When you strip away all the hype and nonsense from selling on the internet, it comes down to a simple equation:
traffic x conversion = sales
To put this in plain English…
- traffic is the number of visitors to your website.
- conversion is the percentage of those visitors who respond (by buying something, contact¬ing you or taking some other form of desirable action)
- And sales… that’s the reason you’re in business!
There’s no point having a website unless it helps you to SELL. And that’s what this series of blog posts is all about.
First, we’re going to look at the ‘conversion’ part of the equation
We need to focus on conversion first and foremost, because all the traffic in the world will be a waste of time and money if your website doesn’t work to convert those visitors into enquiries and sales.
Web selling also has two important features to consider. First, the customer sought you out. This is a big positive. Second, there are many other companies on the web competing for your customer’s business. Your visitor can click away in a second … without even feel¬ing bad about it. This is a huge negative.
When you think about selling on the web, keep these two points clearly in mind. You have a potential customer browsing your site, finger poised over their mouse. One click and they’re gone.
So what should an effective website look like?
You’ll get a different answer to this question depending on who you ask.
If you ask most web designers, they’ll say it needs to have an attractive layout and colour scheme and be pleasing to the eye.
Most web programmers would stress that an effective website needs to be written in “clean” code and everything should work perfectly from a technical viewpoint.
If you ask a direct marketing expert, they will say an effective website needs a strong head¬line, compelling sales copy and a “call to action”.
If you ask a search engine optimisation expert, they will say an effective website needs to be first and foremost built on the right “keywords” to ensure it gets found by your prospec¬tive customers when they are searching on Google.
So, who’s right?
The answer is: they all are!
That’s why marketing successfully on the internet is such a complex process. And it’s why so few businesses get it right.
Most web designers approach building a site from either a graphic design or programming perspective – depending on which field they are trained in.
Very few web designers know anything about direct marketing, which is a key skill required for selling on the web. And nor do they know much about search engine optimisation.
As a result, 95% of business websites today are barely scratching the surface of their po¬tential as marketing tools.
H3>Successful web design is based on the KISS principle
This series of blog posts is not about website design in the traditional sense. It’s about selling on the internet. But there are some basic design principles that are important.
Your website needs to be clean, simple and professional looking. It’s your shop front – a reflection of your business and the quality of your product – so it has to convey the image you want to present to the world.
A clean, simple site can do that perfectly well. Look at Google, the most popular site on the internet. There’s nothing fancy about its design. Enough said.
It may be nice to have a high-tech slideshow presentation to greet your visitors when they en¬ter the site, but it won’t help you to sell any more. If you do want to invest in this kind of presentation, make sure it doesn’t take too long to load. Otherwise your customer will get impatient and… click…they’re gone.
Focus on WORDS rather than cool effects
If I had to pinpoint the single biggest reason why most websites are so abysmal at selling anything, it’s because they are badly written, or written in the wrong style.
In many cases, the words appear to be an after-thought, hurriedly cobbled together to fill the pages.
This is partly to do with the way most web design firms go about building a website. They focus on the graphic design and technology, while the client normally provides the “writ¬ten content” to add to the website. The web design firm doesn’t really care what this con¬tent says. To them, it’s essentially just something to fill the space.
If you’re a small business and you want a website that SELLS, there’s an awful lot wrong with this approach.
Essentially, it means you are relying on graphic designers and techies to show you how to sell on the internet.
If you want to sell on the internet, you need to think like a direct marketer
Selling online is a strange paradox. On the one hand, you have access to a massive market … potentially the whole world. But on the other hand, it is individuals who visit your website, one at a time.
And your mind-set must be of selling to each individual, one-to-one.
I’ll repeat that again, because it’s so important. Selling on the internet is one-to-one sell¬ing. It’s about you and your prospective customer talking one-to-one about their needs and wants.
Most small business owners, when they write their website copy, write as if they are talking to the whole world. This is a fatal mistake.
Instead, you must have a clear picture in your mind of the customer you are writing for. Write as if you were sitting having a coffee with them and talking face to face. And tell them what your product or service can do for them.
This change of mind-set alone will work wonders for the selling power of your website. If your bottom line is to make sales (and money) from your website, you have to think of the customer every step of the way. And customers want information.
Tell people clearly what you’re offering them, so they can see the benefit of buying. That in a nutshell is the secret of writing for the web.
I will devote a significant part of this series of blog posts to how to “write to sell” on the internet. But in the next post, I want to discuss a vital facet of your website, without which, the most persuasive sales copy in the world will be ineffective.