You slave away for hours, days and weeks building the best web site the world has ever seen. You master the art of HTML, learn how to upload it to your server, promote like crazy. You’re going to make a fortune.
Then you wait for the orders to roll in.
But they don’t.
You see ads all over the Internet from people who claim to be able to convert 5%, 8% even 30% of visitors into sales and wonder what the *big secret* is. But you’ve spent your budget buying a domain name and hosting services. The little that you have left over is earmarked for buying traffic – or paying the rent. Tempting as it is, spending $47, $67, $97 or more just may not be practical right now.
Incidentally, have you noticed how many Internet products are priced ending in 7? Sevens sell. Don’t ask me the psychology of it, but it seems to work time and time again. Try it out for yourself.
I’m going to tell you a big secret. And I won’t charge you a cent. Not even 7 cents.
Here are the 5 secrets that have made a lot of successful Internet marketeers very wealthy.
Secret #1. Simplicity Secret #2. Personalization Secret #3. Attention to detail Secret #4. Capture Secret #5. Ease
Summed up by the easy-to-remember acronym, SPACE.
Before I explain what these elements mean, and how they apply to you, let me digress for a moment. What are we actually talking about when we discuss web sites?
There are 4 main kinds of web presence:
>>> Offline companies who want a web site as a shop window. These can be huge corporations or Mom and Pop corner shops. They may sell product or not. But the key point is that the Internet is not their main business.
>>> Internet mega companies who have complex and long term business plans. Companies like Yahoo and Amazon.
>>> Personal web pages that have little or no commercial intent.
>>> Web sites run by individuals to make money. I call these the ‘no fall-back’ sites. If they don’t turn a profit, they wither and die.
We are concerned with the last of these. It is these sites that SPACE can be the most help to.
Apply SPACE to your site and you really will be seeing it through buyer’s eyes.
Layout. Not everyone can be a top graphic designer – in fact, many of the graphic designers I have worked with seem to find effective web site design very difficult. Look closely at your site design. Is it cluttered? Have you tried to get everything except the kitchen sink onto your homepage?
Back to the drawing board. Think of your home page as an extended classified ad. It has to please the eye, grab the customer’s attention and compel them to take the next action – move on to the next part of your sales story.
Another thing it has to do is to satisfy the demands of the search engines. It is often said that your homepage text should contain all of your main keywords within the first 250 words. That is a good target to aim for. And it helps you focus on what your most important keywords actually are.
Your site will not get sales without it. It is as critical as that. Every copywriter in every ad agency in the world knows this secret. In case you can’t afford a copywriter, I’m going to tell you what I have learned in 25 years working with some of the biggest advertisers around. And it is so simple you will wonder why so few writers do it.
They Want Benefits
They want benefits.
They. Not you. Your visitors are only interested in themselves. A reader of a newspaper ad is only interested in himself. A TV viewer is only interested in herself. Tell them about themselves. Sure tell them about your company and great products, but do it in a way that is relevant to THEM.
Benefits. In the first 200 or so words of an ad (and start thinking about your homepage as an ad), the reader could care less about the range of sizes or colors. They are not interested in how much meat goes into each pie. They are bored by details. Features kill your message.
What they want to know is how the product is going to make them feel better, be slimmer, be more popular, be attractive, earn more money. How your e-zine is going to improve their lives or businesses.
Sell them the sizzle, not the sausage.
Once you have got their attention, tell them about every feature under the sun. By now they are so excited they will eat your words like candy.
While we are talking about personalization, remember, your visitors are only interested in themselves. So humor them. Do a word count of your copy. If you don’t have at least 5 instances of ‘you and your’ for every one ‘me, mine, my, I, our or we’, rewrite it until you do. The higher the ratio the better.
Attention to detail
So many sites are badly programmed. Before you upload your site always check:
1. Spelling. Every word. Twice. Then get someone else to check it for you. Unnecessary spelling mistakes give an impression of sloppiness. Would you willingly buy from a sloppy shopkeeper?
2. Links. Do they all work. If not, fix them. They must all work.
3. Does it work for the majority of viewers? Have you checked how it looks on small monitors and in old browsers? There are still lots of people using older equipment. Try not to offend them.
4. Does it load quickly? One of the biggest turnoffs for visitors to your site is a slow loading homepage. Optimize those graphics.
5. Since we are talking about graphics – do you really need all of them? One good picture can be more powerful than ten bad ones.
When you have checked and double-checked, upload it and then check again. It is amazing how many links go dead after the site is uploaded. And get into the habit of checking your site regularly.
This is so important, Moses should have carved it in stone:
“Thou shalt not let thine visitors go without first getting their email address.”
Statistics show that it can often take up to seven (that magic number again) communications with a visitor before they are willing to buy from you. It’s all about building trust and developing a relationship.
So how do you get them to come back once, let alone seven times?
By offering them something of value. That could be a newsletter, a special report, a free consultation, a free gift voucher, a tips sheet. You decide what works best for your business. But ensure that you get their email address AND permission to use it.
Whatever you offer them must have a high *perceived* value.
Armed with their email address, you can send them news of changes to your site, special offers, ‘I heard about this and thought you might be interested’ affiliate offers. Anything to keep you and your business top of their mind.
If you are careful, and don’t overdo the mailings (no more than once a week), AND ensure that you are seen as honest and reputable, they will come back and buy.
The mailing list could be the most valuable thing your business produces.
This shouldn’t need to be said, but so few sites do it: make it easy for the visitor to do what you want them to do.
To make a sale, you have to make the process as painless as possible. Don’t ask for pages of personal information that you don’t really need.It should go without saying that you must always reassure customers that your payment process is secure.
Always remember that your visitors are never more than a click away from leaving you forever. Do everything you can to make staying easier than leaving.
So there are the big secrets. SPACE. Not so hard, are they? Follow these principles and your web site will look better and work better. And you will make more money.
There is one other *secret* which deserves to be put into a section all on its own as without this, nothing else matters:
Focus is critical. Focus on who you are talking to. Focus on what you are trying to say. Focus on what you want the visitor to your site to do.
Too many web sites lack focus. The webmasters know what they want, but totally fail to communicate that message to their visitors.
If you want to get an order – everything on your site must be focused on delivering the visitor to your order page in the right frame of mind to buy.
If you want to get their email address (highly recommended), focus on that as your prime objective.
Don’t run off on sidetracks and tangents. Don’t waffle about how great your company is. Focus your mind on your customers and tell them exactly what they want to hear.
Then they will do exactly what you want them to do.
Martin Avis is the author of the best-selling ‘Unlock the Secrets of Private Label eBooks’ – a complete blueprint to private label rights success. Visit http://www.plrsecrets.com to see how you can tap into this goldmine for yourself.