How many hurdles do your customers have to jump over before they can give you their money?
A lot of small businesses don’t understand that the buying process itself is a crucial part of their marketing. If you bombard people with countless questions and make it difficult for them to order, chances are they’ll be quite annoyed before they even start working with you. That annoyance will be directly counted against your brand, and whatever good will it currently has.
Conversely, if you have a simple ordering process, people will remember that you made it easy on them. Your customers will have a good feeling towards you from the beginning. And guess what, they’ll share that with others.
All of your marketing materials are designed to help customers over the buying-hurdle. The easier it is to buy from you (the smaller your buying-hurdle), the more effective your marketing materials will be, and the more new customers you’ll get.
Streamlining your ordering process could significantly speed up the success of your small business. Here are 7 ways to make your business easy to buy from.
Keep your products well organizedWhether online or brick-and-mortar, you need to make finding products intuitive. This means placing related products together, arranging things in a logical order (if they have one), categorizing products using common language, and using obvious signs or links to help people find what they want. If a customer can easily find his way around (online or in store), then he or she is much more likely to buy.
Clearly mark the next stepWhen people are confused, they are much more likely to leave. You want to avoid any confusion by making the next step(s) clear and easy to see. If they are on a product page, you probably want a clearly marked “Buy Now” button. If they’re filling in a form, make sure the submit button is large and easy to see. People are much happier when things are clear and well organized.
Use contextual informationYou want to have enough information so your customers aren’t confused, but not enough that they are overloaded. The key to doing this is to place information contextually. This means, essentially, putting information in the right place. Instead of having a single FAQ page, try putting important FAQs on the page that they pertain to. Make sure you put explanations near anything that might be confusing. You want to put information where it is useful, and not anywhere else. If you cut out the extras and leave the only essential information, your customers will thank you.
Use big fonts and lots of whitespaceMake sure everything doesn’t all blur together. Use big fonts so that everyone can easily read what you have to say. Also, you can use whitespace to divided different sections and make them easier to distinguish. The end goal is to have everything presented as clearly as possible. Good presentation will make your small business appear more professional, too.
Only ask your customers the essentialsEvery single thing you ask your customer will take them time to think about, and time to answer. Do your best to respect their time by not asking for anything that doesn’t have a very specific purpose or value to you. Asking for their name, phone, and email is good; asking for three phone numbers is bad. The buying process is not the place for redundancy.
If you have a lot you need them to do, break it upChances are you probably don’t need customers to give you all of their information up front—so if you can save some questions for after they buy, it will make their initial experience a lot more pleasant. Once they are a customer, they will be committed to working with you, and you can spread their tasks out over time.
Keep them interested the whole time they are buyingA lot of websites have a very friendly tone on their sales pages but adopt a formal voice on ordering pages. It is a big mistake to assume a person will buy as soon as they get to the order page; you need to keep marketing, and keep them interested, the entire time they are buying. This goes for the brick-and-mortar world as well. You don’t want people to walk out of your restaurant because your wait staff wasn’t friendly enough.
In the end, it all comes down to making the buying process as intuitive and easy as possible. The lower you make your buying hurdle, the more people will jump over it. Also, the better their experience buying from you, the more likely they are to come back for repeat business.
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