Steps to Web Sites that Sell
Your web site is like a fight of stairs into your business. Once
you've got prospects to your home page - your online front door
- you want to move them to action. If you miss a step or two, prospects
will fall and won't make it in the door to your business. If you
put the last step first and your first step last, prospects won't
find the steps you want them to take.
There is a hierarchy of information and elements you need to present
to prospects to make it easy for them to become customers and clients.
This is not what most small business owners provide on their web
sites. Most sites lead with a boring description of services and
credentials. This tends to push prospects away.
Before you build your web site or start to fix a site that isn't
attracting as many clients as you'd like, take a minute to clarify
the objectives of your site. Marketing objectives for web sites
for most independent professionals and small business owners should
a. Lead Generation - Build
your list of qualified prospects who are interested in your products
and services but not quite ready to make a purchase. First time
visitors to the site need to be able to quickly identity if they
are in the right place and determine whether you can help them.
Make it easy for prospects to qualify themselves.
b. Establish Credibility- If
people found your site by searching the web, you have a lot of work
to do to prove that you can help them and deliver on what the site
c. Sell Your Products and Services
- Of course you will want to include information about your products
and services, but if you rush this step, you'll lose prospects before
you've created the context that will move them to a purchase.
PUTTING YOUR STEPS IN SEQUENCE
Now that you know what you want your web site to do, define the
key elements that should be on your home page. Put these in the
correct sequence and more prospects will do what you want. You'll
generate more leads and more sales. Here's how.
1. FEATURE YOUR MARKETING MESSAGE
- At the top of your home page include a one sentence marketing
message that describes what you actually do and the problems you
solve. For example, "Helping service professionals and small
business owners attract more clients" or "Helping you
create the ultimate personalized trip to Britain".
2. COLLECT LEADS - Place the
sign-up for your free newsletter, ebook, or catalogue at the top
of your web page. The right hand top corner is the optimal position.
Above the sign-up form don't just say "Enter your email here
for complimentary information". Make an offer, one that will
motivate your prospects to give you their contact information. For
example, "Sign Up for Britain's best travel secrets."
As an incentive on my site I offer a free marketing guide to motivate
people to subscribe to my newsletter, with the result that 12-15%
of site visitors sign up for my ezine.
3. USE QUALIFYING QUESTIONS
- Don't start with a description of your services or products. Below
your marketing message, lead with qualifying questions, that will
help prospects understand the problems you solve, engage your visitors'
attention and create a perception of need.
For example, if you sell ergonomic chairs, you could ask, "Does
your back ache at the end of a day at your desk?" Or if you
sell customized travel services to Britain you could ask, "Are
you interested in a customized, hassle f*ree va*cation in the British
4. BUILD CREDIBILITY - One-way
to do this is to include testimonials from satisfied clients. People
will read your marketing copy with a grain - or a whole shaker -
of salt. When people read what others say about the amazing results
you achieve, they are much more likely to believe your claims. Limit
your testimonials to ones that are easy to believe, even if you
did help someone make ten million dollars.
The second part of establishing your credibility is to demonstrate
the value of your expertise by providing prospects with helpful
ideas. If you're in the computer repair and maintenance business
you might include tips on identifying software conflicts and keeping
computers from crashing.
People like to do business with people they know and trust so use
your site to bring your company and personality to life. Include
links to your articles, case studies and /or product demonstrations.
Add a photo of yourself or your employees to personalize your site
and move prospects to thinking of you as a person.
5. SHOW PROSPECTS THE RESULTS YOU ARE
SELLING - Include thumbnails of products and services
people can click on in a side navigation bar on most of your site's
pages. Whatever you sell make sure to feature both visual and verbal
testimonials along with information and images of your products
On your individual service or product pages provide examples of
clients and customers using your services or products. For ebooks,
include tables of contents and sample chapters. If you sell log
homes, include pictures of happy customers in their homes. If you
sell information, feature client testimonials.
6. TELL PROSPECTS WHAT TO DO
- If you want people to sign up for your newsletter, tell them to.
To get people to read the articles on your site, tell them to. To
increase the number of people who view the pages describing your
products and services, include thumbnail images of your products
and tell them to click on the image for further information. If
there is a particular sequence of steps you want prospects to take,
tell them what they are.
7. MAKE IT EASY FOR PROSPECTS
- Place your contact information, including email address and phone
number in an obvious location on every page, particularly the home
page. Include a link to a contact form or place it at the bottom
of your home page, or both.
In your form, ask a few key questions to help prospects clarify
what it is they want to achieve and get their phone number so you
can follow up. Their responses will help you prioritize who to contact
and help you focus on your most profitable prospects.
Show prospects who are ready to engage your services or buy your
products how to do so. Coaches will want to include a coaching inquiry
form. People who sell greeting cards, should include a quick link
to so people can place their orders.
Use the blueprint above to construct a web site that sells. Build
steps that will lead prospects into your web site and motivate them
to give you their name, email address and phone number or to contact
you about your services or to buy your products. Build steps that
will move them from prospects to clients and customers.
2004 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
The author, Marketing Coach, Charlie Cook, helps independent professionals
and small business owners attract more clients and increase their
earnings with the 5 Principles of Highly Effective Marketing. Sign
up to receive the Free Marketing Guide and the 'More Business' newsletter,
full of practical tips you can use at http://www.charliecook.net
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