What’s the goal of your website?
To sell a product, to gain registered users? Regardless of your goal, a great way to succeed on the Web is to think of your website as your online salesperson. While you are making a decision on design, site structure, content, or copy, keep this concept of a salesperson in your mind, because really, your website is your salesperson on the Web. It is your website, not you who interacts with customers, and drives sales (or conversions). Therefore, make your website make your website the best and perfect salesperson.
It can be done by following the tested guidelines:
Welcome your users: In a retail setting, would you ignore customers when they walked through the door? Or would you offer a friendly welcome, give them some information about how your store is arranged, and tell them where they can get more help if they need it? The latter is definitely the more successful approach. On your website, this approach can be accomplished in a number of ways: it can be done by a welcoming copy on your home page which will assure visitors that they have come to the right place; a clear site structure, with predictable navigation, which will give them a clear picture of the layout of your site; and a prominent help or contact feature which will make it clear where your visitors can seek assistance if they need it.
Build trust: Once you have welcomed your visitors, attempt to build a relationship of trust with your visitor. This might be accomplished by providing testimonials from past customers, or by providing them with a helpful service or resource. You can also build trust by using language that sounds helpful. Most importantly, don’t lie. With the internet at their fingertips, your visitors will not be easily fooled. If you are not willing to give them factual information, someone else will do that.
Establish yourself as an expert: People like to make educated decisions. If you establish yourself as someone who is an expert, and as someone trustworthy, many of your visitors will be inclined to defer to your expertise. So provide your visitors with a wealth of information to help them make their decision.
Believe in your product: To some extent, the last two points require a leap of faith. They ask you to provide objective information about yourself and your product, and that requires a certain amount of faith in your product. However, if you don’t believe in your product, your problems extend much further than web design. Don’t underestimate the perceptiveness of your visitors, long-term success is impossible if you are selling a solution you don’t believe in.
Understand your customer: Every good salesperson knows that to be successful, you need to know your customer, including their goals, motivations, and concerns. One of the ways to learn more is to have conversations with your customers online and offline. Maintain a prominent place on your site where your users can leave feedback. At last, use your web analytics software to ascertain more about your users’ behavior. Do a significant number of people go directly from your Products page to the Help page? Maybe you need more text on that page explaining what users should be doing there, or how they can move forward.
It is not about you, it is about them: Countless successful salespeople have trained themselves to replace the “I’s” and “We’s” in their dialogue with “You’s.” People are self-focused, and would rather hear you talk about them than about you and your product. Don’t talk about how amazing your solution is on your website instead tell your visitors how it will help them.
Guide visitors to the desired choice/action/solution: Now that your visitor has been sufficiently informed and their concerns have been addressed, they should be ready to take the desired action on your site, whether that is a sign-up, a purchase, a submitted contact/lead form, or some other conversion. All you need to do now is make it as easy as possible for them to do so. Some websites make it downright difficult on their users. Make the steps of your shopping cart, user registration or contact form very clear and easy to understand, don’t make the same mistake! Challenge yourself to make the process easy enough for a four year old to navigate.
At last, take rejection in stride: Every real salesperson does that. If your latest strategy, product, or marketing campaign has not achieved the heights you thought it would be, then learn from it and move on. All the best!