| Business, Web Design

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This weekend I spent time at what may become one of my favorite spots in Maine. It was an apple orchard + bakery + home-roasted espresso bar. Those are three of my favorite things in life.

However, their lack of information in the bakery nearly made me overlook several items. The more I knew, the more I wanted to buy.

CinnamonRollThe bakery case was filled with different goodies. I knew from reading their web site that they were supposed to have many items that featured their own, organic apples. So I wanted to choose one of those. But nothing was labeled. So, I started asking: “What is that?”, “What is that?”, “What is that?” as I pointed to anything looking apple-y looking. My first two guesses were incorrect, and as I sensed the line growing behind me, I was feeling some pressure to make a decision. I knew the donuts were cider donuts (they had been advertised on the web site), so I chose a couple of those.

I was ready to leave it at that, when another employee walked by and he heard me asking for apple goodies. He pointed to a tray of what looked like cinnamon rolls. He explained they were stuffed with apples inside and were his specialty. He bragged they were the best thing in the case.

He sold me.

But they nearly lost that sale because I was so annoyed with having to ask for information on each item.

Call to action on your web site

Are you leaving out information that could close a sale, or move a potential client further along in the sales process? On your web site, you need to make sure you have enough information and opportunities for your customers to act.

Make sure you have call to actions. Have them in more than one place on your site.

Customize your calls based on the web site page. For example, you might have a form on your home page that asks people to sign up for your newsletter. On your blog, you should be asking people to subscribe to the RSS feed. Elsewhere on the site you may ask people to request an estimate, etc.

Do you make it easy for people to answer the call to action? Long forms that ask for too much personal information, for example, will turn some people away.

If you are using adwords or ad campaigns that lead to your web site, do you have custom landing pages that immediately direct people to the action they should take? For example, don’t run an ad that asks people to download a white paper, but then send them to your home page where the white paper is only briefly mentioned in a sidebar. Instead, send them to a custom landing page that immediately gives them access to the white paper (whether that is a link right there, or a form to fill out to get to the link).

Address concerns upfront

Do you address people’s worries? If you offer a guarantee or a free trial say so loud and clear. If you get compared to another brand state clearly why you are the better choice. By addressing people’s concerns up front you are more likely to have them take action. By leaving out that information you are allowing them to pause and wonder, and at that point they may decide to look somewhere else.

Be ready to close

At the bakery, I walked in ready to buy some apple-stuffed baked goodness. But until the second employee (the baker himself) walked by, I didn’t get the information I needed to be able to seal the deal.

Make sure you give your web site visitors the opportunity to take as much action as they are willing to. For example, don’t just offer a free estimate, if someone is ready to buy, be ready to make the sale.

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