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3 Secrets to a Site that Sells

Put these tips in place to turn browsers into buyers.
August 15, 2008

So, you've got your site up. Now what? You need to drive traffic, grow your opt-in list, make sales and work on your SEO. The list seems endless.

Step back for a minute and realize it's not possible to do everything at once. Once you've built your website, the first thing you should do is make your sales process watertight.

There's no point spending a ton of cash on pay-per-click ads to drive targeted traffic to your site if none of those visitors buys anything.

Follow this three-point sales action plan before you spend a bundle on attracting visitors.

1. Get your sales copy in top shape
You've got less than five seconds to persuade people to stay on your website, so your headline has to grab them and compel them to read on. The best headlines tell visitors they've found exactly what they're searching for and make them curious enough to keep reading.

But don't let your readers slip through your fingers once you've grabbed their attention with a hot headline.

Sales copy is what turns visitors into customers. So make sure it guides people through a streamlined process that:

Good sales copy funnels your readers through a tight sales process and doesn't give them a reason to click away. Take a look at your own and see if all the elements are in place, and if not, give it more of the attention it deserves. (Here's a more detailed article on sales copy.)

2. Collect testimonials
What's more trustworthy than a personal recommendation? A good testimonial can persuade even the most skeptical potential customer to buy from you.

Testimonials prove that your product really works--that it does exactly what you promise. And if you run a small business and haven't built your reputation, testimonials are indispensable.

Here's how to gather quality testimonials and benefit from them immediately:

Try to get testimonials that are full of concrete benefits. How much money did someone save? How much time would they have spent without your product? How much better did they perform than before?

Let your visitors know these are real people. A first name, last name and location will prove it. A photo's great. And don't forget video.

You'll find dozens of opportunities to use testimonials throughout your site: on your homepage, within your sales copy, on a special testimonial page, on relevant product pages or in relevant product listings, so don't hesitate to use them where you can.

3. Make it easy to buy
I'm always amazed how many sites make it difficult for you to buy from them. According to market research from the Gartner Group, more than 50 percent of web sales are lost because visitors can't find what they're looking for. Don't make that mistake.

Sales copy, testimonials, shopping cart. Once you've got these three crucial elements of your sales process shipshape you can confidently drive targeted traffic to your site--and know it'll convert!