A small-business owner once asked me a question: I have a website, I run an advertising campaign on AdWords, I know through Google Analytics that people come to my website. So why am I not receiving any calls?
If I had a penny every time I hear that question… Online advertising experience can be frustrating at first, but there is a core thing that we need to understand to avoid disappointment: your website is your best tool for both advertising and sales! A common mistake is treating the website like you treat a business card: here is my contact phone and e-mail, call me to receive more information. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works in most consumers’ minds.
In today’s world, the entire sales cycle – whether it’s hours or months – has moved into the domain of the internet. Whether you sell jewelry or jeans or change motor oil, the customer expects to learn everything they need about your product or service on your website, before deciding whether they want to contact your or not, or even to complete the transaction online.
Let’s look at an example. I need to buy a new GPS navigator for my car. My set of requirements is fairly simple, in the order of importance it has to be: a) inexpensive b) up-to-date (have a robust set of features and allow for customization) c) portable (if I want to switch cars) d) updateable (maps in particular). If I go to a nearby “Best Buy” or “The Source” store, I will probably be offered a selection of 10-15 devices, maybe more but not by much. I will be able to read the pricing tags that contain some information about the devices, compare them top each other and with the help of a sales assistant find out more information about them. Maybe even get his opinion if he is in the mood. That will be an opinion of one single person. If I go on the internet, even on the “Best Buy’s” website I will most likely find more options and all the technical information that I need to satisfy my requirements will be readily available at once, along with the other people’s reviews of the devices. Opinions of several different people. If I didn’t know about any local shops, I would simply use a search engine for “GPS navigators” I will have a much much larger selection of devices. And I can still expect that on most of the websites I go to I will be able to find all the information on each model, along with a number of reviews from users and geeks on those technology blogs. I will probably also save time I spend for shopping because even if I decide to go to the shop for the “test drive” I will go straight for one or two models that I short-listed. Or better yet, I am on the website that gave me full information about the model, user’s feedback and I love the price. What prevents me from calling or placing the order online? Of course if the price is not available I am sure one of those other hundreds of websites has it somewhere, I’ll go and buy there, because I already know which model I need.
So think about your business, think about your customer. What are the bits of information that your prospect wants to learn before deciding to call you, to buy from you, or to bring their car to you for service? Is it the brands you carry? Is it the delivery time? Or is it other customers’ testimonials that they need to be convinced? Or do they want to know the ballpark prices, or even your hours of operation and whether there is an appointment to be made beforehand?
If you provide educational services, you may want to put out not just prices and hours of operation, but examples of your student’s achievements, parts of curriculum and photos of your facilities to address all possible questions that your potential student’s parents might have. If you provide event entertainment, – media, such as photos and videos, and a comprehensive price list are a must on your website. Without that information, expecting the visitor to make a buying decision is just unsubstantiated.
If you don’t have those bits online and rely on the phone call to provide this information, – I bet my trilby that one of your competitors’ websites already does have that. So there is no guessing game who the customer will end up ordering from. Is there?