Three free ways to improve your website ahead of the festive season

As businesses prepare for the festive season, Mark Randall shares three simple and free tips to improve a brand’s website and influence customers to make a purchase.

With Australia’s COVID-19 cases decreasing rapidly and restrictions easing across the country, many business owners are gearing up for a strong Christmas trading season.

Investments towards marketing and communication are usually the first to be cut when budgets are tight. A business’ website is the single most important channel when communicating online, and can make or break a customer’s decision to make a purchase. Below are three completely free ways a business can improve its website in preparation for the festive season.

Ask for referrals

Building a bank of positive referrals can be incredibly powerful. Referrals play into the psychology of the consumer decision-making process: Need Recognition, Information Search, Evaluation, Product Purchase and Post-Purchase Evaluation. Positive referrals are impactful because they speak to every step in the buying decision process and have an influence on those who are yet to make a purchase.

Of all consumer groups, Gen Z is highly influenced by positive product reviews. 73 percent of Gen Z are more likely to buy a product if they know others like it – this is compared to 45 percent of Boomers. A great way to encourage customers to leave positive reviews is to offer discounts that contribute to their next purchase. Discounts positioned as rewards can also help to build loyalty among key clientele. Make sure consumers are aware that the referral initiative exists by communicating it strategically on your business’ website and include it in your e-newsletters and e-receipts. If you’re selling products on third-party sites like Amazon, make sure to look up the rules on reviews.

Collect and analyse data

Collecting and analysing customer data is imperative, as it allows businesses to understand the purchasing patterns and behaviours of their core consumer base. It is often thought that when a business isn’t processing high sales volumes that their sales strategy needs to be broadened to reach more potential consumers. This is not always the case.

Expert business strategists like Perry Marshall, swear by the 80/20 Pareto Principle and use the theory as the foundation to form sales strategies. From a sales perspective, the principle suggests that 80 percent of a business’ sales come from 20 percent of its customer base. The theory insinuates that tailoring a business’ offerings to its core customer base will lead to higher sales numbers, than if a business were to try and please as many customers as possible.

For those using WordPress, simply adding form plugins like Metorik can help you collect, analyse, and personalise data.

Improve website speed

Website speed plays a big role in a customer’s online experience. It is a key determinant for bounce rate, conversions, customer satisfaction and SEO rankings.

There are a few measures businesses can take to improve the response rate of their website. High resolution images that aren’t optimised, unnecessary plug-ins, extensions, add-ons, carousels, sliders and particular fonts are all examples of web elements that could be weighing down a site. The more assets on a site, the more a visitor’s browser has to download. Be selective on what is installed on the website, and remove anything that isn’t being utilised. In saying this, businesses should never remove important or necessary site elements just to save a few milliseconds.

Mark Randall is the country manager, ANZ, of WP Engine.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash.