“The 4 Keys to Successful Online Sales”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people who call themselves Internet marketing gurus say that in order to have a successful Web site you need to find ways to generate lots of traffic. It seems like that’s where they leave it every time.
Trust me, they aren’t wrong. You DO have to get people to visit your site. But there is so much more. In this report, you will learn about the 4 keys to successful online sales and how you can begin applying the principles to your site immediately.
So what are the 4 keys? You have to first be able to get people to visit your site, just like the so-called experts tell you. But here’s where it goes beyond just getting people to your site. You have to get them to stay at your site. You have to take them through your sales process, and you have to get them to come back again in the future so you can sell them more products. If you can follow this simple formula, you’re guaranteed to have a successful site.
Get them to the site.
So let’s get right in to it. How do we get people to the site?
Let’s face it. Technology is moving so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. In fact, a recent newspaper report said that if the aviation industry were moving as quickly as computer technology, we would have gone from the Wright Brothers to putting a man on the moon in less than a week. That’s staggering!
Web site technology is moving at an astounding pace. Techniques that worked a year or two ago, to get traffic to your site, are now obsolete. That sounds like a terrible thing on the surface, but think about how exciting that really is. By keeping on the leading edge of technology, we’re able to monitor trends and see concepts and new technologies developing right before our eyes. Things that were never thought possible even five years ago are now incorporated into our marketing arsenal.
The Internet has been one of those inventions that has literally revolutionized the world like perhaps only the invention of the printing press, or the discovery of electricity. With the Internet have come so many amazing new abilities. Who would have ever thought it would be possible to send a live video image around the globe in a fraction of a second?
The Internet has also revolutionized marketing. Before, marketers had to determine whom they wanted to target and then they would specifically target that audience with a particular medium, like a magazine. The problem has always been, since the beginning of marketing and advertising, that the message maybe hit the customer at a time when they were simply not in the market for that product or service.
Take for instance, an ad for a restaurant in a newspaper. That ad is simply skimmed over and missed by everyone who is not interested in restaurants at the time they are reading the paper. If, on the other hand, they had been reading the paper just before dinner when they were thinking that they needed to find place to eat, it may have hit them in a very different way.
What’s all this have to do with the Internet? Well, the Internet has been able to introduce a new advertising medium that targets audiences not only by what they are interested in, but at the exact time when they are interested in it. What’s all that mean? Let me explain…
Pay-per-click advertising, as it’s called, offers web site owners the ability to purchase placement in search engines when customers are searching for specific terms. Now, you have the ability to actually place your site at the top of the results page when someone searches for things related to your web site. Not only are you guaranteed to have your site seen by the audience that you are trying to target, you’re showing them your site listing at the exact moment when they are actively seeking it.
Let me underscore the importance of this. You have just been able to overcome 90% of the problem when it comes to selling someone something. Generally you have to not only convince people that your product can solve their problems, you also have to convince them at a time when they have more important things on their mind. People are busy. They are not wanting to listen to the hundreds of marketing messages that bombard them daily. They are worried about more important things like when to pick up the kids and who’s taking them to soccer practice. Try interrupting this mind set. I dare you. It’s literally impossible.
But, on the other hand, if you can place your web site in front of them at the moment when they have cleared their minds of things like soccer practice and have intentionally decided to search the Web for your product or service, you have just overcome the most difficult part of marketing. From there, it’s cake. They’re already in the mindset and they’re seeking you out. You are not forcing your message on them any longer.
Pay-per-click advertising is revolutionary. There has never been another medium that has allowed small businesses to level the playing field with the big boys and compete on a global scale, all with the advantage that the customer is seeking you out, not the other way around.
The only other thing I can think of that even slightly compares is advertising in the yellow pages. People who are reading the yellow pages are actively engaging in a process where they want to contact the business. The difference is that the yellow pages are local. Now you can be seen by the whole world. But imagine how much you would have to pay in order to have a full page ad in every phone book in every major city across the globe. With the power of use of pay-per-click advertising, now you can now have the equivalent for just pennies.
Getting listed with Google can be a frustrating task, even if you’re paying to be listed at the top. Yahoo offers a straight-forward bidding process, where the highest bid for any keyword gets the top placement. Google, on the other hand, has a mathematical formula that takes into account other factors, like the number of times your ad gets clicked upon. In the case of Google, the person paying the most may not be listed at the top of the search results, if their ad is not as persuasive. If your ad draws more clicks than one who is paying more, then you could actually be placed higher in the ranking. Confused? So are most people. That’s why they go Yahoo.com instead.
Oh, I almost forgot, one of the best parts of pay-per-click advertising… you don’t pay to have your site listed at the top unless someone actually clicks on your link and is taken to your site. It’s beautiful. Name another advertising medium that will literally post your ad for you and if nobody responds, you don’t pay. Can’t think of any? Neither can I. If you run a radio spot and no one responds, you still have to pay. Same with television, newspaper, magazines, and outdoor billboards. There’s nothing like it! Can you tell I’m excited?
And to top it off…it’s cheap. You can get your site listed at the top of the search results for as little as $.10. That’s right. Ten cents! You pay ten cents every time someone who is clearly interested in your product clicks to go to your site. That’s a bargain. You’ll pay a lot more than that to generate leads with any other medium. You simply can’t beat it!
And as if you needed even more reasons to consider using pay-per-click advertising, here’s the last, and most attractive feature of pay-per-click…there’s no contract. I hear all the time that people are not satisfied with their yellow pages ad but they’re stuck paying for it month in and month out. With pay-per-click, you use it when you want, and pause it when you don’t want to advertise. If you have a slow season when people are less likely to purchase your products, then paying for advertising during those times of the year may not make sense. Why would a ski rental shop want to advertise in the summer? Pause the ads for the summer and you are not charged anything. On the other hand, the yellow pages continue to send a bill every month because you’re locked into a contract.
There you have it. It’s a no-brainer.
Enough about pay-per-click advertising. Here are some other great ways to get traffic to your site.
Submit Your Site to the Free Search Engine Listings
Now, it’s still possible to be listed in some of the search engines for free, but that may change too. It used to be, just a few years ago that you could submit your site to be listed in almost all of the search engines for free. Now, most of the search engines charge a hefty fee to even be considered for listing…and they don’t even guarantee that you will be listed.
If your site is designed correctly, and is search engine friendly, you can still submit your site to a small handful of search engines, that will list your site for free. Google still offers free site submissions. Now you won’t be placed at the very top. That’s where the pay-per-click sites are listed, but you can still be considered for listing in the main non-sponsored part of their pages. If you can get a good listing on Google for even just a few of your most important keywords, you might get all the traffic you can handle.
Everyone’s heard of Google, but have you ever heard of DMOZ? I didn’t think so. It’s the largest search directory that you’ve never heard of. But trust me, if you can get your site listed with DMOZ, you’ll start seeing massive amounts of traffic on your site within days. DMOZ is actually edited by volunteers so each and every site that’s listed has been reviewed by an actual person, not just a computer, like Google uses. Since DMOZ uses volunteers to review the sites that are listed, it can take a long time before they get around to visiting your site, but the wait can be worth it.
Here’s the secret to getting into Google’s free listings…you have to first get hundreds, if not thousands of other sites to link to your site. If Google sees that there are lots of other sites linking to your site, they consider that a good thing. They see it as sort of a popularity contest. If a site links to you, it counts as a vote for your site. If big, great sites that also have lots of people linking to them, link to you, that vote carries even more weight than some Joe Schmoe web site that nobody links to.
There it is in a nutshell. If you can get lots of sites to link to your site, Google will rank you higher in their results list. So there’s a two-fold benefit. Not only will you get more traffic from Google, you’ll get more traffic from the other sites that link to your site.
But here’s the most important thing to remember.
It’s not just the number of sites that link to your site or the popularity of the sites that link to you. It’s also about the text that those sites use to link to you.
Let me put that another way so that you’re sure to understand it. This is perhaps the most important part of this entire report. If you’re unclear about any of the following information, please re-read this part.
This is a little difficult to grasp, but I’ll try my best. So here goes…
The text that other sites use to link to your site–It’s called anchor text. You know, the blue underlined text that you’re used to clicking on when you see a link.
You must get the other sites that are linking to your to use your desired keywords in the anchor text.
If they use the incorrect text to use as the link, your site will still rank poorly in Google even if you have thousands of sites that link to you. What do I mean by “incorrect text?”
Let me put it this way. If your anchor text (you know, the blue underlined text) doesn’t contain your keywords that people are searching for, then you’ll still rank poorly. Ninety-nine percent of all web designers and even the so-called “web gurus” miss this important detail.
Let’s say you have a site about dogs and cats. Let me give you a couple examples of anchor text to help clarify what I mean:
Examples of Bad Anchor Text
- Click here to see more articles about dogs and cats
- View our photo gallery
- Read more about dogs and cats
Examples of Good Anchor Text
- Click here to see more dog articles and cat articles
- View our gallery of dog photos and cat photos
- Read more about dogs and cats
Do you see the big difference? The second group; the ones with good anchor text, use the keywords that people are searching for as the link itself. The bad anchor text examples use words like “click here” and “photo gallery” as the link text.
Think about this. When you see a link and it says “dog photos”, you know that if you click on that link then the following page will likely have photos of dogs. Google knows this too and therefore casts a vote in favor of the receiving site for the keyword phrase contained in the anchor text.
So think about this… if the link pointing to your site just says “click here” then Google doesn’t know that the other site is casting a vote for your “dog photos.” If the text pointing to your site says “click here” then your site is not boosted at all for the term “dog photos.” In fact, your site will actually rank better for the term “click here” which is obviously a waste because you want to be found when people search for dog related terms, not the phrase “click here.”
Assuming you understand the importance of anchor text, you may now be wondering how on earth you’re supposed to get sites to link to your site. It’s not difficult to do, but it takes a lot of legwork. You’ll need to look on the Web and find other sites that are willing to trade links and contact them. Send them an email and ask them if they would be willing to trade links. Offer to give them a link to their site, on your links page. It’s sort of like, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.”
Since this can take a long time and can require you to contact tens of thousands of sites, many of our clients have chosen to take advantage of Red Rocket’s link building services. We have developed monthly packages that can make this time-consuming task affordable for anyone. Ask your sales representative how you can have 1500 reciprocal links with the next year.
If you’d like to find out how many websites currently link to your site, you can go to linkpopularity.com. It’s a great way to monitor your linking status so that you know how much legwork you still have ahead of you.
In order to see the actual anchor text that other sites are using to link to your site, you can visit http://www.webconfs.com/anchor-text-analysis.php. This site will actually show you the sites that link to you and the anchor text that they have used to link to your site. Keep your fingers crossed and hope that they have used good anchor text.
To monitor Google’s opinion of your site, go to Google and download the Google toolbar. It’s a small toolbar that gets installed into your Foxfire or Internet Explorer browser window and shows the Google Page Rank for every site that you’re visiting. It’s an amazing tool to monitor your site and your competitors’ sites. You can immediately see on a scale of 1 to 10 if Google likes a site or not. Those sites with higher page ranks are obviously ranked higher in their search results pages. Most well-designed sites that have a decent amount of reciprocal links, can achieve a ranking of 4 or 5. Only the biggest, most popular sites maintain rankings of 7 or higher. Even Yahoo!, the biggest site on the Web, only has a page rank of 9.
Search Engine Optimization
Now, before you consider submitting your site to Google or any other search engine, you need to make sure that your site has been designed correctly. The site needs to be search engine friendly. You see, the search engines don’t come to your site and read through it like we do, with our eyes, so it needs to be developed with not only your customers in mind, but also with the search engines in mind. Since the search engines have computers that visit every site on the Web, and read through them, and catalog all of the content, you have to make sure that the search engines can “see” all of the content. If the site is designed improperly, the search engines will likely miss most of the good stuff that you want them to see.
Why do you want them to see your site? Because that way when someone searches for something that you mention on your site, the search engines know that your site has something to offer. If the content in your site is not search engine friendly, then the search engines will just ignore your site, and you’ll never be found.
The process of search engine optimization (SEO) is one where an SEO consultant who constantly monitors new trends in the ever-changing world of search engines, tweaks your site to make it appeal to the search engines. Each search engine has different ways that they rank and sort through the millions of different sites on the Web. In order that your site gets the highest visibility in the search engines, you have to make sure your site has been optimized.
Keep them at the site.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Now that we’ve gone to all the work of getting people to visit your site, you have to capture them in the first few seconds or they will leave your site. It would be a shame to optimize your site for the search engines, spend the time to get other sites to link to your site, and maybe even pay to get people to check out your site, only to have them click the back button because something about your site didn’t appeal to them. Here are a few of the reasons why people leave a site right away…
Unfortunately for most small businesses, their sites are designed by amateurs with little knowledge about creating fast-loading sites. Something as small as a slow-loading page can cause your beloved visitors to leave immediately.
FACT: The average web surfer stays at each site for an average of 37 seconds. However, the average web page takes 39 seconds to load.
See the problem there. Most web pages take longer to load than the user is willing to wait. There are a lot of terrible sites out there that just have huge graphics that take a long time to load. If your site is loading slowly, you may be losing your visitors in the first few seconds.
Typos, Broken Links, and Hard-to-Read Fonts
Other leading factors that cause people to leave your site quickly include typos, broken links, and hard to read text. It’s true. Just the fact that some people use hard-to-read fonts, cause their sites to perform poorly. There are very few fonts that actually read well on all computers. If your site is not using Verdana, think about changing it. A lot of people choose to use a more common font like Times or even Arial, but both are difficult to read on some monitors. It’s best to stick with Verdana which is easily legible on all monitors.
Stuff is Just Too Hard to Find
It almost sounds too obvious but if your navigational buttons on your site are difficult to understand, people will leave your site quickly because they can’t easily find what they’re looking for. A lot of sites try to do new and creative things with their navigational buttons but it’s just not a good idea. Think of it this way…it’s like driving a car. You come to expect certain things. Road signs are on the right side of the road. You know that a red octagonal sign means stop. Imagine what would happen if someone just decided to be a little creative and make the stop signs green, and put them on the left side of the road. Chaos! The same thing holds true with navigational buttons on web sites. People have come to expect that the navigation will either be on top of the site or maybe down the left side. Get a little too creative and people will simply leave.
Content is King
The phrase “content is king” gets thrown around a lot when talking about what makes a good site. It can’t be emphasized enough. Content is King! If you build a site that has nothing but links to other sites and no valuable information, your site will fail horribly. Your site MUST have great content! Face it, people surf the Web looking for information and your site has to provide great information or people will never find any value in it.
Furthermore, by filling your site with great content, you are filling your site with the great keywords that people will be searching for in the search engines. The search engines will look at your site, and read through it, and scan all of the words. If the words in your site match the user’s search query, your site will likely be returned in their search results. So, the more content you provide, the better your chances are in the search engines.
Consider writing a few articles that relate to the topic of your site. You know a lot about what you do. You may not consider yourself to be an expert, but surely you can write a few pages about what you do know, and teach someone something. By doing this, you position yourself in the reader’s mind as an expert. They begin to trust you and that breaks down the barriers that they have before they’re willing to buy. Skepticism runs high in our society, and if you can make your readers trust you, you’re on your way to making a sale. Furthermore, as soon as you teach your customers something, they also subconsciously feel like they owe you, and are more likely to buy from you rather than your competition.
A lot of people don’t consider themselves to be great authors. So go out on the Web and find content. There are tons of sites that actually offer free articles that you can use on your site as long as you provide credit to the author. Or find good articles and contact the author and ask if you can put the piece on your site, with a link back to their site. Usually people will gladly let you do it. They love the free exposure and are generally very flattered that you asked. I have done this before many times and have actually built one site with close to a thousand articles that were contributed by authors around the globe. This diversity can actually lend credibility to your site too. People are impressed when they find out that it’s an internationally-known site.
You can even use your content to get people to your site. Just as I mentioned, there are sites out there that have articles that are free to use as long as a link to the author’s site is provided. So turn things around for a minute. Rather than going to these sites to find free content, imagine writing a couple articles that are posted on these article directories so that other website designers begin picking them up and putting them on their sites. It’s like being a syndicated author. Your articles will gradually appear all over the Web and you’ll have dozens of links to your site. Just remember to use good anchor text when you put the link in your articles.
Take them all the way through your sales process.
I find that there are tons of sites that never even consider the fact that a sales process is just as important on the Web as it is in their everyday businesses. These people would never think of walking up to a new person in their store and just hit them with the “are you ready to buy, right now.” No way. They’d greet the person. Ask if they had any questions. Offer to help solve problems, and only after establishing a rapport with the person would they try to close the sale.
However, on the Web, far too many people just throw that mentality out the window, and hit you with a “buy now” button on the home page. Foolish. This just drives a wedge between you and the user. Wouldn’t it be nice to first greet them and let them get to know a little about what you have to offer? Wouldn’t it be nice to see if they have a problem that you have a solution for? Tell them a little about the benefits of your product. Tell them how other customers with the same problems have benefited from your solution. Then, and only then should you consider asking for their business.
You might be thinking, “but my site just sells retail wigits. People come here looking to buy.” Even if your site is selling products, you need to consider providing good information, in a manner that answers all of their questions. You have to use informative sales copy, and great product descriptions. You have to tell people about your company. You have to describe your product guarantee. If you neglect to tell people everything they need to know in order to answer all of their questions, they’ll leave without making it all of the way through your sales process. You may have gotten the traffic to your site. You may have gotten them to stay at your site for more than just a few seconds. You may have even gotten them to click the “add to cart” button and fill out your purchase form. But if you don’t get them to complete the order, you failed. Close is not good enough in business.
Get them back to the site.
So if you’re wondering why we need to get people back to the site, if we have already taken them through the whole sales process described above, it’s because most people will not actually buy from you the first time they come to your site.
Study after study has shown that the majority of all sales occur after the 7th point of contact. People are skeptical, like I said earlier. They need time to break down that skepticism, and repetitive marketing causes people to trust you. They realize that you’re not going away. They begin to trust you if you provide them with good, quality information over a period of time.
In fact, the main goal of your site should not be to get people to buy your products. It should be to capture their email address before they leave so that you can follow up with them. Once they give you their email address, you can send them future messages, special offers, or high-quality information. People don’t easily part with their personal information these days so you have to offer really valuable reasons for signing up for something. Free reports, newsletter subscriptions and courses provide great opportunities for people to give you their email address. Practically anything digital, that can be emailed to them will work. You can email them a recorded teleconference call, or even a free video, if they will sign up. That way you get their email address and you can start sending them repetitive marketing messages, not to mention that you may have to pay to get them back to your site again using pay-per-click if you don’t capture their contact information.
Your odds of selling to your visitors will greatly improve once they start receiving future messages from you. And the whole process can actually be automated using what are called autoresponder messages. You may have heard of them before. Most people use an autoresponder message when they go on vacation and want to tell anyone who emails them that they will get back to them as soon as they are back in town. That message is automatically fired off every time someone sends a message to that account while that person is out of town.
But that’s just the start of what autoresponders can do to automate your business. I’m sure you realize that follow up is key when it comes to selling. And now, thanks to autoresponders, you can automate all of your follow-up tasks. You’ll never have to write on your calendar again that you need to call someone back next month–and then wind up forgetting. Your autoresponder system can handle all of it for you. Here’s the gist…You prewrite a series of emails and then designate how many days apart they will be sent. It’s so cool. Let’s say you offer a 14-day mini course to anyone who fills out the form on your web site. You’ll prewrite and save the 14 separate emails and designate that the first one will go out on the first day after they sign up and the next one will go out on day 2, and then day 3 and so on. The user has chosen to receive the course so they are not considered spam, yet you just got 14 chances to slowly sell them on your products or services, and encourage them to come back to your site. This can really revolutionize your business!
Back End Sales
Getting people to come back to your site is not only for people who have decided not to buy from you the first time. Why not get them to buy from you again? It’s a fact that people who have already bought from you once are 30% more likely to buy from you again. It’s a very cheap way to increase your bottom line. Too many small businesses focus all of their marketing efforts on getting new customers while totally ignoring their past customers. Why not send an autoresponder message to your customers periodically reminding them of your special discounts or new products? If you sell a product that needs replenishing like vitamins, why not send your customers a reminder to refill their vitamins every 30 days? Following up with old clients has never been so easy!
So hopefully this report has provided you with some valuable ideas for ways that you can improve your site, and begin marketing it better. Just remember the simple 4-step formula for creating a successful web site:
Get them to the site.
Keep them at the site.
Take them all the way through your sales process.
Get them to come back.
If you implement these steps, you’re practically guaranteed that your site will make money for you.
Remember that Red Rocket can help you with any of the techniques described in this informative report. If you’re like most business owners, you’re short on time and can barely keep up with the day-to-day tasks and taking on the challenge of improving your web site may be too much to handle.
We can help. Call toll free today at 970-674-0079 to set up a free consultation and let us take the burden from you so you can focus on the things you do best.