Plan for Success
The best way to create a user-friendly, powerful web site is to plan for it. If you're going to invest time in building and promoting your site, you want to be sure that once visitors get there, they're converted into buyers. Start by analyzing where you are at the present, where you want to go, and what steps will take you there.
If you compare the internet to a mall, then your web site is a store in the mall. A profitable store includes a well-trained staff, attractive displays inside, a nice sign out front and a killer window display. A store alone won't make sales. You have to attract people inside, convince them you have something they need, and encourage them to act.
The same is true for an internet business. You have to attract customers and then sell them your product or service.
So, in this example, the store is your web site, the sign out front is your domain name, the knowledgeable staff is your content and the in store displays are the photos on your site. All you're missing is the window display. And that is your marketing plan. It is the "it" factor that draws people in. And there are many ways to do this online:
* Banner ads
* Ezine Ads
* Search Engine Marketing
* Joint Ventures
Identify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
This statement is the headline for your web site and all other marketing material where your business name appears. It communicates the benefits of doing business with you and identifies what differentiates you from your competition. In short, why should they do business with you instead of someone else.
A strong USP is worth its weight in gold. Here are a few that hit the jackpot:
"Fresh, Hot Pizza Delivered to Your Door in 30 Minutes or Less, Guaranteed," Domino's Pizza
"The Ultimate Driving Machine," BMW
"Glasses in about an hour," LensCrafters
Your USP should instill excitement about doing business with you or finding out more about what you offer. Position it at the top of your home page and underneath your logo throughout your entire web site.
Avoid general statements and vague terms like "the best," since anyone can make that claim. Instead, speak directly to your ideal market, and address their wants. Explain what it is that makes you the best or what you do better than others. And use this USP in all of your marketing materials for greater consistency and overall impact. Not only does it help your prospect gain a clear view of your company it can help you stay focused when making key decisions.
The Difference between Features and Benefits
A feature is something the product or service has. The benefit is the emotional statement to show prospects what they will get and how they will feel as a result of using your product/service. Example of feature statement: Health Food products made with all natural ingredients.
Example of benefit statement: Natural health that keeps you fit and younger looking.
Write for Your Target Audience
Know your target audience. Are you B2B (Business to Business) or B2C (Business to Consumer)? It makes a difference. Do you sell wholesale or in bulk? Do you only take small orders or large orders? Be specific, let people know what you do and if they are in the right place. Keyword selection is important in helping guide the proper traffic, but we'll address that in depth later.
To start, just assume that people are going to come to your site confused and uncertain. Guide them through the site and show them exactly what you have for them. If they are unsure, they're out the door. If you convey immediately what you have to offer that perfectly fits their needs, you have your chance to win their business.
As you pull all these things together remember that your site should not cater to your preferences, but to your visitors' preferences. If it isn't converting, reexamine it for flaws and try testing to determine what brings in the best results.
Jennifer Horowitz is the Director of Marketing and co-owner of http://www.EcomBuffet.com Since 1998, her expertise in online marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has helped clients increase revenue and achieve their business goals. Jennifer has written a downloadable book on Search Engine Optimization and has been published in many SEO and marketing publications. Jennifer can be reached at Jennifer@ecombuffet.com