Are Your Online Sales Slipping? This Could Be Why …

Women on slip-and-slide

Don’t let your customers slip away!

It’s never easy to lose thousands of dollars every month to your competitors.

The company (let’s call it Company X) used to be at the top of their game. Product sales were brisk. Their testimonials were excellent. They dominated Google search results for their main keyphrases.

Then, things started to slow. “It’s seasonal,” thought the CMO. “There’s nothing to worry about.”

Two years and many seasons later, business was down by 50%. The product quality hadn’t changed. In fact, nothing internally had changed.

And that was the problem.

Externally, the marketplace had changed – a lot. There were new competitors. Some trends had shifted. The target audience was looking for slightly different benefits presented in a slightly different way.

People were still buying. But not from Company X. The fantastic reviews, great testimonials and top search rankings weren’t enough.

What happened?

Many companies look at outside causes when sales slow down. It’s the economy. It’s a seasonal slowdown. Times are tough “everywhere.”

Yet, the problem can often lie with something completely controllable.

The site copy.

If your sales are slowing and you don’t know why, it’s time to take a hard look at your site content. Here are some steps to take:

Pay close attention to new competitors. What is their unique positioning statement and how does it compare to yours? How well do they discuss their benefit statements? Are they using a tone and feel that resonates better with the target audience? You don’t want to copy a competitor’s strategy. But you can learn from them.

Consider how the marketplace has changed. A major benefit two years ago may get a “meh” response from prospects today. Survey (or preferably, chat with) current customers and learn what’s important to them now. The information you learn can help you A/B test different benefit statements and see what resonates with your audience.

Review your keyphrase research. When’s the last time you reviewed your keyphrase research? Phrases that worked great a few years ago may be too limiting today. See if you can capitalize on new keyphrases, especially ones that target prospects at an earlier phase of the buy cycle.

Review all of your marketing collateral. ALL of it. This means your autoresponders, your site copy, your LinkedIn profile – everything. Chances are, you’ll find some cringe-worthy blog posts, some typos and some messaging that’s outdated and stale. Figure out a plan for addressing your copywriting blind spots and fix them.  If you think your site sounds stale, just imagine what your readers think.

Get an outsider’s opinion. It’s easy to let our egos get in the way of smart sales copy. We may love our writing. But our readers may not. Your copy may be perceived as “too overwhelming.” You may not be providing enough information. Or, your content could be so filled with marketing speak that your reader doesn’t really know what you’re selling. Hiring a consultant (or even asking a trusted colleague to help) can often uncover some quick, easy fixes you can make.

Does this mean you may have to revamp all of your site content? Perhaps. Or, you may be able to make some strategic SEO and content tweaks that can have a huge impact. The key is to immediately develop a strategic plan and start doing something.  After all, there’s no reason to let your so-so content result in lost sales opportunities.

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Creative Commons licensed photo thanks to Jeffrey Smith.

5 replies
  1. Tim Garrett
    Tim Garrett says:

    How incredibly useful was this article, everyone? Whether one is in a corporate area or business owner, this review and marketing collateral review should be an on-going (at least) quarterly process. Thanks, Heather!

  2. Ashish T
    Ashish T says:

    Amazing Content. Thanks for sharing. competitive analysis is very important for modern day business. Once must focus on their business processes and align it with appropriate technology. It always helps in increasing productivity.
    Thanks for sharing

  3. Kevin Carlton
    Kevin Carlton says:

    Hi Heather

    Successful eCommerce stores regularly bring in new product ranges and continually work at improving their website. That way, they keep the shopping experience fresh and adapt to the changing online marketplace.

    Similarly, high-street stores change their shop window displays all the time and and stay on top of current purchasing trends.

    With a traditional website, all you’ve got is your website design/branding and the words that are on it.

    So it surely makes sense to keep your content regularly updated.

    And, yep, you can find stale, outdated, cringe-worthy content on practically every website. I certainly found it on my own site the last time I reviewed it.

    • Heather Lloyd-Martin
      Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Hey, Kevin!

      You’re exactly right. Updating your site is crucial. One of those “easy to talk about, hard to remember to do” kind of things. :)

      When was the last time you reviewed your site? I’m in the process of tweaking things myself….

  4. Kevin Carlton
    Kevin Carlton says:


    I last reviewed mine back in May, when the site was only about 18 months old.

    And I couldn’t believe some of the nonsense I’d originally written.

    At the moment, my static pages are still quite text heavy. But that’s no bad thing when you have a fairly young site with relatively few blog posts on it.

    I’ll probably review it again next year and start streamlining the content on each page.


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