Many small business owners are dismayed by the inability of their websites to make them money. Yet having a web site does not necessarily ensure its performance as a marketing tool. If your website does not consistently generate new leads and prospects you might well be dissatisfied with your investment in it. Does this sound familiar? If so, you may be guilty of one of several common mistakes made by small business owners who use the web to do business.
Below I am going to talk about five typical mistakes that can impede the marketing performance of your small business website.
Failing to Measure Traffic
When I talk with someone who is puzzled at why their website isn’t able to generate income, I am shocked to find they have no idea how many people visit their site each time (month, week, day, hour, etc.)
Yet measuring the web traffic to and through your web site is vital for understanding the marketing capability of your web design as well as the performance of your advertising efforts.
Knowing the marketing capability of your website design; If your website gets a good amount of traffic, say around 1200 visitors a day, but brings you just one or two sales a month, it’s a pretty good indication there is a flaw in your web design. (More about this later)
But if you are not checking the traffic to your site, you do not provide yourself an occasion to identify this problem and correct it.
Your web design should be such that it enables your visitors to easily take the action you want, buy something or provide you their valuable contact details.
Knowing the performance of your advertising efforts: On the other hand, let’s imagine that your website generates a small number of sales and you don’t know for example that only fifty people are visiting it each month.
Ignoring traffic statistics would not let you realize that you have a fantastic website and that you only need to market it better to come up with a substantial rise in revenue.
Therefore if you are not measuring your web site’s traffic you are missing out on marvelous opportunities to boost your ability to generate sales and be more successful.
One easy and the cost-free way I found to see how many people visit my website was to install Google Search Console for my website.
It is a free Google tool that helps improve your performance on Google Search. “The tools and reports help you measure your site’s Search traffic and performance, fix issues and make your site shine in Google Search results.” – Google Search Console.
You normally have data for 7 days. See screenshot below:
In the same way, you can have it for other periods as well:
By seeing how you acquire users, you can improve your advertising on various channels.
You can see how your users trend over time and also how well you retain them.
By learning when your users visit your site, where they come from and the top devices they use, you can also realign things.
And lastly, understanding which of your pages your users visit enables you to know which ones to optimize for maximum effect.
You can also consult with companies that provide web metrics. A simple search on Google will bring up a lot of them.
Before contacting them for their services and costs check reviews and ratings about them.
Poor marketing message
One other reason your small business website fails to make you money is that it does not do a great work of delivering a compelling marketing message.
Without an excellent marketing message, your visitors do not realize that you do have what they want or need. This makes them click themselves out of your website and straight to your competitors’.
A marketing message is not targeted to clients: One way to have a less than excellent marketing message is not to make it speak directly to the prospects who become your clients.
Your marketing message should identify exactly whom you help.
If you help more than one demographic you can easily cater your marketing message to each by changing just a word or two.
If we take the first sub-heading above, an owner who has a faulty website design will not be seeking the same solution as the one whose problem is how to better focus their website’s advertising.
So, a message like “We help improve your traffic by redesigning your website” is not targeting the population in the second subset. Another one like “We help improve your traffic by rebranding your website” will resonate with the second and both will now help reel in the two customers.
It is therefore in your interest to ensure that your marketing message indicates whom you are providing a solution. Thus you will undoubtedly remark an improvement in your sales success.
Marketing message does not show customers’ needs: An additional indicator that your marketing message is not hitting a homer is that it does not plainly show that you offer what your customers are looking for.
(We will treat just an aspect here and give a little more detail below).
If you sell women’s clothes and your marketing message goes “Glamour can be yours” then you are missing the boat as this marketing message fails to indicate exactly what you sell. From all indications, it could be handbags or even earrings or any other item that makes women fashionable.
So rewrite a dysfunctional marketing message to make sure it now clearly identifies your target public as well as the results they want.
Once you have a great marketing message you can use it on your web site and your other marketing material too and see your sales soar.
Inability to See Big Picture
Another typical shortcoming of small business websites is that the owners ignore a fundamental marketing concept which says that most consumers decide to buy something only after having 6 – 8 contacts with some form of marketing for that product or service.
Failing not only to understand but also to act upon this marketing fact will hinder your capacity to grow your business.
The purpose of marketing is to:
- build brand awareness
- engage with your target audience
- drive traffic, leads, and sales, and
- prove your industry expertise.
All these together firmly establish your business in the marketplace so that when they are ready to act to satisfy a need or desire consumers’ reflex is to come to you.
So by routinely putting your marketing message in front of your consumers, you can help them associate what you offer with what they need. But don’t overdo this (through hype or blitz campaigns) as this risks putting them off.
You can as well bring in more customers by demonstrating your competence to clients in your marketing material.
How do you do this?
Some of the ways are:
- By continually retweeting your marketing message
- Through undertaking PPC campaigns
- When you use an email autoresponder to regularly mail your list
- Through regular offline and online advertising in the various media (magazines, direct mail, radio, TV, billboards, newspapers, internet, etc.)
I have briefly talked about an aspect of this above. Here, we will go into a little more detail.
Do visitors to your web site take the actions you intend them to do? If not, it may well be the design of your website that is blocking them from heeding your call to action.
The design of each of your web pages is of paramount importance in triggering the behaviors of your visitors.
Now, what is a good design?
A good design is achieved by the clever integration of graphical and textual layout, color, shape and choice and flow of content.
One, if your site does not have the type of content your visitors seek people will bounce out each time they visit your page.
Two, if your web pages don’t put what you want your visitors to see immediately in front of them (typically within the top fold of your page) you will be missing opportunities to sell.
Three, if your use of fonts and colors makes your pages difficult to read you will more than likely lose your visitors to another website they can understand more easily.
Now, how can you know if your web pages are plagued with poor design?
You just have to ask yourself these three questions:
- Does my text stand out of my background color?
- Does the design of my site direct my visitor’s attention exactly where I want it?
- And does my content offer my users what they want?
If you answered ‘No’ to any of the questions above you must immediately get down to work to correct what is wrong and thus improve your ability to get your users to take whatever steps you what them to take.
Failure to Focus on Customer Needs
People visit your website with the intention to read through the content. This way they get an idea of how your product or service can be helpful to them.
However, if your copy doesn’t focus on your needs and desires they will not hesitate to hop off to another site faster than an enraged bridegroom can stamp dog shit off his shiny new shoe.
If your visitors are swiftly leaving your web site as if it was the pest itself, then you don’t need an expert to tell you those are lost occasions to get their customers and generate sales.
To solve this problem, what typical errors must you stay clear of?
We give you four below:
Stop focusing on the process or method you use to do your job
- Don’t fix all your attention to your present customers
- Don’t concentrate on your experience
- And don’t throw the spotlight on the quality of your product
By making any one of the above blunders you switch off focus from the reasons that are most likely going to help your clients decide to purchase from you.
Although you may be extremely proud of your successes (exemplified by the four things above), and you should be, but pinpointing them does not in any way satisfy your customers’ needs and will, therefore, contribute very little to help your small business website sell more effectively.
Good luck with your efforts to generate sales online!