Turning visits to your website into sales
Having a website is really no different from having an ordinary brick-and-morter store. Your first goal is to make it attractive. Customers are skittish - if you do anything wrong, they will stay away. So here is where you start -
• Make sure that your website works. Check it on all browsers. Get rid of any nonsense that causes it to hang up, or load slowly. If your website has a little timer that says... loading... or skip intro, get rid of it. It's a small irritation, but remember that customers need very little excuse to go away.
• Make sure that your website looks good. Get a real Graphic Designer to work on it, critique it, or add graphics to it. If it looks cheesy and unprofessional, people won't trust it, it's as simple as that.
Once you've done that, you will attract visitors. And that's where a lot of people get stuck. To turn those visits into sales, you need to take the next step.
• Ask for the sale. Make it easy for people to purchase your product or service. Label prices clearly, don't make people have to dig through a lot of verbiage to buy. This is basic sales technique. If you don't know basic sales technique, take a class in salesmanship, or find a good tutorial. There is an art to this, and when it's done right, it makes you money. When it's done wrong, you look like a goon.
• Discourage *window shoppers*. Remember the zillion hits that you saw on Google Analytics for your site? In the retail industry, they are just known as *window shoppers* - just looking. People walking through your business, looking at stuff. They also want to know if you are giving anything away for free. Show them that you are a business - ask for the sale - see paragraph above. This will discourage window shoppers right away. Yes, you will get less visitors, but you really don't want just visitors, you want customers.
If you do these things, and you have a good product, you should see visits turn into sales. To go even further, try using the same tricks that the big companies use - promotions and sales.
• Offer a discount. Be careful of this one, if you don't know what you're doing, this can easily backfire. People love a discount, but it has to have a reason - a discount for quantity, a discount for a limited time. Keep it simple. If it gets complex, you have just made things worse.
• Create a promotion. This is some pretty sophisticated marketing here, so watch out. This kind of stuff always made me nervous when I did the design for it, as it takes some pretty sharp calculation of logistics. This can be a contest, or a giveaway.
I hope that this helps. In the world of sales, this is what as known as *closing*. Making a sale is different from casual conversation, and it takes a combination of a lot of things to get it right. One of the first classes I took in college was *Principles of Salesmanship 101* - long before I studied Marketing, Advertising, or Graphic Design - and it helped me understand all of that so much better.
Posted by Brad Hall