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Posted on August 24, 1999

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  The Add Me! Newsletter            *** ISSUE #54 ***
  "Free tips for promoting your website and business"
  
  Add Me, Inc                    http://www.addme.com
  
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                ...THIS WEEK'S ARTICLE...

 
       >> The Top Seven Mistakes Web Sites Make <<


  ........................................................
  August 24th, 1999                   *** ISSUE #54 ***
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            .....THIS WEEK'S ARTICLE.....



        The Top Seven Mistakes Web Sites Make
       =======================================


  By Michel Fortin, Ph.D. 

  Throughout my research, I'm always surprised when I stumble onto web 
  sites that seem to offer great products and services but lack or fail 
  in certain important elements -- elements that, with just a few short 
  changes, can help multiply the results almost instantaneously. 
  Generally, I have found that there are seven common mistakes that 
  these sites make.


  1) They Target the Wrong Audience
  Often, this is the number one cause of online business failure. 
  Traffic has been long touted to be the key to online success, but 
  that's not true. If your site is not pulling sales, inquiries, or 
  results, then why would it need more traffic? The key is to turn 
  curious browsers into serious buyers. Target your market by 
  centering on a major theme, benefit, or outcome so that, when you 
  generate pre-qualified traffic, your hit ratio (not your hits) 
  will increase dramatically.


  2) They Take a Long Time to Load
  Unlike the TV or radio, computers as well as the Internet are still 
  in their infancy. Earlier, less capable browsers and slower modems are 
  still the norm. If your site includes Javascript, frames, plug-ins, 
  and dazzling memory-intensive graphics in an effort to impress, it 
  will work against you. Many potential sales are lost due to a 
  slow-loading, unbrowsable web site.

  According to an article published in Home Business Magazine, research 
  by an on-hold phone message marketing company found that people start 
  hanging up when put on hold for more than 30 seconds. The Internet is 
  no different. If they have to wait for more than 30 seconds for your 
  page to load, visitors will leave. In short, if they have to wait, 
  they won't.


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  3) They do Not compel Others to Act
  While some sites are well-designed and provide great content, their 
  offer may be stale. They do not offer compelling enough reasons for 
  people to buy or at least come forward. Visitors are often left 
  clueless when looking for the answer to that burning question: "Why?"

  In other words, why should they buy? Why should they buy that 
  particular product? Why should they buy that product from that 
  particular site? And more important, why should they buy now? Not 
  answering that simple question "why" will deter clients and impede 
  sales. What makes your product so unique, so different, and so 
  special? What's your competitive edge? What's in it for your 
  customers (what are the benefits) that they can't get anywhere 
  else? 


  4) They Lack Scarcity
  Jim Rohn once said that, "Without a sense of urgency, desire loses 
  its value." People fear making bad decisions. And with scams and 
  snake oils being more rampant on the Internet, they do so even more 
  when shopping online. Consequently, they tend to procrastinate and 
  do so even when they're interested. While some sites offer great 
  products and services, they do not effectively communicate a sense 
  of urgency that compels visitors to act.

  Use takeaway selling in order to stop people from procrastinating and 
  get them to take action now. In other words, shape your offer -- and 
  not just your product or service -- so that it is time-sensitive or 
  quantity-bound. More important, give a reasonably logical explanation 
  to justify your time-sensitivity or else your sales tactic will be 
  instantly discredited.


  5) They Lack Guarantees and Testimonials
  Speaking of the fear of making bad decisions, today's consumers are 
  increasingly leery when contemplating offers on the Internet. While 
  many professionally-looking web sites may have an ethical sales 
  approach and offer proven products or services, the lack of a 
  guarantee will still, particularly on the Internet, cause most 
  visitors in the very least to question your offer.

  Guarantees and testimonials help to reduce the skepticism around 
  the purchase of your product or service and give almost instant 
  credibility. So, help remove the risk from the buyer's mind and 
  you will thus increase sales -- and, paradoxically, reduce returns 
  as well.


  6) They Provide Poor Copy
  In cold cyberspace, the lack of human interaction takes away the 
  emotional element in the selling process. A site must communicate that 
  emotion that so empowers people to buy. However, many sites fail to 
  answer a person's most important question: "What's in it for me?" It 
  should cause a person to think: "Wow! This is something I can't pass 
  up! Where do I sign up?" A site's sales copy must be effective enough 
  to make its offer irresistibly compelling.

  Some sites get so engrossed in describing companies, products, features,
  or advantages over competitors that they fail to appeal to the visitor 
  specifically. On the other hand, bullets are captivating, pleasing to 
  the eye, clustered for greater impact, and deliver important benefits. 
  They usually follow the words "you get" or "reasons why," such as 
  "With this product, you get." Therefore, tell the visitor what they 
  are getting out of responding to your offer.


  7) Finally, They Lack a Clear Call to Action
  Answer this million-dollar, skill-testing question: "What exactly do 
  you want your visitors to do?" Simple, isn't it? But it doesn't seem 
  that way with the many sites I've visited. The KISS principle (keep 
  it simple and straightforward) is immensely important on the 'Net. 
  An effective web site starts with a clear objective that will lead 
  to a specific action or outcome.

  If your site is not meant to, say, sell a product, gain a customer, or 
  obtain an inquiry for more information, then what exactly must it do? 
  Work around the answer as specifically as possible. The mind hates 
  confusion. If you try to get your visitors to do too many things, they 
  will do nothing. Keep your message focused or you will overwhelm the 
  reader. Use one major theme. And most important, provide clear 
  instructions on where and how to order.


  -----------------------------------------------------------
  About the Author
  Michel Fortin, Ph.D. is a consultant dedicated to helping businesses 
  turn into powerful magnets. Visit http://SuccessDoctor.com to receive 
  a FREE copy of his book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning." 
  He is also the editor of the "Internet Marketing Chronicles" e-zine --
  subscribe FREE at http://SuccessDoctor.com/IMC/.
  -----------------------------------------------------------



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