How to get more sales and enquiries from your website.

Mark Ellaway, Director, Bigfork Ltd

Our job at Bigfork is to help our clients get more business from their websites, this article is aimed at businesses who want to convert their website visitors into customers. This doesn't necessarily mean an immediate sale, as in many business to business markets, the website's objective is to create leads.

Start tracking with Google Analytics
First you need to know where your website visitors are coming from and what pages they are looking at. If your website doesn't have Google Analytics I strongly recommend you sign up. Google Analytics can show you a huge range of data about your website but the key performance indicators are

  • number of “new visitors” (not “all visitors” which can include returning traffic)
  • where they are coming from (e.g. search engines, referral websites, social media etc)
  • what key words they are using to find you from search engines
  • what website pages visitors are looking at
  • how many of your visitors are using mobile

One of the most useful features on Google Analytics is Goal tracking. Here you can measure real website performance such brochure downloads, enquiry form completions, online sales, etc. You can even link your Goals to traffic sources (e.g. Google) to see where the best visitors come from.

Develop an online marketing plan
“If you fail to plan, then plan to fail”  Harvey Mackay
This sounds obvious but most SME's don't do this and it's a big mistake. This article is not specifically about driving traffic to your website but about website conversion. However for good conversion rates you need to be driving relevant traffic to your website. Your online marketing plan doesn't need to be huge but should cover the basics such as:

  • who is your target audience?
  • what do they want to see on your website?
  • how will you drive them to your website? (e.g. high Google rankings, Adwords, social media)
  • what do you want from the website? (sales, leads, enquiries)

You need to do this before you start designing and planning your website, otherwise you will find yourself changing it repeatedly afterwards, wasting time and money.

Improve your website's content
“Customers buy holes, not drills” Theodore Levitt
Your customers go to your website for your content - products, services and useful information. Read through your website's content as a customer would to see how relevant it is. Our experience shows that the most viewed pages on websites are product pages followed by the “Contact Us” page. Customers go to your  website to see if what you sell will solve their problem, so your content needs to focus on benefits to the customer.  Supporting content such as News, Articles, Company information is useful for credibility and search engine optimisation but is not viewed much by visitors, so don't give it too much focus.

Use Google Analytics to see what the most popular content on your website is and then see how you can improve it.

Check your websites “user experience”.
“Design is not just what it looks like. Design is how it works”  Steve Jobs
If your website visitors find it too hard to reach the content they want on your website then you will lose them. Improve your website by going through it to see where the customer journey can be improved. Set yourself tasks that visitors might want to do such as find the benefits of a specific product, who do I contact, how much can I save by using your product?

A good way of doing this is to ask your existing customers how easy they find your website to use and what they don't like about it.

Improve your website copy
Website copy is as important as design. So many websites talk nonsense and fill their pages with irrelevant copy. If your website pages are very wordy then work on cutting it down to the key benefits and messages. If you need to have a detailed technical document then have this as a separate download or page.

Make sure your copy focuses on the key benefits of your product in a language that your customers will understand. Does your website copy appeal, persuade and convert? If not then re-write it in a voice that fits your brand and appeals to customers.

Make sure your design works
Design is always an emotive issue and everyone has a view on it. If you want your website to be effective then design for your target audience and for conversion. Too many websites have been designed to please the wrong people. The job of design is to look credible and appealing to your customers.
Check to see if your website :

  • is correctly branded with your company's logo, colours, slogans etc and is consistent with all other marketing communications you produce
  • has high quality images/video that presents your products, services and team in the best way as low quality will not appeal to your customers
  • uses colour and fonts that will position your company correctly eg if you have a premium product make sure your website uses appropriate colours and fonts and not ones that cheapen it.
  • includes your key messages/slogans within the design

First impressions count and if your website has poor images and looks unprofessional it's unlikely you will get many quality leads from your site.

Calls To Action (CTA)
A Call to Action is what you want your website visitors to do. Every website needs to have calls to action to be effective. To create good CTAs you need to think about what you want your customers to do and, importantly, what they want to do. Please remember that all customers are different, some will be happy to telephone, some will prefer a more cautious enquiry form. Include several CTAs and see what works best.
Examples of Calls To Action include:

  • Call us for a quote
  • Book an appointment
  • Sign Up for free trial
  • Call me back
  • Download our brochure
  • Buy Now Online
  • Take a Tour

Each CTA needs to draw attention through size, contrasting colours and use of graphics (e.g. buttons). They also need to be in prominent positions such as the top section of pages to increase conversions. Link your CTA's to your Google Analytics to track the performance of them and how customers got there.

Data capture
Many of your website visitors may not respond on their first visit. However you need to try and capture their details so that you can remind them of your products in the future through email marketing or direct mail. Unless your product is highly desirable just asking for an email address for newsletters is unlikely to persuade them to part with their email address. Try tempting your visitors by offering them something for free such as money off vouchers, ebooks, useful resources etc. This will increase your data capture rates significantly.

Many companies also like to capture email addresses when people request brochures etc online. Remember you need to gain their permission for ongoing marketing by adding an “I agree to ….” tick box.

Establish credibility
A potential customer is always asking themselves “Why should I buy from this company?” especially when they land on your website. They will be looking for signs that you are a professional company who will deliver on service and solve any problems. Effective “credibility tactics” for your website can include:
Customer testimonials

  • Lists of clients
  • Case Studies
  • Trade association membership logos
  • Guarantees and warranties
  • Any relevant policies such as terms and conditions, customer charters etc.
  • Address and telephone number of your business

Mobiles and Browsers
People are increasingly using smartphones and tablets to look at websites so you need to see how important this is for your business. Google Analytics can show you how many new visitors are using mobile devices to gauge how important it is currently. If it is above 10% of your traffic then it's important. Check to see how your website views on smartphones and tablets and what the customer experience is. If it's not good then consider having a mobile version designed or a new “responsive design” website (this automatically sizes your website to fit the devices screen). For many businesses such as restaurants, hotels and estate agents mobile traffic is becoming their biggest source of website visitors.

Does your website work across all the major browsers i.e. Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox? Many websites are not cross browser compatible and lose sales because their website doesn't work properly in a specific browser.

Hire a professional
“If you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur.” Red Adair

Unless you can really do this yourself, please don't try this stuff at home, hire a professional. We receive many calls from frustrated companies that have had websites badly designed, normally to save money. Your website is your company's most important marketing tool, so treat it as an investment, not a cost.



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