Imagine that you walk into a retail store with terrific merchandise, but no price tags or cashier clerks. You would probably walk out of the store without buying a thing.
In a similar scenario, are your website visitors walking out?
Do you expect your website to help you sell products or services? You didn’t invest time and energy and passion into creating it to have it sit out there like a pretty brochure on a rack in the reception area.
But think about what most sites do on the road to selling? They build a flashy site (usually with lots of pictures or video) and expect that people will simply start visiting and purchasing.
Experts advise that you build a trust relationship with your customer. Social media promises that we can build closer relationships with our customers if we spend time with them online. This is partly true. If your customer believes in you, a purchase is sure to follow. But what are the approaches to building this trust?
These questions seem obvious to us, but very few sites spend the time to answer them. Not long ago, MarketingSherpa did a study and offered ten ways to keep a customer on your website and move them forward in the buy cycle.
It boiled down to this:
Focus on the people who are visiting and less on the products you are selling. Be sincere. Get specific, tell them why they should buy from you, and call the buyer to clear action.
Focus on customers because they will make the choice to buy, not you. The most relevant, most pressing issue that most companies forget: The customer has control of the sales process.
So, instead of selling, ask yourself the following questions:
*What is this site selling?
*Why should I buy from this site?
*How do I buy from this site?
The best way to keep a customer engaged is to give them the information they need to make the best purchase decision. There’s an old story that department store giant, Macy’s would send a customer down the street to another store if it didn’t have the product. The point is to be the best possible resource for your customer. People trust you when you serve their interests first.
Tell them why they should buy from you
The easiest way to do this is to speak clearly. Forget fancy language like “Here’s our value proposition,” and just tell them why your company, or better, your specific products or services are excellent.
You should buy this specific product “because it does X, Y, and Insert Your Reason.” If you have real, hyperlinked and verified testimonials from customers, that’s even better and builds trust. Gone are the days of fake testimonial quotes from “John Doe, Los Angeles.”
Call them to action
Focus on one real decision per screen. That means you can’t jam 10 products on one page. If your call-to-action button says “Buy Now” then place it front and center so they don’t have to scroll or hunt for it.
Provide product details and a large product image while displaying incentives—such as free shipping and warranty information—high on the page and close to the product. Don’t discourage visitors by requiring registration to your site. If you must require registration, then always state the benefits of signing up in bullet form.
Do you have the right stuff?
What makes you better than your competitors? Avoid the word differentiate that is so commonly used, there’s a trend toward more human and transparent communication. Speak simply. Do you offer: Free shipping (both ways?), discounts, a 365-day warranty, price protection, privacy, or phenomenal customer service? Just say it.
One final bonus tip: Be Search Friendly
That little search box on your site can make it easier for your customers and prospects to find information on your site. Don’t make them click another link to get to a search page, just make it a type-in field so they can start searching immediately. Often, with site search tools, you can link common search term results to specific product pages which will increase conversions.
Friends don’t let friends buy from dishonest salespeople or shoddy websites where there are no price tags and clerks. Ultimately, people don’t buy from websites, people buy from people. Make sure your people voice comes through loud and clear.
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TJ McCue is the founder of SalesRescueTeam.com, a group of volunteer advisors sharing advice to help companies with their online sales and marketing efforts. Each week, they conduct free private and public reviews of a wide range of small businesses and startups.