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24 Reasons Your Website Prospects Aren't Buying

By Fairhead Creative — Get free updates on new posts here

If you own a website, you’ll have experienced this feeling. You made, or have access to a product or service you really believe in. Enough to dedicate a small part of your life to.

The value is clear. To you. So why are people visiting your website, but not buying?

If they visited, surely they saw your offer. Surely, they saw how beneficial it could be for their life, or their business, or their cause.

They were right there on the site - what happened?

There are two things that need addressing for your target audience to start buying. And only one of them is your website. This is assuming you’ve got a solid offer, and you’re addressing the right audience.

Let’s go through each section. First, your website.

Part 1: Things to address on your website

1. Bad design

This has a bigger impact on results than you’d expect. Specifically, there’s five things that will definitely send people away as a result of your site’s design:

Long load times

A 1-second delay in your site’s response can result in a ~7% drop in conversions. That’s a big drop. Not only that, but longer response times discourage site exploration, due to a perceived increase cost in time. How many seconds does your site take to load?

You have too many ads

If your site blends ads in with content so that your content is difficult to consume - or harder to consume than the alternatives - you’re likely to lose those visitors to your competitors. As a site owner, you should be more focused on making site usage easier, not harder

The site feels untrustworthy

Some people look untrustworthy. Some streets look untrustworthy. Some websites look untrustworthy. Thankfully, of the three, your website is the easiest to fix.

If a website is poorly designed, it reflects on the business - the poorer the site design, the more inexperienced you appear, and the less likely you’ll be deemed ‘worthy’ of conversions.

Additionally, few visitors will feel comfortable entering email addresses or credit card details into a poorly designed site.

It’s glitchy

If your layout is broken, if your buttons don’t work, if your images don't load, or the site doesn’t work properly on your prospect's device of choice, you’re likely going to lose them.

Again, it shows a lack of care and attention to detail. If your website doesn’t work properly, is that the level of service we can expect from your product or service? The question is raised, if your site is glitchy.

It’s cookie-cutter

In theory it makes sense that if your competitors do things a certain way, that surely that must be the right way to do it. Or if lots of other websites look a certain way, that they have it right and the alternatives are wrong.

That’s not necessarily true. If you look like everyone else, your visitors may opt for a more memorable brand instead.

Similarly, if your site uses an off-the-shelf design, you void your brand of any personality at all - this can cause your design to appear untrustworthy, as we mentioned above.

2. Bad customer experience

If you’ve not seriously considered your ‘customer experience’, we can assume your site has a problem in this area. Here’s five things that will definitely send people away as a result of your site’s customer experience:

No experience mapping

An effective map of your customer’s experience on your site won’t be seen, but it’ll definitely be felt. Visitors will get the sense that you’ve anticipated their wants and needs exactly at the right time. That you’ve offered them content and assistance when they needed it. That your call to action speaks directly to their personal needs.

These things can happen by accident without a proper experience map. But it’s rare. In a future article, we’ll unpack how to incorporate experience maps into your website.

You use ‘organization-down' navigation

“Organization-down” means that your navigation reflects the hierarchical nature of your company. Departments, product catalogs and infrastructure often find their way into websites in exactly the same way as their corporate structure would have them mapped out.

“User-up” means that you navigation reflects the nature of your prospect’s needs, rather than the structure of your company. This approach to navigation attempts to group content based on the way your audience would group content and functionality. Best results come when users are tested using techniques such as Card Sorting (which we’ll cover in a future article).

It’s just too much work

One of the jobs your website has is to take away the work from your prospects, making it as easy as possible to do what they want to do.

For example, if you want to gather data from your users, give them a compelling reason to do so. An email signup form is much more motivating when there’s clear value associated with filling it in. Similarly, requesting a minimal amount of data allows prospects to complete the action with a minimal amount of work.

The easier it is to complete an action, the more likely that action is to be completed.

3. Bad content

Content is the core of every page online, every message you’ll communicate, and every conversion you'll make online. Getting it right is critically important - here’s 5 things to think about when creating content, or updating your archives:

It’s boring

If you look great, you’ve considered all the angles, you have great value to offer but you’re boring, you’re going to lose those prospects.

Some of our clients are in pretty boring markets. Their competition is drab, slow and comfortable. This has often been an opportunity to stand out, stop being boring, and motivate their visitors to buy.

Remember, whatever the market is doing, people are still people: they enjoy boredom just as much as you and me.

You’re a mystery

What’s your story? What’s your mission? Who are you, even? Do you have an About page?

You know who you are, what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and why your prospects should care. It’s massively important that your prospects know those things, too.

You don’t know who you’re writing for

If your headline has “we” or “I” in it instead of “you” or “your” in it, you might be writing for the wrong crowd.

You care about what you do; your company cares about what your company does. Your prospects don’t care about any of that - they want to know how they benefit, or they’re gone. Help your prospects to see your value by turning the focus away from what you do and towards what they gain.

You’re not using natural language

Your target audience walks and talks in certain ways. It laughs at some jokes but not at others. It has trending hobbies and interests.

When you create content for your audience, remember who they are as people - and speak to them in a way that they understand, that resonates, and creates an emotional connection with them. This will increase your chances that they’ll stick around, potentially increase loyalty, and increase conversions.

You don’t know your audience’s preferred medium

Does your target audience prefer to read long-form content or look at animated gifs? Do they prefer diving into books or watching videos?

Armed with this information, you’ll be able to create the content your audience is looking for. If your content is closer to their ideal medium than your competition’s, they’ll choose you even if your content is the same.

4. Bad marketing

Good marketing will carry you out of obscurity and into the minds of your target audience. Since the web is an international market place, there’s plenty of marketing to compete against. Thankfully, most of your competition is still stuck in obscurity. Here’s 6 things to check in your online marketing, to make sure you’re not one of them:

You don’t provide value out of the gate

When I first encounter you, before I know what you do, before I know if I can trust you, before I know if you’re any good, do you ask me to buy something?

Think of ways you can give immediate value to your prospects at first contact. This'll buy you the time to prove yourself to them. If they can sense that you’re in the market to make their lives better somehow, rather than to take all their money, they’ll be more likely to warm to you and your brand.

Your message isn’t clear

A great product that nobody understands isn’t going to get many buyers. For example, when MP3 players were still popular, Apple marketed iPod capacity in number of songs, rather than in MB/GB. They used vernacular their audience could better relate to.

Try to communicate to your audience in a way that they understand and relate to.

To put another way, if you have an inventory of electric drills, sell holes. Not drills.

Your USP isn’t clear

What sets you apart from your competitors? Why would somebody choose you over your competition? What do you do differently, or better, than everybody else?

If these factors are unclear, you risk becoming a commodity. But if you can clearly articulate them, you stand a much better chance of becoming the only logical choice for your prospects to opt for.

You don’t capture and act on data

Websites have a plethora of data available on them. Which pages are most popular? Where do people get to those pages from, and how long do they stay for? Where specifically did they click to get there? Did they hesitate before clicking? When was the last time that person visited your site? Is that person subscribed to your email list?

All of this data is available to you, and you can dynamically amend your website’s content to reflect the data you have.

You can also use this data to learn about how to update, change and grow your website, based on what’s working and what isn’t.

Human-contact is out of reach

If I want to pick up the phone and talk to you, can I do that? If I want to type to a human instead of digging around for what I want (hopefully a problem you don’t have, thanks to a solid customer experience map) then can I do that?

Some prospects are going to want to speak directly with somebody rather than clicking around, even if the experience is clear. You’ll want to give them that ability. Don’t hide your contact information: put it front and center.

Direct contact is also a great source of data. Perhaps your prospect couldn’t find the page they were looking for, or their device wasn’t supported by your website. This is all data you can use to make your site stronger.

I can’t find social proof

People are social creatures. Has anybody bought what you’re selling before, or am I the first customer you’ve ever had?

It sounds silly, but without social proof, I may as well be your first ever customer. I’ve no way of knowing anything different.

Add testimonials, reviews, ratings and gained media to prove to your customers that, if they choose you, that they’re in the company of hundreds of happy customers.

Part 2: Things to address for your customer

We’ve covered some key areas of your website that will hopefully shed some light on why people visit your website, but not buy.

Next up is the most important part of your website’s success: the customer.

If your customers aren’t prepared to buy, they won’t buy. You’ll be met with indifference, cynicism, fear, a lack of confidence or just procrastination.

Let’s unpack those responses, why they happen, and what we can do about them.

1. Indifference

This happens when your prospects haven’t been given enough of a reason to care about what you’re offering them.

It’s probably a great offer, too. And exactly what they need. But if there’s no emotive reason care, they won’t pull the trigger.

Make it so they can’t not care: make your offer all about them, rather than all about your offer itself. For example, I wouldn’t buy a cruise becomes of the specifications of the ship. I’d buy a cruise because of how happy it’ll make my wife when she gets there. Make it about them.

2. Cynicism

This has a tendency to happen when there’s a lack of trust between the prospect and your brand. They’re wondering if you’re just blowing smoke.

Whether you’re increasing bottom lines or decreasing bikini lines, there needs to be a certain level of trust before a transaction will take place.

Prove it to them. Show them what other people say about your offer. Show them the results you got for them. Give them examples of your work so they can see the quality of your offer themselves. Make it easy to get in, and easy to back out. If your prospects trust you, cynicism is off the table.

3. Fear

This one can be crippling for both prospects and businesses. If your prospect is scared to make a transaction, they’re in a bind - how do they move out of fear without making a buying decision?

But what if they make the wrong decision? What if they don’t get the results they need? What if?

Show them the ROI they can expect if they choose you. Build safety into the transaction, by putting more of the risk on you and less of the risk on them. If you’re selling medication for their problem, and it doesn’t work, can they get their money back? Perhaps then they’ll give you a shot?

You know it’ll work. They don’t. Discover what their fears are and work hard to take them away. It’s your obligation in your marketplace to do that, more so than any of the other 4 in this section.

4. Lack of confidence

I think this one is second only to Fear. Perhaps your prospects aren’t fearful of whether they’ll get the results, but don’t have the confidence in themselves to make the decision.

Perhaps they doubt whether they’ll do what’s expected of them to get the results they’re looking for from your offer.

Perhaps they need validation from their spouses, kids, parents and fifth-grade math teacher before they feel like they’re making the right decision.

When your prospects have a lack of confidence, empower them. Build them up to a state of authentic confidence so they can make the decision to buy.

Give them social proof - it may not have the aforementioned math teacher among the names, but it’ll sure go a long way. Show them how easy it is for them to get it right.

The more you empower these prospects, the more confident they’ll be to take you up on your offer.

5. Procrastination

Some prospects aren’t indifferent, cynical, fearful or lacking in confidence. Some are just lazy.

Maybe there’s something else that’s got their attention right now (maybe a competitor?) or maybe they figure you’ll still be there tomorrow. And the day after that.

Procrastinators may even intend to buy from you. Just… later.

These prospects need a reason to take action today. Build scarcity and urgency into your offer. Whether you need to communicate your ever-declining inventory, or a price reduction that only lasts for X more days. Whatever it is, try to build scarcity to your offer so that your prospects are motivated to take action.

What are you going to do about it?

These steps help identify what we need to do to get your audience what they need to respond to your offer. The list isn’t exhaustive, but if you take action some of these, you’ll see real results.

But taking action isn’t easy. That’s why I’ve prepared an action plan for you to download, use, and track your progress. That way, you’ll be able to see if you’re really making a difference, or if you’re just reading without taking action.

Download it now, and email us with the form below to let us know how it goes.

Speaking of how it goes, which of these points do you think your website struggles with the most right now? Are any points news to you? Let us know in the form!

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Next steps

There’s a lot of stuff to do to make your web presence work.

A lot of it may be entirely new to you.

You can’t just wing this stuff. Well, you can, but you’ll discover very quickly how ineffective that is.

But - if you have all this spelled out for you, step-by-step, you can see exactly how to make this work.

We’ve created that step-by-step guide for you.

It’s yours already. No charge. All you need to do is download it.

If you’re not sure it’ll be worth it, or if you think it’ll just be one long pitch, that’s understandable.

There’s a lot of that in our industry.

The good news is, it’s not a pitch. It’s a guide.

If you didn’t know already, we’re here to help difference makers make a difference. That’s it.

So download it now, while it’s still available, and let us know if you have any questions. We’re here to help you succeed.

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