19 Experts Explain Why Your Website Isn’t Bringing in Customers

They told you to build a website, so you did. They told you’d you get customers if you had a website, but that hasn’t happened.

I’ve been involved in building and marketing thousands of websites since 1999, but I realize it’s easy to get in a bubble. So I turned to 19 friends — experts at web design, SEO, copywriting, marketing and usability — to get their explanations why some websites succeed while others fail.

Their advice creates a clear plan for anyone looking to launch a site or improve existing pages.

1. Solve problems.

“Most websites are written around how great you are and not what problem you solve,” says Chris BroganNew York Times best-selling author of nine marketing and business books. ” ‘You want better skills and strategies for business? We’re here to help.’ See? “That’s the challenge. Make your buyer the hero.”

2. Focus on results, not features.

So says Jacob Cass, who runs the popular design blog JUST Creative. “Instead, tell your potential customers the benefits that your product or service will do for them,” Cass says. “A classic example of this is a drill. Customers don’t want a drill, they want a hole in the wall. So focus on the quality of the holes and how easy it was to create those holes — not the actual drill itself.”

3. Focus on your customers, not yourself.

“Your website isn’t bringing in customers because it’s focused on you and not your customers,” says Ann Handley, author of the Wall Street Journal best-seller “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content” and Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs. “Instead of focusing on what you do or what you sell or why you’re awesome, instead focus on why your customers should care. How do you help them? How do you shoulder their burdens? Ease their pain? Make their lives better/richer/smarter? That is your story.”

4. Build your brand.

“People are more likely to buy from you if the quality of what you sell is matched or surpassed by the quality of your brand identity,” says David Airey, author of branding best-seller “Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities.” In other words, build a reputation around your company, products and services, that is bigger than any of those things. That reputation will pull you toward greatness.

5. Get to know your customers before they need you.

“People don’t randomly click on stuff and buy stuff,” says Larry Kim, founder of WordStream, the world’s largest pay-per-click software company. “They favor the brands they know and love. Repeat visitors (people who have heard of you) have two to three times higher click-through rates than new visitors (people who are just getting to know you),” Kim says. “So figure out ways to get in front of your target market before they decide they need to buy your products/services.” Doing so will dramatically bias outcomes in your favor.

6. Help people to know, like and trust you.

“Your homepage covers only the ‘know’ part,” says Lior Frenkel, whose e-book “Value For Money” explains why that’s not enough. And Frenkel knows plenty as New World Early Adopter at FRNKL. “Trying to sell your services/products too early won’t get you great results. You first need them to like and trust you. You can do that by having an awesome ‘About Me’ page, by having them follow you on social or through getting them to subscribe to your newsletter.”

7. Give them a reason to come back.

“Your website isn’t bringing in customers because you have given them no reason to come back,” says Kelsey Meyer, cofounder of Influence & Co. 

“If your company blog is updated just once per month and consists only of employee updates, why would a potential customer care about returning to your site?” Meyer asks. “You convert leads into customers by earning their trust and educating them on why they need your services. Focus on producing content on your site that educates and engages your prospective customers so they keep coming back to learn more.”

8. Attract the right crowd.

“If the wrong people are hitting your website, it’s all for nothing,” says Paul Jarvis, who writes about the intersection of creativity and commerce for Fast CompanyNewsweekForbes, LifeHacker and BuzzFeed. “For example, if you sell surfboards and your traffic is mostly llama herders, no amount of conversion tactics will pay off.”

9. Get conversion-friendly.

To help turn visitors into customers, Courtright Design Founder Kyle Courtright recommends optimizing your website’s design by asking yourself these questions:

  • Is there enough space to let the design breathe?
  • Is your navigation paired-down enough?
  • Are your call to actions strategic?
  • Do your call-to-action buttons contrast against the background?
  • Do you have (relevant) imagery to break up heavy content?
  • Are testimonials prominent?

Related: 3 Simple Ways to Increase Conversions on Your Website

10. Improve the user experience.

“One of the biggest challenges websites face today when trying to bring in and retain customers is the user experience on the site,” says Jacob Gube, who founded the all-about-web-development blog Six Revisions. He’s also cofounder of the Design Instruct online publication and author of “MooTools 1.2 Beginner’s Guide.” 

“The user-experience problem could be something as simple as having a slow website that discourages visitors from spending any time on your site, and improving it can have big results,” Gube says. “For example, Amazon increased its revenue by 1 percent after it reduced the website’s load time by 0.1 second. Amazon earned $43.7 billion in the last quarter of 2016. Imagine what a one-second increase in website load time could do for Amazon? More importantly, what could it do for you?”

Related: For Web Developers, Speed Is the New SEO

11. Provide real value, right now.

Maybe it’s not your website. Maybe it’s your product. “Companies spend far too much time trying to make their site ‘pop’ and stand out — and often forget that they still need to build a solid product or service offering in order to provide something of true value to the customer,” Pippin Williamson says. He founded Sandhills Development, the company behind products such as Easy Digital Downloads, AffiliateWP and Restrict Content Pro. “Forget the parallax banners and flashy, over-the-top ads and just build it,” he says. “Ship it before you forget it.”

12. Know your audience.

“Maybe you designed your website to satisfy your board of directors instead of your customers,” says Jeffrey Zeldman, founder of studio.zeldman and A List Apart. Don’t trust your board. Trust research, data and the trial-and-error approach. “Effective design begins with research. And continues with more research. And never finishes researching and iterating.”

13. Make it usable first, then beautiful.

Julie Joyce owns Link Fish Media and is a columnist for Search Engine Land. She says: “It’s fairly easy to get eyes on your website. It’s not easy to keep them there longer than a few seconds. The main issue I see with this is when design seems more important than usability. I’ve seen some beautiful sites that look unique and like a lot of time has been put into them, but I can’t even figure out how to find the restaurant’s menu or the contact us page.”

14. Connect the words.

Ian Paget, a brand-identity designer and founder of Logo Geek, gives common-sense advice that’s all-too-uncommonly followed. “As the human brain is visually led, words take longer to process,” Paget says. “To help the user flow through the website seamlessly, use a technique called ‘word-connect’ to avoid interrupting the flow. As an example, if a banner or call to action states, ‘View our buy-one, get-one-free offers,’ the user would expect to see a matching page titled ‘Buy-one, get-one-free offers’. If the page title instead reads, ‘Selected Discounts,’ the words do not connect and could potentially confuse the user.”

15. Get your message across — fast.

Unbounce cofounder Oli Gardner likely has seen more landing pages than anyone alive or dead. “When I search Google for stuff I need, I hold the Control + Command buttons down and click the top five links to open them in tabs,” Gardner says. “Then I go comparison-shopping. If your landing page/homepage doesn’t explain what you do immediately, you’re done. I close the tab and delete you from my world forever. This is happening millions of times every day. Fix the clarity of your value proposition immediately, or you lose.”

16. Track the right metrics.

Tom Ross is CEO at Design Cuts — a community of graphic designers — and cohosts the Honest Designers Podcast. He says: “People tend to focus on the wrong metrics, such as traffic, presuming this translates to customers.” The things you really need are a truly valuable product and the right quality of potential leads.

“Ignore the ego boost of 100,000 freebie seekers hitting your site, and focus instead on attracting solid, laser-targeted potential leads,” Ross says. “If you offer the leading gardening fork on the market, and 100 gardeners who have just broken their gardening fork land on your page, you’ll get customers.”

17. Appeal to customers who are informed, afflicted and oblivious.

“The informed know, like and trust you,” says Derek Halpern. He founded Social Triggers and created the Sales Page That Converts training program. “The afflicted are people who have a problem and need a solution. The oblivious’are people who don’t even realize that they’re suffering from a fixable problem. And the No. 1 reason why most websites fail to make as many sales as they thought they should make is because they only appeal to one of these people when they should appeal to all three.”

18. Just focus.

“The No. 1 reason I see websites fail to bring in customers is due to a lack of focus,” says Preston Lee, founder of Millo. “When potential customers land on your site, you want to push them toward your most important objective, which is usually selling them something. So stop inviting them to subscribe to your newsletter, follow you on Twitter or read your blog. Those can all be secondary goals, but they should be eclipsed by your primary goal: turning site visitors into paying customers.”

19. Get mobile.

“Your site doesn’t work on mobile. Everyone’s on mobile,” says Dann Petty, a web and app designer who created Freelance.TV. Petty was a goldmine of tips, offering up gems that answer why your website may be failing:

  • You’re too focused on cliche words. 
  • You’re not focused on free advertising: a social-media presence.
  • You forgot to build a brand.
  • No one knows how to find your site.

“Did you tweet about it this morning?” Petty asks. “Did you post something to Instagram last night? Are you keeping up with your Facebook page? If you answer no to even one of those, it’s likely a reason why.”

14 Amazing Benefits And Importance of Digital Marketing For Growth

In the last decade or so the world has shown a paradigm shift from analog to digital. More and more people are consuming all kinds of information online hence making digital marketing the best way to reach out to your targeted customers. We ask why Digital Marketing is important.

The importance of digital marketing works not only in favor of marketers but it provides something innovative to the consumers too. Let us have a look and understand the importance of digital marketing.

digital-marketing

1. Better Growth Options For Small business

The importance of digital marketing for business lies in the option to select your method of marketing as per your budget and reach a wider audience at a lesser cost. Even a decade back getting your product marketed especially for a small business was a task in itself. They had to resort to small level methods where the guarantee of success was close to negligible.

small-business

2. Higher Conversion Rate

The businesses that are opting for digital marketing are able to measure the conversion rate through real-time using a simple method. That is identifying the percentage of viewers who get converted into leads and then subscribers and in the end finally purchasing the service or product. SEO, Social media marketing and Email marketing are methods which have a high conversion rate as they are able to generate a quick and effective communication channel with the consumer.

Digital-marketing-graph

Surprisingly all the traffic that you may get on your website may not be fruitful hence digital marketing lets you reach out to only those who have the need for your kind of service hence offering better lead conversions.

3. Establishing Brand Reputation

For any business to survive the one thing that they really need to work upon is establishing a reputation that is impeccable. In the past few years, it has become evident that customers will always prefer a company that does not have any scandals associated with it. The importance of Digital marketing today lies in offering you multiple ways to establish a personal rapport with your customer base. 

4. Solving Customers Problems

Be it email marketing or social media you can always offer the customer solutions to their problems and make them relate to your product by even providing live chat access. Your website and social media page can easily be converted into a place where the consumer can ask queries, give suggestions and hence take the association with you on a positive level.



An example of how customer grievance was addressed using social media

customer-support

5. Engagement With Mobile Customers.  

small-business-mobile-apps

After Google mobile-first update nearly almost all the websites these days are made in a manner that they are easily viewable on the mobile as well. This is because almost all customers have access to a smartphone and most of them even look for products on the same. 

6. Expansion of Faith In Your Brand

The presence of your brand and service on multiple platforms gives the option to customers to rate your services as per their level of experience. A positive and favorable review left by a satisfied customer causes the new ones to immediately convert. This, in turn, leads to the building up of the strong image of the brand in the minds of the new consumers hence leading to more conversions.

7. Better ROI for your Investment

While earlier budget allocations were done individually to handle each kind of marketing medium the situation becomes more progressive now. Even a small level of investment done in a mode of email marketing has the potential to deliver results in terms of customer engagement. Using web analytics helps the business owners know whether your website is providing optimal ROI. 

8. Digital marketing is Cost-Effective

A small business needs to save up on its resources before it finally goes into the green zone and starts making profits. Digital marketing gives you the scope to reach out to many customers at the same time and that too within your budget. You can plan your marketing strategy such that you only use modes that lie in your budget. If there is a budget constraint then you should always target your niche audiences.

cost-effective

9. Potential to Earn Higher Revenues

Since the amount of money invested is less and the ROI is more the scope to make money is much higher. As per a study conducted by IPSOS Hong Kong in accordance with Google has shown that compared to traditional methods, digital marketing is known to generate 2.8 times more revenue. This coupled with the fact that the conversion rates here are much high ensure that you are minting money as soon as you enter the fray. 

digital-marketing-comparison

10. Computable Form of Marketing

It is very difficult to track record of success from traditional marketing but with the use of digital marketing tactics, every step of success is measurable. Digital Marketing works in real-time as it shows the success of each and every tactic that has been used. Through this, you may choose the best tactics that show the best results. After that, you can easily make changes in your campaigns to achieve greater success. 

ROI

11. Expanding Audience Reach

The most important benefits of digital marketing are reaching your audience to the fullest. Under traditional marketing, you are being bounded by the scope and size of your audience and print media limits you to certain places and markets. 

 Targeted Audience Approach:

Digital marketing benefits you to target your audience farther. There are higher chances that your audience is spending time on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. where you can publish an advertisement to gain more engagement with your audience.

Targeted Audience

12. Easy Adapting of Tactics And Strategies

Another major advantage of online marketing is that they are very easy to understand. You can easily understand through the result of tactics which one is giving you results and which one is not. Strategies that are implemented in online marketing gives you results on a real-time basis.

For example, if you want to promote your blog page then you can simply share your blogs on various social media platforms. With the help of content marketing, you can increase your engagement with your audience very soon and very accurate. 

13. Can Start With A Small Budget As Well

Everyone has a budget problem in life therefore many businesses didn’t promote themselves. But Digital marketing gives you another advantage of promoting your business with a very small amount. Online marketing benefits small businesses on a large scale with a small investment amount. 

Research Study By Marketing Profs:

According to the Marketing profs the data has been shared below that how digital marketing platforms helps various small scale business.

Top 6 Digital Marketing Channels for Small Business
Image Source: Marketing Profs

For instance, if you are the manufacture of hand made handicrafts but you don’t have money to promote your business then online marketing would play a significant role as with an amount of 10,000 you can publish your content over social media with a budget of 300 per day. Through this, you can promote your business for a period of one month especially to your targeted audience.

14. Go Beyond your Boundaries:

Using digital marketing for the promotion of your business is very unique in nature. You need to come out of your comfort zone and have to put some effort into it. Digital Marketing benefits you only if you are taking an active part in it. The role of digital marketing is very fast as it includes SEO, SMO, SME, and various other processes.

Conclusion:

The future of digital marketing seems very bright at the moment. However, while brands were earlier competing with each other’s marketing strategy now the focus has shifted to a fight against the entire internet. This is the time when brands will have to use different modes and ways to actually delve and make an impact on the customers. 

9 proven strategies to improve your small business’ sales on a tight budget

It’s a simple truth every startup has to face sooner or later: to grow your business, you need to maximize your sales. The thing is, improving your sales efforts can cost quite a bit of money — and this isn’t easy to do when you’re a young company operating on a tight budget.

So what can you do to improve sales results when your own financial resources are limited? Here are some key strategies that will help you achieve your desired outcomes without breaking the bank.

1) Start blogging

You don’t need to hire an ad agency to start producing your own blog content. A blog is a great way to share news about your product and company, industry insights and more.

When you produce content that engages your target audience, you’ll be able to generate SEO backlinks and keep users coming back to your website. Don’t be afraid to reach out as a guest blogger, either — this can be a great way to showcase your knowledge and expertise, while simultaneously generating positive press for your company.

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2) Join networking groups

Joining professional organizations and networking groups is a great way to make valuable contacts and spread the word about your company. The people you meet in these organizations could help you forge valuable partnerships, provide services your business needs to succeed or even become clients.

The Netherlands is home to many of these groups, including organizations for women and groups that help Dutch entrepreneurs build relationships with international businesses.

3) Give good gifts

One of the best ways to increase interest for your product or service is to give something away for free. Whether it’s an e-book sharing valuable industry information or a 30-day free trial of your software, these types of giveaways are a great way to generate sales leads and collect valuable contact information. Getting potential customers into the sales funnel will make it that much easier to learn more about their buying habits.

4) Incentivize referrals

As valuable as your own marketing efforts may be, nothing is more persuasive than word of mouth. Your current customers can be your greatest advocates, but sometimes, they need a little extra motivation. Creating a referral program is a great way to get your customers to do your marketing for you.

Best of all, you can ensure that you only provide your “reward” when a new customer is brought onboard, keeping your marketing budget from going to waste. Whether it’s a discount on future purchases, a free month of service or a special gift, you’ll be surprised what your customers will do with a little extra incentive.

5) Join social media groups

You can’t talk about low-cost methods for improving your sales without mentioning social media. However, the most successful entrepreneurs don’t just set up Facebook and Twitter profiles for their business.

Joining industry-related groups on Facebook and LinkedIn offers many of the same benefits of an in-person networking organization. As you share genuine insights, others in your niche will become more interested in what you have to offer. If you’re feeling extra bold, you could even create your own industry-targeted group.

6) Build your email list

Regardless of whether you run a B2B or B2C business, a quality email list can play a big role in driving sales and retaining current customers — in one survey, 80% of marketers said email played a direct role in customer retention.

The good news is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to build your email list. For example, MailChimp is completely free for users with less than 2,000 email subscribers. Many email services offer tiered pricing that only increases in relation to your business’ subscriber list, making it easy to stay on budget.

7) Automate

Sales and marketing tasks can take up a lot of time — and unfortunately, many of these necessary responsibilities can prove quite redundant. While not all automation tools are free, they will help you save time with tasks like social media scheduling, analytics reporting, lead nurturing and more.

With better data and less time spent on mundane or complicated tasks, you will be better positioned to make smarter business decisions that will grow your sales numbers.

8) Create public relations (PR) opportunities

Any kind of media coverage — even from local outlets — can help increase awareness for your brand. To do this, you need to create “event” opportunities that will get journalists and bloggers talking about your company.

This could include providing free community seminars, hosting or sponsoring a charity event or simply highlighting how your company creates local opportunities for economic growth. While this does require you to be bold in reaching out to reporters, the results can be well worth it.

Low-cost resources like Help a Reporter Out can also serve as a great way to connect with journalists and get your insights published in major media stories.

9) Fine-tune your sales pitch

All the previously mentioned strategies won’t do your company much good if you haven’t mastered your sales pitch. This is especially true of B2B professionals, who often need to make in-person presentations.

Learn how to make your presentation relevant to each sales lead so you can better connect your offer to their needs. Focus on benefits rather than features, and don’t be afraid to use enthusiasm and showmanship in your pitch. As you perfect your elevator pitch, you’ll be better equipped to sell your product or service anytime, anywhere and using any available method.

A small budget isn’t a bad thing

While a limited budget certainly adds its fair share of challenges to your growth efforts, working within a set of constraints and limitations can ultimately be highly beneficial for your company.

As you learn to achieve more with less, your team will be able to continue budgeting and selling effectively as your business starts to grow.

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