People want to find out how to build a website, a boat, a doll's house; they want to know how to make candles from beeswax, how to fix their lawn mower, how to buy a diamond. Armed with this knowledge, you can now look for a product that you know people want ... and what do they want more than anything else?
A few years back, there was a musical and then a movie called, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." It was, of course, fiction, because to succeed in business, or anything else for that matter, you do have to try.
You have to try, you have to plan and you have to work. But when youíre doing it for yourself, itís more like fun than work. Ask anyone who has built a successful business and youíll hear the same response, "I do it because I love it!" The money, the prestige, the material trappings are bonuses.
All the experts agree that to succeed on the Web there are three key areas you have to address:
You need a product that people want, that people need and that exceeds their expectations.
You need a site that tells customers what they want to hear, not what you want them to know.
You need to attract those visitors who want your product.
Letís take a quick look to see how you can develop (or acquire) a product that meets the needs of a significant market; build a site that helps visitors decide they must have your product and then attract hordes of potential customers who are begging you to take their money!
WHAT DO PEOPLE WANT?
Surveys of online behaviour have consistently shown that the ten most popular activities on the Web are (in order):
* searching for information on the search engines
These same surveys have also revealed that the most bought products are hardware and software, books and magazines, travel, music, and investment choices (i.e. advice and information).
When asked why they shopped online, customers cited the following:
HOW DOES THIS HELP?
Armed with this knowledge, you can now look for a product that you know people want ... and what do they want more than anything else?
People want to find out how to build a website, a boat, a doll's house; they want to know how to make candles from beeswax, how to fix their lawn mower, how to buy a diamond. Theyíre interested in knowing how to tell a fake piece of art from the real thing, what to look for when buying a used car and how far it is to the moon.
In other words, no matter what you know, you can guarantee that someone, somewhere would love to learn from you.
Information sells on the Web and there are some excellent books and programs that will help you unlock your knowledge and make it accessible to others.
WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL WEBSITE?
Look back at the five reasons why people buy online, then make sure your site offers each.
Convenience: that means your site must be easy to navigate -- most good programs have something similar to the Shared Borders feature in FrontPage to allow you to have the same nav bars on every page. Donít change the order of links, this just confuses your visitors and makes them angry.
If your visitors have arrived at your page from a link that promises them a free report on What to See in Kakadu National Park, make sure the report is there. Donít make them click on three more links to find it and donít make them search up and down your page to find the link -- use a bookmark to send them directly to the spot.
No Pressure: we all know how annoying it is to be pestered by an over-eager sales rep when weíre still "just looking;" his/her counterpart on the Web is the pop-up window that demands we subscribe to a newsletter, download a trial program, visit another site etc etc.
Forms that require in-depth information about our income, address, occupation and so on also fall into this category. If youíre offering a free report, newsletter subscription etc, all you need is an email address and possibly the personís name. Once you have these, you can build up a rapport over time and then request more details if absolutely necessary.
Quick: the great thing about shopping online is that you donít have to waste time travelling to the shops, finding a parking spot and standing in lines. Itís a time saver.
So make sure your page loads quickly -- there are numerous articles which outline the doís and doníts of web page design.
Ease of access to information: the Internet allows you to put up unlimited information about your product, so make sure you have enough to cater for all interest levels. Some would-be buyers just want to know how big and how much; others will want to know all the specifications; have this information available.
Put the basic details on the main page with links to the extra information (include photos, diagrams etc) whatever is appropriate for your particular product.
Include a Frequently Asked Questions page, where you can give answers to all those typical questions people ask and satisfy your customerís concerns immediately.
Reviews and recommendations: everyone feels more comfortable about buying something thatís been recommended, so include a page of testimonials from real past customers (include full names, company names, location etc). You can include links to that past customerís website if you wish but donít include email addresses.
If your product has been reviewed by an independent person, include the comments because this adds a great deal of credibility to your product.
Have short extracts to each of these on your main page, with links to the full review or testimonial.
Building a site like this will help your business succeed; the third area involves attracting targeted buyers to your site once youíve built it and one of the best ways to do this is through listing with the search engines.
See also; Internet Business Income
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