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August 10, 2002

Table of Contents

 

Welcome

Quote of the Week

Administration

Featured Resource - WEBMASTERFREE

Staff Article - TRUST AND THE SUMMER DOLDRUMS - SUBSCRIBER Q&A
Marketing Tip of the Week

Guest Article -  THE QUICK AND EASY SEARCH ENGINE FORMULA
Parting Comments

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Welcome

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Quote of the Week

It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.

- Thomas Sowell
 


Administration

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Featured Resource

WEBMASTERFREE

Communications tools, Internet tools, programming tools, and more. Hundreds of free downloads to help make your life easier. If you are a developer, this site also has a wide range of development-related newsletters that are well worth your time.

http://www.webmasterfree.com/

 


Staff Article

TRUST AND THE SUMMER DOLDRUMS - SUBSCRIBER Q&A

by: Cary Christian

We received a question this week that we thought might be a timely topic for many of you, so we decided to share it with you.

Question: A reader stated that his company has been in business in the brick and mortar world for nearly a decade, but on the Internet for less than nine months. Everything was going fine with the new Internet sales activities, but in the past month or so sales dropped dramatically. The reader wonders if it is possible that the public's mistrust of big business (because of Enron, Worldcom, et. al.) is transferring to small businesses as well?

Answer: Yes . . . and no!

First of all, there are many, many people who could care less about the Enron's and Worldcom's of the world. These huge business failures primarily affected employees and investors, not consumers. As a result, the affect on consumers has been limited more to the general dampening effect on the economy than in the area of business trust.

However, many people mistrust businesses in general. For these people, the mistrust has obviously deepened. If nothing else, these failures have served to provide justification for beliefs already held.

But I seriously doubt that the reader's lagging sales have much to do with these issues. Don't take this the wrong way; trust is extremely important. Because of the heightened awareness of business ethics, you want to make sure you do everything in your power to convey an atmosphere conducive to consumer trust.

For example, take a look at your advertising and marketing efforts. If there is any hype there, it would probably be a good idea to get rid of it. Be particularly careful to avoid making any product claims or promises that appear to be unreasonable or too good to be true. This is always good advice, but it's even more important now.

You'll also want to make sure you respond to customer and potential customer questions and requests as quickly and as professionally as possible. Again, this is always good advice, but the downside of not providing high service levels is much greater now than ever before.

If you continue to run your business in a professional manner, you are not likely to be adversely affected by all the daily bad press.

More likely than not, the reader's business is experiencing the summer doldrums. It happens every year. People take vacations in the summer. They spend more time participating in outdoor activities. An analysis of annual trends will show you that sales will, indeed, slow down during the summer, possibly dramatically. I believe this is what is happening to the reader's business, as it is likely happening to all of our businesses.

In September the kids will be back in school, the weather in most places will begin to cool down, and business will begin to get back to normal.

In the meantime, use this period productively. Do some strategic planning for the coming fall and winter sales seasons. Do that work on your website you've been thinking about but never got around to. In short, get ready to take advantage of the coming periods of increasing sales activity.

If you must generate more sales immediately, get creative. Consider having a big sale. Make it too good to ignore. Try some new and different marketing and advertising sources to let as many people know about it as possible.

More importantly, learn from this experience. Understand that it will happen again next year and the year after that. Plan for it. See if you can turn it to your advantage. For example, if you go the "big sale" route discussed in the last paragraph, go all out and make your "summer sale" something people look forward to all year round! That way, even if they are online less often during the summer, they'll make it a point to visit your site to take advantage of the big sale.

The summer doldrums are a challenge we all have to deal with. But in every challenge, there are opportunities. It will be well worth it for you to spend the time required to find them. You might even make the summer months your best sales period!


Copyright (c) 2002
 


Marketing Tip of the Week

Are you collecting the email addresses of people who buy from you? There is no more targeted group of potential buyers for your products than those who have bought from you before. If you are going to achieve the results you should from your online activities, you must build a relationship with these people.

Of course, you're not collecting their email addresses to inundate them with ads. There are many other, better ways to stay in contact and build a relationship.

Make sure you associate the product they purchased with their email address and provide them with support and upgrade information. If you come out with complementary products, give them special deals. If you can give them an upgrade for free, do so just to cement the relationship. Send out tips for using the product they purchased from you to enhance their experience with your products. If you're always giving, even if it costs you nothing, you'll find they're just that much more willing to give back!


 


Guest Article

THE QUICK AND EASY SEARCH ENGINE FORMULA
By Terry Dean

You can create high ranking pages for the search engines without having to keep up with the latest developments in the search engine world or drive your web designer crazy with changes to your web site.

The search engines are a highly competitive field and everyone wants to know the latest trick or secret to getting a top ranking.

Well, I am going to let you in on the secret to success with the search engines today. The secret is that there is no secret.

The search engines want content, not tricks. If you can provide them with good quality content in a subject, then you will be able to get a good listing. If you try to find a way around the rules or trick the search engines, then you are much more likely to be banned than to get listed.

Are there companies out there which focus on tricking the search engines? There sure are, but they have a hard road to follow. They have to constantly stay on their toes, change their pages every month, and basically give 110% of their promotional time to just trying to keep a top position.

There is a much easier way that still produces good results.

You can give yourself good search engine positions by focusing on writing short articles which contain the content that the search engines want. In other words, don't try to "beat" them. Help them.

If you make it a consistent process to come up with short articles to provide for search engine listings, then you will slowly build up your traffic machine for years to come. If you become a content provider instead of a "traffic thief" from the search engines, then you will find it is much easier to relax and keep the positions you have earned.

Plus, you won't have to constantly research what is working. This strategy worked last year. It works this year. It will work next year. Learn it once and then follow it forever.

Step One: Find Keywords

You first need to look and see which keywords are hot in your industry. What are people searching for at the major search engines?

You can use the keyword suggestion tool from Goto to constantly research top keywords in your market: http://www.overture.com/d/USm/adcenter/tools/index.jhtml  

Step Two: Research and Write Down Focused Content.

Let's say you start with 5 different keyword phrases for the search engines. Now, do searches for those keywords and take notes on the sites you visit. Take notes and study the subject.

Step Three: Write 300 to 500 word articles.

Keep the articles short as most of the search engines don't scan a long page anyway. Think in your mind about designing "Quick Bites" of information.

You may want to separate your article up into specific steps (just as this article is done). If you separate a 500 word article up into 5 steps, then you only have to think about writing 100 words at a time. That is a pretty short piece of information.

Step Four: Use the keyword in the title of your article.

Make the title of your article larger and in bold print. Use your main keyword phrase near the beginning of the title. Many of the search engines give a higher rating to keywords which appear in a heading font such as this title would be. In HTML a heading is shown by <H1>, <H3>, and other tags with H and a number.

Step Five: Use the keyword phrase 3 to 7 times throughout the article.

Once you have finished writing your article and are getting ready to publish it to the web, read through it and make sure your keyword phrase appears at least three times and usually no more than seven times throughout the body of the article text.

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

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

We hope you have enjoyed this issue of the Peak Small Business Newsletter and found it useful.  Please visit our website at http://www.peakconsultinginc.com to check out all the resources we provide. 

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