Yes, apparently - websites are supposed to make money! Somebody came up with the strange idea that it's really not enough to spend thousands on your site, hundreds of hours creating the content and then sitting back to admire you, and your developer's work. No - apparently it is now 'cool' to have a web site that actually makes it onto a sales column in your chart of accounts.. 'Return on in investment' is a good phrase that's being thrown around - what are you actually making from your web site in cash terms? Ever thought about that?
Well, you should be thinking about it. Not only should you be tracking where the money is coming from but also where it's gone to. No point kidding yourself - it wasn't cheap was it? There was the developer's costs, the graphic design costs and hopefully some costs set aside for taking on web site marketing experts to get your site found (see magnet4web - they come highly recommended). So, anyway, track what you've spent and then see what's coming through the door rather than going out when it comes to your website. To help you - in what is a constant review and improve process - here are 7.5 ways to get more sales through your web site.
"Get On With It!", I hear you shout, "Tell Me The 7.5 Ways To Get More Sales!"
1. Use a professional web developer to build the site in the first place.
Don't cut corners or budgets. How many business owners have an idea for a business and then take up the science of bricklaying to build their own shop or premises? Exactly - don't do it. Your job is to run your business effectively and worry about where the profits are coming from - not designing websites.
2. Use a professional graphic designer when your site is being developed.
If you use your mate next door we can all tell. It might keep your wallet heavy but hey - if you want a website that looks a million Lira - fine. A rough, made up just now, rule of thumb is to spend 10% of what you would like the web site to make. Just think about that for a minute when you get Dave from down the pub to 'knock you one up for £100..". And remember - you'll need professional web development AND professional graphic design input. Web developers are not designers. Graphic designers are not web developers. Glad we've got that cleared up..
3. Use a professional web site marketing company to get your web site found - in the search engines, in the directories - on anywhere on the web that matters.
Graphic designers can't do this. Most web developers can't do this. And you certainly can't do this - you're supposed to be running your business, remember? Spot the theme here? Yes - professionals. You don't get a plumber in to lay your carpet do you? Don't make the same mistake when creating your web site - pull in the appropriate professionals for the appropriate tasks. Which brings us nicely on to way number 4...
4. Don't be a scrooge.
There is an old proverb that says it perfectly;
"The man who buys cheap laughs once but cries many times. The man who buys expensive cries once but laughs many times."
Remember this the next you think about cutting corners. There are obviously exceptions to every rule but you usually get what you pay for in this life.
5. Ask for the sale.
Yes it's obvious. But are you doing it? If you're actually selling something directly via your website you have to make it an absolute doddle for someone to work out what they need to do. Don't make them hunt around for pricing, ordering information, contact details, delivery information etc. Sock it to them right up front - they'll love you for it. If you're not selling directly via the site you still need to ask for the sale.
6. Throw your web site to the lions.
Not literally, unless it's really bad. (And in case you're wondering how that would be physically possible just load all your web site's files onto a floppy disc, take the number 33 bus down to the nearest zoo, buy a ticket and a map, locate the lions and Bob's your uncle. But I digress..). Basically get as many people as possible to critique your web site. Friends and family are always good for this - though they'll probably be unwilling to be over-critical (unless it's your in-laws) so impartial parties is a better idea, if you can track any down. Ask your colleagues and friends to forward your web site address onto others and ask for direct feedback, no holds barred. Better to have people test it like this and say it's about as much use as a chocolate fireguard than open your shop doors, so to speak, and have your customers tell you the same thing by voting with their mice and sniffing away in an instant in the search for more professionally-produced cheese...
7. Deliver what you say you will
Yes, another no-brainer but it will pay huge dividends. No point in fighting tooth and nail for all those hard-to-reach prospects if you've got a nice healthy stack of existing customers that already think you're the bees' knees. Once you've got that customer hold onto him / her with all your might - treat them like kings because your competitor will be after them. It's far cheaper and quicker to sell something to an existing customer than it is to find a new one. Simple in theory - not so easy to put into practice. But hey - what are you after here? A free breakfast?!
7.5. "People Laughed At Me When I Said I Could Get Them To Read This Sentence. But Who's Laughing Now?!"
Use headlines in your web site. People are busy. People are impatient and people can't read. Well, okay they can - but they prefer information in small chunks. They like something that grabs them. Why do you think you're reading this article? Because your subconscious read the headline and dived straight in. You really think you would be reading this if the article were titled "Web Site Creating Techniques Aimed At Improving Return On Investment Over Time". ?? I rest my case...
Sales & Marketing Director, www.magnet4web.com
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