What's New in Technology for April 2007

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Technology: Increasing Online Sales

Complacency is the enemy of online sales. What worked last Christmas is probably not going to work in spring 2007. Successful entrepreneurs know that web-based sales efforts require a willingness to constantly test different approaches to evaluate response rates and actual sales.

Here are a few simple ways you can test what might work best right now to attract customers and buyers to your site.

    • Change the headline on your home page. The header is the “grabber” and you only have a couple of seconds at best to get the visitor to stop and take notice. If you’ve not changed things for awhile, try a new approach. Ideally, the headline should address the types of problems that your product solves and its main benefit. Perhaps there are seasonal aspects to your business - if so, make sure your headline speaks to your customers’ current mindset. For instance, if you are a remodeler, as summer fades, you might want to focus on the nostalgic joys of traditional winter holiday entertaining made possible in a remodeled kitchen. In the New Year, attract potential clients with ideas for Spring/Summer al fresco fun in a new sunroom.

    • Try adding good quality images of your product or service. You might try different placements—at the top of the screen for a test period and then—in a subsequent test—next to the “call to action”. Images can be a powerful sales tool, providing they are of first quality and won’t restrict customers’ ideas of your expertise.

    • Consider limiting the number of different products you feature on your home page. Test to see if focusing on fewer products –ones that are your biggest sellers or those that might lead to further sales— actually generates more sales revenue. More information on features and benefits about fewer products might be more helpful to customers and more lucrative for you. You can offer your other product ranges via follow-up offers.

    • Remember it’s not what you want to tell ‘em, it’s what they want to hear. Understand your site visitors, their “hot buttons”, the problems they face and the benefits - or rewards - they crave (more leisure time, job security, praise from the boss, lower fuel bills, a greater sense of safety/security, etc.) You get the idea. It’s up to you to show how an investment in your product or service will make life easier, better and more enjoyable for the purchaser.

  • More than ever, it is important to reassure your website visitor that you, and your business, are honest and ethical. Provide a section that allows visitors to read testimonials from real customers. These quotes should talk about how your product solved a problem or provided specific benefits. References that include comments about your responsiveness, attention to detail, professionalism, and efficiency show potential customers that your service is as good as your product range. You may also want to have a special section that outlines your qualifications, experience and special areas of expertise.

In online sales, as in much of life, less is more. Revise your web page copy to make it easier to read, more reader-focused and less cluttered. Make it easy for your customers to understand why they should pick you. Be bold, test new approaches, and swap stale results for sizzling sales.


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