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Podcast #2 – Convert Visits to Sales

The ultimate goal of any business website is to generate an income via that site. You may have a fantastic site that looks great, your designer loves it and so does your mum but if it doesn’t produce a solid return for your company, it is of very little value. A successful website requires careful planning that converts visits into sales. Be aware that not everyone who comes to your site wants to buy. Your job (via your website setup) is to convince them that they should.

#1 – Start with a solid foundation

From the moment you decide to build a website, you must make sure that it is built to the high quality expected from your site visitors. Your 10 year-old nephew might be a whiz on computers and may be able to create a couple of web pages however it is highly unlikely that he will be able to understand the marketing importance of what he is expected to build. Find a designer that has experience in your particular field or has created a site that you have found to be useful (maybe a site that has converted you from a visitor to a purchaser!). Talk to others in your industry to find out who they use and recommended. Remember, a “mouth of mouth” testimonial is much more likely to yield a successful designer than a Google search of the multitudes.

#2 – Aim for your target audience

This one should be a “no-brainer” – make sure your site is directed towards the cliental that you want to buy from you. Don’t create a site full of humour and cartoons if you are endeavouring to sell accounting software. Likewise, don’t create a gothic looking website full of dark colours if you are selling to “stay at home” mums. As with tip #1, this problem will be avoided by working with a reputable designer who will know how to hit your target between the eyes.

• Use colours that suit your business and target market.

• Take into account the accessibility of your site. Site-loading time, button sizes, alt text on all images (very useful for audible browsing for sight-impaired visitors) and language should all be carefully considered as the site is built.

#3 – Call to Action

This is another one that should be fairly obvious however I still visit sites (and receive the occasional group buying email) where there is no clear path to make a purchase. If you have a product for sale, it’s not all about the pretty pictures on the screen. Visitors need to be able to quickly and simply buy when they want to – don’t make them search the site for a purchasing button. Put it right there next to the item in preferably bright eye catching colours (if your site warrants such a usage).

On the motel websites that I have created, the booking button is always at the very top of the screen or easily accessible via the menu (and it is labelled clearly). E-Commerce must have a shopping cart in the sidebar with a clear checkout button. If site visitors can’t make the purchase quickly, they will move onto someone else.

#4 Easily move visitors to the important parts of your site

This tip ties in nicely with the previous one – your site must “push” visitors gently towards making a sale, ensuring that they don’t get lost along the way. A site may have slideshows, forums, videos and a blog however each of these should lead to the one destination.This might be achieved by using the blog as a review / feedback forum or the video section may display a YouTube movie of the latest products with a purchasing link. Be creative with the website and guide your potential customers toward the sales area without being too pushing. Some clients may find a push / shove as a deterrent so tread carefully.

#5 Interact with site visitors

Interact with your site visitors and create communities via the use of forums on the site, Facebook for Business, Twitter information and Re-Tweets or any other means. If the visitor feels comfortable to open up a conversation with you, they are more likely to frequent your business to make a purchase. Some retailers have gone to great lengths to create strong community brands and these businesses have gone viral purely on the strength of social media. For example, Black Milk Clothing has followers across the globe that discuss products online, take photos wearing various BMC outfits and post to Facebook and build their own communities to interact with one another. Allow your visitors to leave comments, reviews and information via your site – open the channels up and use them to your advantage.

What are your thoughts on the conversion process? Leave a comment below and let me know how you have used your site to convert a visitor to a client. I have given five small tips and I’m sure there are thousands more out there so let’s share them around!

Keeping your site content FRESH

Content CreationOnce a website is online, some site owners seem to believe that the work is done. The content and imagery is there and will produce wonders for their business or organisation with no further changes. This cannot be further from the truth.

First of all, Google loves fresh content – not recycled or syndicated – but freshly-made batches of information and imagery. If the Google-Bot sees the same info every time it visits your site to re-index, you will find that your ranking in search results will start to dive.

Secondly, your visitors will notice that you are not updating content and this sends out the wrong image to potential clients. If I am visiting a website and see that the Blog has not been updated since 2010 – I immediately begin to wonder if the business still functions. Why bother contacting them to find out when I can go to dozens of other sites that have spanking new information for me?

To avoid the above problems, remember this golden rule – “Your website is never done.”

To keep your site fresh, interesting and relevant to visitors (and Google), take a read through the tips below…

You need remember why you have a website in the first place – to provide information and/or convert a visitor into a customer/member. To achieve this, create regular content that is valuable and useful to your site users. Depending on your clientele, your content may have to be informative about current industry issues. You may include information to help make the user’s job easier or to solve a problem. On a lighter note, you might use humour as a drawcard – not just for the sake of it either. Through the use of clever wording, you could create a niche method of selling like Virgin Australia who have a particular brand of selling associated with the way they deliver information both on and off their site. If a client is entertained by your site, there is a high chance that your site will be bookmarked and revisited in the future.

In freshening up your site, be sure at all times to engage visitors with your personality. Your site is not run by a Dalek and the content on your site shouldn’t read like it was written by one. Pretend that you are holding a conversation with the visitor and use language that both of you can understand. Don’t try to impress and overwhelm your potential clients by using jargon or technical terms unless it is entirely necessary. Most people don’t browse the web with a dictionary in one hand.

Part of keeping your site fresh could involve regular communication with your visitors. There are a multitude of social media platforms that can be slotted directly onto your website providing instant content and contact with your “followers”. With these in place and some time set aside each day, you can make sure that your business is always “popping up” in front of your clients. Tweets and Facebook comments are delivered straight to their computers via email and their own Twitter and Facebook feeds. In addition, with these platforms directly linked to your website, every update also become fresh content on your pages.

Finally, set up a Blog to publish your latest and greatest news directly onto your site. If you have a look back at my collection of Blog entries, you would be quite entitled to say that I don’t keep my site content fresh and you would be partly right. I need to practice what I preach so I am throwing down a challenge. I am going to endeavour to tweet at least twice a day, Facebook (once a day), write a use Blog entry every fortnight and release a new Podcast once a month. If you decide to join me on this challenge, let me know how you go. My progress will be easy to follow – it will be right here on my website as fresh content!

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