positioning

Communicating your unique message

When we talk about improving website conversion and sales we often get tied up in the numbers involved. “I have so many visitors and I only get this many sales” etc. It’s easy to focus in on these numbers and lose sight of the big picture.

At the end of the day increasing your sales is all about improving your communication. If you’re talking to a prospective client face-to-face then you have a certain amount of time to communicate why they should buy your product or service. It’s exactly the same when it comes to your website… only about 100 times more difficult.

When someone visits your website they don’t have to be polite and listen to you ramble on. They can click the back button any time they want and go visit someone else’s website. That’s why your website should be the ultimate at communicating your message.

It’s like having your best salesperson record exactly what they say to prospective clients so it can be repeated over and over again. In person or on the phone it’s called your sales script. Online it’s called your website.

It’s also important that your message is unique to your business. If you’re simply saying the same thing that all your competitors are saying then you’re going to struggle online. When your competitors are just one click away from you it’s important to get your message right so the visitor wants to find out more.

So if your unique message has anything to do with the “best products” or “best service” you may be in trouble. Because all your competitors are likely to be saying the same thing. I haven’t met a business yet who honestly tells their potential clients they have the “second best products and service in town.”

Personally I find this time of year to be perfect for asking yourself the hard questions about your business. It’s often the time we think about what we’d like to achieve in the coming year and set goals for ourselves. So as you set your sales goals for this year ask yourself what portion you’d like to come from your website.

It’s also a great time to take a look at the message your business is communicating. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again because I still haven’t heard a more elegant question than Dan Kennedy’s…

“Why should I do business with you – over all other alternatives – including doing nothing at all?”

The answer to that one question is what your website should be saying to every visitor you have. Whilst it’s not always the easiest question to answer it’s worth taking the time to think about it. Because once you have this answer it becomes a lot easier to increase your website sales.

Increase Website Sales By Building Better Relationships

Increasing your website sales is all a matter of building better relationships online. Selling over the internet is one of the hardest ways to sell anything… simply because we don’t have that personal touch with the potential client. This is why we need to do our best to replicate an offline relationship when we’re operating online.

Sales is all about the relationship. When we think about it we generally buy from people we like and trust. How many times have you decided not to buy something you actually wanted just because of the way the salesperson presented themselves?

Now building a relationship face-to-face is a lot easier than doing it online but this doesn’t mean we can’t do it. You can also do ok selling online from a faceless website that builds no relationship. However if you want to amplify your results and make more sales then you’ll want to build better relationships.

The important thing to remember is that website visitors are not just some number you see in your analytics package… they’re people who want what you’re offering.

Becoming “unprofessional”

Most website owners seem to be scared about appearing “unprofessional” to their visitors… whatever that means. They like to pretend they’re some big faceless corporation that does millions of dollars of sales online. However the truth is most buyers prefer to deal with a real person as they know they’ll be looked after.

Think about some of the service providers you visit on a regular basis. You’re probably not shopping around for a new hairdresser every time you need a haircut as you’ve built a relationship with one in particular. This is probably the same for your car mechanic, dentist, doctor and even your favorite restaurants, bars and cafes.

We like familiarity and this is what our relationships provide us with. We know what to expect before we arrive. And the irony is that you probably have businesses that you visit that don’t even give you great results but you still visit them anyway because of the relationship you’ve formed.

But I digress… here are some ways to help build personal relationships with your website visitors:

Unleash your personality – Your personality is your strongest point of difference in your arsenal. It’s something your competitors can never replicate (although they may try) and can help you stand out. So never be afraid of using your personality when it comes to communicating through your website.

Be a real person – We’re surrounded by marketing that is based on a world of make believe. Now while everyone likes to live the fantasy it’s always nice to come back to earth and deal with a real person at the end of the day. Present yourself as a real person with warts and all to deepen your relationships even further.

Be unique – As you present your personality to the visitors remember to pick out what makes you unique to make yourself really stand out. It’s most effective if your uniqueness also resonates with your visitors but not necessarily. You’ll be amazed at some of the random things I put into my content and the responses I receive.

Be genuine and authentic – I want to be clear that we’re not inventing a personality to fit your market as eventually you’ll be found out. You want to take natural parts of your life and share them with your visitors. You should always come from a place of authenticity as our aim is to build trust… not destroy it.

I should also mention that you’re going to find some people on the planet who don’t like your personality and uniqueness… that’s just a part of life. The good news is for all the haters you attract you should be attracting equal (and hopefully greater) amounts of people who love what you’re doing. So don’t mind the haters and keep on fighting the good fight.

What you do next

Look at how you’re communicating with your visitors at the moment and decide right now how you can make it more interesting. The next step is to simply jump in and see what kind of results you receive. Just note that some people won’t like the transition while others will love it… as I said above this is just a fact of life so keep going and the results will follow.

And if you’d like to learn more ways to achieve better relationships with your website visitors use my Automated Selling Machine course.

7 tips to improve website conversion today

Unfortunately most business owners don’t look at how to improve website conversion. They are sucked into the vicious cycle of getting more website traffic and forget all about the visitors they already attract. This post is designed to give you 7 quick ways to improve the way your website converts visitors into clients.

Tip #1 – Get their attention with a headline

I’m not sure why most websites don’t use effective headlines. We’re surrounded by them all day in newspapers and on magazine covers yet few business owners apply the same principles to their websites. By simply adding a good headline you can increase the rate at which visitors stay on your website.

Various studies show you have about 3 – 7 seconds to grab your visitors attention and that’s where your headline comes in. It needs to both catch their eye and explain in one short statement why they should stay on your website. That’s their one job… to explain the biggest benefit of reading what you have to say.

Tip #2 – Explain the benefits

Most business websites don’t explain why the visitor should do business with them over their competitors. They vaguely promise the best service, quality and prices (like everyone does) but give no reasons why their business is unique. If you want to have a successful website you need to have a unique reason for visitors doing business with you.

I like to ask the classic Dan Kennedy question “Why should I – a potential prospect – do business with you over all other alternatives including doing nothing at all?” If you’re reading this I’ll put money on the fact you don’t have a really good answer to this question (feel free to challenge me in the comments). But once you get your answer clear and succinct your website’s conversion will go up dramatically.

Tip #3 – Back up everything with proof

Going back to our example above about the best service… how do you prove you have the best service? Maybe you really do but because everyone else claims the same thing your voice is lost in the crowd. So how can you show that you have hands down the best service in town?

You might have really amazing testimonials presented in an interesting way. You might have an incredible guarantee (which we’ll talk more about in a second). You might have stories about how you bent over backwards to exceed your clients expectations.

The important thing is that you must back up all your claims with proof or no one will believe you.

Tip #4 – Create an irresistible offer

I’m constantly amazed how many businesses fail to make offers and they lose a lot of sales because of it. You need to clearly state what you’re going to give the prospect in return for their hard earned money (or even their contact details). You must show them they’re going to get an incredible amount of value for money.

Now this doesn’t mean you lose money on the deal but you do need to increase the perceived value of your offer. Maybe you can add in items that cost you very little but have a high perceived value. Get started by at least offering something and improve it as you go.

Tip #5 – Take away the risk

When people buy from you (especially online) they fear getting ripped off. Maybe your offer won’t live up to it’s promises or your product will break in a few weeks. To sell effectively and improve website conversion you have to remove as much of this risk as possible.

This starts with an amazing guarantee that ensures your clients are always amazed. But there are also many other risk reversal techniques to use such as free trials or buy now and pay later approaches. You probably already have a guarantee that’s required by law hiding away somewhere and all you have to do is jazz it up a little and put it on display.

Tip #6 – Have a call to action

Nearly all of us are serial procrastinators whether we like to admit it or not. We hold back from taking action because we’re afraid of making a mistake or a bad decision. This is no different when someone is looking to buy your products and services.

Therefore you can increase your website conversion rate by having a solid call to action that helps the prospect commit to the decision right now. It isn’t about having some strong arm sales tactic but rather helping your visitor over that hump to making a purchase. Your prospects are much more likely to buy if they realize they might miss out on something if they don’t act now.

Tip #7 – Have a personality

I find many (if not all) business websites are incredibly boring and business like. They look the same, sound the same… and put their visitors to sleep the same. Sometimes all it takes to have  a successful website is to take what other people are selling and add some personality.

Now it doesn’t have to be some big dramatic performance where you where an eye patch and talk like a pirate. But you should at least appear as a real person and not get hung up pretending to be a big company. At the end of the day people buy from people – not companies – so use this to your advantage.

What you do next to improve website conversion

Well there you have 7 tips that should increase website conversion very effectively and they don’t take much time to implement. However reading about them won’t do much for your sales… you have to take action. So go and pick one tip above and start by implementing it… then once you see your website sales rise I’m sure you’ll want to come back and use the other tips as well.

Want more money from your website?

As email subscribers know I’ve recently made the decision to change the focus of my website from general marketing to website marketing for businesses. This is why I started my business and the help that almost all my clients want so it just makes sense. Plus I have a lot more expertise in this particular area.

What does website marketing mean?

When I talk about website marketing I don’t just mean getting more traffic or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) either. Personally I prefer to focus on improving website conversion before spending a lot of time sending traffic to it. That way the results will be a lot better when the traffic does get added.

Unfortunately most business owners think that traffic is king when it comes to the internet. But it’s not their fault… there are experts at every corner promising you more website visitors and riches beyond your wildest dreams. They just fail to mention that if your website doesn’t sell anything then all the traffic in the world won’t save you.

The real responsibility of your website

I believe website marketing means creating a relationship with visitors when they arrive at your website. Part of this is the way you present your content and your business. But a big part is collecting email addresses so you can start to build on that initial relationship.

You can expect to sell about 1-2% of people the first time they visit your website. But if you bother to take the time to form a relationship with them then that figure will be a lot higher. It’s similar to the band who has a one-hit wonder versus the band who turns out great albums year after year.

Avoiding the social media buzz

With social media buzzwords flying around constantly now it’s important to remember what it’s all about. Sure we have some great new tools for communicating with people around the world… and some useless ones as well. But in the end it’s all about building a relationship.

It doesn’t matter whether this relationship is built over email, or Twitter, or Facebook, or YouTube… or even through newspapers, physical mail, fax or phone. It’s still about the relationship and how you provide value through that relationship. In my opinion you should be using a wide variety of these media to connect with your prospects and clients.

Remember what your objective really is

There is no best answer… there is no almighty social media property that you should base your business around. That would be like having a store but deciding a phone was too much inconvenience. Smart business owners realize a phone is a great tool to supplement their business and it’s the same with social media.

So my message for you is to focus on the relationship you’re building with your website visitors no matter what media you’re using. By creating a valuable relationship your sales will rise almost without effort. Because people buy from those they know and trust.

What you do next

Take a look at your website and decide whether you’re building a relationship or just simply stating what you do. Are you offering valuable information? Are you collecting contact details to send this information with?

Building a relationship isn’t hard… just imagine what you’d do if the person was right in front of you and go from your gut. You’ll be amazed at the results.

Choosing a business model that actually makes money

Choosing a business model is hard… and a lot more important than most business owners believe. It’s also a major reason why most businesses don’t make much money – or if they do – still have poor cash flow. A lot of this can be avoided before the business is even officially launched.

Retail is an excellent example of this. There are some magic formulas floating around that say you should be charging so much above cost of goods sold blah blah blah. However this usually ignores the fact that you need to sell a lot of stuff to make the formula work.

Anyway… if you want to read my rant on why low prices suck… there you go.

My fancy definition of a business model

Hold on to your seat… here it is:

“How will your business make you lots and lots of money?”

Because that’s really why you’re in business… isn’t it? Sure you might have dreams of changing the world (I sure do) but that’s a lot easier to do when you have money. So your first aim and responsibility is to make a lot of money.

The importance of value

Manufacturers and retailers get too hung up on how much it costs to create a product. And service businesses get too hung up on an hourly rate. Instead you need to look at how much value you can provide.

If I created a DVD that taught you how to make $10,000 in the next 3 months would it be worth $29.95 like your average movie DVD or a whole lot more? Personally I’d pay at least a $1,000 for the information if it worked.

And if I looked at your website and saw I could tell you a few quick changes to increase your sales by $500 a day would that be worth only the 10 minutes I spend explaining them to you? Or would you be willing to pay a lot more since I’m unlikely to contract myself out for 10 minutes.

So the simple formula is: Provide more value and make more money.

Back to your business model

The way you sell your products and services has a large effect on how much money you make. Basically you want to use a business model that gives you a lot of leverage over your time. Because it’s a lot harder to leverage your time than anything else.

How you package your products is critical

I know a company that sells a magazine for about $5. This is because it’s a magazine and that’s how much most magazines cost. However this magazine is a learning resource filled with valuable information that people would pay a lot more for.

But because the company is stuck in the magazine mindset they’ve also made there price so low it’s almost impossible to make money. Why? Because most magazines survive by selling lots of advertising (which they barely have any) and selling lots of copies (which they’re still working on). So they have huge production costs, a low price… and the break even point is so far in the future it’s ridiculous.

Make more money overnight

To make more money from your business sometimes all it takes is a change in business model. By changing the way you package your products and services you can make a huge difference to your bottom line. That’s one of the first questions I ask when meeting with a new client… how can we package this more effectively?

Because I know with the right model success becomes a whole lot easier. Instead of fighting against the current suddenly you’re swimming with it. And you finally have the cash flow you need to expand.

What you do next

Examine your business model and see if you can’t structure it differently. See how other companies from other industries are selling their products and services and see what ideas you can borrow. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel… just borrow a wheel from a completely different business and put it on yours.

Unique marketing ideas don’t work…

Last night I was up until 2:41am and I realised something… unique marketing ideas don’t work. Well not as well as we’d like them to work anyway. This was brought on by rereading Seth Godin’s classic Purple Cow.

Seth was talking about how marketing is not an afterthought… but an integral part of product design. Now I’d heard that before but sometimes all it takes is a little change in perspective to see the big picture. The big picture being that while most marketing sucks… so do most products.

The ideal solution

I teach in my 12 Hour Sales Booster course that the ideal way to start a business is first find your market and then create a product from what that market wants. This is always difficult for most business owners as they’re generally already in business. So instead I focus on how they need to market their products and services.

However I forget to point out that marketing should also be created before the product. Yes – you heard me right – you should have your marketing thought out long before even creating the product. This is something I do in practice but didn’t actually realise I was doing.

How the Marketing Outlaw was created

An example is this website you are on right now. I first came up with the Marketing Outlaw name and what it stood for… then I created the website and Guide to Great Marketing to see if it resonated with people. Only when I knew I was on to something worthwhile did I actually create my first product.

This meant I already knew about my target market and what they wanted. So creating a product became second nature. It also allowed me to create a product that has very high conversion rates.

What do I mean by building marketing into the product

This is where we come back to being unique. Unique marketing is actually about having a unique product. It’s no good creating a boring product and trying to slap some unique marketing ideas on top of it.

We see this all the time – particularly in TV commercials – where the ad is creative and entertaining to cover the fact that the product is not. Unfortunately for these creative marketers the ads don’t result in more sales. However – on the bright side – no one is measuring the results anyway…

Finding the “Otaku”

Otaku is a Japanese word that describes “something that’s more than a hobby but a little less than an obsession” (Purple Cow). This is why I stayed up until 2:41am last night reading… because marketing is my otaku. The reason you’re listening to me is because I’ve dedicated myself to studying marketing and making money for businesses.

Now otaku is important to your business for two huge reasons:

  1. The only way to become the best in the world at your chosen profession is to be obsessed with it
  2. And if you don’t have clients that are also obsessed with it… your business will never be remarkable

Being remarkable

Simply put… you want to create something so unique and different that it’s worth talking about. You want to create raving fans that will rave about you to other people. That’s how your business will really start to take off.

Now this is easy to say but very hard to do. You really have to have something special going on so people will talk about it. Not that I’m saying you shouldn’t try but it involves that dirty word – failure – and I believe there is a learning curve that is hard to avoid.

The learning curve of marketing

If you want to have a successful business you must first learn how direct response marketing works. That’s what we talk about here… how to spend $1 and get $1 back plus a new client. This is the fundamental skill in creating any business.

Then as your business grows you’ll learn more about your markets wants and desires. This gives you a higher probability of creating something remarkable for them. It’s still not easy and there will be failures but by this point failure won’t be the evil word it once was.

My last product failure was a few weeks ago

While I was at the World Internet Summit I noticed that all the “gurus” were selling thousand dollar coaching programs but no one was really focusing on the low price market. This makes sense as seminars like this is where it’s easiest to sell the high-priced products and why should they shoot low. But I thought I’d take a stab at it.

So I spent at hour creating a sales letter for a $900 product that focused on them getting their first sale online. Enough people took the sales letter but I only received one sign-up on the website. Big deal… so I don’t run the course now (and I’m actually a little relieved as it was probably more effort than it was worth).

The difference between success and failure

There is a thin line between success and failure. The only way you hit a home run is to swing for the fences – sure you’re going to strike out – but in business you only need one home run to make it all worthwhile. Going with my metaphor the most strikeouts in baseball history usually match names who are known for the most home runs as well.

I may have failed with that product but the 12 Hour Sales Booster currently has a 100% conversion rate from the 2 week trial to the full course. Now I’m sure that’ll go down but it’s sure off to a good start. And if people didn’t like the product I’d simply create something else.

What you do next

Find what both you and other similar people are passionate about… this is your market. Ensure your business is unique from the start and then add unique marketing ideas to the mix. It’s a winning combination for success.

Your target market – Are you making these mistakes?

Deciding on your target market is probably the most important decision you will make for your business. The problem is most businesses make this decision last and it can be a major reason for their failure. Selecting the right target market will make all the difference in your business’ success.

The wrong way to find your target market

Most business owners create a product they think is wonderful and then worry about who will buy it. They try to force a product on the public rather than simply finding something the market wants. By focusing on what the market wants life becomes a whole lot easier.

However, since most people reading this are already in business let’s see what we can do about it after the fact.

Choosing a target market

If you already have a product or service on offer you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Who wants this product?
  2. How much do they want it? (Do they have a real burning desire?)
  3. Are they willing and able to buy it?

Want you obviously want are a market with a strong desire to purchase your product.

When a target market is not targeted

A big mistake business owners make is saying “My product is useful to everyone.” And so their target market includes everyone of any sex aged 18 to 108. The problem with targeting everyone is you end up selling to no-one.

Messages that appeal to an 18 year old are not going to appeal as strongly – if at all – to a 40 year old. Messages for women will usually be ignored by men and vice versa. So by trying to keep everyone happy you end up reaching no-one.

How to target your market

To effectively target your market you need to first decide who they are. Who is your target market? The tighter your definition the better results you’ll have.

Then you have to find them. Different markets read different magazines, watch different tv programs and hang out in different places. You need to get in touch with your market in a way they respond to.

Finally you need to align your message to appeal to them. A different message about face cream will appeal to 24 year old women than 28 year old women. And that small difference could be spell success or disaster for your business.

What you do next

Work out who your market is, how you’re going to reach them, and what your message is. Dan Kennedy – the legendary direct response marketer – calls this finding you market, media, and message. Your business raises its chances of success considerably by discovering how to effectively target your market.

Make money from your marketing

The job of marketing is to increase your sales… plain and simple. You are investing in marketing because it should bring more customers through the door. And this means every dollar you spend on marketing should give you a positive return.

It’s just like anything else you might invest in. If you buy an investment property you expect the value to go up. If you buy shares you expect the value to go up.

So why invest in marketing any differently? When you invest in marketing it should return value. You don’t pay money for an accountant, stationary, vehicles, or offices and then not use them.

Can you handle the truth about marketing?

The truth is most marketing sucks. Marketing experts don’t want you to know this but the fact is most marketing doesn’t make money. That’s why brand marketing was invented so they could create measurements that have nothing to do with sales.

Brand awareness or similar measures are a complete waste of time. So what if I know the name of your product? That doesn’t mean I’m ever going to buy it.

It seems to me marketers are more worried about how you feel about a product than how many sales they get. And of course there are always marketing awards to be won that have nothing to do with sales. If you’ve hired a marketing or advertising company that is great at winning awards you should probably run the other way.

How to make money with your marketing in one easy step!

If you want to know if your marketing is working all you have to do is measure it. For every marketing effort you make you ask the obvious question “Did this bring me more sales?” In most cases you’ll find the answer is no.

Once you have a piece of paper in front of you that says how much you spent and how many sales the marketing campaign brought in it changes the marketing game forever. Don’t be fooled by experts that try to tell you it’s unmeasurable either.

The fact is all marketing is measurable if it’s done right. But this means you have to add one critical element to your marketing… an offer.

More on this mysterious offer thingy

In order for anything to be sold someone makes an offer. Usually in the form of “I’ll give you $x for your product.” This is the basis for all transactions in one form or another.

So doesn’t it make sense to make an offer if you want to sell something? And doesn’t it make even more sense to make an offer in your marketing? Just be aware that all offers are not created equal.

Does your offer pack a punch?

The worst (and most used) type of offer sounds something like this: “We are <insert your business here>.” E.g.

  • We are plumbers
  • We are accountants
  • We are a Chinese restaurant

These offers give absolutely not reason for the consumer to choose you over another business.

A better offer is: “We will give you <insert results here>.” E.g.

  • We will fix your plumbing problems
  • We will lower your taxes
  • We have great tasting authentic Chinese food

But those are rather generic so let’s create a point of difference for why they should choose us and add a guarantee to show we actually mean it:

  • We’ll be hard at work fixing your plumbing one hour from your call… guaranteed
  • If we can’t find a way to lower your taxes our consultation is free
  • If our Chinese food isn’t the best you’ve had (outside of China!) we’ll tear up the bill

Now obviously you want an offer you can deliver on but the bolder the claim combined with your ability to guarantee it will have customers beating a path to your door. That is… providing you don’t make some other grievous marketing mistake. But that’s why you’re on this website… to learn how to avoid those mistakes.

What you do next

Decide you want marketing that makes money and decide how you can measure sales. Then come up with an offer to make your prospects and see the difference it makes to both response and your cash register. You’ll soon find out marketing that makes money is a lot more fun than the alternative.

Have a position

A lot of businesses I see don’t have a position. Or, they have a position, but they don’t communicate it clearly to prospects.

Your positioning is your competitive advantage. It’s the reason your prospects should choose you over all other alternatives. But if you don’t tell anyone what it is then you’re wasting your time.

It’s no good just saying you have great customer service… doesn’t every business say that? And how many actually do in the end? If you want to be known for great customer service then give examples and explain what you do is so special and why your customers keep coming back.

If you want to be known for high quality then explain why your goods and services are of a higher quality and why it’s important to your prospect.

So have a think about what your business stands for and whether you’re communicating it clearly. Then, extra for experts, get someone who knows nothing about your business to look over your communications and see if they can identify your positioning.