A lot of people ask me, “Fiona, how do we promote ourselves online”. Today I sat down and wrote this articles. I hope you find this helpfull to grow your online businesses. Good Luck!!
Are you open for business on the Web? It takes more than having a web page. Your business has got to provide a reason for people to buy your products or your services or you won’t get much action. Since most businesses still are not making money on the web, even big corporate super sites, you’ve got to plan your site to succeed.
Think about the way people walk into a real bricks-and-mortar store for the first time. They go in and look around to see if the store has what they want. If not, they’re out the door quickly. Some Internet stores are not set up so that people can find what they want easily. As a matter of fact, a number of internet business sites aren’t even set up to sell. The site will tell customers about the business and then either refer them to a physical store or give them a phone number to call. It’s a bit like driving to a store and finding a closed sign on it, telling customers that they’ll just have to drive to the next town to find an open store.
That means that businesses that make money on the Web have to quickly let the customer know what they’ve got to sell. But, getting back to the bricks-and-mortar analogy, it’s a bit more complicated than just giving a bare price list. Although that can work, it doesn’t maximize your chances to sell. Instead, it allows you to take orders.
Bricks-and-mortar stores have several advantages over Internet stores. When the customer walks in the door, he can see the layout of the store physically. A business site can do that with their navigation bar but many businesses don’t give customers a good overview of where to find things. Ideally, web store designers say, a customer should be able to find anything in three clicks. Practically speaking, it can take more but should be clear on the right path. Each time the customer has to hunt for a choice, that’s a chance for them to say “to heck with it” and go back to the search engines to check out your competitors.
Another huge advantage that bricks-and-mortar stores have is that they’ve got the product on the floor. The customer can look it over carefully. They can touch it, smell it or taste it (if that’s appropriate.) When you’re selling on the Internet, it’s much like selling through a mail order catalog. What they can’t experience, you’ve got to tell them in words or pictures. Although if you’re selling something like music, you could let them hear what you’ve got as well. Music is one of the categories, along with software, where delivery over the web makes a great deal of sense. The music industry is highly concerned about working out the delivery system to minimize pirating but they are aware that most music may soon be sold and delivered over the Web. Your business has to be able to give a good description of what you’re selling, good enough so that the customer is confident in making that buy decision.
Customers must trust your business to sell them the right product. There are a couple of ways to do this. Your existing customers already know what kind of treatment they’ll get from you and how good the quality of your products is. When the customer is new, though, the quality level can be addressed by telling them about the product or by carrying brand name products that they can choose. New customers also need to know that ordering from you is safe, that they’ll get the order quickly and that if anything goes wrong, you’ll fix it promptly and cheerfully. So you may want to talk about how secure your ordering process is, let them know exactly when it’s shipped and by which carrier and what your return policy is. The last four purchases I’ve made over the Internet have had very prompt follow-up immediately after ordering confirming that the order has been received and reviewing it. Once its been delivered to the carrier, I’ve also received the billing number, the carrier and estimated time of arrival so that I can track it as well. The more your customers know about you and understand how your business works, the more likely that they’ll feel confident ordering products from you.
Much like “bricks-and-mortar” stores, you have a couple of great opportunities to get people to buy your product. Always have a couple of specials that will get them to start ordering. They’re more likely to buy add-ons once they’ve started the order process. Give away something free with once they reach a threshold $$$ amount as your way of saying “thank you!” for their order. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be something that they’ll want. That’s a great way of letting them know that your business appreciates their business.