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I'm sorry to say that the majority of "real world" small business websites, leave a lot to be desired. These sites give nothing but frustration to their owners. The people behind them, simply fail to understand the basics of how to sell online. That being said, it is totally understandable. Why? Their training was in their chosen profession and not necessarily online marketing.
How To Sell Online
And Increase Web Sales
So what are the basics of online marketing? In essence, the common denominators for successful online marketing can be broken down into a very simple formula. "Inform, Build Trust and Promote". Makes sense right ? Following this formula, I have listed below eight things that you can do to vastly improve the performance of your website and have it lead to sales. Many of these ideas are simply overlooked when building "real world" small business websites.
The good news is, that none of the suggested improvements are in themselves too difficult for you to implement, as none of them require any programing knowledge at all, and certainly would not be beyond the skills of your webmaster. Having said that, if you do get yourself in trouble implementing one or more of these suggestions please let me know via the comment box below and I will be happy to assist you myself or at least point you in the right direction.
Ready? Let's dive in!
Having one or more pages, devoted to answering peoples Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ's ) or articles to answer their problems is not only a great idea, it is a must have, for the following reasons;
People buy from those they trust. It is as simple as that.
Please click the following link to our web page for more information on how to create content.
Having mentioned Trust in the above point. Displaying your qualifications, accreditations or licencing is a very easy way to build trust. I am amazed at the number of people that don't do this. If your industry has a standard licencing or accreditation training. It is really advisable to get your respective qualification and promote it on your website. If you already have your respective qualification and it's not on your website. Why not? Again, people buy from those they trust and unless your a well known leader in your field, displaying a badge or licence number can buy you a whole lot of credibility.
Writing a killer headline can be a bit of an art. Whether it be for an article, bill board or what ever. It's aim is to capture your attention and get you to read further and find out more. It can also help to set you apart from your competition.
For example I used to run my own carpet cleaning business. I had come across a marketing guru for carpet cleaners; Joe Polish, who first gave me the idea of offering a Guarantee for my work. I was captured by the idea and borrowed one of his headlines and made it my own. I followed it up with my own copy. I have pasted the headline and some of the copy below as an example: ( Feel Free to borrow from it as you wish )
Ok, let's get serious. You need your carpets cleaned right, Great! Naturally you'd expect to be totally happy with the service provided, wouldn't you? Of course you would.
Well I'm so obsessed with giving you the best possible experience ever that if you don't feel my carpet cleaning is the most thorough you've ever had, I will not accept your payment. That's right it's FREE. That's my personal Guarantee to you. Why would I do this? First of all because that's how confident I am that I can give you the best service ever. Secondly because it's in my best interest to have happy customers that my business can continue to service each time they need their carpets cleaned and also to continue to get great referrals from my customers.
Furthermore, if you're not as happy with the job even up to two weeks later as you were on the day it was done. I'll return as quickly as I can and re-clean any areas of concern for free. If you're still not happy I will gladly refund you 100% of your money. That's a triple guarantee.
The headline or the gist of it has become fairly popular among carpet cleaners in the US, but not so much in Australia, at least not in Sydney where the business was based. In fact I had not seen a single instance of it's use outside of my own. I didn't mind in the slightest. It is a great headline. You can see how the headline grabs your attention and how you really do want to find out more.
I often had people call to book me to get their carpets cleaned who had commented about the headline. Apparently they couldn't believe that I believed in my service that much. Which leads me to surmise as to why more carpet cleaners didn't also offer a similar guarantee. If you can't convey that level of trust in your own work through your website. How do you think your visitors will trust you.
By the way, I had only ever needed to come good on my promise only once and that was in the three to four years that I had the business.
Staying with my carpet cleaning example, you don't have to scour many competitors sites to see that many of them use pictures of their big fat truck mount machines that mean nothing to the people whom are typically looking for carpet cleaners, Women.
Before I launched my carpet cleaning business, I dropped 300 surveys, in and around my demographic. One of the questions I asked was, Which gender usually made the decision to get the carpets cleaned? Nearly 75 percent* responded with female. The key lesson here is : know your market! How can you market to your audience if you don't know exactly whom your audience is.
I hate to put people into baskets, but as a marketer that is what you have to do. Women generally speaking, respond better to pictures of people smiling than machines. So I placed a great big picture of me on the home page holding a cleaning wand. Not because I wanted the exposure but because it would appeal more than a picture of a machine.
*Normally with most mail out efforts a 2 -3% response meant you were doing really well. The number of people that ended up responding to my mail out campaign was a massive 33%, more on how I did that in another post.
Decide on how you want to be contacted. In my carpet cleaning business I wanted to be contacted by phone. The more people I could speak to the better the chances of getting more sales.
Once you've decided your preferred contact method. Place it in three prominent positions on your web page (s). There is a principle called the rule of three. Online marketer and psychologist Derek Halpern from SocialTriggers.com argues that "...our brain is hard wired to remember three items ..." we see this in Visual Arts, Music and even Creative Writing. Halpern argues it is just as effective in marketing.
So what ever your preferred method of being contacted may be, make it graphically appealing, make it read punchy e.g. "Call Now...Book Now" and place it three prominent locations on your web page. To help you find the best locations use the Google Heat Map to help you.
Lets face it, your website is the your shop window. If your shop window looks bad that will ultimately reflect in your sales. Your a better off investing money in getting the look and feel of your site professionally designed or at the very least get your logo professionally designed.
It does not have to cost thousands or even hundreds of dollars. Look at the logo for this site, I paid just $149 for it. If you need one I suggest contacting the people who did my logo.
If your a small business, particularly a small business in the field. I don't believe you have the time to spread your self too thin in the area of social media. Pick one platform that appeals, like Facebook or Twitter and make it work for you.
My preferred social media tool for in the field small businesses, is Twitter, simply because it is so easy to use. Apart from setting up informative or humorous scheduled tweets, you can include specials for a given day of the week, month or when business is slow to drive sales. The other big reason I like it is that it is not as time intensive as facebook.
Please click the following link to our web page for more information on how to schedule tweets, read Social Media Tools, HootSuite.
Below are some examples of small businesses who are killing it using twitter. Proving you do not have to have a huge marketing budget or be a techi to do well.
Having an affiliate marketing network as an online salesforce would not normally be a thought that would even enter the heads of many small business people. However that is exactly what a affiliate marketing network is. Subsqiently it is a much under utilised way of marketing online. With the added advantage of not having to worry about all the things you would normally with a regular salesforce, why would not have one?
ClickBank.com has developed a reputation for being a leader in the promotion of e-goods. It pays out billions of dollars to it customers each year in commisions and their are others service providors whom deal in both e-goods and hard-goods.
Please click the following link to our web page for more information on how to easily build a Affiliate Marketing Network, read Affiliate Marketing Network.
Why not have the power of your customers testimonials go viral. It is possible by reworking a great social media tool called the Comment Box.
Instead of it being used for general commenting, have your customers use it specifically for testimonials. Here is how, say to your clients something like "if your happy with my services today, can I ask that you place your testimonial on my website please." You may find they say yes but not take action. To motivate them. Give them a reward that is linked to a time limit. Tell them if they take action by the end of the day, you will give them a nominated dollar amount off the next service.
The good thing about this is that if your in a service business your discount does not actually cost you anything. It's not like you actually are going out and buying them something tangible, like flowers, plus your saving them money which every body likes.
The above examples are by no means exhaustive. They are just meant to get to start thinking differently about marketing your small business.
I have made an extentsive search for a Commenting Box system that works just as well for websites as it does for blogs. I have used it below feel free to click the link and explore.
If your interested in taking action on your website that will result in long term free traffic and increased sales.
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