Running an online business is tough, that's for sure. You have to know your numbers and know what your visitors, readers and customers want to see on your site in order to convert browsers into long time customers.
I haven't talked about the business side of things for a while here on Maker Monologues so I thought I'd share one of my favorite business apps, and the best part is, it's free! Of course they have paid options but I find the free option works for exactly what I need.
Sumo is an app that helps you with your website growth. From collecting emails, to seeing how well your content is performing, to knowing exactly where people are clicking on your website.
- Not sure if you should place that navigation menu there? Test it with Heat Maps.
- Wondering why no one is opting into your email list after reading a blog post? Try Content Analytics.
I'll go over these in more depth in just a minute.
First, I want to share this awesome giveaway they're hosting! And no, this is not sponsored, all opinions are my own, I don't get paid if you enter this giveaway. However, I am an affiliate for Sumo and I do get a commission if you purchase one of their plans. I've been using their services for both my jewelry website and this website for nearly 2 years now.
Now that I've stated my disclaimer, let's get on to the good stuff!
The prizes are simply amazing!
- If you win, you will get the Sumo eCommerce plan FREE FOR LIFE! Technically you get free access to it for 1,201 years because they're valuing it at $239,040. So even if you decide to become an online entrepreneur in your afterlife, you're covered, for like, 12 lifetimes.
- Next, if you win, Sumo will pay your eCommerce service provider bill FOR LIFE as well! That's if you choose to go with either Shopify or Big Commerce (take it from someone who sells on Shopify, Shopify is THE best!). And this is valued at $60,000 and they'll pay up to $1,000 per year.
That means you can get a really great plan on Shopify with everything you could ever need to run your handmade business. Or, if you choose the more expensive plan, you still get $1,000 off per year!
So, I know you're probably thinking to hell with the rest of this blog post, I want to go enter the giveaway right now! And no, I'm not going to make you wait until the end to give you the link.
To those of you who are curious about these Sumo guys, let's jump into some of the awesome tools they offer small businesses!
1. Heat Maps
This is one of my favorite Sumo tools. You can turn this on for any of your web pages, blog post, listings, etc. And what this does is it records where on that page people are clicking. Here's an example from my newest collection page:
You can literally see where people are clicking. This is great insight for many reasons.
- You can see if your new optin box is being seen by the number of clicks it's getting.
- You can test out different copy (ex. "Learn More" instead of "Buy Now") to see which one gets more clicks.
- You can also, like in my case here, see which products are most enticing and compare that to your sales. I know that my statement pieces bring people in the virtual door, but they end up buying the less bold pieces.
2. Content Analytics
This is another really great tool that I often like to use in conjunction with the Heat Maps. With this tool you can see how far down a page people are reading. This is a great tool for blog posts and sales pages. Here's an example from my recent blog post on Halloween costumes:
You can see at the top of the blog post it tells you how many and what percentage of people are reading.
Then you can see at which point most people get to, which they call "Average Read". And this was pretty far down this blog post which is pretty good for me. You can see the number of people and the percentage at this point as well.
And then it tells you how many people actually read through to the very bottom, which is always a pretty poor number compared to the number of people you started with, ha!
This tool also has some pretty cool benefits.
- You can figure out the best place to add your email optin box, or other call to actions, where most people will still see it.
- Understand your target customer better and tailor the length of your blog posts to fit their reading habits.
- It can keep you accountable by constantly optimizing and making your blog posts more enticing and fun to read, then you can see that bottom percentage rise!
3. List Builder
My 3rd favorite, and most important, tool is Sumo's List Builder. It's an email optin popup, but with courtesy.
For example, you can:
- Set your popup to only show to those who are just about to leave your site.
- Set it to popup after 1 minute of them browsing your site (and if someone sticks on your site for more than 40 seconds they're probably a little interested).
- Or you can have it popup as soon as they land on your site.
Here's what my popup looks like:
I really shouldn't have to list the benefits of using an email optin popup but here we go.
- A popup, while it can be invasive, is still a great way of making sure your visitors know you have an email list they can join.
- Having the option to set your optin box to popup at the most optimal time that's convenient for your visitors and interested prospects.
- Collecting emails is essential to your business growth. It's the ONLY audience you own. Need I say more?
4. Smart Bar
The Smart Bar is a completely customization promotional bar that sits at the top of your website. You can use it to:
- Collect emails
- Promot a new product
- Link to anything you want!
- And much more
Here's what it could look like as an email optin:
Here's what it could look like to promot new products:
Or, you can just use it as a simple announcment, like order delays, holiday cut-off dates, vacation memos, etc.
You can also make this a scroll box where the box scrolls with the page so it's never out of view, or even what's called a Click Trigger Box where it will appear when someone clicks something on your website.
This is a great social tool to help your visitors easily share snippets of your content!
Here's an example:
You and your visitors can simply highlight a sentence and a popup will appear where they can easily click a Twitter or Facebook icon to instantly share that sentence to their social media. And, you'll automatically get tagged when they share it to Twitter. It also always shares the source link.
Here's that exact post now on my Twitter feed with just one click of the mouse!
Then, back on that blog post, you can see where someone highlighted and shared that sentence so the next person that comes along can simply click it and share rather than highlighting the whole sentence again. It also has some social proof, it shows you how many people shared that sentence!
Share is that tool you see on the left side of both my jewelry website and on this blog. It's just a simple social share tab that allows visitors to share any of your web page to their social media, in text or via email. You can choose from many different social media platforms to allow share access to.
No need for a screen capture here, just take a look.
<--- Right here.
Sumo has a plethora of other awesome tools that I couldn't possibly list here, like Image Sharer where visitors can share any image from your website easily, Live Chat which is exactly how it sounds, Welcome Mat which is a full page call to action where you can collect emails, direct visitors to a popular blog post or product, plus many more.
Just to reiterate, Sumo is totally free to use and all the tools I've talked about here are all a part of the free plan, but they do have paid options for those who want more. I believe you can install it on just about any website platform, except for Wordpress and Wix. I use it on my Shopify site and right here on Squarespace.
So, you probably want to install Sumo on your site and begin cyber stalking your visitors, right?
So, if you've made it this far chances are you're pretty interested in trying Sumo. Which Sumo tool are you most excited about trying first?