Imagine what your small business would be like if all of your prospects walked into your office or store 'pre-sold.' What if your prospects' first phone call to you went something like this, "Hi Mike, I'd like you to build a widget for me. Could you come out to my home on Wednesday so we can finalize the project?"
What? No selling? It's possible, if you make your marketing do the pre-selling for you. And there is no better medium to pre-sell your prospect than with your website. The unfortunate truth, however, is that very few small business websites accomplish goal.
If you read on, you'll learn several "secrets of pre-selling websites" that will have your prospects begging to do business with you.
Pre-Selling Secret # 1
The ultimate pre-selling sin is to talk about how great your small business is. That may sound counterintuitive, after all, isn't that why prospects visit your website? On the contrary, people visit your website to get more information. During the initial stage of the buying process people are information hungry.
That is why the first secret is to give away useful information for free. Well, not totally for free. Make the visitor to your website give you their email address in exchange for your information. In fact, this is so important that it should be the primary objective of your website – to get your visitor's contact information. Once you have their email address you will be able to send your marketing message to them again and again at no cost.
Offer visitors to your website interesting special reports or email courses on topics that position you as the expert and set you business apart from the competition. Your report could include buying tips, questions you should ask before buying, what to look for in a when buying, or how to know if the person you're doing business with is legitimate. This information will not only educate your prospect, but also endear them to you because you are trying to help them make an educated decision.
Pre-Selling Secret # 2
People are so tired of being "sold to" that they are enormously skeptical. They become even more skeptical when you begin to sing your own praises. But, when other people who have no vested interest in your success sing your praises it has a magical effect. That is why testimonials are so powerful.
You should be an avid collector of customer testimonials. They are perhaps the single most powerful, overlooked marketing tool in your arsenal. You should have them all over your website. But don't make the mistake of placing them all on one page titled, "Testimonials." That is too predictable.
Sprinkle your customer testimonials all over you site. Here are several great locations to place your customer testimonials:
- As captions under photos of your customers using their pool or hot tub.
- Next to bold claims and promises
- Under specific products or services
- Along the margins of the different pages on your website
The testimonials you use on your website do not have to come from customers. Your testimonials can also come from industry experts. For instance, if you won an award, why not ask one of the judges to give you a testimonial that you can use on your website.
Perhaps your business was given a local award. Instead of displaying the award, use positive comments made about your business from the award sponsor as testimonials on your website. How about charities you have donated resources to, or excerpts from newspapers articles that may have covered your pool and hot tub business, these are good testimonials too.
In fact, the quotes you use do not have to be specifically about your business. Why not place quotes on your website from noted authorities who make positive comments about the benefits of your product or service? Also, make sure you take advantage of any newspaper articles and press releases written by your manufacturer about the benefits of your product?
Pre-Selling Secret # 3
Create an "Our Story" page on your website. People who prowl your website want to know that you are real and not just a bunch of words in cyberspace. An "Our Story" webpage humanizes your website and builds trust and rapport with your visitors.
On your, "Our Story" page tell your visitors about how your business began, how it has grown over the years and include interesting stories about you and your employees. People are natural voyeurs and like to know about other people's lives. This part of your website will allow your visitors to get to know you and your employees on a human level. Remember, people buy from those who they know, like, and most of all – trust.
Because your "Our Story" webpage is about you, it is an appropriate place to talk about your awards, recognitions and achievements. Weave this important information into your personal story and experiences.
Pre-Selling Secret # 4
Use case studies in addition to your testimonials on your website. Case studies are a special form of testimonial that tells how specific problems were solved using your pool or hot tub. An example of a case study may be someone with a physical affliction that is improved as a result of your product or service.
For instance, imagine one of your customers who specifically purchased your product to help resolve their lower back pain problems and after several months their back pain went away. This would be a perfect case study to place on your website.
Your customer may have been suffering from severe medical or psychological problem, or some other ailment that improved as a result of your product or service. The key to writing a dynamite case study is to explain the problem, present the solution that solved the problem and describe the positive results that your customer received as a result of purchasing your product or service.
Pre-Selling Secret # 5
Use persuasive, emotional copy to describe your products and services. A common mistake is to only present cryptic, boring specifications and data to describe your product. Make that information available through a link, but highlight the emotional reasons why your prospect should choose your product over another.
Each product or service should have its own mini-sales letter to describe its benefits. There is an easy way to do this. Get a piece of paper and draw a vertical line in the middle. List all of your product or service's features in the left column and their associated benefits in the right column. Once you have done this exercise it is a snap to write compelling descriptions that play on your visitors' emotional heartstrings.
Another important key when writing copy for your website is to make your product descriptions come alive. For example, make a three-minute recording of your best sales presentation for each product and service on your website. Then place that recording on a toll-free recorded message phone system that prospects can immediately use to call up and listen to. Lastly, place the phone number under its associated product or service. Now you have made your website interactive and powerfully persuasive.
Pre-Selling Secret # 6
The final pre-selling secret is to differentiate business in a meaningful way. Your website should clearly explain to your visitor how your company is different from any other competing business. You not only need to make your unique competitive advantage clear and concise, but it must take your visitor by surprise and wow them.
For instance, here's an example from the hot tub retail sales industry. Notice how the following four website copy examples get progressively stronger.
Example # 1 (Average) – "We are the exclusive dealer in the region that carries Brand X, the only self-cleaning hot tub.
Example # 2 (Strong) – "We are the exclusive dealer in the region that carries Brand X, the only self-cleaning hot tub. We also guarantee your hot tub to be installed within 48 hours."
Example # 3 (Stronger) – "We are the exclusive dealer in the region that carries Brand X, the only self cleaning hot tub. We guarantee your hot tub to be installed within 48 hours and extend to you a 100 per cent money-back satisfaction guarantee."