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Six ways to make your web site sell

by Kevin Nunley

I call it "Six Months Later Syndrome." Almost all of us get it about six months after we put up a web site. You build some good looking web pages, you promote them on the Internet, lots of people come to visit--BUT you don't sell anything.

Here are some simple ideas you can use now to get your web site sales going.

How many times have you landed on a web site that looks promising, but you can't quite figure out what they're selling? Odd but true, many web sites have a hard time telling you WHY they are there. Tell the reader in very clear terms what you are selling. Make sure your "what I'm selling" message is the very first thing the readers sees. Many sites get carried away will cool looking graphics. They figure that you'll love the look so much you will be happy to click around for 10 minutes to find out what's being sold. Most people don't have that kind of time or patience.

Remember that all readers come to your site asking, "What's in this for me?" Tell readers, right from the start, what they will get out of your site. List the benefits of reading further and buying from you.

Tell readers who you are. Net commerce is still brand-spanking new and many people don't quite trust it yet. This is typical for a new media still in its early stages. Before anyone will spend a dime with you, they have to have some idea of who they're doing business with. I'm often surprised at how many web site designers go for a cold corporate look that provides few hints of who is behind the site. That's OK for Coca-Cola or American Airlines-- those names are household words. For most of the rest of us, though, the reader wants to know how we are.

Give the reader your name, your email address (in a link they can clink on to write you), your phone number, and--in most cases--a physical business address. Writer Kathy Matthew's recently wrote that no one in their right mind is going to send money to someone they don't know and can't get in touch with easily. She's absolutely right. I also feel it's a good idea to include your picture. It might be a picture of you working with others, your workshop, or your showroom. Pictures communicate a lot of information and go a long way in putting Internet shoppers at ease.

Make sure it's easy for readers to find your order page, find your purchasing information, and can locate a number to call to order. If your web site's main goal is to sell something, put ORDER INFORMATION in a easily-seen link on every page. I like to make it as clear as possible:

Click here for prices and how to order.

Give readers several different ways to buy--via an on-line order form, with a toll free phone number, or by writing a letter (I'm always surprised at the number of people who still prefer the old-fashioned method.) Most consumers will give you a credit card number, while many businesses would rather mail a check.

Include comments from satisfied customers. Before people do anything they look to see who else is doing it. It's human nature. Be sure to pepper your web site with testimonials. They can be short--"Allen does great work!"--or can go into more detail about the benefits the buyer got from your business. Your testimonials will be more believable if they include the commentor's full name, business name, and city.

Promote your site. Because Internet commerce is new, it takes a lot more visitors through your site before you get a sale. Increase the number of visitors and you increase sales. Advertise in email newsletters (write me for a list), on newsgroups that accept ads, trade links with other sites like yours, get into a co-op banner arrangement, and build your own house mailing list by offering a free report or newsletter.

Finally, remember that the Internet is an information-based media. People go on-line to find good FREE information. Put some articles on your site that tell readers more about your field of specialty. If you're selling a long distance service, put up articles on how to deal with calls at work, how to get rid of unwanted calls, and new developments in telephone service. These articles don't need to be long. A few paragraphs often do fine for hurried readers. If you see an article you like on a web site or in a newsletter, email the author and ask for permission to re-print it on your site (I always invite people to use my articles here at www.DrNunley.com or at my other sites http://MarketingHelp.Net and http://www.BizGuru.com).

You can increase sales today by keeping these six simple points in mind when designing or up-dating your web site.

About the author
Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice and copy writing for businesses and organizations. Read all his money-saving marketing tips at http://DrNunley.com/. Reach him at kevin@drnunley.com or 603-249-9519.

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