I visit a number of web sites every day and time and time again
I see some of the most basic mistakes being made. Even though
the mistakes may be small ones, they can have a MAJOR impact on
your sales and even your businesses credibility. Today I’m
going to share with you some tips to maximizing your site’s sales
performance. Even if your site is a non-profit organization you
can use some of these tips to add even more credibility to your
1. Make sure the e-mail addresses posted on your site are
This may sound a little ridiculous, but believe it or not, I’ve
tried to contact a few individuals via the e-mail address posted
on their site and ended up having the e-mail come back to me
with that dreaded “undeliverable” message in the subject tag.
This “little” mistake alone can cause missed sales, along with
the fact it will ruin your businesses credibility in a heartbeat.
Double check to make sure all the posted e-mail addresses on
your site are up-to-date and working. Save yourself any
embarrassment that may crop up from overlooking this basic
2. Make your site sticky! Start an e-zine focusing on your
If you’ve been marketing for your business for a while I’m sure
you’ve heard of this great tactic for creating residual traffic
to your site. Some people really dread the idea of the ongoing
task of publishing an e-zine to a group of subscribers. The
ticket to keeping visitors coming back to your site is to
constantly keep in contact with them over and over again. The
best way to accomplish this task is to start your own weekly,
bi-weekly, or monthly e-zine that focuses on the topics that
deal with your businesses industry. For example, if your
business industry is selling flowers have an e-zine that talks
about different topics relating to flowers. With your own
e-zine you can keep in contact with past customers of your site
and even visitors to your site who signed up to receive your
e-zine. It’s a great way to promote sales and specials on your
website, and promote or endorse 3rd party products and
services your are an affiliate of. The possibilities are
endless, use your imagination and see what you can come up
To set up a subscriber sign-up area on your website CGI
Resources ( http://www.cgi-resources.com ) offers a number of
free CGI scripts you can install on your website. The CGI
scripts will work great for your newsletter or e-zine until you
get a subscriber base of around 10,000+. Once that’s the case I
would recommend looking into purchasing a mailing list software
program like Mailloop ( http://www.mailloop.com ). If your
business has some money to play with look into the possibility
of using a mailing list system like Lyris ( http://www.lyris.com ).
3. Is your order form page secure? It should be.
This is another mistake I often come across when I’m traveling
around the Internet. And when I do come upon it, I immediately
click off to another site that offers the same product/service and
DOES offer secure ordering. This is probably the biggest reason
why many people simply will not order from you via your website.
And for good reason too. No one wants their personal information
(especially their credit card information) to fall into someone
else’s hands. This is why it’s an absolute MUST to make sure
your order page is secure. For more information on secure
ordering send a blank e-mail to mailto:email@example.com and
an article titled “Secure Server Certificates” will be sent
right to your e-mail box. If you’d rather view this article
online, go to http://www.merchantseek.com/article3.htm
Also, if you accept credit cards on your website, check with
your Merchant Account Provider to see if their Real-Time credit
card processing solution comes with its own secure certificate.
In most cases they do, thus saving you money from having to
purchase your own from a company like VeriSign or Thawte.
4. Attack the emotional side of your visitors.
People buy with their emotions. When a visitor comes to your
site you only have a few seconds to draw in their interest or
else their off to another web site. So how can you attract
their attention before they go to click the back button on their
browser? Create a sense of urgency. In the first few lines of
your web site sales copy explain to them why they need to have
your product/service service NOW. Talk about what kinds of
benefits they will get by using that product/service you are
offering. A list of features is nice… but to attack your
visitors emotional side always list benefits on your main page
in a bulleted list. To get people to purchase right then offer
a time limited offer. For example:
Special Offer TODAY Only!
Purchase a pair of sneakers from us and get FREE shipping!
Another way to draw people in is to use a very commonly used 4
letter word, and in fact if you look at the example above you’ll
find it. It’s the word, FREE. Everyone loves something for
free. Consider offering a related product for free along with
their purchase. The keyword here is “related.” Offer a freebie
that goes hand in hand with what the customer is purchasing.
If offering a health type product, give a health related product
away for free. This will add value to the purchase being made.
5. Testimonials from customers can increase sales by 200% or
Posting a page of testimonials on your site can really drive your
sales upward dramatically. People want to see what others are
saying about your products/services. You may already be getting
comments from people who are using your product/service. Use
these to your advantage. Set up a page on your site and post a
list of 10 or 12 testimonials of positive feedback from site
visitors and customers. To add credibility and value to those
testimonials get permission from the person to use their full
name and e-mail address or web site address at the end of their
testimonial. This is VERY important. Do you believe those
testimonials that look like this:
“I absolutely love your product, it’s great!”
– T.D. of Florida
I sure don’t, and chances are you probably don’t either. Also,
don’t make up testimonials. People can see right through them.
If you aren’t receiving compliments from people about your
product/service e-mail your list of previous customers to see
what they think of their purchase and how it’s benefiting them.
Even ask for suggestions if they have any. It’s a great way to
better your product/service. Don’t forget to ask for permission
to use their comments in other publications like catalogs,
newsletters, etc. if you offer those.
In conclusion, when you are building your web site and editing
its sales copy the most important thing to do is plan, plan,
plan. Without a plan your like a camper lost in the mountains
at night without a flashlight. The saying goes, “If you fail to
plan, you plan to fail” and how true that is. Take time to sit
down and draw out your plan of attack, research your
competition to see what their doing and how you can do it better
in your business. Building a successful business takes time,
and while it is hard work the fruits in the end will make up for
the amount of time and energy you put forth in the beginning
by building a stable foundation.
Jim Conley II is the CEO/Founder of MerchantSeek. MerchantSeek allows merchants from around the world to search FREE for a Merchant Account Provider that best fits their businesses needs and budget. Visit us at http://www.merchantseek.com/