Think of your website as your online salesperson. Doing so can help you think about online strategies that contribute to sales and your business bottom line. As a seller, your site should interact with customers, drive sales, and stimulate conversations.
So, whenever you make decisions about your business website, approach them as though you were discussing your top sales rep. The design, structure and content of your site all directly affect your sales, so accept that you must consider them as part of your overall strategy. The following elements can drive sales and make your website a better online salesperson
A business website must look professional and inspire trust. Without a good layout, a website will look sketchy and cause people to look for another place to spend their money. If your business doesn’t have talent on the payroll capable of creating a trustworthy website, you should look for a professional designer who can get the job done.
A good site design will feature easy-to-use navigation that makes finding information and resources easy. Avoid having a structure with tons of sub-menus, gadgets, and frills that make finding information impossible. Site clutter drives visitors away. Spend time evaluating your website. If you can’t quickly locate the resources your customers need, they probably can’t find them either.
Pay attention to how your site looks on mobile devices. Most Internet traffic comes from users with smartphones and tablets, so spend the necessary time and money to ensure that your company provides an excellent user experience on all platforms. You can create a mobile-friendly site by making your website responsive. Such a site detects the platform used to access it and formats information to suit it. You can also choose to create a site that hosts a separate version for mobile and desktop users. However you approach your design, you must ensure that every user can easily find the content they need.
Web design also involves creating content that quickly loads into client browsers. Statistics show that users will quickly abandon a slow-loading site and move on to competitors that operate sites that work well with their browsers.
Any salesperson must know the products they sell. You would never let anyone from your company who had no idea about the value your business offers meet prospective clients. Still, many companies publish their websites without providing any concrete information about the products and services they expect people to buy.
Invest in copywriting that communicates the values of your company and describes the products that you sell. Product descriptions should engage and entertain customers while providing the information needed for people to make informed buying decisions. Make your products stand outfrom those offered by your competitors. You should never misrepresent what you sell. Instead, let visitors to your site know how your company delivers the best value in the marketplace.
Don’t make shoppers guess about what you have to offer. A human salesperson will provide product descriptions and demonstrations to potential buyers. Your website should do the same thing. Ensure that product images let people see and understand what you sell, and provide concise text that helps shoppers know everything about the goods you offer. As a salesperson, your website must give your the information they need to make a confident decision.
Include pricing as part of your product descriptions. After learning about your products and services, many of your website users will want to buy. If they can’t find out how much your products cost, however, you will lose every sale. A salesperson would never frustrate potential buyers by hiding pricing information, and your website shouldn’t do that either. Make pricing easy to see and understand. Make your catalog easy to browse and your products easy to buy.
A sales rep will give business cards to customers, so they know who to call if they have a problem or need more information. Your website should do the same thing. Online shoppers want to know they have a way to communicate with your company if they have problems with the goods and services they buy. Make contacting your business easy by providing your telephone number and email address. Provide links to your social media sites and have large buttons people can use to start an online chat with a customer service representative.
Your website can outperform a salesperson by providing self-service support options that never close. For example, provide FAQ pages that answer common questions about your company and products. Provide an online support center, so customers can open support tickets and receive prompt responses from your support team. People like the communication channel sales reps provide, so give them plenty of options on your website. Make support easy for users to find, and you customers will feel comfortable buying from your firm.
Streamline your purchasing process. Commerce titans such as Amazon have achieved success by simplifying the purchase process. The corporation discovered that a simple checkout process encourages people to buy more items at an increased frequency. Follow Amazon’s lead. Make buying from your company a quick and easy process. Sales people will do anything they can to facilitate a sale, so your website should do the same thing.
A slow, complicated, prolonged checkout process discourages buyers and ultimately results in abandoned shopping carts and lost sales. Don’t send your prospects to buy from your competitors. Instead, make buying from your company a fast, simple, and pleasurable experience. Create a simple site registration process or altogether eliminate the sign-up process. Shoppers should have the ability to click or tap to add an item to their cart and checkout without jumping through hoops. Make the shopping experience fast and convenient, like a salesperson would, and sales will increase.
Secure your site. If you do not have a website security expert on your team, hire a professional firm to make sure you provide a safe and secure online experience. More than ever before, people fear identity theft, fraud, and other online crimes, so give them a safe online environment. Unlike a transaction handled by a sales representative, a transaction with your website does not involve human interaction. Even the smallest part of the commerce experience must inspire trust and confidence.
Websites must have security features that include encryption. Have an active SSL certificate installed from a reputable provider, so your shoppers don’t worry about security. An SSL certificate will secure all transactions on your site and will trigger safety signals in most Web browsers. When properly installed, SSL encrypts that the information sent between a client and your website, preventing identity theft, hijacking, and other problems.
Most shoppers know about SSL, so they will never buy from a site that does not show a padlock icon in their browser and HTTPS in their address bar. Go beyond encryption by signing up with a trusted, well-known payment processor that has a proven record of safeguarding customer credit card information. Consider using services such as PayPal that inspire confidence and encourage sales.
Experienced salespeople have many connections, so they can quickly provide client testimonials. Whenever a customer has a good experience, sellers will add that person to their list of potential references. Your website can do the same thing, automating the process of connecting prospects with past customers.
Provide links to company social profiles on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, so people can quickly assess the quality of service your business provides. Also, create connections with Instagram and Pinterest, so prospects can see your products in action and learn from the experiences of your previous customers.
Social proof drives customer engagement and sales. It attracts buyers and builds brand awareness. Weave social proof into your Web pages and use it to support the information your customers use to make a buying decision. Social proof can assume many forms from customer testimonials to numerical ratings. When properly utilized, social media will inspire trust in your brand and result in increased sales.
Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys reading about latest apps and gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeter