4 Tactics to Keep Your Business From Losing Customers
As an online retailer, there's nothing more soul crushing than watching your existing customers abandon your business to go to a direct competitor for a similar product or service. Not only does it affect your bottom line, it's morally demoralizing and can make you question whether your product or service is measuring up to the competition. Fear not, a lot of the time the issue lies in how you've structured your online presence, and has less to do with the product or service you're offering. Here are just a few ways you can protect your business from losing customers to its competition:
1. Design for mobile. With more than 70 percent of online marketers planning on scaling up their mobile marketing spend in the next two years, if you aren't already designing your website with mobile in mind, now is the time. This means that if your website is coded in Flash, you need an immediate overhaul to make your site more mobile friendly. An ideal solution is a responsive website, which will help create a consistent mobile presence for users that seamlessly bridges desktop and mobile platforms. Consumers should be able to easily make a purchase from your website right on their mobile devices. Not having a mobile website that allows users to do this is a surefire way to leave yourself vulnerable to competition that empower customers to convert on their mobile devices with ease.
2. Make it easy for customers to convert. As tempting as it can be to try and impress customers with a stunning website design, you have to remember that a great design doesn't always lead to a conversion. Design with a simple conversion process in mind for users initially, then worry about stunning elements that will engage the customer as an added bonus, not the other way around.
Making it as easy as possible for visitors to convert on your website once they've found it is a surefire way to protect yourself from losing out to a competitor. If you aren't sure what's getting customers to buy a product or service and what's driving them away, use an A/B testing tool to better understand what combination of call to action, font style and general page layout is going to be most effective.
3. Keep your brand consistent — both offline and online. For many online retailers, an online presence is a continuation of their brick-and-mortar store. Having both a physical location and a website is a great way to get more business, but making sure that your brand is consistent online and offline is the next step to creating consumer trust that gets conversions. Ensuring that elements like color scheme, logo, company tagline and unique product names are featured in both channels is a great first step. With the increasing prevalence of "showrooming," you want to make sure that a consumer who has been to your retail store is able to purchase the exact same product when they come to your website.
4. Build a cohesive marketing strategy. If your online point of sale (which is most often your website) is optimized for mobile, converts the traffic it's getting and is consistent with your offline presence, you need to take advantage of digital marketing techniques to get your brand in front of more of your target audience and protect your business from losing existing customers to competition that have better online visibility. There are a variety of ways to do this, and the right tactic for you is going to depend on your business goals. However, there are a few constants for almost every online business.
With very few exceptions, a good online presence should produce high-quality content that provides value to users outside of just making a sale. You want to win brand recognition with visitors in a way that builds brand trust and makes you their go-to source for whatever product or service they might be looking for. This way, when they're ready to convert, they come to you first. The best way to do this is to have a section of your website devoted to written or visual assets that are simply there to educate or entertain — not to sell — such as a blog, image gallery or even a video series that's dedicated to giving free, helpful content to your audience.
The second tactic almost any online brand should leverage is using multiple marketing channels to get the best possible results. For example, if you're a business that wants to do advertising in search engine results, search engine marketing is the obvious choice. However, if you couple it with search engine optimization, you can substantially increase clickthrough rates on both your paid advertisements and your organic listings. Using multiple marketing channels so that they form a better overall digital marketing strategy is important, and will help your business get better results online.
Protect Through Proactivity
A good website should never stay the same for too long. Always look to see where you can improve your customer experience, conversion process and marketing initiatives. By staying proactive and constantly looking at your website's analytics, you can anticipate changes that need to be made before they become a serious problem for your bottom line. Every website is different, but by staying on top of what's working and what isn't, you can optimize your website to protect your business from brands that are trying to steal your customers away.
Austin Paley is the corporate marketing communications manager at Blue Fountain Media, a New York City-based digital agency.