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The SBC Small Business Newsletter

presented by the Peak Small Business Center

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April 11, 2002

Table of Contents

 

Welcome

Quote of the Week

Administrative Stuff

Staff Article - MAXIMIZING YOUR MOST VALUABLE RESOURCE
Tax Tip of the Week

Guest Article -  7 INTERNET MARKETING MISTAKES WHICH ARE
DESTROYING YOUR BUSINESS
Parting Comments

Unsubscribe Information


Welcome

Thank you for subscribing to the Peak Small Business Newsletter! We take our obligation to provide you with useful information very seriously. As a result, we always welcome your input on articles or other information you would like to see presented here.

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Quote of the Week

I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its
deepest significance.

- Pablo Casals


Administrative Stuff

FREE EXPOSURE FOR YOUR BUSINESS!

We want to give you an opportunity to gain free exposure for
your business! We are asking each of you to send us an email
and tell us about yourself and your business. We have added a
section to this newsletter where we will periodically spotlight your websites or businesses so our other subscribers can get to know you and possibly do business with you.  We hope many more of you will
respond in the coming weeks. This is FREE EXPOSURE to THOUSANDS
of people! THIS IS VALUABLE so please act TODAY!

Don't have your own website? You can still send us an affiliate link and a little information on your goals online.  We want to know about YOU!

Just send your email to mailto:mybiz@peakconsultinginc.com with
"Info on my business" in the subject line.


Staff Article

MAXIMIZING YOUR MOST VALUABLE RESOURCE

by: Cary Christian

Most of you who read this ezine are interested in increasing your web-based business activities. Many of you may be looking to become Internet-only businesses. It follows then that most of you have a healthy interest in Internet marketing. While there is nothing wrong with this, you also need to position your business to function efficiently in an Internet world.

One of the most persistent problems facing Internet marketers is finding enough quality time to get things done. Between setting up your website and maintaining it, executing your marketing campaigns, and actually running your business, there never seems to be any time left for yourself and your family.  This problem is compounded if you work a day job and try to run your Internet business at night.

The answer to this problem is automation. You will either automate your Internet business activities or you will never have enough time to do the things you need to do to grow your business. We're going to take a look at several things you should consider to make your life easier.

EMAIL AUTOMATION

If you maintain a substantial email list, you should consider automating your mail list operations in some form. There are many options available. You can purchase mailing software that runs on your web server, mailing software that runs on your PC, or you can farm out your mailing operations to an Internet-based service provider. The choice you make will depend largely on how big your mail lists are.

With a fairly large list, managing subscriptions, remove requests and bounces can quickly become an extremely time-consuming ordeal. Server-side mail software like Mailloop
( http://www.marketingtips.com/mailloop/t.x/649034 ) will take care of these processes for you automatically.

Server-side software like Mailloop can be quite expensive. If you do not need that much power or do not yet have the budget for server-side software, packages installed on your PC may be the interim answer for you. PC-based mailing software may or may not handle ALL of your list chores, depending on how it is set up, but it will make them easier to manage.

Two good PC-based programs you could start with are Group Mail Pro   ( http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?B=3939&U=58198&M=1465  ) and the Gammadyne mailer ( http://gammadyne.com/refer.php?ref=12345&page=mmail.htm  )  The Gammadyne mailer is often compared favorably to Mailloop even though it is less than a third of the cost. You can find a complete comparison of the Gammadyne mailer to most other mailers on the market on their website. The comparison contains live links to competing software, so you can check out Gammadyne's competitors very easily.

Farming your list maintenance and mailing chores out to an Internet-based provider will take almost all the headaches away, but be careful that you do not lose too much control over your lists. These services will generally cost you $19.95 or more per month, but will handle every aspect of managing your mail lists except deciding what to actually send to the list.

AUTORESPONDERS

Technically, autoresponders are still in the category of email automation, but we'll deal with them separately because they can be used to automate other business functions.

Autoresponders can save you tons of time in lots of ways. If you receive a lot of email related to technical support or requests for product information, an autoresponder can be your best friend.

Use them to send a "frequently asked support questions" email to customers. Spend a little time developing a thorough support document that covers your most frequent support issues and have your customers send their first support request to this autoresponder document. It could weed out many of your more repetitious requests. Include a link within the email to reach you directly if the autoresponder support document does not solve their problem.

Use autoresponders to provide potential customers with product information. This becomes a really nice sales tool. Since most customers need to be presented with your sales message seven times or more before they buy, always provide your web site visitors with an option to request more information from one of your autoresponders. Fill the autoresponder with as many sales/product information messages as you believe are necessary without going overboard. Of course each message will attempt to get the potential customer back to your order page.

If you post to safelists or classified sites, include an autoresponder address for additional information. You will be multiplying your marketing efforts many times over without increasing your time commitments.

Using autoresponders can save you hundreds of hours per month and make your marketing and support efforts more effective overall. Be creative and use them in as many ways as you can.

See our FEATURED RESOURCE below to find out where you can get the autoresponders you need.

USE ACCOUNTING SYSTEM INTEGRATION CAPABILITIES

Accounting systems today are much more than a system for accumulating debits and credits.

There are hundreds of accounting systems on the market. Maybe thousands if you count the really bad ones. Most all of them will do an adequate job with normal everyday accounting functions. They will produce financial statements and general ledgers, track your payables and receivables, and help you balance your checkbooks. But the really good ones will do much more.

Higher end accounting systems are designed primarily to help you organize and formalize your business processes. Accounting is almost a by-product in most modern systems. Outstanding tools are provided to help you manage customer relationships, automate your shipping processes, manage and plan your inventory operations, track and manage costs incurred on projects, allow you to purchase and sell using EDI, and so much more.

Web-enabled software packages can be even more impressive.  Purchasing and sales activities can be carried out 24 hours a day, seven days a week without any human intervention whatsoever.

No matter how small your business is, an appropriate accounting system exists that will make your life easier, make your documents look more professional, make you more efficient, and give you more free time to pursue more interesting endeavors.  Modern systems are operational tools that just happen to handle accounting for you on the side.

If you are a small business looking for your first formal accounting system, our sponsor for this week provides an excellent basic product with upgrades available that allow you to expand your system as your business grows. You can download a free trial to check it out. (See the sponsor ad, above, and website for details).

FOCUS YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS TO SAVE TIME

Most of your marketing efforts online require some action on your part to make it happen. You have to post manually to safelists and message boards. You have to click, click, click your life away using surf-for-credit programs. These forms of marketing are basically free so they are quite popular. But there comes a point in time when you have to realize that your time is valuable.

Pay-per-click search engines will provide you with extremely targeted traffic with little effort on your part once you set up your listings and your bids.

Ezine ads produce excellent results and do not require much time at all to place.

Using marketing sources like these will allow you to set up marketing campaigns that require little maintenance while they work for you as spend time doing other things. And if you study and learn how to use these marketing resources properly, you can use them fairly inexpensively.

ORGANIZING YOUR MARKETING EFFORTS

Your marketing efforts will always require some of your time no matter what types of marketing you are using. If you are posting to safelists that allow you to post once per week, when was the last time you posted? Do you remember when you last updated your search engine submissions? When did you last check your bids on the PPC engines? It can become very difficult to keep track of it all, and disorganization leads to wasted time.

Using a tool like SiteTrack can help you make sense of it all by organizing all your marketing efforts and maintaining important information about your website and web marketing efforts. If you don't already have such a tool, you can check out SiteTrack at http://hop.clickbank.net/?philcary/sitetrack .

If you don't want to spend the small fee to acquire a tool like SiteTrack, you should at least create a detailed marketing checklist where you keep track of your marketing efforts and maintain reminders and to-do lists.

If you put these few tips to work in your business, you will free up your most valuable resource for the important function of positioning your business for growth and market penetration.  Your most valuable resource? YOU!


Copyright (c) 2002


Tax Tip of the Week

Getting yourself organized is not only important to save you time in managing your day-to-day activities. It can save you money at tax time as well. It is extremely easy to lose deductions if you are not accounting for them every day.  Receipts get lost, confirmation emails get deleted, cash expenditures are long forgotten a few days after they are made, and so on. Don't think you are too small to implement some form of simple accounting system or tracking software. There are
many options available to small businesses and individuals that cost very little. Get one and put it to work for you as soon as possible.
 


Guest Article

7 INTERNET MARKETING MISTAKES WHICH ARE DESTROYING YOUR BUSINESS

By Terry Dean
 

Below are 7 Mistakes which you can constantly see many Internet businesses making over and over again. Each of these mistakes can easily cost your business thousands or tens of thousands of dollars yearly.

As a matter of fact, I see many internet businesses out there that have next to no chance of success because a couple of these problems are at the very heart of their business.

If your business is built on a weak foundation, there is no way it will be able to produce maximum income for you even if it does somehow survive.

Mistake #1: You have a short-sighted vision.

Do you have a long term plan for your business or are you just trying to make it through the month?

I know marketers who have a 1 year plan, 5 year plan, 10 year plan, and even a 50 year plan for their business...What does your plan consist of?

A lot of people are making fun of Amazon.com because of the fact that they lose an average of $3.00 per book that they sell.  Do you realize though what their long term plan is? 

Every single day they are using their large financial backing to take up more and more of the book market share. They are quickly becoming the most well known bookstore on the earth...and every other bookstore is beginning to feel the pressure from them.

I am definitely not suggesting to you that you need to start losing money to gain customers, because most of us small businesses just couldn't afford that tactic. What I am suggesting to you is what you learn the lifetime value of a customer.

It is 7 - 10 times easier to sell a product to an existing customer than it is to sell to a new customer. How are you building the relationships with your current customers? Are you seeking out and finding new products that meet other needs and wants they might have? Are you treating your current customers as your most valuable asset in your business?

Mistake #2: You aren't willing to think outside the box.

For many internet marketers, they only see two types of advertising. Number 1 for them is free advertising such as free links, free classifieds, newsgroup participation, and more.  Secondly, they see paid advertising such as banner ads, offline advertising, and paid links.

What about finding people in your business to endorse your products or services to their customers and splitting the profits? Jay Abraham and Mike Enlow both list this as the most powerful marketing tool in existence...do you even know about it?

Press releases can get traffic to your site almost overnight if you have something that people want or need...have you worked with the media to get some Free traffic?

Have you considered setting up your own affiliate program? This is the quickest and easiest way to expand the sales of any successful product or business. Let other people start selling it for you!

Mistake #3: You have fallen in love with the wrong product.

Have you fallen in love with the wrong product? It is interesting to note that in the Direct Mail Bootcamp, where a Dozen Top Marketers gathered together to discuss the recipe for marketing success, one of the main reasons for failure that they all agreed upon was...falling in love with your product or service.

I understand that your product may be your baby, but you will have to be willing to give it up if it isn't what the market wants. Every day the world market is changing and you have to be changing right alongside it. It may be that demand for your product is declining...if so, are you willing to give it up and find a product people want?

Start asking some questions of your web site visitors or ezine readers. Ask them what it is that they want. What is it that they are looking for? You may find out that you have been barking up the wrong tree and trying to sell them something that they don't really want (Even if it is what they need).

You will go broke trying to sell people what they need...if it isn't what they want! The actual statistics are that only one out of every seven products turns out to be a winner. Go with the odds and be willing to change if your market WANTS something different.

Mistake #4: You don't have a Unique Web Position.

What makes your site different than everyone else's? Why should they visit you instead of somewhere else? Why should they buy from you instead of the competition?

If you can't answer those questions in one quick sentence, then you don't have the type of UWP you need to succeed in today's worldwide business environment

Spend some time and visit the competition. What is it that you do better than them? What is it that you offer different from them? For example, in the internet marketing sites out there, so many of them are only me-too sites. What are you going to do to make yourself different than the rest? Is it better prices, better services, free stuff, quicker results, etc.?

Mistake #5: You haven't researched your market enough.

Do you know what it is that your market wants? Have you ever taken the time to go back to your customers and ask them why they bought from you in the first place? Have you spent time in discussion groups, mailing lists, and newsgroups to find out what problems people may be having or what they are looking for?

If you don't know why people buy from you, how can you target them correctly or write a sales letter that will hit their hot buttons? I will give you the answer to that one...you can't do it.

Concept is more important than ad copy. Coming up with exactly the right concept (or angle) for your product will make OK ad copy sell like crazy. A poor concept could never be made profitable even by the best copywriters out there.

Mistake #6: You aren't dealing with people as individuals.

Don't talk to everyone...deal with individuals. I believe in automating as much of the sales process as possible, but there still comes the time that you have to deal with people like people. We run the numbers on our sales statistics, but people are not just numbers.

Always remember the human element. Those aren't just email addresses out there. They are real live individuals who have wants, needs, and desires just like you. Deal with them that way.

Be willing to help...Be willing to give away free information...Give away free samples...Be someone that people like.

Mistake #7: You give up too soon.

This almost goes without saying, but many individuals give up too soon. I have seen hundreds of individuals make some of the mistakes above on their sites, lose a little money, and then give up in disgust believing that the internet just doesn't work.

I am not just dealing with your entire business either.  Sometimes people give up on advertising too soon. They don't test it enough. Instead of believing that a certain web site isn't a good place to advertise or that a certain ezine doesn't bring in responses for you, did you try editing your ad first. I have seen ads double, triple, or even have as high as 10 times or more effectiveness on the same sites just by a couple of changes.

What do you do now that you know these 7 deadly internet sins?

Read through them...Take them to heart...Make changes in your business if needed. Don't just walk away from this and say, "That was a pretty good article." Use it and let these tips help you in your business.

Then, email me about it. I want to know if this article helps you or if there is anything else I can do for you. Send an email to Terry@bizpromo.com anytime.

--------------------

Terry Dean, a 5 year veteran of Internet marketing, will Take You By The Hand and Show You Exact Results of All the Internet Marketing Techniques he tests and Uses Every Single Month" Click here to Find Out More:
http://www.peakconsultinginc.com/nbt.htm


Parting Comments

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