Sep
14
2006
Sep 14, 2006

Do you own or manage a website but it hardly generates any sales or sign ups? As you read on, I will show you how to maximize sales and return on investment (ROI) on your website.

There are many effective online marketing solutions to bring targeted traffic to your website, but in this article, I will cover how to significantly boost sales or sign ups once the visitor arrives at your website. Just as important as it is to generate traffic to your website, your website success is dependent on how well of a job your website sell your products and services to your prospects.

First, if you want to increase sales and cut cost you must know your website conversion ratio (a.k.a sell through ratio which is the ratio of visitors to buyers). For instance, let’s say you receive three orders or sign ups for every 100 visitors to your website, the conversion ratio (or sell-through) would be 100:3 or 3%.

Knowing this number is essential because you will be able to know how much you can spend in advertising and make a return on investment (ROI). Surprisingly, many website owners do not even know their conversion ratio and thus waste lots of online and offline advertising money. When the advertising campaign fail, they may draw the conclusion that advertising does not work, when in fact, it’s their own website that is not performing well (low conversion ratio). For instance, let’s say you sell a product on your website for $49 and advertise on xyz website for $100. The ad at xyz website generates 200 visitors and you generate only one sale/sign up (0.5% conversion rate). Based on this scenario, you just lost $51 ($100 advertising expense – $49 Sale ).

Now let’s say you implement various online marketing techniques (as I am about to show you below) and your website converts at 5% instead of 0.5%. All of a sudden your website generates $390 from this same advertisement (10 orders x $49 – advertising expense $100). As you can see, having your website performing well (high conversion ratio) will definitely generate more sales, save you money as well as time. So before you start spending money on advertising, make sure you have a website that converts well.

So How Do I Improve My Website Conversion

Ratio To Maximize Sales And Cut Expenses?

Once you know your “website math” (conversion ratio), it’s time to make an in depth analysis of your website and implement proven online marketing strategies to increase the conversion ratio.

Once the web visitor arrives to your website, you have around 3 seconds to grab his/her attention and interest. If you fail to create attention and interest immediately, the user will simply click away and most likely you will lose him/her forever.

The information above the fold (the space you see before scrolling down the page) is the prime selling space (real estate) of your website and what you put in it will make or break the success of your website. So to start off, you need to craft a riveting headline that pulls in the visitor to your website. According to David Ogilvy (the world famous advertising executive) says,”5 times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that, unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90% of your money”.

This means your headline has to be a killer headline (or else they the visitor will click away) and the main purpose of a headline is to get the reader sufficiently interested to read on to the web copy to the first paragraph. Your headline should convey strong benefits of interest to your audience and it must answer the reader’s unspoken question, “what’s in it for me”. Did you know that by just changing a single word in a headline alone can make a dramatic difference in reader response?

The first paragraph should maintain the momentum and the emotion that the headline created. It needs to follow through with the idea presented in the headline because that’s what compelled the reader to read in the first place. Therefore, the first paragraph must immediately start delivering on the promise made by the headline. The first paragraph is crucial because that’s where the readers are likely to stop if you don’t give them enough reason to read on to the next paragraph and so on. So as you can see, you want to lead the reader down the intended linear sales path with minimal distractions and minimal click able links that does not support the sales process until he/she signs up for your services.

Since you probably won’t know who is visiting your website, you also need to make it a dialogue and appeal to their needs. Too many websites make the mistake of creating a monologue and fail to communicate with the user. If you create a dialogue, the user will say to him/herself “hey, this guy really understands and listens to me” and the more you can appeal in this fashion the more you will sell. At the same time, you also need to inject emotion into the web copy, built upon proven emotional drivers and build in psychological devices that will motivate the prospects to buy.

Next, don’t make the mistake of introducing the price too early in the web copy. Let the visitor go through the linear sales path on your website and then make the decision. If you announce your price to early, the user may think you are too expensive without knowing what he/she is actually getting. Just think of your website like a sales person. A successful sales person does not present the price first and then present the product.

Make sure to use testimonials in strategically placed areas on your website to reinforce your selling arguments. They add credibility because they are actual words of real people and the user can identify with him or her.

Lastly, ask for the sale and make it easy to order. Many websites make the mistake of not asking for the sale. If you don’t give the user an easy way to respond or asking for it, you won’t get the sale. You should also inject urgency by giving the reader a reason to act now. For instance, receive a free bonus or a discount if you respond on or before a certain date. You can also notify that prices will go up after this date. The close should re emphasize what the reader gains by responding quickly, or loses by delaying his action on your offer.

Know The Difference Between Features And Benefits  

To boost sales on your website (as well as from your advertising materials) your wording on your website needs to be ‘benefit’ and not ‘feature’ driven because features describes something and benefits sell. You may be very excited about your new product/service and want to tell the whole world about it but if it’s only feature driven, you will not sell a lot. Features describe the product or service of what it can do, whereas benefits, on the other hand, solve your particular prospect’s problems. They tell your prospects what they will gain buying your product/service. Examples of benefits are: make more money, save more time, boost energy level, more fruitful and desirable relationships etc. Here is an example of a featured driven ad copy: The Philips Multiquick Hand Blender offers a 300-watt motor, stainless steel shaft, five-blade chopper attachment, and aerator head. Doesn’t sound too exciting do it? Compare this to the benefit driven web copy: The Philips Multiquick Hand Blender has a powerful motor enabling you to chop, whip, puree and blend with lightning speed. Its stainless steel shaft holds up to years of use without bending or breaking. You’ll create delicious meals with ease and be out of the kitchen in record time. Do you see the difference?

The first example describes the “what” of the product and it simply lists what the product can offer. The second example focuses on the “how” of the products, which are the benefits, which shows the prospect how his/her life will be easier.

Make them see a picture in their mind of how it will be once they have your product/service. It’s crucial to get into your prospects mind. No one cares how much research you put into your product, or how qualified you are to tell them about it (features). All they really want to know is how it’s going to benefit them (what is in it for them). Also give them a couple of testimonials to reinforce their dream, telling them how your product or service has solved your customer’s problems. Although, most business owners know their products and services well and may be very excited to tell their audience, I am still surprised to see how many websites sell their products and services based on features alone.

Get to Know Your Customers Better And Sell More

To sell more on your website, you have to know your audience mind inside and out. So how can you get to know your visitors on your website when you don’t even get to see them personally? One important strategy is to implement an exit survey on your website. Every time someone exits your website, he/she will be presented with an exit survey asking the question: “Please help us to improve on our products/services by telling us the single most important reason why you did not buy/sign up today”. Getting your prospects feedback is a great way to find out how you can improve on your products and services, which will lead to a higher website conversion ratio and sales. There are many online marketing strategies you can implement on your website (which I have not listed here) but by starting to implement the above techniques you are on your way to a higher website conversion and more sales.

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