Coudray explains how to use your Website to stand out from the competition and convert sales prospects into profit centers.
By Mark Coudray
The sales trend today has shifted to the Web. A recent survey sponsored by yp.com showed than 92% of consumers start their search for a local vendor on the Web, but 74% ended up purchasing locally and not with an online purchase. This is huge. It means that more than nine out of ten prospects start online. Yet, when I look at the typical business-to-business Website, nine out of ten fail—and fail miserably.
This is a bold statement, but let me explain. When someone hits your site, the main goal you have is to engage them to the point where you gain their contact information. Without it, they’re just a shopper browsing and you’re the floor salesman who asks, “Can I help you find something?” The answer is almost always, “No, just looking.” This is what needs to change. The sequence should be designed as follows:
1) Get targeted traffic to the Website.
2) Deliver engaging content that adds presale value (useful but incomplete information).
3) Conversion 1, where they give you their contact information, usually an e-mail address, and permission to market to them (opt-in).
4) Regular delivery of increasingly useful information over the next several days or weeks.
5) Conversion 2, which includes direct contact and an order.
The beauty of the Internet is we can track everything at every step of the process. We can split test offers and content on a continuous basis until everything is optimized.
The tracking aspect is all about engineering the sales-funnel process, and it is critical to your success. Traditional business owners have never really thought about this. They look at their Website as an electronic brochure and little more. Here’s something to consider.
Suppose you’re a medium-sized company with 1000 customers. Your annual sales are $2,000,000. This means the value of a customer is $2000 per year. Your traditional salesperson concentrates mostly on keeping their existing customers happy and tries to grow the business there. There’s no problem with that, but you need new customers.
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