Just spent a few grand to “construct your website” and nothing’s happening? Welcome to the club. The big club.
The reality is, it’s too early in the internet game to expect an avalanche of sales. Right now it’s just snowing out — maybe even just flurrying. History will prove that to be true. BUT the internet is the future of sales. Just because your site isn’t working, doesn’t mean the internet isn’t working. The internet is on its way to the moon — you just may not be a passenger. Pity.
Meanwhile, what can you do? An easy answer — KEEP BUILDING. And a hard answer — SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP.
Success on the internet is a delicate balance between your company’s plan allocation of time, budgeting of resources, and graphic appeal — combined with your visitors (hits) thoughts, perceptions, and actions as they visit.
In order to get better, you must first discover your weaknesses. Lack of sales is not a problem — it’s a symptom. The problem is you have not uncovered or admitted your web-weakness(es).
Here are the 10.5 most common mistakes that occur on the web-sites of companies trying to do business on the web, and not getting the results they were hoping for. BUT don’t just read them — rate your own web-site as you read along.
1. Hard to locate your website. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean anyone can find it. You may be on YAHOO but lost on web-TV — register on search engines and develop relationships with people of similar sites that will link you to theirs (and vice-versa).
2. Wrong stuff on website. Information about you and your company, instead of information the customer can use or be interested in. Your first page presentation is critical to keeping someone interested enough to go inside.
3. Your stuff is interesting to you — but boring to everyone else. All your employees and sales team love the site — but there’s no value to the prospect, therefore no interest (reason) to buy anything.
4. Can’t grab surfers immediate attention. Ask me, challenge me, engage me — don’t introduce yourself until I’m interested. Make it fun. Make it exciting. Make it challenging. Hook me or lose me.
5. Hard to navigate or understand the purpose of your site. Illogical layout — hidden stuff that YOU know where it is, but remains a secret to the rest of the world. No stated objectives , teasers, questions, or obvious benefits to the surfer.
6. Self-defeating graphics. Graphics that take too long to load. Graphics that don’t tie in a message. Graphics that just sit there (no animation or movement). Use all the technology you can to get your site to load fast, mean something, and move around.
7. One way communication. Most sites have no immediate ability to send someone an e-mail message or ask a question Hint: questions lead to sales.
8. No reason to visit the site more than once. Change parts of site often — Most sales are not made on the first call — you must get three or four exposures to break down the barriers of resistance and lower the risk of purchase. Give value incentive to visit your site often, and you’ll start to make sales.
9. No daily changes. Have a daily message, fact, quote or info-bit to keep people coming back until they like you enough to buy.
10. No real long-term web-plan or web-master. Most people have an “everyone’s doing it — let’s try it — or, we gotta be like the competition” mentality. You must have a 5 year web-plan and hire (appoint) a web-master, or don’t bother. Reactionary web-sites don’t have the same impact as proactively planned ones.
10.5 Didn’t ask for the sale — Duh! No offer to buy, or hard to buy makes it a self defeating objective.
Guideline clue: The internet is not a place to sell — the internet is a place to create the atmosphere to buy.
Success clue: Pretend you’re a customer. Try to place an order, get a question answered, leave someone a message — see what I mean
Reality clue: The web is an infant. Under five years old. Where was radio at 5 years? TV? Learn how to crawl as the web grows — eventually you will be walking — even running.
Craig Mazser of Interpath.Com (Raleigh, NC) says, “We are fixing and upgrading more sites than we are creating. People have been disappointed with their initial results from the web, but only because they went in with the wrong set of expectations — and the wrong set of graphics.”
“Web wasn’t built in a day.” said Craig grinning. “And neither will anyone’s response to their website — it takes time — but the engine is on track and gathering momentum.”
If you decide to wait until the web matures — you will still be an infant. America will do billions of dollars of business on the web — that’s a given — The only variable is — how much of those billions will you capture?
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org