3 most common mistakes of sales websites

Jerneja FaletičInbound Marketing, Marketing Automation

This post offers some practical advice on a topic that we’ve covered multiple times. It’s one of the most important aspects of customer relations, yet we find bad practices over and over again. Content marketing is all the rage right now and everyone wants to do it, and this is reflected in its quality. Like any other thing, we must first think things through before we jump. Cover our basics. Form a strategy. Think it through and then start working.

Of course, giving advice is one thing while actually doing something is something completely different. We are painfully aware of that in FrodX. So today, I am writing about the three most common mistakes that we notice on websites that (often) sell products or (less often) services. Good content is especially important for them, since it’s more or less all they have – at least in the beginning. Recommendations of satisfied customers will follow later, but differentiating content is the only solution in the beginning. It lowers the cost of acquiring customers and convinces existing customers into repurchasing. Content marketing is a really good approach, but only if we do it right. Otherwise it can do more harm than good. Who would want to buy anything from a seller whose content isn’t relevant nor useful and some of it even completely misses the mark?

If you try to please everyone, no one will like you in the end. Click To Tweet

What are the 3 most common mistakes?

1. If you’re addressing everyone, you’re not addressing anyone.

This is not only true for marketing. It’s the same in public relations if my years of working in that field have taught my anything. If you try to please everyone, no one will like you. Yet many people in marketing think that everyone in the world needs their product or service, which is a big mistake.

Narrow down your audience. Describe your typical buyer in great detail. Focus on one at first, you can add more later. When I started working in FrodX, this seemed like a useless task. Only later did I figure out that I cannot write, think or offer our services without having the image of a typical buyer in my mind.

How can you tell whether you have a well-rounded image of your typical buyer? If you do, you can answer the following questions:

  1. What is his name?
  2. How many typical buyers do you have? (more than 2 is too much)
  3. How old is he?
  4. Where does he work?
  5. What are his hobbies?
  6. What does he do in his free time?
  7. What is his family life like?
  8. Where does he buy clothes?
  9. Which blogs/magazines/newspapers does he read?
  10. iPhone/Samsung/Windows phone?
  11. Which problem does your product or service solve?
  12. What are his fears or doubts that you have to answer before he can make a purchase?

If you cannot provide a detailed answer to these questions, you still haven’t finished creating your image of a typical buyer. I have long thought that the last two questions are the only ones that really matter, but if you really want to study your buyer and understand his problems, you must have answers for the first ten as well. Don’t rush – start with one typical buyer and add new ones later. This way you can concentrate on one buyer and create relevant content that will be appropriate for your entire audience.

2. Don’t rely on paid ads to acquire new leads.

Especially not instead on relying on creating good (relevant and useful) content. Throwing your money into paid ads is not a magic wand for ensuring an unlimited stream of new leads. Not only because of the increasing cost. Your competitors will drive up the price of clicks and keywords, which will in turn increase the cost of your advertising campaigns.

Paid ads aren’t a magic wand for ensuring an unlimited stream of new leads. Click To Tweet

Good content will improve your rating in search engines and enable potential customers to find you through organic search. Successful, above average brands are extremely serious about content preparation and invest in the following things instead of investing in paid advertising:

  • Every sales website needs a blog, and this blog should be a priority. You need to publish (at least) two posts a week on this blog. I know this is hard (it’s hard to even publish one good post every week), but there is no other way. Consistent posting is half the effort.
  • Your product pages must be an example of a great user experience. Your goal should be providing an intuitive presentation of the product/service as well useful and quickly accessible information.
  • Let your content be your salesman that disperses doubt and fear from the minds of your potential customers in a friendly way. You should provide content that answers the questions of potential buyers, case studies, links to customer testimonials about your product/service… All of this will help convince potential customers that they can trust you.
  • Posts on social networks are a special chapter. I can only advise you not to be too aggressive in your sales approach. Try to also share things that are not directly related to your product. This doesn’t mean that your posts should only contain images of cats and babies, but try to find a balance between being useful and being fun. Overdoing one thing or another is never good.
  • Email remains the best marketing channel. Of course, you cannot use it without smart segmentation and content that focuses on a specific target group. What would your typical buyer want to receive? What would they want to know? If your message impresses him, he will remember you the next time he needs to buy something. And another thing. Nowadays, most emails are opened and read on mobile devices.

All of that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be using paid advertising. Measure, monitor, analyze and figure out what pays off and what doesn’t, then adapt your paid ads to those findings.

3. If you don’t nurture your leads, they’ll go elsewhere.

Lead nurturing is an important concept in B2B, but there is no reason it shouldn’t be used by B2C companies. Lead nurturing is especially useful to any B2C company that sells products or services which require thinking before buying.

If you don’t nurture your leads, they’ll go elsewhere. Click To Tweet

3 simple ways of nurturing

Nurturing before completing a sale

Collecting leads and nurturing them up to the point they make a purchase is not only a job for B2B companies. It doesn’t matter whether you are selling cosmetics, books or shoes – it’s entirely possible that the visitors of your website aren’t ready for a purchase when they first visit it. A good example of creating such content is the Slovenian online footwear store obutanoga.si which also offers useful advice about shoes and invites you to subscribe to their email newsletter. It will be especially interesting when they add guides and downloadable e-books that will provide them with even more information about their leads. They can offer different content to nurture these leads until they make a purchase, especially since they have so much information about them.

Handling abandoned shopping carts

Users sometimes fill their shopping cart, and leave the website without finishing their purchase. This is when a short string of nurturing messages is triggered that try to convince them that they should complete their purchase. This is especially effective if you have data about the buyer that abandoned the shopping cart and you are able to send him targeted messages.

Personalized nurturing of existing buyers

Online shopping can be very impersonal, even though you know a lot about your buyers. Use all this data to build a relationship with them and don’t forget to segment them according to the products they bought and create up-sells and cross-sells. You can send them messages with birthday discounts or discounts at the anniversary of their first purchase. Marketing automation enables you to implement all of these things and leaves your buyers impressed with your attitude and attention (if you don’t overdo it).

You can launch an online store today without much effort. Building a base of loyal customers and a foundation for acquiring new ones is a more difficult task, so you should focus on this. This is no longer reachable only to large companies with lots of resources – anyone can do it if they have good ideas, know who to address, and know how their product helps their target audience.

 

jerneja.faletic@frodx.com

 

About the Author

Jerneja Faletič

Following an extensive career in PR, she joined FrodX as a copywriter. Today, few content pieces leave the company without her approval, and she consults FrodX customers both on content, copy, and social media best practices. In her role as a chief content editor she's the protector of our customers' individual brand personalities and styles, and a part-time dictionary.