The NUMBER ONE thing you need to keep in mind when building or growing your e-commerce web site is TRUST!
It is very important to make sure it is obvious that people will be able to contact you if they have questions or problems. Place your contact information (telephone and street address) on every page. Place an email link on the bottom of every page. If you are a member of your local chamber, or the Better Business Bureau, place their logo at the bottom of every page. Offer a satisfaction guarantee.
Try to be upfront about everything on your site. Reveal shipping charges up front. Don't make someone go all the way to the last screen of your checkout to find out how much shipping will be. Tout the fact that your site conducts secure transactions.
Do link to other quality Web sites if the information on them would be of use to your visitors. Also, contact Webmasters of quality sites that are related to your topic, but not competitors, and ask if they will link to you if you link to them. Being connected to the rest of the Web demonstrates your confidence in your product or service.
Avoid looking like one of the Tricksters
You no doubt have seen those banner ads that say, You have 1 message waiting! Click here! Well, you didnt have one message waiting there. It was a trick.
Because the Internet is full of tricksters like this, people learn not to trust what they see or read. Its not like the local newspaper, where, mostly, everything you read is true. So, in order to earn customers, you need to distance yourself from those tricksters as much as absolutely possible!
So, lets look at the style and techniques of the tricksters and see how you can be different.
1. Bad design. Tricksters can use good design, too, but not having it makes any site look amateurish. You will inspire a feeling of confidence in your site visitors by having a simple, clean, fast loading, professional design. Make sure that all the tech gizmos that you use on your site actually work properly by testing them. Clear navigation implies good service. Make sure all your product photos are good shots. Make sure your product information is complete. Use a tone of voice in your writing that your visitors will feel comfortable with. Don't use convoluted business english.
2. Opt in e-mail. There aint no such bird. Well,
actually there is, but the tricksters already ruined this avenue of marketing.
I get tons of mail from people claiming I have opted in to receive their
message. Of course, I didnt. They are trying to trick me into believing
I wanted their little spamlet, actually ordered it, even. Because they
do this, you cannot. Do not ever send e-mail to anyone with whom you have
no prior business relationship. If you do ask for a customers email address,
tell them exactly how it will be used.
3. Pop up windows and pop unders came from the Webs Red Light district. If your Web site throws popups you are subverting visitors from getting what they wanted from your Web site. Is that really what you have in mind? If your Web site throws popunders, again your Web site disappears behind the popunder for a moment. Do you think visitors dont notice their loss of control? (If youre tired of playing whack a mole with popups, get the browser, Mozilla, at mozilla.org)
4. Typos. For some reason, the tricksters tend to not be able to spell. Proofread. Spell Check. Have someone else proofread.
5. Banner Ads are the original trick. They take you,
the Web site user, away from your activity and almost always lead you
to noplace you wanted to go. The first thing people learn after they learn
to click on things is NOT to click on Those Things. Thats why they
are so flashy and annoying. Their click through rate(how often people
click on them) is abysmally low (less than 1%) and they only pay the Web
site owner $1 to $5 per thousand times they appear. Web sites have to
have a whole page full of them to even pay for their hosting costs.
Trust builds slowly over time as people consistently get good results
from using your site.
©North Fork Media 2002
P.O. Box 2515
Columbia Falls MT 59912