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March 14, 2002

Table of Contents

 

Welcome

Quote of the Week

Administrative Stuff

Staff Article - The Real Cost of Free Marketing
Tax Tip of the Week - Tomorrow's Deadlines!

Guest Article 1 -  Seven Sure Fire Recipes For Internet Failure
Guest Article 2 - The Best-Kept Marketing Secret!
Parting Comments

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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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If you have suggestions for future content, or have issues that you would like to see specifically addressed, please send an email to let us know. Our staff articles are focused directly on issues raised by you, our readers. We want to give you what you want to see!
 


Quote of the Week

It is surprising what people can do when they have to, and how
little most people will do when they don't have to.

- Walter Linn
 


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 would like to add a section to this newsletter where we can spotlight your websites or businesses so our other subscribers can get to know you and possibly do business with you. If there is enough interest, we will introduce this section with our next issue.

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


Staff Article

The Real Cost of Free Marketing

by: Cary Christian

Free marketing is good. Free marketing improves your bottom line by saving you money on the expense side. Free marketing brings you visitors that others might have to pay for. Free marketing is easy to find on the web. Free marketing is everywhere, free marketing is wonderful! Free marketing is NOT free!

Say what?

Free marketing will almost always cost you more in terms of your time than will similar paid marketing options. For example, let's say you decide not to invest in an ezine ad or bid on keywords on a PPC engine. Instead you decide to join 30 to 40 free safelists that allow you to post every day. (Yes, you can find that many that will allow free members to post every day). So instead of spending a few minutes placing an ad
or bidding on some keywords, you spend 45 minutes every night posting to these lists.

Extend this example a little and assume that you build your entire marketing effort around free advertising. You use start page programs, surf for hits programs, viral ad sites, classified ads, FFA page postings, and anything else free you can find. It can be done, but you might find yourself spending six to eight hours per day just taking care of your marketing chores. Using paid advertising you could accomplish more in
less than one hour per day.

How much "free" marketing actually costs you depends on how you value your time and what you can do with the money you save. It also depends on how effective "free" is versus its "paid" counterparts.

Are there other revenue producing activities you could be taking care of with this additional five to seven hours? If you have employees working these free programs, could their time be more profitably spent? If you market online on a part time basis and you are a parent, how much is an additional five to seven hours with your children worth? Or time with your spouse, girlfriend, parents, friends, or whoever else? If you do other work on the side as a consultant, how much revenue are you potentially losing by using your time "working" free marketing
programs?

Your time is very valuable. An additional five to seven hours a day to take advantage of all these free opportunities could be costing you anywhere from $350 to $3,500 or more per week in opportunity cost.

What are you doing with the money you save? Are you reinvesting it in your business to make it grow? If you are, are the returns from this investment higher than the potential returns from paid advertising?

What kind of sales numbers are you getting from your free advertising efforts? If you've ever tried paid advertising, how do your results from free marketing compare?

A properly planned paid advertising program should bring you at least three times your investment in revenue (and often much, much higher). This makes paid marketing efforts actually LESS EXPENSIVE than free!

Am I saying you should ignore free options? Absolutely not!  Even if you can afford to pay to have everything done for you, you will still want to take advantage of EFFECTIVE free opportunities. But you have to be mindful of the real cost of "free" and you have to be able to track and discern what works and what does not.

Many people who give up trying to make money on the Internet do so because they become frustrated spending so much time to earn so little. Most people, understandably, start off relying very heavily on free marketing methods. Most free marketing methods do not produce results like paid alternatives do. So people give up thinking they can never make it online. Most people do not have the patience to build slowly, and reliance on free marketing means you WILL build slowly.

A word of caution is appropriate here for those of you who have not used paid advertising before and are ready to try it. All paid advertising is not equal. Some paid advertising is no better than free advertising. Do your homework and invest wisely.

If you absolutely cannot afford to incorporate any paid marketing into your business, then approach using free alternatives with the right frame of mind. Realize that building your business will take longer. Learn what to expect, how to track your results, and how to change your strategies as the situation dictates.

Here are some guidelines for using free marketing that we have developed based on our own test experiences:

1. BE MINDFUL OF THE LIMITATIONS

Free marketing methods are very rarely going to result in a direct sale. Use them strictly to get people to your website, to get them signed up on your mailing list, to get them to accept a free product that will bring them back to your site, to get them to subscribe to your autoresponder offering a free course or free report, or something similar.

2. TRACK YOUR RESULTS

Use some form of ad tracking that will allow you to see exactly where your hits are coming from. If a form of free marketing is doing absolutely nothing for you, drop it and replace it with something else.

3. BE BRIEF WITH ANY FORM OF EMAIL MARKETING

Free email marketing, such as posting to safelists, will go largely ignored. Work on creating a catchy, but honest, headline that stands a chance of creating enough interest to get read and then tease them into visiting your site in the body of the message with as few words as possible.

4. MAKE YOUR FREE MARKETING RUN ON AUTOPILOT

Use your free marketing efforts to build your downlines in your free marketing programs. For example, if you build downlines in surf for hits programs you will reach the point where you don't have to click your life away for traffic. You don't want to spend the rest of your life clicking for visitors when the response rates are so low. It is easier to get signups for free programs when using free marketing sources than it will ever be to generate a sale.

5. SIMPLIFY

Always be on the lookout for tools or methodologies that will save you time when using your free marketing programs. Remember the value of your time. If it costs you a few bucks to purchase a product that will save you hours of time daily it is well worth it.

6. CONCENTRATE YOUR FREE EFFORTS ON VIRAL MARKETING

Wherever possible, invest your time in setting up free marketing that is viral in nature. For example, if you give away a free ebook or report, make sure it is customized with links to your site. Allow the people who accept it to give it away freely, thus spreading your links to many more potential customers. Over time, your website could be advertised to
thousands at no cost.

Free marketing definitely has a place in your marketing portfolio. Use it wisely and make it work for you but always be aware that nothing is totally free.

Copyright (c) 2002


Tax Tip of the Week

There are two major tax deadlines for corporations coming up TOMORROW!  March 15, 2002 is the original deadline for filing corporate tax returns, including S Corporation returns, for the calendar year ended December 31, 2001. If you need an extension of time to file, get Form 7004, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Corporation Income Tax Return, complete it and mail it to the IRS before March 15. You will receive an automatic six-month extension of time to file until September 15, 2002. You will NOT increase your chances of audit by extending your return.

If you desire to make an S Corporation election for the calendar year 2002, you need to file form 2553, Election by a Small Business Corporation, on or before March 15, 2002. If you are late and make the election AFTER March 15, 2002, it will be effective for your tax year beginning January 1, 2003. You can complete the form and fax it to the IRS if you prefer. See the instructions to Form 2553 for the fax number to use.

To get copies of Forms 7004 and/or 2553, go the IRS Forms and Publications webpage at:

http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/index.html

 


Guest Article

Seven Sure Fire Recipes For Internet Failure

By Terry Dean

 

This article is quite a bit different from our usual publication. Instead of showing you how to succeed, today I am going to show you how to fail.

Below are seven recipes for the surefire failure of your web site. I will show you how to cure each of these faulty recipes underneath each listing.

Once you know the steps that cause failure, you can avoid them.

Failure Recipe #1: Sell Something You Don't Understand.

Do you want to know one of my pet peeves? It is when someone comes to me asking how they should sell the new book they wrote on "Internet marketing."

My question is...If they wrote the book on it, why are they asking for my advice?

This is a Surefire recipe for Internet failure...You shouldn't be trying to sell something you don't know, understand, and aren't an expert in.

In other words, don't sell an Internet marketing product if you haven't made money in Internet marketing.

Don't jump on a business opportunity just because someone you know is promoting it. Find something that you love. Then, build a business out of that.

If you love gardening, then find a way to develop a web site and product around that. If you love mountain bikes, then create a web site about that.

If you are always on the golf course, then create a theme out of that. Review golf courses and golf clubs. Sell golf videos on your site. Joint Venture with a travel company and offer golf getaways.

The most successful online sites are not in the "business opportunity" field. They are special interest sites built around specific themes.

Failure Recipe #2: Don't Add Your Personality.

Don't try to compete with corporate sites with your little $100 domain. They have the huge advertising budget to overcome their site mistakes, but you don't. You must use your secret weapon...YOU.

Many people are ashamed to do this, but you absolutely have to add a little bit of you into your web sites. Your visitors are not looking for another corporate site. They are looking for real solutions to their problems, and they want them to come from a real human being.

Include your name on your site. Give your phone number and personal email address. Tell them facts about why they should listen to you. What experiences or credibility do you have in the field?

When you write something for your site, let it include your personality. Include your opinions. In other words, be interesting to the people who visit you.

Failure Recipe #3: Ignore Your Traffic Stats.

Where does most of your traffic come from? Ask that question of 90% of the webmasters out there, and they will just give you a blank look. They have no idea where their traffic comes from.

This is a serious mistake and one you will have to correct if you have any ambitions for your site at all. Virtually every hosting company you could possibly purchase your site from comes with some type of tracking features. If you don't know what your hosting company currently offers, ask them.

Examine your stats to find out where your traffic is coming from. What search engines do they use to find you? What keywords did they use? Who else is linking to you?

Which pages do they visit first? Which section of your web site do they go to the most after they visit the front page? These are the types of questions your traffic stats should be telling you.

Once you have a chance to look at them, increase promotion in whatever areas are working. If you notice that you are getting a lot of hits from a specific search engine, increase your promotion on that engine. If you receive most of your hits through links on other sites, then work more on creating links.

If you notice your traffic surges every time an ezine publishes one of your articles, then send out more articles for ezines to use. Keep on doing whatever is currently working for you! Cancel the rest.

Failure Recipe #4: Don't Collect Email Addresses.

Sites which only have one shot to sell their visitors are eventually going to fail. You have to create a sales system where you can follow up on them again and again.

The best way to do this is to create your own ezine. You could also offer a special series of reports which are sent out to your prospects by email every couple of days or every week.  Either method will increase your web site sales and increase your profits.

Think about it this way. If you can't get a prospect to commit to you by giving you their email address, then there is no way you can sell something to that prospect. So, focus on collecting the email address when someone visits your site.

Offer your ezine (or your special series of reports) on every page your of site. Give free ebook bonuses for subscribing.  Offer other incentives for subscribing. Build the list and at the same time make your first product offer to them. So, you are still doing a sales presentation, but you get to follow-up at the same time.

I will venture to say that your actual web site serves two primary purposes. It is there to give you the basic credibility so that they subscribe to your email publication, and it is there to help you take online orders. For most businesses, those are the two most effective purposes of the entire site!

Failure Recipe #5: Sell Shoddy Products.

If you are out to fail, then sell some shoddy products. It used to be said that if one customer had a bad experience they would tell 10 of their friends about it. Now, with the global efficiency of the Internet, instead of them just telling their friends, they may tell thousands of people about it.

When you sell a really good product, the news gets around. When you sell a poor product, the news gets around even faster.

So, make sure any product you sell is your best work. Figure out a way to add additional bonuses to it. Give the customer more than they expected. You have to "WOW" them.

Give them faster shipping then they expected. Purchase reprint rights to someone else's product to throw in as a bonus. Call them up and ask them if they need anything else. Go beyond the call of duty and your name will begin to become well known around the Internet.

Failure Recipe #6: Build It and Sit on It.

The phrase "Build It and They Will Come" is a great statement to use in a movie, but it doesn't work on the web. Too many webmasters spend thousands of dollars building a web site, and then they sit on it. They don't do anything with it.

If you want traffic, then you have to go out and get the traffic. There are two commodities that you can use to build traffic to your site:

#1: You can spend money building traffic through offline advertising, banner ads, ezine ads, and the like.

#2: You can spend time writing articles to submit to ezines, participating in forums, exchanging links, etc.

Spending your time is actually more productive in 90% of cases then spending your money, but either way it does cost you something. If you want traffic, you have to advertise.

Failure Recipe #7: Do What Everyone Else is Doing.

Most Internet marketing methods only work until everyone knows about them. Innovations only last so long on the web. For example, it used to be really easy to get top positions on the search engines. Now, you really have to work to get those positions because every market has thousands of competitors who know the secrets to search engine marketing.

You have to do something a little bit wild and unique to build your traffic bases in most cases. You have to come up with your own ideas and not just rely on what a few select gurus are telling you.

If a guru tells a method for building traffic, then you can rest assured that thousands of marketers will soon be using that exact method for building traffic. Although the method will still work, it won't work as well as when it was first invented because of the increased competition.

Learn to use your mind...and then success in your business will follow.

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

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


Guest Article 2

The Best-Kept Marketing Secret!

by Anthony Stillwell

 

You've been kept in the dark for far too long.

It's time you understand that the easiest and most profitable way to get things done in business is to get help. It's all about the contacts you make. Trying to make it alone and fighting against the odds is what you've been taught, but it's wrong. You need help.

How often do you take the time to build relationships online?

The answer to that question will determine how far you get.

I constantly search out new friends and business associates because I know that there will come a time when I will need or want their help and vice versa.

When you actively seek out relationships with others in your market you automatically open yourself up to opportunities that the average business person would routinely miss.

Examples:

* There are a lot of products I didn't have to buy because their creators who happen to be friends of mine gave me access so that I could help them with any design and marketing strategy questions they had.

This also puts me in a position to work with these same marketers on future projects which is always a good position to be in.

* Joint Ventures are extremely easy to get going because I can always contact the people I've worked with in the past to do more deals. Having to constantly search out new people to work with costs you time that you could have been using to make money.

* There are many services that others routinely pay for that I get for free because of the contacts I've established over the years. My contacts know that when they need ME, I'll be there.

That's why they'll perform services for me without the need for money exchanging hands. They know that when my area of expertise is needed... I'll gladly help.

The right relationships mean more money. You see having contacts just for the sake of having them is worthless. You need to make the *right* contacts. You need to build relationships with people who can help you get to where you want to be.

But... in order to do that YOU must have something valuable to offer in return. There's only so much a friend will help you do.  You will need to offer a valuable service in return for the one YOU want from your contact.

That's just the way it works.

If you don't have the money to get things done then you need to get creative. You don't have to do everything yourself. Search for people who know how to do what YOU want done and strike up a conversation with them.

Find contacts here for starters:
http://www.forumone.com/index/display/

See if you can make a deal. There are actually people out there who love to create products, but don't care too much for marketing and people who love marketing and don't care much for creating products.

There are things that YOU do that other people either don't know how to or care to do on their own. This is where you step in and form a mutually beneficial relationship.

An added benefit of making the *right* contacts is that even if you can't find someone to do what you need done for free, some of your contacts will know where to get quality work done through "hidden" channels at prices not revealed to just anyone.

You have to be on the "inside" to get this kind of info.

Bottom line: Once you have good contacts in place you can easily get projects off the ground while those who are trying to do everything themselves struggle for months if not years. It's the difference between having to spend $1,000 to get something done and having your contacts offer to do the exact same work for almost nothing.

I guess it really comes down to one question... "Do You Want To Put Yourself Ahead Of The Competition Or Not?"

-------------------
Anthony Stillwell is the author of "Unlimited Free Traffic" and publisher of the EnterNet P R O F I T S newsletter where you'll get the hottest tips and the coolest resources to give you the advantage. http://www.getfreeadvertising.com


Parting Comments

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