Clicks That Count
The Only 4 Things That Make a Difference Online
By Amy Africa
I just got off the phone with a soon-to-be-ex-client. Soon meaning, soon-as-I-can-write-them-a-Dear-John-letter-soon.
Every Monday, Peter (name changed to protect the guilty) calls or e-mails me to tell me about some fancy-schmancy new next-best-thing he found over the weekend. You know, THE THING that will reinvent his $250 million e-business overnight. As if.
Sure, there are lots of bells and whistles you can add to your site, but do any of them work? Are any of them worth the money? Not really.
Don't get me wrong, I like all the new, singing, dancing stuff just as much as the next guy. But no matter how much it costs, 99.9 percent of it doesn't work.
There are really only four things that make a difference online. Whether you are a small, entrepreneurial start-up or a Fortune 500 company, you need a solid entry page, the best shopping cart/inquiry system money can buy, killer navigation and search function, and a great back-end e-mail program. Nothing else matters.
#1. The Perfect Entry Page
If you're like most, 80 percent to 90 percent of the people who visit your site today will never get off the page they came in on. Sure, some of this happens because the user clicked the wrong button and landed on the wrong page, but most of it happens because we don't give the customer what they're looking for the instant they arrive.
What do customers look for on a home page? One of the first things they do is look for an offer with "a reason to stay." In the upper right-hand quad of your site, you need to give the customer something to focus on. Deals, especially limited-time deals, work best, but you also can use this area to promote a special product or service. Anything with a deal or a deadline creates urgency and causes people to focus.