So why aren’t my sales higher?

I’ve spent the last 10 years of my life working with websites – well, often working with people who work with websites might be more truthful and accurate, but I did for sure have responsibility for the performance of those websites (ok, as well as the people who work on those websites…) but I digress.

Putting my marketing hat on for a moment, our core aim and the reason people retained us was in very simple terms, to increase their revenue – to help them sell more of the products they wanted to sell, to those they wanted to sell to.

Of course in this drive to sell more, we needed to get prominence for the website and in the good old days of AltaVista’s reign that wasn’t too difficult, but I’m thinking of the point when a prospect has found the website and wants to buy – it’s at this point that things can go horribly wrong when it should be a straight forward process. For big business there is software that will measure everything and monitor everything it can’t measure, but what if you’re a small business? What if money is too tight to buy such software and even if you did, you have to spend the time to learn how to use it!

I advocate a simpler, cheaper solution, which will show returns quicker than you could learn how to use the alternatives and that’s testing. Yes, testing, sounds simple, but it is a question of who tests and what they test that is the difference, so here are some simple rules to increasing sales from your website:

Find friends and family or advertise for people to sit and make a purchase from your website. You could advertise at a local collage, but importantly you do not want tech students. Ideally recruit people who reflect your target audience. If you sell kitchen design for example, you would ideally look for a Mom who cooks for her children, or likes entertaining.

Importantly you would need 8 or 10 such people so you’re probably only going to employ them once and you could remunerate them with a gift certificate or supper for two. It would not be expensive to retain a few good people with the right advertisement on a notice board in the library or local collage.

Do not tell them the URL of your website, instead explain that you will be asking them to sit in front of a computer and make a purchase or book an appointment. Explain that whilst they do so you will record them on a video and interview them afterwards.

Trust me, their cusses as they can’t find the “buy” button or can’t find how to move from one page to the next, or frustration that they get to the end only to find they need some piece of information they don’t have with them, will be invaluable and correcting these simple things that you’ve missed because you’re too close to it all will improve sales overnight.

avatar Name: Alex Eager
About: Alex has worked as a Financial Controller and Finance Director for many years for a variety of companies across a range of industries but more recently she has moved away from accounting working for an internet marketing agency as Finance and Operations director, primarily overseeing the finance functions and search engine optimisation (SEO) for clients. Follow Alex on G+ and on Twitter @Alex_BusDirUK Alex runs her own company with two fellow owners developing a suite of e-commerce web sites and promoting them directly. “I found that SEO and finance were quite compatible both needing an eye for detail, research and analysis as well keeping up with new developments and changes.” Visit Alex's G+ Profile. and Twitter
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