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

How To Get Qualified Visitors to Your Site

How To Get Qualified Visitors to Your Site

by: Denise Ryder

Having an eBusiness isn’t just about getting gobs of people to your site and hope that a number of them buy. Having your little web counter screaming 50,000 visitors a day doesn’t mean กjackก if no one buys from you. It isn’t about the quantity of your visitors itกs about the quality.

Steve Boutelle has realized this and it sparked this question from him…

Steve Boutelle here . . . LOVED the article on ethics! something thatกs definitely a major part of any truly successful business practice. Iกm sending in my Marketing question here it is:

What are your top proven recommendations for getting qualified, targeted visitor traffic to your site that will continue over the long term?

Great question and one that is on the mind of every eBusiness owner กout there.ก

I know you are probably looking more for the ‘tacticsก to put into place rather than going back and regrouping a bit and we will get to the tactics but first things first…

The main thing that has to be on your mind is to stay focused. When you first get into an eBusiness you have to do your homework. What I mean by that is find out what people want and need and then build a business around meeting those needs.

You CAN’t BE all things to EVERYONE. It just doesn’t work. What you need to be is the กexpertก per se in one or a group of related needs/wants and build your business around that.

When you are กfocusedก you will see that a great many things come together for you. You will find that you aren’t spending gobs of money on traffic generating systems, with the hopes of getting กsomeoneก to buy. You will have a better idea of where those people are and become more proactive in your marketing strategies and budget spending. There is a huge difference in terms of marketing dollars and success rates when you go from a mass marketing approach to a targeted approach ;o)

Go back and look at your web sites and look at it from the shoes of a visitor and see what they see. That little exercise will ALWAYS give you a lot of information in figuring out why people aren’t buying and what needs to be adjusted.

So…first thing in getting long term targeted traffic is to stay focused and try not to be everything to all people. Meet the needs and wants of a targeted market and not the masses. One you know your target market and what they want then the following kicks in for you as far as specific marketing tactics is concerned…

1. List building I have sprouted off here continually about the NEED to have a list (or several lists) of your own. A list that is separate from your affiliate programs so that it can follow you wherever you go. If you have a focus then of course your lists become more focused as well. You will have a list of people who have a want and need for your products/ services as opposed to just a bunch of tire kickers who aren’t really sure what they want or need. Does that make sense??

Your business should have more than just one list. You can have a general list (ie, a subscribers list for your newsletter perhaps), and it should also have specific lists built around sales of certain products and services you offer. If you are in the health and nutrition market and sell several different products in the line, then for each product your sell, those customers become targeted to that product. You can then look at that and make targeted lists from that and act accordingly.

List building, as I said above, is THE KEY. You have the ability through your lists to be specific and target only those who want and need your products/services.

2. Advertising once you know your market and who needs what you have, in the process you find out where they hang out. When you know what newsletters and forums they go to then it makes things easier for you. Again, you are focused with respect to your marketing and are going into newsletters that speak directly to your target as opposed to the masses. Prime example here…

ProfitSpace focuses on marketing and copywriting tactics for the eBusiness owner. My target market for ProfitSpace is eBusiness owners.I can’t tell you how many classified ads I receive from people who are selling health and nutritional products. A person who is selling H&R products specifically is targeting people with health issues. While yes I am sure that there are eBusiness owners with health issues, they aren’t in the frame of mind to read about it in a marketing newsletter. They are looking for business help. That person selling these products would have generated far better response by going to a newsletter which targets health related issues.

You NEED to target your advertising to fit the newsletter you are advertising in. If you are SELLING health products then go to a health related newsletter. If you are trying to build a downline for your mlm then fine, stick with a newsletter geared towards business.

Another thing about advertising that will certainly help you in building long term targeted traffic. DON’t SEND A PERSON TO YOUR SITE, send them instead to a no cost eReport, eBook or eCourse that ties in and relates to your target/focus. REMEMBER if you don’t have a list then you are basically shooting yourself in the foot. You WANT the email address and the name of the visitor…you DON’t WANT them to go to your site, see what you have, hope theyกll bookmark you and come back. They won’t do it.

Let me give you an example of what I mean…

In the case of Mariangie who is promoting telecommunication products. Instead of placing a typical classified that leads a person to her site, she writes a no cost eReport on, oh…say…how to save money on your monthly cell phone charges and writes a classified promoting that report. BINGO she has a name and email address of someone who has a need to save money on their cell phone. You can go much farther in terms of marketing with a warm body to market to as opposed to marketing to a ghost ;o)

See how that works??

So…look at the focus of the newsletter you are advertising in and make sure it reaches your target market…AND…lead a person to a report or some other list generating tool…NOT TO JUST your web site ;o)

3. Articles I can’t tell you how effective writing articles has been for my eBusiness (actually, yes I can!!). Articles RULE!! For one issue all eyes are on you, you take center stage. Writing articles as it relates to your business is a fantastic way of generating trust and rapport, and gives you credibility. We mentioned about about targeting your advertising and articles work in much the same way. Find those newsletters who reach your target market then write good, informative articles that ‘talk to them.ก Share your knowledge and they will come and see what you have to offer, sign up for your reports/courses and spread the word about you.

I know that many people will not write an article because they feel they aren’t writers. กDon’t eat that Martha, itกs ca ca!!ก Anyone can write a simple กhow toก article. Just do up an outline for yourself and use it as a guide to gather your thoughts and then just take your กhow toก process and put it into steps for people to follow.

Articles not only promote you and your site in a subtle way but the Resource Box provides you with the PRIMO classified ad spot there is in the newsletter. See people will read your article, understand what you are saying and THEN read who wrote the article. Thatกs where the resource box comes into play because that is essentially your ad. There they find who wrote the article, your site address and then of course an incentive to get them on YOUR LIST…by offering a them a no cost report ;o)

Keep in mind that that ONE ARTICLE can reach more people than you could ever possibly imagine. You aren’t limiting yourself to just one newsletter…you can send that very article to several publishers within your TARGET MARKET and reach tens of thousands of people all at the same time. The great thing about using articles is the fact that it doesn’t cost you a cent..just takes a little time in putting your knowledge to paper…oh, I mean to disk ;o)

4. Develop your own information products Why rent if you can own. What I mean by that is why use someone elseกs information products when you can quite capably write your own and use it to itกs full advantage. Developing your own eReport, eCourse, or eBook provides you with SUCH AN ADVANTAGE. You can use your own knowledge and create a product and then leverage your marketing through the efforts of others…AND like articles reach far more people than you can possibly imagine.

Now if the mere thought of developing your own info product really scares the heck out of you…well first off, don’t let it. If you are writing articles then you can do a little formatting change and turn a group of articles into a report or course very easily. However, if that STILL makes you feel like a deer caught in the headlights, then your have an alternative. In terms of using information products in your marketing…opt for the reprint or customization rights ALWAYS.

Why??

Well, because as I said above you use these products to leverage YOUR marketing efforts. Yup, you didn’t write the course youกre using but your links and advertising is weaved throughout the particular course. When people who subscribe via your web form for the course will always know who they received that course from because your advertising is throughout, NOT someone elseกs. It just doesn’t make sense to work hard at marketing a course and then NOT have your information somewhere inside. Why are you doing that to yourself?? If you are going to spend time and energy in marketing a product make sure that it leads to YOUR LIST and IT HAS YOUR INFO inside at least. If you are allowed within the confines of the license then let others give YOUR COPY of the product away and leverage your marketing through their efforts…but DON’t let someone else ride your coat tails without getting something out of it.

Do you see how that works???

I offer an eCourse and offer customization licenses, so people have an option. To me as the author it makes no difference if you opt for the license or not…it is still a win/win. The person gets to use my course to build their list so they are smiling. In that regard the win for me is that I am leveraging my marketing through their efforts and because they didn’t buy the customization license ALL MY ads and links remain in place. Now if they took the time to see just how this works and what they can do to change it around a little they would see that by spending the $6.95 in the long run that ecourse just turned the tables for them. They STILL get to use the course as a list building tool AND they also stand to get hits by being able to add their own offers each day for the duration of the course. PLUS, by offering THEIR CUSTOMIZED version of that course to others to use for their list building…they have just turned the tables again by using the efforts of those who are using that course.

I can totally appreciate the fact that eBusiness owners have been through hell and back and have been burned many times by products and/or services offering them the moon. I understand the reluctance to spend money…HOWEVER, in the case of purchasing an eCourse or eReport customization license that gives you such a winfall of potential…it just makes for smart business ;o)

Ok, we have gone over four tools for help you gain targeted traffic. Now the other part of Steveกs question involved กlong term.ก Well, it stands to reason that if you keep up with the article writing, developing new information products are at least using those that are out there to YOUR full advantage, and using classified advertising the right way…that the long term will follow. This isn’t rocket science and YOU DON’t need a degree in marketing to pull any of these off successfully. All you really need is to be persistent and consistent ;o)

Every eBusiness owner needs to start with some form of marketing strategy or foundation. These four tactics will certainly give you a good solid foundation. Once you have them in place and they are pulling for you, youกll then be able to look at the other tactics like paypeclick search engines and give that a shot. The point that I want to really stress is the fact that if you start with the four tactics I mentioned above and they will always be working. Then as you progress you add new tactics, test them and if they prove to be beneficial then you add them.

It does take a bit of time and effort to see the rewards, but they will happen…just stick with it and don’t give up ;o)

About The Author

Denise Ryder is a Marketing Coach writing from her home office in Northern Ontario (Canada). She is publisher of ProfitSpace Newsletter (http://www.profitspace.com). Download her no cost 7Day eCourse กHow to Guarantee eBusiness Success…Before You Even Get Startedก http://www.profitspace.com/success/index.html

webmaster@profitspace.com

This article was posted on April 19, 2004

by Denise Ryder

Free Article Use on Your Web Site

Free Article Use on Your Web Site

by: C Brackney

If you are trying to drive traffic to your web site and have researched your options, you have probably reached one conclusion. Content is essential.

They say content is king and that mantra is oftrepeated for a reason. It’s true.

Content is a key component in driving topnotch search engine placement. Content attracts visitors and keeps them longer. Content can help to reinforce your sales message. For those involved in affiliate marketing, content can fill space and increase the perceived legitimacy of a site.

You want traffic and you need content. You have three means of acquiring it. You can author it yourself, purchase it from someone else, or cull and use free articles widely available on the internet.

Selfauthorship offers some appeal. After all, who knows your business the way you do? However, the significant amount of time and energy required to develop the written content you need may very well be disproportionate to its benefit—especially when you remind yourself that you are an entrepreneur, not a writer.

Odds are that you would prefer to leave the monotonous process of authoring articles to someone else while you made better use of your time finetuning the other aspects of your business.

You would prefer to have content authored by a genuine writer—someone who knows how to use the written word to maximum effectiveness.

The decision between purchasing materials and using free content may seem relatively simple. Free articles have many benefits.

They don’t increase your overhead. They are easy to find. They cover topics related to your site and products. There is no delay—you can access them immediately. Free content has some immediately visible advantages.

However, free articles have a significant and oftenoverlooked downside.

Initially, the competitive arena of the internet is populated by thousands like you who are looking for a content edge. Those who may be in direct competition for your traffic are thinking about content and may be reaching for free content, too.

The result? The same free content appears over and over again at site after site.

The reason content is so important is because it gives you an opportunity to attract surfers and keep them at your site. They are attracted to content that provides them with information they cannot readily find elsewhere and materials that are engaging and unique. A chief component of content’s power is diluted by its repetitive use in hundreds of locations.

Additionally, free content is generally advertising in disguise. Unfortunately, it’s not your advertising. Authors of free content are not writing out of love—they are writing for their own profit.

Take for instance, this free article. I am seeking to provide you with information about free materials and their weaknesses. However, I am not performing this function out of a sense of civic duty. I write custom content for web sites. My URL will appear at the bottom of this article. I am seeking to persuade readers to consider purchasing unique content and, of course, to consider using me as their supplier.

All free articles are advertising copy, in a sense. Do you really want to use someone else’s advertising on your site? If your visitors read the content, and the content is wellwritten, it should spur them to at least consider leaving your site to find out more about the author, the ideas the author mentions, or the products and services to which the author alludes.

Content should serve to make your site sticky—keeping surfers on your site. Free content may perform the opposite function by drawing them to other venues.

Third, free articles are not written with you in mind. Free articles may have been written with particular keywords or concepts in mind, but they were not constructed for your site with your specific needs under consideration. Their tone and content are unlikely to be a perfect fit for your needs, further decreasing their effectiveness.

Using a custom content provider allows you to receive all of the benefits of great content while avoiding the pitfalls associated with free materials.

You can hire a professional writer to produce entertaining and informative content that is completely unique to your web site. The result is better search engine placement and a reason for visitors to come back again and again—and to stay longer when they do.

Custom articles also promise a complete commitment to your site and your needs. The author can produce exactly what you need and do so in a way that reinforces your message and your objectives. It can blend seamlessly with your site and help presell your product or service in ways free articles never could.

There are costs, of course. You will need to pay your writer and you will have some period of brief delay before your content is ready. However, if you work with an effective content provider who understands the nature of internet business, costs should be reasonable and turnaround quick.

Free articles seem like a wonderful solution to the content gap from which so many sites suffer. Unfortunately, free articles fail to deliver the full advantage of great content and may actually reduce the effectiveness of your site. The alternative, a professional internet content provider, is the best way to insure your content will do what you need it to do.

About The Author

C. Brackney is an internet content provider. Content One provides unique custom content of all types for web sites.

http://content1.bravehost.com

content1@myway.com

Copyright 2005 C. Brackney/Content One. All rights reserved.

This article was posted on February 05

by C Brackney

Creating A Network That Works

Creating A Network That Works

by: Diane Hughes

Do you ever stand in awe of those people who seem to know everybody and everything? I know I do! Regardless of what you’re looking for, these people have their finger on the pulse of the กNet and know where to find it. Their network of resources and people is incredible! Yours can be, too. Itกs actually very simple to create a network that works to bring you business, offers feedback and provides those resources that we all need to have.
Make A Wish List
The first step in creating a network that works is making a list of what you want. Go ahead, think of the perfect situation where you would have anything you needed at your fingertips. For example, if you have a Web design business you might find it very helpful to create associations with people who offer services that compliment yours. Why? Because if these people are heavily involved with the process of getting a Webbased business up and going, they could send you many leads and that could turn into paying clients.
What else might you want? Perhaps free advertising or publicity to bring more business your way? Sure! Write it down on the wish list.
Making Wishes Come True
Now, the next step is to find the resources you need in order to make those wishes realities. Itกs not as difficult as it sounds. Just expand on your wish list a bit in the following way.
We mentioned needing associations with service providers that compliment our example of Web design. So write down companies that provide: Web hosting, merchant accounts, shopping carts, autoresponders, Internet checks, copywriting, graphic design and scripting/programming.
We also said we needed some advertising or publicity. So add to the list the following: ezine ad swaps, banner ad swaps, local newspapers, local TV and radio stations, Chambers of Commerce.
Finally, itกs time to go to work. The best way to start is to alert your friends and associates of what you are trying to accomplish. Itกs simple to send a quick email that states something to the effect of, กIกm in the process of expanding my resources and find Iกm in need of the following [provide the list]. If you know of anyone who you highly recommend in one of the above areas, please offer them my phone number and email address. I am interested in arranging a joint affiliation with them in order to increase both our businesses.ก
You can also send the same message to any lists or bulletin boards you frequent. Most people are more than happy to refer those they have had pleasant working relationships with.
Final Decisions
Lastly, once you get the results from your search back, contact the ones you feel most comfortable with. Again, honestly explain what you are doing and that you would like to create a joint partnership with them in order to exchange leads, prospects and services.
Even if someone does not suit your needs at the moment, enter them into your database for future reference. I once had a graphic designerกs email address and samples for 6 months before having a need for them. However, because I had already established contact, once my need arose it was smooth sailing!
When you are ready to begin your projects, just contact those on your list who can fill a need. Perhaps you want to advertise your Web design services. You can ask someone in your network (a Web host, a graphic artist, etc.) to participate in joint advertising with you. This will allow you to get excellent exposure for ½ the price because those costs are shared with your กpartnerก.
You can also set up a referral process. I have several arrangements with others in where we exchange referrals. Some do it for a fee, others just do it on a oneforone basis. You and your network member can decide what works best for you.
The results of this simple process are normally tremendous. The majority of small business owners are always looking for ways to expand their businesses. Exchanging leads with one another, creating joint affiliations and bartering are great ways to create a broad network that truly does work!
Copyright 2004 Diane Hughes

About The Author

Diane C. Hughes * ProBizTips.com

FREE Report: Amazingly Simple (Yet Super Powerful) Ways To Skyrocket Your Sales And Build Your Business Into A Tower of Profits! ==>> http://madmarketer.com/diane

This article was posted on May 31, 2004

by Diane Hughes

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

Ordering Commercial Printing For Your Company Can

Ordering Commercial Printing For Your Company Can Be Indimidating

by: Robert Kennedy

กI went to see a printer today to get my companyกs stationery printed. They ask too many questions, I can’t answer!ก I feel kinda dumb.

How many times have you felt this way? Itกs kind of like going to the auto garage for a tune up and being told you need a new 02 sensor, your syncro mesh gear has a tooth missing and so on. You know you have to get it done but who can you trust to give you the best quality, price and service. There is a reason why I include all three กquality, price and serviceก

In the 80กs and early 90กs it used to be กquality, price and serviceก…pick 2. These days, with the internet as a resource, buyers and sellers alike can truly benefit from forming bonding relationships with their print and design firm of choice. Location is no longer an issue. In fact, I will bet money you can always find what appears, to be better than what you are getting. It can be overwhelming and too much information, which may lead to a regretful purchase. Neither the buyer or the reputable seller desire this result.

Here are a few tips on what you should figure out before you talk to your printer:

1) Decide how many inks colors you are going to print in. Here are a few links that will help you understand this:

Pantone color chart in RGB and html; http://www.weprintcolor.com/pantone_RGB_convert.htm

Convert from RGB color to CMYK color;

http://www.weprintcolor.com/rgb_CMYK.htm

Explain CMYK, RGB and Pantone Color; http://www.weprintcolor.com/pop_ups/Templ_modificatons_full.htm

2) Have a pretty good idea of the paper and texture of the paper you would like to use. Learn some ‘buzz words’ in your conversions with the printers you speak to. Here is a list of printing terms commonly used by people in the printing industry;

http://www.reprotechprint.com/printing_terms.htm

3) Have a general idea of the quantities you would like to purchase. If you’re not sure don’t be afraid to ask your printer to provide a quotation on several different quantities. In printing, the more you order the cheaper the per unit cost is. Here are a couple of examples of this:

Business Cards;

http://www.weprintcolor.com/businesscardscolour.htm

Postcards;

http://www.weprintcolor.com/postcard_index_4x6.htm

4) Will you provide a ‘print ready’ digital file? When I say ‘print ready’, it is important that you understand this. Many printers will attempt to print from a ‘none print ready’ file. This will sometimes lead to undesirable results. Here is a couple of links to help you with this:

Free digital file inspection; http://www.weprintcolor.com/upload.htm

Specifications for sending files; http://www.weprintcolor.com/SendingFiles.htm

Once you have gathered education with the terms us printers use you will understand , more clearly, what you are getting for your money. You will also appear more educated in your future purchases.The moral of my story? Buyers need to be more armed with knowledge to make an educated purchase and sellers need to be sharp, knowledgeable and willing to share this knowledge…Everybody wins.

About The Author

Robert is an online leader in graphic design and print. Online since 1999, Robert has spearheaded the success of http://www.weprintcolor.com by providing the finest online graphic design system on the web.

This article was posted on December 13, 2004

by Robert Kennedy

Why You Should Learn HTML

Why You Should Learn HTML

by: Debra Hamer

Do you have a website or are you planning on creating a website in the near future? You owe it to yourself to at least learn some basic HTML (HyperText Markup Language). Even if someone else is creating and maintaining your website there are some basics you should know. What if that person is not available and you need to add or make changes to your website? I’ve always believed if you have a business, computer, website, or whatever, you need to know how it works. Don’t depend on someone else. Besides why pay someone else when you can do it yourself free of charge.
In this article I will explain some basic HTML formats for you. Believe me it will come in handy at one point or another. I, myself, have only learned some of the basics and I have been able to add, change, and make corrections on my own website by myself.
When you come across a website you like and would like to use a similar layout or text pattern, look at the page in HTML code. You can do this by clicking on ขViewข at the top of the screen, then choose ขDocument Sourceข or ขSourceข and you can see the page as a HTML document. If you are using AOL then right click on any area on the page without any text or images, then select ขView Sourceข. At first it will look like Greek to you but after learning some basic HTML it will start to make sense.
First you will need a word processor program such as Windows ขNotepadข or any other word processor you might have. You are working with simple text. You will need to save your document using the ขsave asข command and give it an html suffix, ex: Mynewdocument.html or Mynewdocument.htm (you can use either suffix html or htm).
HTML works in a simple, logical format. It reads top to bottom and left to right. What are used to set sections apart like bigger text, smaller text, bold text, underlined text are tags. Tags are commands. If you wanted a line of text to be bold you will place a tag at the point you want the bold text to start and a tag at the end of where you want the bold text to stop.
All tags start with the lessthan sign , always. What is between these signs is the tag or command. You will need to learn what tag does what. Let’s first learn the bold command. The following is an example of making your text bold. The tag for bold is ขBข. You can use uppercase or lowercase, it doesn’t matter. Here is an example:
Note: Due to the HTML codes in the article being formatted and possibly not showing up on the page in normal view I have replaced the signs with the bracket characters [ and ]. Just remember to use the signs and not the [ and ] signs in your document.
This is how it will look in HTML format [B]This text needs to be bold[/B]
Here is how it will look when converted to normal view – This text needs to be bold
Did you notice the slight difference in the ending tag? There is a slash / before the B. That means it is the end tag. Only the text between the start and end tags will be in bold. Now let’s add a twist by putting one of the words in italics.
This is how it will look in HTML format [B] This [I]text[/I] needs to be bold[/B]
Here is how it will look in normal view – This text needs to be bold
There are some tags that are an exception to the rule about having to have a start and end tag. You don’t have to have an end tag when using these tags. Here are some examples.
[HR] this command places a line across the page. HR stands for ขhorizontal referenceข.
[BR] this command breaks the text and jumps to the next line, like the return key.
[P] this command stand for ขparagraphข, it does the same thing as the [BR] command but skips a line.
Every page you create with HTML will need the HTML tag [HTML] which denotes it is an HTML document and the end HTML tag [/HTML] will be at the end of your document. The next tags will be your start Title tag [TITLE] and your end Title tag [/TITLE]. The title of your document will go in between these two tags. The title will show up in the title bar on your browser when you are looking at the page in normal view.
The following are some tags for Headings (there are 6 heading commands) and Font size (there are 12 font size commands):
[H1]This is Heading 1[/H1] – H1 is the largest heading
[H6]This is Heading 6[/H6] H6 is the smallest heading
So, by using H1 through H6 you can change the size of your heading. Same applies to your font size. You will use [font size =ข+1ข] through [font size=ข+12] and don’t forget your end tags!
You may notice that your text always starts at the left of the page. If you want your text to start in the center or to the right you will need to specify where you want your text to start. Here are some examples of aligning text:
[CENTER]Center this Text![/CENTER] your text will be centered on the page.
Center this Text!
To align to the right you need to set the text as a paragraph unto itself by using the [P] tag and adding an attribute to it.
[P ALIGN=ขrightข]Text here will align on the right of the page[/P]
Text here will align on the right of the page
Why did I put an end tag [/p] since the paragraph command does not require an end tag (remember exceptions to the rule?) Anytime you use an attribute tag, as in the above example, you will need to have an end tag, whether you’re using the paragraph command [P] or the return command [BR]. Using the [P] or [BR] command by itself does not require an end tag, but if you are adding an attribute then an end tag must be used.
Adding an image to your page would require the following tag:
[IMG SRC=ขimage.jpgข] you would replace ขimage.jpgข with your own image file. IMG stands for image and SRC stands for source. You’re telling your browser where to find your image file. Your image file could have a gif, jpg, or a bmp association.
Ok now let’s get a little more complicated and create a hyperlink on your document. This creates blue underlined words on the page that someone can click on and go to another location. An example is you’re creating a link to another website.
[A HREF=http://www.profitfromhomebiz.comก]Profit From Home Biz[/A] this is what in looks like in HTML code. Note you are adding a description of the link that will be underlined, see the example below.
Profit From Home Biz – what it looks like in normal view. When someone clicks on this link they would be taken to my website.
This is a very important HTML format for when you need to add links onto your webpage. You may already know or will learn that reciprocal linking is very important in promoting your website and obtaining a higher page rank with the search engines. Sometimes the HTML code is provided for you and all you have to do is ขcopy and pasteข the code into your webpage. Often it is not, so you have to figure out how to put the information into HTML code yourself. Just learning this HTML command has been a timesaver for me.
I hope this article has helped you learn some basic HTML and how it can benefit you. I know, I know there are HTML text editors out there you can use and they can do all of this for you. I have used a couple myself, but I still like to know how to do things on my own. I bet you do too! Sometimes it’s just faster and easier to do it yourself.
I’ve just given you some very basic formats in using HTML, but you can find a lot more resources and information about learning HTML on the internet. Just do a search and I’m sure you will be overwhelmed at what’s out there. To view this article with the correct HTML formats please visit www.profitfromhomebiz.com/articles.

About The Author

Debra Hamer is the owner of the http://profitfromhomebiz.com website where you can find lots of tips, tools and resources for starting your own work at home business. Visit her PlugInProfitSite at http://www.pluginprofitsite.com/main4256 to have your own website setup and ready to go within 24 hours, complete with everything you need to start making a profit.

Deb22056@aol.com

This article was posted on July 30, 2004

by Debra Hamer

Home Business Success 5 Things You Learn From Yo

Home Business Success 5 Things You Learn From Your ExBoss

by: Gobala Krishnan

In the past, everyone could take pride in working for large, multinational companies. The current trend of downsizing and outsourcing, however, has brought major changes in the employment landscape. One thing for sure, as job security becomes a thing of the past, many are turning towards starting their own home based businesses.

Job security has its merits, and a home business is, arguably, not for everyone. But for those who are interested in making this shift, a change in mentality is absolutely important. There are many bad habits that lie dormant in all of us. You need to change these bad habits and develop new good habits to survive as an entrepreneur. And in many cases these can be กborrowedก from your existing or former corporate work environment.

Here are some new disciplines that you can borrow from your working life, to develop and to practice:

1) Ownership and Decision Making

In corporate culture, you are responsible only for what your job requires you to do. In most jobs however, you are hardly responsible for the survival of the company. Your contribution, as compared to the whole, is only marginal. You can make mistakes and get away with it. Your job is easily replaceable.

As an entrepreneur, however, you may find the world to be less forgiving. A mistake can cost you your entire business. It is vital for anyone who wants to start their own home based business to think about this fact. You have to realize that success in a home based venture is directly tied up to your actions, and you need to take responsibility for everything that happens.

In your own business, you need to go beyond your capacity at times, stretching yourself more than you would as an employee. Taking responsibility also means being able to make the correct decisions as and when needed. When you work from home, YOUR decision is final. Although it may a little scary for an entrepreneur at first, these habits practiced over time becomes second nature.

It sure beats having to put up with corporate redtape!

2) Developing a Creative Mindset & Taking Risks

Companies hardly, if ever, reward you for being creative. They do, however, reward you for showing up on time and completing your daily routines. You are rewarded not for being outstanding, but for being average.

As an entrepreneur, you need to shake off the bad habit of doing things the usual way, the กway itกs always been doneก There is nothing wrong with using standard procedures and methods. In fact, sticking to the กrulesก can help you make a decent living. But if you want the big money, like I do, you need to start thinking กOutside the Boxก. A little bit of ingenuity in your business can save you a lot of money and time.

Ingenuity involves finding solutions to a problem. You may, at any stage of your home business, realize that you just don’t have an abundance of resources. Resources in this context can be money, time, expertise or just about everything else that you need, but just don’t have…

As you might have figured, creativity comes with risk. Doing something new is more risky than doing it the old way, but the payoff is incredible. Thinking outside the box might result in failure, just as well as it might lead to amazing success. But risk is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when it is studied, anticipated and even welcomed.

So what do you do?

Most home business challenges can be solved, even if you are not a genius or have thousands of dollars to spend. If you can just use your ingenuity, you can find a solution to these challenges.

Figure out how to make the best of your advertising dollars. Figure out how to save time and automate your business. Figure out how to complement your skills using the skills of others. Small steps like these can go a long way in determining just how successful you will be.

3) Making Your Own Rules & Organizing Time

Imagine you arrive at work one day and find that the punchcard machine has been removed. The company also fired your boss, and the new rules say that you can come in at any time you want, bring your wife and kids along, and take as many breaks as you want. Shorts and a Tshirts are now the standard, accepted work attire.

What would you do?

I know what I would do absolutely nothing at all! I would take advantage of the situation, and do absolutely no work at all. As days go by, I get lazier and eventually become a total slob.

A home business environment is not much different from the scenario above. In the absence of corporate rules, you must develop your own self imposed กhome business rulesก. Set a time for work, for play, and for household activities. If you just decide to กgo with the flowก, you often get no where at all.

I used to think that money was the most important asset of my home business. Being quite naive, I thought that with more money, I could be successful faster. After all, money is king. With more money, I could buy more กbig timeก advertising, hire assistants and equip my business with the best software systems.

It didn’t take me long to realize that time is more important than money. Money simply cannot buy time. But with more time, I can all make all the money I want. Put in another way, I would say that MORE TIME is more important than just MORE MONEY. But none of us, not you, nor me, can have more than 24 hours a day at our disposal.

So, as a home business entrepreneur, we need to ultimately learn how to make the best use of the time that we have. This easy to say, but it will take discipline to see it through. Discipline is not easy to achieve, but it CAN be done. Just focus on doing a little bit every day, and stick to the timeline you had laid out, and you will get into the productive rhythm that comes with discipline.

4) Continuous Selfimprovement

The home business arena is highly competitive. As an entrepreneur you will need to keep up with any event that will effect your business, for better or worse.

Corporations usually have mandatory training courses for all employees. If you are someone who attended these courses just to get away from doing work, or just to get some extra sleeping time in the class, then you need to change your attitude.

As an entrepreneur you must to find ways to enrich yourself with more knowledge. Take that accounting class, attend that local business seminar and read related books. Don’t see these as additional expenses, see them as long term investment. An investment in knowledge, after all, yields the best return.

Every type of business is subject to slowdowns. If you do not continuously improve your skills and knowledge, simply throwing in more money or hiring more people when that happens will not solve the problem. The only way to move forward, to get to ‘the next levelก is to acquire new knowledge. New knowledge opens up more opportunities for your business.

5) Commitment to Your Goals & Deadlines for Success

กI want this on my desk by 2.00pmก.

Sounds familiar? Most of us seek a home based business because we want to escape the pressures of a 95 job. The word กdeadlineก may send a shiver through your spine.

The irony, however, is that deadlines are EXACTLY what you need to succeed in just about anything. As an entrepreneur, these deadlines always are, and must be, selfimposed. There are many book on how to set and achieve goals (my recommendations at http://www.homebusinessassociation.com/books/) and I suggest you read as many as you can.

Having family around you can be used to your advantage. Communicate your goals to your wife or husband. Promise your kids a vacation when youกve finished a major task. Soon, you will get little กbossesก running around telling you to stop watching TV and get to your work. Well, at least they are กadorableก bosses!

An excerpt from the book ‘think and Grow Richก by Napoleon Hill (pg. 15):

…a great warrior faced a situation which made it necessary for him to make a decision which insured his success on the battlefield. He… gave the order to burn the ships that carried them. Addressing his men before the first battle he said กYou see the boats going up in smoke? That means that we cannot leave these shores alive unless we win! We now have no choice We win or we perishก.

They won.

And no matter what YOUR goals are in seeking selfemployment and an entrepreneurial life, with commitment to your goals and determination to meet your deadlines, you too will win. Take the positive aspects of your current of former work environment to build a healthy and productive home business mentality to ensure that you are heading towards success.

Hereกs to your success. Cheers.

Copyright 2005 Gobala Krishnan

About The Author

Gobala Krishnan is an internet marketer and home business owner. Visit his site at http://www.sfidreamteam.com to start your own Internet based home business today, and get a free kickstart package, oneonone coaching and a clear, proven system to earn a six figure income.

This article was posted on January 16, 2005

by Gobala Krishnan

Become a Wedding Planner

Become a Wedding Planner

by: Patrick Ryan

Creating your own business in this day and age is more important than ever. The trick is to find a niche market and tap into it on the way up. It is no secret that the wedding industry is huge. There are somewhere around 2.5 million weddings every year in the United States Alone! So…. About $40 billion is spent on weddings every year in the U.S. Some believe that number is low! The # then rises to be around 80 billion! Today’s average couple will spend roughly $18 – 30 thousand dollars on their wedding!

The beauty of this kind of business is that it’s not a huge investment. It can easily be done from your home. All you need is to be professional and very very organized to gain people’s trust. But once you have planned a few weddings you’ll find so long as everything went smoothly that people will drop your name to others and more business will come your way.

Things that you’ll need to consider for your new planning business includes:

Image:

When creating a Wedding a Consulting Business one of the most important aspects is your image! You need to create a look that shows both professionalism and beauty. You can hire an expert for this but I suggest just doing it yourself! I create many logos using royaltyfree stock photo that I purchase from istockphoto.com. This logo needs to go everywhere, your letterhead, business card, brochures and most importantly ขinvoicesข. Remember image is one of the most important aspects of a business!

Business Supplies

Much of the investment when first starting out will be getting the proper supplies. However in today’s day and age most things can be done relatively quickly and cheap even from the comforts of your own home. Although this may be the case, you need to remember that you must look professional! Brides wont be letting Jo Schmo with a cheap brochure plan their Wedding! You want to wow your potential clients and turn them into potential paying customers.

You need some Planning Software. For this thee are professional options and free options. I prefer the free options since many can do just about everything the paid ones can. I suggest checking out versiontracker.com and doing a search for Wedding. You will be amazed at the software you can get. One of the best pieces of shareware I have found was located here. seatingarrangement.com. Imagine how pleased my recent couple who were having an outdoor tent Wedding was when I gave them a complete professionally drafted paper which included each person, table, chair! The drawing looked as if a large construction firm using AutoCAD did it! Don’t just go out and purchase this software! Take a look around! Thousands of programs exist out there to make you more of a professional Wedding Consultant! Most people can accomplish many of these tasks with Microsoft Word or Exel!

So I have outlined just a few things to consider before starting up your Wedding Planning Business. Take the jump and try your hand. This is a great niche business to set yourself up in. It’s a time consuming process but it’s better to set yourself up now rather than later. I have no doubts you will be a success.

About The Author

Patrick Ryan has been in the wedding industry business for years now but has noticed quite a few dramatic changes in recent times. Check out his wedding ebooks at www.videographybusiness.com and http://www.startaweddingbusiness.com/

WeddingWebsitesOnline@WeddingWebsitesOnline.com

This article was posted on September 08

by Patrick Ryan

Have You Got Your Ear To The Ground Or Your Head I

Have You Got Your Ear To The Ground Or Your Head In The Sand?

by: Mike Cheney

What happened on your website yesterday? What about last week or last month? How about in the past hour? How many visitors come to your website as a result of using a search engine? How long do people stay on your website for on average? Which pages do your visitors go to?

If you don’t know the answer to some or all of these questions you are effectively operating a website blind.

This is like riding a bike blindfolded and expecting to arrive at the right destination. Itกs impossible and the likelihood is that you will crash, wreck the bike, lose pride and get left behind.

If you don’t know whatกs happening with your website or how people are using it and how they are finding it how can you hope to ever improve the site? Sure you can rely on secondguessing or asking the opinion of a handful of people but thatกs hardly going to give you accurate information on which to base a decision is it?

กMike I know what you’re saying. Itกs true that I need to track whatกs happening but I don’t have the Xก

X = Money?

X = Time?

X = Knowledge of where to start?

X = Need, as I already do this?

If you answered กMoneyก this would seem to be a valid reason but you can get your hands on the basic information about how your site is performing for nothing (ask your developer or web hosting company for starters and theyกll be able to point you in the right direction or check out the resources below)

If you answered ‘timeก Iกm sorry but if thatกs the case why do you even have a website if you don’t have the time to measure how itกs performing? Would you behave the same way with your business? Thought not..

If you answered กKnowledge of where to startก then this is fair enough. To get started try these resources that will help you:

http://www.cryer.co.uk/resources/websitetracking.htm

http://www.netiq.com/webtrends/default.asp

http://www.statcounter.com/

If you answered กI don’t have the need, as I already do thisก congratulations you get a weekกs free pass to the Smug Club. But seriously though you might already get all the statistics about how your website is performing but do you spend time viewing them, interpreting them and most importantly USING them? When was the last time you used the statistics about your websiteกs performance to implement a change on your site and then track the results on subsequent statistics to see what effect it had? Itกs all gone quiet in the Smug corner…

Feeling uncomfortable with all these questions yet? You should be. If you’re not happy with your website you need to dig a little deeper and ask what it is exactly that you’re not happy with. Did you set definite, timelinked and realistic expectations for the websiteกs performance prior to starting out? If you’re not getting the leads or sales you had hoped for you need to work out why this is the case scratching your head won’t do it. Tracking the performance of your site and viewing detailed statistics on how people use it won’t give you definitive answers either but it will propel you several miles in the right direction.

You are the doctor and your website is the patient you need to connect it to an ECG and start monitoring and recording everything. How else can you work out how to make the patient better? Or maybe you have the perfect patient who doesn’t actually have anything wrong with them?

Mike Cheney

www.magnet4web.com

About The Author

You can get free access to lots more articles that will help you to improve your websiteกs performance plus a Free Bonus Special Report กHow To Turn Your Website Into A Customer Magnetก worth a value of £47 ($85) here: http://www.magnet4web.com/website_services/?page=freeguide

This article was posted on August 07, 2004

by Mike Cheney

How To Turn Leads Into Sales With Autoresponders

How To Turn Leads Into Sales With Autoresponders

by: Chad Cook

It is an established fact that autoresponders can boost sales. Customers tend to buy, and buy more, from people they are familiar with. But as the web is a faceless arena, how do you create familiarity then? The answer is an autoresponders. After a customer has answered to your advert or notice on the web, you can create a situation of familiarity automatically with auto responders to convert that initial response to a sale. After all that’s what businesses exist to do.

The safest technique is to follow up the initial enquiry or interest with enticing messages. Customers usually need more information or confidence to buy.

In this regards, you will have to put your autoresponders to work.

This is how it goes:

You set up autorespnders to send three presell messages to the prospective customer who has expressed interest in your product. In the initial followup letter, you don’t need to say much else the interest will wane right away. Customers rarely tolerate hard sales approach.

Rather be brief and emphasize the importance, uniqueness or cost effectiveness of your product or service. Remember that, this letter is supposed to encourage the reader to buy without going much into service or product specifications.

On the second day, the autoresponders will have to send a second letter. This one should be explanatory and particularly – particularly – mention why the customer needs to buy and the benefits he will derive from such a purchase. Make sure you have stated the price, quantity, terms of shipping, taxes and after sales support in clear, common English language. Avoid technical jargons which may need a lot of interpretations. You want your clients to buy quickly and not refer to encyclopedias before understanding terms you have used.

The third letter from the autoresponders can be sent about a week or later from the date the second one was sent. In this letter, you suggest to the reader that perhaps he was unable to respond due to busy schedule, meetings, etc. The purpose of tgis letter is to rekindle his interest or remind him of your offer. Now, do not repeat the same things you said in your previous letter. Rather take a different perspective to present your product or service.

If the third letter from the autoresponders fails to yield any response, then stretch the timing of the next letter to a month. If the reader sees your letter regularly and one day decides to purchase the product, you will be the first he turns to as he would have by now accumulated a lot of info about the product to make a decision. Perhaps more importantly, you would have created the familiarity needed by people to build trust and confidence.

It may have to be understood that not all autoresponders can accomplish the task we have enumerated above. The functions we have alluded to in the article can best be handled by a professional auto responder such as the ones found at http://www.aceresponse.com/ These are high grade autoresponders with excellent facilities for designing the letters, setting the timing and even performing other auto pilot duties.

So that is how autoresponders can do the job of a salesman for you – all at the click of a mouse. You don’t need extensive knowledge to be able to put this sales generating method into practice. Neither do you need to know about html. You simple knowledge about websites and email is all you need to get the power out of this tool.

Article was written by Chad Cook

About The Author

Chad Cook has been doing email marketing since 2000. You can learn more about his autoresponder Tips & Tricks at: http://www.aceresponse.com/AutoResponder_Tips.pdf

For more of Chadกs Internet marketing tips, tools, news, articles, and resources, visit: http://www.aceresponse.com/

articles@ultrawebfusion.com

This article was posted on August 08

by Chad Cook

Does Your Message Pass the Test?

Does Your Message Pass the Test?

by: Claire Cunningham

Develop an effective benefit message and you’re well on your way to building your company’s entire marketing program. After all, you need focus to create success. Without it you can wind up expending effort without getting the reward (income, that is) you’re looking for.
Start with these three ingredients:

Understanding of what the customer needs and wants
Knowledge of the competition’s strengths, weaknesses and messages
Insight about what you offer

Gather the information and chart it. What you’re looking for is a hole where there’s a customer need that you address and hopefully, the competition doesn’t.
Found it? That’s the core of your message. Found several holes? You’ll need to prioritize.
Now, write alternative introductory sentences. Remember, they need to be customerbenefit oriented, that is, they need to explain what the customer GETS. Got your alternatives ready? Here are seven questions to ask of potential benefit messages. They’ll help you find the promise or message that will get you the most mileage:
1) Is it meaningful?
This is where knowledge of the customer comes into play. Your benefit message should be based on the real needs of the people who use your products or services.
2) Is it sustainable?
Establishing your unique position doesn’t happen overnight. The message you choose should be based on what you can deliver long term.
3) Is it believable?
Can you keep the promise you’re making? For example, if your benefit message centers on ขsuperior service,ข do you understand what your customers’ expectations are? Are you committed to making good on this promise over time?
4) Is it unique?
Often there are many providers of a product or service. How do you set yourself apart from the rest of the pack?
5) Is it concrete and easy to understand?
If you ask your audience to think too hard, they probably won’t! Simple, straightforward messages work best.
6) Is it in your own words?
If you’re going to be saying this as an introduction to your business, you need to be comfortable with the words and phrasing. Practice saying messages out loud to test them.
7) Is it attentiongrabbing?
You can’t bore someone into buying! Use words that demonstrate your passion, your understanding of client needs. Use words that engage interest.
Test your message with prospects. Watch for their reactions. Ask what they like and don’t like. You might get stuck. If that happens, a marketing and communications consultant can craft alternative benefit statements, provide an objective viewpoint, even handle the upfront research.

About The Author

Claire Cunningham, president of Clairvoyant Communications, Inc., has 20+ years’ experience developing and implementing successful businesstobusiness marketing and communications programs. Sign up for Claire’s monthly newsletter, Communique, at www.clairvoyantcommunications.com. Claire can be reached at 7634793499 or email to claire@claircomm.com

clairee@claircomm.com

This article was posted on July 13, 2004

by Claire Cunningham