10 Secrets of Sales-Driven Websites
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makes a website successful? It depends on what the
explicit goal of the website is. If the goal is to
make money, then a successful site is one that makes
you more money than it costs you to maintain, manage,
market and update.
So what should
you do to ensure your website generates substantial sales?
In order for a website to make you money, you have to know what
its specific goals are first. Just like any good small business
consultant will advise you to create a business plan before you
start your business, a good Web consultant will suggest that you
create a website plan, with specific, written goals. “I want
it to make me money” is not enough. "I would like my
site to generate 1000 unique visits a month, produce 100 new leads
a month, and create 25 new sales a month” would be much more
useful, even if you don’t hit your targets.
You must know who is currently and will be coming to your website.
It is very important to have a clear picture of your typical visitor.
The more specific demographic information you have, the better.
That way you can tailor your website’s look & feel, writing
and calls-to-action properly.
Once you know who your visitors are, you can craft your writing
accordingly. Clear, concise, grammatically correct, verbiage is
necessary to make sales, regardless of your audience. Furthermore,
the less big blocks of text the better. Bullets, headlines and very
short paragraphs are much more likely to be read online than large
amounts of uninterrupted text.
should only talk about what you can do for your visitor. It ought
to explain to each reader why buying your product or service will
make their life easier, richer, more comfortable, or make them more
attractive, intelligent, or successful. In other words, your website
copy should very clearly explain how you will somehow improve each
reader’s life. Therefore, the use of the word “you”
is vital in any sales-driven website copy. And your writing should
be descriptive, action-oriented and use active verbs instead of
passive verbs. “You will learn more by . . .”, “Buy
Now” and “Get your Free download” are examples.
So one secret
of a website that generates sales is that the writing on the site
describes specific benefits the site visitor will enjoy if they
buy the product or service. It is action-oriented, uses the words
“you” and “yours”, and stays away from simply
Calls to Action
Asking your visitor to do something specific is a call to action.
At the end of every site section or page, you need to include a
call to action. It can be as simple as, “Click here to register”,
“Contact Us Now” or “Go here to download your
free Guide”. A sales-driven Web page will describe specific
benefits to the visitor in its headlines, bullet points and short
paragraphs, and then ask the visitor to take an action at the end.
Don’t leave your potential customers hanging. Instead, compel
them to do something that will bring them closer to buying.
from Brick & Mortar Retailers – Show Visitors Where To
If you walk into any successful retail store and pay close attention,
you’ll notice that there are actually paths already mapped
out for you to follow. This is done on purpose by the store designers
to maximize sales. They lead you down paths that they know will
increase your chances of buying. They put things in your way that
tempt you to buy.
You too should
create specific paths in your website that will take full advantage
of your sales and marketing efforts. If you have a particular page
in your site that acts as your sales page, be sure to make the link
to it prominent on your homepage, and every page for that matter.
This sales page ought to have a call to action at the end of it
that points to your shopping cart or sign-up page. Don’t let
your site visitors wander your site. Set up the navigation in a
deliberate way to generate more sales.
A good example
of retail stores coaxing more sales out if its customers is all
the small-ticket items they sell at the checkout counter. These
impulse items are specifically there to attempt to get a couple
of extra dollars out of each customer who is waiting in line. How
can this translate into your website? At the virtual checkout in
your site, add other, less expensive, complimentary items that they
can click to add to their cart right there.
Tell your site
visitors what you want them to do and where to go. Stepping them
through your site the way you want them to go will increase and
streamline your sales.
Distract your Visitors
If you point people to where you want them to go, thereby increasing
your sales potential, be sure not to distract them along the way.
Don’t include annoying animation or Flash unless absolutely
necessary. Don’t offer lots of superfluous links on the “Buy
Now” page, otherwise a significant percentage of people who
are about to buy will wander away via the extra links.
People will almost always look at pictures before they read anything.
Images that invoke emotion are particularly effective. If you’re
selling products then you obviously will benefit if you include
pictures of each product. Product images should communicate how
they benefit the potential customer. If you’re selling flowers,
a picture of a bouquet on a table is not as effectual as a woman
in a front door beaming from ear to ear as a man in a suit hands
her that same bouquet.
More Than Just a Sales Pitch
If you include free information on your site, interspersed with
calls to action you are more likely to build trust and comfort among
your potential website visitors. By offering free information related
to your product or service you’re showing your visitors that
you have their best interest in mind. You can’t just say “We
have your best interest in mind”, you have to actually show
it, and free, useful information does just that. By allowing people
to get used to you by first offering free information, you make
it more likely that they’ll buy from you in the future.
People don’t buy from people or websites they don’t
trust. Offering free information is one way to accomplish this.
Others ways include offering a good return policy, posting a privacy
policy link on every page, and making it extremely easy to contact
Nurture Existing Website Customers
Selling to someone who bought from you in the past is easier than
selling to someone for the first time. Treat existing customers
special by offering them discounts or designating certain site sections
only for their use. Include a bookmark feature on each page of your
site so that visitors can bookmark your site to return again. Update
your content regularly to entice return visits. Offer ways for visitors
to join a “Buyers Club”, to register on the site to
get custom content, or to join a frequent buyers program. Once a
person is comfortable on your site and familiar with your business,
they are more likely to buy from you online.
By stating your
website goals and learning who your customers are,
by putting yourself in the shoes of your site visitors
when creating, writing and managing your website,
by pointing people in the direction you want them
to go while on your website, and by building trust,
you will see your website sales increase substantially.
by Jason O'Connor
O'Connor is President of Oak Web Works
- The synthesis of Web design, technology and
Jason is an expert at Web design and programming, e-strategy,
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