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Why you should imagine you have an online store

Once upon a time, business marketing was about putting yourself out there, so that when the time came, prospective buyers would call you up and discuss if your products or services were what they needed. Now, almost every business marketer is complaining that the enquiries are either drying up, or need a lot more investment to generate them.

Have you ever stopped to consider that you may be going after the wrong thing? Does the traditional enquiry from an early-stage prospect really exist any more? I think that a whole generation of customers out there expects to have to do the research work themselves nowadays. They don’t think: “I need a fast blue widget, so I’ll just compile a list of everyone who makes widgets, and send them a message asking if they can provide blue ones. To keep it simple, I’ll wait until they call to discuss if they can also do some which are fast enough for my requirement.”

Instead, they spend an hour or two on the web, and find a supplier which can make a blue widget that’s fast enough for their needs. Then they contact them to find out the cost.

You might be number one on Google for blue widgets, but today’s customers are quite happy to browse through the websites of the suppliers from the first two or three pages of Google results until they find one which can definitely supply exactly what they need. And they’ll probably need to go through that many websites, because most simply can’t cope with even this rudimentary level of research.

No decent product descriptions on your website, just loads of marketing waffle about your complete capability to cater for any customer’s needs? Next! All of the technical stuff hidden in downloadable documents which will be sent through if you’ll just fill in this form first? Next!

Take a tip from those companies who run online stores. Having a webstore might not be applicable to your market, but the lessons learned there most certainly are. What these companies will tell you is that unless you can answer every possible question that a customer might have, the customer won’t buy. So the more technical detail, reviews, illustrations and commentary you can provide, the more likely you are to provide the unpredictable piece of information which that unknown customer needs to know, and the more will buy from you.

If you can do one thing to increase sales enquiries today, it will be to increase the amount of content on your website. If you expect to just paint a broad picture and the customers will then come to you for the answers to their questions, you may be in for a long wait.

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