August 17, 2002
Table of Contents
Quote of the Week
Featured Resource - WEBMASTER EXPERT
Staff Article -
DEADLY SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING MISTAKES -PART 1
- MORE SUBSCRIBER QUESTIONS ANSWERED
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Quote of the Week
He who asks a question is
a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool
- Chinese Proverb
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BUSINESS MARKETING MISTAKES - PART 1
Small business resources are
frequently far too scarce and valuable to waste. Yet, we see companies
wasting money on a grand scale every single day when it comes to marketing.
The waste is not necessarily in the marketing method chosen, although it
frequently is, but in the execution.
Sometimes the marketing mistake is really a problem with the website.
Effective marketing is useless if your website kills the sale.
What do we mean by this? Let's list some of the more prevalent errors and
look at some examples.
1. SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION THAT STOPS SHORT
The company painstakingly determines the very best keywords for their site
and carefully follows all the rules for creating effective meta tags for
their home page. This company may even create several versions of their home
page to take into account the supposed requirements of different search
engines. Sounds good so far. Right?
Then they blow it by ignoring content! The content of the home page is so
geared toward search engine optimization that it does little to make the
reader who visits want to visit the rest of the website. Getting the visitor
is merely the first step and becomes a worthless effort if they do not want
to stick around for awhile and see what the company has to offer.
Notice also that we stated the optimization effort was geared toward the
home page. What about the rest of the site? Companies often forget that the
purpose of search engine optimization is to attract targeted visitors. More
often than not the products companies want to attract visitors to are not
located on the home page, but on other pages within the site. Far too
frequently, nothing has been done to optimize and submit these interior
2. FORCING VISITORS TO VIEW A FLASH PRESENTATION BEFORE ENTERING THE
Yes, Flash presentations can be very cool and impressive. But only about 21
percent of surfers have DSL or broadband connections and Flash can take a
while to load over a dial up connection. People WILL NOT wait unless they
are so sold on the content they are ultimately going to be able to access
that they don't mind you wasting their time.
First of all, if you use Flash at all, hire a professional who knows how to
optimize the presentation for the fastest possible load times.
Second, make the Flash presentation optional. If the visitor is interested,
he or she will load it and wait. If not, they can go about their business on
your site and will be pleased that you gave them the option.
3. INEFFECTIVE USE OF GUARANTEED HITS AND SURF FOR HITS PROGRAMS.
It could be argued that using these types of programs is a waste in and of
itself, and often it is. But if you want to try them or use them as
supplemental advertising, don't just send the hits to your home page or
directly to a product sales page. Create a special page just for these
programs and don't try to sell directly. Get people to sign up for an
informational autoresponder or to a newsletter so you can use more effective
marketing techniques on those who respond.
You'll also have better luck if you use a script-based subscription
technique that automatically captures the visitor's information without them
having to enter it. You'll get more signups and better email addresses this
4. PURCHASING GUARANTEED HITS FROM A COMPANY THAT SUPPLIES THE HITS USING
POP-UPS, POP-UNDERS, LOTTO VALIDATIONS AND SIMILAR SOURCES.
No matter how well you prepare yourself for using guaranteed hits programs,
your campaign will not be effective if the hits come from these sources.
Most surfers use software that suppresses pop-ups and pop-unders so you
might be paying for phantom hits. Hits from lotto and other gaming sites are
not targeted and do not represent hits from visitors who have the slightest
interest in what you're selling. Always know the source of the hits you're
buying and let common sense be your guide.
5. FAILURE TO PREQUALIFY VISITORS WHEN USING PAY-PER-CLICK SEARCH
Pay-per-click search engines are terrific sources of targeted traffic to
your site. However, your marketing tactics need to change a little when
using them. Your goal is not to drive the maximum amount of traffic to your
site. That's wasting money! Include in your description information that
will weed out the tire kickers. If your product costs $299, say so. This
will prevent your paying for visitors who aren't interested if the price is
Take a look at your marketing efforts and make sure you aren't making any of
the above mistakes. If you are, commit to fixing the problem as soon as you
can. Next week, I'll give you some others to work on.
Copyright (c) 2002
MORE SUBSCRIBER QUESTIONS ANSWERED
by: Cary Christian
We always welcome and enjoy receiving questions from you
guys. Here are a couple of good ones we received this week.
1. Should non-GAAP (proforma) financials be abolished?
Proforma financial statements present particular problems that are not
applicable to historical financial statements. They can't be audited because
they represent future events. There are provisions where proforma financial
statements can be issued with a review report from a CPA firm, but the
review is nothing more than a statement that the underlying assumptions have
been reviewed and found to be "reasonable."
The assumptions are the crux of the problem. Projected results of operations
are only as good as the assumptions underlying them. For example, if a
company enjoys a 50% market share as a result of a market-leading product
and projects it will increase market share by 10% in the coming quarter, the
assumption might well be reasonable. However, if their largest competitor
comes out with a better product 15 days into the quarter, the company may
actually lose a huge chunk of its market share rather than increase it.
There is normally no way to foresee these types of events.
Proforma statements are useful to an investor or other user of the
statements if they are a realistic and HONEST reflection of management's
belief as to where the company is going. If they are not, they are little
more than sales hype.
If a user is to make use of proforma financial statements, he or she needs
to know and understand the underlying assumptions in some detail. Only then
can he or she form their own opinion of the reasonableness of the
statements. Even then, this assumes the reader has the financial and
business knowledge to understand and interpret these assumptions. Most do
I believe proforma statements are necessary. Investors and other users need
to know where management thinks the company is going. They also need to hold
management responsible for meeting these numbers. The new anti-fraud bill
and any amendments to it in the future needs to address this as well. If
management produces proforma numbers it knows it cannot meet, that should be
considered just as fraudulent as issuing erroneous audited financial
A literal reading of the bill would appear to impose this requirement on
management. The CEO and CFO must sign off on financial statements, including
the notes to the statements which is normally where proforma data is
included. As long as management is accountable, we can have some comfort
that proforma numbers will be reasonable.
2. Arthur Andersen seems to be closely aligned with all the major Chapter
11 filings in recent history, such as Global Crossings, Worldcom and Enron.
Were they the only Big 5 firm doing such a poor job?
Andersen was the auditors for each of these firms, but don't think the
problem is or was isolated to Andersen. The real problem is that auditing
firms earn far more in consulting fees from their clients than they ever do
from auditing. Auditing has become more of a "loss leader" product that
allows an accounting firm to get in the door and sell other, more profitable
services to a company. As a result, auditors have lost a lot of their
independence. They'll do almost anything a large audit client asks of them
out of fear of losing the work.
Andersen has been hit hard, destroyed actually, by these huge debacles, but
I would look for others to come under fire as well. The new fraud bill will
take care of a lot of these problems by forbidding audit firms to perform
other work for the firms they audit. There are other provisions as well that
will keep auditors and their clients from becoming too cozy.
Got a question you'd like to have answered in our newsletter? Send it over!
Copyright (c) 2002
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