Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mortgage Marketing for Dummies

How well you do in the highly competitive mortgage market is dependent on a number of things. Of course you have to provide good service. You also need to be able to do your job quickly and efficiently. Finally, and most importantly, you need to be able to market your service and products effectively. In fact, if you know anything about the mortgage industry, you know that marketing is what you live and die with. If you have the right marketing plan, then you have all the business you need. On the other hand, if you don't know what you are doing in terms of marketing, then you will be out of business just as fast.

What this all means is that you need a good marketing plan. You need one that will bring you the most business with the least amount of competition. As with any product, a good mortgage marketing plan is one that is built around a niche. A niche is a unique spot in an environment. This particular environment is the mortgage business world. So what you need to do is find your mortgage niche so that you can get all the business possible.

Finding the Niche

The best first step you can take in finding your mortgage niche is to have a good idea of what your own skills are. Knowing your skills is the best way to make sure you are working in your own abilities. You need to interview yourself.

Ask yourself if you have been consistently solving the same problem for realtors all the time. If you have, then this is your strength: knowledge of that particular issue or problem. Additionally, ask yourself if there is any training you have received that separates you from others. The more you know and the more unique you are the better.

Ask yourself if there is a particular loan program you favor. If so, you are an expert at it and can market accordingly. Maybe you can even set your sites on every loan of that type in a particular market.

Overall, you want to make sure you find what you can do best so that you can work with that. Figure out what you get the most compliments from clients and realtors on. Also, think about what part of the mortgage business you like the most is. Maybe you like first time loans or working with certain types of homes (condos, town homes, or single family homes).

Focus, Focus, Focus

The best way to get the most out of your resources in any business, and especially mortgage business, is to focus on your particular niche. You see, while many mortgage pros are using their time and money on a number of different loan programs, markets, and industries, you will be focusing on what you are best at. You will become more knowledgeable and more likely to land the loans within your niche.

As you work in that niche you become an expert. People who work with you will understand how knowledgeable you are. This is something they will pass along and offer up when referring your services to others.

Finally, concentrating on this niche makes your more valuable to real estate agents. When a realtor refers someone, they want to be sure that person is going to take good care of their clients. When you are an expert in a niche, they know that they can send those niche customers to you with confidence.

Find a Program As Well

As you may know, your niche is almost as important as your referrals. In addition to finding your spot in the industry, you should also try to find your own referral partners in the real estate industry. Good referrals are as valuable as a good niche.

One way to get the best referrals from the best realtors is to make yourself valuable to them. You can do that through many referral programs out there. The best ones will get you access to the low hanging fruit of the mortgage industry: renters who are buying for the first time. These mortgages offer the least competition when referred and are the easiest to close. Additionally, they are usually qualified because they come from a real estate agent.

As you can see, there is a lot to be said for the importance of marketing in the mortgage industry. If you want to truly be successful, you need to find your niche in the market first. Then, as you progress, find your way to a program that will hook you up with realtors and the best mortgage leads around.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Where to Find Blank Business Cards

Blank business cards can be a valuable asset to any business or individual. Even though most companies order their business cards from a card company that also prints them, it can also be very beneficial to order a supply of blank business cards for your use. Blank business cards can be customized to suit most any situation.

These blank business cards are a great way to customize cards when need be. If you think about it, why would you want to use the same business cards for every situation or for everyone one of your clients? If you have blank business cards on hand, you will be able to customize each one to meet the needs necessary. For example, if you are doing sales work for a client, it would be nice to have something about that on your card; but if you are performing copywriting functions for a client, you may want to mention something to that effect. There are as many different business card ideas as there are "functions" in your business.

Blank business cards can be bought at a number of different places. You will surely be able to find these cards at a local office supply or stationary store. Also, you can order blank business cards from the same company that supplies you with your regular cards. Just ask them to include a couple hundred blanks. This way you will be able to customize and format your own cards to fit your needs at that time. Besides single blanks, which are hard to run through your printer, you should get full 8 1/2 X 11 sheets of cards.

There are many business card software programs that you can buy to help print and customize your own cards. These programs do not cost a lot of money, and can be very beneficial to the growth of your business. Shopping around a little will surely find some blank business cards. These should not be expensive at all. The software to design the blank business cards can be found in many office supply stores or even from your business card printer.

Overlooking the purchase of blank business cards is a bad idea. Even though it may not sound very important, it can surely help to increase your business, as well as your creative spirit. Be sure to ask your printer for some blank business cards the next time you call them.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Seven Low Cost Marketing Ideas

Growing companies face the issue of marketing their products or services. It is possible to use marketing consultants to do this, but marketing consultants often cost too much money for small companies. An affordable option is to try the following low cost marketing ideas to promote the business.

1.Press Releases - Make press releases that are newsworthy and draw the attention of the readers. The releases should be short and to the point with an opening sentence or phrase that is convincing and holds the attention of the reader.

2.Search Engine Marketing - Having a Website and using the services of a search engine is a necessity in today's environment where greater numbers of people are accessing the Internet for their requirements. The website host must be reliable so that prospective customers can access the site without difficulty. The website's design should be imaginative to the draw attention of viewers. Websites are an inexpensive method for accessing greater numbers of people. The website should have the company's contact details, including the business phone number and email address. Advertise in newsgroups that are in a similar line of business so that the site is easily accessed.

3.Trade Shows - Rent space at trade shows and hand out promotional material to clients. Keep a feedback or order address registry for clients. After the show, contact them, keeping the promises made at the booth.

4.Direct Marketing - Create a finely tuned list of targeted recipients and directly mail the explanatory material to them.

5.Yellow Pages - Make an ad stand out in the yellow pages with an attractive design and listing under a specific, targeted head.

6.Public Service - Promote the company in a positive manner in the community by sponsoring events, donating products to local charities and holding events with local schools or other groups. Distribute promotional t-shirts, pens, or mugs with the company's name emblazoned on it.

7.Business Card and Network Groups - Keep professional and well-designed business cards handy. Join a networking group for support and business leads.

Implementing Low Cost Marketing Ideas
Use knowledge, skills, systems and tools to create a low cost marketing strategy for new businesses to attract customers on shoestring budgets.

Knowledge: Read books on marketing knowledge and buy a couple of marketing manuals from web marketing masters. Learn marketing strategy from consultants or pay a marketing expert to market your business.

Skills: Develop the three important marketing skills.

Ask straightforward questions to learn of the clients' needs and problems.

Listen carefully and provide a problem-solving approach.

Write a compelling copy of marketing materials to attract customers. Demonstrate practical ideas and understand the working of the product.

Systems: Define responsibilities, schedule marketing activities, and use computers to automate tasks and hire people for clerical activities. Focus time and attention on the clients to deliver products or services in a stipulated period. Manage contacts to add to the database. Send information to prospective clients and respond to each query to handle clients respectfully.

Tools: Below are the basic tools needed to target a market.

Communication tools like phone, email, and web sites.

Information for clients about the business, like written proposals, brochures or pamphlets.

Things displaying the company name, logo and contact information like business cards.

Additional Help
There are software packages available to help owners market themselves to consumers. Many of these software packages are constructed with the small business owner in mind and contain invaluable and affordable tools.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ezine Marketing Tips

If you're seriously interested in knowing about ezine marketing, you need to think beyond the basics. This informative article takes a closer look at things you need to know about ezine marketing.

Consider contacting an ezine owner for a joint venture via telephone. Most Internet marketers loath the idea of actually having to talk to another human being in order to secure a relationship, but it is actually one of the best ways in which to make a deal. Consider breaking your silence as a business owner and contacting an ezine owner directly via the phone.

Use a powerful "call to action" in your advertisement. This is the part of the advertisement that tells the reader to stop looking and "buy now" or "get in now before you no longer can" or "start today for free." An effective solo ad will integrate multiple calls to action to give the reader the option to skip to your site immediately several times.

Consider contacting an ezine owner for a joint venture through snail mail. Contacting them through email will be quite tough, as they probably receive dozens of similar offers each week. As per protocol, write a personal email that specifically cites certain details about said person's business to ensure that they don't think it is simply spam.

Contact ezine owners and ask them if they are interested in free video tutorials. They could even send you a script and you could turn it into a video presentation for them, perhaps even using Power Point. You can then host the video from your domain and then can send traffic there every 2 to 4 weeks to get exclusive video content.

Once you begin to move beyond basic background information, you begin to realize that there's more to ezine marketing than you may have first thought.

When creating a solo advertisement, alter the copy so that it specifically portrays the product as a solution to a specific problem. Purchase several solo advertisements to test how well this version converts when compared to other versions. Testing is vital if you want to continually improve the conversion rate of your advertisements.

When creating a top sponsor advertisement, avoid making an attempt to sell anyone on anything. Instead, give something away completely free that will upsell the reader later, such as a subscription or a special report. Additionally, make sure you clearly communicate that nothing is for sale and that you simply want them to take action for free.

Format your ezine advertisement correctly before you send in to a publisher. In most cases, you will have to format your advertisement to 60 to 65 words; and you may even want to perform a spam check. If the text isn't formatted properly, lines will be broken and wrapped unprofessionally; and if you don't perform a spam check, it may never even go through in the first place.

Setup contracts with ezines owners. Promise to procure at least one high quality, exclusive article from your staff each month. Find an expert on your subject who will write this article for you for a low price, sync it with an upcoming product release (for which you advertise in your resource box), and then send it along to the ezine owner.

So now you know a little bit about ezine marketing. Even if you don't know everything, you've done something worthwhile: you've expanded your knowledge.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Squeezing every last cent from your marketing budget

Since hiring a high-powered public relations firm is not in the cards for most business owners, coming up with creative ways to market on a budget is an essential part of any business plan. Your marketing efforts will grease the wheels of your business and get it moving in the right direction. Don't be intimidated by the hype surrounding the extravagant advertising budgets during the Super Bowl. Not everyone needs to spend millions for a thirty second ad. There are plenty of cheap and effective ways to get your name out there and get your products in the hands of customers.

Don't Let Your Marketing Efforts Fall on Deaf Ears
Quantity is not quality in the marketing world. Believe it or not, sending out advertisements to everyone in the United States is not a cost effective way to spend your marketing dollars. It is a waste of your time and money to advertise to people you know won't be interested in your product.

Why would a dating service targeting 20-35 year olds living in the Pacific Northwest send a promotional coupon to a ninety-eight year old in Texas? Explore your customer base and figure out where you fit.

There are numerous ways to identify your target market. You will likely have an idea of the type of customer you want to attract from the get-go. It is just a matter of reaching those customers and seeing if they are truly interested in your product.

Don't go wasting half your marketing budget on your quest to find your target market. If you think your customers will be active adults fond of the outdoors, you might choose to visit local nature societies or park reserves in order to see if that group really likes your product. Instead of wasting time surveying thousands of people, go straight to the source. Find your niche and stay there.

Creating a Marketing Plan Within Your Budget
Now that you know who you are marketing to, you'll have to figure out how to do it. The "how" will be determined by your budget. Begin by asking yourself several simple questions:

-How much money can I spend on marketing?
-What type of advertising do I want to do?
-Where should I do this advertising?

While it is impossible to accurately foresee where you will want to spend your marketing money for the next year, you should be able to make some rough estimates. It can be helpful to research some of your potential competitors to see where their ad dollars end up. It is always good to learn from other people's flops. If you identify a certain ad campaign as ineffective, you've already saved money by avoiding the same mistake.

Cost Effective Ways to Market Your Business
Creativity is the key to any marketing plan. A creative home video featuring your business may find greater fame on YouTube.com than any television advertisement ever will. Not only is that free, it is effective.

The Internet has opened a whole new world of marketing opportunities, many of them free of charge. Both blogs and public forums have become a great way for business owners to connect with customers on a personal level. This is not about pitching potential customers; it's about sharing your opinion and having a conversation. Such a medium can be especially advantageous in establishing yourself as an expert in your field.

Article marketing has become another increasingly popular means through which companies market their products. This process requires you to write informative articles relating to the your industry. Once you've written a batch of articles, they can be submitted to article databases and then distributed to websites throughout the Internet. Each and every one of those articles will have links going directly to your company's website. That is free publicity at its best!

Maximizing a budget for a new business is never easy. When you identify your target market, create a marketing plan, and seek out marketing opportunities within your budget, you set yourself up to see sales climb.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

4 Free Marketing Methods

Every successful entrepreneur knows that the most important part of any business plan is the marketing strategy. Too many would-be business owners get so caught up in product development that they overlook the importance of how that product is going to get into the hands of consumers. The question investors ask budding business owners is what's your distribution? which is a way of asking how will you market this?

In the 21st century we have so many different means of communication available to us that it is overwhelming at times to try to choose which medium will best serve your business. People are hit by marketing messages 24/7 and tune out over 95% of what they see or hear. More money is wasted on bad marketing strategies than almost any other part of business, so for young start-ups, it's best to test with free marketing methods.

One free method of marketing is to affiliate yourself with a business network such as your local chamber of commerce. When there are events, you can share your business cards and brochures with all the other members present. They in turn will likely give you their information, but you may be just what one of these people is looking for or find a partner to joint venture with that will give you leverage to get more exposure for your product.

A second free method of marketing is to write and submit press releases. The internet has made this method so easy, cheap, and fast that offline papers often turn to the online databases to find news. The announcement of your new product and how it solves a problem is definitely newsworthy. Never write them to sound like commercials, it should always sound like news or it won't get published. Once you've written it, you can send it to any of the many online press publication sites, such as OpenPR.com.

Free marketing method number three is to participate in online forums and utilize your signature line to talk about your business. Never openly talk about your business in a forum unless it's to directly answer somebody else's question, and never post garbage like 'me too' just to get your signature seen in a thread. Contribute good quality and choose a forum that interests potential clients so you'll know you've got a winner.

A fourth and one of the best ways to market for free, is to simply offer some free incentive for people to try your product. This can be entry into drawings for hot prizes, gifts that bear your company logo or message of some sort, free memberships, consultations, information, or bonus additional products with purchase.

Giving things away for free tends to enhance the perceived value of what you offer while at the same time winning the trust of your clients. As people see your interest in delivering real benefits and not just taking their money, you will see more buyers and more frequent action from the same buyers.

Marketing doesn't have to cost big money, often the best solutions are very inexpensive. Test your strategies for free as often as you can until you are sure of the market's response, so that once you know how much it costs you to get a buyer you can spend that amount over and over while always gaining more and more profits.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

7 Factors Of An Effective Advertising Campaign

You've probably heard the old saying - I know that half of my advertising dollars are wasted, if I only knew which half! Although it's not possible to know all the factors that go into effective advertising, there are a few elements that are crucial to an ad campaign that is profitable. If you strive to achieve as many of the following 7 factors as possible, you can be confident that you'll have a winning campaign.

1) Choose an appropriate medium to convey your message. This is so obvious, but you'd be amazed at how many people don't use common sense when buying media. If you're trying to reach a 14 year old, don't buy an ad in the daily paper - buy the radio station that plays hip hop music! Try to target your advertising as much as possible. Think about the person you're trying to reach with your message. The more you know about that person, the easier this will be.

If you're selling clothing to working women, buying TV is probably not a good idea. They're probably so busy doing household chores and taking kids to various activities, they probably don't have time to watch much TV. But billboards and radio are great because she's probably on the road a lot and those media fit for that audience.

2) Don't believe that everyone uses media the way you or your spouse does. Just because you don't like a certain program on TV doesn't mean that your potential customer doesn't like it - they may be big fans and never miss an episode.

Don't assume that everyone reads the newspaper because everyone you know does. Ask for information about the medium's audience - let your rep show you exactly who is watching/reading/listening/driving by/surfing their medium.

3) Don't judge the price of the ad by the dollar amount alone. Just because an ad is expensive doesn't mean it isn't a good buy - and the opposite is true also. If an ad is cheap, but no one reads or sees it, it's worthless to you. If an ad is reaching tens of thousands of people for $1,000, it might be a good buy if those are the people who are in the market for your product.

Try to gauge the real value of an ad by the cost per thousand or cost per rating point (for TV, radio & cable). If you're not familiar with those terms, ask your ad rep - they will be happy to fill you in. (And if they aren't, find a new rep.)

4) Develop a relationship with your customers and prospects. This is another thing that should be obvious, but very few companies actually do this. Proctor and Gamble has found that this is what makes them money. And it makes sense. If people trust your brand and feel that they know your company, they're far more likely to buy your products. This is actually easier to do as a smaller business than a large one - and many local businesses have done this for years.

It may be schmaltzy, but when the local furniture store owner is on camera for all his TV commercials, people develop a relationship of sorts with him or her. They feel like they know that business. Anytime you can link a personality - even if it's not a celebrity - to a business, that makes that business stand out. This is an important element that there's not nearly enough room to cover - so think this one through for your business and come up with ways (and they can be very simple) to develop a relationship with your customers and prospects. An email newsletter is a simple, cheap and very effective way to do this, by the way.

5) Have a hook. Give people something that makes them remember you. Big companies spend millions on this - and for a good reason - it sells stuff. Whatever you do, don't say "for the best in service and quality" - no one will believe you! If you want to convey that message, have one of your customers give a testimonial on camera - have them describe how you provided them with great service and quality. Give details.

A hook needs to be simple, memorable and if possible, fun or heartwarming. The Taco Bell Chihuahua is a good example - the Pillsbury Doughboy is another one. Do something different and let people know about it. Give them a reason to choose your company over your competitors.

6) Be relevant. Talk to your prospects in your advertising - let them know that you feel their pain and are going to help them make it go away. If you're talking about something they can't relate to, they'll ignore you. There are way too many advertising messages in the world today - and people have learned to tune them out unless they click with something that is important to them. You know how this works - you do the same thing.

If you're sick of how your car is nickel & dimming you lately, you suddenly are much more aware of ads for cars. Find out why people buy your product and talk about how you will give that to them. It's really pretty simple - but an overwhelming majority of businesses totally miss this.

7) Make sure you know what you're trying to get your prospect to do. Do you want them to come to your store and buy a specific product? Or do you want them to call your business to get an estimate on a project so your sales person can close the sale in person? The more specific you are in your call to action (please make sure to include one!), the more likely your audience will do what you want them to do.

All of the elements that go into your advertising - the media, the creative, the copywriting, the call to action - create a synergistic result. The more focused you are with any of those elements, the better your results will be. It's always crucial to measure your ad results. Determine what you want to achieve and include devices that will allow you to determine whether or not you achieved your goal. Then you can tweak results from there.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's is in the BLOG

If you're looking to grow your business, then a BLOG is a great tool to add to your tool chest. In this article we will discuss BLOG basics and how you can use them in your business.

1. What's a BLOG?

What's a BLOG you ask? Well, let me tell you. According to Wikipedia.com:

A blog (short for web log) is a user-generated website where entries are made in journal style and displayed in a reverse chronological order [newest entries are at the top].

So, its really just an online journal or diary that is written by anyone who wants to tell the world what's on their mind. (Side note: When I say "the world" I really mean it, so be careful what you write.)

Ok, so how can this help you grow your business? Great question. To understand the answer you have to know just a bit about how search engines work.

2. BLOGs and Search Engines

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN and all the others use what they call "spiders." Spiders are software programs that "crawl" the internet looking for new content, and rank it based on its contents and its relevance to a certain topic. This is all done by some very complex math, but the important thing you need to know is that if you write often and/or discuss topics that are getting searched online a lot (i.e. topics in the news), the search engines will consider your site "relevant" and if you include "key words" (popular search terms) in your content, that you know your potential customers are searching for, there is a much better chance that they will actually be able to find you.

So to recap, my 3 Principles of BLOGging for Search Engines are:

1)Write Often
2)Write Relevant
3)Write Using Key Words

3. What makes a good BLOG?

This is a rhetorical question. The only thing that really matters is the opinion of the audience you are trying to reach. So here are a few tips that will help you stay on track.

1. Know who you are writing for
a. If your audience is 13 year olds, writing about retiring next year probably isn't going to get you a lot of return visitors

2. Keep it short and to the point
a. 100-300 words is all most people will have the time to read, so keep your articles short and to the point. Over time this will build a great deal of credibility with your readers.

3. Write actionable content
a. "How To" and "Top 10" lists are great. It gives your readers action steps they can take to use your content in their everyday lives. Think about ways to use these to point out how you are different from your competitors.

4. Don't be afraid to tell some of your secrets.
a. People love to hear about how to make something happen, then they love to pay someone else to do it. Let's be honest, even though you just told me how I can edit my html code on my website to make it stick out like neon lights in a search engine, that doesn't mean I want to do it myself. Just give me a way to contact you to hire you. After all, you just showed me that you are the expert.

5. Allow Comments
a. Consider allowing people to post comments about your BLOG. In fact, you should be the first one to post a comment after each blog, pose a question or comment to simply getting a discussion started. If visitors are interacting and writing comments about your BLOG, they are actually adding relevant content that the search engines are going to like.

Well, there you have it, BLOG basics.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Building A Customer Database

One of the most important parts of a home business is certainty that you always have
enough work to keep the income flow steady. Doing that means that before you ever start
your business, you have to begin an advertising campaign so that you have someplace to
begin. Do not quit your job and go in with blinders on your eyes or you will fail and be
right back working for someone else. You should have a constant flow of potential
customers or repeat customers, depending on the kind of business you operate. Some
types of home businesses have guaranteed repeat business, while others are usually just
occasional jobs.

In order to assure that you always have a constant flow of work, make sure that you
always have a database of customers. You do not want to spam anyone but if you
have someone who has contacted you in the past about a project or you have worked with
someone in the past, you can drop them a short email to see if there is anything else they
need you to help them complete. The key is always keeping your contact list up to date
and staying in contact with people you assist. You may get into the habit of offering
bonuses for referrals that ultimately become one of your customers.

Although advertising is an important part of your business, some fields do not require it
simply because of the nature of the work. Transcriptionists, for example, do not require a
large database of customers since most of that work will come through the courts,
doctors, or lawyers, depending on the type of transcription you do. In most cases, these
fields will not require advertising because your credentials alone will keep the clients
coming back again.

Even if your business does not require ongoing advertising, you will need to do some
initial advertising in order to gain the momentum you need to get your business operating
efficiently. You do not have to spend a great deal of money on advertising but you must
keep in mind that sometimes the free internet sites do not afford the same success rate as
those that require a fee. Even if its a small fee, you will have more success than with a
free advertising site.

Other ways of advertising include signature lines in your email, link
exchange programs and making sure that your website is submitted to as many of the
search engines as possible within your budget. Some free submission services are
available but your site will not reach as many search engines as those charging a fee.
Remember the old saying that it takes money to make money, so you have to invest a
little of your own money if you expect to make your business the success that you want it
to be.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Great ways to Market your Home Business

Everyone knows that marketing a home business is one of the trickiest things about having one. You have to be sure that you are doing it correctly, because no matter what your business is, chances are good that there are a lot of people who have home businesses that are going to be able to compete with yours. Because the Internet is open to everyone all over the world, you are going to find that it often comes down to people choosing the business that markets themselves the best.

Make Your Mark

So, how can you make your mark on the world and be sure that you are noticed? First of all, you have to have something that no one else does. Chances are good that other people have your same idea, unless you have come up with something that no one has ever heard of before. So, this means that there has to be something about your business that is unique, whether it is in your web site, the way that you do business, or the product that you are offering. You have to be sure that you can easily say that you have something no one else can offer, and that when you say this, you can actually mean it. If you can do this, you are going to be on the right track.

Market, Market, Market

Another thing that you have to be sure to do is to market yourself. No matter what you are doing, there is a place somewhere that is going to be able to market you. You have to rely on yourself and do your own research, and figure out where you can best market yourself. If you are just starting out, a good thing to do would be to search online for your product or service, and see what comes up. See what your competition is, and then figure out what they are doing to market themselves. Then, see where you can get your name out there and how you can make yourself known in the world where you want to be.

Another thing that you have to do is to get creative about how you market yourself. This could even be the thing that sets you apart from all the rest. If you can be sure that you really know what you are doing, you might be able to find your way to the top of something, and you might be able to be more of a success than you ever thought it would be possible for you to be. Get out there and market yourself, in the best way possible, and see if you can bring yourself to the forefront.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Web Design For Private Practice

Every practice needs a website. A practice website is a 24/7 marketing machine for your practice. Before I ever took a class on marketing, I did not realize how much cheaper and easier it is to get clients from the Internet than from other forms of marketing. For the first two years of my practice, I got no referrals from my website. That is because, like most psychotherapist's websites, my site was not search engine friendly and no one could find it.

A website that is search engine friendly is particularly good for education based marketing. You can let others know what you are an expert in. Referral sources will start seeking you out and making referrals to you if you have a website that is search engine optimized.

The pro's of Do-it-yourself web design: It's inexpensive. It allows you complete control over your content. Search Engine Optimization: Most web designers do not design for Internet Marketing. You can easily optimize you page for your search terms.

I am a fan of do-it-yourself web design for private practice marketing since I started using Xsite Pro to design my pages. Now I can design professional looking pages with far more content than I could ever afford to pay someone else to do. It has become a hobby for me and I get a large number of referrals for my practice from my practice websites for very little cost. Since I spent the time learning how to do it, it has not been difficult to get my sites at or near the top of the search engines for the terms related to my practice. My websites are a source of many referrals for a very low financial investment.

The Con's of Do-It-Yourself Website Design:
It is time consuming. There is a learning curve. Self designed sites may not look as professional as some designers.

The problem with do-it-yourself web design is the learning curve and the time necessary to commit to it. I enjoy it. If you don't enjoy computers- you probably want to hire someone else to design the website for your practice.

The Pro's of Hiring a Web Designer: Easier and less time consuming than doing it yourself. You might get a prettier website. If you are careful to pick a designer who knows how to optimize your page and you spend the time researching what to optimize your page for, you might get a lot of clients from it. A web designer might know about tools you would have never found to grow your practice.

The Con's of Hiring a Web Designer:
There is a high likelihood they will know graphic design and not search engine optimization, leading to a site that can not be found and brings you no business. It can get extremely expensive. You can get charged what one coach calls "hostage fees". If you are not capable of changing and maintaining your own pages you may face an endless stream of on-going fees to do what you want with your site. When your site needs to be up-dated, even just to add a link, you may have to wait on your web designer.

Many designers know graphic design and know very little about marketing. Unless you take the time to learn about internet marketing and search engine optimization yourself, you are highly likely to end up spending a lot of money on a page that looks nice but very few potential clients will ever see. Be especially careful of designers who try to sell you a flash site or one that uses a lot of Java script. Designers who are focused only on the look of a page may tell you they are the best, but they are generally not appropriate for marketing. They can look stunning if done right, but they are awful for being found by search engines. I have known several professionals who got stuck paying a lot of money for sites that get very little traffic from potential clients or referral sources.

Recommended Resources for Hiring a Web Designer for Your Private Practice:

I think it is wise to attempt to learn some things about creating websites before hiring a web designer. If you want to maintain your site yourself and you have learned something about creating a website but want some professional help to make it look more professional, consider using Rent-A-Coder or Elance.

I have used Rent-a-Coder and Elance independent contractors for several projects and have been satisfied. These very large services have many thousands of independent contractors worldwide. You can find a US or international contractor by putting out a bid request. International designers, especially from third world countries, are generally much cheaper than U.S. designers if you want to outsource some design work. These services have an escrow service to insure that your independent contractor fulfills your request fairly before getting paid. You can hire designers on an ongoing basis to build and maintain your website, or for just for doing a certain portion of coding or script writing that is too advanced for you. You can also hire writers, search engine experts, graphic designers, and many others to help in your marketing.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Viral Marketing For Beginners


This is one virtue a site must possess to lead the race in the ruthless competition in the Internet based business. With so many competition and rivalry going on, every method of marketing must be employed and utilized.

It doesn't matter if you have a killer product or a fantastically designed website, if people don't know that you exist, it doesn't matter, and you are not going to make it big. Worse of all, you business could just get killed.

While there are so many methods and schemes used by so many e-commerce sites today, there are still some of those that can help you with an extra boost in the popularity ratings. One of these is the so called Viral Marketing.

While the term viral easily depicts a virus, a word very much dreaded by all computer owners, it is not what it seems. You do not actually use a computer virus to spread your business; on the contrary it just might kill you. Everyone has had enough of all those pop up ads and spywares.

Viral Marketing Overview

Viral marketing, also known otherwise as viral advertising, is a technique used to build the public awareness of one's product or company. They use many forms of media to reach out to the public without actually promoting the product by riding on in other forms of addictive means that could get a person hooked and be obliged or amused to actually pass it on, with the product or company advertisement along with it.

In a nutshell, companies ride on the idea that if people like the content of a media they will pass it on to their friends and family. They sponsor the certain media, such as a cool flash game, funny video, amusing story and such, which one may pass on to another with the company brand or logo or the products description or any other content to help promote the company or its product.

Viral marketing has become a popular means of advertising and marketing because they are relatively low cost. To avoid being tagged as spam mail, viral marketing counts on the eagerness of one person to pas on the product. If a person sees the name of the person they know as the sender, they won't block it and open it as well.

Many companies offer incentives such as discounts and rebates when they help in spreading their viral marketing. They rely on the number of recipients a viral marketing gets from one person in determining the amount or number of incentive they can be attributed with.

Using Viral Marketing to your advantage

The main and foremost advantage of viral marketing is that you get a lot of publicity and public awareness about your site and your company. You get to generate a flow of traffic that are potential customers. With a little ingenuity and imagination, plus some incentives or prizes, you can reach out to a great number of people and announce your existence.

Most every site and companies are catching on to the effectivity of Viral Marketing and Advertising. Not using it could kill your business. Along with other schemes and methods in promoting your site, like Search Engine Optimization and such, viral marketing could easily push you ahead in the rating games.

Viral Marketing could be a sneaky way to get people to know about you and your company. You get them to pass your advertisement along. They are also very low cost that not investing in it could be downright a business suicide. All it takes is a great idea, a good addicting game, a funny story many ideas are still out there. Create a gossip or a buzz, many movies are promoted by using scandals and gossips to make them more popular. Remember the movie "The Blair Witch Project"??

Many big companies have tried viral marketing and have had many success stories with it. A classic example is Microsoft's Hotmail. They were the first known big company to utilize the scheme online and it has worked wonders for them.

Now it's your turn to use viral techniques to work wonders for you. Act now and reap the benefits Viral Marketing will provide for you and your sales figures.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Greatly Improved Sales Without Spending a Time

As a long time start up expert, businesses varying from restaurants to software companies, I have come across hundreds of other entrepeneurs who all seem to have the same complaint. “We won't use any heavy marketing strategies to increase business because it is simply too costly. "How can I accomplish this?" Many never seem to like my answer. Why? Because it always starts with, “first try washing your stoop and cleaning your front entrance and see what happens”.

The knee jerk response is always one of laughter immediately followed by bewilderment. The reality is, most of us look for solutions to most issues in complex service offerings and big articles that use words like aggregation, amortization and multifarious (yes it is a word). But, in practice, most complex solutions look at us right in the pocket book every day and we simply look past. Here is a prime example. My friend who asked the above question owned a medium sized business who benefited from a great deal of foot traffic, yet his volume has half of what his direct competitor was across the complex.

The issue was clear, his nearest competition simply presented a better product right from the beginning with a nice, organized appearence and a whole bunch of service options once inside. So, I broke down a simple list for my friend to use and here it is.

1. Say "We Are a Good Place" Without Say a Word: Everyone is out of time and always in a hurry. But, even the busiest potential customer likes (and more importantly will stop to get) a free cookie. Are cookies expensive? No, they are not. Who doesn’t like a cookie and a smile at the front door? This is cheap to do and will immediately bring in business.

2. Macy’s Doesn’t Have a Patent on Window Displays: Have you ever thought of putting in a scene or colorful decoration in your window? People love creativity and usually reward it with consistent patronage. We are always looking for something new or someone interesting to follow. It is simply our nature. Get creative; put something cool in the front window and watch people talk.

3. Let the Children Play: How many businesses are children friendly? And the ones that are usually do a good business if done right. So give the kids something to do. As a father of three, I’ll be the first to tell you I will be a loyal customer if you can keep my kids from screaming at each other for more than 30 seconds. Ahh, thirty seconds of peace and quiet.

4. Keep Your Store Organized and Clean: Get all of the little things that need to get done, DONE! Organize your store and keep it neat and tidy. Be anal about it as all good businesses look like good businesses. If it looks shabbily run, then it probably is and the consumer is not likely to go in.

5. Sell Something at a Loss: The auto sales industry is built on the concept of the “loss leader”. In short, you lose money on a product (an insane deal) in hopes to up sell or sell other items that are not on sale. This has proven to be one of the simplest and most effective approaches to increase volume and subsequent revenue. Now, it does take some thought on what to sell and how to position to insure you do get other items sold, but it isn’t that complicated.

Sometimes it's hard to believe but, these simple five steps work every time. There are also many articles on small business magazine online that also touch on similar methods. Any new ideas, even bad ones, can spark positive action. Remember, always be creative and don’t be afraid to try new things.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

MLM Help Resources

With home-based business being the promise to riches why is it that 98% of mlm'ers fail? Okay perhaps you've done all the hotel meetings, driven all over town doing presentation after presentation, been rejected more times than a telemarketer calling during supper time, and are asking yourself why did I get involved in this again??

Your dreams of having more freedom, spending time with your family, traveling around the world, having too many hot rod car...remember?

Using conventional methods to build your downline such as buying leads, cold calling, plastering flyers all over town, classified adds, getting referrals and drop boxes in stores all work. Yes I said they all work, however building your business this way is like waiting for molasses to pour on a cold winters day!

What more is that these traditional methods your upline has "sworn" to you works, end up costing you oodles of time, money and effort with little to no rewards.

I've tried all of these methods. At one time I was even the top recruiter for all of Canada for cripes sakes, and Still never made any Big checks to write home about. Forget big, $5000 would have done it, but I had no such luck using conventional methods.

The reasons why 98% of mlm'ers fail is that it costs too much time energy and money invested than what is being pumped back. Most people in today's society want microwave, Rome was built yesterday results. They are discouraged when their big dreams mlm business doesn't fire out the gate and make them thousands at the get go.

That is unless you do it properly. You see mlm is sold to "average people" who haven't a clue about marketing. "We are only sharing our product/service with you", not selling? Good God not the "S" word! Common we sell everyday. We sell our kids on the benefits of eating broccoli and our spouses on this vacation destination vs another.

The problem is that average people are buying into mlm hoping to one day taste those $20,000 - $60,000 per month checks, without a clue as to what is actually needed to generate a downline that can provide residuals as such.

Here's what every successful network marketer needs in order to generate those kinds of checks. An inexpensive way to get quality, warm leads beating down your door to do business with you each day! This produces sign up after sign up with relative ease. Now if you don't get this, count on freezing your balls off before tasting any sweet molasses!

Imagine...no more chasing the neighbors and bombarding your friends at the water cooler at work with the upcoming hotel meeting schedule. What a concept, people coming to you! Here's how it works...

People know the Internet is the way to go these days. So use it to your advantage. All the top dogs are using what is called "automated prospecting systems"; Ya go ahead and say that 5 times fast.

This is absolutely indispensable information you are about to hear and crucial if you are serious about retiring any time soon on a beach in Maui.

You get your hands on an information product an E-book for example about network marketing. Something that over delivers quality information on how to solve the problems most mlm'ers face, frustration! Make sure when you go about selling this product it is also attached to a back end office that shows you where each sale gives you a profit$ and a lead! Yap I'm giving out huge secrets here, I will probably get crucified for letting this one out of the bag but someone's got to do it. Good mlm'ers are failing not because they don't have potential to succeed but for lack of the right information and proper methods to really make it in this business.

Now once the prospect has bought the info product or e-book under your affiliate, put some cash in your pocket they then become a lead for you. Who better to prospect for building your business than mlm'ers themselves! How many duds have you gone through to find the serious builders? Imagine people paying you to become your leads! Ingenious isn't it?

And that's how the big barkers prance around on stage earning $20,000 - $60,000 per month and more. That's all there is to say. I hope this article about mlm help resource- network marketing secrets reveled will help you pave your way to riches!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Email Marketing Boost your Brand

In today's economy of intense competition, a company's brand is of paramount importance. This is further enhanced by the fact that the Internet makes your nearest competitor just a click away.

The values associated with your brand can make the difference between having lots of repeat customers and constantly losing people after one sale. It can mean the difference between having positive word of mouth advertising working for you and having a diluted conception of who you actually are. These brand values ultimately make a big difference to your bottom line, and they're something every business owner or brand manager should be looking at closely if they want to secure the longevity of their brand.

Email marketing is a key element of the brand building exercise that often goes overlooked by decision makers. People will spend countless hours, days and weeks analyzing their websites and making sure each page has a consistent feel. But how long are your customers really on your website? While all of us wish we were eBay with a retention time per user in excess of 90 minutes (source: Nielsen//NetRatings), the fact remains we are not. Email marketing lets you impose your brand values on your customers (and prospective customers!) even after they leave your website.

If your customer spends 7 minutes on your website, do you think they have absorbed enough of your brand values? Think of popular brands in today's marketplace: when someone says McDonalds you instantly think and feel certain things, but those values were built up over a long period of time (...definitely dwarfing the 7 minutes you got to spend interacting with your customer!). But, email marketing can help fill that void. The best email marketing programs will offer email signup boxes for your website, so you can prompt your site visitors to sign up for your newsletters, coupons, promotions, etc.

By sending effective email marketing campaigns to your customers, you can communicate with them even after they've left your website. This is not to suggest that your strategy should be to bombard your customers with constant email marketing messages so that they have no choice but to remember your brand. In this case, your email marketing may have effectively gotten your customers to know your name, but the brand values you are communicating is that you are excessively annoying (and you probably don't want that!).

An effective email marketing strategy for brand building would be a monthly or bi-weekly newsletter. You want to send enough email marketing messages so that your customer gets a feel for your company and keeps you in mind for their future purchases. It's important that your email marketing campaigns reinforce the brand values you began to setup while the customer was on your website. While your customers may not become brand loyal after just one email marketing message, over time your brand will become ingrained in the 'purchasing habits' part of their psyche and that's exactly what you are striving for.

The nice thing about email marketing in conjunction with brand building is that it is very viral. Once you have brand loyal customers, they essentially become your brand ambassador and that means they can easily forward your message to their friends and colleagues (most email marketing programs should have a 'forward to friend' feature). This is a huge benefit because when John gets an email from his friend Mike saying "Hey John, these guys sell the absolute best widgets, check out their flyer below", you better believe that John will be landing on your website ready and eager to be your customer.

Email marketing, when done correctly, keeps the lines of communication open long after a customer has visited your website, which gives you the time to build your brand and ultimately reap the benefits.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Skills on Selling

There are several sales skills and sales steps that one must use and take before becoming a success in the sales field. The sales skills will address the knowledge behind the art of making a sale, and following the simple sales steps can provide you with more deals to close.

Of the numerous sales skills that top many of the leaders' lists one of the most practical is that you must learn to mange your time wisely. Be familiar with your clients and your territory to use this resource most effectively.

You must also be able to motivate one to buy. Get past the gatekeeper of the company to the real decision maker. Be convincing and persuasive. Show him how your products stand out from the crowd.

Once you reach the one who handles these things, an important sales skills to note is to motivate him or her to buy. Provide testimonials and examples of how you have helped others, and present ways that your services have bettered the work environments of others.

As you hone your sales skills, you will then need to work on the steps that it takes to land important accounts and customers.

When it comes to landing a deal, there are some further useful sales steps to be combined with the above to make that happen.

You must always find ways to improve customer relationships. This is the key to any successful pairing.

Work hard on your presentation and communication skills. These are important sales steps that many overlook but that patrons will scrutinize.

Finally, secure commitments from others. This important sales step is one which will be the most favorable for you when it comes to your future success. With the use of many of the above sales skills and steps, your future triumphs are secured.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

How to Promote Your Online Business Offline

You must really work hard to make money on the Internet. Are you doing it the right way? This article is going to cover a few of the basic steps that you can use to promote your Internet business, using offline tactics. Some are free, others require hard earned money.

From the first day when I started an Internet home business opportunity a couple of moths ago, all that you read about were that the money is in the list and that has not change. The way you build your list has changed, but you still need that list, if you want to be successful with your internet home business opportunity. The problem is that creating and maintaining that list is hard work and to find the right products to sell can be time consuming and difficult.

Promoting your Internet business through the media to build your list is a method that many overlook or completely forget about when it comes to advertising their work from home business. For many people, reading an advertisement in the newspaper or a magazine is a more trustworthy way to respond to an advert.

Newspaper advertising is still a very beneficial way to go about advertising, and can be extremely profitable. Just about every household these days subscribe to their local and even national newspapers.

There are different ways to advertise in a newspaper, you have quarter pages, half pages and full pages. This will take a lot of money but if you can afford it, it will be worth your while. For a simple and cheaper way, you can place an advertisement in the classified section under the category of your product or service. The price will depend on the amount of words and style you use. In our local newspaper you pay for two advertisements and get the third one free, but the advertisement must run for three consecutive days.

Flyers are a very effective tool in promoting your work from home business offline. They are extremely cheap to produce. When you use your computer, it is free. You can distribute these flyers your self, get somebody to handout these flyers at the robots or make use of your local postal delivery service. Put some flyers up at the local supermarkets, shopping malls, town halls, bus stations or pretty much anywhere that you think people will be interested in, in what you are promoting. Just make sure in advance that the management of the establishment approves it first. Be absolute sure to include your URL in the flyer.

Business cards are accepted willingly, in the business culture of today.

There are a phenomenal amount of different ways to promote your Internet business offline that was not covered. Start to explore these different avenues of promoting your business.

To summarize this article you can make money with your Internet home business opportunity | work from home, if you are prepared to learn and willing to work hard at it. Set some goals and follow them. Goal setting has given thousands of people all over the world a successful way to financial freedom.

Adwords Conversion Tracking

Are you using Google Adwords to promote your product or service? Are you getting the results you want? You'll only know this information if you are tracking the conversion rates of the click-through you are paying for. Then, depending on what you learn about the conversions, you may need to refine your campaign.

A conversion rate is defined as the percentage of people who actually purchase your product or service compared to the number of people who came to your website by clicking on your Adwords ad. This number is the conversation percentage and the higher the percentage, the more effective your ad campaign. If you have extremely low numbers, you need to do something to increase those numbers such as refine your ads or choose better keywords or websites for displaying the ads.

Google provides inside the Adwords application a tool for tracking conversions for each campaign and each ad you run. This allows you to learn what your rates are and see which ads are doing their job well. If one ad or a whole campaign isn't doing well, then you can look for patterns that can clue you in about how to change and make the campaign more effective.

Adwords conversions are driven by many factors. It is not sufficient of your ad to get the user to click through to your website, although that is the first step. The ultimate goal is to make a sale or create a valid lead that will bring in a future sale. Whether you goal is to get the visitor to sign up for a newsletter or to purchase a product or service, if that visitor fails to do what you wish, then you have not converted that visitor. How many convert once they see your website is controlled by you. How attractive is your website? Is it truly compelling, making the visitor believe they simply can't live without the product or service your offer? Is the website easy to navigate or is it not very user friendly? Are your sales claims believable or do they seem to be unrealistic? Do you have data to support your claims? These are all factors that are within your power to control.

Even the greatest Google Adwords campaign won't generate conversions into sales or sign-ups if the website the visitor sees is ugly, hard to use or doesn't offer what the advertisement stated. One example seen all too often is the Google ad that indicates "free" but the visitor find that they actually have to pay. Be sure that your website offers exactly what your Google Adwords campaign promises. If you tell the visitor they will find something for "free" then it must be there and it must be free of charge.