In any business it can often be difficult to understand how and where your next growth spurt will come from. In this article we will share some of our knowledge and past experience in giving you a few areas in which to focus on to drive increased revenue online.
In today’s fast paced online world it’s ever more important to understand the contributing factors to your online business success. The most accurate and efficient way to understand what is happing online is via data. Data doesn’t lie and you can’t argue with your own data (presuming it is configured correctly and accurately reported). Having said this, there is a considerable amount of experience needed to turn that data into insight.
The rise of affordable online tools and services mean that businesses are able to use their data to make more money. As a digital consultancy we make use of these tools to give our clients valuable insight and recommendations for growth. Here are some everyday activities that you can try out in your organisations, based on some impressive results we have had with our clients:
Have a Strategy, and Share it
Many SME’s focus on a strategy for the business however, we have found, these strategies aren’t always being communicated downwards and made known to all the staff involved. Online growth is achieved quicker and more effectively if everyone understands the business’s priorities and goals, and works collectively towards them. Share your data frequently in team meetings, send a regular internal communication of the key reports, be honest, and don’t be afraid to show the good and the bad – it’s all about learning and improving.
Configuring and making the most use of your analytics is by far the most important and vital part of any online business. Now, I’m sure some of you reading this will be saying to yourselves that you already have analytics and you receive or create reports. However, in our experience, well over 90% of analytics accounts are either poorly configured or aren’t being used correctly. It isn’t enough to just pull standard reports out and circulate these amongst the business. Use a trained analyst and ensure a certain amount of dedicated time is being spent on looking at the analytic data with the business objectives in mind.
As mentioned earlier, a good analyst will help bring a story to what is happening and create valuable insight from the data. It’s this insight which will give you the necessary information you will need to understand where you should be developing your website, investing in particular marketing mediums or expanding product lines/ranges etc.
A/B & Multivariate Testing
Testing your site is one of the best ways to understand your users and allow the consumer to give you feedback via statistical data. Take design creative, for example, typically this is left to the “experts” to tell you how your site should be designed and developed using industry best practice etc. Now, with testing, you don’t have to rely on industry experts to make those decisions. With A/B and multivariate testing you can now put statistical proof against creative amends and find out which ones will drive your click through and conversions.
Testing allows you to split your live traffic across different variations of your website. The tools then track which variation is the most successful allowing you to respond to these findings.
The great thing about this type of testing (over user labs or focus groups) is that you have a larger sample of people and variations leading to further sales and there is money in the bank during testing.
Some of the best test areas to drive conversion include:
- Testing buttons and the call to action – E.g. is a red button with “buy” better than black with “buy now”.
- Trial product category presentation – E.g. How many products on each page, how many on each row, and how much information should be displayed.
- Checkout paths – Testing the order of information being gathered, amount of fields and their layout.
- Optimising the layout and testing a variety of imagery and copy on paid search landing pages.
- Testing promotions and delivery options can also give you quick wins.
Targeting your Marketing
No matter what marketing activities you are already doing there is always scope to target your marketing further. By segmenting and targeting a number of groups differently you can become more relevant to those groups of consumers, which will increase their interest and your conversion. Here are three areas of marketing where targeting can improve results, and in some cases reduce your costs:
- Email Marketing – Stop blanket mailings, segment your database via fields which make sense to your business either gender, category interests or price. Once again your email service provider and analytics should give you insight into what is working and what is not. Trial the day and time of day that you broadcast on.
- Google Paid Search /AdWords – Ensure you regularly look at the data and results of your AdWords campaign. Target your potential customers correctly using geo-location, targeted keywords and add negative keywords to omit you from searches which are not relevant. There is a lot of money being misspent by organisations that are not keeping on top of the analytics and reporting, or refining their campaigns.
- Social – Ensure that you have social analytics configured and that url shortening is being used. It’s important to understand the data and the type of tweets / status updates and posting which are driving traffic and revenue on your sites. By looking at the data you’ll be able to understand the tone of voice and activities that gain you the best interaction. You’ll then be able to target and monitor certain conversations and understand how to market to different groups.
Having a mobile optimised site can be a huge step to increasing your revenue and growth. However don’t just jump in and create a mobile solution, there are a number of ways that you can approach mobile. Once again, using your data in Google Analytics can give you valuable insight to which may be the best possible solution for you. Whether it be a responsive design, mobile web template, mobile app or a hybrid approach – you will benefit from understanding where to invest both your time and money.
Content is key to a website, there are two areas where content plays a huge part. The first is driving traffic to your website and used in activities like search engine optimisation, PR and social for example. The other is converting traffic, this is content such as product photography, descriptions, reviews and so on.
A couple of quick wins include:
- Better product photography, alternative views and video where appropriate. Your customers aren’t able to see the product in person at that moment therefore you need to represent the products as best as possible.
- Users are more likely to purchase or use a company when they can see success or happy customers. This can be done fairly easily via social proof and reviews (using an independent review company, in my opinion, increases consumer response).
This article is just highlighting a few areas that may help you to drive increases in your online revenue. The most important thing to understand within an online business is that data is a tool which can be used to drive revenue and not only for historic reporting. Place analytics at the forefront of your decision-making and you will reap the benefits.
George Ioannou is the Founder and Head of Agency at Digital & Wise. George has spent 18 years working within Digital, specialising in ecommerce and online marketing. His experience spans a variety of sectors including retail, media and entertainment, automotive and financial. He has worked globally with clients ranging from small businesses through to Fortune 100 Companies. George has spoken internationally as a thought leader at a variety of events as well as publishing articles and papers for the digital industry.