They don’t attract visitors, and when someone lands on the site by chance, they don’t stick around.
The problem is that a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners don’t know what makes a good website. As horrible as this sounds, a lot of web developers don’t know. They might have a handle on one aspect of web design or SEO, and completely miss the boat on others.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a few minutes to define what makes a website good. Once you know, you can create the kind of website that attracts new customers.
First – A Good Website Provides Valuable Information to Visitors
Information is where it all starts. Your website is your home base online. Ideally, your website should act as sort of a combination plate, something that encompasses a well-written brochure, an attractive office, a professional receptionist, and an ace salesperson.
Whew. That’s a lot to do with a simple website. But, the good news is that it’s not as complicated as it sounds.
Let’s start with the content. Your website must attract visitors – and the only way to do that is to optimize it. That means:
Ultimately, your website should tell people who you are, what you do, and what they stand to gain by doing business with you. If you can accomplish that, the informational aspect of your website is what it should be.
Second – A Good Website Keeps Visitors Engaged
You can have the most beautiful home page in the world. But, if it doesn’t encourage people to read, explore, and stay a while, it won’t matter.
There’s a reason that your Google Analytics tells you the average time visitors spend on your page. That information is valuable. It tells you how engaged visitors are.
Let’s face it, a visitor who lands on your site and spends 90 seconds on a page that should take 10 minutes to read isn’t engaged. And the chances are good that that person didn’t navigate to another page on your site. Instead, they probably clicked the “Back” button and went in search of a more engaging site.
So, what does this mean in terms of defining a good website? It means your site must have:
Third – A Good Website Converts Visitors to Customers
Ultimately, your goal isn’t just to attract visitors to your site. You want to turn those visitors into paying customers. If your site isn’t designed with conversions in mind, then it’s not a good site.
Of course, not every guest will convert on their first visit. That’s why your site needs to present multiple conversion opportunities. Some will focus on turning visitors into leads, while others will focus on making sales.
There are three main features to consider here.
Not all websites are good websites…
… but yours can be. Focusing on these three elements – information, engagement, and conversion – can help you capture leads, nurture them, and earn the profits you deserve.
So, with that in mind, here are some super-effective marketing tricks that can help you grow your sales without blowing through your (small) budget.
Use Customer Feedback to Create New Products or Services
This first technique can be free – or nearly free. Basically, what you’re doing is talking to your existing customers to find out what else you can do for them.
Let’s look at a simple example. Say your company creates and prints custom business cards. By talking to your clients about their other printing needs, you may be able to attract additional business without spending anything on advertising.
Instead of printing only business cards, you might find an opportunity to print letterhead and envelopes, too. That way, you increase the lifetime value of a single customer, and you can offer your expanded services to new customers, too.
Create a Promotion Schedule
Do your existing customers know when you’ll be running a special? It might sound a bit mundane to run promotions on a schedule but doing so gives your customers something to look forward to. And, it increases the likelihood that they’ll buy from you regularly.
This technique is perfect for building customer loyalty, but it can also help you attract new business. When your existing clients know that a promotion is coming, they may be more inclined to tell their friends and colleagues about it.
This is another sales-growth technique that can be carried out for only a few dollars. You’ll want to advertise your promotion a bit. But, once you’re on a schedule – where, say, clients know that you run a promotion every other month – they’ll start to expect it. That means you won’t have to spend as much to promote it!
Cross-Promote Your Products with a Partner
Local businesses sometimes miss out on opportunities to team up to generate sales. Simply by scanning the membership list of your local Chamber of Commerce can provide you with plenty of opportunities to cross-promote your products or services.
For example, the owner of a catering company might pair up with a florist or party rental company and offer a special to attract new business. Planning an event can be pricy, and you can attract new clients by giving them an incentive to hire both companies to help them with their event.
Another option might be partnering with another business to create a night out. The owner of a restaurant might offer a free appetizer to people who come in with a ticket stub from the local movie theater. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Doing so can make your business the destination of choice for local patrons.
Revamp Your Content to Focus on Customer Benefits
One of the biggest mistakes inexperienced marketers make is focusing too much on their product’s features and not enough on what the product can do for their customers. Fortunately, this is something you can fix with little to no money.
The first step is to audit your website’s content. If you find that you’re not talking about how your products or services can improve your target audience’s lives, revamp it so the focus is on them. You know your product is awesome, but you need to explain how buying it will benefit your customers.
After that, you can use the same technique to rethink your social media marketing strategy. Focusing on benefits makes your content more shareable than it would be if you simply touted your products. You’re likely to see a bigger return on your investment because you’ll be enticing people to buy your product.
Bundle Products and Services
Every consumer likes to feel that they’ve gotten a bargain when they buy something. That’s true both in B2C and B2B marketing – and you can use it to your advantage.
There are two ways to approach product bundling. The first is to bundle a basic product with some upgrades and add-ons and offer a price that’s slightly lower than what it would cost to buy everything separately.
The other option is to bundle products that go together in some way. A gift basket is a good example, and businesses use this technique around the holidays. For example, a Valentine’s Day bundle might include perfume, scented lotion, and a candle.
Increase Engagement on Social Media
Many companies make the mistake of not trying to engage their social media followers when they promote content. That’s a mistake – and in a way, implementing this technique can save you money by increasing your ROI on social media.
One simple technique is to ask your audience a question. Everything you post should include a call to action. When you ask a question, you encourage your followers to respond. The question might be asking their opinion about something you post, or you might ask them which question they’d most like to have you answer in a future post.
Either way, you’re not taking your audience for granted. Getting your social media to engage with you by providing valuable content triggers the cognitive bias called Reciprocity. That’s where people feel obligated to return the favor when you give them something for free.
Nurture Your Leads
You probably already have an email list – but are you using it well? A lot of businesses aren’t -- and revamping your technique can make a huge difference in your sales.
If you’re emailing subscribers rarely, you’re missing out. Most email automation services charge based on the number of subscribers you have. That means you won’t pay any more for increasing the frequency of your emails.
Try creating one or more email sequences, also known as a drip campaign. Focus on explaining the benefits of buying your product, and you’ll likely see an increase in your sales, too.
Marketing Isn’t Just for Millionaires…
… and you don’t have to double your budget to double your sales. Using the simple, inexpensive techniques outlined here can help you grow your business without busting your budget.
And here’s the thing. Growing your list doesn’t have to cost you a ton of money. Here are 7 smart ways to attract new subscribers.
#1: Add a Sign-Up Button to Your Facebook Page
Let’s start with an option that’s free and takes only minutes to do. Facebook now allows businesses to add a Call to Action button on their page. There are six choices, but the one we’re focusing on today is the “Sign Up” button.
The button shows up on the right-hand side of the page just beneath your cover photo. Clicking it will redirect visitors to a URL you provide. In this case, it should be your opt-in page. That’s where you can display information about your list and ask people to fill out the opt-in form.
On a related note, you can run a Facebook ad with a “Sign Up” button too, and it will do the same thing. If you choose the ad, you’ll have to pay for it. But, it’s a cost-effective way to attract new subscribers.
#2: Have a Paper Sign-Up Sheet at Your Business
Our next trick is an old-school method to attract subscribers. People who walk into your business may be willing to take a minute to provide you with their name and email address if you make it easy for them to do. And what’s easier than a paper sign-up sheet?
If you choose this option, make sure to include a few lines at the top to tell people why they should subscribe to your list. For example, saying “Sign up here to be the first to know about our upcoming sales and promotions,” people will understand what they’re getting. Even better, they’ll be eager to sign up.
An alternative, of course, is to have your cashiers or other staff ask people for their email addresses when they check out.
#3: Allow People to Subscribe via Text Message
One of the biggest obstacles businesses must overcome when attracting subscribers is the inconvenience factor. People don’t want to waste their time filling out a lengthy or complicated form. So, why not let them text to subscribe?
Some email marketing providers are now offering a text to subscribe option. It allows mobile users to text the word “subscribe” to them, and they’ll be added to your email list. What we love about this method is that it takes only seconds to do.
This option works by creating a custom code for new subscribers to use. To make it even easier, you can display a sign in your store with the code so people can see it and act on it immediately.
#4: Collect Email Addresses When You’re Planning an Event
Do you host events for your business? Whether you’re putting together a charity fundraiser or a gala opening, you can use the opportunity to collect email addresses and grow your list.
The great thing about this option is that you’ll probably need to ask people for their email addresses anyway. You may need it to send them tickets or updates about the event. Simply adding a checkbox to your event sign-up form makes it a snap for attendees to opt-in to your list at the same time.
The key here is to make sure you describe your list briefly, so people know what they’re signing up for. You want to make it seem like a no-brainer for people to tick that box.
#5: Create an Irresistible Lead Magnet
The idea of creating a lead magnet isn’t new – but if you aren’t doing it, it’s new to you. A lead magnet, in case you don’t know, is a freebie you give people to entice them to subscribe to your list.
The key is to create a lead magnet that appeals directly to your target audience. Then, you need to sell it hard. Outline the primary benefits that subscribers will get if they opt in. The more enticing your lead magnet is, the more likely it is that it will help you supersize your list.
Keep in mind that a lead magnet doesn’t have to be worth a lot to be worthwhile. A well-designed tip sheet or template may be just the thing to bring in a slew of new subscribers.
#6: Get Creative with Your Sign-Up Form
You don’t necessarily need a dedicated opt-in page to get people to subscribe to your list. Sometimes, it’s enough to create the perfect opt-in form – and place it perfectly on your page.
One option that I really like is the scroll-triggered form. Instead of putting your form above the fold, as many marketing experts tell you to do, show it to site visitors after they’ve had a chance to read some of your fantastic content.
A form that shows up at the right time can catch readers when they’re impressed with your expertise and grateful for what they’ve learned by reading your content. At that point, they’ll be happy to give you’re their email address in return.
#7: Use Guest Wi-Fi to Collect Addresses
Do you allow guests to access your wi-fi? If so, adding a gateway to their access can make it easy to collect email addresses.
Instead of just giving guests the password, add a field to the form and request their email address as well. Even if you make the email field optional, most guests will be happy to provide their email address to use your wi-fi.
Don’t Let Your List Stagnate…
Instead, use these seven smart and easy ways to attract new subscribers. Once they’re on your list, you can wow them with a well-designed drip campaign that will convert them into paying customers.
Referrals from friends and colleagues carry even more weight. In fact, they convert 30% more often than leads that come from other sources.
That’s why you need to set up a referral program to encourage customers to send their friends to you.
But wait… won’t happy customers just refer their friends as a matter of course?
Some might – but most won’t. You need to ask. So, let’s talk about some simple things you can do to get more customer referrals.
Step #1: Identify Potential Referral Sources
Referrals can come from many places. Before you decide on the parameters of your new referral program, you’ll need to think about who can provide you with the kind of qualified leads you want. Here’s a run-down of the most likely sources:
Ask for Referrals
The first and most obvious way to get referrals is to ask for them. A lot of businesses skip this step and they miss out on valuable referrals as a result.
Are you wondering why you need to ask? This statistic might explain it. A study at Texas Tech University found that 83% of consumers were willing to refer acquaintances to a business after a positive experience. But – and here’s the corker – only 29% of them did!
Why the gap? It might have something to do with not being asked.
There are lots of ways to ask for referrals. Here are just a few:
Pinpoint Companies Who Share Your Target Audience
One of the best ways to get referrals is to start with your audience and work from there. In other words – when was the last time you identified local businesses who target the same consumers you do?
Let’s look at a sample audience to illustrate the point: parents with young children. Here are some businesses targeting that audience that might be able to refer customers to one another:
Attract Referrals with Shareable Content
Whether you’re writing a blog post or creating an infographic to share on Pinterest, you should create content with referrals in mind.
Think about it this way. When people share your content, they’re also sharing information about your company – even if only indirectly. Any person who sees your content might be a potential customer.
Create content that provides clear value to the people in your target audience – and then encourage your existing audience to share it. Again, asking is the key. Some people might share your content, but many will only do it if you ask them to.
In a perfect world, customers, friends, and family would refer you out of the goodness of their hearts. But… we don’t live in a perfect world.
The solution is to give people a reason to give you referrals, something that goes beyond doing a good deed for you or a friend. It’s perfectly acceptable, and even desirable, to incentivize your referral program.
Here’s an example. I knew a factoring company that offered existing clients one month of free factoring if they referred a new client who signed up. That was potentially a big incentive – factoring isn’t cheap! But the owner of that company got a lot of referrals from clients as a result.
If you decide on this type of referral, make sure to specify under what circumstances you’ll pay out the incentive. A small incentive, like a free basic product or a coupon, might go to anyone who offers you contact information, whether the referral comes to fruition or not. But, if you’re offering a big prize, like a bonus or a free service, you might want to require that the referral turns into a customer before issuing the prize.
Referrals are a great way to grow your business…
And they can help you build up a lot of good will with the people around you. Instead of hoping that people will refer new customers to you, go out and make it happen. A coherent, consistent referral program will help you increase your profits.