The Online Mismatch (Part 2): How to Drive More Sales Online

In my last blog, I discussed how SMBs view online presence as a key research channel but in most cases stop short of making a purchase through an online store with more than 90% of cloud sales being driven through offline channels. In this blog, I will look at how you convert the online opportunity into sales reality.

There are two key areas to address to really ramp up your online sales numbers:

Focus on driving traffic to your site
Your online presence should be treated like any other sales channel that needs the support (and investment) of marketing and lead generation activity to thrive. Leverage tools like search engine marketing, banner placements and offers on key sites, and social media to drive as many customers as possible into your online funnel. Make sure you measure the effectiveness of these tools to understand which drive the highest return on investment.

Maximize conversion
Make the most of every opportunity generated by a customer visit to your site by optimizing your site for visitor conversion. Here are some ways to implement this:

  • Navigation should be straightforward. It should be easy for the customer to find the information they need to make an informed decision about which cloud services to buy.
  • Make sure your search functionality is strong to ensure customers who know what they are looking for can find information quickly.
  • Language should be simple and benefit led. Emphasize the value that services bring to the SMB's business rather than technical product features.
  • Use tools like customer offers and trials to create customer urgency. Give SMBs a reason to buy now rather than looking elsewhere.
  • Keep your checkout process as speedy as possible and reinforce security to minimize checkout abandonment.

You can also leverage “offline” channels to help drive up conversion. Using web chat, live chat, assisted online sales, and appointment setting are all ways your online presence becomes part of your multi-channel strategy and can successfully grow sales.

The opportunity for online sales is clear, SMB customers already see online as their preferred research channel but launching a website or application marketplace alone is not driving significant sales volumes. Focusing on driving traffic to your site and turning visitors into customers will help you drive up sales. I will explore these areas in more detail in future blogs as well as looking at ways to drive sales through “offline” channels.


Posted on July 7, 2014 and filed under Industry & Market Insights, Tips & Tricks.