Make your website your best salesperson

Written on the 14 July 2009

For most businesses, the main purpose of their website is generating sales - whether that is direct online sales or just getting the potential customer to call them or go into their business.

To achieve sales through your website, you need to define exactly what the goal is (eg. buy from the online shopping cart, submit a quote request /inquiry form or fill out a contact form), then create a sales funnel to drive them to that goal. Every aspect of the site should be focused on getting them there, from the navigation, to the design, to the content, so they can quickly and easily find it as soon as they land on the site.

Here are some tips to make your website the most effective salesperson in your business:

Drive traffic with landing pages

Get potential customers coming directly the designated sales part of your site with landing pages. Run advertising campaigns on Google AdWords or your alliance's websites that link directly to the relevant product in your shopping cart or to specially designed landing pages with limited navigation options, concise sales-focused content and a simple form. You will get more conversions if you direct visitor's to the right page with relevant content aligned to your teaser copy rather than waiting for them to find it themselves.

Professional design

This is basic, but so essential. The quickest way to turn away potential customers and miss out on sales is an outdated, poorly designed website. You only have 3 seconds to capture the interest of a visitor before they hit the back button so you need a clean, modern website design with lots of white space, plus your logo, some images that tell your story, and content that immediately shows the visitor what you do and why they should choose you. It is your shop/business window and should reflect your professionalism and appeal to your target market.

Promote it throughout the site

You can't control what page someone lands on first when they get to your website - it might be your home page, or a landing page, or an article with keywords they typed into a search engine. So every page on your site has to somehow promote the action you want the prospect to take. For example, in the sidebar you could advertise a featured product, promote a special offer, have a 'start shopping now' button, or even get a small enquiry form built into the design.

Get the right functionality

Your sales funnel needs to be backed up by leading-edge software. You need a content management system so you can control the content and navigation yourself, a shopping cart that makes it easy for users to buy and allows you to manage all your inventory and accept online payments, as well as forms that email the enquiry to you instantly. Also, your website needs to meet international usability standards so all consumers can access the site easily.

Make the site user-friendly

Think about the sales process from the customer's perspective. What will they expect from your site? What will they want to know about you before they buy or contact you? Firstly the site needs to be simple and clear to use with informative, accurate, well-written content, and then you should back that up with material that will persuade the customer to choose your business - your unique selling proposition, any guarantees you have, case studies and testimonials from your customers etc.

Use autoresponders

To minimise buyer's remorse and show your professionalism, set up automated emails to go out to customers when they make a purchase or contact you. A 'thanks for your purchase email' will make the customer feel secure about their purchase and a 'we'll be in touch soon' email will let the prospect know you value their enquiry. Plus, both give you the opportunity to interact with the customer through another method, build the relationship with them and promote what you do.

Have a backup plan

Not every visitor to your site will take the desired action straight away, so you need to have strategies in place to capture their details for your database. Great incentives include a newsletter signup, a free report or a competition.  Make sure you keep the form simple (just first name and email) because most people won't bother filling out a long form. Set the form up so the prospect gets added to your database automatically, then send them regular email marketing to keep your business top of mind.

Test and measure

We all know this the number one rule in all marketing and it's so easy to do online.  A good measurement system is Google Analytics - it is free and will give you great measurements for your site. It also enables you to set goals for your site, and measure where people are dropping off so you can keep tweaking your sales funnel to increase your conversions. For all Bloomtools clients, give us a call if you want to set up your Analytics account and we will assist you in this process.

Get all these elements working together and your site will become the most valuable sales person in your team.  Please speak to your internet consultant if you would like us to help you get your website working hard and generating real results for your business.