Many people call me and say "My site's not generating sales; what can I do to get more traffic?" Before you can begin promoting, you need to take a long hard look at your website from your customers' perspective.
Customers always ask themselves the same thing:"What's in it for me?" Your site must answer that question, and answer it fast before they click away in discouragement.
Your first step is to go to your home page and view it as a stranger who doesn't know you or your product and services. Does the first paragraph state clearly what is being offered and the benefits you provide? It needs to. I can't tell you how many sites I've visited only to leave wondering what the hell they do. Your home page should also use powerful "selling words" that excite people and makes them want to learn more. It should have plenty of white space and be kept free from clutter and distractions.
A lot of Web designers will try to tell you to use plenty of Flash and other bandwidth thieves. Don't...The Web is still about information and you need to deliver it without crashing your visitors' browsers or making themwait five minutes to get through a Flash intro page.
Remember this rule: "Content is king." If your site is packed with good information, you don't need fancy bells and whistles. People will like it just fine because it tells them what they want to know and more.
Keep your target market in mind. If you sell salt water fish and equipment, then your site should include tips and tricks on taking care of livestock, setting up a system, or maybe even a helpful message board where visitors can help each other out by sharing information. You want to enlighten your guests with helpful information, not just "shove" what you do down their throats. The fact is they don't care about you or what you do. Show them what's in it for them and they'll be back often, turning into lifelong customers.
Make sure your web pages include plenty of calls to action. You need to tell them what it is you want them to do for example:
click here to order
subscribe to our ezine
Your website pages all should work together underthe same theme. The look and navigation must be consistent throughout the site and should reinforce your offline brand identity. When building your site, use your brochures, business cards, and sales literature to incorporate your company image throughout.
For example, if you've been in business for 20 years and your company colors are gray and maroon, then your website shouldn't be pink and purple...follow me here? Keep your identity consistent online and off it will help with your company branding.
Another common error online marketers make is neglecting to update their websites, or keeping the same look for over a year. A website is not static, like a brochure. Its strength as a marketing tool is its capability to evolve as time goes on, and you should add to it regularly. Experts say you should totally re-design every year to keep visitors from getting bored. An easy way to add fresh content is to add a news feed on whatever subject matter matches your site.
The promotion process should not begin until your website works as an effective sales tool for your business. If your site is poorly designed and lacks content you'll just be wasting advertising dollars if you try to market it.
So next time your site sales are in a slump, take a look in your own backyard. You may be surprised at what you find.