Everything You Need to Know About Digital Sales, You Learned in the Outdoors, Part 3

Your most valuable resource is perseverance.

By Mary Iannotti December 13, 2017
This is Part 3 of a three-part series. Read Part 1Read Part 2.

Do you get a seasonal flurry of online sales followed by a steep drop and period of hibernation every year? 

Does it make you nervous about putting too many eggs in your e-commerce basket? Are you left wondering how best to tap into the expanding online retail economy, which, according to Business Insider, is outpacing brick-and-mortar growth by nearly 300 percent? 

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, your instinct might be to dial back your digital marketing. Don’t.  

Outdoor athletes never pull back their training when they log a defeat. Dialing it back is not in their DNA.  

After years of success, the past couple of seasons for Lindsey Vonn were riddled with injuries and a few disappointing finishes. Did she throw in the towel? Hardly. 

She readjusted her plan, persevered, and, in early 2017, clinched her 77th career World Cup win in her second race after major surgery.  

Take a page out of Vonn’s book. If you don’t see the results you’re looking for, step back to figure out what’s not working. Readjust your digital sales funnel, and get back in the race.  

Vonn analyzes films of her races so she can improve. Like Vonn, you can analyze your traffic by digging into website data. It will tell you what’s working and where there are opportunities for improvement.  


Get Visitor Feedback Through Website Testing 

A/B website testing (also called split testing) compares two versions of the same web page to see which one performs better. For example, you can compare two headlines or two calls-to-action by sending similar traffic to two pages at the same time. The page with the better conversion rate wins, and the winning headline or CTA gets used going forward. 

Sport Chek, a sporting goods retailer, recently did an A/B test on how to best message its free-shipping promotion. As this case study reveals, the test provided real and actionable data that resulted in a 7.3-percent increase in transactions. 

New to A/B testing? Check out this tutorial by Peep Laja, a recognized web optimizer at ConversionXL. 

Do Your Visitors Prefer a Slider or a Static Image? 

In Part 2 of this series, we weighed the pros and cons of page-top image sliders and whether they attract or distract visitors from your sales funnel. 

The best way to find out is through A/B testing. If this is your first test, hire a conversion optimizer to set it up or coach you through the process.  

You’ll need a big enough sample size to validate your test. Online calculators can help you determine a statistically significant sample size for your site. 

Set up a test that sends half of your visitors to a home page with the slider and the other half to a duplicate home page that has a static image. All other elements on the page must remain the same. Once your test hits statistical significance, you’ll see the winner. 

Website Usability Testing: A Gateway Into Your Visitor’s Mind 

Watching a video of visitors accomplishing a task on your site is a quick way to fix flaws in your sales navigation system. By asking them to say exactly what they’re thinking while they use your site, you can hone in on problems in your sales funnel. 

I conducted my first usability test while I was a marketer at Good Samaritan Medical Center.  

From the videos, I learned that people had problems finding a doctor on the website. This difficulty couldn’t stand because, just as in e-commerce, customer service heavily influences brand loyalty in the medical field. 

I streamlined the path to locate a doc and put the website back on track to helping the center achieve a top business goal of building its patient base. 

To get started with usability testing, check out Steve Krug’s book, Don’t Make Me Think. It’s a classic that every website manager and designer must read. 

UserTesting  and Try My UI  offer cost-effective usability testing. Whenever possible, ask people from your target audience to test your site through one of these service providers. 

This is Part 3 of a three-part series. Read Part 1Read Part 2.