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February 7, 2002

Table of Contents


Quote of the Week

Administrative Stuff

Staff Article - The Value-Added Approach to Marketing
Marketing Tip of the Week

Guest Article -  Free is a Great Word, But It Doesn't Pay The Bills...
Parting Comments

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Quote of the Week

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
- Arthur Godfrey

Administrative Stuff

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Staff Article

The Value-Added Approach to Marketing
by: Cary Christian

The other day I was considering buying a new 3 wood (a golf club for those of you who don't follow golf). I hadn't been hitting mine very well and thought it might have something to do with too little loft and the wrong shaft.

So I set out visiting various golf sites on the web to see if I could find a good deal on a new one. I found the club I wanted on six or seven sites and selected the site with the best price.  As I began completing the order form I realized that I had a problem. If, as I thought, I wasn't hitting my 3 wood well because it had the wrong loft and shaft, how would I know my new club wouldn't have the same problems? Should I just arbitrarily get a club with more loft and a less stiff shaft? How would I know that would be any better?

So I backed out of the order form and started searching the site for information that would help me determine what the correct loft and shaft type would be for me. And I searched in vain. The information was not there. At best, my purchase from this site was deferred. At worst, the site lost a sale permanently.

Can this happen to you with what you sell on your website? Do you provide all the information and assistance your customers will need to purchase from you intelligently or will they have to look elsewhere? If they have to look elsewhere, they are likely to purchase elsewhere also.

Never make the assumption that people always know exactly what they're looking for when they are shopping. They don't. They know they want an item, but if there are various choices available and different price ranges for a product, doubt will creep in. Doubt can ultimately cause your customer to defer the purchase or decide to purchase the item in a brick and mortar store where a salesperson can help them make the decisions that must be made.

If you can remove the doubt associated with the purchasing decision, you will make the sale. How do you do this? By bundling services with your products in a very clear and straightforward manner.

In most cases, the service you are bundling will be information. In other cases, it might be telephone installation support. Whatever it is, it will involve your determining what difficulties a potential customer might be confronted with when considering your products. Give this some serious thought.  Identify those points that might cause your customers discomfort and then give your best effort to integrating the answers into your sales process.

When I was completing the order form for my 3 wood, a separate page was displayed asking me for the loft and flex I wanted on the club. These questions were the only ones on an otherwise empty page. The site could have erased my discomfort in any of three ways:

1. Since the page was largely empty, they could have included a brief discussion of loft and flex along with recommendations right there on the page.

2. They could have included a button that opened a pop-up screen with information on selecting the proper loft and flex.

3. They could have provided a link to another page or even another website that opened in a new browser window and addressed my concerns but left my order form open in the background.

Any one of these three options would have resulted in an immediate sale as long as my concerns were adequately addressed.

The site could also have had links to this type of helpful information on the pages where the products are displayed or could have provided a separate section devoted to choosing the proper equipment. The method selected is not so important as long as the information is readily available.

Ask yourself these three simple questions:

* How do my customers use my products?

* When using my products, what features and benefits are, or should be, important to the customer?

* What do I need to tell the customer about those features to make sure they get the benefit they desire and understand exactly what they need to order?

Address these information needs and you will increase the sales conversion ratio of your site.

Copyright 2001, all rights reserved

Marketing Tip of the Week

Unsure about how much to bid on your keywords when using PPC engines? You can use Overture's ROI tool to play what-if games to determine appropriate bids. You'll need the following information:

* The total monthly clicks you expect from the search engine.
* The estimated average cost per click you will pay.
* The conversion rate, i.e., what percentage of visitors will buy from you.
* The average profit you will make from each sale.

When you enter this information and press the calculate button, the tool will tell you your monthly cost, the number of sales you should make based on the number of clicks, the projected profit from the sales and your ROI (return on investment). You can play with the estimated average cost per click to see what effect it has on your monthly cost, profit and ROI to determine the maximum amount you can or should bid on keywords for your product.

You can access the tool at:

Look under Advertiser Tools for the Overture ROI Tool.

You will also have the option of downloading the tool in Excel format.

Guest Article

Free is a Great Word, But It Doesn't Pay The Bills...
By Terry Dean

One of the most recognized and endorsed types of online businesses has always been the "Free Content" web site.

A "Free Content" web site is a site which basically gives away information or free tools to generate a large audience or a large community of users.

If you were to listen to some web experts, you would think that all you should do at your site is give away free stuff.

These "experts" have the idea that if you give away enough stuff for free, then you can build a site with loads of traffic.  You can then sell advertising for millions of dollars.

There is only one problem with this idea.

If all of the traffic at your site is only there to pick up free stuff, then they won't buy anything from the advertisers.

The advertisers lose money. Eventually the advertising money dries up and you don't have a profit model for your site anymore.

Only the top 100 or so web sites on the net are able to currently make a decent profit selling advertising space to their audience.

The rest of the millions of sites out there following this model are quickly finding out that just having free content is not enough to build a successful Internet business. is an example of a successful site with free content following this model. They have a directory, articles, news, weather, chat, forums, and everything else you could possibly imagine for a free content site.

Yahoo is the King of Content sites. They have been around since the early days of the Internet and are one of the few major corporations who actually earns a profit online.

Yet, even they are considering changing to a Paid Membership Model For Some of their Content:

Am I suggesting that you should never give away freebies? Not at all...I still use quite a few freebies of my own including this article you are reading now.

What I am suggesting is that you shouldn't be giving away freebie after freebie hoping to just build traffic at your site.

Every freebie you offer should have a specific goal in mind. In other words, you should be thinking about how this freebie will generate more customers for products and services you are selling.

Below are two ways to turn web content into profit...

Model #1: Joint Venture Endorsements

Instead of just selling banner ad space or text ads on your site, use that same space to make deals with companies you feel good about recommending to your customers.

Then, do personal recommendations of these companies products or services. You will find that the response rates they will receive from a personal endorsement from you will be three to five times what they would have received just buying ad space from you.

This will turn your dead ad space into a cash generator. In most cases you will also be receiving a lot more money through doing these joint venture deals than you could have ever received selling out the ad space.

You may have sold ad space at a price of $20 per 1,000 impressions...if someone was willing to pay that. By signing up with an affiliate program and personally endorsing them, you will be able to make much more than this without worrying about having to sell out your ad space.

For example: If you signed up with an affiliate program paying 30% on a $100 sale, you would get $30 per sale. If the endorsement you gave only gave them a 5% click through rate (very low for an endorsement) and a 5% sales rate, you would be having 2.5 customers per thousand impressions for a total of $75 for the same ad space.

This would have been done without ever having to worry about dealing with advertisers, credit cards, or anything else. The affiliate owner would have taken care of the worries for you.

If you have a high traffic site or some type of other leverage, you can also make special partnership deals with your endorsements.

Instead of just signing up for an affiliate program, contact a merchant who has a product you know your customers will love and make a special deal for them.

Get the merchant to offer a discounted price, an extra special bonus, or some other type of offer to your customers only. Then your response rates will be much higher at your site than just the regular affiliate program link.

Model #2: Paid Membership Sites

This is the next eventual step for online content. General information such as news, weather, etc. will always be free.

Specific and highly specialized content has started moving over to a paid membership model.

Instead of giving away their hard to find content for free, membership sites now charge either a yearly or a monthly fee for access.

Most of them charge anywhere from $39 to $4000 per year or $9.95 to $150 per month just to see their cutting edge content.  The more specialized and valuable the content, the higher of a price you can expect to pay.

For example, if you planned to join a "Day Trading" membership site, you can expect to be paying near the upper limits of the scale at $150 a month or more.

If you joined a "Brittany Spears Fan Club" you could expect that to be at the lower end of the price range.

Either way, you can expect that more and more sites are going to follow in the paid membership path.

Some people don't believe paid memberships will last, but they also originally didn't believe people would pay for cable TV.

TV Networks were originally free. Then cable stations came out and the major networks of ABC, NBC, and CBS thought it was an absolute joke. They didn't think anyone would be willing to pay for something which was originally free!

How many US customers aren't paying for some type of cable or satellite service now?

Information on the Internet is going to go in the same direction. General information will always be free, but highly specialized up to date information is going to cost you.

If you can become the producer of this type of information, then a paid membership site will be the best way for you to profit online.


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:

Parting Comments

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