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Copyright (c) 2010 Jim Edwards
Most small business websites represent the online equivalent of a printed, tri-fold brochure. Everyone copies everyone else in their industry. They all say the same things, display similar pictures, and convey the same message. In fact, you could easily take the company name off most sites and interchange with others and nobody would notice. Most small business owners treat their website as an extension of offline advertising or worse, a marketing after-thought. But with the Web’s importance in local marketing growing on a daily basis, this lazy attitude toward your company website means online marketing suicide! If your small business website needs a boost, or you plan to put up a website for your business soon, the following tips increase your chances of success dramatically.
Imagine a newspaper with no headlines. It can’t work! Just like a newspaper, every page on your website or small business blog needs a headline. Headlines tell your visitors the topic of the page and quickly help them determine their interest level. The most effective headlines often center around specific offers, not general statements. My experience shows you only get 3-9 seconds to capture people’s attention before they click off your site and a good headline stacks the odds in your favor.
Clear Call To Action
Most rookie sales people (and veterans too) fear asking for the sale. They beat around the bush with customers to avoid rejection. This same fear permeates most small business websites. You must tell people specifically what you want them to do on your site: click here to make a reservation; click here to contact us; pick up the phone and call this number; get in your car and come into the store. Don’t make people guess and make it very clear what, when, and how you want them to do it.
Sell The Benefits
A famous drill salesman once said “People don’t buy the drill, they buy the holes!” He meant that people don’t buy the product or service, they buy a desired result. Yet, most small business websites talk only in terms of their company or product features. People don’t care about your company as much as they care about their own needs. Talk in terms of how you fulfill those specific needs. Devote a large part of your sales message to the results people should expect and the benefits, tangible or otherwise, of dealing with you.
Make Specific Offers
Why do you think grocery stores run so many coupon ads? Because those ads make specific offers that drive people into the store. They’re the equivalent of testing different bait on your fishhook to see what you can pull into the boat. Most businesses don’t make specific offers of any kind. They assume people know what they offer (because they offer what everyone else offers) and customers will just “know” to contact them.
Special offers drive people to action. No matter what type of business you operate, get in the habit of making specific, unique offers. Most people default to offering a discount, but why not offer extra value instead? Ask,”How could I add massive REAL value to our customers without it costing us a ton of time, energy or effort?” “How can we get them MORE of what they already want?” Make it so they don’t have to think (“no-brainer”) and it feels like a real deal.
Just these simple steps can massively increase sales on your small business website sales with very little effort.