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7 Ways to Commit Website Marketing Sabotage

Mar 6, 2008
Your website's mission: Attract clients. Get visitors to sign up. Sell more products.

But it's easy to get in the way of your own goals. Most professionals and solo-preneurs really want to help others, develop their skills, and share information. So inadvertently they end up sabotaging their own website... and wonder why they're not getting more response. For example:

(1) Creating a cozy home on the Internet.

Your *real* home has pictures on the wall and possibly objects, souvenirs and knickknacks that display your personality to guests. On the Internet, you focus on your visitors and their needs. So don't need a welcome mat and quotes from your favorite poets and philosophers.

Visitors want to know, "How can you help me?" They know they're welcome. You're paying hosting fees.

(2) Ignoring your most valuable real estate.

When we come to your website, what's at the very top? Blank space? A huge logo?

Add a heading or title with some good keywords. Let visitors know what you offer as soon as they arrive (and get the search engines clued in, too).

(3) Choosing graphics that overpower your copy.
Once I visited a beautifully designed site. The copy wasn't bad either. But to be honest, I don't remember what the site was about. On the right, grabbing my attention, was a beautiful photo of a grandfather clock.

As I recall, the site wasn't about time management. It may have been about setting priorities...choosing goals... who knows? All I remember is that clock.

(4) Seeking a "memorable" site.
When someone says, "I want a memorable site," or, "I want my site to be distinctive," I get that "oops" feeling.

Let's face it: Internet memories are fragile. Most people surf around from site to site. They are lucky if they can remember what they typed into the search engine, five minutes after they started.

So focus on motivating visitors to act - now. Design an irresistible freebie that gets their fingers to your opt-in subscriber link. Then you get to remind them you're around, every week or so.

(5) Choosing beautiful type over readability.

An independent professional wisely hired a copywriter to create a strong message. The words appeared on his site in blue ink over a slightly darker blue background. Luckily, he (and his web designer) were responsive when the copywriter suggested something like midnight blue on white (or even better: black on off-white).

Do you ever see a whole paragraph in italics...with orange type? I used to do that myself, till I realized I might as well put a "Don't bother with this one" sign over the page.

(6) By-passing the benefits.

Why should anyone buy from you? Typically they have a problem they urgently need to solve. Or they want to make the pain go away.

It's easy (and fun) to write about our own processes. "First I do this...then I do that..."

But why should visitors care? How will our money, businesses and lives be different after we've worked with you?

(7) Believing "brag" is a 4-letter word.

Visitors want to know, "If I hire you, what benefits will I get? How will I be better off?"

To answer this question, you (or your copywriter) will review your process and your success stories. Finding what you offer sometimes resembles a treasure hunt. You don't need to exaggerate: you're just sharing facts.

When prospective clients visit your site, they want to know all about you. They want to make a good investment if they buy from you. So they want to believe, "We're lucky to get you." Your mission (should you decide to accept) is: "Make it *really* easy for them to say that.
About the Author
FREE 7 Essential Elements of Websites That Really Attract Clients: My Special Report gives you insider tips to convert tire-kickers to buyers and earn money while you sleep. From Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., at Website Marketing Strategies
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