Ask a digital expert: How can my website make sales?
Michelle’s haberdashery sells wholesale fabric to other businesses. She has a simple website that includes her business’s address, information about the fabric brands she stocks, and her phone number. She’s constantly swamped with customer enquiries, which she often can’t get back to in good time. She would like to drive sales from her website but has heard it can take months and thousands of dollars to implement solutions – neither of which she can afford. Is there a way to increase sales using her existing website?
Helping Michelle – and business owners like her – are Jerry and Jay, client managers for Telstra Business Website Services. Jerry specialises in website design and eCommerce in her day-to-day, while Jay manages websites and advertising campaigns for Google AdWords and Facebook.
Whether a business is a start-up or has been in their industry for 30 years, Jay says having a website is very important to their growth. “Providing customers information or direct access to your services/products can save both you and your customers' time. Most small businesses I speak with every day want to tell potential customers three things: who they are, what they do and how to contact them.”
Here are a few of the approaches Jerry and Jay think Michelle can take – now and in the future – to help her make sales via her business website.
Now: make small changes to help reduce your workload
When time is of the essence, it’s all about the basics. Spend some of the time you have today on updating parts of your website that can save you more time in the future.
Jerry suggests publishing a frequently asked questions page on your website. As well as saving the time you’d usually spend answering those questions for each individual customer, this information is also great for search engine optimisation (SEO). “Having this information clearly accessible on Michelle’s website may result in genuine leads that are ready to do business with her,” says Jerry.
Here are some tips on SEO and a guide to finding out if your website shows up in search results - including what to do if it’s nowhere to be found.
Next: consider new automated features
Once Michelle’s website is attracting customers to her business and answering their questions, adding some automated features could help to reduce interruptions and increase conversions.
Jerry says a click-to-call button can help to drive sales and increase genuine leads. “It is an easy way to increase conversions and promote sales because it removes the barrier of a customer having to physically type in a number. It gives them a better user experience and increases the likelihood of an enquiry.”
A booking tool could also help streamline Michelle’s day-to-day by automatically scheduling appointments. A bonus, Jerry points out, is that a booking tool can save Michelle’s clients' details. That will make promotions, marketing campaigns and any other kinds of reach-outs to her client base incredibly simple in the future.
Future: set up an online store to expand into eCommerce
Setting up an online store to automate sales will not only streamline the process for Michelle’s current wholesale clients, it could also increase her existing customer base beyond her business’s immediate geographical area.
“Selling directly to consumers online is easier and more accessible to both the seller and the buyer,” says Jay.
It can take a little more time, effort and investment to create this component of an existing retail business, but you don’t have to go it alone. Experts like Jerry and Jay are on-hand to give you the tools to get it right the first time, and get customers coming back again.
“You can create discount codes for your products using our eCommerce platform, incentivising customers to add a little more to their cart next time and encouraging repeat business,” Jerry says. There are also promotional opportunities, to ensure people discover your new online store, she says. “We can link your online store to Facebook and Instagram, creating the opportunity to market across platforms.”
An eCommerce platform might be the next step for Michelle, or something she works towards over time. But whenever she’s ready to launch, our expert team will be here. “Most small businesses think upgrading their website offering is difficult or feel as if they don’t have the time. That’s why we’re here,” Jay says.
There’s no one-size-fits-all online marketing solution for businesses like Michelle’s or yours, but Jay, Jerry and their fellow experts are on-hand to help you grow your digital presence.
Disclaimer: The experts featured in this article, Jay and Jerry, are real members of the Telstra Business Website Services team. The small business featured is not real but represents one of the common scenarios where Telstra experts can offer help.
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