Traffic acquisition has always had a prominent spot on yearly goals and product roadmaps. But how about conversion optimization? Not quite there yet, despite all the talk about ROI positive initiatives. Traffic is undoubtedly the first step, but conversions are where the money and long term value reside. Conversion optimization has been predicted as one of the top SEO strategies for 2011.
Shopping engines can drive tons of traffic from qualified, targeted buyers to your products. How about conversions? It’s time to ask. If you are tracking conversions, you’re in the game. Here’s how to play it to win.
Read on for 6 easy steps to achieve higher converting traffic from shopping engines.
1. Utilize Built-in ROI Trackers
Ask your shopping engine account manager if your account has an ROI tracker installed. It will allow you to review performance on both a category and product level by tracking sales, cost and conversion rates.
To bid smart, determine your return on ad spend and then find out what it takes to bid by category as well as on a product level. Request ongoing performance reports as well as specific recommendations on how your account can achieve higher conversions and lower cost of sales.
Be wary of GIGO! When working with search engines of any type (product, travel, health or any other), garbage in is garbage out. Bad titles and descriptions will get you impressions for bad searches and tank your conversions. You will end up paying for poor quality traffic that has no chance of converting.
- Provide up to date product feeds. Outdated feeds may get you traffic, but the conversions and customer experience will be horrendous. Every interaction a shopper has with your site is an opportunity to build loyalty and lifetime customer value. An outdated feed reflects very poorly on your online presence and is bad for your brand as well.
- Optimize product titles and descriptions. Provide accurate and descriptive product titles. Always include the brand (for example Fisher-Price), product type (Rainforest 1-2-3 musical gym) and model number where relevant. Avoid grandiose names and technical jargon in product titles and descriptions. Search marketing is pull marketing where the user defines what they are looking for. If your product title does not match what the user is looking for and has its own terminology, it will never get found.
3. Provide MSRP Prices In The Feed
Shopping search engines do a ton of data extraction, analysis and processing to provide valuable research information and accurate data points to savvy shoppers. Providing accurate prices and additional details about your product can be the difference between an impression and a sale.
Shopping engines like Bizrate, Pricegrabber and Become.com highlight products with a percentage off or pop & save offers, leading to higher conversions for your product when the user is able to see that they are getting a good deal.
4. Call Out Your Promotions
When faced with dozens of products that match their requirements, what would make the user choose your product? What differentiates your product? Do you offer free shipping, exchanges or lowest price guarantees? Tell shoppers why they should choose you, and do it for every product listing you can.
5. Highlight Seasonal Products
Shopping search engines attract shoppers on thousands of keywords and customize their content and site experience for seasonal events. Supplement your product feed with seasonal data and update titles, descriptions to include seasonal messaging, such as ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts.
Provide top selling products by season. Share data on new products well in advance. Talk to your account manager to find out if there are additional opportunities like contests, shopping guides, editor’s picks or Top 10 gift idea lists that can feature your products.
6. Audit Landing Pages With An Eye Toward Conversions
Go back to the fundamentals of website conversion. With all the changes to your website over the years, you may have lost a lot of the features that once worked; make sure you have these basics in place:
- Provide an updated feed to ensure that you do not attract and pay for traffic to your site if the product is out of stock. If the product is out of stock, provide the option for the shopper to be notified when the item is available.
- Does your landing page have a strong call to action? For example, “add to cart” or “add to favorites”. Don’t have too many calls to action on the same page. Focus on one.
- Provide clear, large images and detailed product specifications in your feed to shopping engines, as well as on your site.
- Offer something extra. It could be free shipping, limited time discount, coupon code, 14 day returns or warranties.
- Show progress through the conversion process. Shopping cart abandonment happens when shoppers are passed through multiple pages without an end in sight and without keeping information about the product, cost and other details on the page.
- Security and trust is important in any money transaction. Provide assurance that the payment system is secure. Display testimonials and reviews for the product on the payment page reassuring the shopper that this is a good buy.
Cleaning Up = Increased Conversions
The key takeaway is that it’s time to clean up. Go back to your data feeds and question what is in there, what could be cleaned up and what could be added. Ask how quickly your products make it to the shopping engine index, how frequently they are updated and what you could do to get more visibility.
You might also be surprised at the number of initiatives being tested and executed at large shopping engines. Reach out to your account manager and get them involved in your campaign performance to give yourself the competitive edge. Search marketing is about results and continuous improvements. Team up with your account manager to get your share of traffic, but more importantly, a larger share of conversions.