January 24, 2002
Table of Contents
Quote of the Week
Staff Article - How to
Work With Us
Technology Tip of the Week
Guest Article -
The Internet Marketer's Mini-Checklist
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Quote of the Week
If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.
--Gen. George S. Patton
We have added seven terrific new ebooks to our
site that are free for you to download. These are outstanding books that you
can also freely distribute to whoever you like. Download yours today at:
We have also added a new page dedicated to marketing tools. You'll find only
best-of-breed resources listed there. Please visit it and see what you
How to Work with Us
by: SBC Staff
We have added a substantial number of subscribers since we last addressed
this issue, so we thought it might be a good time to review what we can
provide to you and how we utilize your input.
WHAT WE DO
We are a full service business and systems consulting firm, but
our primary website is a resource center that offers free and low cost
resources to small and home-based businesses. We spend thousands in cash,
manpower and other resources every month to join and review web-based
programs, to find useful resources for our visitors, and to provide free and
low cost technical support and advice to those who need it. Our visitors
range from individuals running a home-based business to rather large
corporations. (The term "small business" has many meanings today. A lot of
small businesses aren't very small! We have one "small business" client that
does $135 million in annual revenue).
We post a lot of resources, reviews and articles on our website, but that is
not where our major efforts are directed. Our primary focus is to help you
one-on-one. If you have a problem you need help with, whether it is related
to systems, business strategy, taxation, marketing, or anything else related
to business, you can ask us for help by filling out one of the many forms
available on our website or by sending us an email. We will contact you by
email with a solution to your problem or a roadmap that will help you find
the ultimate solution.
HOW YOUR INTERACTION HELPS US AND OTHERS
Every question or request for information or assistance that we receive has
the potential of generating a new resource on our website, an article for
our newsletters, a review of another program available on the web, or an
alert to other visitors. Our site will grow and become more valuable to our
visitors as a result of your interaction with us. While we can and do
anticipate many problems our visitors might have, we look to you to tell us
what you need to succeed in your business endeavors. If it is at all
possible, we will provide it for you, but YOU have to tell us what it is you
We also ask that you provide us with information related to your experiences
with various programs you have participated in. If you feel like you've been
ripped off, we want to know! If you believe you've struck the mother lode,
we want to know that, too! Give us your own review of your favorites and
your dogs. With your permission, we will publish your reviews on our site.
The only thing we ask is that your submission be a review and not an ad!
Your review could be on an advertising source, an affiliate opportunity, a
web-based service or anything else related to web resources or programs.
We will be adding a special page or pages to our site within the next week
or so to make it easier for you to submit your reviews and to prompt you for
information that will make your review more interesting to our visitors.
We'll give you the URL(s) in an upcoming edition of this newsletter.
HOW WE HELP YOU AVOID FUTURE PROBLEMS
There is, to put it lightly, a ton of hype on the web. There are many
programs that are either worthless or counterproductive to your efforts to
succeed. We have looked at, joined, purchased, or otherwise evaluated many
different programs and resources so you won't have to. If you're considering
using a service for marketing, business automation, or anything else, check
with us first to see if we have done an evaluation or are in the process of
an evaluation. Even if we have not completed an evaluation on a specific
program, we probably know people or companies that have participated in
them. We can save you time and money.
If you are considering purchasing new software to automate your business,
entering into a transaction that has uncertain tax ramifications, looking to
sell or purchase a business, considering an outsourcing arrangement,
attempting to find financing for your business, or any other major
transaction, check with us. We have decades of experience in all these areas
and can offer you free assistance that will make the process easier. Of
course, if you want to hire us to help you, that's fine, too! But there is
no obligation on your part to receive free assistance.
WHY WE OFFER CERTAIN PAID PROGRAMS
As mentioned earlier, we spend a lot each month to evaluate various popular
resources available on the web. To help underwrite these costs, we do offer
participation in some of the better opportunities we find as an affiliate of
the opportunity. Only about one in 15 of the opportunities we evaluate are
ever good enough to receive our recommendation and that ratio seems to be
getting worse as time goes on. That is an indication of just how much crap
there is out there. When we find an opportunity that is worthwhile, we are
more than pleased to offer it to our visitors.
NEW RESOURCES WE ARE WORKING ON
We are currently in the process of putting together a comprehensive review
of more than 140 programs we have joined and evaluated. We will publish
summaries on our website and provide a downloadable ebook that contains all
the details. This information will be updated at least quarterly as we
complete reviews of additional programs.
We are also working on two book projects that should be complete within a
month or two. We can't give you the details at this time, but one is geared
toward small businesses and the other toward home-based businesses.
We will, of course, continue evaluating recommendations for new resources
submitted by our visitors. If you have recommendations, please send them to
HOW YOU CAN HELP US WITH THIS NEWSLETTER
Send us recommendations for articles you would like to see and the type of
articles that are most helpful to you. Do you want to see more articles on
business strategy, marketing, program reviews, taxation, web development, or
what? Let us know so that we can better service your needs. We're here to
To make it real easy for you, you can just send a blank email to:
<a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">AOLers Click Here</a>
and put one of the following words in the subject line:
If you prefer we continue to address all
these areas equally, select "rotation." If you have other subjects you would
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Our goal is to provide you what you need in as personalized a manner as
possible and we will do whatever it takes to do that. It's a lot more work
for us, but YOU ARE WORTH THE EXTRA EFFORT!
Copyright © 2001, all rights reserved
Marketing Tip of
If you aren't using autoresponders in your
marketing efforts, you should consider doing so. Evidence shows that your
prospects need to be exposed to your message multiple times (6 to 8) before
they will purchase. An autoresponder can help you achieve this with minimal
When you place ads in various places around the net, include an
autoresponder address in the ad for the prospect to obtain additional
information. When they send for the information, your autoresponder puts
your campaign on autopilot. Most commercial autoresponders will allow you at
least 52 follow-up messages, which should be more than enough to get your
message across. Of course, each message will give your prospect an
opportunity to unsubscribe from your autoresponder.
The Internet Marketer's
by: Michael Fortin
Throughout my online travels and
particularly in my marketing consulting practice, I encounter many a
netpreneur who wonder about the reasons why they are not yet successful.
"Mike, why am I not getting as many hits" or "as many sales," they ask. It's
a question of which I am asked all too often, it seems.
I can appreciate their frustration since I've been there. It took me years
to achieve what I'm experiencing today and a lot of it is the result of pure
trial and error. But a lot of it is also based on simple, common sense. The
reality, however, is that so many people, enticed by the overblown hype and
promises of the web, expect some "get rick quick" solution. I wish there was
So I often reply with a checklist, which I will reprint in this week's
editorial. It is far from being a comprehensive list -there are many more
tactics, techniques and strategies one can implement beyond what the list
suggests. Additionally, for many it might appear as an appropriate roadmap
for the newbie webmarketer; some tend to even scoff at its simplicity.
But surprisingly, its simplicity is the reason why it is also so easily
ignored by the more experienced. I ask that you take a good, hard look at
it. Answer it truthfully and completely. How many of the tactics suggested
did you really implement? How many have you abandoned after only a few
attempts? And how many tactics do you put into action on a regular basis?
Think about your answers.
Granted, some of these may not apply to all situations. But generally, I
have found that those who complain the most have not implemented a fraction
of these or lack a clear plan of action through which some of the most
profitable among these should be repeated on a periodic basis. The latter is
My colleague Jim Daniels of
http://www.bizweb2000.com/ is the master when it comes to developing and
maintaining a rigorous marketing plan. (Jim printed his own in a recent
issue of his very informative BizWeb Gazette as a template that's worth its
weight in gold.) So let me ask you at this point, isn't it time you too have
one ... And stick to it, consistently?
So here is the checklist:
* Are you subscribed to ezines and websites (like IMC's own at
http://www.successdoctor.com/IMC/) on Internet marketing, and do you
read/visit them on a daily basis?
* Have you implemented most if not some of the ideas you've learned in them?
What were your results? Good? Bad? Why?
What ideas worked best for you? What ideas worked least? Do you or did you
track your results? How? Do you review and analyze them on a daily basis?
What are they telling you?
* Do you constantly educate yourself on your industry and your specific area
of expertise? In fact, do people look upon you as an expert in what you do?
Do you *love* what you do?
* Do you follow a daily marketing regimen? Consistently? If so, what did you
do this week? And the week before that?
* Did you bid on keywords on
http://www.Goto.com/? Which ones? Did you try other pay-per-rank
engines? Did you use their keyword suggestion tools and looked at different
* Do you have an affiliate program for your products? If not, have you
implemented another form of "viral" marketing?
* Does your website have tools to help make it "sticky"? For example, do you
maintain a discussion forum? A site-specific search tool? An archive of
* Does your business model strive for quantity or quality? In other words,
do you seek bigger profits or market share? Are you achieving it or do you
seem to be achieving the other?
* What areas of your business need improvement? An even more important
question to ask is what do YOUR customers think?
* Do you tweak and test your website copy on a constant basis?
* Do you maintain an opt-in list or regularly publish an ezine? Do you
remain in constant contact with subscribers? Does your marketing include
increasing your subscriber base?
* Do you continually research your customers, your product category, your
industry and especially your competition?
* What makes you unique? What's your USP (i.e., your unique selling
proposition)? In other words (and think about this), what's your single,
most marketable, competitive edge?
Do you communicate that edge in all that you do?
* Did you submit your site to the major search engines and niche-specific
engines? Do you monitor your rankings?
* Have you written articles and submitted them to newsletters read
specifically by your target market? Do you periodically write and distribute
press releases? How many? To whom?
* Do you market and advertise offline? If so, where?
* Do you have good, compelling email signature file? And do you use it with
every piece of correspondence you make?
* Do you participate in newsgroups? Message boards? Forums? And especially
those frequented by your target market?
* Do you offer one, two or three products? In other words, how focused are
you on your niche or on your perfect customer?
In fact, who is your perfect customer? Do you know your product's
demographics (e.g., age, gender, employment, etc), geographics (e.g.,
location, country, city, etc) and psychographics (e.g., interests, culture,
* And do you have any backend products or services with which you can upsell
your customer base? If not, do you (or could you) offer products from
non-competing strategic alliances?
* Is your ecommerce system a well-oiled machine? Do you accept credit cards
on your site? What other payment options do you provide? Do you have a
customer support number or email?
* Do you package or bundle your products in order to increase their
perceived value? Do you offer alternative packages (maybe with different
price points or additional services)?
* Do you have a top level domain name (yourname.com)? Does it invoke the
core benefit if not at least the nature of your site? Is it easy to
pronounce? Spell? Remember?
* Do you have any strategic marketing alliances in place? In fact, how many
alliances do you have in place? Do you keep in constant contact with them?
What about joint ventures? Cross promotions? Referrals networks?
* Is your site easy to navigate? Read? Download? Do you provide your
visitors with good, fresh, updated content? Most of all, do you give
visitors a reason to come back?
* Have you implemented an automated referral system on your site (like IMC's
http://www.letemknow.com/) that visitors can use to easily refer your
site to others?
* Do you have testimonials on your site? A strong guarantee? A bonus offer?
A privacy and security policy? An FAQ page?
* Do you sell advertising on your site? In your ezine? If so, did you
develop a media kit for potential advertisers?
* Have you advertised online? In which ezines? On which sites? Do you
constantly tweak your ad copy and track your results?
* Have you participated on online talk shows? Chat specials?
Have you expanded your mind in terms of looking at different places, as many
places as possible, in which you can market your site and where your target
market likely congregates?
* In fact, do you try to keep your site, its address or its offers in front
of your target market's eyeballs? How often?
* Does your site copy invite people to surf deeper into it? Or is it laced
with external links that drive people out?
* Do you conduct contests? Draws? Surveys? Does your site capture, with
permission, the email addresses of your visitors, especially on the first
page, "above the fold"?
* Do you swap ezine ads with other publishers? Or in the very least, do you
have a reciprocal linking strategy in place?
As you can see, this list can go on. But in my experience, just the above
could open some eyes. For example, with my own copywriting service (see
http://SuccessDoctor.com/writing.htm), my clients must fill out a
similar (but more extensive) list of questions before any work commences. As
I found, simply answering it has been quite insightful for many.
Ultimately, you would be surprised to find out how much it pays to go back
to the basics. Regularly. Consistently.
About the Author
Michel Fortin, of
http://SuccessDoctor.com/, is a marketing professor and a highly
sought-after consultant whose advice has helped countless clients earn
millions in record time. His latest book, "Power Positioning Dot Com,"
reveals how to keep your business or product indelibly carved into your
prospects' uppermost consciousness at all times -see
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