Getting Noticed

Cheryl Cain
The current times of increased competition demand better scrutiny as to how you present your wares for sale. Surfing the various media outlets available, it never ceases to amaze me how often I see one line of text or shabby front images used to advertise a product.

The initial impact of your presentation, especially the first impression, can be the difference between turning a sale or allowing the click to pass you by. Most webmasters have taken that message to heart when advertising their primary websites with the flashy tours and dazzling graphics, but the same care needs to filter down to all your products.

Unfortunately, lack of care is evident in the application of so-called free sites, link lists and TGP systems that seem to overflow and crowd the Internet. How many times have you seen the old one liner, "16 images of whoopee happening over here?" That's not exactly a good example of a glitzy and glamorous upsell.

With the popularity of video-on-demand, pay-per-view and pay-per-click programs on the upswing, it's amazing that this "slap-it-up-and-let-it-rip" mentality not only persists, but permeates the per-item sale market. How many of these assumed excellent products are bypassed simply because nothing caught the surfer's eye because it mixed in with everything else?

Many webmasters suggest saying as little as possible and letting the natural flow of curiosity on the part of the surfer do the work for you. While that path does merit consideration, it does not necessarily merit industry-wide application.

Take, for example, any niche market, which by its very definition suggests a core audience, a targeted audience. Curiosity seekers already are drawn to the subject matter; there's nothing to be gained by poorly defined offerings that they blindly click on in the hopes of finding something that trips their trigger.

That point is amplified when you are dealing with pay-per-item products. The last thing you want is a potential new customer buying an item blindly that he or she has no interest in. They're going to feel like they wasted their cash and head back to familiar ground, and you will be left with a single sale and a greatly reduced chance of repeat business, not to mention the possibility of a charge back. Not exactly the best way to foster a loyal customer base.

There is something to be said for pre-qualifying your product, and the best way to do that is by beefing up the presentation. If you are using an image, take a cue from the mainstream commercial market and put your best foot forward. Use a clean, sharp image that is representative of the content surfers will find once the hit that "buy" link. Any text used should be descriptive of the actual content involved, and not like every other advertisement text on the page.

Obviously, the page itself should be pleasing to the eye – leave the jumbled mass of links to the free sites. In short, take the same care in building your presentations as you would for a premium-site tour page.

Yes, perhaps you may lose a few curiosity clicks by pre-qualifying your materials; but realistically, those buyers weren't interested in your offer to begin with, they just didn't know it. What you will wind up with are interested buyers, and assuming you are offering a quality product to begin with, repeat customers. Every webmaster is focused on repeat sales, or at least they should be. You want to develop a loyal following, people who will want to return to your sales page because they received what you advertised and it was their cup of tea.

Developing a satisfied and loyal customer base is what it's all about. It is the basics of why we're in this industry to begin with. A newer breed of savvy users is all over the Internet. One-line grab bags or shoddy presentations aren't luring this kind of customer in anymore. They're looking for quality of substance; they want to feel that their money was well spent. If you want to grab the attention of this type of surfer, you need to do a heck of a lot more than, "16 images of whoopee happening over here."