I have brought MyCapital.com to a profitable website. Below are some tips that I hope can help succeed too:
1. Branding does matter.
How can you turn web visitors to buyers? Among so many websites who offer similar or same products as yours, why would visitors buy from you? Use branding.
A website that is well-branded creates a positive perception rooted on potential customers' minds. When potential customers perceive you as trustworthy, they are more likely to buy from you than from others.
You can create your brand through appropriate use of logo, colors, layout, and copywriting on your website. Does your colors say this is a fun site, or this is a prestigious professional service? Did you ever notice that most technology websites use blue as main color (for example, IBM and Nokia)? How do you like the pink on Victoria's Secret? Imagine IBM put a pink logo and Victoria's Secret put a serious blue color on its website, how would that affect your perception and willing of making a purchase from these companies?
In deciding which layout, copywriting, or color to put on your website, you can test it to see which combination produce the best results - so there is no guessing work here. Google has a tool called Website Optimizer (free for its Adwords customers). You can use this tool to test different versions of a web page and continue to polish it.
2. Put up a team.
Many entrepreneurs have the urge to do-it-yourself. The key to success is to hire right people to work for you. Everybody has his strength and weakness. If you hire a programmer to develop your website, you will have a website that is functioning well but not attractive. If you hire a graphic designer to develop your website, you might end up with a site that has pretty graphics but is not working. You might be an expert in your product but what if you can barely write and let alone to sell it with a persuasive web copywriting? A professional copywriter can come handy here.
Hire people who have different talents and put them together to create a professional well-polished website requires managerial skills. You might experience frustrations such as hiring wrong people. But once you learn how to tackle all kinds of problems related to hiring, your can have a side-benefit: you experience a paradigm shift in your life. If you used to be am employee, now you are an employer. You start to delegate tasks instead of doing everything yourself. You no more need to roll out sleeves to do things but you still get what you want. You work one hour an day and spent the rest of day thinking of strategies in bigger picture. You also spent more time on other important things in your life: your family and your health. Isn't that the purpose why you want to start up a web site at the beginning?
3. Building Trust.
Partner yourself with credible companies. You might say, those credible companies don't want to partner with a little guy. It's easy - just pay them.
Many companies actually like you to use their products and put their brands on your website. It creates a win-win situation. For example, Visa/American Express, SSL (Verisign), McAfee security seal, and BBB online all encourage their customers to put their logos on their websites. If you are accepting credit cards, of course you can put Visa/Master logos on your website. If you are a BBB member, you can put a BBB online logo to tell your potential customers that you strive to comply with every BBB rule. One thing to note here is that, if you are accepting credit cards, installing a SSL on your website so that your customers' credit card numbers are processed in a secure layer and information is protected is actually a must-have. You suspect your customers might not look at the URL name to see whether it is http or https - they do.
If your website has been mentioned in media (online or offline), or you have sponsored some community events, mention this on your website. A customer testimonial is also helpful. Anything that can enhance your credibility brings you one step further toward a customer purchase.
4. Marketing, marketing, marketing.
Plan your website with SEO in mind from the beginning. Learn all aspects of online marketing and apply every bit of it on your website. SEO is really well worthy of your time. When people search for a term, they already have intentions to buy that product, or at least have the need for it. The searchers are your best potential customers.
SEO takes time and knowledge. Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC, for example, Yahoo Search Marketing and Google Adwords) is an quicker alternative. PPC gets you started right away to show your website to people who search for keywords related to your products. However, even if you are running a PPC campaign, do not completely ignore SEO. The competition at PPC grows every day. Eventually PPC will become so expensive that you do not think your ROI at PPC campaigns is acceptable.
Once you attract visitors to your website with your search key term, by all means try to get an email from visitors, and send them follow-up emails with your email marketing campaign. Your follow-up email can be free article on information your potential customers might be interested, or a trial of the products that you are selling. Most of the time the visitors do not buy from you at first visit. Email marketing is really where the conversion (purchase) starts.
Instead of implementing all kinds of online and offline marketing, focus your marketing dollars and efforts on one or two marketing channels that you feel can achieve best results. Depending on what type of business you are running, your most effective marketing campaign can be PPC ads, social media networking, or a yellow-page ad. Try to figure out which marketing campaign works best for you and maximize your investment returns from it.
Again, whatever marketing plan you implements, eventually your goal is to drive traffic to your website. A well-branded website will be seen by visitors again and again, so branding your website is really worthy of your investment dollars. Your website is your marketing weapon. Make sure you sharpen it.