7 Key Points to Consider When Choosing a Web Host

7 Key Points to Consider When Choosing a Web Host

by: Kyle Dusang

With literally thousands of web hosting companies in the industry all vieing for your business, carefully consider these key points to ensure you make the most well informed decision possible.
1. Server Space
First, think about how much space your site will take up on a server. Unless you are planning on running a software repository or an image gallery, the files that make up your website will probably only use between 1 and 5 megabytes of disk space. Many companies will offer several hundreds of megabytes of webspace for a very reasonable price in attempt to out perform their competitors, but ask yourself กDo I really need that much space?ก. Though itกs true that you should allow your site กroom to growก, don’t opt for what seems like a great deal on a massively sized account if youกll never use all of the space offered. Chances are youกll find an even better deal on an amount of space more suitable for your site size.
2. Data Transfer Allowance
This decision should be based on the same principal as above. Though you may be convinced that your site will be the next Amazon or Yahoo and receive a gazillion visitors a day, you really shouldn’t need an extremely high data transfer allowance unless, as stated above, you’re running a software download site or a large image gallery. Even heavily trafficked normal HTML sites usually only use a few gigabytes per month in bandwidth allowance. Don’t go overboard just because it seems like an awesome deal. You may also want to be wary of companies who offer กunlimitedก data transfer as there are usually some fineprint stipulations that make this claim not entirely true. Be sure to read their terms and conditions very carefully before opting for this type of account. A five or ten gigabyte bandwidth allowance is usually plenty enough for a small to medium sized business or personal site.
3. Technical Support
A very important point to consider when choosing a web host is the types of technical support offered by the company and how easy they are to contact when you need them. Ideally, a company should offer 24/7 tollfree telephone support and email. I have seen companies that do not even offer a telephone number on their website. You should look for a company that is very easily accessible in your time of need. Nothing is more frustrating than being in the middle of working on your site and needing an important piece of information to finish the job and not being able to contact your hosting company to find it out.
4. CGIBin Access
No matter what type of site you are planning on running, chances are you will eventually need to install some type of CGI script. Whether it be a mailing list management script, contact form processor, or maybe even a fancy credit card processing script, your hosting account will need to allow you to install and run them. This requires access to a special folder on your server called กCGIBinก. Some hosting accounts will only allow you to use กpreinstalledก scripts as a security measure. These are scripts that the owners of the company have installed and configured so that they know that they will work properly and not adversely affect their serverกs performance. That may be all you need, but if you have the knowledge, itกs always nice to have the ability to install your own scripts and configure them to suit your individual needs. You should also be sure that the account you choose supports the language in which your scripts are written, such as PHP, Perl, etc.
5. UpTime Guarantee
Another very important issue in determining the value of a hosting company is how often and for how long their servers กgo downก. No matter how good a deal you get on server space or bandwidht allowance, or how wonderfully the companyกs tech support takes care of you, your site can’t receive visitors or produce revenue if the machine on which it is hosted is not up and running. Naturally you want a company who can guarantee the highest uptime percentage possible. Servers are taken down briefly from time to time for maintenance or upgrading, so no company can ensure 100% uptime, but you want your site to be hosted on dependable, well managed machines that are not constantly having problems which require them to be down for long periods of time.
6. Email Accounts
Again, like data transfer allowance and server space, some companies will offer you loads more email accounts than you will ever use. Some offer hundreds or even unlimited email accounts as a selling point. This is an important factor if you are Bill Gates and have thousands of employees, each who need their own email box, but not such a big deal if you’re just one person or a small company. You should be okay with 10 or 15.
7. Reputation
This is probably the most important factor to consider when choosing a web host. Do your homework. Pay attention to any negative feedback you may hear or read about a particular hosting company. There are several sites arount the Web that feature discussion forums that allow people to discuss and critique various hosting companies. Ask specific questions about any company you might be interested in using to see if anyone else has had any negative experiences with them. As a beginning webmaster, I had initially contracted the services of a particular web hosting company to host my first site, who promised very good, dependable service for a very cheap price. Then one day, for no apparent reason, decided to delete my entire site without warning or explanation. Only then did I visit some hosting forums and find that many others had similar negative experiences with that company. Don’t make the same mistake I did, find out for sure from the start that your hosting company is not going to let you down.

About The Author

Author: Kyle Dusang

Webmaster of http://www.verybesthosting.com

Looking for a web host? Compare plans, features, and pricing from several of the Webกs most reputable hosting companies all in one place at eryBestHosting.com.

kyle@verybesthosting.com

This article was posted on July 28, 2004

by Kyle Dusang

Fast Forwarding your Business with Instant Messagi

Fast Forwarding your Business with Instant Messaging

by: Lee Traupel

Instant Messaging is rapidly becoming accepted in the business community as a viable communications tool and process itกs faster than email, free on the client side, even a novice user can easily grasp the interface in just a few minutes and it enables remote workers and business partners to ‘talkก and share files and information effortlessly using the inplace infrastructure of the internet. Its mushrooming in popularity too according to IDC, corporate and general business users will jump from 5.5M in 2001 to close to 200M by 2004.

What are some of the pitfalls and concerns you need to have when assessing and integrating Instant Messaging (กIMก another biz acronym) with your business processes? Be aware you are sending clear text messages over the public Internet so all IM technology is inherently insecure. Privacy issues can also be raised these messages are typically archived via the IM servers of the company whose services you are using and can be made public at a later date. Anyone with a network scanner may have access to and be reading your messages and if your are downloading files, you need to ensure your antivirus software is setup to scan these files when you open them.

One of the biggest pitfalls of the technology and process is that it adds another communications layer to your busy day but you can offset this by selecting or filtering who you communicate with at any point by using the IM interface to block all or selected individuals from กseeingก you when you are online.

Finally, like all things in todayกs computer industry (or many) each of the Instant Messaging vendors are trying to build applications which don’t integrate with the other (no surprise here arrogance has not faded away in the business community!). So, you need to assess the installed base of the market leaders and make a decision on which companyกs product you want to utilized my recommendation would be to review Microsoftกs or AOL/Time Warnerกs products their installed bases are in the 200 million users plus when combined (these numbers include consumer and business usage) and they both work well and have user interfaces that are intuitive.

There is one alternative company that is solving the กIM Tower of Babelก issues and claims to integrate well with all proprietary apps by utilizing XML technology, Jabber, Inc., www.jabber.com So, if interoptability is important to you then I would recommend assessing their products.

Most of the IM providers including Microsoft are integrating voice communications with their IM clients you may be able to bypass your local telephone carrier at some point using this technology, but don’t bet on it anytime soon all of those lobbyists here in the states need to keep generating fees on behalf of their telecom clients in Washington D.C. We use Microsoftกs IM product and we have upon occasion utilized the voice and video features (you must of course have a multimedia setup for your PC and camera) and they do work. Although the video quality is a little jerky and the voice is akin to the old Citizens Band (กCBก) radio your Internet connection impacts the quality of both.

Whose technology do you choose? There are some clear market leaders in the Instant Messaging marketing including Microsoft (no surprise here)http://messenger.microsoft.com But, like most Microsoft technology/tools you pay a price for the software/services, albeit a small one. You have to register with Microsoftกs NET Passport www.microsoft.com/myservices/passport service which is designed to be a universal login this only takes a few minutes but be forewarned they also try to get you to setup a Hot Mail account, but you can work around this.

The other dominant IM product is AOLกs ICQ product http://web.icq.com it has similar functionality as Microsoftกs application. The original technology was developed by a great Israeli company, Mirabellis, Inc., subsequently acquired by AOL. My chief complaint with this product is the irritating banner ads that AOL keeps pushing at you when you are utilizing their product. But, itกs a small price to pay for a free product on the client side.

Yahoo also has an IM product (กYahoo Messengerก) but I am not convinced this will stay as a core part of their business, as they appear to be still trying to figure out what they are going to become in the post ก.com gold rush eraก market; i.e. Portal, Directory, Media giant, software/services company, etc. And, theyกve certainly jettisoned parts of their business the last 1218 months and I would wager theyกve had discussions about getting out of the IM business.

Finally, IM is also quickly moving into other markets and devices including PDAs and Pagers if you’re a real geek and you can’t stand to be out of touch while your in the shower and you have a water proof device you can ping away. But, I think we all need some down time for friends and family, but wanted to make sure I covered all possible bases with this column until next time!

About The Author

Lee Traupel has 20 plus years of business development and marketing experience he is the founder of Intelective Communications, Inc., http://www.intelective.com, a resultsdriven marketing services company providing proprietary services to clients encompassing startups to public companies. Lee@intelective.com

Lee@intelective.com

This article was posted on July 25, 2002

by Lee Traupel

The Top Seven Marketing Mistakes

The Top Seven Marketing Mistakes

by: Ted Nicholas

In my view, nearly all government statistics about reasons for business failures are nonsense.

Undercapitalization, inexperience, or poor management are usually blamed for all business disasters.

Of course, there can be one or several more causes that result in a business going กbelly up.ก

However, from what Iกve seen, marketing mistakes are by far the primary reason businesses do not survive. This includes companies which consider themselves direct marketers as well as those who do not.

Here are the seven most common marketing mistakes:

1. Management treats marketing as a business expense or simply a department rather than a necessary business investment.

Solution: Marketing should be treated as the driving force of any company. It is the only function that brings in cash. The other major functions in a company are necessary. But they all spend cash. This includes the primary business departments of finance, production and research.

To market any product or service successfully, the company must do two things:

A. Provide marketing with sufficient resources

B. Put marketing at the heart of its business strategy

The whole company should be focused on the needs and wants of customers and be prepared to satisfy their demands.

Marketing must be part of the philosophy of all entrepreneurs and managers.

2. Management does not know specifically what it costs to recruit a new customer. Plus, there are no accurate statistics on the average customer lifetime value.

Without this knowledge, it is impossible to make sound decisions. You cannot determine how much to invest in marketing. If you spend more to gain a customer than their lifetime value, ultimately you will go broke. In the absence of this information, many businesses can and often do fail. To make matters worse, few of the casualties understand why they failed.

Solution: Before you invest large sums on marketing, determine the average lifetime value of a customer. An excellent book that I highly recommend on this topic is The Loyalty Factor by Frederick Reicheld.

3. Management makes no attempt to build a customer database. This is especially so with most retailers, restauranteurs and department store owners. However, Iกve seen this in many other businesses.

Solution: A companyกs database of customers is potentially its biggest asset. Itกs much more valuable than equipment, inventory, etc. This is not only true of companies that utilize mail order or Internet marketing. Every single company that wants to survive and prosper needs to build a database.

4. The company does not communicate often enough with its customers. The result is lower sales and profits than are otherwise possible.

Solution: Contact your customers a minimum of once a month. When I started my first business at age 21, I too made many mistakes. The business somehow survived and became a chain of retail confectionery stores called Petersonกs House of Fudge. At first I sent my customers an offer every six months. So I tried sending a sales letter every three months. My business doubled. I then began mailing every other month. My business again increased proportionately.

I wound up with the ideal and most profitable interval once a month.

At first I thought contacting customers every 30 days might be too often and that customers would get turned off.

But that didn’t happen. I got great feedback as well as higher sales. Providing your customers like, or even love, your product or service, as they should, they want to hear from you frequently.

This, of course, is in the context of your sending excellent offers, excellent copy and excellent information.

Indeed, if you are not in frequent contact, your customers will quickly begin to forget about you. Many will start buying from your competitors.

I urge you to contact your customers at least every 30 days (occasionally with special offers a week apart is perfectly fine too).

Your form of contact can be an email, postcard, catalog, telephone call or personal visit. Iกve found the most effective method of regular contact is with a wellwritten sales letter.

Rarely do I find a company of any kind which systematically mines the real gold in any businessthe customer database. Make sure you do not make this mistake.

Making offers to your customer database is often referred to as the กback endก in direct marketing jargon. But every business should cash in on the huge potential of existing customers by simply making frequent offers to them and giving them more opportunities to do business with you.

5. Management has no method of accurately measuring the results from its advertising investments. This is especially so with socalled image advertising.

Solution: The way this is done is to seek a direct response in each promotion. This can be a coupon, telephone call or store visit. Code each promotion. Then when an order is received or a customer visits your establishment, you can appropriately trace it to the particular promotion.

The coding system can be numbers or letters. If you use the telephone you can utilize separate telephone numbers for each advertisement. Or you can simply ask the caller which ad or letter they are responding to.

6. As many companies begin to enjoy some early success, many develop a disease that I call กBigCompanyItis.ก They start having endless, nonproductive meetings. They become bureaucratic. They move as slow as molasses.

Instead of continuing to insist upon a high level of employee performance and keeping a close watch and control over costs, management takes its foot off the brake. Costs can spiral out of control. Employee morale can suffer. Soon the company is in deep trouble.

Solution: The secret is to think big but operate much like a small business. Wellmanaged, large organizations that are highly successful are run more like a small entrepreneurial business. Managers have profit center responsibility. Their job is to help increase revenue or reduce costs, or both. They are held accountable. They maintain the financial controls and quick response of a lean and mean small business.

7. Management has no systemized upselling procedure in place to upgrade both new and existing customers to a larger sale. Result? Lower sales volume and lower profits than otherwise could be obtained.

Surprisingly, companies Iกve observed that market direct to consumers, such as mailorder businesses, tend to be incredibly poor at telephone communications and upselling.

Wellmanaged and properly trained customer service people can add 30%60% in added sales volume without any increase in marketing or administrative costs. Your only cost is the cost of goods sold. Best of all, your customers are the beneficiaries of more value and variety for their money. Everyone wins.

But here is where it becomes really interesting. Your gross sales will be much higher. But your net profit will increase by a huge multiple. Iกve helped companies achieve huge increases in their net profit just by learning effective and professional telephone techniques. Itกs not unusual to increase profits as much as 5 or even 10 times!

Effective telephone communications and upselling are the main reasons for the huge success of my own companies. My clients for whom I conduct training of their customer service representatives have experienced similar results.

Solution: Develop a strategy which includes the following:

A. Create an incentive compensation plan for your customer service representatives (CSRกs) based on added sales. Depending on your profit margins, this can be for example 5% to 10% of additional sales.

B. Run a daily special offered as an กadd onก that provides great value for the customer. For example, you can offer a new product at half price.

C. Prepare a verbatim script on how to present the special.

Tip: The selling price. Your special offer should not exceed 30% of your average order. This makes the decision to accept the special an easy one.

D. Provide your CSRกs with some basic telephone training. This should include the principles of active listening, voice pitch, pacing, learning to present things in a hearable way, and some gentle closingthesale techniques. A big factor is learning the secrets of boosting the sales without any pressure whatsoever.

Regards,

Ted Nicholas

About The Author

Ted Nicholas is one of the highest paid speakers and copywriters in the world. He has sold over 4 billion dollars worth of products and services. Go to http://www.tednicholas.com to subscribe to his free ezine, ‘the Success Margin.ก

tnicholasdirect@aol.com

This article was posted on December 09, 2003

by Ted Nicholas

Residual Income, a Myth?

Residual Income, a Myth?

by: Chris Andrews

Iกm writing this in response to the every distributor in every company and program that tell you that the greatest things about MLM/Network marketing is the residual/passive/ongoing income that กkeeps making you money foreverก and theyกll even try and convince you that it will กkeep on growingก whether you do anything with your business or not. Why? Because it is misleading at best.

What is residual income? Well, essentially in the world of sales when you gain a customer of a company you get a commission on that sale. Itกs been going on since people sold things for other people. The idea of a residual income is that you get paid on an ongoing basis. Usually monthly. For instance if you sell a subscription to a service then you can get a cut of that service on a monthly basis. Another example being in consumable products such as shampoo or nutrition, each time that customer buyกs their monthly supply you get another cut of the profits.

What a lot of networking companies class as residual is the income you get from your downline. Especially companies that are based on recruitment of people who กshop for themselvesก as กprosumersก and are totally based on self consumption with no sales outside the company at all. So yes, in this scenario youกll get a check on the efforts of others on a regular basis.

Why this page then? Purely because residual income is touted as the way to make your money and create a permanent income stream. People actually say you can sit back and do nothing for the rest of your life and the money will still come pouring in. Saying this turns a blind eye to many important things.

Money from your own customers is higher

Firstly, i should say that any commissions you receive will be higher form your own efforts than those of your downline. So being on a manic recruitment drive of self recruiters could be earning you less money that building yourself a solid customer base and teach others to do so.

Company can go under

Any company can go bust. I don’t care how long theyกve been trading. If they’re not profitable then theyกll soon not exist. The government of your country could deem that their compensation plan is illegal. Perhaps your company might decide that they can get their own customers and allow people in through their corporate web site when you’re not allowed to do the same. One company in recent times suddenly changed their minds and were not longer mlm!

Company could change itกs rules for qualifying for income.

You compensation plan isn’t set in stone. Companies have often been know to have a change of heart when it comes to dishing out the money. Or you could find yourself in a situation where idle company reps lose out on all or a part of their commission unless they meet monthly quotas.

Product could go out of fashion

The super whizzy products that your company promote could easily go out of fashion and no longer be what people want. Or be totally superceded by you competition. Result? A mass exodus of customers and recruiters.

Attrition

Attrition can be a killer to your income. Basically attrition is the drop off rate from your customer and/or distributor base. After all, people change their mind and no longer want your products and or services. Even a growing business has to offset itกs growth against attrition. Letกs assume that each month you keep 90% of your downline/customers (and thatกs a high estimate!) and start at that magical six figure income value of $100,000. In just 8 months, your monthly income of $8000+ is down to just under $4000 and in another 7 months it will have halved again. Before long, this ‘retirementก income is looking pretty pathetic indeed.

Scary eh? Well, it needn’t be. You should concentrate on building a great income and build up that passive income to great levels. Just don’t rely on it being there forever. Take the money you’re earning, supplement your income pay off your debts treat yourself and with whatกs left over build up your own income streams elsewhere. Iกm no expert in investment, but thereกs plenty of sources of info on using your money wisely in building a rental properly portfolio, a share tracker investment account or even a private pension to look after yourself.

Just don’t waste it all, okay?

About The Author

Chris Andrews has a keen interest MLM and network marketing, but not in the way most people are. He writes about his experiences on the site http://www.wanttoknowmore.com/ and the blog http://christopherandrews.blogspot.com/

Article may be reprinted provided content is not edited and links are kept live.

This article was posted on September 02

by Chris Andrews

Direct Mail Postcard Rules

Direct Mail Postcard Rules

by: Joe Niewierski

It’s a fact that your customers are your best leads. This means that the most likely people to purchase your products and/or services are the ones who have paid for them before. It’s also a fact that it costs far less money to keep a customer than it does to go out and get a new one. These are the two reasons that using direct mail postcards to keep in touch with your customer database is a must. There are a few rules to follow when marketing to contacts in your company database.

Rule #1: Collect all of their information.

It sounds like a nobrainer but you would be surprised. The more information that you have on your customers the more likely it is that you will be able to get in touch with them to let them know about specials or to remind them it’s time for their next service. Also, don’t neglect to ask for your customersก email addresses, everybody has one and most will give it up pretty easily.

Rule #2: Don’t treat your customers like prospects.

Make sure when you collect the information in your database you differentiate between people who have placed an order in the past and people who have not. Customers want to feel like you are paying attention to them and when they have placed a few orders with you and are still getting your ก10% for First Time Buyersก postcards they tend to feel unappreciated. Bottom line, if they don’t qualify for an offer you are sending out, don’t send it to them.

Rule #3: Don’t let your designs get stagnant.

When you are mailing to databases of people that you have never spoken to before it is OK to send them the same postcard multiple times. It helps to increase recognition and will eventually increase your response rate. Dealing with customers and prospects that you have already spoken to (meaning they already know most or all of the details of your business) you need to mix things up a bit. Your mailings should be attention getting and informative. If you have started offering a new service recently, a postcard designed to let your database know about it would be a smart move. The main point is to keep your company in the front of their mind and to keep them reading your postcards.

If the promo that you send to your database gets too repetitive your customers will lose interest and at that point you are just wasting your money on postage because your postcards won’t get the attention that you want.

One of your main goals should be to educate your customers about how your product or service works and this will in turn help them to get more use out of your entire line of products and services. Many times it is as simple as sending out mailings that make your customers aware of all that you can do for them.

Take, for example, a California based software company called Forté Systems. Not only do they use direct mail postcards to acquire new business, they know how to use them to effectively market to their current customer database as well. To fully understand how you will need a little background information.

Forté Systems is one of the current leading companies in Medical Practice Management and Billing Software. This means that their software that will essentially run an entire medical office. The software can be purchased in any one of four levels, depending on budget and number of doctors working for the practice.

Once a medical practice becomes a customer of Forté Systems the marketing strategy is changed to reflect the rules above. They are no longer trying to convince the doctor to become a customer, they are now educating them on how better they can be served by Forté Systems’ products. Now the customer receives direct mail pieces concerning:

Updates on software upgrades (example 1),

Notices when they are running specials (example 2) & information about Other Forté Systems products, such as

Software training tutorials on CD (example 3).

This enables them to continue to service their customers at the highest level and also helps to strengthen the customers loyalty to Forté Systems. Sometimes you lose customers because they either forgot who they dealt with last time they made a purchase or they received some kind of promo from one of your competitors and decided to check it out.

If the customer is constantly updated about what is available from your company they will not have to spend their valuable time doing research and will be less likely to กshop around.ก This will help to control the normal attrition of your database to other companies.

The pieces are all designed with the Forté Systems logo prominently displayed on the front and back the same general feel and most importantly the same color scheme. Picking a company color or group of colors and sticking with it will help to increase recognition and readership of your promo. Simply put, your customers will get to the point that they read what you send them. They need to know it is from your company before they read it because if it doesn’t look like what they are used to you sending it may go in the trash without a second look.

Being great at what you do is not always enough to keep the customers that you have earned. With all of the competition out there today you need to be constantly reminding your customers that you are the best at what you do. Direct mail postcards are the best way to give them that reminder.

Always remember to keep mailings that you send to your database informative, attractive and most of all current. Personalize everything that you can and make sure that what you are sending to a past client actually pertains to them or their company. Anything less and your customer may start to drift, and the only people that are going to be happy when that happens are your competitors.

About The Author

Joe Niewierski, the VP of Marketing & Promotion at PostcardMania, became a published writer after graduating with a BA in Advertising from the University of South Florida. Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998; her only assets a computer and a phone. In 2004 the company did close to $9 million in sales and employs over 60 persons. She attributes her explosive growth to her ability to choose incredible staff and her innate marketing savvy. Now she’s sharing her marketing secrets with others. For more free marketing advice, visit her website at www.postcardmania.com.

This article was posted on February 24

by Joe Niewierski

From Marketing to Tea, Any Type Of Website Can Ben

From Marketing to Tea, Any Type Of Website Can Benefit From Paid Optimization

by: Lorraine Bevere

A Search Engine Optimization firm can be an invaluable asset in your Internet marketing campaign. They specialize in knowing how to highten your search engine positions, monitoring those positions on the regular basis, and adjusting their strategies to account for unwanted results in any given month. Since this takes a lot of effort, time, and specialized knowledge, it can be in your best interest to go to an outside source rather than try to maintain high search engine positions on your own.

However, like every business, there are good companies and there are lemons. Knowing the right questions to ask and the criteria to look for will help you in choosing an affordable, effective search engine optimization company.

When looking at different companies, begin by considering the approach they employ to raise your search engine positions. Steer clear of companies that use cloaked, doorway, or bridge pages to raise your positions. These techniques violate most search engine policy, and in the worst case scenario, will only get your website severely penalized, if not removed entirely from a search engineกs index.

No matter what kind of website you run it is vital that you are not of the opinion that only certain topics would benefit from paid optimization. A website about Tea might benefit just as much as one about marketing or even loans.Why would tea being the subject matter? Well quite simply paid optimization could benefit any subject.

Another important element is to get a guarantee that the company you hire will not work with your competitors while they are working for you. Obviously, this would seriously compromise the effectiveness of the search engine optimization campaign. Be aware that some companies will use the success they achieve for your website to sell their services to your competitors. So get your guarantee in writing, and make sure it is legally binding.

Of course, one of the most important factors you want to check out is the companyกs track record of results. However, don’t take the companyกs word for it. They will undoubtedly be slanting their results in order to sell their services to you. To go beyond their simple statement of success, ask them a few pertinent questions, and verify their answers.

Also, find out what keywords and phrases they are claiming great results with. Itกs easy to get high rankings with unpopular words. For instance, the keyword กcat leashesก will get high popularity ranking because no one else would think of using it. What you are looking for is good results using popular keywords. Check out the software Wordtracker, available at www.wordtracker.com. You can order a free trial, or a subscription ranging from 1 day to 1 year. This software rates the popularity of keywords and phrases based on actual search engine use.

Next, look for good results over an entire site that the company claims to have successfully worked for. You want to see a wide range of positions over a number of different search engines using different keywords or phrases for the entire site. Request a report for any client the company claims to have done well for. This report should show good positions on a number of the most popular search engines for a variety of different, popular keywords and phrases.

When you are checking out search engine optimization companies, make sure they have actually done the work they are claiming to have done. Some companies will use other companyกs results in order to get you to sign on with them. If you are in doubt, call the company they are showing you results for, and ask for the name of their search engine optimization company.

Itกs important to keep in mind that a successful search engine optimization campaign will result in maximum exposure across a wide range of popular search engines using a variety of keywords and phrases. This is the formula for a successful campaign, and you should keep it always in the forefront of your marketing strategy.

Ask the search engine optimization company you are considering for a report that shows you rankings across a number of popular search engines for a period of at least six months. Remember: search engine marketing is a process that is continual, and you need a company that not only understands this, but keeps constant tabs on your search engine positions. That company must also be able to adjust its strategy in the event that search engine rankings drop.

Since search engine marketing is an ongoing process, your positions must be constantly monitored. If you want your search engine optimization company to do this for you, request a sample of a monthly report. It is essential that this report should show rankings for the most popular search engines. Don’t be impressed by a report that only shows great results for a limited number of small search engines. These are fairly easy results to acquire. Also confirm that the popular search engine results they are showing you are indeed the popular search engines currently.

Be sure the sample report the company shows you is in a format that you can easily understand. For example, it could be in the form of a chart that covers a period of at least six months and presents data such as the top 50 positions broken down on a monthly basis or the top 5 pages each month. Then, ascertain that the company you are considering actually monitors these positions or pages every month, and that the sample report they show you includes findings and recommendations for the specific site. This insures that the company will actively monitor and make adjustments to their strategy on a continual basis rather than simply gather statistics on your positions. You need a company that is actively participant in your search engine marketing campaign, not just an information gatherer.

Obviously, your finances have to figure into your choice of company, but bear in mind that a search engine optimization company is crucial the success of your marketing campaign. It is not just a casual accessory. If you cannot afford a company that will do a thorough and reliable job for your website, you might consider waiting until you do have the finances in place.

If you have to find a company and can’t wait for your finances to catch up, you may be able to find an affordable company that will also be able to supply quality, reliable work, such as a fairly new company. Just remember that there are risks involved with using a company without a proven track record and that risk is your money! Don’t take that leap unless the company can supply you with a least a few references.

References are the most reliable indicator of a good company. Don’t use a company that won’t show your references because of any reason, confidentiality included. Remember even doctors will provide references! The firm you choose should provide you with a minimum of two references, one that is from the past, and one that is current.

When you contact these references, be prepared to ask precise, specific questions so that neither of your time is wasted. Ask them what their experience was like with the company, such as their availability to answer questions and deal with problems and their ability to meet deadlines. Ask the reference to rate the overall performance of the company.

The most essential question to ask is whether the work of the search engine optimization company resulted in higher profits for the reference. Without profits, it doesn’t matter whether your positions are at the top of the list or not.

Well now you are armed with the relevant facts take the bull by the horns and your website about Tea, marketing or absolutely any kind of subject could end up with a totally new lease of life and your stats counter could start to rise like a thermometer in a heatwave.

About The Author

Lorraine Bevere is the owner of Fog tea which is an excellent source of information about tea. For more information, go to: http://www.fogtea.com.

This article was posted on August 25, 2005

by Lorraine Bevere

10 Elements Every Direct Mail Piece Should Have

10 Elements Every Direct Mail Piece Should Have

by: Joe Niewierski

Don’t want your direct mail to end up in the trash with the rest of the unread mail? Studies show an effective direct mail campaign should draw a .5 to 1 percent response. These 10 tips will help you get the results you want:

1. A clear, bold headline. On the envelope or front of the mailer there should be one central message. The best way to achieve that is with a bold, clear headline that’s not cluttered up with other text. A good guideline is to have the headline fill up at least 15% of the front of the mailer.

2. A graphic that supports the message. The graphic should be easy to understand and add to the message the headline is trying to convey. For instance, if you are trying to get people to list their home you would want to show a home with SOLD sign clearly visible out front. That graphic reinforces the message more than a simple picture of a home.

3. Color that pops. Make the headline and other text stand out by using a color that stands out from the background color. When you look at the card, ask yourself, กWhat do I see first?ก If your answer isn’t the headline, you might want to tweak the colors.

4. Subheads that lead into text. If you have a couple of paragraphs of text with no lead in, there’s nothing to entice people to actually read the copy. A subhead will give people a place to start reading. If you have only a 100 words or so you may be able to get away with it, but if the text gets any longer than that the average reader will want to have some guideposts along the way.

5. Benefits, benefits, benefits. One of the biggest errors people make in advertising is stating features, rather than benefits. For example, never assume recipients know what benefit can be derived from a lower interest rate on their mortgage. Let them know how their monthly payments will go down.

6. The offer. An offer is always a good idea and should represent a specific reason to call now, such as ขLimited supplyข or ขInterest rates are climbing.ข

7. Your company name and logo. Although this needs to be on the mailer, it shouldn’t overshadow the offer. Customers care most about what you can do for them.

8. Call to action. Tell prospects exactly what you want them to do. ขCall today for more informationข or ขSee us onlineข are two of the most common desired actions.

9. Contact information. Provide your name, phone number, and Web address directly following the call to action. Whatever you ask prospects to do, give them the means to do it easily.

10. Return address. A return address ensures you’ll get returned mail from the post office and sends a message that you’re an established professional. People feel better knowing the company they’re dealing with has an actual location.

About The Author

Joe Niewierski, the VP of Marketing & Promotion at PostcardMania, became a published writer after graduating with a BA in Advertising from the University of South Florida. Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998; her only assets a computer and a phone. In 2004 the company did close to $9 million in sales and employs over 60 persons. She attributes her explosive growth to her ability to choose incredible staff and her innate marketing savvy. Now she’s sharing her marketing secrets with others. For more free marketing advice, visit her website at www.postcardmania.com.

This article was posted on February 21

by Joe Niewierski

Unlimited Wealth Creation Through Reseller Hosting

Unlimited Wealth Creation Through Reseller Hosting

by: Ninad Gupte

Web hosting can be an exciting business start up for aspiring entrepreneurs. All you have to do to set up your business is become a hosting reseller, i.e., provide hosting facilities to website owners. Here as a business owner, you are buying space from a big hosting company, and redistributing the hosting space to other website owners.

Resellers are nothing but entrepreneurs acting as middlemen, offering you hosting services by leasing time and space from another Web hostกs server rather than owning their own. Most of the times, the quality of services offered by resellers are so good that consumers do not even have the idea that they are dealing with resellers who do not have servers of their own. Resellers, since they can pick and choose their servers, are basically in a position to provide the customers with the best of services.

Reseller hosting business can be quite a profit making venture once you understand the figures and profit margins involved. Let us go through them. One can buy around 1000 MB space from a major web host at a cost of $25 per month. This 1000 MB space that you now own can in turn be redistributed to site owners who need space for uploading their site. Here you can give about 25 MB space for around $5 per month. Which means your monthly income comes to around $200 when you sell 40 hosting packages. Want more. some hosts allow you to oversell the space and do not charge you extra unless the actual usage of your account exceeds 1000MB. It is seen that a typical user uses less than half of the allotted web space. which means you can double or even triple sell your quota and make unlimited wealth.

And mind well, this income is residual income. It will keep coming to you month after month, year after year. You do the work once. and get paid for it over and over. All you are doing is buying space from a major web hosting company and becoming a reseller host. Your efforts are focused towards selling hosting space and the rest is handled by your web host. Some of them even handle customer service to your customers for a nominal fee. which makes it even easier for you.

If this is not enough. you can earn additional residual incomes by adding recruiting more resellers through you. By doing this you will earn regular commissions on their monthly sales. isn’t this smart business. The profit margins in the business of reseller hosting is quite good and you can start on this exciting business venture even if you do not have the required expertise and access to funds for setting up the required infrastructure. Strange as it might sound, there are also times where a reseller can also be more scalable than a typical hosting firm. A true Web host is limited by its hardware; if a client suddenly requires an upgrade the host is not prepared for, the only way the host will be able to satisfy the customer is by upgrading its hardware expensive and time consuming for both sides. The reseller host, however, can simply choose to locate with a different Web host that will better suit the customerกs needs.

Happy Wealth Creation!!!

About The Author

Ninad Gupte is the Founder, CEO of www.linuxresellerhosting.com. He has trained as an Electronics Engineer from Mumbai University, and has a Diploma in Advanced Computing from CDAC. He has served as the Director ¬Technologies in Webmoney India Pvt. Ltd. He has executed several turnkey B2B Web application projects like House layouts, Maharashtra State Electricity Board and portals & sites like McDonalds India, Air France and RPG Raychem. To take his dreams forward of forming a technology oriented diversified company, Interpole Solutions was formed in March 2001. The company was setup with a strong base of skills and a deep understanding of technologies mastered by Ninad. He can be contacted at ninad@linuxresellerhosting.com or at 91222436 4111 and 91222436 4112.

This article was posted on September 03, 2004

by Ninad Gupte

Writing a Business Plan After You Buy a Business

Writing a Business Plan After You Buy a Business

by: Sandi Schneider

Business plans are usually written when you want to start a new business; however, writing a business plan is an excellent way for you to lay out on paper exactly what the company is about, and understand what it does best, what its weak points are, etc. This will prove very helpful when you’re trying to work out how to go about adding a new service. Be open to advice from anyone in your company who might have a good idea.

How well does the service you want to add fit in with the current functioning of the company? If it’s an extension of areas the company is already involved in, is it a service that existing customers will need? Or will you need to spend money to market the new facets of the company?

If you’re venturing into an entirely new area of business, do you have the workforce and infrastructure in place to handle the changes, or will you need to hire new talent, purchase new equipment etc.?

Share your thoughts with your employees and take their feedback very seriously. They are the ones who will ultimately execute your ideas and make them work.

What Do the Customers Want?

Your business sense aside, the customers’ ideas are easily your most valuable pointers to what your business needs. If you find several customers asking you whether you offer a particular service, that’s a clear indication of the natural direction in which the company can grow. Your existing customer base will provide sufficient momentum to your initiatives to ensure that they get a fair chance. If you please your existing customers, wordofmouth referral alone will help the new areas of your business grow and you may find that you don’t need to market yourself aggressively at all.

Share Your Enthusiasm

Being a new boss, it’s important that your first few big ideas don’t fall flat, so err on the side of caution. Be a dynamic communicator so that you have the support of your employees and customers. Set realistic goals and motivate your employees into attaining them. Constantly revise progress with your team members, so that they feel that they’re a part of the change, and have a stake in making it work. The company’s enthusiasm will be passed onto the customers, giving any sensible business plan a good chance of success.

Timing is of the utmost importance, so be prepared to put your plans on hold until the company is ready to go through a change. When you buy a business, the period of transition can be somewhat unstable so any changes you plan need to be planned out to the smallest detail possible.

About The Author

Sandi Schneider

Get help from experienced business brokers to help turn your business dreams into reality. At Vested Business Brokers we have enough experience in putting together successful deals. Our web page is www.vestedbb.com.

This article was posted on September 08

by Sandi Schneider

Writing eNewsletters – Tricks of the Trade

Writing eNewsletters – Tricks of the Trade

by: Glenn Murray

Follow 10 simple rules of thumb, and you’ll soon be writing great enewsletters and reaping the rewards.
Company enewsletters can be an amazingly successful marketing technique. Whether you want to upsell or crosssell, establish your brand or establish your authority, or simply reach a wider market, an enewsletter can do the job for you. You just have to make sure you write it right.
Television, radio, and print advertising are often too expensive for many businesses to justify – especially small businesses. Fortunately, there is an alternative. Today’s internet and email technologies make company newsletters a very inexpensive, yet surprisingly effective, form of advertising. When it comes to newsletters, big companies and small are finally competing on a level playing field.
So what is an email newsletter?
An emailed newsletter serves much the same purpose as a traditional company newsletter. Think of it as a short newspaper – but instead of relating to a town, city or country, it relates to your business. You can include articles on new products or services, awards, recent success stories and case studies, promotions, specials, share price rises, company events, research… And if it’s a quiet month, you can simply write articles that might help your customers out.
10 Steps to Success
Follow 10 simple rules of thumb, and you’ll soon be writing great newsletters and reaping the rewards…
1) Keep It New! Your readers won’t waste time reading something they already know, so make it news they can use.
2) Keep it personal: Always use your reader’s name. Make sure when someone signs up, you get their name, then use it in the subject line, in the greeting, and anywhere else you can.
3) Know your reader: Find out what your reader is interested in. Do some proactive research, invite response, or find an email marketing solution such as Ezemail** that tracks the links your readers click on and keeps a history of their activity.
4) Let them know you: Let your personality shine through. Readers are far more likely to become loyal if they feel they know you. Always include a bit of you in the newsletter, whether it’s humour, personal details, personal anecdotes, or personal views.
5) Subject is Headline: The subject line of an email newsletter is like a frontpage headline in a newspaper. You need to draw the reader in, so make it engaging and relevant (maybe promise a benefit) but no more than 25 characters so your reader can see it all before opening the email.
6) Use a Title bar: Make the most of the title bar to add visual appeal and establish brand awareness.
7) Make it ‘scannable’: Most people don’t read online – they scan. Make sure you use easytoread bullet points and subheadings. Don’t lose your reader’s attention. Reading is physically more difficult online, so make sure you’re concise. Use links to other places instead of writing long articles.
8) Use White space!: If your page is too busy, you’ll lose your reader. Give them a chance to absorb valuable information by dedicating about 30% of your screen real estate to white space.
9) Easy unsubscribe: Make your unsubscribe easy to find. If it’s obvious, they’ll feel safe and can then appreciate the content. To many people, the ease of unsubscribing is an indicator of the integrity of your company.
10) Forward to a friend: Include a link to encourage readers to forward the newsletter on to their friends and colleagues. Find an email marketing solution which allows you to do this and sit back and watch your database grow!
** Ezemail enables you to create, manage, deliver and track your email marketing and sales communication. Email kathpay@ezemail.com.au or visit http://www.ezemail.com.au.

About The Author

Glenn Murray heads advertising copywriting studio Divine Write. He can be contacted on Sydney +612 4334 6222 or at glenn@divinewrite.com. Visit http://www.divinewrite.com for further details or more FREE articles.

This article was posted on May 26, 2004

by Glenn Murray

The Nine Warning Signs that You need a Sales Video

The Nine Warning Signs that You need a Sales Video

by: MarieClaire Ross

Corporate videos are an important sales tool that can often be overlooked in marketing budgets.

We look at the top nine telltale signs that indicate whether your company is in need of an innovative and effective way to promote itself.

1. No strong corporate ขlook and feelข

You’re in a highly competitive industry. Yet, what makes you really stand apart from your competitors is your people and the look and feel of your company.

So how do you show your stateoftheart factory in action or your professional staff working in your appealing office?

And what about your idyllic location? What’s the best way to show picturesque vision of rolling hills, clean and green countryside or waterside views?

The solution is to create a marketing video that paints an appealing picture of those indefinable qualities that make your company unique.

2. Unique Presentations

You need to do a sales presentation and your company is up against some tough competitors.

How do you present your company in a way that is different to your opponents?

A proven method is to play your corporate video within your PowerPoint presentation.

Playing your marketing video at the start of a sales presentation is a great way to relax your audience. Interesting vision and upbeat music can make your audience feel more positive, even before you’ve spoken a word.

It’s an ideal way to show the look and feel of your company in a convincing and enjoyable manner.

3. Trade Shows/Exhibitions

Your organisation is always exhibiting at trade shows and needs a way to stand out from the crowd.

Setting up a television screen and a DVD/VHS player in your stand with your continually repeating corporate video is an easy way to get people to stop and stare. Moving vision and music easily stops people in their tracks.

Parents quickly learn that it is easy to distract a child by leaving them in front of a television. Adults are usually no different. It is easy to grab the attention of participants who may feel uncomfortable (or bored) walking around a trade show.

Continually playing your corporate video is an easy way for passersby to learn about you without having to go to the effort of reading through brochures.

4. Increasing Export Sales

Travelling overseas to market your products or services to international buyers is risky business. Not just for your company, but also for your prospects.

Can they really trust you when you tell them how large and reputable you business is and that you have the right quality procedures in place? How can they get a real feel for your company that is located thousands of miles away?

Presenting your location, factory or office, production process and your dedicated staff at work is highly regarded by international buyers. It provides an extra a look and feel about your company that is often lacking from brochures and photos.

A concise marketing video that gives an interesting overview of your company is a proven method to increasing international sales.

5. Showing your Product or Service in Action

Sometimes you cannot actually demonstrate your product or service to a client because it is too large to lug around, it is located on the other side of the world or there is only one prototype that cannot be used.

New products or services that are suitable for use in a range of different scenarios are also difficult to demonstrate.

Using a marketing video that can exhibit how your product works and under what circumstances is a great way for prospects to understand what you are trying to sell.

This is a much better alternative than taking the prospect through lengthy operational manuals or worse still, having them rely on their imagination.

6. Extensive Product Range

Your product list is extensive. Not only do your clients not know all of the products that you sell, but even your staff have trouble remembering!

Studies have found that we are more likely to remember information if it is shown with pictures. The best way to inform people about your product range (and for them to remember) is to show scenarios in which the product can be used.

7. Your Production Process

Your product is made in a timehonoured tradition that takes hours of dedication. Or your product is made from the finest quality materials that are only obtainable from a scenic, rural location. Alternatively, your service was developed from years of research by experienced technicians.

Showing your product being made in a manner that is different to your competitors gives you a distinct competitive advantage.

This is one area that you do not want to leave to nice words and pretty pictures in a brochure. To do your company justice, showcasing your production process is an extremely important message to convey.

8. Believable Testimonials

There is nothing more potent than having your happy customers raving on about how wonderful you are to camera.

Written testimonials are often read suspiciously. We’re all guilty of reading through testimonials and laughing about their dubious authenticity.

Having a real client talking about you on camera is like having that person tell your prospects facetoface about how highly they think of you. Of course, the testimonial has to look real. Uncomfortable clients poorly reading from an autocue fools nobody!

When done correctly, this is an extremely effective way to promote your business and one that has been used since televisions first appeared in our lounge rooms.

9. Winning Awards

Many savvy businesses know that entering awards can be a great way to cost effectively promote their company.

Submitting your corporate video in an award submission is also a clever technique to distinguish your company from the pack.

An added bonus is that your video material may also be included during any awards ceremony stretching your promotional opportunities even further.

About The Author

MarieClaire Ross is from Digicast Television Production. Digicast Television Production has helped many businesses win big contracts and projects by increasing more awareness and knowledge of their products and services. To get the FREE Digicast Ezine with marketing tips and the latest information on technology to help busy business professionals visit (www.digicast.com.au) to subscribe.

(c) MarieClaire Ross 2003. All rights reserved

mc@digcast.com.au

This article was posted on December 21, 2003

by MarieClaire Ross