How to Turn Your Small Business Website Into a Sales Generator

It’s unfortunate that so many small business owners end up with a website that isn’t much more than a glorified online brochure that attracts little traffic. If you’re in that situation I’m positive that wasn’t your intention when you shelled out the money and spent the time creating your website. At first you may have simply created a website because you knew you needed one, but other than to have information about your company on the Internet, you may not have had a specific goal for how it would create sales for your business.

Some of the fault for this problem lies with web designers who can design great looking websites, but who don’t explain to their clients that looking great and attracting traffic and sales are two different things. However, I don’t want to get started on that! Let me focus on some changes you can make that will begin to make your website work for you.

There are two kinds of websites, what I call a “rubber” site, where visitors bounce in and bounce out, and “sticky” sites where visitors stay a while and explore and/ or they take action by adding their name to your mailing list or making a purchase. Of course you want a sticky site. Here are some elements of your website that you need to fix to create a sticky site.

1) Navigation bar – make sure that the most important types of information that a visitor might be interested in are easily accessible from your navigation buttons. Limit your navigation buttons to the most general areas. Too many choices can create confusion.

2) Opt-in form on all key web pages. – it’s amazing how many small business owners don’t take advantage of the opportunity to get visitors to sign up for their mailing list. Your mailing list is your lead list. People that come to your website are targeted, pre-qualified leads who are looking for your specific type of information. Companies pay a lot to buy lists of qualified leads and here they are arriving at your website for free! Take advantage of this by offering them a downloadable gift that has value and they will willingly fill out that form. Make sure your opt-in box is at the TOP of your key web pages.

3) Ask yourself these key questions:
* What information do my visitors really want?
* How much can I give away to create value without giving away too much?
* How can I give away enough that people want more, and then show how they can get more by buying your product or service
* What resource will be compelling enough to keep them coming back again and again?

4) Make sure your website is regularly updated to include sticky elements that will keep people engaged and coming back. Here are a few ideas:

* Discussion forum
* Twitter update feed form to show all your latest tweets on your website.
* Regularly updated blog with easy RSS feed subscription sign up so they are notified by e-mail each time there’s a new blog post.
* Free tools or downloads
* Fresh audios, videos, or articles. Ask people to opt-in to get access to these.
* Any resource that they need to check or access regularly – like links or industry news updates.
* Free give-away on pre-determined dates
* E-mails that link them back to different pages on your site
* Serial business “soap opera”. They must come back the next week for the next part in the series and you e-mail them when the answer is available, with the link.

5) Try putting a video on all your key pages. Video gives you an unprecedented opportunity to talk to your website visitors when they’ve never met you. Begin the relationship with the video. Tell them you understand their problems and you’d like to start them on finding a solution by giving them a gift if they opt-in. This is very powerful.

6) Your sales page content: Write customer and benefit focuses sales copy on your web sales pages and include video and strong testimonials. If you are getting traffic to your sales pages but still not generating sales then the problem is one of these:
* the headline needs some changes
* the content doesn’t create perceived value
* the pricing is wrong
* there is a trust issue-which can be improved with great testimonials and a strong, iron-clad guarantee.
Simple changes can increase response.

With a bit of planning and a few weeks of work you can start to get a much better response to your website. I’ve seen small tweaks to the home page of our website increase our opt-in rate by as much as 25% to 30%. Those new subscribers can then be converted into buyers. Your website can dramatically increase your sales if you give it regular attention.

Finally, although your website can generate tons of leads you need to do more to close the sale.

Facebook Marketing Tips For Local Small Business Owners

For years small business owners have dreamed of number one spots on Google first page of search results for their keywords and for good reason – Google Owned all the traffic.

The illusive fist page rankings is where the money is, the whole idea of getting your website listed in the top search results for your keyword you will get floods of free web traffic/visitors to your website which you can then convert in to sales or place those leads though your sales funnel.

While every small business should be implementing strategies to get their website in the top search results for their keywords, Small business owners also need to be shifting their focus to incorporate the social element of the internet.

Google no longer owns all the traffic on the internet. Facebook that social site that your kids are one all day long has really become a real threat to Google and how people are interacting with the internet.

No before you say that Facebook is only for teenagers and you can’t see your products or services on Facebook, then think again.

Here are 2 very important trends or statistics that every small business owner should care about if they want to do business in the future. (Yes, I believe these is that important)

1. – Facebook now sends more web traffic/visitors to external websites that Google.
2. – Facebook is the largest display ad network on the internet currently.

If you run a retail shop, location is a big element to your success, you wouldn’t open a retail shop in a dead end street where no one goes, this is why shopping malls are so popular, they bring all the shoppers/buyers into one place and you open your shop there where you know where everyone goes to buy stuff.

Facebook is the same, it is the world’s largest free audience and you can tap into this free audience at any time you want.

Also the general nature of Facebook is that content is shared and them spreads virally, this means you can get your message out to a lot of people very quickly and Facebook does 90% of the work for you.

Facebook has already risen to 500 Million active users, of which half of these users login every single day – and they are only 4 years old! If Facebook was a country they would be the 3 largest in the world behind only India and China.

Small Business Consulting Services – Is it Money Well Spent by Small Businesses?

A wise man knows that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. All Massachusetts leading small business consultants can provide many services including strategic assessment, strategic planning, marketing and promotional planning, loan and grant proposals, customized training solutions all wrapped up in a comprehensive business plan solution or individually, based on a specific need.

All the services mentioned above require planning in some form. Many times, businesses don’t have the staff nor ability to perform these services for themselves because they are usually bogged down with the day-to-day operational side of the business. So that is where and why consulting services can help.

Again, you may be considering help in the areas listed above or you may be seeking an unbiased professional opinion on specific issues. You may need help preparing a complete business plan, pro-forma financial documents or a marketing plan. Whatever your needs, small business consulting services encompass many answers to the problems facing small businesses.

Consulting services are utilized by every business size imaginable. Both large and small accounting and consulting firms are always employed by companies as big as Microsoft. Any size business has needs that can not be met internally because businesses sometimes look at themselves subjectively rather than objectively or lack the experience and expertise in an area that could improve a component of their business which could translate to growth and higher profits.

But wait, if you’re short on resources whether it be financial or human resources and you need small business consulting services it’s important to find one of the Massachusetts leading small business consultants that offers a strong track record of success and a firm which will listen to your needs carefully.

You need to remember that careful planning and consulting is extremely valuable to any profitable venture…as the Visa commercials profess…it’s priceless!

Website For Small Businesses – How Can You Steal Leads From Your Competition?

The truth is even though we are surrounded by the Internet every day many small businesses do not have a website. If you are one of them please read on and remember it’ s never too late. For any business, no matter how small, to have a website is crucial and it’s the cheapest form of advertising. A website will give your business an unfair advantage over those businesses who are still stalling.

Waiting for your for your third cousin or your next door neighbor to build a website for you? Guess what, you will be waiting for a long time, there isn’t much in it for them so they will take their sweet time if that time will ever come.

You don’t have the money to pay for expensive web design? Well, that is understandable, not too many small business owners can afford to have a website built by a professional firm. I talked to a medium size web design firm the other day and they would not even take on a client for anything less then $10,000. Granted that included a year of internet web marketing also.

You don’t want to design your own website? You just don’t have the time or the expertise to do it. You are right down scared and confused about it. But if this is the only solution to get on the web then why not just jump into it. Did you know how to ride a bicycle all your life? No, but you got the hang of it quickly once you tried it. Also maybe that third cousin will help out once you start…

All these fears and probably more are keeping you from generating more business and establishing your business online. Meantime your competition is getting on the web and getting your leads. I think you want the opposite to happen, right?

How is your website going to help you get leads? Here are just a few things that you can do:

  • Attach it to your Yellow pages ad
  • Advertize on your local free classifieds (Craig’s list, Kijiji, etc) Make sure you re-submit your ad often
  • List it on your local directories and on your trade directories
  • Use it on all your correspondence (email signature, business cards, letterhead, etc)

Get more leads, get ahead of your competition and build a website for your small business today.