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Most Websites Suck Ass
 

Most Websites Suck Ass

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    Most Websites Suck Ass Most Websites Suck Ass Document Transcript

    • Copyright 2009 by Earl Netwal all rights reserved
    • Many small and not so small companies get virtually no business from their web sites. That's because... Most Business Web Sites StinK! They are often pretty enough, it's just that they are also pretty ineffective. Most mom and pop business's are run by mom's and pops. They may be crackerjacks at their main business activity, but they aren't necessarily experts in every possible aspect of their business. They need to hire out key parts of their business to specialists. Somewhere along the line they decided they needed a web page. And they got one. They may have enlisted their computer savvy son, or a nephew or even a top notch web design firm to do the job. It may have cost them anywhere from free to thousands of dollars. In most cases they ended up with a presentable enough page, maybe even a spectacular page graphically. But generally speaking, they got a page designed by geeky techies, relatives or not, who knew everything there was to know about building a web site, except how to make it sell. I don't mean to put down the tech guys. They learned how to write the code and import and or create the graphics, and some may even have had a refined sense of design. They produced a good looking site. However, for the most part most, they didn't have a clue about marketing and it shows. Unfortunately, it shows where it matters most, in the results – or lack thereof. Earl Netwal 2 Version 1.5
    • Much of what is written about the internet is written in geek talk or modified geek talk. This ebook is going to try to be a bit different. To discuss the issues that affect an internet marketing from an off line perspective. In the coming five sections, I will use a conventional trade show to illustrate many of the critical roles and considerations of typical business's web page. First I will talk about the crowd at the trade show, then the exhibitors booths, the contests and games they use as attractors to get people to approach their booth, the roles the people staffing the booths, play and finally the follow-up that happens after the event is over. As you will see they all have direct parallels to the design and function of a web site and its proper role as part of your marketing efforts. --- Web Pages Are Like a Trade Show by Earl Netwal www.MicroBusinessSpecialist.com/blog Most small business web pages stink! Many businesses have had less than stellar results from their web pages. That is in large part due to the fact that many businesses, and even more importantly, most web designers don't have a clue as to what their web pages should be doing. Most web designers are technically sophisticated, but lack marketing prowess. Most small business people are too busy getting product out the door, and keeping afloat to learn the technical side of the game. Their web sites, didn't work miracles and many have concluded they probably never will. That's unfortunate for it’s not rocket science and most businesses could dramatically improve their results with just a few changes. My name is Earl Netwal, and I help on line and off line businesses improve their Earl Netwal 3 Version 1.5
    • bottom line by making simple and yet powerful changes to their e-commerce equation. My most powerful tactic doesn’t even require a web page, although it works better with one. This report attempts to illustrate a better way to think about your web presence. If you have a better understanding of what a web page should do, you will be in a better position to judge if yours is up to snuff. There is nothing magic, difficult or secret about what you should be doing. But if you decide you would like some outside assistance to make things happen better faster, let me know. I’d be happy to take a look and see if I can be of service. I call the following report, Web pages are like a trade show. It was originally written as a series of five blog postings on my http://www.MicroBusinessSpecialist.com/blog in January of 2009. Trade Show Crowds are Like Web Site Browsers A trade show consists of a crowd, a series of booths, attractors the booth holders use to gain the attention of the passing crowd, the skilled people staffing the booth, and then finally the follow-up that occurs after the trade show ends. Each of these five elements can be usefully applied to understanding a better way to discuss and design web pages for the typical business. In this section, we will examine the crowd. Consider a local home improvements show being held this weekend at a convention center near your home. There will be a sizable crowd attending. For some of the people in the crown, the event is simply an outing, a form of entertainment or exercise. Some are there to get ideas, or may be looking for comparison products, or alternative suppliers. Some want information on prices, others hope to learn about different features or other options they may want to consider. A few may even have come to the show to actually buy something. This last group is probably a minority. They are like the millions of people who are browsing the web at any given time. Some are there for entertainment. Others are looking for ideas. Still others are seeking information. Others are doing preliminary comparison shopping and a few are searching to make a purchase. The first point to make is that regardless of whether you are an on or off line business, most of the people who walk past your booth or browse by your web Earl Netwal 4 Version 1.5
    • page are not actively looking to buy at the moment. But because they aren't looking to buy today, doesn't mean they won't be tomorrow. The first lesson is that our web pages need to address the needs of both the active buyer and the possible future buyers. If you are going to close the sale with the people actively looking to buy, you need to give them the information they need to be comfortable with their purchase and then means to make the purchase. Depending on the complexity of your product offerings this may be easy or hard. The concept though is relatively straight forward. If someone want to buy, your web site should make that easy. While there are many web sites that can improve on their ease of use, I think that point is inherently clear to all. But what about the others, --- those not quite ready to make a purchase? What can you do to make sure they remember your site, when it is their turn to buy? While you site can begin to give them answers to their questions, how do you get them to come back to your site as opposed to someone else’s when they are ready to buy? This is the critical question we hope to answer with this report. So lets look at some options. You could suggest that they bookmark your site. Some might. But even if they do, what are the chances they will follow that bookmark back to you a week, month or year later? If only there were a better way to get them to remember you. At a trade show you might give them a brochure or business card. And while most of these end up on the floor or in the round file, some may hold on to them. This is a critical short coming of most business web sites. There is no way to continue the conversation, once the crowd passes on to the next booth. --- Another common problem for both trade shows and web pages is the need to get the crowd to stop long enough for you to make your pitch. Some web sites try to use flashy graphics and/or dramatic images to catch browsers attention. Such efforts have often been panned in the past because they can often lead to delays in a page opening up. These days, that’s actually less of a problem. More and more people have broad band access. But such access is still far from universal. So caution is warranted. Earl Netwal 5 Version 1.5
    • Some sources suggest you have only 2-3 to maybe as much as 8 seconds to catch a browser's attention before they click to the next web site. Some trade show vendors will use a game or other device like a putting green or basketball hoops to get people to not only come to their booth, but to stick around long enough to engage them in conversation. Increasingly, professional internet marketing sites are using video to keep people on their site a bit longer. A short online video can in 30 seconds convey visual and audio information, and keep the browser on your web site a bit longer. Like the putting green, it catches the viewers attention long enough to allow you to convey information they may not have taken the time to find and read on your page. That's why I like the web sites the folks at David Goes Online produce for small businesses. As part of their deal, they are offer a free video, that gives their site some stickiness. So the second lesson is that web pages need to find a way to develop some stickiness. Some reason for the browser to spend some time on the page. And if possible maybe even a way for them to interact with the page. --- Trade Show Booths are Like Web Site Front Pages First Impressions The booth at a trade show is similar to the first page of your web page. It is what the passerby sees first. The appearance and configuration of a trade show booth makes a difference. The passing traffic will either be attracted to, or repelled by first impressions. Depending on circumstances, the front of a trade show booth may closed or open. If you're a concession stand, the front is typically closed. You take in money and pass out hot dogs over the counter. If your objective is to engage prospects in conversation to better learn their needs and get them to respond to your proposition, you want a more open setting. The first point I wish to make in this article is the initial appearance. The look of a trade show booth needs to be professional. But that said, if your booth looks a little nicer than the next guys, it's probably not going to make a big difference in your actual sales. The look of web pages does matter, they need to be professional. Beyond that, there are other factors that are more important than Earl Netwal 6 Version 1.5
    • whether they are “ritzy.” There may be circumstances when a artistic flair will set a tone for businesses with a creative component. For most businesses the need isn't as much to be flashy as to be professional. So too, with web site designs. Too much flash and "noise" may actually hurt some businesses initial web site appeal. If you are in a creative niche, you may want to step the page up a little, but don't lose site of your purpose in the process. Unfortunately, many web designers enjoy the creative aspects of a web site and are less attuned to its role as a marketing tool. This might not serve your business well, no matter how proud you may be of the site. --- What's in it for me? Most trade show booths try to use prominent signs and/or logos on their booths. They tend to put these up high and toward the back of the booth, rather than on the table skirt where it will be blocked by people standing in the way. On a web page, the key comparison is what is called "above the fold." The term is taken from newspaper speak, and refers to the front page of a newspaper, above the fold. The part people see first. This is where newspapers put their headlines, and the most important story of the day. There may be much more to the newspaper, and to your business, and web site. But what you do with the first part of your web page is critical. This is valuable real estate and you must use it wisely. For many browsers, it's the only part of your site they may ever see. The information you impart here is the most critical aspect of your entire web page. It should be designed to get your viewers to do something. That something may be to get them to look at the rest of your web site, but it may be even better to get them to opt into your email list. In business we need more than passing admiration for our artistry, we need leads and customers. The initial message must give the browser a concrete message letting them know, “What's in it for them.” Why they should take action or look further. --- Location, location, location. The third message to take from the trade show booths, is their location on the floor. The corresponding consideration for your web site is which key words your web site shows up on. Earl Netwal 7 Version 1.5
    • You may have a great web site and an even better product, but your business will fail if no one can find you. Your key words are thus roughly equivalent to your placement on a convention floor. Are you in a highly trafficked area near the concession stand or main entrance or in the back corner of a cavernous hall? There is a lot to what's called Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but for many businesses it's not that difficult at all. If you are a bakery in South Minneapolis, you want to make sure you have Bakery and South Minneapolis and South Minneapolis Bakery listed as keywords in the Meta Tags for your web site. You may also want to include other key words as well. Perhaps you would add donuts, and South Minneapolis donuts, or wedding cakes, etc. That's one of the areas where my friends at David Goes Online are particularly skillful. They can pretty much get any local mom and pop business to the top of Google by paying attention to the appropriate keywords for the business and tie it to their specific geography. I can help you do so as well. Today most people use their computers to search for a business, rather than drag out a heavy Yellow pages and leaf through it. But when they look up your business, don't all use the same search terms. Thus it's important that you use a wide array of “search phrases”, to insure your listing comes up when they search. Established internet marketers will tell you that you need to use “long tailed” keywords. I use what I call, “geographically based long tail keywords” for my local business clients. For example for some of my Home Staging Business clients, I might include in the meta tags a keyword like, “Minneapolis home staging experts,” or “Oakland certified home stager.” and as many relevant keywords as are appropriate for a given industry. These are the types of terms people actually key into their search engines, and if you have them in your keywords and your competitor doesn’t you stand a far better chance of being found than they will. Advantage you. It's like being listed in the phone book under multiple categories, only it doesn't cost a penny more to do so, if your pages are set up correctly. Unfortunately, most aren't. In a recent survey of all the business web sites in my zip code, I found only a couple that had a proper set of key words in the Meta Tags that form the hidden part of every web page. While Google doesn't use these like they once did, the other major search engines still do, and it makes a difference. If you want you business to be found, make sure you’re up front by the main entrance and not in the annex. Earl Netwal 8 Version 1.5
    • If your business isn't as geographically oriented as my bakery discussed above, you need to do even more solid keyword research. There are a lot of free tools you can use to do keyword research. Among the best is Google's free tool. I use it a lot. However, when your business is on the line, you really need to go the extra mile and use one of the paid services. I do. They will help you find terms you might not have thought of. I came up with 599 keyword phrases for one of my clients recently. They previously had four. What ever you use to develop your keywords, the bottom line is that you need to put your web site's booth on the right place on the convention floor. And that place is where the most people looking for your service are going to walk by. Among other things, you start the process by simple steps such as making sure your meta tags include all the relevant keywords you want to show up for. --- Ethical Bribes at a Trade Show Help Business Build Web Sites that Work Vendors at trade shows often use “ethical bribes” such as gifts, drawings, contests, even a chance to putt a golf ball into a miniature green to draw passer- bys to their booth. When I was a kid, you used to be able to get a wooden yard stick at the state fair. Such premiums now cost a buck or more, but in the old days it was a big crowd attractor. The most common attractor at fairs and trade shows are prize drawings. Fill out your name and address and/or phone number to win Free Siding, or a free set of encyclopedias, or what ever. It's this last idea that should be part and parcel of your web page. The fact that you were interested in winning that free siding suggested you might be a candidate to buy free siding. By filling in the drawing form, you were no longer part of the crowd at the trade show or fair. You were now a "Lead." A lead is a valuable commodity. The odds that you would win the grand prize were pretty slim. The odds that you would be called or mailed to afterward were 100%. For the business in the booth, it made a lot more sense to call you, than to call a random page out of the phone book. You had indirectly indicated that you could use new siding. That is the primary purpose of your web site if you are in business. Your web Earl Netwal 9 Version 1.5
    • site's primary goal should be to transform web site browsers into leads. And the best way to do that is by offering an ethical bribe. Browsers who are interested in your product will be interested in your free offer. It may be possible to offer candy or a coupon for candy from your site. You could perhaps treat a visitor to a virtual game of golf on your web site as well. In fact, there are a lot of things you could do online that resemble or duplicate virtually any idea you have seen in the trade show or fair arena. But the most common tool online is to offer free information. Not on your web site, but down loadable in exchange for interested people's name and email address. This is such an important concept, it should be on the above the fold portion of your web site, so anyone who visits your site will see and understand that they can readily get this valuable freebie. There are effective opt in options that allow you to accomplish this without needing to redo your web site. A “hover” add or light box ad can be added to the code of your page that causes an opt in form to appear over your existing page. The viewer can either fill out the form or click on it to make it go away. Now what you offer need not be difficult to create. A simple report of 5-7 pages is adequate. But it should be "sexy." It should offer to meet your prospects need for appropriate information relevant to their decision making process when considering your product or service. Last year, I did a comprehensive review of the Home Staging Industry. These small business people help their clients get faster sales and often better prices by applying their specific skills to create a positive impression on prospective buyers when they first enter a house and in each room they see thereafter. As I learned in my surveys of practitioners, most were crackerjacks at what they were doing, but often lacked marketing expertise. I suggested to them as I am to you now that they needed to add an "opt in form" on their web sites to draw in clients. I suggested they create a little report such as, "7 things to do before you call the Realtor," or "How to De-clutter your home." You will want to do something similar relevant to your business. Tips and "How to's…" are excellent places to start when thinking about what you can offer. Once you have their email address you can follow up with them, and provide them more useful information. This follow-up, done periodically thereafter, keeps your business in front of your leads and serves to build a relationship with them. Earl Netwal 10 Version 1.5
    • When they are ready to buy, the odds are they will give you a call, if only because you have been nice enough to share valuable information with them. They may even feel like they owe it to you. By implementing this critical tactic, you will have converted your website from a passive brochure into an effective marketing tool. Instead of being an electronic brochure, your web site has become interactive. Once they opt-in you can begin a conversation with them. The best part is that once you set it up, the whole thing can run on autopilot with little active effort on your part. Although it turns out that this becomes such a powerful tool, most businesses find additional ways to monetize this list once it’s established. --- The People at a Trade Show Trump the Web Site, but… The key element to any successful trade show booth are the people who staff the booth. Now some trade show booths use pretty women to serve as attractors as well as conversationalists, but the purpose of the people in the booth is to engage in conversation with the passing traffic. The booth may have optimum placement on the floor, and attractors up the wazoo but it really doesn't matter if there's no one there to meet and greet, ask and answer questions. Now some firms may just rely on pictures and exhibits posted in their booth to convey their message, and others may put a stack of brochures on the table for passer-by's to pick up. This may be better than nothing, but do you think it's as effective as having a real live person who can engage prospects in conversation? Not likely. Remember that we discussed the varied makeup of the crowd. Some are there for exercise or entertainment, others to get information, and a few to buy. As they walk past our booth, it's the job of the booth staff to engage them in conversation, to inquire about their needs, interests and to elicit their questions. Getting to understand what they are looking for is one of the key ingredients for both the seller and the prospective buyer to learn whether or not a transaction is possible. When it is, the conversation also serves as an investment by both parties in terms of time and effort toward a mutually agreeable solution. If properly handled, if the sales staff is good and skilled in their conversation, this is the process that leads a prospective buyer to the decision point, and ultimately Earl Netwal 11 Version 1.5
    • the successful sale. This is one area, where the trade show has a distinct advantage over the web site. The personality and skill of a good sales person in an interactive conversation with a prospect is hard to replicate online on a web page. Because it's difficult, doesn't mean that steps can't be taken to design the web presentation in a way that at least mimics the live relationship. A few paragraphs ago, I suggested live staff were better than a table full of brochures or static pictures on the booth wall. That is precisely the level where most small business web sites are now. They are little more than brochures. And like most brochures they get tossed into the mental round file almost immediately. We want to avoid that. We want instead to mimic the live salespeople and set up our web sites to answer questions. To do that we need to think about what our least informed prospective customer might want to know. When designing your web pages, imagine that you are at a trade show. What questions did people ask? These are the questions your page needs to begin to answer. Our web sites should thus focus on setting the basic parameters of our product, so that viewers get a sense of what we are about. So they are able to make some basic self assessment as to which type of product or service they might be interested in. But then, most businesses should stop. They should turn the responsibility back to the prospect to declare themselves a "Lead" by having them opt in for more information. This is similar to a person in the crowd at a trade show walking up to the booth. The sales staff engages the passerby in small talk and asks them some basic clarifying information. When the prospect asks a relevant product oriented question, they may still be just fishing for general information, but they are also beginning the sales process. It's time to bring them into a sophisticated sales presentation. In real life, your sales person would answer and follow up with more questions. On line, you need to convert that person then and there. Convert them from being a prospect in the crowd to a "Lead" in your sales funnel. You need them to opt in to your auto-responder service, so they can get more detailed information to enable them to make a "wise decision." This is exactly what we discussed earlier in our conversation about attractors. Don't miss the point about giving them information to make a wise decision. Design your "ethical bribe" as a tool to help them to make a wise decision. Offer them the information they need, when they need it and you are well on your way to the sale. Earl Netwal 12 Version 1.5
    • Once they have opted in, the conversation is now interactive. They came to your site. You provided information. They responded by opting in. A conversation has begun. Once you have the leads, you need to do the follow-up. That's our next topic. --- The Money Is In The Follow-up. This is the fifth section of our discussion comparing web pages to trade shows. In the first we compared the multiple reasons people have for being at a trade show and how people browsing the web have varying interests as well. We then discussed exhibitor's booths and drew comparisons to web page design, booth location with keywords and exhibitors signage and the importance of the web real estate that is "above the fold." We then talked about attractors, how they bring people passing by to the booth and how their goal was to transform prospects into leads. I suggested that this is precisely the purpose of both a trade show and a web page. And finally, I discussed the people at a trade show and how this was one area where a trade show had a distinct advantage over a web site. It's much easier for people to be interactive. To ask and answer questions. I went on to talk about an empty trade show booth with just brochures left behind. I think you would agree with me that having people interact with prospects is far more effective than a stack of brochures, however nice they may be. Unfortunately, most business's web pages are just that, electronic brochures. This is a shame as it’s not difficult at all to begin the process to change that. The key component is an opt in box that can either be tied into the web page design, ideally "above the fold" and promoted with an valuable attractor. Of note, it’s possible to add a "light box" style Opt In form, that doesn't require you to make any changes to your existing web site. For many businesses the best type of attractor is a free down loadable report providing useful "How to," or "What to look for" information. Think about the types of questions the people at your trade show booth would be most likely asked and answer them in a short and concise format. The goal of both a trade show and your web site is to transform the web browser from being just another face in the crowd into a "lead." A lead is someone the trade show people call or mail to after they empty the sweepstakes box of all those names that didn't win the "free siding" or what ever they used to capture people's names and contact info. Earl Netwal 13 Version 1.5
    • The advantage for the web site is that it's easy to capture your leads name and email address, if you offer the viewer something they want. What I call an ethical bribe. And once you do, you can design a series of follow up emails to provide them additional useful information they need to make a wise buying decision. There are two types of emails a business owner might send these new leads. This first set is a structured series of emails that are pre-written and are "dripped" on the recipient at appropriate intervals. These are "evergreen" messages that once written and installed in an auto responder can be left to do their thing over time. Once set up they run on auto pilot. These can be simple or sophisticated. An initial email for instance could ask the recipient if they want specific information on a laundry list of different topics. If they pick one or more they can opt into as many different specialized series of follow-up messages as may be desired. This is useful for firms with multiple product lines. Designing and creating this initial series of follow-up emails is the biggest investment in the entire process. A top notch auto responder service such as www.buildrelationships.aweber.com can cost under $25 a month and will reliably capture the leads from your web page. You can use this concept even if you don’t have a web page, by encouraging your existing customers to send an email to your auto responder to get access to emails on special offers, coupons, etc. Once the initial series of emails is written and installed on your system, they will work 24/7 for you, for peanuts. You can completely forget about them, but your customers and prospects will get your messages until they tell it to stop, or give you a call to say they are ready to do business. A second type of follow-up message is the broadcast message. These can be used to advertise special sales, or send out holiday greetings or any other message you want. The combination of preloaded evergreen messages and occasional broadcasts can fulfill many purposes and can serve to not only win new business, but effectively stay in touch with existing customers as well. This ongoing aspect of maintaining periodic contact with current and past customers is one of the best uses of an auto responder, and one that will generate significant new sales for any business that takes the time to creatively apply it to their specific circumstances. Follow up is the name of the game in new sales and in developing repeat business. It’s what happens after a person has been to your web site that counts, when you get around to counting your bottom line. Earl Netwal 14 Version 1.5
    • The trade show model requires a business to rent a space on the floor, but or rent a booth, develop a series of attractors to draw people to the booth, pay salaries or commissions to the people staffing the booth, and then pay to mail and or call the leads generated by the show. In contrast, if you already have a web page, you need to set up an auto responder, create an ethical bribe, and develop a series of follow-up emails, and not much more. Once you do so, you will have turned a passive web site into an active marketing tool. If you need help getting your business up to speed, give me a call. I will do my best to help you through the steps to success online. Recommended Resources: Auto Responder The key component required to transform your current static web site into a marketing tool, is your auto responder. The service I use and recommend is Aweber, www.BuildRelationships.aweber.com . It is by far the preferred service, and is used by most of the internet marketers I know. While it’s possible to have a programmer develop an auto responder service on your own web site, using a professional service makes a lot more sense in the long run. First, it’s cheap. Rates will vary depending on how much traffic you generate, but as of my writing this, most small businesses will be able to start for well under $25 a month, even less if you take advantage of their annual payment plans. There are a couple of things you should understand. Aweber uses what’s called a double opt in system. What this means is that when a person signs up to be on your mailing list, they are actually signing up on a form you create at Aweber. Once Aweber gets their initial message, they send out a confirmation message to the email address registered. This asks your new subscriber to confirm that they want to be on your list. Your new list member must confirm, or they will not be included. Once they do they become part of your data base and you can message them, whenever you choose. The subscriber retains the right to discontinue your Earl Netwal 15 Version 1.5
    • emails at any time. This accomplishes two things. First, it keeps people from putting in phony email addresses, just to get your free report. And more importantly, it serves to protect you against spam complaints when people register someone else’s legitimate email address instead of their own. Aweber is a known entity in the internet marketing world, and it’s well known they use this double opt in system. Thus the folks who monitor and prosecute SPAM complaints are far less likely to raise any issues with you, even when someone forgets they signed up for your list and complains. This avoids problems you don’t need. In addition to the double opt in feature, they automatically insert both an automatic “opt-out” link and your legal address at the bottom of each of your messages. This means you will always be compliant with the anti Spam laws, and your subscriber knows that they can stop your emails whenever they want. Best yet, if your subscriber decides they want to stop, all they have to do is click the link and it’s done automatically. You don’t need to be involved at all. These peace of mind features make the monthly fee more than worthwhile by themselves. But you get a lot more than peace of mind. Aweber offers a lot of features, more than I can cover here now. But lets lay out a few, for the sake of clarity. First, you can have multiple lists, at no extra charge. You can have a list for those people who sign up on your web site. You can have another list for people who sign up because you add an invitation to do so on your cash register receipt or invoice forms. This may make sense as a way to conduct separate conversations with prospective customers who are first finding you online, as opposed to the conversation you want to have with people who are existing customers. Earl Netwal 16 Version 1.5
    • You may also want to use this capability to focus on different product lines. Say you are a restaurant that also does catering. You might have a sub list for the catering business in addition to a primary list that promotes your weekly or monthly specials. This ability to run multiple lists is a great asset. It allows you to have multiple conversations going on, with multiple people at the same time. All on autopilot. There is one more basic concept to get across regarding auto responders. There are two types of basic messages. The first is the follow-up message. These are written and stored in the system and are sent automatically once a person signs up for your list. The first one goes out immediately once they have confirmed that they want to be on the list. Then you can schedule any number of additional messages as you wish. Depending on your particular needs, you may want to send a second message three days after they get the first one, and then maybe in another in 3-5 days, and then weekly thereafter. Some people set up mini courses on topics of interest to their customers. A liquor store may for example create a series of posts on wines, or the characteristics of different beers they sell. A restaurant, may do recipes or cooking tips, etc. The key thing about follow-up messages is that they should be “Evergreen.” With any luck people will be signing up to your list every day from now till the end of time. You want messages that make sense no matter the time of year. So even though it may be Spring, when you are writing your messages, eventually it will be winter when someone new first joins your list. All of these follow-up messages are sent sequentially based on the number of days since the person signed up on your list. So on any given day you will have message 1 going out to newly signed up people, message 3 going out to people who signed up last week, and message 14 going out to people who may have signed up four months ago. The second type of message is the Broadcast. This is sent to all people no matter when they signed up. This type of message is ideal for sending out messages about this week’s specials, of attractions for the coming month, or holiday greetings. If you are a dentist and want to let your patients know to schedule their appointments prior to you upcoming two week vacation cruise, you send them a broadcast message six weeks in advance and then again periodically up Earl Netwal 17 Version 1.5
    • until you send them a message on who to contact in case of an emergency. The best part of this, is that you can pre-schedule broadcast messages. Thus if you want, you could send a Happy New Years message for exactly at midnight next year right now. If you have a three month advertising plan, you can schedule all your broadcasts for the coming three months at one time, and then forget about it. The messages will be sent automatically, and your customers will get your messages when you want. They will respond and it won’t cost you any more than the cost of your auto responder and the time to write the messages. There are other more advanced features available once you have your system up and running. For example, you can do split testing to see which of your ads gets a better response, and there are ways to tie your blog posts into the process and even pod casts. But such services are beyond the scope of this report. Again the service I recommend is www.BuildRelationships.aweber.com. Resources Below I have assembled a large number of resources. For some I am an affiliate and will get paid should you choose to purchase them, some are my own products, some are free resources and some I am recommending even though I do not have a fee relationship with them. My selections are based on my personal experience and are on this list because I believe they could be of benefit to you. Web hosting: If you do not already have web hosting, or if you are paying for web hosting from two of more web hosts, I recommend Host Gator. They allow you to host multiple web sites on one account for the same price or less than many other services. If you are an internet marketer, or anticipate that you will be creating an affiliate program as part of your business model, you may be better off with the bundle of services including hosting available from the Ultimate Marketing Center. They don't allow an unlimited number of web sites like Host Gator, but their other services more than make up the difference. I Earl Netwal 18 Version 1.5
    • actually use both, myself. Cpanel One of the reasons I recommend the above two services is because they both use Cpanel as the control for their sites. This easy to use interface has made life much easier for millions of web users. Understanding how Cpanel works and how to use it is one of the most liberating things one can do in the arena of internet marketing. I learned how to use Cpanel from a series of videos called, Discover C Panel by Chris Morris and Bob the Teacher. I will recommend more of Bob The Teacher's materials below. If you are going to get “hands on” with your web site, you need to understand how your Cpanel works and this video series is a great place to start. Auto-responder If you get the hosting package from the Ultimate Marketing Center, you will also get access to an auto-responder. I'm sure it's good, but I have been very happy with my existing auto- responder and have never used that feature at UMC. I have an account with Aweber and I can attest to their reliability and ease of use. As I said in the introduction, I believe every business web site should use an ethical bribe to get visitors to their web sites to leave their email address so you can follow-up with them. The auto-responder is the linchpin to that strategy. To learn how to effectively use Aweber you can rely on their online tutorials which are quite good. Bob the Teacher also has an excellent course that may help you get you up to speed even faster. I learned a lot from his course, even though I had been using Aweber for several years. This course is called Discover Auto-Responders . I was able to teach myself the basics when I started out. You can too. However, Bob's course showed me additional features, I hadn't taken the time to learn. Even if you already have a basic understanding of Aweber, you may want to grab this one. HTML As I mention in the report, HTML Code is a lot easier to learn than I thought at first. It turns out to be fairly simple once you understand a handful of formats that you need to use on a regular basis. Knowing how to make minor adjustments yourself can save you a lot of time and money you otherwise would need to spend on your computer person. Even if you do decide to delegate these tasks, it's good to know how simple much of this is. I acquired the rights to a handy little report several years ago called HTML in Simple Terms . Earl Netwal 19 Version 1.5
    • If you find yourself “hand's on” with your website, blog or Squidoo, I recommend that you get a copy and print out the back section to keep by your computer. As of this writing, I've distributed over 900 copies of it, and use it myself from time to time to this day. HTML is the basic code behind the internet, and how you will form your H1 tags, and anchor text. There are also a lot of free resources online. Just Search for Free HTML in Google and you will discover a variety of resources. I like the printout of my little book because I find it easier to find what I am looking for and easier to read the information when I have it on paper in front of me. Keywords Identifying the universe of keywords that apply to your business is a critical part of your challenge. The obvious ones are easy to come by. But people are funny, and many of your customers will use circuitous routes to find you. The most important keyword tool to use is Google Free External Tool. https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal While this is a great place to start, serious research into keywords will come up with many more keywords that people use that Google free tool just will not find. The king of the keyword tools is probably WordTracker. http://www.wordtracker.com/ This is a relatively expensive tool, but does offer a free trial. Take advantage of it. You can find a lot of keywords that you might not have otherwise thought of for your business. Remember each keyword is a potential source of customers. It's often the more obscure keywords that yield results since your competitors may miss them altogether. Rather than use Wordtracker, I use a less expensive service called Keywordtopia. What I like about Keywordtopia is that it actually uses WordTracker as one of its resources. It's like getting cut-rate access to this tool. While it may not have all of the bells and whistles, it gets me the keywords which is what matters most to me. Keywordtopia also has a free trial. Squidoo 101 As I mentioned in the report, Squidoo is an excellent way to get high powered back links to your site. It's also another way to find and direct traffic to your site and can be profitable in its own right. Squidoo Basics is a good introduction to using Squidoo to market and promote your sites. It goes into much more detail that I could here. Earl Netwal 20 Version 1.5
    • Bob the Teacher Internet Marketing Library I've already mentioned two of Bob the Teacher's courses above. I've taken almost a dozen different courses from him over the past few years. He used to be a high school teacher, and has an effective teaching style. He goes over each step methodically, and as a result he doesn't skip things others might “assume” you know. He has established what he call Bob the Teachers Internet Marketing Library, which is a membership program where you can access most if not all his course for a single monthly fee. Through his many different and ever growing library of courses you can easily learn how to control the most important pieces of your online business with step-by-step how-to tutorials that you can watch and listen to from your computer. If you're like me, and want to learn how to do things for yourself, there is no better resource. The membership is a great deal, particularly if you are able to dedicate some serious time to learning as much as possible in the shortest amount of time. Understanding Article Marketing While this reference is primarily aimed at people building their businesses as internet marketers, the lessons taught by Doug Champigny in the Beginner's Key to Understanding Article Marketing apply across the board. He takes you well beyond how to write an effective article, even if you can't write, and how to hire a ghost writer to significant strategic ideas on how to make article marketing work for you. Doug has been one of my personal mentor's, and has been one of the go to people on line since the mid 1990's. He knows his stuff. Article marketing is one of the keys to success online and this eBook will get you there faster and surer. Article Directories and Article Submission If I were to post an article to only one article directory that would be http://ezinearticles.com/ There are thousands of article directories. Virtually none of them accept a bulk posting. That means you need to log in and post your article one by one, which can be a time consuming task. If your goal is to create an exponential growth in the number of back links and/or traffic you want to post on as many directories as you can. There are two basic approaches to automating this process. One involves buying software that helps process the one by one submissions. This involves your uploading your article, the title, your keywords, and resource box as well as author name etc once to the software. The software then automatically fills in the forms for each directory when you get to it. It greatly speeds up the process. But you will find the need to pay attention to details along the way. I've used Brad Callen's Article Submitter for a long time and can recommend it. He has constantly Earl Netwal 21 Version 1.5
    • improved it over time and the Platinum version is superior. He even has a free version. While the software speeds up the process significantly, it still takes time and effort and as I said, you will still have to accommodate glitches. The alternative is to use a service that does everything for you. This is what I would recommend. The time saved is well worth the expense if you are going to pursue a serious article marketing campaign, and you should. There are many such services out there, but the one that I recommend and that has received high grades from all the people I know who use it is Article Marketer. They offer a variety of different subscription terms from 3 months to life time. The major advantage with them is that you can submit an unlimited number of articles, where as the others either charge more or a per article fee. They also submit your articles to more sites than any other service I am aware of. Blogging I didn't spend much time on Blogging in this report. It is a huge topic in its own right, and another highly effective way of developing your presence online. My go to Blogging expert is Mike Paetzold. If you are new to blogging, I recommend his eBook called Blogging for Seniors. It is misnamed. While the thrust of the book was aimed at seniors, it is actually a very good how to get started in blogging eBook, whether you are 70 or 17. Once you've hooked up with Mike after buying this book, make a point of subscribing to his blog Word Press Made Easy. Word Press changes constantly, and Mike is always in the forefront of how to best keep on top of the changes. My Blogs Speaking of Blogs, I invite you to monitor my blogs as well. My flagship blog is http://MicroBusinessSpecialist.com/blog I also have a blog on article marketing called, http://ArticleMarketingHint.com And another blog that is dedicated to internet marketing giveaways. That blog is located at http://AskEarlAbout.com/GiveAways By the way, internet giveaways have proven to be an excellent way for internet marketers to grow their lists. They offer a free information product, in exchange for getting a persons email address and permission to email them. Many main street businesses could use these same internet giveaways to offer product specific information. The people who actually grab the freebie presumably have at least some interest. A one time investment in writing a follow-up email campaign could well be successful selling hard products as well as the more traditional eBook. Earl Netwal 22 Version 1.5