How websites really generate sales

Unless you have a business where someone buys your product on impulse (or in an emergency), most of your customers will go through a decision-making process that may take anywhere from a couple of weeks through to several months or even a year to complete.

Below we’ve outlined some of the processes you’ll need to think about.

How does it work?

The mistake people make is thinking that someone just decides they have a need for a product or service, Googles your website and just fills in a form or picks up the phone for a chat. For the vast majority of sales that come through ‘digital’, it just doesn’t happen like that.

Decision-making processes are complicated – especially business to business where historically there are so many options and solutions it’s difficult to assess which ones you actually need – and the higher the value of the sale, the more complicated and drawn-out they get.

When your website identifies someone as having an interest (because they have left their email address in return for a PDF brochure for example) they will likely be right at the start of their decision-making process – they are ‘just browsing’.  Your marketing system has to nurture them through this period, where they are aware they have a need but haven’t come to a trigger point that’s forced them into taking action.

Sometimes it takes a couple of months of seeing your emails drop into their inbox, taking notice of your keeping in touch advertisements and noticing your articles on LinkedIn before someone (even those with a genuine need) starts interacting with what you send them. And even when that happens, you should make the first move to engage with them.

When your marketing system identifies that someone is now connecting with what you send them, it’s time to move from passive to active selling – quick, before they have the chance to start contacting your competition!  Send them a LinkedIn request, send them a direct email asking if they want to chat, pop a brochure in the post and don’t forget you can still pick up the phone.

We’ve put this infographic together to demonstrate, typically, how the process of generating sales through your website actually works.  Digital marketing is a great tool and your website should be the cornerstone of your marketing – but it’s just the tip of the iceberg of your overall sales strategy.

More info – we use SproutSocial for all our Social Media endeavours as we’ve found it to be an invaluable tool to track interactions and ROI, not to mention the amount of time it saves creating and scheduling posts. Keep in mind though that a lot of the material you read online that’s produced by companies in the USA is (believe it or not) USA centred and doesn’t necessarily work here in the UK or other countries. So while the article above is based on an original USA version we’ve tested out the ideas in the UK and updated it so it’s relevant for you with ideas that work.

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