Your website is your virtual storefront.
It is the place where many customer relationships begin.
The following guidelines will help you enhance your website and encourage visitors to do business with you.
1. Be a good host.
Do not impose too much puffery and "chest-beating" messages on your readers. Explain to them how you are going to solve THEIR problems and address THEIR needs. Substitute "We are" with "You will get". You may lead your copy with "If you" statements, such as "If you are trying to gain more visibility in a highly competitive marketplace..." That is how you connect with your readers and build rapport from the start.
2. Make sure your offers are easily accessible.
Even if you are trying to capture your visitors' emails as a part of a lead-generation strategy, remove long and tedious registration forms. If you have an interesting report or a terrific white paper, make it easy to download. This way you will substantially increase the number of downloads.
3. Your pages should be print-friendly.
Sometimes it is hard to read a lot of copy off a flickering monitor. Personally, I prefer to print those pages for easier reading, or sharing with others. Design your pages to be print-friendly or offer a print-friendly version that visitors can click on.
4. Your contact info should be easy to find.
Sounds like a basic tenet? It astonishes me how often I have to poke around looking for contact information. Put your contact details--physical address, email, phone number, fax, and website-- at the bottom of EVERY page.
5. Educate your visitors.
People who visit your website are usually looking for meaningful content. Do not hesitate to share some valuable information, important tips, or industry reports with your readers. This will encourage them to spend more time on your website and learn more about you and your services. Keep boasts and promises to the minimum.
6. Offer a subscription to a regular ezine (electronic newsletter).
This is a valuable retention device, allowing you to keep your name in front of your prospects and clients. In addition, online newsletters are simple and inexpensive.
How to drive more traffic to your website
1. Viral marketing.
Add a line to your outgoing email marketing messages that says: "Please feel free to forward this email to your friends, partners, or colleagues so that they can enjoy this special offer." The special offer I am talking about could be a free offer (typically free content) or a discount. By the way, viral marketing is one of the most powerful traffic-generating strategies you will ever use. And it's FREE!
2. Affiliate marketing.
Find websites that service the same market you do. Arrange for them to feature your product/service on their site or in their emails. As a result, the affiliate will receive a percentage of the sale typically ranging from 15% to 50%. Visit http://www.affiliatesdirectory.com for more information.
3. Google/Overture. These are the search engines that let you buy "preferential rating on key words." According to many marketing experts, "Overture reaches over 80% of active Internet users by displaying your business on Yahoo, MSN, and AltaVista."
Final Thought: Building solid relationships with your prospects and clients is a challenging task. As you already know, your prospects evaluate the quality of your service based on the quality of your website. I hope you will find my suggestions of real value and come closer to achieving the success that you deserve.