By Cathy Wagner
Selling online can be very difficult, more difficult than in the 3D world because you do not get any personal contact with your customer. People cannot just browse like they do in a store, they cannot offer feedback, and it is hard to build and maintain trust throughout the entire online sales process. What compounds this difficulty is the fact that most online marketers have absolutely no experience in the field of advertising and sales.
Evaluate Your Sales Process There are many aspects that effect your sales process online and it is possible to track the effectiveness at each stage:
Phase 1 is your advertising. The first step is just to get people to your site.
To measure your traffic you must have some kind of statistics for either your web site or integrated with the ads you place, such as ad tracker URL's.
If you can't get people to your site, you must alter your advertising methods or, more likely, your ad copy, there is no way around it. Whether you are using free or paid advertising, a good ad will get clicks (at least some). Remember that no matter how good an ad looks to you, if it doesn't do it's job, it is useless. Keep a log of the ads you place along with where and when; don't use ads that do not produce results once they have been given a fair chance.
If your ads never seem to draw visitors, make improving your ad writing skills a priority right away. Today there are many resources available to help you learn to write a better ad, including live personal ad writing workshops and free ad writing seminars.
To be sure that WHERE you are advertising is not the problem, it is best to get recommendations from other online marketers for advertising sites and tools that produce results. This will save you the time and frustration of trying them all out for yourself. It will also allow you to stay focused on your offer rather than spending your time searching for ways to promote it.
Look for recommendations in marketing chat rooms and ask for their results or find a reputable marketing information site like ONE STOP Internet Business Services that will give you plenty of free information along with their proven recommendations.
Affiliates without control over their web site need to pay special attention to getting traffic. Presumably the offer you are selling includes a web page that sells, after all it sold you.
If you find that you are driving targeted traffic (not just click exchange hits) to your affiliate site, but not making any sales, you need to reconsider your offer: does it really have such a wide public appeal? Maybe new competition has arisen that has made your offer less of a value? Have you given people enough time to consider your offer and have you followed up? Be objective.
Phase 2 is your web site copy and navigation. Are people coming to your site and looking around, or do they click away immediately?
To find out, it is best to have web sites statistics that include the path visitors take once they get to your site, but you can get an idea about this by studying your web site statistics even if they do not provide this type of information. You know which page(s) you are promoting, are people looking at other pages as well?
If not, you must alter your web site copy, design or navigation. There are several places now where you can have your web site reviewed for free by other internet marketers. This can be very valuable information; learn from it to build a site that makes visitors feel confident enough to buy from you.
Also, be sure to send prospects directly to the page that contains the information you promise in your ad, it will make their visit quick, effective, and memorable. If you advertise a particluar product, send them to that page directly, rather than landing them on your home page and trusting that they will navigate to where you want them to be.
Affiliates can experiment with sending prospects to pages other than the main page (if provided) to see if that makes any difference in their sales ratio.
Phase 3 would be your order process. Are people looking around, going to the order page and then leaving?
Here again, you need comprehensive web site statistics. If you do not have site paths statistics, pay close attention to the number of hits each of your pages receive. If you see that many people go to the order page, but do not buy, you will have to either rewrite your text to clear up misunderstanding, lower your price, display payment options more clearly, or implement some other change that makes the ordering process quicker and easier.
Try to capture email addresses with a contest, free product, report or newsletter so that you can follow up with potential customers.
Of course, affiliates would have no control over the ordering process with a replicated site. I think this is important, so I will say it again: If you find that you are driving targeted traffic (not just click exchange hits) to your affiliate site, but not making any sales, you need to reconsider your offer: does it really have such a wide public appeal? Maybe new competition has arisen that has made your product less of a value? Have you given people enough time to consider your offer and have you followed up? Be objective!
Don't Guess! When you are having trouble generating sales, you need to track all of your activity (and the activities of your visitors) to pinpoint where the trouble lies. Only then will you know where you need to make changes. Without this kind of information, you are just guessing and that could be worse than leaving it alone.
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