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The SBC Small Business Newsletter

presented by the Peak Small Business Center

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May 30, 2002

Table of Contents

 

Welcome

Quote of the Week

Administrative Stuff

Staff Article - USING RECIPROCAL LINKS TO BUILD TRAFFIC
Marketing Tip of the Week

Guest Article -  HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR OWN $2,000 A WEEK INTERNET STRATEGY
Parting Comments

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Welcome

Thank you for subscribing to the Peak Small Business Center Small Business Newsletter!

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Quote of the Week

People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don't know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to.

-- George Allen
 


Administrative Stuff

FREE EXPOSURE FOR YOUR BUSINESS!

Just send your email to mailto:mybiz@peakconsultinginc.com with "Info on my business" in the subject line. Give us a brief description of your business and your URL and we'll publish it.  (If your business is promoting affiliate programs, you may submit your affiliate programs in lieu of your website).


Staff Article

USING RECIPROCAL LINKS TO BUILD TRAFFIC
by: Cary Christian

Last week I presented an article here on optimizing your site for the search engines. I did not discuss link popularity even though this subject is very important to search engine ranking.

Search engines are very interested in the sites that link to you. Links are one method of measuring how "important" your site is and its worthiness of a high ranking by the search engine. If you have no links, your site WILL suffer in the rankings.

But links to your site are much more important than just the effect they have on your search engine rankings. Done properly, they will generate far more traffic to your site than the search engines ever will! A jump in your search engine rankings is a very nice and desirable side effect.

So let's rush right out and get links from anyone and everyone we can find and join a few of these new "ready-made" links directories than can provide us with hundreds of links automatically. On second thought, LET'S NOT!


LINKS ARE USELESS UNLESS THEY RELATE TO YOUR SITE'S THEME

Someone visiting an auto parts web site will probably not be interested in a link to a needlepoint web site, and vice versa.  You want links to your site from other sites that are similar or that complement your site. For example, if you sell accounting software, a link from a site that evaluates accounting software should yield excellent results for you.

Search engine robots are also smart enough to evaluate your links. A hodge-podge of links that have nothing to do with your site will only hurt you with the search engines. Your rankings will actually go down. For this reason, joining one of these "link farms" is the WORST thing you can do. They are a prime example of free marketing schemes on the Internet that do more harm than good.

Poor linking practices also do nothing for your visitors. You want YOUR outbound links to be meaningful as well. Make your links page a valuable resource to your visitors that they will want to bookmark and refer back to. It won't be if you do not approach reciprocal linking in the proper manner.

Your outbound links should be neatly categorized and presented.  Group similar links together and provide headings and subheadings that make it easy for your visitors to browse and find what they're looking for.

I'll be the first to tell you that I don't like a lot of links out of my site to other sites. Once I have a visitor, I'd rather keep them on my site for awhile. But they will leave eventually anyway, and if your links are all organized on one page that is specifically designated as a "related links" type of page, your visitors will probably visit it only after they have seen everything on your site that they are interested in.  I really don't believe you lose anything with this type of links page.


FINDING SITES TO LINK TO

This takes some work on your part. You're going to have to use the search engines to perform searches on keywords that relate to your site in order to find appropriate sites for linking.  You can also use an automated tool like ZEUS for this purpose (see our Featured Resource, above).

In fact, since you can download and use Zeus for free, a most excellent price, there is no reason you shouldn't use it. The free version is fully functional but does not contain a lot of the "bells and whistles" of the pro version. But it is more than adequate to get you going in the right direction and to help you learn the process. You feed in keywords and other information about your site and show it one site that represents the type of sites you are looking for and it will take it from
there. It will go out and find hundreds or thousands of sites that are potential linking partners and provide you with the information you will need to request a link.

If you don't use a tool like Zeus, be prepared to spend more time reviewing potential sites and digging out the contact information you need to propose a link. If you're doing this manually, loading the Alexa toolbar will make your job easier.  It provides you with contact information on the site and sometimes will provide you with information on where to find similar sites. You can download the toolbar at:

http://info.alexa.com/

(See the bottom of the page for the toolbar download).


ASKING FOR A LINK

Whatever you do, do not just send out a bunch of standardized emails asking for reciprocal links. Take a look at each site, decide what makes it a good match with yours, and craft a personal email to the webmaster that shows you have given the potential link the attention it deserves. Mention to the webmaster specifically what makes your sites complementary and give him or her enough detail to let them know you really looked at their site.

Do not include any advertising in your email. Not even in the signature line! Keep it brief, courteous and professional. You could be accused of spam otherwise.

Make the subject line personalized as well. A subject line of "Let's trade links" probably won't even get read. Chances are, the webmaster gets a ton of those every day. If you have actually reviewed their site, which you WILL have done, you will be able to do much better.

Do not go into linking rules or guidelines in this email.  There is plenty of time for that later if and when the webmaster agrees with your link proposal.

You might be hesitant to approach a large, popular website with a link request, and you probably should be. You might want to save those until your own site is a little larger and has better traffic numbers.

HOWEVER, if your site fills a unique niche and really does make an excellent link partner for the larger site, by all means propose the link. Just make sure you explain what makes you unique and such a good link candidate.

Remember, even large, popular sites are looking to provide valuable resources to their visitors. If your site IS such a resource and is perceived to provide value to the larger site's visitors, you will probably get a link. Then you might not be such a little site any more! Appropriate links really CAN change your life!



Copyright (c) 2002


Marketing Tip of the Week

Safelist ads rarely get noticed, but if you are creative you can still get some response. Here's an example of what we're talking about:

We ran a short ad in a bunch of safelists that apparently had no marketing effort attached to it at all. The subject line was "Take a humor break!" and the body linked to the following page on our website:

http://www.peakconsultinginc.com/humor_break.htm

Go ahead and follow the link. You'll find two real jokes and one fake joke that is actually a real ad people use frequently in their email advertising with a link for people to click if they don't get the joke. The link is to our sales page for "A Beginner's Guide to Internet Marketing." The implication is, of course, that if people really think that type of ad will work, they need our book! This little non-ad drew twice as well as a
normal ad.
 


Guest Article

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR OWN $2,000 A WEEK INTERNET STRATEGY

by
Terry Dean

In most of the articles on the web, probably 97% - 99%, you will read about the technical aspects of building a profitable business online. Most of the information I cover deals with that arena...but what most people forget to mention to you is that the technical aspects are ONLY half of the equation to your success on the internet.

When you really get down to the nitty-gritty of making money online, it all starts with your strategy. Even if you know exactly how to achieve top positions on the search engines or know exactly how a link campaign should be done, it still won't let you achieve the level of success you want if you don't know how to develop the strategy for your site.

To put it simply, tactics are your day to day actions in building your website. A strategy is your overall plan and goal for exactly what you would like to have your website and business accomplish for your customers.

The Random House College Dictionary defines strategy and tactics this way... "In military usage, a distinction is made between STRATEGY AND TACTICS. STRATEGY is the utilization of all of a nation's forces, through large-scale, long-range planning and development, to ensure security or victory. TACTICS deals with the use and deployment of troops in combat."

Have you ever stopped the day to day battle of trying to achieve top positions on search engines (And believe me...This is a battle) long enough to develop your long-term strategy?  What is your overall vision for your site? In the Bible, Proverbs 29:18 states, "Where there is no vision, the people perish..."

I know some people who are brilliant strategists about online marketing who have achieved amazing success even though their actual tactical skills are only so-so. They hire out the web site design, the search engine registrations, the linking campaigns, and the copywriting. As a matter of fact, one of these brilliant minds once mentioned to me that "The Concept is Greater than The Copy."

In other words, the right marketing strategy can overcome slight problems in the copywriting or even the carrying out of the plans. Even the best copywriting on the planet won't make a success out of a poor business strategy or concept.

No contractor would ever consider starting work on a project without having a detailed blueprint already done and in their hands. It also doesn't matter how good they are at following the blueprints if the blueprints are all wrong. For many people, their internet businesses are in this exact state. They have many of the internet tactics ready, but they have yet to develop a powerful strategy to empower the whole process.

So exactly how do you choose the strategy for your Internet Marketing Empire? Below you will find a three step process in helping you develop your overall strategy. I don't want to over-complicate the process by any means, but I do want to help you create ideas through this. Your actual day to day internet marketing tactics will then flow out of your overall marketing strategy.

STEP ONE: Create Your Overall Theme to Your Online Business

You can't develop a business around a single product. Even if you are promoting a single product upfront, it is not the product that people want. They want the BENEFITS they receive out of the product. When designing your site, think about an "Ultimate Benefit" to build your site around.

I first heard the phrase "The Ultimate Benefit" through Dr. Jeffrey Lant and it has stuck with me ever since. It is that ever abiding "WANT" or "GOALS" that your prospects have with them continually. Ultimate Benefits are things such as: more money, weight loss, online success, being sexually attractive, self-defense, etc.

Ultimate benefits are what your prospects are really seeking after. So, don't base your business just on products. Base your business on this Ultimate Benefit. This will be the theme that binds everything else you do at your site together. It is what you want your site to become known for. It is why people will return to your site over and over again forever.

What is it that your prospects ultimately want?
More Money
Better Health
Weight Loss
etc.

Once you have defined your "Ultimate Benefit," that's where the products can come in. You will want to provide multiple products that all fall under the same Ultimate Benefit. This will help you to create "Multiple Streams of Income" all generated from one web site.

What mail order or internet company do you know of that only has one product? There aren't any really successful ones. Even the sites which seem only to have one main product still have dozens of different profit streams which all come out of the backend of that product. Your mission online is to help people reach

their ultimate goals, and that cannot be done with just one product. It takes a variety of products to accomplish this goal.

One warning I do want to mention here though is that your site will be more successful if you have one LEAD product. By testing both multiple product sites and sites which focus on one lead product, I have found that the lead product sites will outsell the multiple product sites by a long shot in most cases.

So, the absolute best set-up is to focus on a main product, and then have many different backends or supporting products which will help your customers to further their goals. This type of system is often referred to as a marketing funnel. You may be selling a book about Ad Copy on your site, but you will also

have consultations, seminars, audio tapes, and ad writing services which all support your theme.

If you are selling web sites as a primary lead product, you could also sell books on internet marketing, web design services, CGI programming, etc. If your theme is weight loss, your primary product may be a nutritional product. You could also sell weight loss and exercise books. A newsletter could be started. You could also do personal one-on-one consultations for specific individuals.

You also don't need to come up with all of these products yourself. Many of them can be found through Joint Venturing with other companies which have products you know your customers want.

STEP TWO: Develop A Unique Aspect to Your Business...Your USP

Your business cannot just be a me-too business online. You need to develop some type of uniqueness to it...something that sets you apart from all of the rest of your competition online. You need to create a "Unique Selling Position" which makes you stand out from the crowd online...

For example, everyone is selling books online. How did Amazon.com becomes the most well known bookstore on the Internet. They developed a USP which basically states "The World's Largest Bookstore" which is exactly what they are. They have stated in one phrase exactly what makes them unique from the rest of the bookstores in the world.

How can you develop your own USP? You probably aren't going to own the largest selection of anything in your business since most of us have started out bootstrapping at home or in our small business. Let me give you a simple little formula you can use which will help you immensely in the creation of a USP for your business.

To find your USP, pull out a blank sheet of paper. At the top of the paper, write "You know how most __________..." Then, halfway down the page, write "Well, What I do is..."

I want you to write how most of the businesses in your market are in the first section. Then, I want you to write what sets you apart from them. Avoid using words such as quality or better service, because those types of things don't really mean anything UNLESS you are more specific in your description. This may take you a while to do.

You probably will have to study your competition online for a while. Give yourself a few days to think it over. Then, write it down.

Next, I want you to boil down that entire sheet of paper to a single phrase or sentence. This takes some work. Write it out in a sentence or phrase as many times as you need to until you get just the right words. Again, if this takes you a few days, let it. Think about it when you are driving, eating, etc. Mull it over. Then, once you have just the right wording, that is your NEW USP which you will use to separate you from all of the competition.

Use it on your signature file online...Use it on your website...Use it in your ad copy. Let it become a guiding force to your online business that sets you apart and defines you as the person to deal with in this area.

STEP THREE: Concentrate on Building Relationships with Your
Prospects


To fully develop an online business, you need to maximize your relationships with people. Although your goal in your Internet business may be to set it up on auto-pilot, you have to remember at all times that you are dealing with real people. Credibility online is a major issue because there are many fly-by-night get-rich-quick operators on the internet.

To help you develop this credibility with your prospects, your overall strategy has to include such tools as ezines, message boards, chats, conference calls, dealer programs, etc. Many people keep asking exactly why does it seem ezines are popping up everywhere...It is simply because they work. They help you to develop the relationships you need with your prospects. You are able to contact your prospects over and over again providing them with good useful information.

The same thing is true of the message boards. Once you have worked them up to a certain level of traffic, the same people will keep coming back day after day learning from you and the other experts you may have brought to your board.

Use your imagination and develop other free services such as these to help you develop your website and relationships online.  How about doing JVs with other businesses? How about running a monthly conference call on your subject? Your business online is only limited by your imagination!

Get Started Today In Developing Your Online Strategy...

Don't let this report just sit there in your email box. Print it out. Start today in putting these strategy building tips to work for you. It is a proven fact that if you put this off for more than 24 hours, you will probably never come back to it.

Developing Your Internet Strategy can be the most important key to creating the internet business you dream of. Take action today and at least start thinking and working on it.

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

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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Our CEO - cary@peakconsultinginc.com

Information - info@peakconsultinginc.com

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