A lot of people have resorted to the internet as a way of increasing conversion to their businesses and closing deals. As good as it is, it doesn’t guarantee increased sales.
Come to think of it, a lot of companies have a business website but there has been no significant increase in sales or at least, company awareness. While this can be attributed to lack of website management, there are other factors that may account for this problem even when a website is properly managed.
Talking about website management, I believe the bigger picture in owing a website is in managing it. If a company is not ready to manage her website, or at least, hire an expert to do that, then there is no need to own a website in the first instance as that may amount to waste of money on the hosting company and the developer.
If you consider your website as a virtual branch office of your business (which is what it is in reality), then you must treat it as such. You must be ready to put in same efforts or even more on the virtual office to make it work. Because a website is a virtual workspace, you’ve got to do more work in boosting the confidence of your potential customers who come visiting, to transact business on your website.
Some of the tools necessary to improve the overall functionality of your website are:
Have you ever been to a website and you needed information that will enable you to take a decision only to find out that there is no system in place that supports communication? I guess that must have been very frustrating and if you intended transacting a deal, you had to abort it. It is like working into a real office and don’t find a customer relation’s officer who takes your complaints.
Owing a support system makes your visitors have confidence that they are not just interacting with a programmed system but that there is one behind the curtains who really cares about their needs. This is most important if your website is designed to receive payment. Here are some types of support system that can be used on a website:
Live Chat: Just like WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram and the likes of them, a live chat is used to communicate to a website visitor on the spot. Many a time when you come to a website, you need an answer or clarification before taking a decision on the site. A live chat can be a great support in such a situation.
Live chats need to be up, 24hrs of the day or at least during business working hours (as the case may be). That’s a major challenge with running a virtual office like a website. But the good thing about it is that you can work from anywhere. If you receive payments over your website or you intend to do so, Live chat is indispensable to boost the confidence of your visitors, else you may lose your audience and loss out on an opportunity to grow your business.
Tickets: these are messages raised to enquire about products and services or just to lay a complaint. Tickets are great ways to detail an issue and it gives you the opportunity to attach large files for further clarification. Most tickets take about 24hrs to be addressed and these replies are sent to the sender’s email address.
Phone Number: a phone number is usually situated at the header and/or footer of a website to enable a quick enquiry. When a visitor comes to a website and sees that there is a means of getting across to the owners (humans not robots), he is relaxed knowing that it is not all virtual.
Contact Forms: there are just like tickets and are used to contact the business outfit for proper and special services or to better understand a product or service.
FAQ: Short for Frequently Asked Questions. This is best used for big websites offering a range of products or services. It is a collection of questions that the website users may most probably ask when they navigate through and the answers to those questions. Apart from showing that the website owners are sensitive to the plight of the users, it also reduces the burden of replying to every enquiry made. It is best to have a page dedicated to FAQ and have a shortcut to the page on the navigation bar.
Social Media Links: most businesses maintain a social media page because it is very convenient and looks very natural to chat with a customer. A link to all your social media business pages should be attached to your website, preferably located at the footer of the website or header for easy access. With a social media link, you stand better chances of been followed so that your updates come to your customers in their own pages.
In all, a website must not necessarily have all these features but can have as many as are necessary to get win the confidence of visitors.
This is a great tool for eCommerce websites or any business website that accepts payments. It is out of order to tell customers to make payments through a bank account, send the receipt to an agent and when the agent confirms it, the customer will receive want he or she paid for. Any business that still operates like this is still in the Stone Age with a digital platform and will lose about 80% of her customers.
Payment gateways are the easiest way to receive and make payments in seconds over a website and whether the company receives the credit alert or not, the customer will get the product or service paid for because the money cannot bounce back.
Some common payment gateways available are:
PayPal: this is about the most popular in the world today. With PayPal, you can receive payment from anywhere across the globe in a matter of seconds and the money goes directly into your domestic account in your local currency. Great right?
Unfortunately, PayPal does not permit the withdrawal of funds from some countries like Nigeria and a few other African nations. You can receive payment but can’t transfer it to your local bank account. The only way to make use of the money is to purchase something from websites that uses PayPal as a payment gateway. Alternatively, you can open and operate an account from countries where PayPal has no restriction and your funds will be sent directly to that account.
Paystack: the lacuna created by PayPal in some countries is filled up by Paystack. It is owned and run by Nigerians and have a presence in about 5 African countries which includes Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia and many more. One good thing about Paystack is that you have multiple options to make payment. You can make payments with an ATM card, USSD or even bank transfer, whichever one that suits you the most.
Stripe: Just like PayPal, Stripe receives payment from across the world. It is an American company owned by Patrick Collison and has more coverage than Paystack. You can use Stripe to accept most payment types, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and several different foreign credit card networks, along with mobile wallets like Google and Apple Pay. In addition, Stripe processes over 100 different foreign currencies and converts them at no additional charge
Email Marketing System:
This is a good system for retargeting your website visitors. If a website is intentional about reaching out to her visitors, then a system that collects their email address should be in place.
People would normally not give out their email address for nothing except a bait is attached to hook them, just like in fishing. This can be a free book, free service or anything that may get your target audience excited, and for them to access it, they have to give their email address. These email addresses are collated in an email marketing system from where you can send mails to the addresses. This can be a way of occupying your target audience with your contents and also a way to sell to them. One good thing about this system is that it can be totally automated to send emails at stipulated time intervals and you have total control of the design of the email pages.
This is a type of RSS feeds and I consider it the most useful for bloggers who are interested in making their audience come back to their website again and again. Who doesn’t want that?
With subscribers, you can ask your visitors for permission to send them notification any time you put up new content on your website or blog. Once they accept that permission, every one of your new contents will able as a notification to either their phones or laptop just like a WhatsApp notification would. But this must be set on the owner’s browser. Most chrome users have this set as default.
With subscribers, you are sure your visitors will always come back again and again provided you have relevant contents.
For e-Commerce websites that are interested in tracking visitors wherever they go, this is an indispensable tool. Sometimes called Tracking Pixel or Tag Code, tracking code is a great way to follow your visitors wherever they go on the interest and put your product before them. This is more about Digital Marketing than website design.
Tracking codes can also be used to know the activities of your visitors on specific pages of your website: how long they stayed, what they viewed, actions they take and so on. This information when collated can help you understand the interests of your visitors and based on this interest, you can accommodate a look-a-like audience that mirrors such interest and advertise to them.
Again, this is best for digital marketing.
Just like subscribers, SEO tools are also good for bloggers and not just blog posts alone, but any page of your website that you want to rank higher on search engines. One striking thing about ranking high on search engines like Google is that it puts you at a vantage point among your competitors and affords you better opportunity to be seen by your potential customers, increasing your chances of conversion.
All these tools are great ways of improving your website and increasing conversion of visitors. Most of these tools are free but have trial versions which may be very good for beginners or websites with a low budget. But at Benchmark Digital, we use the premium version for the design of websites. That means you don’t have to especially pay for all these tools. We offer our clients these tools for free. Partner with us today