Killer Resources for Freelancers … and an Option for Those Who Don’t Want to Go It Alone


This week, Stefanie Flaxman and I yielded the floor to a pair of smart gentlemen who we don’t hear from quite as often as we used to. And we featured a writer you haven’t seen on Copyblogger before. Her debut post for us is a must-read for writers who like being able to pay their
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How to Increase Profits by Analyzing Your Competition


How well do you know your competition?

Depending on your industry or location, the market may be saturated with businesses providing the same services or offering the same products as your company does.

Not everyone will survive.

Sooner or later, one or two companies will separate themselves from the crowd.

If you want to be an expert in your niche, you’ll need to learn effective competitor analysis skills.

Otherwise, you could put yourself at risk of falling behind those businesses that adopt these strategies first.

As a marketing expert who founded several startup companies, I’m well aware of how competitive certain spaces can be.

It’s not easy to operate a business, especially when you’re worried about the guy down the street taking customers away from you.

Whether you’re a small-town business or a global ecommerce store, you need to analyze your competition.

If you’ve never done this before, I’ll show you how to get started.

My techniques will help you improve your business and increase profits fast.

Identify your competitors

Knowing your competitors may sound obvious to you, but you’d be surprised how many people I meet can’t name their competitors.

Those of you who fall into this category have to identify your top competitors before you do anything else.

Even if you know who your competition is, it won’t hurt to start here. You may be find new information.

Let’s say you’re a local business selling sandwiches in Seattle.

Run a search on Yelp:

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Simple.

The top results will be advertisements, but that doesn’t mean those aren’t your competitors.

Don’t disregard them completely just yet.

Here’s something else to keep in mind.

You’re looking only for your direct competition.

If your sandwich shop also sells cookies or pies, you’re not looking for bakeries or specialty dessert shops.

You’re also not competing with every bar in your neighborhood that has a sandwich on the menu.

Make sense?

So filter your search to get more accurate results:

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If you click on the “all filters” tab, you can narrow the results.

For this example, I’d recommend picking a price range similar to yours and a place in the same neighborhood.

If your most expensive menu item is $12, you don’t care about the gourmet restaurant 8 miles away selling $45 sirloin steak sandwiches on their dinner menu.

Now that you’ve got a more accurate list, write down your top competitors.

In a busy city, like Seattle, you may find upward of 30 sandwich shops in your neighborhood alone.

That’s way too many.

Look for businesses with the most reviews and the highest ratings.

Narrow that list down to 5 or 10 at most.

Yelp isn’t your only resource.

Depending on your business, you can also reference Google Local or Angie’s List.

However, these platforms may not be helpful if you’re trying to identify competitors in a digital marketplace.

If your operations are run completely through a blog, website, or ecommerce store, you’ll need to use other tools to identify your competitors.

Try using a service like SimilarWeb:

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They offer lots of competitor analysis tools, including competitor identification.

All you need to do is put in the name of your website, and they’ll generate a list of your competitors.

They have a free sign-up option, but to maximize your research, I would recommend paying for an upgraded subscription.

If you don’t want to pay for a subscription, consider reaching out to your current customers.

Creating an effective customer survey can help you learn more about their habits.

Send a survey to your subscriber list asking them to identify other websites they shop at or blogs they read.

Who is their target audience?

Now that you’ve identified your top competitors, it’s time for you to see whom they are targeting.

You can’t assume their target market is the same as yours.

Don’t believe me?

Let’s continue with the local sandwiches example.

Here’s a chain sandwich shop called Cheba Hut:

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Take a look at the names of the sandwiches on their menu.

Also, notice how they refer to their different sizes.

Based on your research, you may have identified this company as a top competitor.

They have the same hours as you; they’re close to you; and they sell sandwiches at the same price point.

But it’s clear this business is trying to appeal to a certain crowd.

It works.

Don’t get me wrong.

I’m not saying you need to adopt this strategy and look for a niche market to focus your marketing strategy on.

All I’m saying is you need to identify the target market of your top competitors.

After further analysis, you may determine you want to make some adjustments, but we’re not quite there yet.

Here are some things to consider when you’re identifying your competition’s target audience:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Income
  • Gender
  • Marital status

Your results won’t be perfect, but try to come up with an accurate customer profile based on their advertising campaigns.

Your Google ranking is essential

How can you be better than your competitors?

You both have the same type of content on your website.

You’re targeting the same customers.

They even update their site, services, and products as frequently as you do.

Why are they ranked so much higher on a Google search than you are?

You need to understand the components of Google’s ranking algorithm:

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Visit your competitors’ websites.

Evaluate their SEO.

Determine how they are using keywords to boost their search ranking.

Look for keywords and phrases in the following places on their sites:

  • Title pages
  • H1 headings
  • H2 headings
  • Internal links
  • URL structure
  • Content

Do you notice a pattern?

See what words are getting used the most in these places.

It may have an impact on their rankings.

Compare their content to the keywords on your site.

Are you using long-tail keywords?

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You should be.

Incorporating a long-tail strategy into your content creation will improve your ranking because it’s more specific.

Ecommerce sites use this tactic all the time to get more hits.

If you’re selling a pillow, adding the word “pillow” all throughout your content isn’t as effective as using terms like “down pillow for side sleepers.”

Is your competition using this strategy?

If so, that’s probably why they’re outranking you in related search results.

Analyze competitor content

Take your analysis one step further.

Getting customers to your platform is only half the battle.

But what do these people see once they arrive?

Here are some other things to look for on your competitor’s page:

  • Blogs
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Case studies
  • Buying guides
  • FAQ pages
  • Podcasts
  • Guest posts
  • CTA

Compare these to your own website.

They may have certain features you’ve omitted from your site.

I’m not saying you should automatically mimic the structure of their pages, but see what’s working for them.

For example, let’s say you discover your top three competitors have a blog. And all three outrank you on Google.

You should consider adding a blog to your site.

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This data about the benefits of blogging speaks for itself.

Adding a blog to your website will help you:

  1. Generate more leads
  2. Increase conversions
  3. Get more inbound links
  4. Have more indexed pages
  5. Gain trust from consumers

And that will lead to increased profits.

Something else to keep an eye on while you’re analyzing their website is their calls to action.

How is your competition adding subscribers, generating leads, or converting sales?

Look at their sales pitches.

See what benefits they are offering.

How do their top features compare to yours?

You may realize your product and service are significantly better than those of your competition.

But that doesn’t mean anything if you can’t relay that information to your customers.

Look at how marketers are failing to use CTAs:

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Reviewing the CTA on your competition’s website could be an eye-opening experience for your marketing department.

Your competitors may excel in areas where you’re lacking.

That’s okay for now. But it needs to be fixed before you fall too far behind.

Look at their social media presence

All businesses should have a presence on social media platforms.

For now, I’m going to assume your company is active on at least some of the most popular platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

If not, you need to follow my social media guide.

For those of you who already have profiles set up, navigate to your competitors’ pages.

How active are they?

What are they posting?

Are their customers engaged with their posts, photos, videos, and comments?

Here’s an idea.

Start adding their followers.

These people are obviously interested in your industry if they are following your competitors.

Maybe they don’t know your company exists.

Don’t be selective. Add all of them.

The more people you add, the greater your chances of getting customers to follow you back will be.

Understand why consumers follow brands on social media:

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Once they start following you, it’s essential you keep them engaged.

Keep in mind, some of these people may have already established a brand loyalty with your competition.

You really need to blow them away to convince them your brand is better.

See what kind of promotions your competitors are running on social media.

Try to run one that’s more appealing.

How do they incorporate videos into their social media marketing strategy?

Video content makes up more than 90% of Internet traffic.

You should be using live video to engage with your customers.

Even if that’s something your competition isn’t doing, it’s a great way to stay ahead of them.

Recognize areas needing improvement

Now that you’ve analyzed your competitors’ customers, websites, marketing strategies, and social platforms, it’s time to adjust your business.

Based on your research, what areas of your business need improvement?

Where do your competitors excel while you struggle?

There’s always room for improvement. Don’t be biased.

It’s okay to recognize your competitors are doing well.

Run a SWOT analysis:

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Here are some questions to ask yourself.

Strengths

  • What are you doing well?
  • How have you separated yourself from the competition?
  • What makes your company unique?

Weaknesses

  • What do you need to improve to compete with your top competitors?
  • What resources or tools do you need to achieve that?
  • Do you need to change your location or conversion method?

Opportunities

  • What is the current public perception of your company?
  • How can you target new customers based on your competition’s strategy?
  • Are there any new changes in the industry or market?

Threats

  • Which competitors are directly impacting your revenue?
  • What’s preventing you from improving your business?
  • How are you leaving yourself vulnerable to losing customers?

These questions are just a starting point.

You can take this SWOT analysis much further to make the necessary changes and improvements.

Conclusion

If you want to increase profits, start by analyzing your competition.

Competitor analysis is an effective strategy for businesses in all industries, whether your company is large, small, or somewhere in the middle.

The first thing you need to do is identify your top competitors.

Narrow this list down to 5 or 10 at the most.

Only look for direct competitors—not just any business similar yours.

Once you’ve identified these companies, you need to focus on their customers.

What’s their target market?

How are they appealing to these customers?

Focus on your Google ranking:

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Analyze your competition’s website to see what kind of SEO tactics they’re using.

Review their content, and compare it to your own.

What pages on their site generate the most user engagement?

Consider adding a blog to your website if you don’t have one already.

Check out the social media profiles of your top competitors.

Start adding their followers in an attempt to draw more customers to your business.

Use the SWOT analysis to recognize and implement any necessary changes.

Making these changes can help improve your business and increase profits.

Which online tools will you use to identify the top 5 direct competitors in your industry?





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Rainmaker Digital is at Your Service


We’ve launched a lot of things over the last decade. Software, SaaS, WordPress hosting, WordPress design frameworks, themes, courses, certification, live training, conferences, and membership communities. And we’ve delivered tons of free content to teach you how to perform digital marketing, design, and copywriting in a way that works. But we’ve never offered to do
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Why You Shouldn’t Do Keyword Research for Your Blog Posts (And What to Do Instead)


stop keyword research

Researching the right keyword for a blog post is often the first step taken when writing.

We’ve been told for years that we need to find the right keywords if we want any shot at ranking high in the SERPs.

We need to get the right keywords if we want our content to be relevant.

But that’s simply not true anymore. On top of that, you don’t have the time that it takes to scout long-tail keywords all day.

There are actually much more important things to focus on when it comes to blog posts.

Now don’t get me wrong, keyword research isn’t dead.

It’s still a very important aspect of search engine optimization and bringing in new organic, inbound traffic.

But for blogging, it shouldn’t be your main focus anymore.

There are more important things at stake that will truly separate your content from the rest.

The disadvantages of focusing your blogging strategy on keyword research far outweigh the advantages.

Unless your website has a domain authority of 90, you can’t target the best keywords.

But thankfully, you don’t have to.

Keyword research isn’t the gold standard for blog post traffic anymore.

Here’s why you shouldn’t do keyword research for your blog posts and what you should be doing instead.

Why you should skip keyword research for blogging

There are a few major reasons as to why blogging based on keyword research shouldn’t be the main focus of your time and efforts.

The first is simply because almost every keyword is too competitive. It can take hours upon hours to find a non-competitive one — if those even exist anymore.

Let me give you an example.

If you head to a keyword research tool like Moz’s Keyword Explorer, start by searching for a term that you want to target.

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For instance, I searched for “content marketing” to get relevant suggestions to topics that I want to rank for.

But quickly you will notice a disappointing trend.

One keyword dominates the volume spectrum and the rest are mediocre at best.

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You’ve got no shot at ranking for this. There isn’t even a point in trying. The difficulty is way too high, and the organic CTR potential isn’t great either.

So you scroll down the list to find a more long-tail version. But all the mediocre ones aren’t natural.

Meaning those long-tail keywords that you need to target read like “guide content marketing” or “seo tip guide.”

And even those low-volume ones are nearly impossible to rank for:

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There are ten searches a month for this term and it has a 72 difficulty.

Just look at the SERP analysis for this search term, too:

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Forbes, CMI and Huff Post.

And when you expand it, there’s even more bad news:

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There is no shot at ranking for this.

Keyword research is often a waste of time when it comes to blogging.

So why does this happen? Clearly, these top-ranking posts aren’t targeting the “quality content marketing” keyword.

It’s a sign that Google doesn’t work that way anymore.

Stuffing keywords in your HTML tags and within your content isn’t what ranks you.

It’s about producing the best content with a dynamic range of terms and context on the topic.

Context > keywords.

Google scans your page and understands if your topic is relevant to a search rather than looking for keywords to determine it.

Don’t waste your time searching for keywords when most are already crowded with top-ranking sites.

The second reason is that keywords for blog posts force you to write outside of your comfort zone.

And when it comes to SEO and content marketing, better content trumps keywords every single time.

No matter how great of a keyword you find, if you don’t have the best content on the Internet, you won’t get the most traffic.

People who know their stuff write the most revolutionary content on the Internet.

They have a specific niche.

For example, Jon Loomer is an expert when it comes to Facebook Ads.

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He has crafted a specific niche within the digital marketing world because he knows it.

All of his content is geared towards it.

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He doesn’t branch out and write about topics just because the keywords are appealing.

Why? Because the content wouldn’t be up to par with his standards.

He writes what he knows about. What he has direct experience with.

That’s the kind of content that performs best online, and that’s why keywords fall short.

They force you to branch out past your knowledge base and produce content that misses the mark.

So, what do you focus on instead? What do you replace keyword research with?

Here are a few things to focus on.

Focus on searcher intent instead

Searcher intent is everything when it comes to content for SEO and PPC.

In everything we do online, we should always be focused on fulfilling the needs, wants, and desires of the customer.

The customer is the lifeblood of our business and it’s what keeps us functioning.

But lots of posts lack searcher intent and therefore get lackluster results.

You can see this almost instantly in both PPC advertising and organic listings.

In PPC, for example, conduct a basic search for something like “best crm” and see what turns up:

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The results are specific CRM companies calling themselves the best.

Rated best. Best for small business.

But take a moment right now to dig deeper into that keyword “best crm.”

What do you think the searcher is looking for? What signals can you derive from it?

Well, usually when someone is searching for the term “best,” they are looking for comparisons, right?

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They want to know what the best product is. What’s the top-rated one? Which one should they choose?

“Best” signifies a desire to compare and review, not to instantly purchase a CRM claiming to be #1.

Scroll down to the organic results for this listing,= and you can see that Google has correctly intuited searcher intent:

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We also see this often in SEO.

For example, when you search for “how to do seo for small business,” you find a mixed bag of results all catering towards different intent:

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Almost all of these cater to the intent differently.

That shows me that marketers struggle to understand user intent, but that it’s also more important than ever.

It also shows me that there can be multiple forms of intent within a single keyword, which is why long-form content tends to dominate the competition.

Why? It includes everything, from start to finish.

So, how do you start to focus more on searcher intent?

Well, a strategy that works for me is to think about your topic first and then conduct a basic Google search.

Let’s say you want to write about “PPC vs SEO.” Start by using a Google search to see what other companies have determined the intent to be:

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This is pretty solid. But the intent of this keyword is also easy to understand.

Someone simply wants to discover what is worth their time and money, and likely, what produces the best return on their investment.

But what about a difficult long-tail keyword like “is seo good for my website:”

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Now you’ve got another mixed bag of results where it’s nearly impossible to determine intent instantly based on previous posts.

But this is also a good thing!

If you find this, you potentially have a huge win in the making.

What I mean by this is the fact that people haven’t tapped into the intent yet. They aren’t sure yet what works best.

This gives you a huge opportunity.

To decipher the intent, I like to find specific words that stand out.

Here are a few to be aware of and the common intent behind them:

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These are some of the most common words you’ll find in long-tail search terms and the typical intent behind them.

Try putting this into practice the next time you target topics to understand how your positioning will impact CTR and traffic.

The better you line up with searcher intent, the more click-throughs you will get.

Write the best content that you can write

Blogging used to work like this:

You’d fire up the Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner tool and find a new term that was relevant to your business.

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For example, maybe you run a search engine optimization agency and you want to rank for “long-tail keywords.”

You see that it has 4,000 monthly searches for volume and a moderate difficulty score.

You repeat this process until you’ve got a list of 50 target keywords.

Next, you write 50 blog posts at 500 words each and stuff the keyword in the title, description, headers and anywhere else possible.

Sit back and watch the traffic roll on in, right?

Wrong. In a world where there are millions of blog posts published daily, you shouldn’t be focusing on keywords.

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When you do so, you pigeonhole yourself into a box that becomes inescapable.

You don’t need keywords. You need to pump out valuable content.

Keywords force you to conform to a search in a way that becomes detrimental to your blog post.

Instead, try to focus on writing about topics that you know and love. Writing pieces that fundamentally change the way someone looks at a topic.

For example, this is exactly what Brian Dean of Backlinko does.

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He posts irregularly on his blog because all of his posts are monumental and focused on a single topic: traffic.

He only writes what he knows most about rather than conforming to keyword data to get extra traffic.

His skyscraper post on SEO revolutionized how we think about content marketing and link building.

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He wasn’t focused on nailing the right term as much as he was on producing content that would cause a shift in the digital marketing world.

Always stay true to yourself — don’t let keywords control your content strategy.

Get real topic suggestions from Google

Keyword research takes up way too much time.

Finding the right terms with the right volume in your niche is futile.

Want an easier way to find fast topics that real people are searching for?

Let Google do the work for you.

Google currently compiles frequently asked questions on topics as well as other searches conducted by users around specific topics:

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This data is invaluable and I am still shocked that Google shows it to us.

It blows keyword research out of the water because it gives you ideas for semantic keywords.

Semantic keywords are those that give your content some context, allowing you to possibly show up for multiple terms with a single post.

Head to Google and search for a topic that you want to write about.

For example, I recently wanted to write about artificial intelligence and how it impacts marketing.

So I went to Google and searched for it to see other industry perspectives and gather some keyword data.

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To find ideas and instant contextual keyword data, scroll to the bottom of the search results page.

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Now I’ve got a complete list of searches related to my original query.

This is how you add context to your content. How you tell Google that you are providing the right information.

My usual next step is to use these to form a basic outline for a new post.

For example, I could structure it like this:

Header: Original keyword query of “artificial intelligence marketing.”

Intro: How will AI impact marketing?

Body 1: Application of artificial intelligence in marketing

Body 2: Content marketing and artificial intelligence

Body 3: Software trends

Conclusion

Notice how I used those directly-related queries to structure my content?

Now I have the opportunity to show up for multiple relevant search terms and I am providing a user with the perfect overall experience.

Those related searches represent what someone searched after they searched for your original term.

Meaning they are also interested in those, so it’s crucial to touch on them in your article if you want them to stay.

Google offers you free data. You just have to use it.

Plus, it’s much faster than digging around for keywords in a keyword tool.

Write real content for real searches and for real people.

Repeat this process for any term and you will turn up great results that you can use to form long, guided content that keeps the user coming back for more.

Steal ideas from on-site search data

When all else fails, and you still feel the need to have some keyword relevance in your blog posts, the best place to turn is on-site search data.

If you don’t have on-site search, you should consider using it.

It’s a great way to help users find content faster and it has no downsides.

If you run on WordPress, try adding it fast with a plugin:

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On-site search can give you direct data on why people landed on your site.

What content are they looking for from you? Do you currently know?

If you don’t, you could be missing out on a big opportunity to fulfill the needs of current customers and drive new visits, too.

When you log in to Google Analytics, you can easily pull up data from your on-site search.

Head to the behavior report section under site search and locate the search terms report:

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Now you can see all of the common terms that people are searching for on your own site.

If you start to notice trends and topics that you haven’t covered, that is a perfect opportunity for new content.

Even if you have written about that topic, can you add to it?

Are there related searches where you can combine content into a long-form guide?

The options are limitless here, and the data is critical.

Try utilizing this feature to instantly add valuable keywords to your content or even to expand on existing posts.

Conclusion

Keyword research was once the gold standard of blog post writing.

Before doing anything, you needed to find the right keyword, right?

Once you’d done that, you could then write the content.

We’ve been told for years by the top industry experts that finding the right long-tail keyword is the key to blogging success.

Want to remain relevant? To drive more traffic? Keywords are your savior.

Except that they aren’t anymore.

Simply adding a keyword to your title tag and H1 and H2 tags won’t double your growth.

We need to start focusing less on keywords and more on writing real content for real users.

Writing content that inspires people on topics that you know rather than trying to get the #1 spot for a crazy keyword.

Start focusing on searcher intent to understand what the searcher wants. Do they want a comparison? A review?

You can even steal topic ideas from your own on-site search functionality and Google.

Try focusing on writing the best content you can and the results will come over time.

A keyword isn’t going to make or break your traffic, but your dedication to writing better content will.

What role do you think keywords play in the blogging process?

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9 Simple High ROI Shopping Cart Abandonment Prevention Tactics


How are you handling your shopping cart abandonment?

The first step is for you to track and recognize how many shoppers are leaving items in their carts without finalizing the purchases.

If you’re not addressing it, you’re missing out on sales.

Take a moment to ask yourself how you can improve the customer experience.

Is there a problem with your conversion funnel?

image13

This is a basic visualization of how companies create conversions.

First, the consumer becomes aware of your brand, products, or services.

Next, they have a need or want that sparks interest in something more specific.

Once the consumer knows what they want, they consider the purchase.

Adding a product to their shopping cart definitely qualifies as the consideration part of this conversion funnel process.

They are just one step away—or even one click away—from finalizing the sale.

So, what’s the problem?

Let’s take a look at a conversion funnel with some holes in the process:

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If customers are getting all the way to the shopping cart, I’m willing to bet you don’t have a problem with your homepage or product service page.

What about your contact page or customer service information availability?

It’s possible the customer doesn’t feel comfortable finalizing the purchase based on the provided information about your business, reputation, warranty, or return policy.

But again, they’ve already made it to the checkout page with items in the cart.

So, I think this is another unlikely scenario.

The issue has to be in the final step of your conversion process.

I’ll show you some techniques that will minimize shopping cart abandonment on your platform and increase your conversion rates.

1. Recognize that customers are price sensitive

Your prices may be deterring the consumer from finalizing their purchase.

Look, I get it.

Obviously, you’re trying to make a buck.

I’m not telling you to start giving everything away.

You should be making a healthy profit on each transaction.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some numbers:

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Unexpected prices are the number one reason why customers are abandoning shopping carts.

So, the initial price of your item might be okay.

But the added charges are turning customers away.

Some examples of these extra charges may include:

  • Sales tax
  • Shipping
  • Processing fees
  • Any other hidden charges

Is there a way you can eliminate some of these?

Here’s an idea.

Maybe you can take on the shipping fee.

Instead of putting that burden on the customer, you can adjust the original prices of your products to account for the shipping charges.

Will the customer end up paying more?

Yes.

But it’s not an unexpected charge.

You’ve got to find a middle ground.

Based on the graph above, the price was a factor in three of the top four reasons why people abandon shopping carts.

Try to keep your prices competitive while still generating a nice profit.

You may end up making slightly less money each transaction, but it’s worth it if you can increase the transaction rate.

2. Make sure your website and checkout procedures are secure

In the last five years, 46% of Americans were victims of credit card fraud.

That’s an alarming number.

Americans are the targets of nearly half of all the credit card breaches worldwide.

Consider these numbers for a second.

Have you had a credit card breached?

Do you know someone who’s been a victim of credit card fraud?

This is a legitimate concern for people.

Your customers may have had a bad experience in the past, and that is making them hesitant about online purchases.

The purchase process on your website needs to be secure.

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You are responsible for your customers’ credit card information.

Don’t be the reason for their accounts getting hacked.

Take the proper security measures and place the corresponding badges on the checkout page, similar to the graphic above.

Make sure your website is secure.

Is your website running on an HTTPS connection?

Look at the example from Dick’s Sporting Goods:

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See the secure sign?

It makes the consumer feel more comfortable at the checkout page.

Personally, it’s a red flag for me if I don’t see this while I’m shopping.

I won’t be entering any of my personal or credit card information on a web page that’s not secure.

Quick side note: notice Dick’s offers free returns on its apparel?

I wanted to point that out as well. It makes the customer feel better about the checkout process.

A secure website and checkout process need to be a priority for your ecommerce store.

3. Allow your customers to check out without creating a profile

Obviously, you want customers to have an account with your company.

It’s a great way to track their behavior and keep them informed of special offers and promotions.

However, you shouldn’t be forcing people to create a user profile just to make a purchase.

Why?

  1. It’s an extra step. People are in a rush, and you want the procedure to be quick.
  2. They may have a fear of getting unwanted emails, text messages, or junk mail.

If your website doesn’t have a guest checkout option, you’re making a mistake.

Here’s an example from Lululemon of the guest checkout option:

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It’s a really clean checkout page.

There are two clear options.

Returning users can easily sign into their accounts, and customers without an account can proceed without creating one.

This ensures you aren’t losing sales.

Here’s the thing, though. In order to complete the checkout process, the customer still needs to enter their information.

You’ll have their name, email address, location, and other information.

Once the sale is final, you can entice them to create an account.

All they need to do is create a password.

You already have everything else in your records, so they don’t need to submit information twice.

Here’s a great example of what this should look like:

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Give the customer a reason to create an account.

Refer to the image above.

What’s the customer getting in return?

  • Option to track the order
  • Exclusive discounts

But they shouldn’t be forced to create a profile just to make a purchase.

Make sure that’s optional.

4. Accept a wide range of payment options for the customer

What kind of payment options are you accepting?

Visa only?

You don’t accept Discover cards?

I understand.

Certain credit card companies have higher processing fees than others.

Accepting transactions from PayPal or similar platforms could be even more costly.

By not accepting certain payment methods, you could be turning customers away.

You might think that everyone has one of the credit cards you accept, but that’s not always the case.

Give the consumer lots of options.

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Do you accept Apple Pay?

There are nearly 86 million iPhone users in the United States.

Last year, Apply pay transactions grew at a 50% rate.

These numbers show alternative payment methods are trending upward.

Don’t fall behind the curve.

If you’re accepting only one or two payment forms, it could be the cause for your shopping cart abandonment.

The customer gets to the checkout process only to discover you’re not offering their preferred payment option.

5. The process needs to be mobile friendly

Is your website mobile friendly?

Is the checkout procedure optimized for mobile devices?

It needs to be.

Research shows 84% of smartphone users have experienced a problem completing a mobile transaction.

And 40% of users will go to your competitor after an unsatisfactory experience on your mobile site.

What do these numbers tell you?

People want to shop on their phones.

Here’s some additional information about mobile users:

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Nearly 5 billion people have a mobile device across the world.

Of course, not all these people are your potential customers.

But a large chunk of them could be.

Don’t alienate people from shopping on their mobile devices.

It’s estimated that half of ecommerce transactions take place on mobile platforms.

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That number is only going to grow.

If getting to a laptop or desktop is the only way for your customers to shop, it could be hurting your sales.

Make sure your checkout procedure is optimized for mobile devices to decrease your shopping cart abandonment rates.

6. Don’t let your competitors steal your customers

How unique is your product or service?

Chances are, you don’t own the space outright.

You have plenty of competition.

It’s not always easy to compete with the big players like Amazon or Walmart.

Earlier we looked at a graph that said 36% of shoppers abandoned a shopping cart because they found a better price elsewhere.

If your prices are higher, that needs to be justified.

Make sure your quality and service are outstanding.

Your customer needs to understand this.

The website needs to load fast.

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Don’t make the process too complex.

We know that 25% of shoppers will abandon their shopping carts if the navigation is too complicated.

They will go to your competitors instead.

Be aware of how your competitors are operating.

It’s always helpful to use competitor analysis tools to improve your traffic.

7. Send an email reminder if a cart is abandoned

Okay. So you may not be able to prevent everyone from abandoning their shopping carts.

Even if you decrease the abandonment rate, you won’t get that number down to zero.

Where do you go from here?

Don’t give up just because a customer abandoned their cart.

If you have their information, reach out and send them a reminder.

Here’s a great example from Saatchi Art:

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This email accomplishes a few things:

  1. reminds the customer of their shopping
  2. creates a sense of urgency
  3. offers an extra incentive

The reminder alone may be enough to get the customer to finalize their purchase.

But if it’s not, it creates a sense of urgency by saying “high sell-out risk.”

We’ll get into some more detail on this method shortly.

It also provides an extra incentive by offering a 10% discount.

Earlier we discussed that customers are price sensitive.

They may have abandoned the cart for financial reasons.

Giving the consumer a discount will show them you care.

That promotion may be enough of a reason for them to finish the checkout.

8. Use A/B testing to simplify your checkout process

How long does it take the customers to make a purchase on your site?

Every extra click they have to make gives them a chance to second-guess their decision.

You can run an A/B test to see which checkout procedure is more successful.

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Here’s the checkout progress bar from Crate & Barrel:

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It’s a quick checkout process.

  • Shipping info
  • Payment info
  • Place order

Three steps and done.

Here’s an example from another website:

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Their process is six steps.

That’s double the number of Crate & Barrel’s process.

If you have a long checkout system, I suggest you shorten the process significantly.

Still not convinced?

Run an A/B test.

Use your current system as the control group and a shorter version as the experimental group.

See if you notice a difference in your shopping cart abandonment statistics between these two groups.

9. Create a sense of urgency

Earlier I mentioned that Saatchi Art created a sense of urgency with their abandonment recovery email.

FOMO—the fear of missing out.

You can do this on your checkout page as well to reduce cart abandonment.

Some customers are just browsing.

New customers most likely won’t buy something on their first visit to your website.

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But you can give them an extra incentive to finalize their purchases.

Create a sense of urgency.

  • “Limited quantity remaining”
  • “Sale price expires at midnight”
  • “14 people booked this flight in the last 24 hours”
  • “9 other people are looking at this room right now”

I’m sure you’ve seen phrasing like this before while browsing online.

Hotels and airlines do this all the time.

Act now, or miss out.

You can incorporate this psychological strategy into your checkout process to minimize cart abandonment.

Conclusion

Shopping cart abandonment is a problem for your ecommerce website.

You’re not alone.

It’s not too late to make changes to your checkout process to prevent future cart abandonment.

Follow the advice above to keep your abandonment rates low while increasing your conversion rates and revenue.

Customers are price sensitive. Don’t hit them with any unexpected charges.

You need to accept multiple forms of payment while also making sure the payment procedure is completely secure. Customers won’t shop on your website if they think their credit card information is at risk.

Don’t force shoppers to create a customer profile to check out. Instead, offer a user account as an option after they complete the process.

Make sure your site is optimized for mobile devices. If not, your customers will go to your competition.

The checkout process needs to be short. You can run an A/B test to play with different options and formats.

Create a sense of urgency to avoid cart abandonment: if the customer doesn’t act now, they may not be able to get this product in the future.

Even if someone abandons their cart, it’s not too late. Send them an email to remind them about the product.

You can also offer a discount or promotion as an extra incentive to finalize the sale.

How will you implement these methods on your ecommerce checkout page to minimize shopping cart abandonment rates?





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