Over the past few months, we have been looking at the Customer Buying Cycle to determine how social media can best be integrated on your website to enhance each stage of the cycle.
We’ve looked at how Reviews and Ratings fit in at the Purchase/Transaction stage to drive traffic to your website and increase conversions. We’ve also looked at how Discussions and Forums help to inspire and engage your online visitors. And now we’re going to move our focus to the Post-Transaction/Post-Purchase stage; specifically how you can enhance your website and online marketing strategy to really make the most of each individual transaction and ultimately, drive ancillary sales – additional sales to the original purchase.
Let’s set the scene… A customer has just completed a transaction on your website – say they’ve booked a flight to Paris. Now what? You don’t have to be a business boffin to be thinking along the lines of ‘how can we keep that customer engaged?’ And ‘how can we get them to buy more?’
Top 4 ways to drive sales on your website
1) Target your customers whilst they’re still on your site
This is about the here and now. Your customer has pressed that ‘Purchase’ button and is reading the confirmation message. They’re about to leave your website as there is nothing else to keep them there. But does it have to be like that?
What about providing functionality on your website to enable your customers to interact with your staff, manufacturers and other customers? Featuring this content can help to resolve any post-transaction questions they may have around product usage; helping to decrease product returns and support costs. Our discussions and forums app can be integrated onto any page of your website and allows you and your customers to post questions or start a discussion.
Furthermore, providing additional relevant information about other products and services that are complementary to the initial product purchased can lead your customer on to their next purchase, generating ancillary revenue. In fact, numerous studies have shown that a high percentage of additional sales happen immediately after an initial sale is made.
For example, a purchase of a manicure set might lead on to a purchase of cuticle cream. Or, a purchase of a week’s stay at a guesthouse might be complemented with car hire and a day out at a local tourist hotspot.
2) Keep your customers engaged through social media
No matter how fantastic your website is, the time will come when your customer will leave it, but what can you do to keep them engaged with your brand?
Email newsletters and social media updates are the perfect way to regularly communicate with your customers. So, if they haven’t already signed up to your emails/joined your social communities, consider offering an incentive to do so – a discount off their next purchase or entry into a competition.
- An engaged audience is one that sees benefit from your communication, so make sure you provide information that is of interest/use to your customers (product insights, special discounts, competitions, games etc.), to continue to build a connection with your brand. Also, remember to link back to your site, in order to encourage return visits and additional sales.
- Remember to be timely and relevant – taking into consideration your community’s needs and wants. Perhaps you’re a wine seller who could post information about a particularly fine vintage a week before Valentine’s Day? Or a fitness website who might reduce gym equipment in April, ready for a pre-holiday fitness regime? Posting information in the right place at the right time can help push your sales even further.
Push relevant content to potential customers
- If a potential customer is interested in a product, destination or experience make sure you have a way for them to sign up to receive updates to keep them interested and to keep your brand at the top of their thoughts. Our watch feature allows potential customers to proactively subscribe to receiving automatic updates on the products, destinations or experiences they are interested in and automatically sends them an update as soon as a review or discussion is added. This is a great way to ‘push’ relevant social media content to potential customers and drive them back to your website.
- It’s also worth considering the format of your content. Rich media content (e.g. photos and videos) is more likely to be shared with others – Facebook’s EdgeRank Algorithm states that posts with videos and photos are given a higher ‘edge weight’ than those without, meaning your content is more likely to be seen by a greater audience on Facebook, helping you to reach new customers. Read more about maximising your Facebook exposure here.
3) Offer your customers exclusive deals
Reward your customers for their loyalty with exclusive offers and promotions:
- The immediacy of a discount for a very short amount of time will push people to buy NOW as they wouldn’t want to miss out on a good deal. Many customers may be moved to let their friends know about the deal too, driving further sales. We recently ran a weekend flash sale with one of our clients, luxury spa brand Champneys, which generated a significant amount of additional sales. Read more about this case here.
- Reward your social media communities by occasionally supplying them with a discount code not promoted on any other channels. Placing this information in a tweet or Facebook update may result in the offer going viral, but this will only help raise your brand awareness and gain you new fans in the process.
4) Use your existing customers to drive additional sales
We all know that recommendations can help drive sales, so it makes sense to make sure any reviews of your products/services are broadcasted as widely as possible.
When your customers add reviews to your website make sure these are shared with your own social media profiles, in order to highlight their positive experiences and product choices to your whole community.
Also be aware that peer recommendation is incredibly powerful. Encourage reviewers to share their reviews with their own communities, by adding social broadcast links, so their extended social circle becomes aware of your brand and their recommendation of it.
Find out more about how our award winning social media applications and services can help drive sales from your social media activity, call us on +44(0)1179 055 195 or email firstname.lastname@example.org