the single biggest leak in your sales process.

The customer should be constantly reminded why they should buy your product, or else you're likely to lose their attention. One of the easiest ways to fix this problem is by hiring a freelance copywriter to give your website a professional touch up that will not only appease your customers, but also those web crawlers!

ERROR 2: Using Only One Landing Page

The first page a person sees on your site is a landing page. That's usually where they touch base with your brand for the very first time. Some companies fill content with just having a single homepage for everybody, and it's a bad habit that you need to avoid.

You can break down any target market into lots of different subcategories. Each one of those subcategories of traffic can be targeted with a customised landing page that exists solely for the purpose of getting a response from that particular group.

You might be able to create some really effective copy to squeeze every last drop out of your overall traffic, but what about everyone else? As you appeal more to the majority of clients, you may be selling yourself short by disconnecting with a good percentage of everyone else.

Self-Imposed Limitations

If you ask business owners why they aren't testing dozens of different target landing pages, then they'll probably tell you that their homepage copy is good enough. That might be true, but it's still the wrong mindset.

Imagine you have five different versions of copy that were doing fine. They are different enough to stand alone, and they each target a different person. The best one gets a 3% conversion rate, and the other four get around 0.8% conversions from the traffic you send to it. How do you know that every conversion is from the same subgroup?

The customers who buy from the less popular pages might not be the same type of customer who buys from the optimised page. You could be throwing away a whopping chunk of sales by taking down the other four landing pages.

Obviously you need to know the hard facts and figures, but it's entirely possible that you are leaving a majority of your sales on the table. The bottom line is, if it's profitable, then keep doing it. But when it works REALLY well, then you've got a realistic chance to scale it up – even more.

If you're reaching different customers with niche sales copy on specific landing pages, then don't cut them out of the loop. Never trade your niche sales funnels for broad optimised funnels. Run them both, and put more focus on the most profitable angles.

The Solution: Target Every Viable Customer

Every smart entrepreneur should keep track of where their sales are coming from. More importantly, they should know who the people are that buy their product or service.

Start by breaking up your target market into several subgroups, then create targeted landing pages for each subgroup. Optimise each landing page by doing split tests, and choose the most profitable out of all the subgroups to use as your main landing page for general traffic. In other words, your most profitable landing page should be your homepage for the main website because it appeals to the most people in your market.

The other profitable landing pages, should be individually optimised to convert as many sales as possible, and you should keep running them as long as they are getting results. Never assume that you're catching every sale you can by casting one big net. Use lots of nets to catch as many sales as possible. Don't leave anything on the table. Just make sure that it's financially viable. If you aren't making a justifiable profit, then don't waste money sending traffic to that niche landing page.

ERROR 3: Never Split Testing

You've probably learned by now, that split testing is square one when fixing all the leaks in your online store (if you hadn't, you do now). That's why this last section is going to put a lot more emphasis on doing it the right way. If you only take home one important lesson from this guide, then pay close attention to these last few paragraphs.

What Is A/B Split Testing?

It's the simplest idea in the world. You take two different versions of any marketing media, and you put them in front of customers. The real trick is measuring the effectiveness of each one. For example, you could take two emails that are completely different, and send them out to different subgroups of your mailing list. You'll want to make sure that the two subgroups are made up of similar leads to avoid getting wild results. Keep the email template that got the best response rates, and that becomes your new control copy.

Then, make a slightly varied version of the control copy, and start another split test. If one of them comes out better, then that becomes your new control. Then, keep repeating the process, and you'll eventually have a solid measuring stick for what your audience likes.

You can apply this simple testing method to nearly every situation. It works for landing pages, sales letters, newsletters, and even print media. If you can measure the response rate down to the exact numbers, then you've got an opportunity to split test.

Throwing in the Towel When Sales Are Good Enough

Never settle for less. A strategy that's good enough right now, might not be good enough forever. You won't stay on the ball without continual testing. Most entrepreneurs throw in the towel when they become successful enough to coast through life. They get the results they want, and they stop improving their process.

The same trend can happen to big businesses, but it tends to hit them a lot harder in the long run. Complacency is a business owners worst nightmare. Learn how to split test, or pay someone else to do it for you and reap the long term benefits of business growth.

The Solution: You Must Test Everything

There is always a better way to sell. It doesn't matter what you do, or how long you've been in business. If you aren't testing everything that you can, then you're on a fast track to failure. Somebody out there is slowly improving their copy and marketing efforts a little bit every day. They are going to be the winners of tomorrow as long as they stay consistent. Do you want to be on that train? It's easy to get on board.

The only way to stay successful in any business is to keep making steady sales. The best way to improve your sales is by improving your methods of closing those sales. It's common sense, but you'd be surprised by how many small businesses aren't following a simple optimisation strategy. Are you monitoring and testing the effectiveness of every single marketing effort you make? Glance over this quick list to get the idea. You can get started by split testing the variants below during any step of your marketing strategy:

  • Headlines
  • Copy Length
  • Copy Variations
  • Personalised Messages
  • Timing Of Delivery (Emails, Ads)
  • Graphics
  • Follow Up Strategies
  • Ad Targeting
  • Call To Action Variations
  • Page Layout Variations

Are You Making Any of The Above Mistakes?

Don't feel bad if you're guilty. Do something about it. You've learned the basics in each section, and now is the time to fix it.

  1. Your SEO strategy is important, but so is your conversion strategy. Putting in the time to improve the results your organic traffic can bring, or paying a specialist to  create the the right content for your site can make all the difference.
  2. If you focus on improving the conversion rate of your existing traffic, before you sink all of your time into generating new customers, you'll get the maximum return on investment.
  3. Keep your landing pages up as long as they are generating a profit. If they don't,  consider trading a/b testing optimised pages and niche pages. OR run both, you don't have to pick just one.

Most important of all, test everything! Each action you take should have a measurable return. Follow these three pieces of advice, and you'll be ahead of the rest.


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