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Sunday, February 10, 2008

7 Power Tips to JumpStart a Stalled Web Site

By Cathy Goodwin

You put up a website to attract clients for your professional service business. Maybe you even put up a sales letter - a solo web page designed to promote an information product, tangible product, or seminar.

And so far... nothing! No takers. No sign-ups for your ezine. What's going on?

(1) Get solid evidence that people want your product -- and will buy it online.

Even on eBay and craigslist, some products go unsold. Some markets don't buy online, download ebooks or listen to mp3 files: they shop in brick and mortar stores, buy books at Borders and listen to CDs.

(2) Make sure you have targeted traffic coming to your site.

If you have no traffic... well, there's your answer. But not all traffic is equally valuable. Your keywords, positioning or referral site may be attracting visitors who are outside your target market.

(3) Encourage each visitor to begin building a relationship with you.

Often visitors won't buy on a first visit. So you need to invite them to sign up for an ezine, an ecourse, or even a downloadable manual. Some people read my ezine for over a year before they buy from me.

(4) Showcase unique, meaningful benefits for your target market.

Many professionals focus on how they deliver the service instead of how clients feel about their new lives. And you need to tell readers why you're unique - why nobody else can make the same offer.

(5) Make it easy for your visitors to say yes.

Believe it or not, when visiting other people's sites, I often have to hunt around for an order form when I'm eager, even desperate, to get my hands on a product. Ask visitors to buy... and consider adding some bright red arrows to point them in the right direction.

(6) Create a sense of urgency.

Ideally, your product or service reaches readers by connecting to their pain and their toughest challenges. But you also need to suggest reasons for buying today - not next week, not later.

(7) Test... and test some more.

For example: test 2 or 3 versions of your headline. Sometimes a news-oriented headline actually works better than a sales-oriented headline or vice versa.

Test backgrounds. I once tripled sign-ups to my ezine by changing the background color.

Test the small stuff. Once I compared two google adwords ads. I changed the spelling of one word in the headline - from midlife to mid-life. The hyphenated version attracted 40% more clickthroughs. Go figure.

Bottom Line: Even when experts create your marketing message, you need to keep evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing materials, especially your website. The Internet gurus share one passion: testing and revising. They're constantly enhancing their sites and their messages. And the rest of us need to do the same.

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You have a beautiful site... but is it bringing you all the clients you need? Discover the 7 secrets of websites that really help you grow your business. From Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. Website Marketing Strategies