If you're serious about encouraging people to visit your site and do business with you, create a conducive environment - DOs and DON'Ts from Paul 'the soarING' Siegel.
As soon as I visit your site, I - or any other visitor - can determine your strategy.
If I visit your site and see disorganization and lack of focus - software, baseball and cats discussed in the same place, for instance - I know you have no strategy at all.
But most of the time, you (the web site owner) do have a strategy. However, do you answer my questions?
1 - Who Are You?
I want to know who you are! Are you a person, a small business, or a big business? If you don't tell me your name, address, phone number and email address, I'm not sure who you are, and I may not go any farther. If you don't supply your email address and force me to contact you only via a form, I conclude that you are more concerned about protecting yourself from spam than you are in me. That leaves me cold.
But if you welcome me and tell me about yourself and share with me what you're trying to accomplish, I may be coaxed to stay.
2 - How Can You Help Me?
Once I know you are for real, I want to find out if you are interested in helping me and whether you can help me.
If I enter your URL and I'm immediately forced to stare at a big ad, while I wait a long time for your site to load, your strategy is very clear: you are selling product or advertising; you are not interested in me. Even if the site loads quickly, and then I get nothing put a sales pitch, I arrive at the same conclusion. Since you are not interested in helping me, I go someplace else.
3 - Why Should I Do Business with You?
If you list your products and immediately ask me to place them in a shopping cart, or describe your services and ask me to call, I'm turned off.
How about a little discussion to help me make decisions? How about assuring me of my privacy? How about demonstrating your reliability?
The best thing you can do for me is refer me to satisfied clients. Then I know you have a strategy oriented to clients - possibly me. And I go ahead.
4 - How Will You Treat Me in the Future?
The vast majority of sites I visit don't even mention anything on this subject. An excellent exception is Amazon.com. They tell me that they will notify me whenever new books are published in a specific subject or by a specific author I'm interested in.
With this one feature, they have demonstrated their overall strategy to me: They will take care of my needs. I'll do business with them. And so will millions of other people.
Your strategy shines clearly through your website. To get profitable reflections from your visitors, find out what they want and help them all you can.
Paul "the soarING" Siegel is an Internet consultant and a trainer on Vision and Business Strategy. He is the moderator of a new mailing list, called LearningFOUNT, which is devoted to a discussion of Vision and Business Strategy. To subscribe, just send a blank email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit Learning Fountains, at http://www.learningfountain.com.
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