Getting Mobile Ready

Change is coming every more rapidly to internet marketing. At first we rushed out to put up web sites, thinking customers would be rushing to find us. We quickly learned that a web site by itself was not the end all and be all.

We leaned to redesign it so that it was optimized. After that we discovered why we needed to pay attention to what our customers thought our business was and focus on the keywords they used to find us.

Even then we learned as time went on that we had to do more. We needed to create back links from other web sites to help build the authority of our sites. And recently we can’t help but notice that video is playing a larger and larger role online. And today, all of that remains the case.
The dirty secret is that while we may do all of the above, so too does our competitors. To stay ahead we need to be constantly on the look-out for the next big change that is coming down the pike. A lot is going to change as a result of the dramatic new change in the coming months.

For most businesses, just keeping up with the day to day business of running a business is time consuming enough. Most of us are hard put to stay on top of this constant wash of online changes. Too many of us have already been left behind or on page 22 of Google results where no one can find us. Planning for the future is problematic when you haven’t caught up with the current state of affairs. This is why the SEO or Search Engine Optimization consulting industry emerged in the past decade.

These constant changes are not just hard on small businesses. Many of the majors, like microsoft, AOL, Netscape, Yahoo and many others have stubbed their toes. New players are emerging and new trends. The cell phone is making some significant inroads. Cell phones? I thought we were talking the internet and computers.

The trend has been underway for some time already, but increasingly in the next few years there will be a massive turnover in how people access and use the internet and that change is the smart phone in its many and future guises.

Today over half of all log ins to Facebook are done from cell phones. And this trend will continue. Now there are three things most people make sure they have with them when they leave home: Their cell phones, their wallets and their car keys. Soon their phone will do all three and more.

Within a couple of years, for many people, their cell phone will do all three. The desk top computer will be playing a smaller and smaller role. Instead of it, your customers will be using their phones to find barbers, restaurants and hardware stores.

Among other things, this change will require businesses and other web site owners to rethink how our sites look. The canvas is about to shrink. What once filled a wide screen monitor will now need to be squeezed into a diminuative phone screen.

We don’t want to have to reintroduce scroll bars to see our sites. It means we need to create mobile ready web sites in addition to those we already have.

The coming 18 months to three years will mark a significant transformation. Those who are early adaptors will gain a significant temporary advantage. Whether we like it or not, this change is coming. Either we will lead the way, or our competitors will.

[tags]internet marketing,internet marketing consultant,cell phones,marketing,small business marketing[/tags]

What’s A New Customer Worth To You?

If you are thinking about the marketing plan for your business, one of the key things to think about is the long term value of your average new customer. Finding new customers is one of the primary functions of your marketing plan, but not the only. What is a new customer worth?

The profit you make from their first purchase may be negligible compared to the value of all the future purchases they may make. If a barber had a new customer who came in once, teh value would be that one haircut. If that person came in once a month, the annual worth of that customer would be tweve times as much.

If they get their hair cut every two weeks, they are worth twice as much. If they stay with you for five years on average, because most people in your market area move every five years, you can multiply that total by five to get your lifetime value.

Now not everyone will keep coming back forever.  Thus you need to temper your estimates of life time value with a realistic understanding of your own past performance.  Recognizing that people will leave is a critical reason to make sure you are constantly marketing to attact new customers. We will talk about this in another post.

If your product cost more than a haircut, that value is correspondingly greater. If your customer buys only once or twice a year or once or twice a lifetime, it could be lower.

Now there are several reasons to evaluate this concept of life time value. First, it can help you justify the money you spend on your marketing efforts.
It also is useful to stimulate your thinking about how you might be able to increase their lifetime value. For example, what can you do to extend their lifetime? Can you develop a personal relationship so they still come back for their haircut even after they move to new suburb in your metro area? Building loyalty by way of building a strong relationship is one way of extending the life time value.

If you can find ways to get people to spread the word, through positive reviews, outright referrals or just positve word of mouth, you have added to their value. Any new business they send is worth at least as much as you now have to pay to recruit a new customer. And probably more, as the new customer is already warmed up to you.

There is also the upsell. After a while our barber may increase the periodic sales value by adding a shave to the visit.  You may design your business around offering an entry value or deal and then move customers to higher level or services as they build trust and familiarity.

Getting a new customer in the door is the hard part. Once you have them, assuming you treat them well, it is easier to get them to make their second and subsequent purchases.

When considering your marketing campaign you want to focus on both. As you put together your long term business and marketing plans be sure to keep the idea of each customers lifetime value to your business front and center.

[tags] Lifetime value,marketing tips,new customers,life time value,customer worth,marketing plan,marketing[/tags]

Helping Offline Businesses Use The Net Effectively

Let me take a minute to introduce my self. I am Mike Paetzold and will be visiting here this week as part of my Old Bald Guy’s Blog Tour. During this I am stopping at various blogs for a week at a time to guest blog.

This week I am really excited as after discussing list building, affiliate marketing and blogging the last 3 stops here we will talk about helping offline business use the internet to supplement their brick and mortar business.This is an area that can be a perfect win – win for the offline business owner and the person who can supply what they need to take advantage of the net.

Earl has written about this topic quite extensively and we will not look at it from an off line business perspective but from a consultant perspective as most internet marketers have skills that can be of considerable value to the offline business owner.

Most of my offline business customers do not have the time or the inclination to learn what is needed to effectively use the web for their business. They do understand the power but taking their time to go through the learning curve will hurt their current business model. This creates a huge opportunity for those that are interested in helping them.

Businesses are quickly learning that a lot of the old ways of generating customers like the Yellow Pages are becoming obsolete. When a customer is looking for something they are much more likely to start at Google then they are the Yellow Pages.

The increase in local rating sites for various service businesses has made it a necessity for a business to be following what is being said about them.

All of these things are opportunities if you can show an off line business how it can benefit their bottom line.

Over the next 4 days I will discuss the following here –

  • Protecting your online reputation
  • Website mistakes
  • Easiest way to get good SEO
  • Making Google your friend

See you tomorrow.

About the author

align=left Mike Paetzold has been online since 2000 and runs numerous blogs and works with offline businesses through Coal Region Web Services. Currently you can find out what he is up to at Mike Paetzold Recommends.

You can also find out and keep current with WordPress at his blog WordPress Made Easy.

Follow Mike on Twitter

Internet Video Advertising is Hot!

Internet Video Advertising is Hot!

Sites like YouTube and Google Video get millions of visitors every day and many of them are looking for information on local businesses in their area. They want to find out about the pizza place down the road, a contractor, or a new hair salon. They could be looking for anything, the point is, they are looking for local businesses.

Nothing attracts massive amounts of traffic and prospective clients to your website the way that an Internet video can. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend big bucks to get a Great Promotional Video for your business! For only $149 we will produce an attractive and informative 30-45 second Video Ad promoting your business and the fine products or services you offer.

Your video ad will be produced and uploaded to all of the Top Video and Social Media Sites and will be seen by hundreds or thousands of people in your area that are looking for a business like yours.

Your Video Ad is going to give your business more exposure and will appeal to your target audience better than any other form of marketing. Your video advertisement will get people to take action and visit your website, walk in your doors or call you for more information.

Take A Look At Everything That Is Included for Only $149 and You Will See There Is No Better Way for You To Bring In New Customers!

An Eye-Catching and Informative 30-45 Second Video Advertisement for Your Business That Gets People To Visit Your Website, Walk In Your Door or Call You for An Appointment

We Will Submit Your Video To The Most Popular Video Sites and Make Sure It Get’s Picked Up By The Major Search Engines

Increased Visibility for Your Business, More Visitors To Your Website, More New Customers and Higher Profits

Easily Add Your Video To Your Website With One Simple Line of Code. We Also Give You A Hard Copy of Your Video and Easy To Understand Instructions On Adding The Video To Your Website.

Discover the Awesome-yet Simple – Secrets of Slashing Your Advertising Costs to the Bone, While Quickly Exploding your Sales, Profits and Success!

Check out this link to see some sample Videos and get more information.

Small Business Marketing: Why Market Maker?

Why Market Maker? Podcast

Home Staging Marketing: Why Market Maker?

The Market Maker program is now live and available for Home Stagers interested in getting more business from their existing web pages.

I did a survey of home stagers last year. One of the things many expressed disappointment in was how little new business they got from their web pages.  This is true of almost all small business people.  For most, their web sites are little more than electronic yellow page ads, showing address, hours and contact info, with maybe a fancier display ad.

Since I did my survey, I have held a tele-seminar, and written dozens of articles on how to turn that around. Yet relatively few home stagers have applied the secrets well known and taught in professional internet marketing circles.

I recognize the problem in myself. I often know what to do, but doing it is often another story.

Properly setting up your web page to get customers isn’t about nicer and fancier before and after pictures. It’s about attracting people potentially interested in home staging from YOUR market place, and getting them to identify themselves, so you can directly market your services to them.

The steps required include: changing some techie things about your web site; adding an opt-in box, which used to mean you needed to redo the front page of your web site; writing a special report; and then a long series of email marketing pieces.

Now none of these are too difficult, if you know how to do them, and seemingly impossible if you don’t.

And so, most people didn’t.

That’s why I developed Market Maker. Market maker will do all this for you. Develop new Meta Tags for your web site that will help more people from your town find your web site. Create an opt in form that doesn’t require you to redo your existing web site. It provides a great “ethical bribe” that will encourage people that visit your site to let you know they were there. Let you know they are interested in home staging and most importantly giving you permission to tell them more about you and your services.

Market Maker will dramatically boost your business.

Market Maker improves your marketing in two ways.

First it helps your home staging company stand out among your competitors. You will be the one that catches and keeps your prospects attention. This will get you a larger percentage of the existing business in your community.

Secondly, not everyone who thinks about using a home stager ends up doing so. With Market Maker, a larger percentage of them will, and when they do decide to use a home stager, it’s highly likely they will pick you.

To get more information go to Market Maker

And if you think that market maker will work for home stagers, let me suggest I can make it work most local businesses, even yours. Drop me an email.

Market Maker is Live: Marketing Breakthrough for Home Stagers

Market Maker Launches

Market Maker Launches

I have been focused on my home stagers blog the past week as I prepared for the launch of Market Maker. Market Maker was designed to specifically address the needs of the Home Staging Industry, but it is applicable in many other businesses as well.

The fundamentals of Market Maker are little more than what I have been preaching here for some time.

Effective use of an ethical bribe, and solid follow-up. It’s easy to preach, because it works. And I get a lot of people who will nod their heads and say it makes sense, but will they follow-through? Often not, because it’s work and more importantly because it takes them out of their comfort zones.

With Market Maker I hope to alleviate most of those obstacles, by doing the work for them. I will do their keywords to get them more traffic. I have provided a great ethical bribe, and even a selection of follow-up messages. I will create a opt in box for them that won’t require them to change their existing web pages. All they will need to do is to get their computer person to upload some code. And provide some basic information about their business so I can present it properly.

I’m willing to do the same for most any other business as well. The advantage of the home stagers is that they are a scattered industry. And multiple people can use the same tools without a conflict.

The genius of the home stagers program is that I have transferred to them the ability to sell the eBook of which the ethical bribe is a sample and keep half the proceeds. It should be a no brainer, but it may take a few pioneers to lead the way.

It will be a new idea for many, and in these economic times many will be afraid to invest in their businesses. I hope I’m wrong about that. Time will tell.

Frugal Mom’s shoping for and with coupons.

In another sign of the times, it appears that more and more people are searching the internet to find coupons before making pruchases. This has lead to an increase in the number of blogs catering to “Frugal Mom’s.” This has been noted lately by the Wall Street Journal, Minyanville, and even the Financial Times of London.

Coupons are certainly one way to attract customers, and they definitely have their place as part of an overall marketing strategy.  But coupons can be expensive,  when the cost of distributing the coupon is added to the coupon cost itself.

And while a coupon may bring in a few new customers, most are probably redeemed by existing customers who may well appreciate the coupon, but probably indirectly thank their local newspaper for the freebie and not the merchant.

To the extent store sponsored coupons are involved, it makes far more sense for these to be distributed to exisiting customers as part of a loyalty campaign designed to get customers to return to the store on otherwise slow days, and or to increase the total size of purchase by the customer.

Rather than spending money on distribution, these coupons should be distributed via email to a list of customers built over time.

But not every email promotion need be a coupon. Instead, features on particular products can entice buyers to try new items, or return for old favorites and can be used to attract traffic almost as well as a coupon.

Which is Worse no Meta Tag Keywords or the Wrong Ones?

This afternoon I am giving my short version of my “trade show as web pages” talk to the board of a local business group. My goal is to find additional speaking opportunities where I can present to larger audiences of business people. Because as my report says, I think most small business web pages stink!

In preparation for the meeting, I checked the web site of the host location as well as the associations meta tags. I offer businesses a free worthwhile tip just for listening to my pitches and felt I should offer the same to these good people as well.

It turns out the association had no keywords or site description in their meta tags at all.

But perhaps even worse was the host locations web site. It is a private housing facility offering student housing. Its meta tag keywords were totally irrelevant to its web site and mission. It included keywords of voting, survey, course evaluations, census, segmentation, and others that clearly were intended for a totally different site.

Presumably someone copied a desirable format as a template and plunked the residence halls content on someone else’s framework.

I’m not sure which is worse to have no keywords or bad ones. What do you think. I’d appreciate any comments you might have as I will probably use it as a bad example in future presentations. I will of course keep the people involved secret so as not to embarrass anyone.

As I spend more and more time looking at local business web sites, I find such omissions and or errors are not uncommon. Usually, people just plain have ineffective keywords.

Some will argue that meta tags don’t matter, but they would be wrong. While Google may spend less attention to them than in the past, a good 40% of all computer searches still use other search engines that do.

Outside the internet marketing niche’s internal wars, most main street businesses are too busy getting product out the door and struggling to meet payroll to worry about meta tags. Their web pages are built by their son’s or nephews of techies who may know how to put a page together but are clueless about how to market.

No wonder most small businesses are disappointed with their web pages. They don’t get the traffic they should, and then when they do get traffic, most people don’t seem to do anything.

In the resources section of this blog, I offer a report for sale called HTML in Simple Terms. It’s only $9.97 and well worth the price if only to get the information on pages 16-18 on Using Meta Tags.

My guess is that over 80% of all small business web sites need work in this area alone.

Blank Billboard for Sale: What will you pay?

Have you ever passed by a blank billboard on a backwater highway with a 1-800 number on it? Or perhaps one saying, “Your message here?” I have, but it’s been a while since the last time. Mostly I suspect, because I seldom venture off the main freeways in my normal travels these days.

In past years, I did a bit more traveling to smaller towns in out-state Minnesota and Wisconsin and I would see a fair number of them. Mostly on roads that used to be the main thoroughfare in the pre-freeway era. I suspect a good many of them still exist.

In those traveling days I used to consult with towns and counties on how to attract businesses to their communities. Today, I consult with businesses on how to attract customers. Same business, different focus.

A billboard is a marketing device some businesses use to attract customers. It’s like a display ad in a newspaper or magazine. It provides a graphic image and perhaps some keywords to people who happen to be passing by. On the highway, in their cars. In the newspaper or magazine as one’s eyes pass from one article or story to the next, one page to the next.

They have a hard job to do. They need to make an impression on your conscious or sub conscious mind quickly. It must be the sub conscious the advertiser is aiming for because there are very few such images that ever really capture my conscious mind’s attention.

Now as a kid, I remember the old Burma Shave signs because they were different and funny. I remember a number of teaser campaigns over the years that had me guessing as to what was coming next, but I can’t remember what any of them were about at the moment. I admit that I do notice some of the new billboard campaigns from time to time when they change along one of my regular routes. But I don’t remember ever buying something because I saw a billboard, do you?

My uncle Urban had a billboard on the highway from the Minneapolis to St. Cloud where he had a butcher shop. The sign read, “Gaida’s Meats” with a sausage on on fork that protruded above the sign. It was a clever enough visual effect, breaking out of the box. I suspect he got at least occasional comments from customers in the store about it. Particularly when it was new. But I doubt it brought in any new customers. It may have, however, brought in a few more existing customers. Not because it made his product any more valuable, but because it created status. A sense of importance because everyone who lived in St Cloud saw it whenever they returned home from a trip to the cities.

In my uncle Urban’s eyes the sign wasn’t meant for people from Minneapolis that happened to be going to St Cloud, it was for people from St Cloud who happened to have traveled to the Twin Cities. They would be coming back on this road. And that’s where he placed his sign.

Now I’m talking about billboards today, because in many ways they are like a business website. The clever ones may catch my attention as I browse through many related sites online. But only if they are on the highway I am traveling. If I am on the freeway, and the web site is on a dusty county road, I will never see it. And no matter how cute, creative or otherwise inspired it may be, it may as well not exist at all. It may as well be blank. In my book, it’s not even worth a toll free call to find out how much someone wants to put my message on it.

When it comes to online advertising, far too many people have spent all their effort coming up with a great image and feel for their sites and not given any thought to whether to put their site on a freeway where it will be seen by thousands or on a dirt road where only the crows and gophers will see it.

On the internet, the way you get in front of the traffic from Minneapolis to St Cloud is to make sure the keywords in your meta tags put you on the right highway. In addition, you need to use those same keywords in your message – in the body of your web pages.

This is particularly easy for local businesses, and a bit more difficult for those who compete on a national scale.

If my uncle still had his butcher shop, I would encourage him to use St Cloud Butcher Shop, St. Cloud Meats, Saint Cloud Butcher Shop, Stearns County Butcher Shop, Benton County Butcher Shop, and Polish Sausage as just a handful of maybe several hundred keywords in his meta tags.

In fact, I would take every conceivable term like meat, sausage, etc., and pair it with every conceivable geographical term that people in the area might use to find what they were looking for in a computer search. I call such terms geographical long tail keywords. And they are designed to mimic the actual phrases people might type into their search engine. While they might type “sausage” the first time, when they see over 20 million responses they will quickly find a geographical term to narrow their search if they are looking for a place like my uncle’s where they can get good Polish sausage.

And yet if you look at most business web pages you will see terms like plumber, attorney, dentist, groceries, resort, bait, or what have you in their meta tags. Such keywords are worthless. But so too is having Minneapolis, or Saint Cloud, or New York.

As my frequent readers know, I have been working with the Home Staging Industry for the past 9 months or so. As I dug deeper into the keywords that people actually use, I have grown a list of 124 terms for the home staging industry. Most were fairly obvious, others less so. I have been offering a service to the industry where I concatenate the various keywords I have researched together with the relevant geographical modifiers for individual home stagers. It gets a bit tedious and time consuming. But the result has been a block of keywords that puts my client’s web pages on the internet freeway, while their competitors are advertising their business on the dusty back roads of the internet where no one goes.

Where do you want your billboard to be? If it’s appropriate for your business, follow my example and create a series of geographical long tail keywords. It will make a difference in how often your potential customers find you. It also will make it far more likely that you get top ranking for a keyword phrase when you are the only person who has taken the time and effort to include in in your keywords.

Don’t forget that you also want to incorporate as many of the major terms into the body of you text as well. So if you are a Homestager in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, make sure to say so in the text of your web page as well as in the meta tags.

Do You Need More Than One Web Site?

Within the internet marketing world, people have ten’s and hundreds of web sites. Each with a different URL and each targeted to a specific niche or purpose. That permits each web site to be addressed to a particular audience. And since the site is targeted, so too are the keywords, which means these sites tend to rank higher than if they were attempting to be all things to all people.

Off line businesses and those firms operating online in niche arenas should consider whether or not they too would benefit from multiple web sites.

I will once again use my friends in the Home Staging Industry as an example of a situation where two web sites may make a lot more sense that one.

If you go to most home stagers web sites you will see that they are primarily directed to the home owner. But if you were to survey home stagers as I have done, you will see that most of them market not to home owners but to Realtors, who they hope will refer home sellers to them.

This means the Home Staging company has two different marketing objectives. One is to convince realtors that they can help sell a home faster and for more money, and the second is to convince the home owner that they can help sell a home for more money and faster.   While it appears to be the same objective, it’s not.

For the home stager, the sale to the individual home owner is critically important, but represents just one sale.  The sale to the Realtor, might not in itself win any direct business, but represents a series of prospective future business.

Home stagers offer two primary benefits to their customers,  faster sales and higher price.  While both are important to home sellers and to Realtors, the relative ranking between the two vary.  A home owner is more likely to be impressed with the prospects of a higher price, as any such higher price will help pay for the services they are being asked to cover.  For a Realtor, the higher price may mean a marginal improvement to their commission.  More important to them, is the speed with which a home sells, so they can go on to the next.

Now while both share same objectives their motivations differ.  To be most efective, the sales pitch to either market should lead off with their primary motivation. That in turn calls for two web pages, and two marketing pitches.

This is going to be true for any business that markets to distributors as well as final customers. And probably many more circumstances as well.

How about your business. Do you have multiple audiences you are marketing to?

If so, you really should be thinking in terms of multiple rifle shots rather than a blunderbust shotgun spread.

Most businesses try to accomplish this with multiple pages on one web sie.  And this may be an adequate compromise in some cases, but it is always a compromise, and an opportunity for a competitor to step in and out compete you.

One objection has been the need to buy multiple domain names and hosting accounts. And while this is a pound wise penny foolish objection, the fact is that with the right hosting service there is no need to pay any more to host a second, third, fourth, or even twentieth web site.

It would take me a while to sit down and even count the total number of web sites I have. And they are all on one account. And that account costs me less than $25 a month. I use HostGator

They offer me the opportunity to have an unlimited number of web sites on one account and enough bandwith to cover my needs and that of most small business people. These can be readily stepped up should my increased use of video require a future adjustment.

I mention the hosting problem, as just one barrier to having multiple sites.  A second site, probably means reworking the first and then adding the second. This will take some site design work and of course that entails a one time expense.  But the final result is a more clearly targeted marketing campaign, and better marketing results.

I would have two “ethical bribes,” one each on each of the two new web sites to build a separte email list of prospective home owners and Realtors.  Using my home staging example, I might offer a report on how to de-clutter your home on the web site directed to homeowners, and a different report on how to discuss home staging with your clients on the Realtor Oriented Web Site.

The prepackaged follow-up messages would be distinctly targeted as well.

It’s important to clarify your marketing objectives, and then to develop approriate marketing tools such as web sites and autoresponder porgrams to meet those objectives over time. If you need three web sites, you should have three.

What do you need?

Auto Responders: The Magic Pill to Transform Your Web Site

The key component required to transform your current static web site into a marketing tool, is your auto responder. The service I use and recommend is Aweber, . It is by far the preferred service, and is used by most of the internet marketers I know.

While it’s possible to have a programmer develop an auto responder service on your own web site, using a professional service makes a lot more sense in the long run. First, it’s cheap. Rates will vary depending on how much traffic you generate, but as of my writing this, most small businesses will be able to start for well under $25 a month, even less if you take advantage of their annual payment plans.

There are a couple of things you should understand. Aweber uses what’s called a double opt in system. What this means is that when a person signs up to be on your mailing list, they are actually signing up on a form you create at Once Aweber gets their initial message, they send out a confirmation message to the email address registered. This asks your new subscriber to confirm that they want to be on your list. Your new list member must confirm, or they will not be included.

This accomplishes two things. First, it keeps people from putting in phony email addresses, just to get your free report. And more importantly, it serves to protect you against spam complaints when people register someone else’s legitimate email address instead of their own.

Aweber is a known entity in the internet marketing world, and it’s well known they use this double opt in system. Thus the folks who monitor and prosecute SPAM complaints are far less likely to raise any issues with you, even when someone forgets they signed up for your list and complains. This avoids problems you don’t need.

In addition to the double opt in feature, they automatically insert both an automatic “opt-out” link and your legal address at the bottom of each of your messages. This means you will always be compliant with the anti Spam laws, and your subscriber knows that they can stop your emails whenever they want. Best yet, if your subscriber decides they want to stop, all they have to do is click the link and it’s done automatically. You don’t need to be involved at all.

These peace of mind features make the monthly fee more than worthwhile by themselves.

But you get a lot more than peace of mind. Aweber offers a lot of features, more than I can cover here now. But lets lay out a few, for the sake of clarity.

First, you can have multiple lists, at no extra charge. You can have a list for those people who sign up on your web site. You can have another list for people who sign up because you add, an invitation to do so on you cash register receipt or invoice forms.

This may make sense as a way to conduct separate conversations with prospective customers who are first finding you online, as opposed to the conversation you want to have with people who are existing customers.

You may also want to use this capability to focus on different product lines. Say you are a restaurant that also does catering. You might have a sub list for the catering business in addition to a primary list that promotes your weekly or monthly specials.

This ability to run multiple lists is a great asset. It allows you to have multiple conversations going on, with multiple people at the same time. All on autopilot.

There is one more basic concept to get across regarding auto responders. There are two types of basic messages. The first is the follow-up message. These are written and stored in the system and are sent automatically once a person signs up for your list. The first one goes out immediately once they have confirmed that they want to be on the list. Then you can pre-schedule any number of additional lists as you wish. Depending on your particular needs, you may want to send a second message three days after they get the first one, and then maybe another in 3-5 days, and then weekly thereafter.

Some people set up mini courses on topics of interest to their customers. A Liquor store may for example create a series of posts on wines, or the characteristics of different beers they sell. A restaurant, may do recipes or cooking tips, etc. The key thing about follow-up messages is that they should be “Evergreen.” With any luck people will be signing up to your list every day from now till the end of time. You want messages that make sense no matter the time of year. So event though it may be Spring, when you are writing you messages, eventually it will be winter when someone joins your list. All of these follow-up messages are sent sequentially based on the number of days since the person signed up on your list. So on any given day you will have message 1 going out to newly signed up people, message 3 going out to people who signed up last week, and message 14 going out to people who maybe signed up four months ago.

The second type of message is the Broadcast. This is sent to all people no matter when they signed up. This type of message is ideal for sending out messages about this week’s specials, of attractions for the coming month, or holiday greetings. If you are a dentist and want to let your patients know to schedule their appointments prior to you upcoming two week vacation cruise, you send them a broadcast message six weeks in advance and then again periodically up until you send them a message on who to contact in case of an emergency.

The best part of this, is that you can pre-schedule broadcast messages. Thus if you want, you can send a Happy New Years message for exactly at midnight next year right now.

If you have a three month advertising plan, you can schedule all your broadcasts for the coming three months at one time, and then forget about it. The messages will be sent automatically, and your customers will get you messages and respond and it won’t cost you any more than the cost of your auto responder and the time to write the messages.

There are other more advanced features available once you have you system up and running. For example you can do split testing to see which of your ads get a better response, and there are ways to tie your blog posts into the process and even pod casts. But such services are beyond the scope of this report.

Again the service I recommend is

They offer a series of helpful tutorials which should be more than adequate to get you up and running in no time. I am also available to assist you. Contact me at

Web Pages are like a Trade Show: Consider the Crowd

I had trouble sleeping last night.

My head was working on a speech, I will give to my Toastmaster Group Thursday morning.  I’ve decide to talk about why I think most small business’s web pages stink.

I’ve been toying with the content of this speech for a couple of weeks now.  I know why I think they stink, but have been having trouble coming up with a hook and a word picture I can use to convey my message.

The added difficulty is that I need to compress my comments into a 5-7 minute time frame.

Unfortunately, I just couldn’t find the right formula, and so I did a lot of tossing and turning despite  my best efforts to just forget it and sleep.

Eventually, I did, and lo and behold as I woke in the morning, in those luxurious moments before I actually woke, the winning concept occurred to me.

It’s hard on my beauty to sleep this way, but I do come up with much of my speeches at night.

A web page is very much like a trade show.

But unlike a trade show, where most businesses would have a sales person up front to greet and engage passersby, most web pages use a deaf mute to do the same task.

This week I will work on this concept. Today let’s look at the crowd at the trade show and compare them to web browsers who may chance on your web sites.

Imagine a typical home improvement show or similar trade show.  Think of the crowd.  They are like web browsers.  There are a lot of different reasons someone might be at a trade show.  For some it is simply an outing, a form of entertainment or exercise.  Some are there to get ideas, or maybe looking for comparison products, or alternative suppliers.  Some want information on prices, or learn about features or other options they may want to consider.  A few may even have come to the show to actually buy something.  This last group is probably a minority.

So too, with web browsers.  If you are a business on or off line, most of the people who walk past your booth or browse by your web page are not actively looking to buy.

If you are to meet the needs of those people actively looking to buy, you need to give them the information they need and and the means to actually do so.

If your web page does this, you may have met the needs of the active buyer, but what about the others, those not quite ready to make a purchase?

Has your web site met their needs to the point that they will come back to you when they are ready to buy?

When you think of the crowd at the trade show, they tend to be moving in some sort of circle, streaming through the displays, browsing as they go.  Often overloaded in stimuli as each exhibitor tries to attract their attention.  If they are like me, they pass most booths with scarcely a glance, unless something grabs them and then holds their attention.

Same to with a web site.  I don’t know what the actual number is, but many people suggest you have but 2-3 seconds to catch the crowds attention with your web site. And even then, you have an uphill battle to keep them at the site.  That’s why I like the web sites the folks at David Goes Online produce for small businesses.  As part of their deal, they are offering a free video, that gives their site some stickiness.

But that is getting into the next discussion which is on the booth exhibitors set up.  In future blog posts I will also discuss the ethical bribes they offer to convert traffic into leads and then the follow-up they do, once they have the lead.  And most importantly I will discuss why they don’t hire the handicapped.  Why they don’t use deaf and dumb sales people to meet and greet their visitors, and why I think most business web pages do.

Marketing in a Recession – A plan for offline businesses

2009 is here, and the reality of a bad economy sits heavily on most businesses on and off line.

For many of us, it’s time to regroup and either come up with new strategies or wither on the vine.  While I am optimistic that Barack Obama will lead the nation forward in a positive direction and infuse the economy with significant stimulus, it won’t happen overnight.

As business people, we recognize that we can’t count on help from government, although we may welcome it.  As small business people, we know we arn’t in line for the big bailouts the corporate giants get.  Instead we need to do what we do best, be quick of foot.  We need to make changes and we need to do them now.

I don’t have all the answers, heck, I don’t have half the questions, but I do have a few.

When times are good, we tend as business people to go with the flow. Now that they aren’t so good we need to look closely at things we shrugged off in the past.

This past week I did a study of all the businesses in one zip code, 55417 where I live.

Mine is a residential area with relatively few businesses, so my conclusions may not be reflective of the entire country by any means. That said, I suspect my underlying conclusions hold fairly true.

Less than half of the businesses had their own web pages.  When doing a Google search many of these showed up in various directory sites, and many others were probably too small or part time to even do that. While these companies could thus be found online, they were not effectively competing for business.  When times are good, maybe they could get by just being there.  If they are to survive they are going to have to compete or they will loose out to those who do.  For many, that means they need to take the plunge and finally put up their own web page.  But lets hope they do it right.

Of those that had web pages, virtually none had effective lead capture capabilities. Maybe that’s why so many others don’t have web sites.  They have learned that having a web site doesn’t really do that much. That’s because of those I looked at, almost none of the web sites were anything more than a billboard on a dusty dead end road on the internet.  Some were very attractive, but few were business getters.

The purpose of a web site is to get new customers.

Most web sites are brochures.  In my zip code I even found one web site development company who advertised their service as creating web brochures.  This is not what you want to do if you are in business.  You want your web site to be a prospect gathering machine, not a brochure.

I could probably increase the businesses for those with web sites annual sales by 10-30% in less than a month or so, just by setting up a lead capture system coupled with an effective follow up system.

For those without web sites, I’m inclined at the moment to refer them to There at least they would get a top ranking web site and a video to capture their viewers attention.  A hard to beat offer at less than $800.

But the real way to improve ones business isn’t just by capturing new customers, as important as that is. It’s by getting more business from your existing customers.  And that is where I intend to focus my offline business consulting.

And that’s one of the key topics I intend to focus this blog on this year.

Stay tuned.

Internet Marketing Thanksgiving Break Through

I hope my US readers have a Great Thanksgiving tomorrow. I will be spending it at my sister’s house this year, despite the fact that she was laid off from her job a few weeks back.

Things are getting tough these days…all the more reason to get serious about internet marketing.

There is a learning curve involved, and you only really learn by doing.  Let me encourage you to make your own personal Breakthrough this long Thanksgiving weekend.

Last Tuesday I suggested that you download a $7 report from Mike Paetzold that went into detail about how to set up your web pages to effectively monetize a free give away event. (See Links Below)

If you haven’t caught on yet, a free give away is designed to start building a list of people to whom you can sell products. It’s not the only way to build a list, but once you’ve got the basics down, its one of the quickest and cheapest ways to go.

I have begun a blog that you can use to keep up on upcoming give-aways. And since you are already on my list you can be sure to hear about upcoming events through me.

But the chicken and egg question is, “Where do you get the free products?” I’ve told you it was easier than you may have thought, but now I am going to prove it to you.

I’ve just put together a site where you can download not one, but six quality products you can resell or give away. Pick any one, or all six, and offer them on one or another of the free give-aways and you will be building your own list in no time. Use Mike’s advice on how to set up your pages, and you will be on your way.

Once you have a list, you can either sell the remaining reports individually or even resell all six complete with resale rights and keep all the profit! (See Links Below)

(This assumes you already have a Web Hosting service, know how to get a URL, and have access to an auto-responder service. If you don’t, send me a return email and I will let you know what you need to know to get set up properly.)

The six reports together with resell rights will cost you $27. That’s less than $5 a report. Mikes How To report will cost you another $7. If you buy both, I recommend you do, you will need to invest $34. Well worth it even if you never take action, but don’t let them sit on your hard drive. Read the reports, they are worthwhile, but more importantly, dig in and get started.

Pick one of the reports and get it listed on the Merry Christmas Give-away. (See Links Below) Take advantage of this long holiday weekend and make something happen for yourself.

Now like everything, it will take some effort. Some things are difficult to do the first time, but you can do it. Take your time and figure it out and you will succeed.

Step 1. Sign up as a contributor for the Merry Christmas Give-away. (If you don’t already have a big list, you probably should spring for the upgrade it’s only $17 and is worth it) This is crossing the Rubicon. Make a commitment to get a product up.

Step 2. Buy my six pack, and pick one to offer as a free gift.

Step 3. Buy Mike Paetzold’s Report and use it to design your download and confirmation pages, as well as get a handle on the entire Give-away scene.

Step 4. Once you have a list, sell them the other eBooks from my package, or sell them the entire package with resell rights. The sales pages for each of the books are part of the package as well as a sales page for the whole enchilada.

Step 5. Repeat.  Watch for upcoming Give-aways on my Give-Away Blog

Step 6. Spend next Thanksgiving or Christmas in the Bahamas or where ever you want.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in my basement office when a not very pleasant odor caught my nose. It didn’t take long to realize that my sewer was backing up. Tree roots had penetrated my sewer line and clogged it. I needed to call a sewer service company. So I went to Google and typed in “Sewer” and “Minneapolis”. In less than a second, Google found 755,000 web pages which included 9 companies on the first page. Within a few minutes I picked one, called him, and Ron the Sewer Rat fixed the problem within 4 hours.  I was elated, and Ron won a new customer for as long as I live in this house. While I looked at several of the companies listed on the first page, I quickly settled on Ron and never bothered to look beyond the first page of Google results.


Today, people use the internet to find local businesses. It’s quicker and easier than fumbling with a big fat phone book.  Unlike the phone book they don’t have to guess which category a business is listed under. They don’t have to search alphabetically for your listing passing by all your competitors. Nor do they need to weed through companies on the other side of the metro area. All they need to do is put their town name and the type of business they are looking for and up pops relevant listings.


For small businesses this means several things. Even if you are in a traditional non internet business, you need to advertise online. Second, you need to be listed in every city or suburb in your market area, and third you need to be listed on the first page of the Google results, and finally, your web page needs to convert viewers to customers.


If this applies to your situation, I recommend you check out http://www.DavidGoesOnline.Com They are all but guaranteeing their customers that they can get them a top listing for their city of choice and even have a great special in which they will create a 30 second video that will knock the socks off your competitors.


Best part is that it is very reasonably priced.