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7 measurable ways to reduce company costs with your Web site (pt. 2 of 2)

Continuing towards replacing those "information only" Websites with profitable business applications, we look atáthe final 3 ways to reduce company costs.

Last article we looked at reducing customer and lead acquisition costs, Web site maintenance costs, and prospecting costs. This time we'll address a few more cost-reducing objectives.

As mentioned before, let's work towards replacing those "information only" Web sites with profitable business applications. And don't forget to send me a photo of your new life-size bronze statue.

Back to the grind...

4. Reduce call center volume

"Does it include a warrantee?" "What's your return policy?" "Is your software compatible with my operating system?" "Do I get fries with that?"

Companies waste thousands of dollars each week addressing common questions over the phone that can be answered online. One of the easiest ways to reduce this cost with your Web site is to resolve these concerns as they originate. When done correctly, it also helps influence your prospect's decision to buy.

By no means do I recommend you abandon phone support or customer service. I merely suggest you take a proactive approach and address common concerns with your Web site to free up the phone lines for more critical questions.

5. Reduce sales cycle time

The uniqueness, complexity, and investment size (or cost) typically dictates the amount of education time needed to close a sale. Consequently, as these variables go up, so does your sales cycle time.

Most service industry cycles conclude with human interaction, but that doesn't mean a Web site can't make the sale easier or expedite the process. Your Web site should help educate prospects, overcome their objections, influence their buying decision, persuade them through purchase, and ultimately shorten the "lead to close" timeframe.

6. Reduce time (and success) to market

Time to market is loosely defined as the length of time required to move a product or service from concept to marketplace. During the concept stage, it's important to determine whether or not the offering is viable.

If you learn nobody will buy your new mousetrap, cut your losses, swallow your pride, and move on. Sure, pulling the plug on a "great idea" is easier said than done, but you can always try again next year. If you learn prospects want your McSuper mousetrap with cheese, find out why. Qualitative research is key.

Your Web site should help collect the answers you need, fine-tune your marketing message, start a dialog with customers, and prime the group for launch.

7. Reduce obsolete and excess inventory

Selling multiple products online can be quite costly, especially when your fulfillment center and warehousing costs eat away at profit margin. Use your Web site to bring down high inventory levels.

Look to traditional retail store management and merchandising strategies for guidance. For decades, storeowners have perfected clearance sales, end of season promotions, two-for-one bargains, and free add-ons to quickly lower unwanted inventory levels.

If you're not willing to reduce price or slim profit margin, use your Web site to exploit these items. Place advertisements on your own high traffic pages and manipulate your on-site search utility. Ever wonder why retail outlets place merchandise upfront or way in the back? You can implement these same strategies online. Be creative and study the past to better understand the present.

Best of allScience Articles, your Web site is measurable. You will quickly learn the strategies and tactics that work best by measuring effectiveness at the micro-level.

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Rick Costello, The Web Site Profit Doctor is a Chicago Area Web Designer and Internet Marketing Consultant who provides Web site help services that result in increased eCommerce revenue and more captured sales leads. Services range from basic web design help to complex Web analytics & Search Engine Marketing.

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