I've seen it many times. A new entrepreneur is excited because their website just went live after weeks, or even months, of hard work. But the excitement doesn't last long when they see that they have yet to make a sale. Or maybe they've only made one or two. They're not covering their expenses, and they're certainly not making enough to live on.
I make sure to tell them not to worry, because it's happened to all of us. Especially with a new website. And there is an answer. Or, I should say, a few answers.
There are some steps you can follow to make sure you are doing everything right to maximize your sales. Look through the list below. If you can say definitively that you have taken all of these steps, then you should see a big increase in your sales. Here you go:
1. Make sure there is a market for what you're selling
By now, you've probably heard a lot about finding your online niche. If you did your research properly, you should have found a market that has a problem that you can provide an answer for. That's probably the most important part of your business.
If you haven't done the proper research yet, get started now. Use a keyword tool like Nichebot or Wordtracker to find what people are searching for online. And visit the forums to see what people are talking about and what problems they need to solve.
Don't skip this step. It's important that internet users are going to want what you're selling or your whole business is lost before it even begins.
2. Make sure that you're selling something that solves their problem
If you've found the right niche, then you should have some idea about what their main problems are. Do some research to find out what they need to solve that problem, then offer it to them. That's the formula in a nutshell. Don't let your product stray from the main topic. Solve their problem, and you'll have success.
3. Make sure you're getting enough traffic
It's difficult to make a good decision about how effective your sales process is if you haven't had enough traffic to your website yet. I recommend waiting until you've had at least 1,000 visitors. Anything less and you won't really have enough data to work with. Be patient.
4. Find out where your traffic is coming from
It's important that you are getting targeted visitors to your website. Make sure that if you're using pay-per-click advertising you're bidding only on words that are right for your market. If you're selling cell phones, you don't want visitors who are searching for land line phones for their office. Remember who your visitor is.
5. Test different headlines
Your headline is the first thing your visitors see on your site. Make sure it's compelling and gets them to keep reading. How do you do that? Simply by testing different headlines and seeing which one works best.
You can do that by rewriting it every now and then and checking your stats, or you can split test your headlines using Google's website optimizer. Website optimizer is part of your Google adwords account. If you don't have an adwords account, you can get one free at a href="http://adwords.google.com">http://adwords.google.com.
6. Make sure your sales copy is effective
The last thing you want to do once you have a visitor reading your sales copy is to distract them with something that isn't leading directly to a sale. In other words, leave out any links to other websites, forget about adsense and banner ads, and don't start talking about things that don't relate to your subject.
Concentrate on your sales message and proof elements, and dispelling any doubts they may have about giving you their money. This includes using testimonials if you have them, a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and good strong sales copy that keeps them interested all the way through to your "buy now" button.
7. Test different price points
It's hard to know what's the right price for your item right off the bat. You may have it at the price you're willing to pay, but that may not be the price everyone is willing to pay. A lot of people will expect to buy something in your market within a certain price range. If your price is too high, they'll shop elsewhere. If your price is too low, yes too low, they might think that what you're offering is of poor quality. You can answer this problem by simply trying out different prices to see what works best.
8. Make sure your order processing works properly and is easy to use
Test all of the links from your "add to cart" buttons all the way through to your "thank you" page. You can normally run a $0 test before you go live with most shopping cart and merchant account systems. Obviously, if your ordering system isn't working right, you're not going to see any sales.
Also, make sure that it's easy to use. Get a friend to run through it for you. It may make perfect sense to you, but that doesn't mean that it will for everyone. Let some other people try it out and see if they get stuck anywhere. Chances are good that if they do, then others will too. If everything isn't as easy as possible to use, then some people will just leave rather than trying to figure it out.
There you go. Eight steps you can follow with your site to make sure that you are maximizing your sales. Just from my own experience, anytime I was able to say that I went through all of the steps above completely, I saw significant improvement, and found good success with my website. I believe that you will, too. Good luck.