How many times have you stared at your website, wondering when the sales would start coming in? How long have you spent clicking through pages, pouring over content and checking links, just in case a visitor happens to drop in?
You are not alone.
Thousands of people spend money and/or time creating a site, only to have few or no conversions. Did the agency that created your website have the right skills?
You see, beyond being able to write and design pretty sites, there are four essential skills you must have to create on-site conversion material. They arent normally considered skills and are somewhat esoteric, but skills they are
You and the company you hire have to be organized. Not only that, but you have to be organized in a way that makes sense to most people. The skill of being organized is vital to a well-laid out site, which, in turn, is vital to conversions.
Organization is addressed when considering how you will lay out the pages of the site and the site navigation. How will you categorize the pages? How will you link them? Which pages will you bury past the third click, and which ones will you have first?
For example, you sell products and services. To make it interesting, lets add that you provide information on your site. How would you categorize your pages?
Imagine your site as a filing cabinet. You have X product, X service and information on X. Would you put all this in one file folder?
X: Service, Product, Information
Would you put all your services in one folder, products in another folder and so on?
Services: X, Y, Z
Products: X, Y, Z
Information: X, Y, Z
How about the service and product on one page, with a link to more information? All are possibilities, and all of them might work as long as your links are also laid out well. Your job, as the organized individual creating the converting website, is to choose the right possibility for your visitors.
Looking at things in a logical way is also a necessary skill, which combines with organization to create the page layout. When creating your pages, you have to look at each page with your goal funnel in mind. You have to ask:
- What do I want my visitor to do? (buy now, contact for services, request more information, etc.)
- Is this page a necessary step in my goal funnel? (for example, an order page is necessary for them to buy)
- What is the logical step from this page to the final page?
For example, if you sell uncommon products, your visitors may not know what that product looks like, what it does, how it works, etc. Thus, its not logical to have a big Buy Now button on the page without having information on the page.
You should at least have an image and a link to a pop up box with more information about the product. Its not logical to expect people to buy a product when they have no idea what its for.
This is an extreme example, of course, but it shows the point that every page, including links and content, has to have a logical layout. Visitors dont expect XYZ because they see it on every site; they expect XYZ because its logical to have XYZ.
Empathy goes to work when writing your content. Look " youre not going to convince people to buy your product by saying its:
- The best
- Really good
- Award winning
- Easy to use
These words are all sales talk, and your visitor knows it. What your visitor wants to know when theyre looking at your services and products is, How is this going to help me?
To answer this question, you have to address their pain. For you to address their pain, they have to believe you understand and empathize. For example, have you ever bought an expensive vacuum cleaner, only to have it not do the wonderful stuff the manufacturers claimed?
I know what youre going through. Ive spent hundreds of dollars on a supposedly fantastic vacuum cleaner and had it turn out to be a lemon. Thats why Im offering a 30-day guarantee for XYZ vacuum cleaner. If it doesnt make your housework easier, freshen the air and make your carpets look brand new, Ill give you your money back, no questions asked.
The pain: sucky vacuum cleaners with no sucking power, lack of trust
The empathy: describing the situation in a way they can relate to
The solution: vacuum cleaner that works, money-back guarantee
Now, this may sound like Marketing 101, and it is. However, if they dont believe you know what its like to suffer their pain (and how your product will solve it), all your fancy sales talk will fall flat.
The key word is detach. Detach yourself from the company point of view. You also have to detach yourself from the words you write, the images you choose, and the design youve put up.
Before your site is live, youll have to look over your entire website. Youll have to ask yourself:
- Will my visitors be excited/turned off/apathetic/happy about this site?
- Will this site entice them to buy/order/request more information/come back?
- Does the content for my service/product offerings address their needs?
- Is it easy to understand what I want them to do?
- Will it be easy for my visitors to find what they want?
At this point, you can no longer look at the site as my company website or the content I wrote. You have to look at it from the visitors point of view: completely unbiased, completely new visitor, searching for the one thing that will solve your problem.
If you dont look at it from the visitors point of view, you may not catch how often you say I, me or we vs. how often you say you; one is talking about yourself, the other is talking to the visitor. Hint: you want to talk to the visitor. You may not catch that your nifty idea of putting the shopping cart at the bottom of the site is a no go (your visitors wont find it there). You may not see:
- The grammatical errors
- The lack of information (or too much information)
- The garish colors (or not enough color)
- That your site is busier than a carnival at the height of the season
- Too much marketing lingo (or no calls to action at all)
Detachment is hard " as in, not easy at all. If you can manage to step out of your shoes into your visitors however, youll be able to have a clean, informative, converting site.
In a perfect world, itd be great to wave a wand and voila " these processes are all automated. Maybe you know some tools that would make them easier. Wed love to hear about them!
For the past twenty years Gabriella has held positions as a consultant, web developer and creative director until she decided it was time to open Level 343, an SEO and copywriting company. She fancies herself an Italian rocker, rebel and SEO geek. She loves singing in the shower and keeps a notepad next to her bed.