Which do you think is more difficult: starting a business online or a brick and mortar business?
Answer: it depends.
There are pros and cons to each.
Pros to doing business online: you don’t have to worry about things such as building permits or rent, liability insurance, business license, etc.
Pros to doing business as a brick and mortar: you don’t necessarily need to have a website nor do a blog but there is one HUGE advantage a brick and mortar business has over online business.
They can read the prospects body language.
We as businesses that only have an online presence can’t talk to our prospects or read their body language. And that puts us at the base of huge mountain to overcome in order to get customers.
Visitors to your site don’t know that you might be a charismatic, caring and charming individual — they judge you by the looks of your website and the words written on it which might give off an appearance of a cold, distant and boring individual.
But it’s true. You’re judging me right now and you don’t personally know me. You’re looking at my colors, my fonts, my buttons and words (actually reading them) and deciding whether or not you like what you see.
It’s like walking into a clothing store and checking out the signs, displays and being greeted by the salesperson or store owner. You’re evaluating if you want to be here and if what you’re looking for can be found here.
The same goes for online businesses. To draw an analogy, they have got to create the setting for their visitor; a warm, welcome environment to find what you need, pay for it and move on. You’ll like the purchase and trust the people who run this brick and mortar business and maybe become a returning customer.
But so often businesses create websites and the visitors have no clue what the site is about, looks like crap and are unable to determine if what they are looking for can be found. Since it looks like crap and they can’t find what they are looking for, skepticism sets in and they begin to distrust the site.
Have you experienced this as the website owner? I did when I first started out in early 2103. I bought a domain, installed WordPress plus a theme, created my headlines, contact page, etc and waited for people to call me and hire me. It worked so well that all I heard were crickets.
Yeah…no one contacted me.
No one told me it would be so difficult to get customers online. Then again, there are like 15 kabillion websites to compete with so that should have been a clue. That and SEO, backlinks, content, social media, etc.
But then I figured it out and started helping other businesses with their website to help create that warm, welcome and trustworthy environment.
And through this, there were three easy things that website owners could do to help increase the likelihood of converting that visitor to a customer.
Clarity of the Message
Clarity trumps persuasion every time. Are you being super clear about about what you offer, for whom and what they get as opposed to using every psychological trigger or clever copywriting technique? I guarantee you will sell more if you do.
Go to your homepage and evaluate your content for clarity.
Ask yourself these questions when looking at your content:
- What is this page about?
- What can I do here?
- How is this useful to me and why should I do it?
Think what you’ve written is clear? Are you sure? Grab your friend, spouse, son, daughter…anyone…and ask them if your headline makes sense. Don’t let them be kind in their critique.
If they don’t know, rewrite it. Use simple words. The majority of people who surf the net read at an 8th grade level, that’s how simple it needs to be.
Avoid “we we” language. What is “we we” language? It’s when a website babbles on about all the great things “we” do and why everyone should buy from them.
Guess what? No one cares!
All the visitor wants to know is if you can solve the problem they have NOW.
With clarity it’s not about you, it’s about them.
What do I mean by friction? Friction is anything that slows people down or stops them from taking action. As Michael Hyatt puts it: If you want to generate more sales, you have to identify the friction points in your selling system and eliminate them.
Go through your site and look for places of friction.
Avoid having long and complicated processes/forms on your website. The easier it is, the more people will do it. Don’t make your visitors think.
If you’re an eCommerce site, don’t have a complicated checkout process. If you’re doing lead generation, only ask for information you really need.
Avoid asking for sensitive information when it’s not needed. Do you really need to know the person’s birthday or their annual salary for your CRM? Didn’t think so.
Tell your sales manager it’s more important to get a name and address to start the conversation than to have a crappy conversion rate on your form. You can always get more details about the lead later on.
However, the biggest thing that causes friction isn’t forms or processes it’s slow loading pages. Slow loading pages drive everyone nuts. How many times have you decided you were going to purchase something or fill out a form but the page to forever to load so you said “screw it” and bailed on the process? Yeah me too. So if you and I are doing it so is everyone else.
Might be time to bump up your hosting plan.
Avoid Creating Click Fear
Copywriter Joanna Wiebe tells us that buttons are cute and charming and we’re not supposed to be afraid of them.
Yet we are. Why?
Because we like to be in control. And we have a fear of what will happen after we give up control and click that button.
Have you ever clicked “get a quote” on an insurance page and then all hell breaks loose and you have 20 sales people calling you in five minutes? It really sucks! Had I known that was going to happen, I probably wouldn’t have clicked the button. But if you would have told me I was going to be called by 20 sales people and I still clicked the button then I knew what I was getting myself into.
So what can you do? Build trust with your visitor and eliminate anxiety by telling the user what will happen after they click. Tell them they will be directed to PayPal to complete the purchase, no credit card is required to sign up, the ebook will arrive in their inbox within 30 mins or a representative will contact them in a certain amount of time.
Set expectations and avoid surprising your visitor. You’ll get more clicks on that cute and charming button.
Taking your business online can be fun and exciting but it’s definitely not easy.
People are more skeptical about buying online as opposed to buying in person. When selling to someone in person you have the advantage of talking to your prospects. This lets you create the selling environment and eliminate any fear they have about making their purchase.
Online businesses don’t have this luxury. The words on your page are your salespeople and you’ve got to make them work to get that sale. This is why you need to do everything you can to improve the clarity of your offer, reduce friction on your website and eliminate click fear by telling the user what will happen after they click the button.
These three things are the ubiquitous “low hanging fruit”. What I just laid out isn’t complicated, doesn’t require a degree in rocket surgery and can have an immediate impact on your conversion rate.
So go to your website now and make these improvements.