Thursday, July 16, 2009

Top 10 Reasons Why a Small Online Business Flops

By Gary Jamieson

Here are the 10 top reasons why small online businesses fail; it is best to be as educated as possible when trying to succeed in any business.

10. Websites that don't get into DMOZ, which is a large directory that helps your placement in search engines, will lose a step in ranks. Adding your site to DMOZ can be a painful and long process, be surprised if you get into this human powered directory at all.

9. Don't turn your web business into a banner site. When people go to a page they do not want to see flashing pictures and arrows pointing to buy something. Your visitors are smart to that kind of advertising and so is Google and other search engines.

8. Websites that don't include a blog. If used correctly, blogs get around the internet through feeds. This concept is very confusing to many people but has been proven to be beneficial.

7. Your web business should be built around a niche. Many people will go to broad. For example, "NFL Football" is too broad. Many people are fighting for these keywords, sure it's being searched a lot but nobody will find your website amongst everyone else. You would use something like "NFL Football Team Jerseys".

6. Tortoise wins the race. This is a business not a get-rich scheme. Your success will involve a lot of work and some time. Many people give up too soon, not understanding the nature of ANY business. Set goals for yourself and be realistic.

5. Link Exchanges are a necessity for getting good page rank from search engines. The mistake many people make is exchanging irrelevant links. If you have a real estate site don't link exchange with the lantern store site.

4. Websites neglect to Pre-sell. Whether you are promoting information, a service or product you need to have some pre-selling art form in your website. Give your visitors information and things that are worth their interest.

3. People don't utilize search engines. Google, Yahoo, Live and Ask make up 95% of all search engine activity. If you have not submitted your site to these search engines, you will have a lot less traffic than you should.

2. Keywords! If you make a website and don't include good keywords, search engines will never find it. For example, if you use "love" as a keyword, it is useless. 5 million other people use that same keyword.

1. It is all about Content! If you don't have good content in your website, visitors will turn away leaving the search engines to follow in their steps. The trick is to keep people at your site for as long as possible. Content is what brings people to your website as the keywords point them to your helpful information, products or services.

If you want to start your own small online business there are many things you can do to ensure success!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Online Advertising Techniques You Should Know

By James Copper

Online advertising is the latest and the newest form of advertising. Online advertising helps you reach a larger customer base as in today's world almost everybody uses internet and surfs different sites for gathering information, downloading, chatting, etc. Online advertising is costlier as compared to news paper advertising but is cheaper than the usual TV commercials or radio advertisements. Online advertising is moderately priced and is very beneficial as it is performance driven and one needs to pay only if the desired performance is achieved by the publisher.

Online advertising is also very flexible and latest updates and modifications can be updated with minimum fuss and minimum efforts. Also online advertisement has no time constrains as that of the TV commercials. There are many web sites that publish ads and hence this gives you a larger base for advertising as compared to other mediums like TV, magazines, news paper, hoardings, etc. Also one can choose the advertising web site and content that best suits the need of his company or that best relates with the companies product and services and then accordingly make his choice.

There are two main types of online advertising pay per click advertising technique and permanent or sponsored web site advertising method. Pay per click is the latest type of advertisings, here as permanent or sponsored advertising style is the contemporary and traditional style of on line advertising. Many people are shifting to pay per click method as it is more efficient and more beneficial, in terms of money as well as productivity.

Pay per click online advertising technique:

Pay per click is completely performance driven method of advertising. An advertiser displays or publishes his or her ads on a particular site or a particular web page free of any monthly rentals, etc. The web site or the web page or the publisher gets paid for publishing these ads when the internet users click on that particular ad. Depending on the particular number of clicks for that ad in a stipulated time period the publisher gets paid. The cost of the single click is decided depending on the popularity of the web site that has published the ad, the use of popular and most searched key words in the ad, the usage and popularity of the search engine on which the web site has been listed and last but not the least the ranking of the web site in the search list.

Permanent or sponsored online advertising technique:

Permanent advertising technique is not performance driven and the advertiser has to pay a specific amount of monthly rental as well as the publishing cost to the web site or the publisher. The per month rental of the ad is calculated using factors like the size of the ad, the position of the ad like top corner bottom corner, etc; then factors like the daily visits and usage of the website, the content and efficiency of the web site are also taken into consideration.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Top 7 Business Website Mistakes

By Chuck Linart

Is your website making money for your business? At the end of the day, that is all that matters. I have clients in all kinds of sectors ranging from manufacturing to entertainment, and there are several common mistakes that I see across the board. Here are the Top 7 Mistakes Companies make with their Websites:

  1. Thinking of it as merely an online brochure -- True, a good website is a marketing tool, but it is so much more.
  2. Not integrating the site into their other marketing efforts -- I hear this a lot, "Our site is not good enough. We're not comfortable referring people to it." (That's what keeps me in business.) Well, then make it good enough, and put it on every other communication you send out from you e-mail signature to your business card to television and radio advertisements.
  3. Cheaping out and not hiring a professional to build the site -- Sometimes people want to hire their brother-in-law to make their website. That's fine if the brother-in-law is truly a professional web developer. Otherwise, it's just a waste of money. Nowadays you can get a custom-designed and programmed professional site with lots of bells and whistles for under $2,000. Why would you waste $500 on a cheap site that, if anything, hurts your business? Think about your ROI: How many new clients does your site need to help you get in the next year to pay for itself?
  4. Not having a list builder built in to the site -- It amazes me that some companies do not use their contact form to build an opt-in list of people that they can market to in the future.
  5. Missing opportunities to profit directly through the site -- In almost any business, there is something you can offer to your clients and clients-to-be that you can ask for the sale and collect payment on through the web. This saves you time and money, and makes you money! Why wouldn't you do it? At the very least, you should have some advertising on your site. I even advertise my competitors. Why not? Let their advertising dollars go to me and still end up with the deal when all is said and done. Ruthless, I know.
  6. Not paying attention to SEO which is probably the greatest moneymaker in any webmaster's bag of tricks. A thousand dollars to get you on top of your niche for your keywords is usually money well spent. I have one client (a recording studio) who actually asked me to tone down the SEO on his site because he couldn't handle the phone calls.
  7. Not customizing the site's functionality in a strategic way - If you run a medical practice, doesn't it make sense to set appointments through your website? That can free up your staff to do other things. If you are a musician, why wouldn't you sell tickets directly through your gig calendar? You need to think about what your site can do for your business. That's another reason it's important to hire a professional -- they can suggest things that you might not think of yourself.

If you can avoid those pitfalls, your website will make money for your business, no matter what that might be.

Evolution Media works with small businesses, mostly in the NYC area, to implement the advice offered above -- and more! Optimize your business website!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Value Proposition - How to Get on Target

By David Capece

We live in a world of overcapacity, where consumers are empowered to choose. With a market-driven approach you can stay focused on delivering outstanding value to your consumers to weather the downturn and be in great position for the upturn. It all begins with an on-target value proposition.

While a value proposition may sound complex and intimidating, the framework is quite straightforward. We focus on 3 questions: Who? What? Why?

The framework is simple (explained in more detail below), but getting it right, and making it stand out from the competition, is the hard part. Market-driven organizations should be constantly garnering feedback from customers and prospects through interviews, focus groups, quantitative research, competitor visits, shop-alongs, and web analytics. The more feedback you have, the more you understand your customers, and the stronger your value proposition can be.

For illustrative purposes, our team has imputed the value proposition of Apple in the following series of statements:


Convince (Who?): For talented creatives who aspire to share their story

That (What?): Apples offers creative expression through human technology that is easy-to-use

Because (Why?): Apple consistently innovates with breakthrough, well-designed products...iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iMac.

Below, we have outlined the questions you should be thinking about to help you develop a value proposition. This exercise should facilitate good discussion among your team, and can be repeated and refined over time to incorporate more market feedback.

Who? Your statement should read something like this: "For (target customer), Who (statement of need or opportunity)." Use the below questions and tips to guide you and read through our advice on customer segmentation.

* Develop a comprehensive list of your audiences and prioritize the top 2 to 4 audiences that you need to deliver against in order to succeed.

* What is your customer's "statement of need" or opportunity (what do they want)?

What and Why? The structure of your "What" statement: "The (product / service name) is a (product / service category) that (statement of key benefit - that is, extremely compelling reason to buy or use)" The structure of your "Why" statement: "Unlike (primary competitive alternatives, including "doing nothing"), our product / service (statement of primary differentiation)." Use the below questions and tips to guide you.

* What are current and future market trends (innovation, keys to success)?

* Who are competitors and why would they be selected?

* What are the key benefits -- the extremely compelling reasons to buy or use your company's product / service?

Once you have an on-target value proposition, align your team and organization to deliver on your promise. Beyond revising your marketing messages, you should think about the implications for product strategy and customer experience. If you have done it well, your value proposition will help clarify your organization's objectives and enable your team to rally against a clear vision.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Knowing How to Spend Your Advertising Budget

By Beverly Maniago

Here's the truth: you can't run your marketing campaign without any money. You definitely need to have a budget, an amount that will give you an opportunity to promote your business to your target customers.

Because you're dealing with business money, you can't afford to use it to something that doesn't work or doesn't give you any return. So to ensure that every penny counts, take note of these tips:

1. Create a plan. While you're making a budget for your business every month, you may also want to create a budget for your advertising money. Where are you going to spend it? How much should go for a particular marketing channel? How long do you expect to use your funds? You definitely don't have to follow your budget to a T. For example, if you can find a better printing company for your business that can offer you with lesser costs for your materials, then better go for it. Nevertheless, make sure that you use your advertising budget as your guide in making your decisions for your marketing campaigns.

2. Develop your goals and objectives. Besides having a plan, you also need to identify the reasons why you're setting up a campaign. Are you trying to entice your customers to buy your newest product or service? Are you simply reiterating your brand into their consciousness? Would you like them to avail of a sale or a discount immediately? The objectives will tell you where the funds will go, what kinds of marketing campaigns you're going to come up with, and where you would likely place them (if you're putting up billboards and fence wraps, for instance, you have to pay for the rent of space).

3. Choose the advertising material that gives you the highest market growth and profit. You know that it's always better to combine your marketing strategies. If you're running an online marketing campaign, you may also want to have offline strategies. After all, not all of your customers are found in the World Wide Web. However, not all advertising materials can provide you with the results that you like. It's therefore mandatory that you evaluate your campaigns and channels at least every month. You can compare the results with the objectives that you have set. Depending on the outcome, you will then know which of your marketing strategies are working and which ones are not. By the following month, a good portion of your marketing budget may then go to those techniques that work.

4. Always set up a contingency fund. There are times when you need to spend more on a particular campaign or when you have to create an emergency commercial advertising for your business. To ensure that you don't end up messing your advertising budget, you will obtain the money that you need from your contingency fund.

By properly managing your advertising budget, you end up not only being careful with your marketing decisions, but also protecting the overall profit of your business.

Would you like to save on your Brisbane billboard advertising It's then time to work with adpHence, the best print advertising company in Australia. You can send them an e-mail or call them for more information on their products and services.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Build Your List, Grow Your Business

Every point of contact with potential customers is an opportunity to build your e-mail list.

Close the Deal With Urgency

Urgency is what gets top sellers up in the morning and keeps them fired up all day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The 5 Mantras of Marketing

By Colleen S. Davis

Marketing is a very important process that any business needs to have in order for one to succeed. In fact, the key to any business success is in the marketing campaigns that one comes up with. Marketing and promoting one's business can make or break it. This is the very fact that makes marketing a primary effort that any business should never be without.

Sadly, many business owners and marketers often don't prioritize this particular strategy as it takes a lot of one's effort, energy and resources. So most content themselves with the hope that that their products and services are excellent and that people will definitely find them even without any promotional mumbo-jumbo.

But this is the hard truth - you need to market, whether it's catalog printing, flyers printing, cheap catalog printing or even with door hangers. However wasteful or even dreadful marketing is for you, there's no escaping the reality that promoting one's business is a must if you want to succeed in your field.

So how can you make marketing a less tedious task? As one marketer said, you need to "market from the heart." Here are five powerful mantras that you have to learn so you can have a real and rewarding marketing process that you would want to do again and again:

I am passionate about my business; hence, I am passionate about my marketing campaign. Passion for something can get you anywhere. If you have passion, you can do anything even if you have to push yourself to more than your limits. As there are plenty of ways to market your business, you just need to choose what would be appropriate for you - be it catalog printing or even cheap catalog printing, flyers printing, custom postcards, etc. The key is to find a campaign that you would enjoy doing and you know you are good at. Don't forget to be effective while you're at it. When you enjoy what you're doing and is passionate about it, it becomes more of a pleasure than a task to do the process.

I am authentic and it shows in my business. There is something unique that you can offer your target market. So don't let that information rot within you. You have to tell your audience why you are different. As you need to stand out, your target clients would appreciate it if you tell them why they need your product.

I am creative and I will find ways to market uniquely. Be imaginative. Let your creative juices flow. The bottom line is to not bore yourself to tears while doing your marketing campaigns, and your audience as well.

I have passion and I have a purpose. Be conscious of your objectives and purpose when marketing. If you know your intent, it would be easier for you to tell it to your target audience. The more vocal and honest you are of your goals, the more comfortable your target audience will be with your marketing strategy.

I have faith and I believe that the Universe is abundant. The Universe is so wide and open that there's no need for you to give up. If you stick to what you want and do what you want, then the Universe will be so gracious that it'll give you what you deserve to have.

For more information, you can visit this page on catalog printing and cheap catalog printing

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Importance of Keywords and How to Be Found Online

By Dan T Himes

If you're thinking about building your home based business online you're going to need to know a lot about keywords. People don't always realize the importance of keywords to their home based business however, they are actually critical to your online success.

A keyword is a word or phrase that people type into a search engine hoping to find different websites and resources that they want or need. Because of that if you don't use keywords correctly there is a good chance that no one will be able to find your website when they're searching for it.

If nobody can find your website your business obviously won't be doing well so it's vitally important to the life of your business that you research keywords and know exactly how to use them. There are many resources online that will help you learn how to get the most out of keywords however, here are a few tips to help you get started and you can build from there.
First of all, you'll want to make your keywords as specific as possible. Yes, there are a lot of people online looking for the term "home based business" but if you go to Google or any other search engine you'll find that there are so many websites that already use the term "home based business" that your competition is too steep.

A better choice would be "best home based job in Chicago" or "top work from home opportunity in Texas". Even though less people will be searching for these terms when they do search for them they'll have a better chance of finding you. The more specific the better with your keywords especially when it comes to the home based business industry because there is so much competition.

Try to use keywords in your website domain name, on your website, on your blog, in articles, on YouTube and pretty much everywhere else you can.

Everything comes back to keywords when you're working on the internet. Do your research and find keywords that work well for you. Use them as much as possible and more and more people will be looking at your opportunity and that means more money in your pocket.

Dan Himes


Article Source:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Five Golden Rules of Media and Advertising

By Margaret Winfrey

There are many decisions to make in terms of media and advertising for the successful promotion of your business. Should you employ an advertising agency? When is the right time to promote your business? What should you promote, how and to whom? What are the best ways of reaching the target audience? Effectively, this all comes down to one thing - how can you achieve best value for money in order to increase sales?

There are many ways in which advertising and promoting your business can be achieved, and with more opportunities and channels through which your message can be communicated, the choices and options available are wider than ever. This can make the challenge of deciding on the best route to follow for the promotion of a product or service much harder, but at the same time, very exciting.

One of the things to bear in mind is that the world we live in today is far more cynical and skepticall than it was only a couple of decades ago. We have all become familiar with the constant bombardment of messages, promotions, advertising and offers, that we have become adapted to this culture. Part of that adaptation involves being able to filter out those messages, forms of media and advertising which we do not find immediately relevant or of any importance to us personally.

This is perhaps the biggest challenge which any business faces when considering running an advertising campaign, or actively promoting goods or services. In a culture flooded with advertising, how is it possible to ensure that your messages get through?

The key to creating a successful form of advertising is to know five things:

a) What are you promoting?
b) Why are you promoting it?
c) To whom are you promoting it?
d) How will you reach them?
e) What are your criteria for success?

These five questions are, if you like, the five rules to which you must tie any advertising campaign, for without rock solid answers to each of these questions any promotional campaign is destined to, at best, fail entirely, and at worst, also cost you a fortune.

What are you Promoting
The first of these questions relates to considering specifically what it is that you are going to promote. Certainly if your business has a very small number of products or services, this may involve promoting the business as a whole, but generally, people aren't interested in the business - it's the products and services which will be of more relevance. Remember, if the media and advertising do not strike people as being relevant, they'll be filtered out. Keep your promotion specific.

Why are you Promoting It?
The second question might seem odd, but is often ignored. Once you know what it is that you are promoting, understand clearly why you are promoting it. This could be to increase sales, or it could be to help you balance the business more in that direction, to counter a competitor's product, or to promote an entirely new product or service. Understanding why you are promoting it will help you to understand the how.

To Whom are you Promoting It?
Now you know what you're promoting and how, you need to think carefully whom it is that you need to reach. It is very rare, if indeed it ever happens, that your message is destined to be heard by everybody. There will always be a group that you need to reach more than any other. Perhaps this could be based on age, interests, needs, financial position, employment position, geographical location, educational level, health condition and so on. Try to be as specific as possible in determining your target audience.

How Will you Reach Them?
Knowing to whom your promotion is targeted allows you to consider the best way to reach them. If you're targeting the unemployed, then how will you reach that kind of person most effectively? If you're targeting children, then clearly offering free coffee mugs on the street corner is going to be as effective as trying to reach city executives by placing adverts on bingo websites.

With all forms of media available, from website advertisements to flyers, from glossy color adverts in magazines to television and radio advertisements, and from billboards to email marketing, there are a tremendous number of options from which to choose, and each will help you to reach a specific audience type.

What are your Criteria for Success?
With all four of these questions clearly answered, you may well think that you are on the way to a successful advertising campaign, but there is still one very important question that remains. How will you know if your media and advertising has been successful or not? Having performance criteria allows you to determine whether the tactics chosen have, in that particular combination, worked. If not, then perhaps you need to reconsider the answers to the first four questions. But no race was ever won that didn't have a finishing line, and no sea ever crossed with land on which to plant the flag of success.

All media and advertising has a goal, a means of attaining that goal a means of measuring how successfully it has been attained. If you are unsure to do all of that yourself, there are professionals available to help you. Many of the most successful businesses contract out the more specialized aspects of what is not their core business: media and advertising.

Surge Design is based in Atlanta Georgia. Contact Surge Design today to talk about media and advertising Atlanta Georgia as well as their other services which include: Catalog Design, Corporate Identity, Name Development Messaging, Name Positioning, Stationary Systems, Marketing Collateral, Corporate Presentations, Corporate Promotional Campaigns, Corporate Press Kits, Business Advertising, Restaurant Menu design, Corporate Packaging, Business Event Graphics, Tradeshow Graphics, Business Signage, Direct Mail Campaigns, HTML Email Campaigns, Website Design and Interactive Advertising.

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Monday, April 20, 2009

The Reasons Why Original Content is Important to a Website

By Craig S. Andrews

Have you ever visited a website a notice to that it contained little more than a few pictures and a sparse amount of text? Was such a site impressive? Probably not! So, let this be an obvious lesson: for a website to be impressive and stand out, it needs to have original content. Probably the best original content you can add are high quality articles that tie in to the subject matter of your website. If these articles are entertaining and informative, they make a hugely positive impression on visitors to the site. Of course, in addition to these aesthetic benefits there are other benefits associated with adding original content as well.

Let the truth be told: search engines love websites that are loaded with high quality original content. The search engines consider these sites to be important sites. Therefore, they are ranked higher in the search engines than those sites with sparse content. In the past, simply building links was enough to get a huge boost in the search engines. This is no longer the case today and a website needs high quality original content in order to be noticed.

Speaking of links, when you have a lot of original content on your site the potential for a number of one-way links pointing to your site increases. This is because when an article is interesting or well written, someone else on the internet will notice it and may link to it. This, of course, will boost your presence on the search engines.

And what is the greatest benefit of an increased presence in the search engines? Probably the most obvious benefit would be increased traffic. The higher you are in the search engines the more people will discover your website. If your website is a commercial venture then this increased traffic will greatly influence business in a positive manner.

Traffic also provides the ability to earn income from Google AdSense. For those not familiar with this, Google AdSense is a code placed on your website. This code then translates into a number of display ads that are prominently featured in the margins of the website. When a visitor clicks on these ads, a monetary amount is credited to the website's Google account. If a website's traffic is significant, then the Google AdSense revenue could be equally significant as well. Best of all, there are no costs associated with creating a Google AdSense account and an account can be set up within mere minutes.

The bottom line here is that the value of quality original content is enormous and any website that possesses valuable original content will reap a number of rewards

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Craig S. Andrews is known as "The Article Marketing Professor" with over 10,000 article versions online. Learn Big Money Getting Article Marketing from his success and failures that you can apply today!

Article Source:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Small Business Planning Guide - 7 Steps Towards Success

By Marcus Kane

Putting up a business is not a joke. Even if you only decide to put up a small business, you have to know that it also entails a lot of hard work as well as dedication from your part as the owner. You need to have not only the skills and knowledge but also the sheer passion and determination to succeed.

If you are thinking about putting up a small business, here are the seven steps you must do to start working your way towards the road of success.

Step One: Choose your business
The foremost step you have to do in the planning stage is to choose the type of business you want to engage in. In this step, it is crucial that you select something that you like and you know something about. This is because it is more likely for your business to succeed if you are passionate about it and if you know what you are doing.

For example, if you are an animal lover, and you have previous work experience in veterinarian clinics, then a pet shop would be a great idea for you. If you are a sports fanatic and you know so much about different sports, it would be a smart move to try out putting a sports store. If you love chocolates and you know how to make them yourself, a chocolate shop is the right kind of business for you.

Step Two: Think of a name and logo for your business
Your name and logo are the representations of your business so they should be relevant, easy to remember, and will stick to the minds of your customers or clients. It is always fun to think of creative names for your business but you should always remember that the name must be professional at the same time.

Step Three: Find a location
If your business requires people traffic, like if you have a restaurant or a retail shop, then it is a must that you choose a location that will work best for your business. Choose an area where your target market will most likely be at. Select a place that is safe and has a friendly ambience so that your business will have a good reputation. Remember, it is more probable for a customer to come back to your place if you have good products or services as well as an accessible location.

Step Four: Formulate a business plan
Your business plan should contain valuable information about your business including company description, goals of the business, marketing strategies, methods for financing and many others. It should be detailed, organized and should be able to illustrate your competency as a business owner. This is important because if you plan on taking out a business loan, a business plan is one of the major requirements.

Step Five: Develop your financial methods
Another important step in planning for your small business is to plan the ways on how to obtain capital. You can take out a business loan, use business credit, or use your personal savings.

Step Six: Plan your hiring
It is imperative that you develop a standardized hiring procedure that will include intensive interviews and critical employment background checks. Background checks are important because they provide essential information such as educational background, employment history, driving records, medical records, criminal records and many others.

Step Seven: Develop your marketing strategy
Study carefully your different options when it comes to distributing and marketing your products or services and choose the methods that will be most feasible and most effective for you and your business.

We cannot deny the fact that most large businesses have humble beginnings. This is why as a small business owner, you should strive hard to make your business grow and flourish.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Free Ways to Advertise My Business - The Most Effective Ways to Advertise For Free

By Douglas Bordegon

How does a small business effectively reach its target market for little or no cost? Whether a business offers a product or service, the advertising challenge is the same: reaching qualified customers. Free classified ad websites are excellent sources of qualified leads that can bring about significant traffic to your brick-and-mortar business. A strong and smart presence on several leading classified ad websites will significantly increase your customer traffic. Below, are seven steps that will lead your business to proven advertising results- without using your wallet.

1. Compile a core list of products or services your business provides. Identify five or ten 'product leaders' that are driving your business.

2. Consider the methods your customers use to research and/or locate those products or services. What key words might they use to locate your products online? Determine at least five key words or phrases one might use in a search query to find your product.

3. Determine the top three free classified websites that enable users to search and post at a local level. Yahoo!Answers recently conducted a poll and the following sites topped the local classified charts: Craigslist, WantedWants, Kijiji.

4. Prepare several 'posts' that will act as your advertisements. Post an ad in each category that corresponds to the top products that you identified. Be sure to post in the "For Sale" section, as well as the "Wanted" and "Small Business" sections. Always maintain an active ad for each of your top products. In each post, use the keywords or phrases that you previously identified. When a consumer searches for that product or service, your ad will likely be the first result.

5. Maintenance. Record your ad submissions/posts for each website and note the length of time each ad stays active. Be sure to re-post your ad as soon as the previous post expires.

6. Consistency. Over time, your business becomes top-of-mind to consumers. When your business is consistently in the eyes of your customers, your business' foot traffic will undoubtedly increase.

7. Track your results. Offer a coupon to customers who print the online ad and present it at the point of purchase. This will provide you with useful insight into the effectiveness of your online advertising.

Free classified ad websites are a small business' best friend. The sites take in millions of daily users and first segment them by location, then by products sought after. Small businesses can take this localized hot-list of qualified consumers and use it to their advantage - for free.

Doug Bordegon is the Director of Marketing and Strategy for, a free classified ad and advertising site.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How to Fix Small Business Profit Leaks

By Don Osborne

Ever have a bucket you've filled to the top gradually sink to a lower level? As far as you knew, there were no holes in your bucket. Small business profit can suffer the same fate. Here are three things you can do to fix your leaks.

Check the Water Source

Some water simply evaporates or dries up. Those water sources are not capable of producing a consistent, long-term result. It's not the bucket that's causing the leak. To avoid short-term or evaporating profits fill your bucket with proven money making ideas. You may way to add your own twist to an idea, but don't alter the core principles of the idea.

Use the Right Bucket

Some buckets or steps you'll use to make are not suited to the job or are poorly constructed. The plan you develop should be capable of consistently producing results over a long period of time. You want to make sure your bucket can handle the weight or volume of water you've poured into it. Even the smallest of holes can leak water over time. The same is true of a poorly constructed profit plan.

Perform Regular Maintenance

There can be outside conditions causing your bucket to leak. That's to be expected. Inspect your bucket on a regular basis. Check the source of water to make sure it's still safe. Inspect the bucket for leaks or damage. To maintain consistent, long-term profit you must track your numbers and make adjustments. Also, make sure all of your buckets are in sync with each other. You don't want one bucket to accidentally damage another one.

Profit like water can be of great benefit. But you must make sure it's source it pure, the bucket is the right type and perform regular maintenance. If you do, you'll won't spent all your time fixing leaky buckets or having your small business profit simply evaporate or dry up.

Are you a small business owner frustrated by a lack of profit, not sure where to start or what to do? Learn how to take these 3 Easy Steps to know where to start, what to do and have more profit. Website:

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Top 3 Website Marketing Strategies You Should Use

By Michelle Grace Tapire

Have you already heard about online or Web marketing? If you have, then you should be using it by now. If not, shame on you because you might be living in the past that up until now, you have not yet benefited from this awesome business and marketing practice. You might be asking why. The answer is simple. Everybody is practically going online these days. People socialize online, they shop online, and they definitely look something to do online. Now the question is, when are you going to be there when almost everyone is already there? Well, should you decide to join the rest, here are the top 3 website marketing strategies you can use to make your business work for you efficiently and effectively:

1. Article Marketing
This is perhaps one of the marketing strategies that many online businesses are enjoying now. Basically, article marketing involves the writing and submission of good articles to different online article directories. Good articles contain rich keywords and because of this, the articles will most probably find their way to the Google's search results. This marketing strategy will also help you create backlinks for your website and help your website increase its popularity in different search engines.

2. Google AdWords
Google AdWords are found at Google's search result page's right hand side. This may also be referred to as pay-per-click. Google AdWords also show up when the user types predetermined or pre-assigned keywords in the search engine of Google. Google AdWords may also be seen on similar websites or websites carrying similar content. The online business owners only pay when a user clicks on their ads and are sent to their websites. The business owners can also control their budget and choose where they want their ads to be shown. The main benefit Google AdWords give to online business owners is that they can send their targeted traffic to their own website and only pay whenever a user visits. This is most beneficial for small businesses to keep advertising their businesses even in a shaky economy.

3. Your Very Own Website
Though there are always available marketing strategies to use, oftentimes, the conversion of visit to sales still depends on the website itself. There are practically countless ways to do this; however, if you will always think of your website visitor and make your site always appealing to them, you will be able to do well. There are just some things that you should always put in your mind. Make sure your website is full of useful and interesting contents to always catch the interest of your visitors. You yourself is a customer so just imagine what you want to read and to see if you happen to visit a certain website and for sure, that's what other would like to get.

Venturing into any business online is such an overwhelming idea especially when all you can hear about is how profitable and effective it is to do business here. While this is true, the biggest part still falls on you. Included in this 'big' part are advertisement, promotion and of course, SEO. Let "Words in Action" takes its share from that part. "Words in Action" is a team of writers trained to write high quality and original articles only. We value timeliness, confidentiality and most of all quality. Deliver your message to your potential customers through words in action delivered to you by "Words in Action". For more information, email us at

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Calculating Advertising Costs

By Uma A Ilango

If you are interested in obtaining advertising for your business and want to calculate advertising costs, you have two options. You can choose an agency that you feel will best represent your brand and your needs and ask for prices for a package of promotions, or you can research different kinds and calculate the prices from there. Regardless of the method you choose for calculations, you will get the best prices by shopping different brands.

If your needs are few, you may be interested in calculating costs separately. If you are interested in placing an ad in a newspaper or magazine, the amount may be calculated based on how many columns your ad will span across. Expect to pay for color ads versus black and white ads, fonts, and lines of text, pictures and other elements in periodical advertisements.

When looking at internet promotions such as banner ads, most banner ads are calculated based upon the size of the ad and how interactive the ad is. You can also find banner ads on a pay-per-click basis although they are not as frequent as flat rate banner ads. Pay-per-click ads begin with a monthly budget to accommodate an expected number of visits to that banner ad. As a visitor clicks on an ad and uses your strategically placed advertisement, a portion of your budget is used. This kind of advertising can allow for very good ad placement and a lot of customers visiting your website.

Television commercials in a prime time slot can be very costly, in the $200,000 range for a 30 second commercial, but considering how many viewers watch a particular show in that time frame, the flood of customers you will receive could be well worth it. Be sure to research the target market during particular time frames and determine the price per amount of impressions when considering advertising through television. You will also need to consider how frequent your commercial will be viewed in a particular time slot.

Calculating advertising costs by radio is also based upon how many impressions you get in a particular time slot and the frequency of your advertisement being played. Radio has a loyal customer base. Individuals who listen to radio typically spend several hours per day listening and only listen to 2 – 3 radio stations during that entire period. If your target market is a particular age group that listens to radio only at certain times, the costs to pick up those listeners can be very beneficial by attracting impulse buyers also. is a source of expert content in the form of short, informative and educational or entertaining articles. We provide experts in hundreds of different niches from around the world. Thousands of new articles are added every month. Uma Ilango is a programmer from profession. Has lots of interest in non-technical writing too. She has written articles in several topics. Her hobbies include reading, surfing, writing and playing chess. She writes regularly at

Monday, April 6, 2009

Why Your Business Must Take Advantage of Guerrilla Marketing

By Dr B C Bruno

In today's harried economic environment small businesses must integrate a variety of marketing techniques such as guerrilla marketing campaigns to maximize their exposure, gain new customers and produce sales.

With traditional marketing channels such as newspaper ads and yellow pages declining, the future now holds low hanging fruit in the arenas of website marketing, web 2.0, guerrilla marketing , email marketing and the integration of cross channel promotions such as radio driving traffic to website, cable driving traffic to website and social media campaigns to drive traffic to your website.

The ultimate goal of getting your offline and online traffic to visit your website is to invite the prospect to take action. That action may be to sign up for your newsletter by way of receiving a report, receive special discounts or take a short ecourse about your product or service at no charge.

By so doing you have the opportunity to develop a relationship with the prospect who may become a buyer in the next week, the next month, or even a year from now. The point is that by properly asking them for their information and their conscious decision to provide it, they have invited you to send them the requested information. This is a powerful step in initiating relationships, and when done correctly, will result in new and repeat customers and sales.

A few advantages of guerrilla marketing efforts such as flyers, cards, banners, brochures, handouts, samples, press releases and promotional items is that they are inexpensive or no cost to implement and emphasize your presence in the local market.

McD's may not give you a free hamburger but if you have a coffee shop you can issue a press release that on Tuesday you will give everyone who stops by a cup of Joe on the house

This will attract locals like crazy...when they do make sure that you invite them to visit your website to get coupons for more samples and discounts. At the site ask them to enter their name and email to receive the coupons...they will because they want more coffee! Now you have the opportunity to tell the story of your coffee and business to the visitor and provide coupons for return visits. Your visitors will get to know and trust you and will become loyal and steady customers.

Put your thinking cap on and see what you can do locally. Your customer list will grow and your business will prosper.

For more information on how to increase sales and drive down your advertising costs visit GreenPoint Marketing at:

Ten Words That Sell - Make the Most of Them in Your Text Ads

By Susan Hutson

One of the most powerful tools in marketing is the prudent use of words in advertising. Judiciously used words have the power to entice and hold the attention of potential customers. This leads to either immediate sale or sales in the future, but most importantly it can establish the all important relationship between customer and brand. On the flip side words can result in the loss of potential customers and create distaste towards your product.

Using the right words in the right place under the right circumstances is key to any advertising effort, but it is especially important when ads are purely based on terminology like in the case of text ads. Text ads are common in e-mails and on the web but many marketers are only beginning to realize it's potential. Statistics claim that text ads gain better results on search engine sites than on other websites, the explanation being that web users enter search engines looking for these ads while they fail to notice them in other websites because they simply aren't looking for it. Using the right words can make all the difference in attracting customers to your text ad and holding their attention long enough to make a sale.

Here are ten words that will help you hone your sales vocabulary and lead to productive advertising home business.

1. FREE- this is a timeless motivator. It may sound cliché but it still works and probably will continue to work for many years to come. Sub consciously human beings just can't seem to resist something that's free.

2. GUARANTEE- makes a customer feel secure.

3. SAVE- this suggests that you are offering the customer an opportunity to save his money. Although in reality this may not be true, customers still react favorably to the "save whatever%" offer.

4. LIMITED- the word creates a sense of urgency that is appealing to many potential customers.

5. NEW- everyone wants to get in on what's new. This word arouses our curiosity and never fails to deliver resulting in the phenomenon that sales spike just after the launch of a new product.

6. EXCLUSIVE- most high end brands are built on this philosophy. 'Exclusive' arouses the attention seeking alter ego from within.

7. PROVEN- human beings are wired to fear the unknown. If a product is tried, tested and proven it will eliminate fear and smoothen the path towards closing sale.

8. RESULTS- customers want to know what they can expect from the purchases they make.

9. IMPROVE- evolving is basic human instinct therefore consumers always react favorably to products and services that they perceive to have improved.

10. IMMEDIATE- consumers expect everything on the web to be instant, so much so that if something is not immediate, it is unacceptable.

Bizymoms helps work at home and small business owners with Advertising Home Business costs with affordable advertising that works!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Need a New Weapon For Your Marketing Arsenal?

By Martin Stanford

One quality of successful internet marketers is their ability to quickly pick up on new forms of communication and apply these to their benefit. They're ahead of the pack. If you've been doing internet marketing long enough, your marketing strategy must be pretty well set up already. You may be ready then to add a new zing to your marketing efforts. If so, then you may want to consider Podcasting.

Although it can't strictly be called an innovation anymore because it's been around since 2004, still pod casting is something that internet marketers are not utilizing to its full potential. A relatively new form of online media delivery, podcasts are basically radio shows played over the internet. Podcasting allows you to select whatever content you desire and record it into an MP3 file. You then make the MP3 file available to your clients through RSS feeds. You can relay important information about your product in a podcast or do a review on a particular service. You might decide to do an audio instructional or a motivational speech. You can record interviews with authorities on your particular niche. The content is completely up to you.

Through podcasting, you can establish yourself further as an authority in your chosen field. As people listen to your podcasts, soon they will not only know your name but will also associate your voice to the product or niche you've selected. Another identifying element has been added to your marketing arsenal.

With a podcast, you have a potentially huge market. If you can create excellent podcasts that catch the attention of your market, podcasts that they feel they just need to share with others, soon because of word of mouth you may find yourself with a regular fan base. Podcasting can serve as a powerful form of viral marketing for you.

What's great is that you can create podcasts and distribute them all for free. All you really need is a computer, a microphone, and perhaps some audio editing software. Distribution is free. It's like having your own radio program without having to bear any broadcasting fees and no costly equipment to upkeep. Equally great is that your listeners don't need any fancy equipment to listen to you either. A computer with speakers is sufficient; an MP3 player is a plus.

So learn more about this technology, if you're not making use of it yet. It may just be the weapon you need in your marketing arsenal to help you attain dominance in your niche.

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Behind the Form - Google, The Deep-Web Crawl, and Impact on Search Engine Visibility

By Jeremy Shaffer

Crazy Things That Really Rich Companies Do

Kind of like that weird guy at the party with an acoustic guitar and the Pink Floyd shirt, Google is getting DEEP. Some would say...uncomfortably deep. After an already busy year, wherein Google released an open source mobile OS and a browser that's rapidly gaining market share, they recently announced that they had mapped the sea floor, including the Mariana Trench. And hey, why not found a school featuring some of the greatest scientific minds out there and see what happens?

So Google's been more visible than ever lately, and there's no doubt that this'll continue as they get their hands into more and more projects - but let's drop down a few floors and look at something that should dramatically affect the way Google's indexing programs ("spiders" or "crawlers") collect data, analyze websites and present the results.As much work as the BEM Interactive search engine marketing team puts into making sites appeal to spiders (and there's a lot we can do to make those spiders love it), the spider programs themselves are pretty straight-forward: hit a site's page index, check out the structure and content, and compare that to what Google has determined to be "relevant" or "popular."

But because of the way these programs are written, there are certain areas that they simply can't reach...namely pages that require human information, input, or action. As a basic example, there's usually a confirmation page after a user submits a "Contact Us" or "Newsletter Sign-up" form - this could contain a promotional code or some other kind of unique data.This dynamically generated content (this could also be a search results page, calculations or conversions, even the results of a symptom tool on a medical site) simply doesn't exist until the user creates it! Depending on the form you filled out, the resulting page is yours and yours alone - so try to ignore that tingle of omnipotence next time you Google something.

But search engine spiders can't understand what the form is asking for or the info being delivered to the user - and even if they could, how would they figure out what to insert in order to generate any relevant content? Drop-down boxes, category selection, zip code input - any of these forms can prevent data from being indexed. Collectively, this blocked data is referred to as the "Deep Web." By some estimates, the Deep Web contains an astounding amount of data - several orders of magnitude more than what's currently searchable. Since they chiefly rely on site maps and hyperlinks, search engines crawlers just can't find a way to access the information.

So can Google really expect to find, log and interpret this data? Well, between mapping the ocean and opening a school that will probably discover the meaning of life before lunch, Google did just that. Working with scientists from Cornell and UCSD, Google researchers (whom I can only hope will not become supervillians at some point) have devised a method for their spiders to complete and submit HTML forms populated with intelligent content. The resulting pages are then indexed and treated as regular indexed data and displayed in search results - in fact, at this moment, content gathered from behind an HTML form is displayed on the first page of Google search queries 1000 times every a second. The methods the bots are using are pretty cool, but I'm Nerd McNerdleson about that kind of thing. So we won't dive in to the technical stuff here, but check out the article if you're into it.

That's cool...NERD. But what does it mean?

Everyone knows Google loves relevance - their entire business model is built upon it. This technology is about pulling exactly what the user is searching for and immediately providing it without even requiring them to visit any page outside of the Google results page! Spooky.

Say that you're feeling under the weather. Rather than type in "symptom checker" and find a WebMD-type page, you type "coughing, runny nose, strange bubonic plague-like swelling" directly into the search engine. Google - who has already had their spiders hit every medical symptom form out there, query them in endless varieties and combinations, and determine the relevance & popularity of the results - immediately comes back with "You've got the Black Death" and you're set (or...maybe not).

From a retailing standpoint, many sites have functions to generate product lists based on user input. As it stands now, a shopper looking for a red, American-made minivan with under 30K miles would find the appropriate website, input his or her criteria, whereupon the website would query the database and return the results. If Google continues to move forward with their deep web crawls, this information could be displayed directly through their outlet of choice without the user ever accessing any site other than Google (if the user makes a purchase, does Google get a cut? Hmm...)

Obviously, this is a massive step forward in search technology and, in an industry that seems to change every hour, represents a new method of obtaining and presenting information. As web marketers, this is another variable, another challenge to consider in our work - how can we optimize pages that can be generated in a seemingly limitless number of ways? With search engines becoming increasingly more powerful and their data mining capabilities getting deeper, will there come a time when all data is presented through one aggregate portal? This may be years down the line, but the technology and the foundations are here now; forward-thinking businesses and web marketers need to be there as well.

Jeremy Shaffer, Web Marketing Specialist
BEM Interactive - Providing full-scope services in Website Design / Development and Web Marketing / SEO

Critical Skills For Sales Leaders - Asking Questions and Listening to Your Customer's Needs

By Ian Segail

"So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you... For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." (Luke 11:9-10)

Diagnosis - the process of identifying a pain or condition by its signs, symptoms, (finding out facts, information, and needs) and from the results of various diagnostic procedures.

Sensory acuity - the ability to gain awareness of another person's unconscious responses (to perceive another person's unconscious feedback- reading not just "what" they say, but "how" it is said.)

"Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice!" All professionals complete some form of diagnosis before helping their clients. If you want to be a professional, then so must you. In sales, this critical skill is called "Diagnostic Acuity". How do you say no to someone who has just offered to give you exactly what you wanted and needed? You don't, and that's exactly the point! When you truly know exactly what your potential customer is looking for, why they want it and how much they would be willing to pay for it, selling is easy.

How do you find out exactly what the customer wants and why they want it? You ask! The winning salespeople are the ones that have both the desire and the skill to determine what the potential customer wants and needs and why they want and need it. They have the skills to match those wants and needs to a set of potential solutions.

It would be virtually impossible to take a modern day sales course or read a book on selling and not be told emphatically "You have to first ask questions to identify the customer's needs!" Whilst by now most salespeople know this, knowing and doing it effectively are two very different things. The ability to ask skillful questions is absolutely mission critical in today's tough and globally competitive environment.

Diagnosis is mission critical Why is the ability to ask skillful questions so mission critical? Anthony Robbins says about questions that they are "the tools that open up the brain's knowledge, experience and memory banks."

Questions are the tools we as professional Sales Consultants use as a means to extract important information from the customer's perspective, and to learn more about what they perceive and think. When we don't ask questions effectively, not only do we assume we know all there is to know about the customer and their needs, we may never really uncover their true motive for meeting with us. In some cases, the customer has already done their "homework" and has already determined their buying criterion. For many of them, their purpose in meeting with you is to check with a range of suppliers to find which ones best meet their needs for the lowest cost. In many cases, they may even be comparing your organisation against an already approved supplier who has had the account for months.

Then there are those occasions where customers have a need that, at the point of your visit, they may not even be aware of. It then becomes your task to help them discover for themselves the latent need for your product/service. This is where the ability to ask skillful questions so critically important.

As with any other selling technique, the best salespeople are always aware of the way they ask the question making sure to "couch" it in such a way as to remove any hint of judgment, or coercion. They watch their own tone of voice, body language, and word choice. This is what's known as acuity.

Acuity is... The term 'acuity' refers to the actual physical ability of the sensory organs to receive input. A person's visual acuity refers to the person's ability to see. In persuasion, visual acuity is more than simply seeing what is in front of you; it is taking in all aspects of the customer: noticing their eye movements, their skin tone changes, their breathing, as well as their body language.

The body gives clues to the way your customer is thinking. Visual acuity is being totally focused on the complete picture in front of you. In selling, auditory acuity is the salesperson's ability to really listen and hear what is being said with accuracy. Listening correctly means avoiding making assumptions and guessing as to the customers meaning. Listening actively means clarifying, summarising, empathising, restating and paraphrasing in an effort to hear accurately.

When it comes to identifying needs and opportunities, as a professional salesperson it is critically important to understand the distinction between 'acuity' and 'perception'.

  • Acuity is the process of receiving all the input with accuracy. Acuity is only the gathering process of the content and physical information. It is not the interpretation part of the process.
  • Perception refers to the salesperson's ability to understand, or make meaning out of the sensory input received through their eyes and ears. Perception is the salesperson's interpretation of the content gathered. Perception should always follow acuity.

Diagnostic Acuity Capability is at the very heart of any successful sales process. When you question correctly, you search below the surface in an effort to discover and reveal the truth of what is really going on in the minds and hearts of your potential customers. Asking the right questions and then being in a position to prescribe exactly the right set of solutions to solve those issues is what professional selling is all about.

As one of Australia's leading authorities and coaches in sales management, Ian Segail has been involved in the coaching, training and development of sales managers and salespeople for over two decades.

Drawing on 25 years of experience in sales, sales management and leading an HR and training team, Ian brings a strong dose of fiscal reality and practicality to his works as a Sales Performance Coach.

Engaging directly with business owners and both novice and experienced sales managers alike, across a wide variety of industries and selling disciplines, the focus of Ian's work is to transform sales results for companies by improving sales management practices.

Ian is the author of "Bulletproof Your Sales Team: The 5 Keys To Turbo-boosting Your Sales Team's Results" and a number of business articles, business reports and white papers including "The fish stinks from the head!" and "Why Sales Training Doesn't Work."

Ian has an insatiable hunger for studying selling and people management and has passionately pursued answers to the question "How come some people can sell and most can't?"

Download Ian's latest white paper on how to recession proof your sales team in the next 90 days from

Monday, March 30, 2009

6 Ways to Get Your Site Indexed by Today

By Cheow Yu Yuan

If your website is not indexed by search engines, it will not appear on the search engine listings. Therefore, when your website is live, the first thing you must do is to let the search engines notice your website and index it. In this article, let me share with you 6 ways to get your site indexed by today:

1. Submitting a XML sitemap to search engines. The xml sitemap includes links to every page of your website. It is a file that you can submit to search engines to get your pages indexed. By submitting your xml sitemap, you will notify the search engines about your website and index every page of it. You can upload your sitemap to Google by creating a free Google Webmaster account.

2. Create a HTML sitemap page on your website. A HTML sitemap is very different from a xml sitemap file. A HTML sitemap is a page on your website that is visible to your visitors. It will list down all the links to every page of your site. This allows visitors to navigate your site easily and allow search engine spiders to follow the links and discover all pages.

3. Place HTML text links on your website. Search engine spiders follow HTML text links to discover other pages of your website. Therefore, you must ensure that you use HTML text links for simple navigation menu so that search engine spiders can follow. Also, you should hyperlink keywords within your content and point them to other pages of your site. This is a good way to tell search engines what pages are important.

4. Directory submission. Submit your website URL to a list of SEO-friendly directories. DMOZ, Yahoo Directory and BOTW are important directories that you must submit your website to. It is, however, not all directory submission is free. Some may require you to pay a small fee for your website submission.

5. Article marketing. Write articles and place your website URL in the Author Resource Box. Then submit your articles to a few popular article directories. Once your articles are approved and published, your URL will be live online and this allows search engine spiders to follow the link to discover your website.

6. Using social websites. Social media sites are generally indexed regularly by search engines. So by placing your website URL on social sites, search engines spiders can discover your URL very quickly and index your new website.

Before a website can rank high and get organic search engine traffic, it needs to be indexed first. Search engine spiders are looking for new websites and pages every day. By getting a link on sites that get indexed regularly, it will ensure that your new website get indexed quickly.

Cheow Yu Yuan is the co-founder of OOm, an online marketing agency providing SEO Singapore services.

Find out more about SEO Singapore at OOm.

Please feel free to republish this article on your website, or distribute it to your friends or clients, as long as you leave the resource box intact.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Defined - Learn What it is and How to Do It

By Graham Andrews

Search Engine Optimization is a method used by website developers to make sure that the people surfing their sites would have a good as well as useful experience while they are surfing it. It also involves ensuring that search engines would give the site a high page rank and increase site traffic. Unlike other forms of internet marketing a lot of money would have to be spent for it to be effective, SEO is an inexpensive way to promote your site to other people.

There are many techniques falling under SEO which you can use. There are two basic techniques, White Hat and Black Hat SEO. The former is the acceptable one while the latter is generally frown upon because of its unethical ways. Though some would think that using the former is too slow when it comes to the results, they are still more of long term solutions as oppose to the short term ones by the latter.

For those that would like to do SEO on their own, here are some simple things you can do to increase your page rank:

Work with a keyword- A single page in your site should concentrate on a keyword or a keyword phrase. You do not have to make it long, just try and capture the essence of your page. What is it about? What is it that people would be attracted to? Once you focus on a keyword, use that frequently in your site though you should not overdo it. Use it in your content as well as in your title.

Content is vital- Even if your main goal is to use keywords, a good optimization involves excellent copy. Write something significant that the others might find useful. Though a lot of people find sites through search engines, it is still up to the content to help retain their attention. Once you have a good content, people would just be attracted to it and would possibly come back and visit in the future.

SEO is not an instant internet marketing solution. Though it make take some time for your page to show up in search engine results, once it does it can prove to be one of the most effective ways to get people to go to your site.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

7 Big Business Secrets to Increase Your Small Business Success

By Mark Madson

Whether the economy is up or down, no matter what is happening in the world, most small business owner's work hard anyway. It's never been easy to start a business, nurture its growth and succeed in any line of business. It's competitive, more so in some industries than others, but every butcher, baker, candlestick maker or software developer started the same way - small.

There are an astronomical number of variables that are involved in any business success, certainly, but there are also some truisms that seem to apply always and everywhere. The primary ingredient in success, of course, is not genius, creativity, a college education or a lot of working capital. The key is persistence, pure and simple.

Of course, it pays to be persistent with some genius, creativity, a college education and a lot of working capital, plus a few other things. If you are starting or running a small business, much can be learned from those who have gone before you. Whether their firms grew to be international conglomerates or found their sweet spots as a profitable SMB (Small- and Medium-sized Business), business owners that have taken their companies from -smaller- to -bigger- can impart a great deal of useful information to you. You can learn a lot from them.

The following big business secrets to increase your small business success are not in any particular order. They do share a few things in common. They don't cost any money, not directly at any rate, and most are related to your attitudes, work habits and way of thinking. There's a proverb that says, -As a man thinks, so he is,- and there is much truth in it. Your attitude is one of the most important ingredients of your business success formula, assuming that you follow up the thinking and planning with action and energy.

1. Business plan: Just about every big business achieves and maintains its success by following a business plan. If you don't have one, you are courting disaster. A thorough business plan, besides being required by bankers and investors, is your map to the future, your primary operations manual and a major component of your firm's very identity. If you don't know how to create one, there are many free templates and much good advice on the Internet, as well as from the Small Business Administration and other sources.

2. Strategy: The business plan will contain an overview of your company's strategy and goals, but you should flesh these out more fully for yourself (and other employees, if you have any). One business analyst compares these strategic documents to a battle plan, indicating where to focus efforts and allocate resources, as well as pointing out the challenges and obstacles ahead. You need to learn how to think strategically.

3. Tactics: Tactics differ from strategy, in that they are the actual action steps that you take to execute the strategic plan. The strategy may be to capture business for your photography studio by marketing your service to schools in your area, while the tactics may involve personal visits, phone calls, e-mail, flyers or (better yet) some combination. Big companies have entire departments (marketing) devoted to developing promotional tactics.

4. Negotiation: Big companies negotiate everything, and some small business owners erroneously think that GM or GE can do so simply because of their size. But that is only part of it. Everything from financial matters to employee relations can benefit from firm, honest negotiation, regardless of the amount of money involved. As far as dealing with your own vendors when buying supplies, raw materials, etc., don't be afraid to negotiate everything - the price, discounts, delivery charges, restocking fees or any other cost. The same attitude should prevail in your dealings with your employees, if you have any. Good negotiators, like good salespeople, cultivate their listening skills, and listen even more than they speak. Listen closely to people, and they will tell you what you need to know to sell, manage or persuade them. They may not do so directly, so learn to -listen between the lines.-

5. Professionalism: It is great to have a comfortable, even casual workplace, as far as dress code and first names and so forth. The most successful big businesses have learned, however, to communicate to their employees the importance of professionalism. Although the term applies to several things - appropriate clothes, polite language, respect for others, etc. - primarily it has to do with an employee giving their employer a day's work for a day's pay. The balance is often hard to maintain in small firms, where everyone knows everyone else and people are in close proximity to one another. But excessive visiting, gossiping and talking on the phone are real profit-killers. You and your employees should all be subject to the same rule here, which can be reduced to a simple, -Work during work time, visit during breaks and lunch.- It's tough to break old habits, but productivity will suffer if employees are not attending to their tasks.

6. Efficiency: While professionalism means, among other things, working when you're supposed to be working, efficiency is achieved by working -smart.- One good example goes by many names, but the -4F Method- is catchy and easy to remember. It has to do with paper handling, which is not restricted to white-collar office workers. Shipping and receiving personnel deal with mountains of paper, too. Big businesses teach their employees variants of the 4F Method, which gives you four choices of what to do with a document that comes across your desk (or forklift) - Finish, Forward, File or Flush. You would Finish the report your boss gave you, Forward the memo about the meeting, File the receipt for the supplies you bought and Flush (throw away, shred, burn, whatever) last week's flyer for the receptionist's baby shower. Another big business tip that has grown in popularity concerning paperwork instructs workers to -Handle it once.-

7. Clairvoyance: All right, you're correct - no one can really predict the future. However, big businesses put a lot of brainpower into staying abreast of developments, and not just in their own industries. Obviously, companies whose management teams were aware of the problems showing up in various economic indicators last year (freight indexes, purchasing agent reports, manufacturing volumes, etc.) were at least somewhat better prepared for the credit crunch and layoffs of 2008 and 2009. You cannot bank on any psychic help (why aren't all psychics richer than Gates and Buffett?) but you certainly can stay on top of things, the most important of which are (1) what's happening in your particular industry, (2) what's happening in the U.S. and the world (economics, politics, trade, etc.), (3) what's happening with your finances and (4) what's happening with your customers' finances. Stay informed, stay involved and you will be able to navigate somewhat more easily through economic turmoil.

None of this is easy, and nothing is guaranteed to bring you riches. The list of -big business tips for small business- could go on for many pages, of course. If you adopt some of the thinking that has worked for others, however, you stand a better chance in the always competitive, always unpredictable world of business - whether your company is big, small or in between.

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