How to Increase Web Sales

Top 14 Ways To Increase Sales on the Internet

Tags--This page is about: more sales by correct website design and promotion, how to sell more - increase sales, get more business, more customers, selling tips, web strategy, be more competitive, business strategy, online marketing, management, starting a small business, internet business, advertising, Google, Adwords and niche directories. ---WebSuccess and BG Design are divisions of Buyers' Group MG

Overview of Web Marketing Realities:

Web marketing requirements to increase sales: You can't succeed if you don't know the basics and the big picture to see the importance of integrating your web and business strategies to increase sales. Diagnosing why your site doesn't sell is crucial to success. It is usually about:

  • Poor Business Strategy
  • Poor Use of Advertising Principles
  • Inadequate Promotion & Research (most common)
  • Not Focused - too broad topics, audience & territory
  • Poor Audience Targeting-segmenting, landing pages, pathways
  • Not credible, comfortable-congruent, professional, personal, easy to contact
  • Poorly-designed site
Those are all highly inter-related. If you are doing most of those right, the others will be close to right. Improving any of them is a great opportunity to improve the others.

You should study and work on ALL those areas, and BALANCE and ENFORCE the effort with a BUDGET, and get expert help.

Bottom Line to increase sales: The product must be great and the site must have proper quality and focus to be seen and to sell.
To be seen and sell requires Proper Marketing, Design AND Promotion.

If you started a business, whether online or "brick and mortar", after about two to three months it should start making some sales. This varies by type of business: Whether it is long-term "relationship selling" of large projects or immediate selling of small high demand items. We here mean mostly increasing online selling in a business suitable for that, or as an intelligent adjunct to conventional sales efforts. As a rule, some sales should happen within 6 months of a startup.

Too often people start an internet business expecting volume income within a few months. That seldom happens. More often almost no sales happen, due to failure to follow principles presented in these Web-Success articles.

If you have read other Web-Success pages, you know that online selling can be as complex and competitive as a conventional businesses. For a small web-focused business, the cost of internet startup may be less, but not much less than some regular businesses, if done properly. The real costs are proper research, planning, design and coding, testing, re-writing, re-testing, promotion, SEO efforts, Pay-per Click costs and related costs to bring up a unique site with unique focused content in narrow niches with offerings that take top ranking positions on search engines. (Also getting into quality niche directories and building inbound links.)

Excellent graphics, custom design and promotion---are expensive and time-consuming, especially if you do it WRONG! We show how to save time and money by planning for cycles of website improvement and strategy refinement based on testing.

NOTE: If the product is one which normally requires personal contact, fitting or trying on, high credibility, is high-priced, or is normally sold in stores where the atmosphere, tactile and sensory elements of touch and even smell or demonstration convince the buyer to buy, then internet sales may not be appropriate except to help bring customers to the store.

A good example of an excellent balanced strategy with an expensive site designed to bring people into well known stores is http://www.cornerbakery.com . It may not be the most search engine-friendly, but it sells well using basics of advertising: show the product, talk about the product, create interest, credibility and a unique style and atmosphere. That website likely cost over $40,000 (half on graphics) with a similar amount for promotion. They have other advantages: great style, good locations and excellent products, service and atmosphere. It matches their quality eclectic yummy image. It's all balanced and congruent.
Good strategy is about matching and balancing into a unique offering.

Causes of Failure to sell fall into six main areas:

  • Wrong strategy
  • Wrong business-Product: Uncompetitive non-unique me-too product (can't likely be fixed - likely fatal)
  • Inadequate resources (financing, staffing, skills, management, selection-pricing, distribution, cust. service)
  • Lack of Audience & market segmentation, targeting for comfort and credibility/confidence
  • Bad or insufficient Website
  • Inadequate and incorrect Promotion of the Site and/or Business

Likely several of these hurt the business at the same time.
There is likely some chance of recovery if only strategy, website or promotion are deficient.

So if you aren't getting more sales after a few months in your web business, perhaps you should study these

Top 14 Tips to Increase Sales:

1) Get expert help with diagnosing or critiquing your web site and business, and ask people and site visitors for comments with a brief easy-to-use form by a button. Even offer to pay $1-2 for opinions of people leaving the site. Keep it to under 2 minutes, about 5 multiple-choice questions, or survey with comment area. Emphasize "Brief". WARNING: Most "web experts" are NOT, so Study and compare carefully.

2) While reading Web Success articles relating to strategy, design and marketing---try to determine which steps and standards you have not followed. These articles remind you of every step and facet of the web strategy through positioning, appeals, trade dress style selection, site design, content, reliability and promotion.

3) If your business or product does not have fatal flaws, Reduce your problem to the main failures in the steps of buying.
As in #4 next, the simplest level is

  • a) to determine whether you have adequate visitor prospects, or
  • b) whether plenty of visitors are just not buying.

This gets into traffic analysis and proper use of Tools to analyze the site, paths, traffic and sources.

4) You then proceed through whether:
  • the traffic is "qualified",
  • your appeals are appealing (and relate to product features),
  • whether the site grabs attention,
  • names the target audience(s), their specific problem and your solution,
  • takes them quickly to the target's subject, your solution (or a landing page about them)
  • builds all-important credibility, trust, confidence (and speed and ease of navigation),
  • whether it does basic communication well.
Contact us for help if your Promotion or Design are suspect. Contact Us

A site is DESIGNED AROUND YOUR PROSPECT-VISITOR SEGMENTS, their needs in their language, with pathways through the site-a section for each.

5) Does your site do selling basics well? Strong Headlines, Good positioning distinctions/features, showing the product in action? Does it communicate clearly, quickly? Does it show the product in action? Does it relate by citing real cases? Does it connect product features to each target segment's needs by way of correct "appeals"?

Do you follow sales experts' advice to limit choices to only 5 or 6 choices? What about real testimonials and authoritative content to build credibility and trust? Does your site demonstrate how you are better and different (your unique selling proposition)?

6) Try to identify the top two or three reasons people are not visiting or not buying. This is key to see whether you have traffic but few "conversions". You should have installed a web site statistics counter like www.statcounter.com. Typically you will have a combination of problems: Low traffic and even fewer conversions. Even if you have good traffic and poor conversions, you likely have serious problems in both your site and pages design as well as the business strategy, marketing strategy or possibly even the business you are in or the products or services you offer. That is, you may just be in the wrong business, or the products you sell--or wrong for the internet. You probably need some relatively cheap advice. (It is not cheap to spend 2 years on a failing business before knowing what is wrong.)

7) If you have good traffic and low sales, at the very least you have a problem of poor qualification of prospects, poor credibility, you are failing to communicate or have poor navigation, or you are not competitive--- if products similar to yours are in demand from others. Poor qualifying of prospects costs little if you depend mainly on organic rankings instead of paid advertising. In that case, it is the content and products themselves which are not convincing. Usually it is because you fail to communicate your advantages and lack credibility. How do your pricing, terms and guarantees compare with competitors? Always study successful competitors or similar businesses as to what they do: Do they advertise? Where? How often? Are they more credible? Are their sites or tools and offerings better or easier to use? What headlines and appeals do they use? If you have good traffic, there may be hope, if you are flexible, and utilize good critiques to improve.

Your site content, like your ads, must follow basic advertising principles of testing headlines and appeals focused on the target audience--analyzing everything about their buying motives. You must read classic basic advertising and marketing books, focusing upon tying your "positioning" to your target audience, naming that audience up front, focusing on benefits from features of your product(s). You must appear the best in your niche with clear reasons to buy from you, all within a few seconds. You have 2 to 3 seconds to catch their interest, and a few more seconds to hold it ... or they are GONE.

8) Most likely you have a combination of several problems from not following all the steps listed in Web-Success and in building a sound business strategy from good books on strategy and positioning, and failing to do adequate research and study of competition. Have you fallen for some distributor's line saying that he sells a lot of the jewelry or something like that you also try to sell (ie: you are one more me-too agent)? That doesn't mean any dealer or agent is making profits. It means the wholesaler or broker has convinced many agent/dealers to buy from him/her. (much like MLM network marketing---few sales to persons outside the closed captive audience)

9) The answers should be clear after examining all the above and this website. If not, you likely need an expert web business consultant to help you rapidly home in on problems or determine whether you should revise the business or give it up. You should allow about 5 to 10 hours at around $40 (us) to $120/hour (others) for a solid critique of your business and web site. If you've spent the typical $2,000 to $10,000 in direct costs plus more labor to get to few sales, that $200 to $1200 is likely well-spent if there is a chance of making your investment work. The web business consultant should be associated with a professional full-service web marketing or web design and development firm.

10) A web business consultant can help devise some tests to assess what is wrong with either your marketing program, your business or products, your web site, or your entire business strategy/approach. He or she should mostly examine your website strengths and weaknesses, your focus, positioning and competition. This was the part of your business you should have done first, as in Top 11 Tips to a Successful web business: Research to find a Niche and Business Strategy to have a unique selling proposition of a unique product or service in high demand. We will save you some money right here: Having what you think is some cool unique (gimmicky) way of selling is not a real business if the competition is huge or the products not in high demand and unique. Too many amateurs start businesses on a whim, not a sound business strategy. If that is your situation, you likely need a complete re-think of your goals and business, and you may not need a consultant if that is the rather simple ultimate reality and cause of few sales. It may yet be fixable.

11) Often too we find businesses trying to be too broad, doing too many things in less than even a me-too manner. Besides hiring a web business consultant, you can also do your own critique using these Web-Success web pages for pointers to guide you, as well as look at other sites and ask people experienced in successful business. Don't count on friends to tell you the ugly truth. Always ask strangers. Ask average people what they think about your product, your business model and web site. Ask experienced business people/executives what they think.

12) Next most often the problem is strong well-financed competitors and poor advertising/promotion of your site.
Some of your efforts should focus on looking at competitors, watching their advertising (and you should have kept track of this and whether competition is growing much) and studying their sites. How are they better? How credible and strong do they appear, such as how long established? How do their ads better qualify visitors or generate traffic? How good are their content and keywords? (Don't copy copyrighted materials). Consider getting a Dun & Bradstreet report on a major competitor to see how their finances and size have done lately, or call them and talk to people to see how well they are staffed, trained and equipped.

A big problem with the net is too broad sources of competition, even from other countries. We would focus on local and regional if possible or emphasize your national source and focus. There are several tricks to save on ad costs, Advertising on Google is probably necessary and ask a good web developer like our BG Design and Buyers' Group's Web Marketingfor help on saving on Adwords costs and proper quality and focus to be seen and to sell.

A proper analysis of competition requires a large diagram on a wall with each competitor's card placed in relation to features and offerings. In between those you find your niche, using classical business distinctions (pricing, features, audience, etc.) You need to entirely understand the segment of your industry and all flows.

Get Buyers' Group MG to help you use Google Website Tools and Adwords Search Engine Advertising to research and test to help find such less-competitive niches in which to advertise. Contact us.

13) If the business and marketing strategies and the product and promotion are strong, and competition not too strong & numerous, the next-most-often problem is the web site itself. The main focus of your efforts should be on quality professional appearance, proven headlines and appeals, and most of all "credibility".

  • How credible and professional does your business look... as compared to say Corner Bakery's or your strongest competitor?
  • What makes your business and product look like it has been popular and around for a long time?
  • What do you do to offer guarantees, customer service, and feedback or testimonials?
  • How quickly can visitors see your competitive advantage-how your company or product is superior in some way?
  • Do they see your "Unique Selling Proposition at the TOP, your focus and differentiation right away?
  • How easy is it to talk to a human right now?
  • Where is your real address?
  • Who exactly are you and why should anyone believe you? (ie: a real person, in a USA town)
  • How easy is it to find the Order page and BUY NOW?
Then go back to basics: How is your product offering better and what is your competitive advantage?

14) Is your pricing structure realistic? Do your pricing plan and terms options give "added value"? To be in business, you must study and understand marketing and rapidly communicate advantages of buying from you.

You already have a problem unless you can tout big sales and demand and years in business. That is where to polish your image. Luckily time in business will be solved by... surviving another 20 months! Persistence and constant improvement is how some businesses finally made it! But the most successful ones use experts to help guide them to avoid mis-steps that can cost years. After all, did you follow all the expert suggestions on Web-Success? Did you use a top established Web Designer? If you did, you likely are already increasing sales, or realizing you need a better business.

An expert can devise immediate tests, methods and promotion and conversion methods. An expert can help cut down the number of wrong tests, false starts and wasted time, so your next 6 months will not be like the last few months, but far better spent making your website and business more successful and competitive.

GOOD LUCK !!

NOTE: There are lots of amateurs and wanna-be's in both web design and maintenance, SEO promotion and Web Business consulting. Be careful. Talk to the ones longer in business.

Keywords: USA, Dallas, help with website, consultant, content writing, attract more customers, more buyers and prospects, start a business, startup, development, strategy consulting

Note: If you would like more helpful information about starting a website or a web business, then browse our other information guides and tips on our menu above.

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