How To Make Web Pages Improve Your Sales

A guest post by Isabella Woods

Growing Your Business Is About More Than Just Web Pages

Many businesses make the mistake of seeing their online presence as no more than a fancy brochure. They hire some designers, write some fairly solid sales content and a few months later they are live with a pretty new website. Sure not many people actually visit it or sign up as a result of visiting but it’s more than they were receiving before so it’s seen as a success and not much more is done to improve matters.

Understanding The Sales Funnel And How Web Technology Fits In

The most frustrating part about this misunderstanding about how business on the World Wide Web works is that most businesses would never dream of operating in the same way in the face to face retail market. A visit to a furniture store reveals exactly how well retailers understand the concepts. An advertisement for discounts in their new catalogue shows in a large window poster. When customers ask for a copy of the catalogue sales staff are quick to take their name and address so next months catalogue can also be supplied before showing the customer the stock and offers this month. Obtaining contact details to enable future interaction is crucial to sales due to the effect of the ‘Sales Funnel’.

Simply defined the Sales Funnel works as follows. Imagine opening a new website to sell 0 interest credit cards. If you have a sales brochure type site only you might sell to say five per cent of your visitors. Few users will bookmark your site and return of their own accord. However, if you have a newsletter that contains dozens of exclusive deals and offer that to your visitors through a well designed squeeze page (a page designed to obtain sign ups for newsletters) as many as 15%-20% more might sign up for additional information. Naturally the ability to market to those people by e-mail knowing that they are interested specifically in credit card deals is an extremely lucrative option for you and much better than simply hoping they return to a brochure site or sign up on the first visit (which some users will still do).

Even better for your results will be segmenting your list and understanding the individual requirements of your users. The furniture store will send a beds catalogue to customers who told sales staff they are looking for a new bed and the credit card site will send e-mails about their balance transfer rates to those looking to move money from another card not a selection of deals about foreign cash withdrawals. The logic is identical on and offline but for some reason many businesses fail to interpret the great techniques they use offline into a successful online model.

Moving Beyond E-Mail Into Social Interaction

Some businesses are more ideally suited to social interaction than others and the opportunity will therefore vary significantly. Financial sites such as the credit card business might struggle a lot more to get customers to follow on Twitter than a designer bag store for Women who offer regular discounts via the social network alone. Products like this combined with good local offers and a social following can be significantly more effective than e-mail alone (which is way more effective than Web alone) due to the fact that it will be very often re-shared (re-tweeted etc) with your potential customers. Other Women in your store’s area looking for handbags will be notified of your offers by their friends – can you imagine a more powerful and effective sales manager than a personal friend of a potential customer?

Having Something More To Say Is Crucial

It’s important to follow all this discussion of sales messages and increasing your conversion rate with the important advice that you must have something more to say than just sending out advertisements. Users will quickly unsubscribe if you have segmented your list poorly so they are reading information they don’t want to see or if you just try to sell to them all the time. A good example would be having a debt counsellor write some tips about getting out of debt for your credit card newsletter or blog one month. It’s fine to have some subtle sales messages in there too of course – if the counsellor is suggesting moving to interest free cards as part of the process make sure to have some offers at the side of the advice!

Embracing all the sales and marketing technology available online from simple websites to e-mail and social tools will yield significantly better results than a stand alone brochure site ever could. Ensuring your campaign is optimised, well segmented and that you have something interesting to say to your customers will make the difference for your business.

StarBucks

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/new-economy/2011/0106/Starbucks-logo-change-No-name.-More-mermaid.-Will-it-sell-more-coffee
Why is a web designer posting about the Starbucks logo? We’ll come back to that.

As you may have heard, Starbucks changed its logo last year. They took the outside ring and words away and featured the “siren.”

If you read the comments below the corporate statement, you’ll see a lot of reactions, most of them negative. A lot of people are really upset about this change. Why do you suppose that is?

Remember your favorite meal that your mother, spouse or whomever cooks for you? It’s comfort food. And coffee is comfort food.

By changing the logo, you change the symbol of the company, right? You are changing what the company stands for. You are changing what people are comfortable with.

But Starbucks wants to move beyond just selling you coffee. It’s a global brand with a lot of potential. You might even like to have other Starbucks products because you like their quality, so you want them to grow and expand what they offer. If you’re a shareholder, then it is very likely you want them to be successful at this.

The problem comes in that the mermaid visual doesn’t really embody the culture, the spirit of providing people their comfort food. So people feel like Starbucks is abandoning them. They won’t be able to get the coffee they NEED.

Yes, we understand that the siren is supposed to represent seafaring Seattle history with a touch of history, mystery and the muse. However, singing sirens from myth drowned and ate delirious sailors while mermaids symbolized lustful temptation, love of the sea and the nature of the sea itself. The sea can be breathtakingly beautiful, tender, violent and deadly. Even if the average person isn’t consciously aware of all these cultural influences, they are still affected by them. Perhaps, to a degree, this new image has a slight feel of the unknowable or potentially dangerous, to some small degree. It’s all just murky enough association that it inspires a momentary hesitation before first accepting it.

After a while, the new logo no longer threatens. Customers will find that the “new” Starbucks is not trying to separate people from their coffee. All’s well that ends well.

So why is a web designer talking about Starbucks logos and mermaid symbolism?

Your website is your formal public face. As you can see from Starbucks’ logo redesign, you can easily cause confidence in your public face to waver. Starbucks will be able to handle losing a few thousand upset customers but most website owners would rather not.

What is needed in a website is to accurately represent the person or the business it represents. A little experience and common sense can go a long way toward improving and increasing the visitors to your website.

Call us for a consultation at (518) 882-3065 or email us. We can help you make sure your website best reflects what you do.

What You Get

You know how you get what you pay for? Well, it’s easy to over pay, too.

Here at Little Guy Creations, we don’t work for free but aren’t interested in over charging for services that you may not even need.

This is why we have clients that are perfectly happy to stay with us year after year. Their needs change and their prices change according to their needs.

More importantly, our clients quickly become comfortable with us and know we have a quick turnaround on projects.

“How can I get you more business? I’d love to help promote Little Guy Creations.” – JR

“I know you can do anything I ask. You’re the best.” – SB

“Everything looks great..I really appreciate your work.” – EW

“You make having a website really easy. Thank you.” – SM

We can talk about your website needs and you’ll get a firm price and a knowledge of exactly what you’ll get from us. Then feel free to shop around for your website needs and then we know you’ll be back to deal with us.

It’s no nonsense, all the time. Feel free to visit our Services page to see more about how we can help you.

Joomla Update News

You might like using the Joomla content management system. It is customizable and has many good features.

On Nov 14, Joomla had a security update which prevents someone stealing your core password. If you have a Joomla based website, you should probably update as soon as possible.

Making Your Website Cell-Phone Friendly

A guest post by Isabella Woods

In the past, it was easier to set up a website because you didn’t need to consider the many options for viewing it that exist today. You did have to take into account the size of monitors people might use, but you certainly didn’t envisage that people would use a two inch screen on their phone to view your brand new website. Viral marketing has made this even more of an issue for website design – ideas and brands are being sent around social networks on the basis that they can be experienced immediately.

Not only do people use their phones (now thankfully with larger screens) to view your website and place orders, but iPad, tablet computer and Kindle users are checking out websites with increasingly available of Wi-Fi all over the country; in fact, all over the world.

Quality Service Viewers expect the same quality of service from your website however they choose to look at it. They might use their 52 inch television (internet television) to see what stock you are holding of that special Christmas present they plan to get. They might pass a store offering a deal on a book and need to check via their iPhone whether you have the book in stock at a lower price.

If your website designer doesn’t mention the different ways in which people might view your website, then move on to the next website design company because your first choice isn’t keeping up with current trends. That means there’s a chance they will probably miss the next big change to the internet, whatever that is.

Your designer may inform you that you need a cascading style sheet (CSS) attached to your website. It sends specific details to the mobile browser that enables it to read your website properly.

Browsing Features – Limited or Expanded?

Browsing features are expanding all the time as more people use smart phones and Android phones and tablets. This makes viewing the website similar to seeing it on a home based PC or Mac; just smaller.

For those still viewing online via a small screen with a basic web browser, your designer should consider font selection. This should be basic with images stripped out for mobile viewing where possible. You don’t need advertising on small browsers so forget your Facebook link or anything similar.

Avoid background colors and try making text black on a white background; it works well. Flash and Java and any plug-ins won’t work well on a small screen so avoid them if you can.

The main item to consider is simplicity. The simpler you keep your website the easier small screen viewers will be able to see it. You have the option of using one of the WordPress themes designed especially to be small screen friendly.

Testing

The final hurdle is to test your website on the various browsers and different types of screens. A while back you only had to test on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Opera. Now you will need to run tests for Opera Mini. The iPhone simulator iPhoney is good for the Apple brands. It is also good for you to try a few friends’ phones to check for compatibility. You just never know how each different brand of phone will react to your website coding. With so many different branded versions of the Android system available in the near future, you may not just be able to design for Android generally and expect the browser to work properly. Test as many variations as you can.

Word-of-mouth is also a good way to test your website. Your friends will hopefully test your website for you and they will send it on to their friends to try it out as well, asking them to report back to you. In a short time you should be able to test your design across all the browsers and different ways of displaying your website before you go live.