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Selling Online vs Selling Offline – What’s The Difference?

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    It amazes me how often website owners have this strange idea that selling online is radically different from selling offline!

    As a business owner, would you set strict guidelines for your sales staff that they were only allowed to say 10, 20, or even 50 words (maximum) to a prospective client before they ask for the sale?

    Of course not! You’d think that was stupid, wouldn’t you?

    Yet, time and time again, I see websites that are trying to sell something (whether it’s a product or service is immaterial) that do just this.

    Let me explain…

    If you have a page on your site “selling” the virtues of a specific product or service that you offer, and you only have a small description of that product or service (say… ‘10, 20, or even 50 words‘), then guess what; You just instructed your website to sell in a way in which you would consider it totally foolish to sell in person.

    You see, for some strange reason, many people have got caught up in the belief that “less is more” and it’s more stylish to have minimalist text content on your website.

    Lets be totally clear about 1 thing here:

    Visitors to your website will not buy if they don’t know/trust you and don’t have enough information to make a quality decision.

    There are so many choices available for just about any product/service available for sale on the open market today for a potential customer to take a risk on an unknown quantity, and a small sales blurb is almost (99.99% likely) guaranteed to not overcome the risk concerns of that potential buyer.

    Even if they were looking to buy a well known product with great brand recognition and market reputation (such as an Apple iPod, for example), they’d still need to know that the people behind your website were trustworthy enough to give their credit card details to, in order to purchase from you.

    If I had a website selling iPods, not only would I ensure that every single product had a comprehensive description of its features, functions and benefits, but I’d also ensure that I did everything I could (with text, images and even audio/video, if available) to build trust with the site visitor, so that they felt safe buying from my website.

    Just as a side note, the other major advantage of including plenty of descriptive text with each product description is that it creates good SEO keyword relevence for that product/page.

    If we went back to the example of selling iPods, not only should I have the full product name in the title (ex. Apple iPod Touch 8GB), but the full description of that product, including dimensions, colour/s, options and features/functions.

    The more on-topic descriptive text, the better, from an SEO point of view.

    Anyway, back to selling online…

    If you want to get the very best sales conversions from your website, then you need to actually sell!

    That means clearly explaining what the product/service is, how it works, what benefits it offers a prospective buyer, and (perhaps most importantly) why they should buy from you, when there are so many other choices available to them.

    If you wouldn’t limit your sales people to 10-20 words to make a sale, then why on earth would you inflict this on your website, which can and does make sales for you, even when you’re asleep?

    I’m guessing that one reason (aside from ignorance) that site owners do this is because they either don’t know what to write or it’s too much work to write 100, 200, 500 (or more, as required) words to help sell their product or service.

    If this is a challenge for you, then try recording your best sales person making a live sales presentation for that product/service and have the audio transcribed, and then edit it for appropriateness and use that text content on your website.

    Also, consider hiring a professional copywriter who has experience selling in print, and get them to write your product/service descriptions and sales spiel.

    Yes, it will cost more and take longer, but at the end of the day, it will make sales a hell of a lot better than the brief 10-20 word description you originally used, you’ll notice the difference in your bottom line.

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