How to make your website a sales machine

David Ogilvy was a legendary adman and salesman who cut his teeth selling stoves door to door. Decades ago, Ogilvy said, “The worst fault a salesman can commit is to be a bore. Foster any attempt to talk about other things; the longer you stay, the better you get to know the prospect, and the more you will be trusted.”

Now think about this in regard to your website. Is it boring? Strike one. Is it loaded with content and are there lots of things to talk about? If not, then strike two. Is it sticky? Are people spending ample time on your site? If they aren’t, strike three. Are you building trust by way of your website, nurturing leads, adding value because of your content, and being a thought leader? If not, strike four.

Here are a few approaches to your next website redesign project that would win Ogilvy’s approval.

Website design is always based on contentthe content you have now and the content your strategic website brief indicates you’ll have in the future. As improbable as it sounds, there are still plenty of Web companies that start the process with design. Wrong. You’re going to have a more compelling design that’s less boring when you start with content.

Websites are content-critical. You should have a lot to talk about because you do have satisfied customers who are probably willing to share how pleased they are with your company.



If you want people to spend time on your site, find out what your audience wants. Do a little voice-of-customer research and give the people what they want, which is a lot less about you and a lot more about solving problems.

I think it’s high time we apply the trust barometer to websites. People can spot a pretender faster than you can say Bernie Madoff. Build trust and nurture leads by being consistently insightful. They’ll come back for more as long as you’re willing to put more into it.

Your website should be a sales machine. Part David Ogilvy, part Dale Carnegie, and part Erica Feidner. Erica who? Oh yes, she’s the one who sold more than $40 million in Steinway pianos in spite of an incredibly long sales cycle and virtually no repeat purchases.

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