During most weeks, I get dozens of joint venture proposals, and several potential new clients who want me to evaluate the potential of a project that they’re working on.
Many of the joint ventures that I turn down, and many of the clients that I reject, are for the same reason. Their websites are so poorly structured, not enough contents which means the websites won’t convert. I do not do copy writing, but I often suggest revamping their websites before they move forward.
With the sites reviewed on my calls, and with the sites I look at for other reasons, I notice many of the same mistakes.
Here are 12 of the most common:
1) The Site Has No Focus.
A website should be designed with its primary purpose in mind. You should have ONE thing that you’d really like most visitors to your page to do. Almost everything on that page should lead the visitors toward deciding to take that primary action. Nothing on the page should distract them and “lead them off down other trails.”
Common primary actions that you’ll want your visitor to take are to CALL YOU, know you, join your list, buy your product, download a free trial version, or join an online community. Make sure that you know what you want your visitors to focus on, and get rid of the other distractions. It’s been proven that if you give your visitors too many choices, or confuse them, they will simply choose to leave!
2) The Site Has No Email Capture Mechanism.
Most honest copywriters will tell you that in most Internet marketing type niches, a 1-2% response rate to a sales letter is VERY respectable. You’ve worked so hard to get visitors to your site, and if you completely ignore the 98% who don’t buy you’re not going to be in business very long.
Incorporate a form into your website that gets them to contact you or into an auto responder so that you can follow-up with them. Once they’ve decided to leave, you’ll probably NEVER see them again unless you have a way to invite them back. An auto responder is the perfect way to do this automatically.
3) The Owner is “Hiding Behind the Website.”
Web surfers are skeptical and distrusting. You need to let them know that there is a real person behind the site. Give them contact information, show them your photo, and even let them hear you. You can easily add audio or video to your website, and allow it to “touch” your visitor on such a deeper level. When people hear your voice or see you talking, and get to watch your body language, you communicate so much more effectively than just the written word.
To add audio to your website, all you need is a microphone plugged into your computer. To add video to your website, all you really need is a webcam plugged into your computer. There are services that will take this audio or video, allow you to edit it with a few clicks of your mouse, and then stream it from their servers or upload it to your server.
5) Not Offering Proof of Statements.
It’s natural for you to say how great you and your product are. That means nothing to potential customers. Get others to share how your product improved their lives or business. Use media interviews, and statements by officials in professional organizations, to provide third-party validation.
Testimonials with photos, audio, or video, are very powerful. Testimonials with just a set of initials, or with just a first name, have NO credibility.
6) Offering the Wrong Payment Options.
The majority of Internet users prefer to pay via credit card. If your product allows you to do it, and still make a satisfactory profit, consider taking orders through contact form, an answering service or a phone call, via fax, via snail mail, and through third party processors such as Paypal as well. Evaluate each of these options and decide which of these make sense for you.
7) Using the Wrong or Too Many Fonts.
When you use different sizes and colors of letters on your webpage you need to have a real reason. When you highlight or underline text on your webpage you need to have a logical reason.
As your site visitor reads your webpage, he will subconsciously ask himself why you emphasized a certain word or sentence on the page. If you had no logical reason, you pull him out of your message as his mind “wrestles with the why.”
Your page should be structured such that a “skimmer” could just read the headlines and sub headlines and get the message. He should be able to read just the highlighted text and get the gist of your webpage. He should be able to just go to the bottom of the page, read the “P.S.” where you’ve restated your offer, and order without being forced to read the rest of the page… if they are in a hurry.
8) Using Header Graphics that Distract from the Message.
Your header graphic should spell out or emphasize the main benefit of your product. It should be simple enough that the visitor is not forced to waste time trying to decipher its meaning.
Sometimes, it’s better not to even have a header graphic. This is something you should test. You want to get your visitor reading the text on your page and discovering how your product can help him, as soon as practical. This is what will sell him… not cute or fancy graphics.
9) Not Focusing on Benefits Rather than Features.
Don’t tell your visitor how great the product is, tell him how it will improve his life. Your testimonials should also provide concrete, and very specific, examples of how it improved someone else’s life.
10) Focusing on “I” Rather than “You!”
Look at your webpage and make sure that it talks about the customer and his problem more than it talks about you, your company, and your products. Your customers don’t really care about you. They care about how you can help them! Read through your copy and make sure that it answers that question. Make sure that you’re not talking about yourself too much, and that when you do talk about yourself, it’s answering the question of how you can help them.
11) Not Emphasizing the Guarantee on the Products that your sell in your website.
When a customer purchases with a credit card, or through certain third-party processors, the guarantee is implied anyway. So, why not make your the product that you are selling in your website guaranteed a selling point? If a customer goes to Visa or MasterCard and states that they are unhappy with the product that they purchased from you, they will get their money back in most cases… and you’ll pay an extra fee for the “chargeback.” If a customer goes to Clickbank or Paypal with a complaint, they will end up issuing a refund in many cases.
Make it easy on yourself by offering and honoring a guarantee. It will increase your conversion rate, and unless your product is total JUNK, it won’t increase your refund rate.
12) Not Using a Call to Action or P.S.
Many busy surfers will jump right to the end of your webpage and read the P.S.(s) or engaging them to take that initiative to call you. If they were somewhat pre-sold before they arrived at your page, many will go ahead and purchase at that time. Use the P.S.(s) to restate your offer, emphasize the guarantee, showcase your bonuses, and to emphasize any scarcity factor in the offer and make sure you use call to action an urgency to make them call or contact you.
A well-written webpage is so pivotal to the sales process that many professional copywriters will often rewrite bad sales letters. When they discover great products that they KNOW would sell if the products’ owners just had better copy, they will often rewrite bad sales letters, pre-sell the products, and then send the “ready-to-buy” customers directly to the order form.
Fix the 12 common errors covered above and your website will be more effective than 99% of direct sales websites out there. Don’t fix these mistakes, and your sales won’t increase, but at-least now you will understand why.
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