This is a guest post by D’Anne Frazier. D’Anne helps small business owners turn their websites into a winning sales team. You may reach out to her at ignitemywebsite.com.
My clients have one burning question when they contact me. It’s always the wrong question. Some of them have websites with gorgeous designs or the latest in website trends.
They ask how to get more website visitors, but they’ve been misled. They believe their great websites turn visitors into buyers. Digging deeper reveals they really want to increase website sales.
So how do you improve website sales?
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Adopt a New Approach to Your Website
The typical website is a company brochure — confusing and salesy or, at best, a self-guided tour with minimal signs pointing to “buy my offers.” The ideal client is considered in broad strokes or becomes an afterthought.
This is a huge mistake. Understanding your ideal client is key if you want to increase website sales.
From the moment a visitor comes to your home page, she’s ready to leave and visit your competitor unless you’ve caught her attention in 3–5 seconds. It’s a tall order and is only the beginning.
Your website must do three things:
- intrigue your ideal clients
- convince them you’re the one for them
- make it easy to take the next steps with you
To begin, shift your mindset from company-centric to a customer-focused perspective.
Put on Customer Shoes
Take a walk through your home page wearing ideal customer shoes:
- Act like a new visitor and look for a specific, clear benefit articulated before you need to scroll or swipe for more content.
- Compare your use of company-centric with customer-focused sentences. Hint: look for the words I, me, my, we and us versus you, your and yours.
- Pretend you’re not an expert; be a novice or intermediate user and note areas where you’re not communicating clearly and effectively.
- See if you’ve integrated, within your website copy, exact words your ideal clients use to describe their problems.
After you’ve resolved any company-centric issues, you’re ready to lead your ideal clients through your website in a win-win for both of you.
Take Website Visitors Down a Customer Path
Creating a customer path grounds your ideal clients, giving them a guide for what they want instead of a search in the dark. Along the path:
- Your potential client connects with you throughout the website, not just on the about page or the home page.
- Your competitors fail to matter as your uniqueness (aka your superpower) becomes obvious and compelling.
- Your visitors come to trust you and naturally want you as their champion.
- Your content answers questions before they arise and overcomes doubts.
Designing any customer path involves planning and implementing five steps.
Create Your 5-Step Customer Path
Customer paths nurture your unique website visitors at different stages of awareness and interest through to your offers.
By mapping out the customer journey, you can quickly increase website sales. A customer might follow several paths through your website. Start with creating a simple, clear path that leads to your main offering.
STEP #1: Identify an Avatar
Ask yourself what your ideal client wants to accomplish and how you get her there with your solutions.
Pick out one or two of your best customers and create a composite avatar (aka persona) based on what traits make those customers perfect for you.
Giving your avatar a name and picture can help you remember who you can serve best and enjoy most.
Think like your avatar to lay the path in Step 2.
STEP #2: Focus on Flow
Decide on the best offer for your avatar (path endpoint) and work backwards to how he enters your website (path starting point).
Design a path that flows from where your client is when he becomes aware of you to your offer; include the next step after working with you.
Look for gaps in the flow, big leaps in path steps, and missing content. Include the 5–7 touches someone needs before committing to a higher-priced offering.
Next, choose the right content and link it together to reduce path friction.
STEP #3: Choose your Content
Pick a piece that supports your ideal client’s initial awareness of you and the content that best moves her through to your offer, ideally, one interaction at a time.
Plan how and where the content will connect and live. As your customer base grows, you’ll often find a mix of media works well. For now, choose the simplest ones to implement for you.
When creating new content, think about what aligns best with customer preferences and what fits your brand.
STEP #4: Integrate your Branding
Adding branding to your path keeps everything consistent, on message and encourages only ideal clients to take the plunge with you.
Your brand is the core essence of who you are in business and the experience your customers have with you.
Find your current brand by listening to how customers talk about you “behind your back,” for example, on social media.
Incorporate your values, your message, your superpower and a great experience along the customer path to shape your vision for your brand and reduce any brand gaps.
Brand impact can be challenging to measure, but assessing action steps along your customer path is “must have” data.
STEP #5: Leverage your Data
Use key metrics to make decisions around your path’s performance. Choose revenue-based metrics (1–3 max) that fit most closely to the offer at the end of the path and eliminate other causes for purchases.
To use them effectively, measure a data baseline when you implement your new path, choose a meaningful time frame (a month minimum) to capture data and compare results consistently.
Identify underperforming areas and fix what you can based on your increasing customer knowledge.
Check out Brenda’s path to help you apply the five steps to your website.
Follow Brenda’s Customer Path
Brenda is a motivational speaker and newly-published author who is updating her website. She wants to sell lots of books, widen her speaking circuit and get more coaching clients.
Brenda has several testimonials and has had a bit of press coverage. She also knows her audience somewhat from interacting with them at speaking gigs and during her recent book launch.
Brenda’s coaching program helps clients overcome fear that’s hindering their dreams of making a living from doing their passion.
She decides to focus her first website customer path on coaching people since she enjoys it and is beginning to see more stable income from these clients. Below are the steps Brenda followed to increase website sales.
STEP #1: Avatar
She analyzes her best customers and discovers two that together have the traits that represent her perfect customer. She dubs this avatar Andy.
She looks at testimonials from her speaking events and press coverage to understand what people love about her. She also checks out her book reviews and the notes she took on her book tour.
STEP #2: Flow
The coaching program is her main offer, so that’s her endpoint. Brenda has a website services page that lists her speaking, her book and her coaching program. There is no flow — only a link in the top navigation.
Brenda’s best awareness points are Facebook ads and her home page. (She gives speech audiences her website address). She picks the home page as her starting point and sketches a customer path; it has 8 “flagstones” to flow Andy from the home page to a coaching offer page.
STEP #3: Content
Brenda is tweaking existing content and placing several new items strategically to create a flow and fill in path gaps.
- Stone 1 — Blog Post #1. A popular article about how hidden fears hold people back from achieving their dream businesses; it’s featured on her home page.
- Stone 2 — Blog Post #2. An in-depth piece on fear of failure which will be a link within Blog Post #1.
- Stone 3— Checklist. A free-offer email opt-in for Blog Post #2.
- Stone 4— Video. A “welcome & what to expect” short video on the opt-in thank you page. Brenda feels video is best so her audience recognizes her face right away and gets a sense of her warmth and empathy.
- Stone 5— PDF. A free download, “How to Harness your Fear” which is a repurposed handout from her book tour. Here it’s an unexpected surprise to delight Andy; it also fits as a next step to both the checklist and video.
- Stone 6— Emails. A 5-day series to implement the above PDF. (This is new content she will create.)
- Stone 7— Discovery Call. This free offer is in the last email of the series.
- Stone 8—Coaching Program. Brenda offers this on the free discovery call.
Her “next step” is a survey. Brenda sends it out immediately after the last coaching session. She’s redesigning it to get a testimonial, encourage a referral and uncover other ways to help her customer.
STEP #4: Branding
Brenda is often called a magician and the fear buster. People talk about how inspiring she is. Several people mentioned her helping with “harnessing” and “mastering” their fears, “setting them free from the fear trap” and “empowering confident action through using my biggest fear.”
Her superpower is her ability to uncover people’s real fears and help them channel those fears into creating businesses they love but were afraid to attempt to build.
She reviews all her emails and sprinkles in some of those branding elements. She also tweaks the name of her coaching program to better emphasize the branding experience she wants to give customers.
Brenda crafts a tagline that captures her superpower and adds it to her author byline and email signature.
She plans to speak about her values and use customer descriptions in her video (stone 4). She adds delight to the customer experience by sending the surprise PDF. (See stones 5 & 6.)
She selects two testimonials that align well with her blog posts. She places one on the home page near the snippet for Blog Post #1 and the other in Blog Post #2. She finds another that fits the thank you page and adds it below the video. Finally, she adds her coaching certification symbol to the page.
STEP #5: Metrics
Brenda decides to measure two metrics —discovery call contacts and Blog Post #2 opt-ins. Her email provider shows her new email optins, and she tracks discovery calls by viewing how many people clicked on the email links in her series (stone 6).
These metrics show her if the path is working without influence from her sales skills during discovery calls.
As you learn more about who your best customers are, you can improve your customer path. As your business grows, you can add or modify a customer path as needed.
Look Ahead To Increase Website Sales
This holistic approach to increase website sales weaves customer-focused thinking into your website at all touch points, creating an ideal website for your ideal clients and more sales for you.
Imagine your website brimming with your ideal clients and following the path you designed for them. They will be your best customers, eager and ready to work with you; they trust you and know you’re the right one to help them.
Imagine your website selling for you—increasing sales, generating repeat buyers and referring more ideal clients who become repeat buyers.
You can do this. Start where you are and create your customer path one step at a time. Then make it better bit by bit as more customers come your way.