Sunday, December 31, 2006

Part two of good business advice

6. Offer Rewards for Opt-Ins

Everyone enjoys acquiring free products. Offering a free product as a premium for Opt-in customers must have a perceived value relevant to your clients needs. Here again, you must offer a bonus that will generously provide your future client with an aid to the solution for their existing problem or desires. The bonus should always have a value attached, whether it is monetary or a way to cleverly save precious time or money.

The bonus should also be solid with relevant information pertaining to the customers needs. The potential customer will appreciate that and award you with a vote of confidence.

7. Offer Quick Tips on your Home Page

Offering quick tips to your clients on your home page will inevitably increase your site's reviews. Everyone is always on the lookout for short cuts or new ways to accomplish tasks that will cleverly save them precious time and or money.

Try to post new quick tips weekly if possible, and let all your clients know this. Quick Tips also carry long lived value. Your Quick Tips weekly column introduces a curiosity factor to your clients. What will they miss if they fail to view your site this week?

8. Set-up an auto-responder program that Pre-sells

Set-up your auto-responder as a public relations tool. Your auto-responder message should be set-up to notify your clients regarding new events, products, articles, or anything else that may primarily benefit your client. Developing curiosity is your main goal with your messages.

Remember, you are not trying to sell them anything; you are establishing trust between you and your prospective client. Your site is there to help the client with their needs or desires. Your website provides solutions to their immediate demands. Do not become a used car salesman here, become a close friend that cares!

9. Research

Compare similar websites that offer the same types of services you offer. Review their popularity at Alexa offers a free service that determines traffic rankings, related links, and more for all websites. Visit their site and download the free toolbar.

Reviewing similar websites will aid you with your decision on how to better your own site with regards to popularity.

When reviewing your competitor's website, pay special attention to their website layout, design, bonus offers (if any), and navigation to pages of interest, and overall presentation. Ask yourself, what was your first impression of the site, was it easy to navigate, was it relevant to your demands, what could you do better to vastly improve their site, and finally, would you return to this site?

10. Establish a Perceived Value to your Website

By following and practicing the previous steps of this article, your website is destined to ultimately achieve success. The last step to your success is establishing a perceived value for your website.
Just what is perceived value?

Perceived value is the potential benefits a consumer expects from a product or service. Also, this is a form of branding (developing awareness of a name or product).

Take for an example Wal-Mart. When this name is mentioned, what are your thoughts?
Friendly place to shop.
Great selection of products to choose from.
Assumption of outstanding pricing.
Established name that is well trusted.

In your mind you have determined that these are some of the influencing factors most companies should have to make you feel comfortable and confident while shopping there. Some prices may be higher, but you feel satisfied with your perceived value of such a business.

Understanding your customer is priceless, and learning how to obtain their confidence in your services is the real challenge.

Provide service to your potential customer as a close friend, not as a percentage.

Roy King, is the editor for Ecom Newspaper, which is dedicated to provide Ecommerce news, information, and articles of interest for home-based Internet businesses. Tips, Tricks, Techniques, and Secrets are revealed by the Guru's of the Ecommerce world within our online newspaper. Stop by and visit us at: Have a Great E-Commerce Day.... Roy King

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Good business advice

I found a good article today that I want to share. It’s really too long for one blog post so I’ll print the author’s first 5 suggestions today and his last 5 tomorrow.

It’s called “Make more money online with less customers” by Roy King.

Most website owners are on the Internet to ultimately earn money. Internet marketing, traffic building, and search engine optimization has become a difficult challenge for all who seek the financial rewards from their ecommerce ventures.
There are many ways to direct traffic to one's website, a few are free, but most will cost you time, money, and patience to gradually develop.

Many experts who have carefully analyzed Internet traffic patterns admit that your website visitor will give you between 5 -10 seconds to influence them to stay.
When you actually think about this, 5-10 seconds is a very short time to convince anyone about anything.

Now you are expected to reassure a new client that has for the first time visited your site that your site is relevant to their immediate demands and desires, and will provide them with the primary solutions to their problems. How can this be done?

Traditionally an acceptable online conversion rate for Opt-in clients versus buyers is about 1-2 percent. Simply put, one out of 100 visitors will possibly purchase from your website. These are just terrible odds.

The vast majority of the ecommerce community seem to willingly accept these percentages as a part of doing business online. Most website owners constantly spend tons of money developing SEO tactics along with paid advertisements to lure bigger volumes of prospects to visit their website with no regards to super weak conversion ratios.

New traffic should always be a priority, but persuading prospects to buyers should rank supreme.

Let's say for an example that your established website incorporates 10,000 opt-in clients. The traditional conversion rate is about 1.5 percent. These figures equal a potential sum of about 150 buying customers out of 10,000 clients.

Now let's raise the bar to a 10 percent conversion rate. We now have 1000 consumers that have purchased from us, that's an increase of 850 buyers from the same opt-in list.

Well you say, ok, but who actively produces a conversion rate of 10 percent?
The answer is site owners who really understand their clients!
Here are 10 steps to help you make more money online with fewer customers....

1. Evaluate your website.
Simplicity is the key here. The simpler the better. Review the biggest revenue bearing website on the world wide web today... This site is as simple as it gets, that's the way the web visitors like.

Simple navigation to destination articles or products should not be a difficult hurdle. Just click on a subject or title and you’re there, period. A maze of links and clicks turn visitors off. Make it simple and to the point.

Article or product links should be within 2 clicks. Your client should not have to thoroughly search your site for the pertinent information that they may desire. Remember you have less than 10 seconds to convince that client that this is the place for them, or else, click, they’re gone!

2. Clearly present what your website is all about.
Your main header (headline) should clearly state what your website has to offer. Your potential customers should not have to guess or get frustrated while trying to determine the relevance of your site. Your customer is there to seek solutions to his or her problems; it's your job to resolve them, not to create another problem.

3. Establish your website with statements of confidence.
Your website presentation should carefully place confidence into your visitors mind as a trusted authority of facts, information, or for products in demand.

4. Using Power words, Phrases, and Emotional Triggers.
Compile a list of intelligent words that interact with your customer and your website peaking your customer’s interest.

Power words are the essential ingredients to a successful website. These words respond with the mindset of your customer's needs and the fundamental reason they are there.

Power words further develop curiosity in your customer's mind. Can this product or informative article resolve my problem? Power words relate to the primary resolution of their problem, concerns, or desires. The more frequently you can establish a mutual relationship between your client's problems and the different ways you could possibly solve them, the more sales you will ultimately make.

5. Establish a Perceived Value to Opt-In.
New clients will not give their email addresses out willingly to just anyone. Most customers already have flooded e-mail boxes with junk e-mail. Customers do not like receiving worthless junk mail that is annoying and consuming their time.

Never try to sell your customers anything with your e-mail messages. Emails to clients should be committed to establish complete confidence and curiosity within your valued client. Email should be used as a tool to credibly connect the message that your website is a realistic resolution to their problems or desires. You definitely desire your customer to be eager to open your e-mail having them feeling confident that you will be helping them. Remember, this is your invitation to your website.

Simply stated, these types of emails are called pre-sells. Making your client aware that your their trusted friend, and are here to help them. Concentrate your efforts for a long-term relationship. Your main goal here is having your client enjoy receiving your emails and visiting your website.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

2007 Penguin Calendars

2006 may be ending, but you can bet the worlds love affair with penguins isn’t! Penguins were everywhere this; dancing in movies, selling every type of merchandise and just being adorable in their little tuxedos.

If you haven’t gotten your 2007 calendar yet, why not get a penguin calendar. We guarantee it will bring you a smile!

Penguin calendars

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Back to normal

CafePress was back to normal today so I got my new Spring Break 2007 line uploaded. It seems weird to be working on that instead of Christmas, but with only 3 days until Christmas the shopping for that is pretty much over. (Certainly the online shopping!) Next stop Valentine’s Day!

I have also been working on finishing up all the reading I started when the site was down. Tomorrow I need to catch up on my ads again…

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

CafePress still down

I couldn’t get into might site at all today. I did manage to get on the forums for a little while and found out that some sites could get on intermittently, some were having no problems and some couldn’t get on at all. But, for the most part it is considered down.

We got an e-mail from management tonight stressing that this doesn’t compromise security and compared it to 500 people all rushing the entry door to a store at the same time and causing a traffic jam.

I’ve been using my time to catch up on reading. Mostly about e-mail marketing and writing web content. I’ve still got a stack of saved articles to get through.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Some days it just doesn’t pay

Yesterday I started working on my Spring Break 2007 line and was really moving along adding products to my Back to School section. (Which I may have to rename to be more generic college now that I think about it. If anyone has an idea for a name for that section, feel free to leave a comment.)

Anyway, all of a sudden I couldn’t upload and then CaféPress’s site went down. I did other online things for the rest of the night, but although the site was up this morning, I still couldn’t upload. I was out most of today and evening, but it is no better tonight.

From the forums I learned CafePress suffered a DOS attack. According to Webopedia this is: Short for denial-of-service attack, a type of attack on a network that is designed to bring the network to its knees by flooding it with useless traffic.

It’s really messed things up and pretty much killed productivity for a couple million shopkeepers.

This is definitely not one of the joys of online store ownership!

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Lucky T-shirt

One of the hardest thing about adding new designs is deciding which section to put it in. I have a list of about 20 designs I want to create and put in my shop, but it is slow going to get it right.

Today I add a “Lucky T-shirt” and decided to put it with my Back to School stuff – thinking college kids wearing it for exams, games, sports and dates.

I will probably end up creating a Misc. section or a Random section someday.


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Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Year’s Resolutions

Only 2 weeks until New Year’s Eve! This is about the time I started my store last year. My original idea was putting what you were giving up for your New Year’s Resolution on t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, aprons, caps, mouse pads, stamps, buttons, magnets, etc.

The store has evolved quite a bit and my New Year’s Resolution items are now just one section of the shop. But, givitup is still all about fresh starts and positive changes. Whether you are giving up a bad habit or putting on a good one it' s been proven that goals shared stick better! So show the world - it might just inspire them to make a change too!

Whether it's: regrets, excuses, or road rage, share it with others on your choice of over 90 items. givitup

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stocking up on Greeting cards

I was looking for cards for a slew of birthdays I have coming up and realized my stash was empty! I usually keep a couple dozen on hand so I don’t have to run to the store, or worse, miss someone’s big day. But, in the rush of Christmas cards and gift I let it run out.

Here’s an online store with a really nice selection of not only birthday cards, but also all the
holidays and events coming up. I intend to re-stock from here!

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

E-mail marketing

I’m finally getting enough subscribers on my store for a newsletter to go out. I’ve been looking around for a good and professional system and found this:

Why not make a resolution to stay in better contact with your customers? Constant Contact's solid, professional, and fully CAN-SPAM Act compliant E- Mail Marketing Services Constant Contact transmits some 35 million messages a month for thousands of companies to eager recipients. This "take the high road" approach to E-Mail Marketing is responsible for countless success stories for real businesses like yours while avoiding the bad rap of e-mail abusers.

Clients find that it makes it easier for you customer to contact you, increases loyalty, educates, reinforces your branding, provides interactive feedback, and keeps them up to date with what you can offer them. Offer tips, promotions, freebies, or just show them that you care about them.

With cutting edge tracking tools that provide extensive data on opens, click-throughs (what readers click on in the message) and more, it has never been easier to fine tune your message and provide the most valuable information to those who appreciate it the most.

E-Mail Marketing is not dead but rather has actually grown in effectiveness! Let us show you how easy and effective E-Mail Marketing can be for your business! Try it for 60 days on us! World-class systems with local support. We Simplify the Internet.

Learn more

If any of my blog readers want to sign up. The link is on the sidebar of my shop here.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

View your site on a cell phone!

Someone mentioned the following in a forum I was reading today. They were talking about how the next wave of marketing was going to be to cell phones because 3 out of 4 Americans have a cell. Here’s what she said, “It’s called Mobile Marketing and has already established a very strong presence in the UK. Google, Yahoo and others, have and continue to take steps to address this growing phenomenon for the promotion of goods and services via the mobile phone. I would strongly suggest that you keep your eyes focused and your ears tuned to the developments in this arena.”

She then shared this link, which allows you to type your url in, and it shows you what your site would look like on someone’s phone. (If you don’t have a site yet, feel free to type mine in: )

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Still tweaking!

I’ve been reading more today about SEO and optimizing my shop better. Looks like I need to get the fine tooth comb out again and go through my shop! Every time I read something new it becomes just a bit clearer what I am still doing wrong!

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Start 2007 fresh!

If you are like me, your address book is a mess by the end of the year. After you think all of the Christmas cards have come in, sit down with a cup of hot chocolate, your old address book, the cards (to see if you need to update any addresses) and this beautiful address book:

The design also lends itself to a place solely to keep email addresses and passwords. Nothing like starting the year out fresh! Buy this one or look at other journals here:

Address Book

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Friday, December 08, 2006

Stunning Art

This shop has stunning original art! Greeting cards, ornaments, stamps, coasters and framed tiles in oil and acrylic paintings, drawings and collage.

Olson Art

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Unique Christmas Gift

Well, here I am doing all of your Christmas shopping for you! I think this tile box is stunning, don’t you?

Here’s what the creator wrote about it on her website: An elaborate golden compass made of Celtic knotwork, with silver and copper metallic accents on the face and corners as well. Degrees are marked off from 10-90 in each quadrant. Around the compass, all four cardinal points are labeled in engraved Irish-Gaelic on brass plates, subpoints are labeled in Irish-Gaelic, and twelve elemental points as well: earth, storm, lightning, metal, air, sun, wind, wood, water, fire, spirit, stone. Also, subtle, decorative rune work is engraved on an inner ring.

Purchase it here or visit for other gift ideas.

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Monday, December 04, 2006


I’ve been on a reading/research kick lately. One of the articles I am supposed to be writing for a newspaper is on small business tips. Since it will be published on January 1st I suggested I call it New Years Resolutions for Business Owners.

The bad news is there are millions of pages written about tips for small businesses; whether it’s marketing, business plans, selling, organizing, pr, websites and dozens of other topics.

The good news is, being a small business owner myself; it’s all things I should be reading anyway. I’ll share the best stuff here over the next month or so!


Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas Tote Bags

We just got back from Thanksgiving in Chicago with most of my family. We probably aren’t the only people who took Christmas presents along at Thanksgiving to save mailing them!

I came across this online store with lots of different Christmas tote bags. How great would it be if you carried your presents in a festive tote and left the tote as part of the gift? Check them out!

Christmas Totes

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