Increase Web Sales: Attacking Bottlenecks

A client and I were discussing her poor online sales, and where her resources are best spent. She wanted to spend a few hundred having me change around her cart category and brand organization.

My first email was this:

I’m not trying to talk myself out of a job here, but I wanted to say that sometimes time/money bottlenecks in business aren’t in a site’s ecommerce, but in getting traffic. Maybe the money you’re about to spend on me would be better spent on ad buys? [She has many products in her store, and they have nice photos and descriptions.]

If the products were not on the site, that would be Job #1. But they are… we’re just reorganizing the way they’re displayed, which is “small potatoes” in my opinion.

If it’s not an ad buy, maybe it’s flyers printed and distributed around cafes in Denver, or helping your site’s organic search rankings, or hiring an intern/employee to write good things about your store on Internet forums and blogs.

Again, I’m not saying your site is perfect, but I want to bring up the question to you: is product category work the fix to the sales bottleneck? Are your limited resources better spent?

She replied, saying that she had indeed run ads for some time and had no success:

Honestly,  I am not sure what the answer is.  I ran google adwords for about 8 months and while I had clicks,  I didn’t get one sale… so,  in my reading,  I found they said the consumer needs to be able to find exactly what they are looking for easily as soon as they get to your site, or they will leave.

AHA. I was betting the landing page for the ads was simply her Home page, leaving users to wander her site, or bounce right off:

Two things come to mind here… 1) I forgot to mention your potentially #1 tool — your blog. [I built her site over a year ago in WordPress, so it has a blog built-in.]

You haven’t used it, and if you have time (again, that whole “resource allocation” thing), you should use it. Write about your products there. Nothing helps me want to buy something better than when the salesperson says “I have one and I love it”. Bam. Sold.

Also, blogging gives people a reason to come back to your site, and it’s a way to “tickle” Google with constant (or at least semi-regular) content updates. Google LOVES sites that update content regularly. When you post a blog, Google, Yahoo, MSN etc are all notified automatically.

2) your AdWords landing pages… were they your site’s Home page, or product pages? If you did very general terms (“beauty products”) and dumped the Clicker on the Home page, I wouldn’t expect much. I’d target the exact product brand name/model and set the landing page to that product in your shop’s URL (“Sandalwood Bamboo Soap for Men” and http://www.arcellasretreat.com/products-page/?product_id=327 ). Your CPC is likely to go down and your purchases are likely to go up.

And the result? I talked myself out of a job ;-) . More importantly tho is that she’ll come back to me when the bottleneck is site-related. Plus I have her trust, and I hope, word-of-mouth referrals.

Chase Terms, Not Your Tail

Here’s what I wrote to a client just now about a request to add a term to their keyword META tags:

I’ll add it, but don’t expect a whole lot. Google long ago put a minimum of importance on these tags, and a maximum on what text is on the site for people to read.

That’s why your blogging is so good — it’s real, actual text that people read, and it’s a regular occurrence on your site.

The term “colorado shopping guide” isn’t mentioned once on your site. It’s mentioned once in your PDF document xxxx.pdf. That lets Google know you really don’t put much emphasis on this term, so why should Google?

If you really want xxxx.com to be listed in the top 10 for this term, write about it in your blog, and I’d recommend even going so far as to make a page about it.

I advise clients that they must pick their Google battles. Go after what matters, not everything, because if you chase every term you’ll just end up chasing your tail instead!

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