Your 24/7/365 Sales Force: How to Make Your Website Sell
Are you using your company’s website to market products and services? Are your marketing efforts translating to increased sales?
For far too many small and midsized businesses, the promise of website marketing success just isn’t panning out. If your investment in website design and content aren’t paying off through a steady stream of new leads and sales, it may be time for strategic changes.
Your website can be a powerful sales tool that’s on the job around the clock, trying to attract and retain visitors, and convert their visits into revenue. There are many reasons why it may not be doing so, including:
- Weak or non-existent Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Almost all visits to business websites come from Google, Yahoo or Bing. Your potential customers are searching there for information about products and services, using a wide range of queries. If your site doesn’t appear near the top of the first page of search results, you need to find out why.
Experiment by entering a variety of search words and phrases for the products or services you offer, adding your location. Not seeing yourself? It may be time to call in a professional SEO expert if you can afford it, or to learn all you can about it if not. And look at competing sites that have higher search engine rankings than yours to see what they do. They’re getting the business you need.
- Ineffective site designs
You have about 30 seconds to convince a visitor to stick around. Your guests arrive looking for information, and if they can’t find what they’re looking for or don’t immediately see how to navigate to it, they’ll return to the search page and choose a competing website in the results.
Websites with more graphics than text content have high bounce rates. Simple, informative web designs retain visitors and give you an excellent chance to sell. Remember that any page on your site can be a landing page, so make all of them worthy.
- Inadequate content
Your website visitors want specific types of information. Not just product information (though your website is the venue where you’ll actually make sales), but related content, like FAQs, how-to’s, educational/instructional information (in words and video), etc.
Your SEO should send searchers to pages within your site that are highly relevant to their queries, not just the home page. The content on those pages should immediately relate to a specific range of searches, since Google ranks pages for their relevance. When visitors see that a page addresses their needs, they stick around to read the marketing message. They gain confidence in your company and are more likely to respond to your call to action.
- Poorly written content
Imagine your website visitors walking into your place of business (if you have a brick and mortar location). If the business is messy or poorly laid out, the shelves aren’t stocked or your staff is unfriendly or slovenly in appearance, they’ll likely turn around and leave.
The content on your website should present your very best efforts. Meticulous spelling and grammar, plus dynamic, compelling writing put your best foot forward. Sloppy, poorly written content won’t sell. Google knows this, and carefully measures content quality in its ranking algorithms. Outstanding content is essential, and should be written by professional marketing writers if you or a team member can’t pull it off.
Keep a Close Eye on the Prize
Your website must always be closing. Once you attract visitors to your site and your carefully-crafted content gives them the information they need, you’re only halfway to your goal. You must make it easy to take the next step. So your contact phone number and links to your contact page or order form should always be visible.
What’s more, your site’s content should encourage visitors to convert – without being pushy. Present clear value propositions to your visitors on every page, and ask for action. You’ve answered their questions and created confidence in your business. Help them become your next sale.