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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!

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