A successful website is one that encourages interaction with the visitor and becomes the first choice for the customer when shopping online. In order to do this, a website needs to be memorable and create a "stickiness" that makes visitors want to come back again and again. An online business is more than selling products or services; it's an opportunity to engage customers in a positive experience.
Most people who shop online are looking for information as well as products. A website that is filled with information is more likely to make a sale than a website that simply lists a product. For instance, if your company sells nutritional products, visitors might be interested in reading about the latest information on using homeopathic medicines to treat the common cold or flu. They might also want to read articles on how to prepare more healthy meals. Articles Database So, a first step in creating stickiness might be to set up an area on your website for articles of interest to your target audience. If you don't feel up to writing the articles, go to an article directory like ezinearticles.
com and use the articles written by other authors. The use of the articles is free as long as you keep the author's box intact. (Please don't plagiarize and put your name in the author's box.) Keep adding to your articles database as often as possible.
You want people to come to your website to find the latest information rather than searching all over the Internet. Frequently Asked Questions Another successful technique is to have an area of your website set up with frequently asked questions. Help people to build up their knowledge about your products or service. For instance, a bail bonds site might include information about how the bail bonds process works: what to expect, how much it costs, how to choose a bail bonds agent. As visitors' questions are answered, they become more comfortable with your business and a relationship is starting to develop. Because you are answering their questions, they are starting to rely on your business as the knowledge expert.
This in turn, builds their confidence in wanting to do business with you. But sometimes people can't find the answers they need in the FAQ section of a website. They have a complicated question or a unique situation that might require a personalized answer.
Then you need to consider having someone available to answer questions either through e-mail or phone. Customer Service Support How many times have you visited a website and wished you could pick up the phone to talk to someone from that company? Too often, online businesses like to stay invisible and don't offer immediate customer support through the phone. That's a big mistake. When someone is shopping on the Internet they want immediate solutions. If they had the time to spend, they'd be casually walking through a store, fingering items along the way.
Instead, they are online, pressed for time and wanting to get the answers they need right now. If they can't get them at your site, they'll move on to a site that will answer their questions. Make sure you have a plan in place to handle immediate customer service questions. Even e-mail can be too slow when customers need answers. One idea is to use a service like LivePerson.com.
This software platform is the ideal solution for even small and midsize businesses who want to create a more positive online experience for its customers. The Live Chat feature of LivePerson.com allows visitors to immediately begin a dialog with an online customer service representative and get the help them need with their buying decisions. Customer service representatives can help visitors navigate the site, complete applications, explain product options, and answer support related questions while customers are still on your site.
LivePerson.com works well for a retail site, but it can also be used for a service provider site. Ari Galper's UnlockTheGame.com is a great example of a service provider who is cleverly using this software to increase his sales. Building Relationships Think of an online business as another opportunity to build a relationship with your customers and not just a way to make quick sales.
A website that features information and customer service is always going to outsell and outperform the competition. Start today to make the changes you need to have a more engaging website.
Michelle Howe, MBA, is an expert in online copywriting and author of the popular book, Turn Browsers into Buyers. Visit her website at http://www.InternetWordMagic.com for the FREE report, "Five Steps to Article Success."