Wondering why your website is not generating sales?
Well, your website pages can’t convert sales on their own. The online user is sceptical by default, and a good website design means absolutely nothing. Investing on a new website just because you need a “new look” is not sufficient. Not anymore.
So, welcome to the Internet Marketing World. And right here, right now, I’m willing to share with you a few simple tips I’ve learned during my business development stay – here in the U. S. of A!
Spending some time in the land where it’s all happening, California, has really leveraged my internet marketing skills and eCommerce knowledge. If you’re wondering why I chose California, that’s exactly the reason why. There is no better place in the world, right now, to connect with the best internet marketing professionals.
So, I advise you to read this blog carefully, as the following Internet Marketing Tips are so easy to apply to your business that it’d be a shame not to use them at all. After all, we’re all trying to use the web to generate profits – aren’t we?
So, are you ready?
Let’s go! 🙂
1. No Niche, no party
You are already in business, hence I guess you deal with a particular niche of customers. If you do, that’s great, well done! If you don’t, becoming successful is a much longer, harder and expensive path.
Let’s guess you already trade with a well-defined audience. Chances are, anything between your website copy, your graphics, your language, your brand and your advertisements are not 100% tailored to that audience.
What is your potential customer afraid of? What’s their biggest fear, or their most unfixable issue? If you are NOT providing the solution to this answer, then there is no room for partying. Your offline and online marketing should be built around this simple suggestion.
2. No Authority, no freedom to charge
How many times have you heard from a prospect: “This service is too expensive”, or “I can’t afford to buy this product”? There are 2 likely reasons why your products are “too expensive” or “not affordable”:
a) your prospect does not belong to your target audience;
b) you have no Authority to charge those fees.
When potential customers, which belong to your niche, make a purchase, facts are they are going to buy from the expert, the Authority. Most of the time, this is your competitor.
If you want your business to move away from “being the cheapest”, all you need to do is becoming an Authority in your industry. Organise a free seminar through your local chamber of commerce, show off your skills and knowledge, address your prospects’ fears.
And if you want to move 100 steps forward in the Authority ladder, write a book. Not a fiction book, a marketing-driven book. A book you can use as a business card (instead of a business card!), so that prospects know instantly you are The Expert to talk to.
And guess what? Prospects will purchase your services, no matter the price – as you just demonstrated your expertise.
3. Copywriting sells
A few weeks ago, I registered for a 2-days seminar here in California.
Here’s what I did:
1) Googled “Internet Marketing Seminar California”
2) Found and opened a link on page 1 of Google
3) Clicked on “find out more button” after the welcome homepage
4) Read the AMAZING copy
5) Trusted the seller
6) Purchased the seminar
Curious to find out the cost? Ok, it was… $2500 🙂
You can call it an “impulse buy” if you like!
This is telling you several things: first, your website needs to get found by your buying audience. Second, and most importantly, your website needs to talk to your prospects, as if you were there yourself.
It is the Copy that sold the seminar to me. I’ve never seen or heard of the speakers before, but I know from the copy that I needed to attend this great event.
4. Lifetime Value matters
This concept keeps coming back, every time I read something, I attend some presentation or watch a video about marketing. Is this telling me something?
Lifetime value, or LTV, is a very important figure you need to keep in mind when analysing your business and estimating your marketing budget.
My upcoming book publication will contain a simple formula to calculate LTV and your Internet Marketing budget, but for now let’s explain what lifetime value means and why you should start using it.
An average customer of yours spends an average amount of money, and buys an average amount of times per year. Finally, you’re expected to retain such customer for an average amount of years. Despite all the averages, LTV indicates how much a customer is worth to your business.
Long story short, Starbucks customer LTV is approximately $22.000: in the course of her lifetime, a customer is averagely going to spend $22k in Starbucks! Now, how much is Starbucks willing to invest to acquire a new customer? Exactly, anything marketed today can make you earn a staggering amount in the long term.
Think about dentists or solicitors, and you will now understand how a €10000 marketing budget is nothing compared to the expected acquisition of 50-200 new clients, who will spend an amount equal to LTV in the course of their lifespan!
5. Your Customer vs You
Your Copywriter knows (and will need to be reminded) that it’s not about yourself, it’s about your customers.
No need to say more, focus on your audience and not on yourself. You like different things, speak a different language, wear different clothes, and sell products. On the other hand, customers buy products, think different and behave different.
Hence, you can’t afford to speak your own language: put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
6. Joint Ventures
I’m not talking here of the actual meaning of “Joint Venture” (the way two companies incorporate together), but more as a “collaboration” – “helping each other’s businesses”.
Which companies (not competitors!) sell products or services to the same audience of yours? Wouldn’t be amazing if you could both gain new prospects, absolutely free of charge?
That’s what a business “joint venture” is aimed at: two non-competitive businesses can co-host a seminar, can co-write a book, share a newsletter with both lists and – as they offer more benefits to the two audiences – expect an amazing return out of this simple collaboration.
For example, my amazing Copywriting colleague Eilish Rafferty (check out her Copywriting Practice’s website) and I both work with the same niche of customers. With a simple collaboration, we both get to double our connections.
7. SEO is moving forward
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) has changed a lot after Google improved – once again – its algorithm in August 2013. The new “Hummingbird” update – they say – now enhances the user experience. It has affected over 90% of searches.
If you noticed a huge drop at the end of August 2013 in your organic searches – there you go, Hummingbird probably killed your website ranking.
After attending a very interesting seminar here in California, the feeling is that SEO companies are now moving towards a re-branding, to include other several techniques to generate traffic to your website. The former SEOMOZ, an internet leader in SEO, has now re-branded to MOZ. Several SEO agencies now call themselves SEM (Search Engine Marketing) agency.
SEO ain’t dead – but the recent changes introduced by Google makes ranking much more difficult and only a long-term marketing plan is able to turn the effort into profit.
8. Facebook Ads & Google AdWords
Depending on your audience, Facebook Ads are finally converting very well and giving the right return on the investment.
After an Internet Marketing seminar here in California I tested a simple Facebook Advert for my Irish Internship Listings Website (with a budget of $2 / day) and received a lot of hits, likes and conversions (companies listing internship vacancies & students uploading their CVs).
Facebook Ads are very easy to set up and if your target market uses Facebook, I recommend you test it out.
On the other hand, Google AdWords is expanding its features and improving its potential. And, given the fact that Google is where people look for your products (as opposed to Facebook, that is a hard-sell for certain audiences), I still focus on Google AdWords to increase my clients’ website sales.
9. Blogging is huge
Still think that blogging is a waste of time? Well, you’d better read this!
Blogging is a waste of time when you’ve got no strategy and no goal. Creating random content or talking about Christmas is not blogging. Either blog for making more money, or don’t blog.
Not only Google loves fresh content, but your prospects need new content. Blogging can help you convert more sales as no-one is willing to buy from a stranger the first time (would you propose to a person after the first date?).
Think of your audience and brainstorm about their problems, issues, fears and needs. Create very simple articles, once a month, and keep your potential customers interested so you can capture their email address. Here’s my article on 5 Reasons why a Blog will Make you Money, should you have missed that!
Oh Yes, I nearly forgot: blogging with no goal (lead capture) makes no sense. You’ve got to capture those email addresses, or you risk to lose all your potential readers. Once again, you might not have the time or the skills to write a compelling blog.
Finally, it’s 10 times easier to put off readers with a poorly written blog. Take a look at Eilish’s Blog Writing Services once again and get in touch with her should you need professional help.
10. Retargeting / Remarketing
If your potential customers fail in entering their email address via your website (or you fail because of the lack of calls to action), well – nothing is lost! When users visit your website, a “little activity log” is stored on their browser. That “log” is called cookie.
So, dear business website owner, welcome to the world of re-marketing, or re-targeting.
Ever seen an online Advert of a website/product you visited previously? And ever noticed you keep seeing these Ads very, very often?
Stalking? No, retargeting.
By collecting cookies of your website visitors, you can advertise back to them if they haven’t bought anything or didn’t get in touch. This is how powerful the internet is! Imagine a bricks-and-mortar store owner, who has the chance to advertise back to all the customers who did not buy products in the store, without having to “follow” them in the car park!
Re-marketing has a very high sales conversion rate, and can be done via Google AdWords and other services such as AdRoll.
11. A/B Testing
Google Content Experiments or other services such as Optimize.ly are the key to track and assess how your website edits can affect website sales.
For example, I did an A/B test on my Internship listing website (Xperience.ie).
The original call to action was “Advertise an Internship” – while the test homepage had a slightly different button: “Post an Internship”. After sending 50% of the traffic to the original page and the rest to the test environment, I discovered that “Post” is much more effective and converts more sales than “Advertise”. The reason is evident (businesses hate “advertising” as usually it is synonym of $$$), but A/B testing gives you a mathematical proof.
Content Experiments are strongly recommended for websites that get at least 100 hits per day and are trying to figure out how to improve sales conversion.