Let’s face it, there are two main reasons people set up a website
a) Be heard
b) Make money
I think I can safely say that the majority of those in column a. would not turn down the opportunity to also be in column b!
The problem is that if you do not have one of the websites that is a runaway success (and we all salivate at the possibility) there can be a certain level of trial and error and a steep learning curve to understand and ensure that your website has all the essential elements to create an income in line with your goals.
We have collated the 7 essentials for creating income from your website. These essentials assume that the product or service that you are selling is quality. So, once you have established that, use this list to help you identify if your website has the right foundation for creating the income you dream of.
1. Grow your database of potential customers
I go on about this all the time, but I still see business owners missing out on this most essential of essentials! Your database is your pool of future customers, some of them may also be previous customers but it is the fact that they are your potential future customers which makes them so valuable.
A good database can be the difference between a trickle and an immediate flood of sales when you launch a new product or a special offer. If you can’t see the reason to grow that as quickly as possible, it is possible that you should not be in business 🙂
Many business owners I meet have a database of contacts that sits on an excel spread sheet, in a contact database or on bits of paper that grow as they get business enquiries. But they are not using their website to grow this list substantially over time.
Use your website to grow your database quickly. The more qualified people you can encourage to subscribe the better.
2. Offer people a great reason to subscribe.
It’s important to offer a big carrot that will turn your visitors and consumers into subscribers. Subscribers are the people who have given you permission to email them with your updates, blog or newsletters.
So what can you offer that will get them to subscribe? Think things of value such as a free e-book with useful information, a competition entry with great prizes or a digital gift such as an audio series or webinar.
I have seen some great e-books and audio products that have been produced in just a couple of days. There are some fabulous resources for distribution that are available at no cost on the web and so you really have no excuse not to give people a lovely big reason to subscribe to your website.
If you get stuck on ideas contact me for a 1 hour workshop on producing digital products.
3. Encourage the right people to visit you.
One thing that is crucial to success with your internet business is to get the right people coming to your site. Although quantity is important, it is the quality of your visitors that will impact your profitability.
Think of your website as the home of a new community you are creating to benefit your potential customers. This home should be inviting, interesting, of value and easy to find. It should be clear what your website is all about so that people know they have come to the right place, and it should give them a good reason to come back.
Spend your energy making your website valuable and easily found as an essential element for income creation.
4. Make it easy for people to give you their money!
Make it easy for people to buy from you. Once they decide to buy there should be as few steps as possible from making the decision to buy to completion of purchase. Also, use a merchant application or merchant facility that looks professional and is well recognised.
People make more and more purchases online, but there is still a hesitation to give our details when something is amiss. And your website customers don’t have the same rapport with you as they would if you were standing in front of them taking their card.
A good example of this is Webjet. Webjet actually provide a fabulously useful service that allows you to compare many airlines for flights to, from and around Australia so that you can get the best options available.
I first found them 4 or 5 years ago and was an instant fan! That was until I went to make a purchase. The purchase process was complicated. I tried myself, went through their support service and finally gave up and bought my tickets from the airline directly.
On 3 occasions I attempted to purchase tickets, each time giving up and buying my tickets elsewhere. I started to feel guilty as I would check out the flights on their website and then go elsewhere to buy them, but the difficulty in purchasing was too much for me to persevere with their process. I sent them some suggestions and after a couple of months gave up.
Recently I tried again and found the process to be as good as any other booking system and so I am over the moon to use them both for search and for purchase. But how much business did they lose in the mean time? How many less patient customers would they have lost completely due to frustration? Has bad word of mouth impacted their business?
Now don’t get me wrong, in the creation of your website business you will screw things up sometimes, and things can always be improved… BUT! Your payment process is something you want to be testing and improving all of the time because more often than not you will never hear the complaint if someone gets frustrated with your system and quits before giving you their money.
5. Deliver consistent, quality content
The content on your website is your voice, it is your personality. Consider your website for a moment: is your content rich and vibrant and regularly updated, or is it stale and anaemic?
Choose your content like you would choose your staff in a physical shop. You want your content to be well informed, helpful and always building towards having your visitors take an action or purchase something. You want your content to build rapport and represent you and your ideas.
If you know that you need to work on your content check out our Content Marketing eCourse a comprehensive step by step guide to how to produce and market content that gets results.
6. Make sure your sales information is as good as your product or service.
It doesn’t matter how great your product is if the benefits aren’t obvious to your customers. Here are some tips for selling your products or services.
- Sales copy is one thing worth investing in if you’re not getting the sales you are aiming for. Good sales copy generally comes at a premium so make sure you choose someone with a solid track record.
- Analyse some of the sales literature that you come across online or in your inbox. What is compelling or not compelling? What language do they use? How prominent are their headlines? In particular, analyse the sales copy of people regarded for their skills in the area such as Brett McFall. You want to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t work in sales writing.
- Tweak it, test it, split test it. Test your headlines and sales copy and make changes from time to time to see if this improves your conversion. This is harder when you don’t have a lot of traffic to measure, but small changes can sometimes make a big difference to your sales numbers.
- Include testimonials, customer quotes and guarantees to your offer. People want to know that other people have used your product and the results they got. The more credible this is, the more beneficial it will be. A good guarantee will help consumers feel more confident when buying your products or services.
Read more tips in this Copyblogger article 101 Ways to Make More Sales Online
7. Communicate value and be of service to your consumers, frequently
Keep the people on your database informed and delighted to hear from you. Communicate with them regularly with a blog or newsletter that will entertain or inform them. Make sure it is designed for them rather than being all about you. The same principle applies to social media applications like Twitter and Facebook.
Decide on your send frequency and stick to it, whether it is daily, weekly or monthly – consistency and quality is what will help you build a strong readership of loyal consumers. Then, when you do have something to promote your database will read it with the same respect that they read the content and valuable information you send them on a regular basis.
Well, there you have it, the seven essentials for creating an income from your website. These essential business foundations apply to the majority of internet businesses. Missing out in these areas is a missed opportunity to grow in size and profits, so spend a few moments analysing if you are set up to maximise your opportunities to create an income from your website.
Serena “Social” Star