Business Speaker on Website Sales Function
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is a motivational keynote speaker whose topics include online marketing and website sales. He’s a leading authority on self-employment and the author of Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed (2011, Wiley). The 15th chapter of this award-winning book (2012 Small Business Book Awards) is entitled Website Sales Function (in Part 2 of the book: Plan Your Internet Presence) and is included below for your review. The book has a total of 80 short chapters, each ending with an Implementation Checklist. His perspective on the sales imperative of websites and how to ensure higher online sales conversions is summarized below.
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Keynote Speech about Online Marketing
Patrick focuses on the need for websites to generate leads and sales. If they don’t accomplish that task, they aren’t doing their job. It’s important for entrepreneurs, small business owners and self-employed service professionals to keep this in mind before they begin building their website, not after. It’s much more difficult to adjust a website later, after it has already been created, than building one properly from the ground up. You can save an enormous amount of time and money by doing things in the right order and Patrick addresses these intelligent chronologies as he describes the website sales function and strategic online marketing.
Chapter 15: Website Sales Function
Is your web site making sales?
If your site is like most, probably not. The vast majority of web sites do not do a good job converting visitors into happy paying customers. Whether you already have a web site or are just starting to think about one, it’s important to understand that a web site is part of your sales department. Driving traffic to your web site, on the other hand, is a function of your marketing department. That’s an important distinction. We’ll talk about driving traffic later in this book. For now, let’s talk about the sales function.
Once your web site is discovered by a first-time visitor, the site needs to have a “conversation” with that person. It needs to identify the potential customer’s problem and how you can solve it. It needs to introduce your products or services and it needs to close the sale. If the site doesn’t to these things, it’s not doing its job. If you browse around the Internet, you’ll find lots of beautiful and well-designed web sites, but their good looks don’t necessarily mean they convert well. In fact, some of the most basic web sites do the best job converting visitors into customers. Why? Because they’re so easy to understand.
When planning your web site, make sure it answers three simple questions within the first five seconds. Why five seconds? Because that’s about how much time you have before a first-time visitor decides whether he or she wants to continue browsing your site or click the “Back” button.
1. Why am I here?
Visitors to your site need to understand why they’re there. They need to see an explanation of what you do right at the top of the homepage. That’s why we worked on your elevator pitch in Chapter 6. That’s why we crafted your positioning statement and your title tag. Your title tag should be the lead statement on your homepage, the words in the biggest font. After that, your slightly-longer positioning statement comes next, elaborating on your title tag. And, depending on your web site layout, you might even include your entire elevator pitch, fleshing out your value proposition even further. People need to know what you do. Tell them. They’re browsing the Internet for a reason. They’re looking for something and it’s either on your site or it’s not. They need to know if you have what they’re looking for and they need to know quickly.
2. Where do I look?
Most web sites have far too many options on the homepage. It’s confusing. People’s eyes glaze over and they lose focus. Studies have confirmed this. The researchers use technology called “eye tracking” to see what people look at when they visit different web sites. Too many options destroy your web site’s “eye flow” and there’s no such thing as a confused buyer. The purpose of your homepage is to navigate visitors into the heart of your web site. You want your homepage to move visitors to a place where their questions are answered and where they can find what they’re looking for. Give your homepage only a small number of buttons that visitors can choose among to navigate deeper into your site. Here are a few super basic two-button examples:
[I am a man] or [I am a woman]
[I am a physician] or [I am a patient]
[I am an individual] or [I am a business]
These are obvious examples but they make the point. Offer simple navigational buttons that get visitors to the right place. Figure out what the basic distinctions are for your business, the main categories you sell to. Then use your homepage to tell your visitors what you do and navigate them to the right place.
3. What do I do?
Always tell your visitors what to do next. When people visit your web site, they are in a submissive position. They are in a receiving mode. They have no control over what they’re about to see. You do. That’s a huge opportunity that most webmasters never take advantage of.
Tell your visitors what to do: “Click here to learn more.” “Call us for a free estimate.” “Register for our next workshop.” “Get a quote today.” “Apply now.” These are all vitally important instructions. They’re all calls to action. Your visitors might be interested or they might not. You’ll never know if you don’t ask. Demonstrate confidence on your web site. Ask for the sale in no uncertain terms. If your web site projects confidence, your visitors automatically assume you’re more credible. A timid web site inspires the opposite assumption. Spend some time thinking about this before you build your web site. It’s a lot easier to build a new site than to fix an old broken one. Done properly, your web site accomplishes the sales job for which it was designed, and that’s when the fun starts.
Website Sales Function: Implementation Checklist
Your web site is part of your sales department!
Generating web site traffic is marketing.
Think about first-time visitors to your site.
Identify exactly what you want them to do.
Answer three questions in five seconds.
Why am I here? Tell them what you do.
Where do I look? Offer a few clear choices.
What do I do? Tell them what to do next.
Project confidence on your web site.
Think about this before you start building.
Compare notes and ideas with a colleague.
End of chapter – click here to buy the book on Amazon.