The Sales Website: Essential Components
As discussed in the last article, the sales website requires a Landing Page, Order Page or Shopping Cart and a Payments Page at the minimum. For a small website selling a single (or very few) products, all the three components can be accommodated on the same page.
Additionally, a sales website will need search-engine-optimized pages to get the free traffic from search engines. These are pages that are optimized for the search terms that potential customers actually use to search for your product.
The Landing Page
In the context of selling a product, the landing page serves the function of either creating a sales lead or persuading the visitor to make an immediate purchase. Sales leads involve capturing contact information so that you can follow up with the prospect in the hope of ultimately getting a sale. Lead generation pages are best for high value products and for services.
For lower value and consumer products, an immediate sale is typically preferred.
In both cases, the landing page involves persuading the visitor to take the action desired by the seller. It contains “sales copy” that typically uses the AIDA approach to get the reader take the desired action.
AIDA : AIDA stands for certain characteristics that the sales copy must possess.
- Astands for Attention Value, i.e. the sales copy must immediately catch the attention of the visitor.
- Istands for Interest Value, i.e. the copy must arouse the reader’s interest (say, by talking about a problem that the reader faces).
- Dstands for Desire Value, i.e. the copy must create a desire for the product (say, by convincingly showing how the offer is a value-for-money solution to the reader’s problem) and
- Astands for Action Value, i.e. the copy must very clearly indicate what the reader must do (such as filling up the lead-generation form or clicking the Buy Now button).
To create effective AIDA copy you must have a very clear idea about your customer – the specific problem faced by the person, the solutions available to the person at present and what kind of appeal will get the person interested in your offer.
The Order Page
In the case a single product, the order page can consist of a Buy Now button. Clicking the button will take the reader to the payment page, which might be at your site if you have made arrangements to accept payments (say, by letting the customer pay by credit card).
If you sell multiple products, you will need an on-line Shopping Cart. On-line shopping carts are pieces of software that displays different products along with relevant descriptions and other details to the shopper, and allows the person to select particular products to buy. After the selection is complete, the buyer is led to a payment page where that total order value is shown.
The Payments Page
If you want to accept credit cards directly from customers at your site, you need to complete a lot of formalities.
- You will have to open a merchant account with a bank allowing you to accept specific credit cards
- Arrange a payment gateway to link your website to the credit card processing agency and merchant bank account (if your merchant account does not come with a payment gateway)
- Create a secure page for the customers to enter their credit card details (so that the details will be encrypted before being transmitted over the Net, preventing hacking).
- Code the payments page coordinating all the above
For small sellers, it is much more practical to avail services like Google Checkout or PayPal who will attend to the formalities and provide you a simple mechanism to accept customer payments, such as the Buy Now button mentioned earlier. You can incorporate the code snippet that they provide into the code of your order page at the desired location. In case of multiple items, the button can be displayed against each item.