Archive for September, 2007

Sep
28

Are you making this PPC mistake?

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Pay-per-click advertising is a fantastic way to bring traffic to your ecommerce site and generate sales. It can get expensive, though, if it’s done ineffectively.

There is a common mistake I see online stores make, and without realizing it, they’re hurting their conversions (turning “clicks” into “sales”). The mistake?

Setting the “landing page” of every ad to go to the homepage.

At first glance, this may seem like a great idea. The visitor gets to see all that you have to offer, as well as your welcome message and everything else your home page has to offer. The problem is that in most cases, people are not searching for your home page or even all that you have to offer – they are after one thing. And that one thing relates to the word or words they typed into the search engine.

Ecommerce sites are all about selling – specifically, meeting the customer when they’re in the buying mode. If you’re going to target specific keywords and phrases, follow it through by sending the visitor to the exact product or product category that matches their search. As an online shopper, I don’t want to do a search, see your ad, click on the ad, and then have to search again as soon as I get to your site because you’ve landed me on the home page.

The more specific the search, the closer the visitor is to buying, so it pays to shorten the distance between their search and your shopping cart. If you’d like to see your conversion rates improve, the prescription is simple: Set each ad’s landing page to the one page on your site that best matches the keywords that trigger that ad. If you can improve the correlation between the searcher’s keywords, the ad you show them, and the page you take them to, you’re guaranteed to boost your pay-per-click results.

The 2007 Holiday season is poised to be yet another record-breaker for ecommerce. This could lead to a flood of orders, late nights for you and more work for your accountant. Never fear, here are 7 simple ways to miss out on your share of this year’s online holiday spending and avoid the headaches altogether:

  1. Limit the ways your customers can pay you. Let’s face it, some payment methods will cost you a percentage of each sale to accept them, and it’s a lot of trouble to set up more than one payment method.Assume that your customers will adapt to your needs.
  2. Refuse to offer Gift Certificates. Your customers shouldn’t be allowed to take the easy way out – make them choose that gift right now!
  3. Don’t bother reassuring visitors that your site is safe. Hackersafe, Geotrust, BBBOnline… come on. This is the “Internet Age” – doesn’t everyone know by now to look for the little “lock” icon in the browser?
  4. Treat each customer as a “one-time sale”. Email marketing is hard.Besides, you don’t need to maintain relationships with customers – this is the Internet, there’s always another buyer right around the corner.
  5. Make it hard to order. If a shopper wants it bad enough, they’ll figure out on their own how to navigate your site and place an order. Call it “customer quality control.”
  6. Ship only to the billing address. Sure, you’ll have to answer emails day in and day out asking “Can you please ship my order as a gift?” Gently remind them that it’s not your job to manage their gift-giving – it’s your job to protect yourself from a possibly fraudulent order. In fact, consider making customers fax in their credit card number and signature before you’ll ship at all.
  7. Ship on YOUR timetable. Your business is your business… ship when it’s convenient for you. Your customer had all year to order – it’s not your fault they waited until the “week before”! Also, don’t worry about offering faster shipping methods… they only serve to set delivery expectations too high.

Congratulations, you can now rest easy knowing that this holiday season will have little impact on your bottom line. And don’t worry about the customers you’ll miss – your competitors will take good care of them for you. :)

Categories : Ecommerce
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Sep
11

How to Avoid Chargebacks

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Chargebacks are a fact of life of doing business online, but it can help to know how to minimize them (and what to do if/when you get them). Here’s a free 30-page report (PDF format) for you on Avoiding Chargebacks (click to view, or right-click to “save as” and download).

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