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How to Involve an SEO Expert during the Web Design Process

COSTLY WEBSITE PROBLEMS can be avoided if a business consults a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert before and during website design. It’s hard when prospective clients call us, excited about an expensive new website, and we have to tell them that their sites require redesign.

Fortunately, however, an SEO expert usually needs to spend only a few hours to review your web design at certain crucial stages to save far greater expenses and headaches later on.

Stage 1: Concept and Marketing Strategy

You probably have a vision of the content and general site structure you are looking for. Before you meet with your web designer, contact your SEO expert who can provide you with marketing insights and ideas that perhaps you hadn’t considered. As a result of this meeting, your website plans could change dramatically — for the better. At this stage, a lot of money can be saved by firming up a more concrete, search engine friendly site plan.

Stage 2: Presenting the Vision to the Designer

It also helps to have your SEO expert meet with you and your web designer (in person or by telephone) when you lay out your vision and site plan. Your SEO expert is there to answer questions and ensure that your search engine marketing objectives are not thwarted should a grand design concept change the previous site plan.

During this meeting the designer will often provide a time schedule for deliverables and explain when you can weigh-in on each step of the design process. In the presence of the web designer, ask your SEO expert at what checkpoints it is best for him or her to check in on the progress.

Set up those checkpoints and clearly state that the design cannot continue without an official sign-off from your SEO expert. Without this it is far too easy for the design process to build momentum and breeze by these key checkpoints. Important: Even if your designer claims to have SEO experience, you’re still wise to include an independent SEO expert. Your designer’s SEO techniques may well be out of date.

Stage 3: Final Draft Review

Before you sign-off and agree to your final website, make certain to clear the final product with your SEO expert. At this stage any SEO mistakes that may have made it through the design and review process can be caught before final sign-off.

Once you sign off on the final website, subsequent corrections get very costly. There is no question that money can be saved — and in fact made — from having a search engine optimizer involved. After all, if your website is search engine friendly right out of the gate, you are one major step closer to profitable search engine rankings.

Need to find out more about Better Search Engine optimisation for your website? Contact John here or call/sms 0414 955 743

How I get your web pages to top 10 in Google

The more I speak with clients about optimising their web pages so they nail Top 10 in Google, the more I realise there are a lot of Search Engine Professionals out there still using methods that were out of date last year.

Yet small businesses listen to them, because they don’t know any different.

Before I tell you exactly I do to get your web page to land top 10 in Google, there are a few facts you need to know about the Search Engine Optimisation industry.

  1. If your SEO professional isn’t using techniques from the past 4 months or less, you’re paying hard earned cash to them for nothing.
  2. The search engine industry is changing almost daily. Google alone uses 200+ double-degree propeller heads to improve their search results accuracy. If your SEO person isn’t constantly studying and learning the new ways Google wants them to react, he’s taking your money under false pretext.
  3. If anyone guarantees you a result, they are conning you.
  4. SEO professionals should know when NOT to optimise a web page. That’s just as important as knowing how to optimise a page.

Now here’s the meat – here’s exactly what it takes to get your web page to land number one in Google”

Step 1: Each web page must have a primary key word or phrase. We first make sure that your chosen keyword/phrase is the best choice to turn your visitors into buyers.

Did you realise that is a vital step? It’s not about whether you land Top 10 in Google, but it’s about whether the customer buys from you, or contacts you.

It’s of no use to you if your page lands top 10 in Google every ten minutes but the visitor doesn’t click on your link, land on your web page, then do business with you.

Step 2: Next, we check the cache of the page in Google. We want to make sure it’s been freshly visited by the little Google Spiders. If it’s not ‘fresh’ then we know the marketing on your page needs a ‘caffeine’ injection. If it does, we

  1. provide suggestions for your content, title, description and body copy
  2. organise 5 to 10 quick, real, good-quality links to your page. By ‘good’ I mean links which aren’t buried between Viagra and penis lengthening ads or Free Online Casino chip links
  3. Finally, we organise some blog links to your page. Most SEOs don’t even know they need to be doing this in order to most effectively market your web pages

Step 3: We verify the projected traffic levels to your chosen keyword/phrase. Some keywords/phrases are so seldom searched they don’t get hardly any results from one month to the next. We prefer use your money on the pages which deliver you the best results.

Step 4: We check the search engine results pages (SERPS) for your keyword/phrase. Are there Premium ads at the top? Local Ads? YouTube and GoogleVid ads? Are the top 6 places take up by ‘immovables’ like Amazon, Wikipedia, eBay or EzineArticles.com? If this is the case we’ll stop analysis right there and move on to your next keyword/phrase. Again, we don’t want to waste your money.

Step 5: Next, I verify that there’s room for you in the market. We need to size up your competition. We have special software which makes sure what your competition really is when your keyword/phrase is searched. Hey, and do you think we care how many results are against you? We don’t. We’re only interested in the Top Ten search engine results. That’s all.

I mean, if I get you from 200th right up to 50th, will that do you any good? No way. Almost no-one clicks more than twice after they search. So that’s why I’m on about top 10 all the time. For me, if you not landing top 10 in Google, you’ve still got a way to go.

Step 6: Now I take a look at your page itself. I’ll check your On-Page Optimisation. I look for things like the page name, title, description, keywords and some other metatag stuff which doesn’t show up on the web page people see. I have some more specialised software which helps me out here as well. We might even try for an indented listing if the page looks like it stacks up OK.

Step 7: If it warrants it, now is where I’ll create a focussed page of original content which hones in directly on your keyword/phrase. Compelling title, proper use of the keyword/phrase and body text. Then we upload it up to your server.

Step 8: It’s no good having a hot new page ‘up there’ if it’s not noticed. So at this point I ‘market’ the page using a blog-based technique which should normally get your new page indexed in about 3 hours.

Step 9: I now recheck the new page and verify it’s scoring more than 85% in my ‘yardstick’ software. If not, it’s back to Steps 6, 7 and 8.

Step 10: Now I use two other proprietary applications to narrow in on which Top Ten results are vulnerable, then go after them. In SEO a lot of the deal is all about pages which link back to your own page. Usually if there are a couple of results pages with low back links, we can have their spot or better inside 40 days.

And that’s it. Using the techniques above, you’ll be amazed at how much overall improvement your website can enjoy in just 90 days.

Need to find out more about getting your website Top 10 in Google? Contact John here or call/sms 0414 955 743

Coming up with your Opening Sales Statement

I like to use this guy’s home-spun yarns because he mixes them up well with very real applicable tactics you can apply yourself. And who of us can’t use a few tips on making a sale? — John

YOU’VE GOT JUST EIGHT SHORT SECONDS to grab your prospect’s attention and land an executive sales appointment. This story by Personal Sales Guru Tony Parinello shows you how.

PARINELLO BEGINS:

Before you pick up the phone to make a sales call to an executive, I’d like to suggest you remember the following true story: A few months ago, one of my salespeople, Daniel, had some car problems, so I offered to give him a ride to work.

Not wanting to pass up the opportunity to do a little one-on-one role-playing, I suggested we go over some appointment-setting phone skills. I’ve had a long-standing, well-proven statistic that you have just eight seconds to grab an executive’s attention whenever they pick up their phone.

Daniel was a bit skeptical about my eight-second standard. He looked at me and said, "Boss, eight seconds is too short a period of time! That’s hardly enough time to take a deep breath, let alone make a meaningful opening statement."

We happened to be waiting at a red light when he said this. As the light turned green, I kept my foot on the brake and started counting: "One thousand one, one thousand two…." People started honking. By the time I got to "one thousand four," Daniel was begging me to get moving.

By the time we hit the sixth second, the guy behind us was starting to get out of his car, and Daniel was looking for a place under the floorboards to hide. When I finally hit eight, the intersection was a symphony of honking horns, "pointing fingers" and shouting mouths.

I hit the gas. Daniel’s never questioned me again on how long eight seconds really is or whether you can make an impact in that length of time. Let’s say now that you understand what motivates people to buy; you know the relevant specifics about your product, service or solution; and you have a good idea about the strategies at your disposal for contacting people who may give you new business.

When you find yourself getting ready to pick up the phone to call an executive, what do you say? I’m going to assume that your goal for picking up the phone is to develop new business. I’m also going to assume that:

  1. You’ve decided to use the phone to do this, either by means of a follow-up call on a written communication (see my prior article on this topic), or as your first contact with the target business.
  2. Your aim is to get an appointment or create the next step with a top executive who is the person who can actually buy whatever it is you’re selling.

You have three big goals when it comes to developing an opening statement that works. You want to:

  1. Make it sound conversational.
  2. Deliver it with confidence.
  3. Get a favourable interruption–one that will put your prospect in control as soon as possible.

Five Key Opening Statement Components

You’re picking up the phone to call your prospect. For right now, let’s assume you actually do get through to the executive. Here are the five key ingredients your opening statement needs to contain:

1. An Introduction Usually, when an executive (or anyone else) picks up a direct line, they say their name: "This is Jane Smith," or "Jane Smith speaking." Your first step will be to repeat this person’s name. Keep things formal for now – use Mr. or Ms., then the contact’s last name.

Prospect: This is Jane Smith.

You: Ms. Smith?

Prospect: Yes.

This first step will earn you Ms. Smith’s undivided attention. Whatever she was doing prior to you saying her name, she’s now stopped doing. She’s paying attention to you, and that’s a good thing!

What most salespeople do now – despite ample and endlessly repeated evidence that they shouldn’t – is say something like this: "Hi, Ms Smith. This is Will Perish, with the ABC Insurance Company."

Unless your name is, say, James Bond, or your company affiliation is, say, the Prize Disbursement Division of OzLotto, I can tell you exactly what’s going to happen next in the vast majority of such calls: The prospect will respond to this self-defeating "verbal handshake" by tuning out, asking you to send written information, pretending the building just caught fire, or otherwise disengaging from the call. In other words, you’ll have only been on the line about a second and a half, and you’ll be done.

2. The Pleasantry

Here’s an alternative plan. What I’m about to tell you will probably contradict what you’ve been taught. Do it anyway. When Jane Smith says "Yes," you’re going to respond with something positive and enthusiastic, something that doesn’t directly identify you, your company or the product or service you eventually want to discuss. It’s too early in the relationship for you to pass along that kind of information. Instead, you’re going to use a pleasantry, such as one of these:

  1. "It’s an honour to finally speak with you!"
  2. "Thanks for picking up the phone!"
  3. "Thanks for taking my call."
  4. "Your time is important. Let me cut to the chase."

Get the idea? Each and every one of these pleasantries will do a far better job for you than simply volunteering your name and company affiliation at the outset of the conversation. Or saying something totally lame like "How are you today?" or "Do you have a minute?"

3. The Hook

Immediately after your pleasantry, you’re going to catch the person’s attention by using a hook that’s keyed directly to something likely to be of interest to this prospect.

"We’ve helped (three of the top five widget corporations reduce overhead costs by twelve percent this quarter–and they did it without laying off staff or sacrificing product quality)."

Now there’s a tangible benefit if ever there was one! Keep your hook focused and just one or two sentences long, and you can’t go wrong. The Interruption. More often than not, here’s where you’ll get interrupted if your hook is doing its job. Your prospect is likely to cut in and say something along the lines of one of these statements:

  1. "This sounds interesting – tell me all about it."
  2. "I haven’t heard of this before, but I must admit it sounds vaguely interesting."
  3. "I have absolutely no interest."

As I said, you’ll almost certainly get interrupted by this point. For the sake of completeness, though, you need to finish developing your opening statement. You need to know what to say in those cases where you don’t get interrupted at this point.

4. Naming Names

Once you’ve shared your hook, the other person knows the reason for your call – the cat’s out of the bag. This is the perfect time to identify yourself and, if you like, your organisation. If you choose to identify the name of your business, give it a brief "commercial." What you say will fit in one sentence. It should sound like this: "This is Will, Will Prosper, with ABC Insurance Company – the hardest-working company in the insurance industry today."

5. Your Ending Question

If you don’t get interrupted by this point, you’re going to conclude your opening statement with an ending question that incorporates some element of time. Try one of these:

  1. "Ms. Smith, does this touch on issues that are of concern to you this (month/year/quarter)?"
  2. "Are you wanting to accomplish something like this by the end of this (quarter/year)?"
  3. "Is this something you’d like to explore further?"
  4. "Who on your team would you like for me to continue this conversation with between now and the end of this business (day/week)?"
Putting It All Together Here’s an example of an opening statement that works. Yours shouldn’t sound exactly like this one, but it should be about this long, and it should, like what follows, hit all the bases you’ve been reading about. Prospect: "This is Jane Smith." You: "Ms. Smith?" Prospect: "Yes…." You: "(Pleasantry) It was a pleasure to read that your company has successfully expanded into the European marketplace. By the way…(Hook) after studying another client’s operation, we suggested an idea that provided revenue gains of more than $25,000 per year. The real surprise is that we did this without taking one bit of Acme’s hard-earned capital. (Your Name) This is Will Prosper at Zenith. (Ending Question) Acme’s impressive results may be tough to duplicate. But would you be open to taking the next step between now and the first of the year?"

Again, you shouldn’t try simply to insert your company specifics into the script you see above. You should use all the ideas in this article to craft an opening statement that is uniquely yours and that best fits the business you’re pitching.

Need to find out more about selling by phone? Contact John here or call/sms 0414 955 743

This print ordering trick will save you money, big time

THERE’S NO NEED to waste money every time you order printing. There are dozens of ways to buy printing much cheaper than you normally pay.

Here’s one of them. We have a client who has just ordered 25,000 DL sized (99mm x 210mm, or one-third A4) postcards. They’re really schmick, printed on lovely 300 gsm gloss art, full colour both sides, a real treat to look at. And they’ll be a terrific boon to his business.

They’ll really bring in new clients for him, big-time. When they’re printed we’ll mail them out to selected small businesses in South East Queensland.

Now here’s the thing.

When the printer we’re using for the job does 25,000 DL cards, he lays out 12 of them on an A2 sheet. It means he only prints around 2100 sheets, then cuts them up.

And here’s where you can save money.

If I give him ELEVEN of my client’s cards, and ONE of yours, you can get just over 2000 of your own cards, by piggy-backing on the big job. You’ll get your cards at around ONE-THIRD of what they should cost.

My client doesn’t care . . . all he cares about is that his job is done as promised, and we mail it out on time. If you need to produce a classy DL sizes 4 colour both sides promo card in time for Christmas, give me a call 04141 955 743 and I’ll slip you in on the big job. But I can’t take too many, so first in, best dressed!

Need to find out more about grabbing one-off bargains in printing? Contact John here or call/sms 0414 955 743

 

Small Business Marketing: The Top 5 Most Affordable Marketing Strategies for Small Business

A QUESTION that keeps countless small business owners awake at night is "How do I attract customers and grow my business when I have little or no money for marketing?"

In our business we solve this marketing problem for our clients by introducing them to use low cost "Guerrilla Marketing" strategies to grow their business.

Our Top 5 most effective low cost marketing strategies are:

  1. Create a revenue sharing partnership with a business that sells a non-competing product to your target market.
    The way to structure this partnership is that your partner includes information about your product or service in their marketing materials and in exchange you give them a commission on each sale.
  2. Join a local and/or national barter exchange network and trade your products or services for advertising services such as radio or print advertising.
  3. Write and distribute a news release telling the media about your business news.
    You can announce a new product or service, a unique way of doing business, a company anniversary, new employees you have hired, a new office location, etc.
  4. If you have a website, you can inexpensively drive very targeted customers to your website using the Google Adwords pay per click search engine marketing service.Depending on the keywords you choose, this service can cost as little as ten cents to send a prospective buyer to your website. This marketing tool works wonders when you have a well written sales message on your website.
  5. Create step-by-step sales scripts to help you and your sales force make powerful presentations and close more sales.
    Create several responses to each objection you routinely hear from prospective customers and memorise those responses.The more confident you sound when talking to prospective customers, the more those customers will trust you and have faith in your ability to help them. You must also create and memorise several closes so when you are talking to a client, you know how to confidently ask for the sale.

Need to find out more about low cost marketing strategies that really work? Contact John here or call/sms 0414 955 743

Myspace Marketing: How to Market Your Business for FREE on Myspace

Myspace.com is the world’s largest social networking website. It is the cool place to be if you are in your teens, 20s and 30s. I have also found that it can be an outstanding free marketing tool for social business and websites.

So what is Myspace.com? Myspace is a website where anybody in the world can create a free “personal” web page (i.e., my space). Once you have created your personal web page on Myspace, then you can connect your page to other people’s Myspace pages by clicking on a link to request to be a person’s friend.

Once that person agrees to be your friend, then you and that person can email each other, chat with each other, leave comments on each other’s Myspace pages, and read each other’s blogs.

There is no limit to the number of friends you can have and some of the more popular people on Myspace have millions of Myspace friends and have actually become Internet celebrities and have been featured on talk shows.

Over the past year I have been conducting test marketing on Myspace for a couple of my clients and I have discovered that Myspace can be a very good free marketing tool for businesses.

However, Myspace is not for all businesses. The types of business that will do well having a myspace page are the “cool” types of businesses that want to market to people in their 20s and 30s.

Businesses that will have luck marketing on Myspace include bars, clubs, “hip” clothing stores, and cool Internet websites. Here is how to market your business for FREE on Myspace.com:

  1. Go to Myspace.com and create a free profile. Make sure to talk first about yourself and then about your business.However, you must consider your Myspace page a personal page where you talk mostly about you and a little about your business. Do not just talk about your business because if you do, people will not want to be your friend.
    You need to focus on the personal aspect such as, “hey this is me and my life. And by the way I run this Internet website that sells cool t-shirts.” If you think of Myspace as a place to network and meet friends FIRST and market your business SECOND, then you will do well on Myspace.
  2. Once you have created your Myspace page, click the browse link to find the type of people you want to market to. You can search by gender, age, location, ethnicity, etc.
  3. Go to each person’s page and click their “Add to friends” link. The person will either approve you or deny you. If they approve you, your Myspace page and their Myspace page will be connected as being friends.
  4. To market your business, post friendly personalised bulletins. When you post a bulletin, a link to your bulletin will be posted on each of your friend’s Myspace pages.If you have 5,000 Myspace friends, than you can literally have a message sent to all 5,000 of these people for free. However, remember that you must be personal with your messages. Talk like you are talking to your best friend. Do NOT talk to people like customers. Myspace is a place for friends and you must respect that.
  5. Post friendly comments on your Myspace friends’ pages and include a link to your website.Then, everybody who goes to your friend’s Myspace page will see your comment and your link. Some will click on your picture to become your friend and some will click on the link to go to your website.

Need to find out more about promoting your business on social network sites like MySpace or FaceBook? Contact John here or call/sms 0414 955 743

Boost Your Marketing Campaigns With Keyword Creativity

THIS FASCINATING INTERVIEW between WordTracker’s Rachelle Money and international marketing communications writer and consultant Neil Davidson reveals what keyword creativity is, and how to use it.

What is keyword creativity?

It’s about using keywords to help you when you are thinking about marketing strategies and creative ideas. Whenever you use the Wordtracker tool you will inevitably come across keywords which throw up interesting ideas for you to base new content on, or launch a new product line. Applying a creative process to keyword research is keyword creativity.
Keyword creativity and advertising

Davidson says that a lot of people still haven’t fully come to grips with how keyword creativity and advertising can complement one another.

“People respond differently to advertising these days. In the old days people would have a massive freephone number or a URL printed on an advert. They may still, but the reality is that most of us don’t write down that URL or phone number anymore. We go to Google and type in whatever words we remember for that ad.”

Davidson uses Orange, a UK-based company which sells cell phones, as an example of a major telecommunications company which has used keyword creativity in their advertising with mixed success.

“Orange have launched a new campaign called ‘I am’. There’s no URL and there’s no phone number. All it says is to type ‘I am’ into Google search, because they’ve realized people think typing www is too much work”, remarks Davidson.

Every ad campaign has a search response

He says that businesses must ensure that when people search for a word related to the ad campaign, that they are sent to their own website. Businesses have to discover a way to ‘own’ that search term and make it synonymous with their ad campaign.

Going back to our Orange cell phone example, if the potential customer had seen the ad, then went to Google, typed in ‘I am’ into the search box, and Orange where not at the top of the search results, that would have been a lost opportunity.

Davidson said the way Orange has ensured they do come top for ‘I am’ is by paying for a sponsored link.

He added: “What actually comes up top is IAmBored.com – which is a site that offers online games and puzzles.

“I would suggest that Orange could have owned that top spot organically. They should have done the keyword search beforehand and asked themselves; What kind of content can we create which will optimize our site for those terms? If they had put that into practice they would have gone to the top of Google for ‘I am’ organically, instead of paying a lot of money.

Another problem, he said, was that IAmBored.com is “actually a much better site.” Davidson said Orange were running the risk of people being distracted by the site and were more likely to look at it.

“By the time you look at IAmBored you have forgotten about Orange,” he added.

It’s a valuable point to note: if you are launching a new campaign, look at your competition. Can you really ‘own’ the search term, or will you be pulled down the rankings by stronger contenders?

Another interesting thing in the case of Orange is that on www.orange.co.uk there is no mention of the ‘I am’ campaign anywhere on the homepage. The company have simply bought the domain name www.i-am-everyone.co.uk.

This, I would suggest, is a big mistake on Orange’s part. It just goes to show that even a multi-billion dollar enterprise like Orange, which has more than 170 million customers across the world, can get it wrong. It reiterates the point that whatever ad you produce offline should be backed up with a clear online resource which uses the same keywords and branding. This reinforces the campaign message people are searching for. In essence, this is putting keyword creativity into practice.

Keyword research leads to creativity

Davidson told me that before people even embark on an ad campaign, they should do their keyword research first. No one working in marketing or advertising can afford to make assumptions about their marketplace, even though they may have worked in it for years. The main objective is to start a creative process which will lead to an ad that connects with people in an interesting way.

Davidson believes that getting to grips with an audience you are trying to communicate with is the most important part of market research.

Find out what people are searching for online – what does it tell you about the market?
White water rafting and keyword creativity

Davidson puts the theory of keyword creativity into practice by using the example of a website that specializes in selling white water rafting.

“You might start with a perception that people go on white water rafting trips because it’s a thrill, or because they want to take their family on an adventure holiday. Those are the ideas I have in my head, but when I look at my keyword research I may find that a lot of people are looking at white water rafting as a means of team building. “I then have to leave my preconceptions behind and think of an advertising campaign, producing content which reflects that niche, or I may even see that I don’t have a product which fits that audience.”

“People often type in white water rafting and a certain location – I could guess that’s because people have been before, they’ve heard there’s some white water rafting in that area. What that does mean is that I should be including as much information about that area and geography of that location as possible.”

Fuel creativity with keywords

Mind maps often come up when people talk about keywords. The idea behind them is to write down ideas, words, tasks or titles you think relate to a central theme. Tony Buzan was the first person to introduce Mind Maps. He believes they unlock the mind and allow people to open up and think more creatively. They’re also a great way to problem solve, to structure writing or to categorize your own website.

Davidson says he uses them all the time.

“You create the trunks of the trees on parts of a Mind Map out of your own head and hopefully creativity flows from that.”

Mind Maps also allow you to quickly move away from your own assumptions and think laterally across the subject, and potentially into new areas of interest.

A great tip from Davidson is to fuel your creative process with keywords.

Do some keyword research on a particular idea you have. Take a small selection of these keywords and plant them in the middle of your Mind Map.

Open your mind. Look at the keywords you have written and discuss what other words or ideas you think relate to it. Think of it as a word association exercise. Although it may seem non-linear, that’s exactly how the human brain works!

Once you have drawn your Mind Map, think about what to do with it. Can you find a new product idea? Do you have fresh content ideas? Have you discovered a better structure to your site?

Fraudsters cash in on heartbreak

China and Myanmar cons have been raising their ugly head this week.

It had to happen (and frankly, we’re surprised the scams didn’t start even more quickly). With the plight of earthquake and cyclone victims in China and Myanmar hitting the headlines – and our hearts – every day, it didn’t take aid scammers long to put together phony relief campaigns and solicit donations.

The scam: State and Federal authorities have issued multiple warnings about scammers’ attempts to cash in on public sympathy for victims of Myanmar’s devastating cyclone and the tragic earthquake in China.

The phony donation pleas arrive by email but police also report telephone solicitations, often claiming to be from genuine organisations like the Red Cross.

Some of the scammers even offer free vacations to the biggest donors. “Whenever there’s some tragic event, these scam artists come out to do their business.” says a police spokesman. “It may not be apparent to unwitting victims. It may be the last thing on their minds that they are getting duped.”

The solution: Don’t respond to emails about relief efforts; be sceptical of anyone soliciting donations even if they claim to be from a known relief agency; go directly to the websites of relief agencies – never click on links in emails; don’t give money to people who say they’re going to pass it on; and don’t give your personal financial details to anyone who solicits contributions.

Set Weekly and Monthly Sales Goals

BEFORE YOU can get somewhere you need to determine what your destination is. I know you’ve probably heard this before, but it’s very true. Remember the old saw about Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail?

If you don’t have any idea how much you want to make each month from your business, it will be very difficult to make it.

Whatever you want to make each month, it’s important that you set that amount as your monthly goal. Once you know how much you want to make each month, then you can figure out how much you need to make each week. For $1,000 a month, you’ll need $250 each week. That will be your weekly goal.

You need to set both monthly and weekly goals.

The reason goal setting works is because without a goal you will have a tendency to keep putting off your prospecting and sales activities until it is too late in the month to do anything about them. You’re planning to fail.

It’s like our tendency to wait until the night before a deadline, and then rushing at the last minute to get it done. Remember those assignments in high school?

While it was actually possible to get an assignment done at the last minute, in the real world of business it’s impossible to achieve your monthly sales goals in one night. You need to do a little bit each week.

By breaking your goals down by the week, you have made them much easier to attain because they’re smaller.

Set your goals, and then compare your actual weekly and monthly results with them. Don’t worry if you don’t make your goals right away. As long as you are proactive, each week and month you will get closer and closer until you eventually meet them and then exceed them. It works!

How to make your leaflet drop campaign work 800% better

Gold Coast Mower Recycler Errol Maker was in to see us recently about the most efficient means of promoting his new business.

Part of our marketing plan included door-to-door letterbox drops. You know the type — an A5 sheet, so you get 2 out of an A4 piece of paper, printed in a coloured ink, slipped into your letterbox along with every other letter and junk item for the day.

Our challenge was to make Errol’s message not only stand out from the rest, but also to be kept, not thrown in the bin straight away.

I called a long time printer mate of mine, John Mulliss from Jack Flash print. A quick check confirmed my plan would be viable.

In the past I’ve found that people are more inclined to keep a smaller junk mail item, like a business card. But we need to get more info to them than a business card would allow.

80% better response using this simple improvement

So I designed a 99mm x 72mm card, which will give you 12 cards to an A3 sheet.

The good news was, Errol got 1000 cards from Jack Flash for the same price as 1000 A5 flyers on normal bond.

And here’s the kicker: Errol got 800% more response from the cards as he did on one of his previous A5 flyer campaigns!

Advertising Makeover

Advertising can be just like taking a bunch of $100 notes out of your wallet and setting them on fire.

Here’s how one print ad was turned from a money-burning waste to a powerful, response-pulling advertisement.

First, this is the text for a proposed advert in a prestige travel magazine.

SEALAND VILLAS
PUERTO POLLENSA – Northern Mallorca
“DISCOVER THE DIFFERENCE”

Exclusive independent Company – our aim is simple:

  • PERSONAL service – guaranteed
  • Reasonable prices
  • Quality Villas
  • Excellent service
  • FREE one Group A Car
  • Loyalty Club upgrades, discounts guaranteed

BEAUTIFUL VILLAS WITH PRIVATE POOLS

  • Al la Carte
  • Views of the Sea
  • Walkable to Pollensa or Puerto Pollensa
  • Nr. Sea

BOOK NOW – THE CHOICE IS YOURS!
RESERVATIONS 01903 210507
BROCHURE LINE 01903 232640
WWW.SEALANDVILLAS.COM

Now let’s take a look at what the ad is telling me, the potential customer. It tells of all the nice things that are there. It describes the facilities clearly and without a lot of useless words.

But here’s the kicker . . . so does every other ad selling the same type of holiday!

How can we set ourselves apart from the others? To make your advertising different (read ‘effective’) you have to answer the only question your potential customer is asking:

“What’s in it for me?”

To show your customer what’s in it for him or her, you have to point out the benefits of what you have on offer, not just the features. If you have excellent service, tell them that your excellent service means they’ll feel like royalty.

Get the idea? Let’s take a look at the ad again, but this time let’s add some more words. Let’s add some sizzle to our steak!

“Discover the Difference between us and the others”
As an exclusive, independent company we aren’t tied to a corporate bean counter’s idea of what a decent holiday should be.
So we can really pull out all stops to
give you the best experience possible!

  • PERSONAL service — we guarantee you’ll be a face with a name, not just some booking number
  • Reasonable prices — we can usually tailor our packages to suit your budget
  • Quality Villas — feel like royalty on a working class budget/
  • Excellent service — because you deserve the best
  • FREE one Group A Car — a second rate car could ruin your holiday
  • Loyalty Club upgrades — spend more to get more
  • Our Discounts are Guaranteed — If we promise you a discount . . . you’ll get it! We pride ourselves on our honesty and dedication in making your holiday the BEST YOU’VE EVER HAD!

BEAUTIFUL VILLAS WITH PRIVATE POOLS — ever wanted to swim naked? Now’s your chance!

  • Al la Carte Menu — no need to put up with boring fixed menu cafeteria-style food
  • Views of the Ocean — enjoy breakfast/cocktails while you soak up the beauty of the sun rising/setting.
  • Short, fascinating walk to Pollensa or Puerto Pollensa — shopping bargains, quaint local produce. Stuff you’ll never see again!
  • Near the Ocean — smell the pure salt air/ feel the clean air on your skin etc

Phone NOW . . . our limited number of DISCOUNT PACKAGES are being booked FAST!

SEALAND VILLAS
PUERTO POLLENSA – Northern Mallorca
Contact details

RESERVATIONS  01903  210507
BROCHURE LINE 01903  232640
WWW.SEALANDVILLAS.COM

If you print out the two ads you’ll easily see the difference.

Problem is, the second ad is now a lot bigger than the first one. When this happens, I always remember the words of an old friend of mine, Aussie advertising genius, Dick Ash. We did a lot of work for Dick when he had the national contract for Jim Beam, Absolut, Cutty Sark and Cuervo.

Dick lived by one golden advertising rule . . . “ONE AD, ONE PRODUCT”. What he was saying was don’t clutter your ad with everything bar the kitchen sink.

This is what ad campaigns are for. If you have 5 unique points to get across, take five ads, and get each point across, one ad at a time.

Obviously since our sample our product is a holiday at our resort (one product), we don’t need more than a two-ad campaign — one for the resort proper, and one for the surrounding locale.

FOOTNOTE: Notice I moved the business name from the top of the ad? That’s because you need to ALWAYS run a headline up there (see our next story).

And bluntly, no-one gives two hoots who you are.

At least, not until you’ve created enough desire in their mind for your product or service. So use the whole ad to sell them, and right at the end, tell them how to get hold of you.

Last, but most definitely not least, tell them to act. This seems so obvious, in fact so obvious than almost all advertisers forget to do it! It’s called your call to action — and never run an ad without it.

Web Cramming

WEB CRAMMING is another scam that gives legitimate website designers a bad name.

This scam is usually initiated with a telephone call and the target is either an individual or a small business owner. Here’s the small business owner version:

The caller offers your business a customised website for 30 days free of charge. After the introductory period, a monthly fee of $20-$30 will apply.

Sometimes victims are told that they will be automatically billed after the 30 days is up. Other times victims are told that they won’t be billed unless they authorise the continuation of the service.

Regardless of what is said during the call, victims are automatically being billed for this ‘service’ whether they authorise it or not.

This scam would be slightly less distasteful if you in fact received something of value for your money. However, the websites that are constructed are usually poorly done, full of errors and misspellings . . . and essentially useless to your business.

To guard against this scam you should:

  1. Be aware that you have no obligation to pay for services you haven’t specifically ordered. If you receive a bill for a service you didn’t order, do not pay it.
  2. Keep a close eye on your phone bills. This is where the charges for this type of scam may show up. Review your bills as soon as they are received and question any charges that you haven’t ordered or authorized.
  3. Ask for documentation any time you purchase anything by any method (online, over the phone, in person or via fax).
  4. Designate one or two staff as responsible for purchasing and restrict purchasing to these individuals.
  5. Alert your staff about scams of this type and how to deal with scammers on the telephone.

Marketing with a Microsite

Gerald Prolman launched OrganicBouquet.com in 2003 to sell sustainably grown flowers that are freshly picked and then gift-wrapped. But as the company grew, he needed a better way to meet the increasing demand from florists, event planners and other wholesalers.

So Prolman launched a microsite (www.organicbouquetwholesale.com) to make it easier for these customers to place orders.

A microsite lets you focus on a specific purpose, such as selling clearance or discounted items, selling products to businesses (vs. consumers), promoting new merchandise, or trying out a new product line. Sometimes the design and navigation of a microsite differs from its parent site.

“Unlike consumers, florists shop by variety and color, so the site is set up to help florists find what they need quickly,” says Prolman, 46, who projects 2006 sales of up to $5 million for his San Rafael, California, company.

So why didn’t Prolman just launch a separate section on his existing website to focus on wholesalers? Simple: to prevent consumers or future competitors from having easy access to the customized pricing available to wholesale customers.

“The pricing is tailor-made for each customer based on volume,” says Prolman. “Once approved as a wholesale account, they will be given access to the site.”

WE offer the following advice for entrepreneurs thinking of launching a microsite:

Consider the costs. Building a microsite costs essentially the same amount as setting up a traditional website–from $1,500 to $10,000 or more.

Take your brand strategy into account. If you sell products with two totally different focuses or brand identities, then you’re a good candidate for a microsite.

Know your search strategy. Some companies create many microsites that point to the main site in an effort to rank high on search engines. Others prefer to have a larger site with a lot of updated content. Before moving forward, check with your marketing department or the company handling your search marketing programs.

Generate More New Customers

ONCE YOU HAVE established a consistent method of attracting new prospects to your business, you need to follow-up with those prospects over and over again to convert them into customers.

Your prospects will buy from you only when they are ready to buy — not when you want them to buy.

Some of them may be ready to buy now or within a week. But many more will not be ready to buy for a month, or six months or perhaps a year.

If you are not uppermost in your prospects’ minds when they are ready to buy, they will most likely buy from one of your competitors rather than from you.

How do you follow up?

There are many ways to follow-up with your prospects. But you want to make sure that you follow-up as a welcome guest, as opposed to an unwelcome pest.

If you follow-up with an annoying approach like, ‘Are you ready to buy yet? Are you ready to buy yet?’ you will convert very, very few of your prospects into customers. When they see you coming, they’ll run for the hills!

One way you can follow-up with your prospects is like we do with a newsletter offering valuable tips to your prospects. Of course, along with your tips, you will include information about your product or service, along with a special offer.

Always provide your prospects with useful information that is related to your product or service, and you will be welcome and not avoided.

You can follow-up periodically in-person, by phone, by fax, by postcard, by letter, by e-mail, etc.

With enough prospects on your prospect follow-up list and a solid offer, you will convert a certain percentage of your prospects into customers each month.

Create an Effective Prospect Generator

In order to attract prospects to your business, you’ll need to give them an offer they can’t refuse. You’ll have to create an enticing prospect generator, also called a lead generator.

For our business, we offer various incentives as “freebies” — more often than not free evaluations. We also offer free, no-strings-attached advice. Try us out here.

We also offer special offers which genuinely save our clients money and help them get more customers through the door.

With these prospect generators we consistently attract new clients to our business each and every month.

And each time we publish some new articles on this website, we receive enquiries which we can convert into long and fruitful relationships.

It’s important for you to have a lead generating process, and a follow-up process to convert those leads into paying customers.

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in, you need to attract new prospects with an enticing lead generator and then you need to follow-up with those prospects to convert a percentage of them into paying customers.

This is the obstacle to business success most small business owners face. They simply don’t have a simple, reliable prospecting system in place to attract new customers.

You can’t guess at the solution to that problem. You need a proven effective system that will work for your business.

We’ve been teaching small business owners like yours how to attract customers like a magnet with effective prospect generators. When you learn how to do that right, there is no limit to the size your business and your bank account can grow.

Set Weekly and Monthly Prospect Goals

IN ORDER to achieve your monthly sales goals, you’re going to also have to meet monthly prospect (another term is potential customer) goals. The more prospects you attract to your business, the more customers you will have.

There’s no getting around it, you can never stop attracting prospects to your business. If you do, your sales will eventually begin to dwindle.

The reason you need so many prospects, is because not all prospects will become paying customers. Only a percentage of prospects will convert. For some businesses it can be a high percentage, but for most businesses, you can expect 1% – 10% of your prospects to convert into paying customers.

If you convert 10% of your prospects into paying customers, then you need 10 prospects to generate one new customer. You’ll need 100 new prospects to create 10 new customers.

You’ll have to determine how many new customers you want to generate each month, and then determine how many prospects you’ll need to attract to generate that number of customers. That will be your monthly prospect goal.

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