By: Thomas Young, MBA
We are in the middle of a sales and marketing revolution, and it is still in the early stages. The Internet has quickly become a powerful sales channel. However, the majority of businesses have not tapped into this opportunity. Even with the tremendous potential of the web, most companies are falling short of their web site sales potential. Many business owners fear the new technology or do not access the Internet. It is invisible to many, yet millions of people are buying and selling via the Internet.
Use of the Internet is growing at 100% a year and will reach 1% of US sales revenue in 1999. This is tremendous growth for a sales medium that only hit mainstream a few years ago. Just about anything that can be sold is being sold over the Internet. Forty percent of households are currently on-line and that number is expected to grow to 70% in the next four years. These are affluent households looking for value through the Internet. They want to save time, convenience, and are OK with minimal risk. This represents phenomenal business and selling opportunities. Here are a few tips for creating a web site that generates sales.
Develop a Web Site Strategy
Create specific goals for your site and develop an Internet marketing plan. What do you want your site to do for your business? How can sales be generated from the site? Many companies only exist on the web; others have very passive sites that function as company brochures on-line. Develop a strategy that goes beyond providing company information and stimulates sales for your business.
Meet Customer Needs
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers. What do your customers want to see in your site? Ask your customers this question via a suggestion form on your site. The Internet is the most powerful form of communication and source of information on the planet. Fill your site with information that pushes customer’s hot buttons. My site (http://www.salestrainingplus.com) contains dozens of pages of useful sales and marketing information that visitors can use today in their work. This adds value to my clients and brings people back to the site for the latest updates.
How to Get Hits
Maintain good meta tags and register with key search engines once every two months. Promote your site in all your advertising and promotions. Ask people to visit the site. People enjoy looking up sites and surfing the web. Research Internet malls and directories. Look into companies that build your exposure with search engines, such as Top-10 Promotions, a company that guarantees top 20 placement with the search engines and key word searches or your money back. Email articles to other relevant ezines (electronic newsletters) and include a reference and link to your site within the articles. Advertise your site through reputable people who have established emailing lists on the web. If your site is good, word-of-mouth will bring interested visitors. Track your hits with a counter or service, such as superstats.com, a company that reports site statistics.
Make Your Site Interactive
Include your email address and phone number. Allow visitors to submit information to you. If you have products to sell, establish a secure server and take credit cards for payment. Respond promptly to all inquiries, either on email or via the phone.
Review Your Competitor’s Sites
Develop a competitive advantage by reviewing your competitors’ sites and creating a site that better meets customer needs. Customer’s choices run the web, those that better meet those needs will be successful. The Internet revolution is customer driven. It is the essence of a free market system with little government involvement.
Keep it Simple
Your site should be easy to navigate and make good use of white space. Do not use fancy graphics or photos that take more then 20-30 seconds to download, unless they are compelling. Fight the urge to get carried away with sizzle on your site. Focus on the goals of the site, meeting customer needs and adding value.
The Internet holds incredible business opportunities for those who want to reach customers and turn great ideas into millions of dollars. It is changing the way we do business. Catch the Internet wave and find new channels of sales success.
Tom Young, MBA is president of Intuitive Websites, a sales training and marketing consulting firm helping companies increase revenues. He can be reached at 719-481-4040, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.