Internet Marketing Secrets eBook

September 14, 2018 | Author: marciascherer | Category: Digital Marketing, Internet, Online Advertising, Websites, Usability
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The Internet Entrepreneur’s® Internet Marketing Secrets Revealed

The Internet Entrepreneur’s®

Internet Marketing

Secrets Revealed

Mick Moore

www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

www.QuickStartExpert.com

The Internet Entrepreneur’s® Internet Marketing Secrets Revealed The Internet Entrepreneur’s Internet Marketing Secrets Revealed Published by Pacifica Press www.QuickStartExpert.com [email protected] San Diego, California Copyright 2008 Pacifica Marketing Group, Inc. Library of Congress Control Number: ISBN 978-1-60643-892-3 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher. Cover Design & Layout by KillerGraffix.Com Editing by ProEditingService.com This book is available at quantity discounts for bulk purchase. For more information, contact: www.QuickStartExpert.com [email protected] San Diego, California This edition of “ Internet Marketing Secrets Revealed” is designed to provide information and motivation to our readers. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged to render any type of psychological, legal, or any other kind of professional advice. The content of this book is the sole expression and opinion of its author, and not necessarily that of the publisher. No warranties or guarantees are expressed or implied by the publisher’s choice to include any of the content of this volume. Neither the publisher nor the individual author(s) shall be liable for any physical, psychological, emotional, financial, or commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. Our view and rights are the same: You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results. Printed in the United States of America

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Dedication This book is dedicated to those who have the courage to step into the unknown, believe in themselves enough to try, and actually take action toward a dream, goal or vision, no matter how ridiculous, difficult, or dangerous. Sometimes, it takes a nudge from the universe to “push us out of the nest” in order for us to spread our wings and discover our true potential. I hope this book will inspire, as well as, motivate you to take that first step into the wonderful world of the entrepreneur and gain you the personal satisfaction only a successful selfemployed person can experience. With the power of the Internet available to almost everyone in the world, the future is bright and the possibilities endless for anyone to become their own “Internet Entrepreneur.” Plug in, log on, and let the most powerful resource in the history of mankind turn your PC into a paycheck. The only thing standing between you and greatness is putting that first idea into motion. —Mick Moore “The Internet Entrepreneur”

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Acknowledgements First and foremost, I would like to thank my wife, Manisha. Your patience with my endeavors may run thin at times, but always comes through in a pinch. I appreciate your dedication and keeping the ship right side up and on course. To my mother, Paulette, your professionalism and talent not only make these books possible, but make them legible to the average reader. I enjoy every step of our collaborations. Thank you for all you do. To Price, who keeps me grounded. Your support and feedback not only provide me with a clear unbiased opinion, but allow me a solid sounding board for new ideas for others. To Don and Melinda Boyer. How blessed I am to have you both in my life. Your guidance and friendship are those most men only dream of. I look forward to years of amazing collaborations and adventures with you both.

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The Internet Entrepreneur’s® Internet Marketing Secrets Revealed Table of Contents Introduction Forget Everything You’ve Heard Before! Do You Have What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur? The Internet—Your Business Tool The Right product Sells Itself The Benefits of Internet Marketing 1. Getting Started

7 9 11 12 14 16 23

2. Internet Business Ideas

55

3. Secrets of Winning Traffic With Search Engines

65

4. Buying Advertising and Keeping Customers!

103

5. Getting Rich From Affiliate Programs

119

6. Exploding Your Profits Through Email Marketing

143

7. Creating Newsletters That Sell as Well as Inform

195

8. Joint Ventures—Partnering For Success

223

9. Selling Information Products Online

233

10. Press Releases

245

11. Viral Marketing

255

12. Creating A Hot Software Product

281

13. Managing Your Life When You Work From Home

297

Conclusion: All You Need to Skyrocket Your Web Profits 303 Contextual Marketing—The Newest Concept 305 Some Warnings 308 Checklist For Launching A Successful Internet Business 309 Costs Budget and ROI 314 Resource Guide—Recommended Reading

317

About the Author

319

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Introduction Several years ago, I discovered the secret to making a small fortune on the Internet. Now I’m going to share that secret with you. When I first started working on the Web, I never dreamed I could make the kind of money I’m making today. To be honest, it was never my intent. At first, I just wanted a bit of extra cash to supplement my real job and maybe put a little money aside for the future. What I discovered amazed me! Within just a few short months, my little online business was raking in thousands of extra dollars every month! I was making more in a month with my Internet business than I was earning working 8 to 6, making profits for my boss. As you can imagine, it wasn’t long before I decided to ditch ’The Boss’ and start working for myself full-time. That was back in 2001. Now, I have several completely automated marketing systems set up on the Web bringing in cash 24/7. Each morning, I wake up, make myself a cup of coffee and spend several minutes checking my emails for that familiar ‘You’ve Got Cash’ from PayPal and making sure that my systems are working properly. The rest of the time I’m creating book covers, websites and products for my clients and friends, as well as myself. It really is that easy!  www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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While the money is great, the best thing about working with the Web is the freedom. I’m not just making more money than I ever thought I would earn, unlike my other highincome friends… I’ve actually got the time to enjoy it. That’s a feeling money just can’t buy! Now, I didn’t achieve any of this by getting a Ph.D. in programming or by following Bill Gates around for twenty years. When I built my first web site, all I knew about my computer was how turn it on. Today, I know how to turn it off, as well. I still don’t know anything about programming and even less about technology. I’ve got no idea at what speed my computer runs, and I don’t even know how to check it. If something fails, I call an expert to fix it. I just have a knack for creating income online. The fact is, to make money on the Web, all you need are a few simple tools and the ‘AMBITION’ to take action and make it happen! It’s not about intelligence or education or who you know. It’s purely about how much you’re prepared to put in at the beginning in order to build your systems and keep them running. With this book and a little determination, you have everything you need to kick your day job and earn a real income by yourself, at home, on the Web. I should know… I did it.  www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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Forget Everything You’ve Heard Before! In this book, I’m not going to give you some far fetched theory about what should work if everything clicks the way I think it should. That’s the kind of speculation you can read in any one of a thousand marketing books sitting on the shelves of Barnes and Noble. The fact is, I doubt if a single one of those authors has sold anything online except copies of their book on Amazon. Here’s my first piece of advice: don’t listen to advice from someone who hasn’t been there and done it themselves! This is absolutely crucial. If you look around the web or in your local bookstore you’re going to find a ton of hype about how you can become a millionaire with nothing more than a keyboard and a mouse. There are people out there who will say you can get rich with no effort, no work and no investment. There are even some who will try to sell you pyramid schemes, get-rich-quick plans and every other kind of scam you can imagine. And people actually buy them. At the first sign of a chance to pick up instant cash, people whip out their wallets and give away their life savings. I’m sure you’re smarter than that. It’s not just the straightforward frauds you have to watch out for. The Internet changes almost every day. Unless someone is actually earning their living on the Web everyday, day in and day out, by the time they’ve finished explaining how  www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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to make money on the Internet, chances are, their advice is out of date. Like I said, I didn’t set out to make a fortune on the Web. I just figured it might give me an extra hundred bucks or so a week to make my life a little better. But like any successful businessman, I ditched what didn’t work and did more of what did. If I saw something that I thought would bring in extra cash, I put up a website and gave it a try. The fact that it’s so easy to create an online business was what really did it for me. If I wanted to take advantage of an opportunity, it cost me next to nothing to try and I lost very little if it failed. It wasn’t long before I knew exactly how to create the right products and bring them to the right customers. That’s what I’m going to show you in this book. I’m not going to give you any strange theories or crazy ideas. I’m just going to share with you exactly what I did—and what I’m still doing!—so that you can do the same thing. Of course, I can’t guarantee that you’ll have the same results as I have had. If I were starting from scratch today, I’m sure I’d have different results, too. I would probably have even better results. All I can do is explain precisely how I did it. My systems work for me; I can’t think of a single reason why they shouldn’t work for you, too. 10 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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Do You Have What It Takes To Be An Internet Entrepreneur? Before you even turn on your computer, the first question you have to ask yourself is whether you’re cut out for this kind of work. The fact is, building a home-based business isn’t for everyone. Some people like the commute. They enjoy having a boss who tells them what to do, and they like the routine of working nine-to-five for a salary that can barely pay the mortgage. Personally, I think they’re nuts. More reasonably, there are people who are concerned about the risk of starting up their own business. They’re not sure it’s worth the investment of time and money, and they’re scared of the responsibility that comes with running their own company. They wonder if there isn’t another way to escape the rat race. I’m sure there is. You could win the lottery or wait for your Aunt Betty to keel over and leave you her condo. Maybe you could sit down with a pen and paper and draw the blueprint for The Next Big Thing. Anything can happen. For me, what happened was creating a successful, selfrunning Internet Marketing System. It didn’t happen without effort. It didn’t happen without at least some initial 11 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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investment of both time and money. And it doesn’t happen now without my having to make sure that the taxes are filed and the paperwork is done. But it did happen. I’m my own boss. I work from home according to my own schedule and I get to pocket all the cash my business makes. If you’re prepared to give an ebusiness the time, the work and the money it needs to get started and get growing, it will happen for you, too. The Internet—Your Business Tool In effect, my system is built on three foundations: the Internet, Marketing, and Product. In this book, we are going to look closely at each one of these. In particular, we’ll spend a lot of time talking about the marketing because this really is what the Internet does best. Let’s just begin by taking a quick glance at why the Internet is the greatest business opportunity since the railroad. The Internet actually started in 1969 as the ARPANET, a Defense Department system designed to let survivors share files after a nuclear attack. From a handful of top secret computers, it’s grown to fill more than 10 million hosts and millions of domain names. And it’s still growing. According to a recent survey, the 12 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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volume of Internet traffic is expected to double annually over the next five years. Consumers are expected to account for 60 percent of all Internet traffic over that period with the rest of the market made up of business users. What does that mean for you? It means customers—millions of them. No other business tool can put the products you sell to so many people so easily. Nothing even comes close. We’re talking about a potential market of 1,407,724,920 people around the world who can buy your products 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Over 1 Billion people! If you opened a store on your main street, how many people would walk past your window each day? If you live in Manhattan, maybe a few thousand; if you live in Los Angeles, maybe a few hundred. On the Internet, there’s no limit to the number of people you can bring through your store front—wherever you live. That’s the power of the Internet. That’s why my online businesses bring in between $1,500 and $2,000 almost every day. I bring in a lot of customers and I ship a lot of goods. The Right Product Sells Itself In fact, for many of my online businesses, my customers 13 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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are my goods. When you join an affiliate program, you use traffic from other sites and pass them on to your partners for a profit. In this book, you’ll learn all about affiliate programs. It will show you how to build them, how to select your partners and how to turn your traffic into cash. But traffic is just one key ingredient of the Web. Information products are among some of the greatest money-spinners currently churning up dollars on the Net. And anyone can create an information product. Imagine you know how to build a bookcase from scratch. That already makes you a lot more knowledgeable than most (the only thing I know about wood is that it works great for a skateboard ramp!) Maybe one person in a thousand will want to know how to build the kind of bookcase you know how to build. If you’re not a well-known carpenter, no publishing company is going to publish your book about carpentry. It’s just not worth the marketing risk. But on the Web, one person in a thousand gives you a potential market of 340,000 customers. So, if you write an ebook about building a bookcase and sell it on the Web for just $10 per copy you could make as much as $3,400,000. All you have to do is find a niche market for your ebook, tell people what you know—and sell it. And that costs next to nothing. Of course, it’s communication that’s the key. The more people you can bring to your websites, the more money you’re going to make. 14 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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You can have the greatest products in the world, sold on the most beautifully designed site on the Web, but if no-one knows where it is, you’re just going to be wasting the twelve bucks or so you’re spending each month on your hosting. There are a dozen different ways to bring people to your businesses. This book will discuss the ones that are most effective. I’m sure there are other ways, too. I’m sure you’ll find people who will tell you that this site is great or this method gave these results. Maybe they’re right and you’re welcome to try them. What I can tell you is that I’ve tried a lot of different methods and these are the ones that worked for me. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they will work for you. If there’s one piece of advice regarding online marketing that you learn from this book, it’s that marketing has to be flexible. Like I said, I’ve tried a dozen different methods. If I hadn’t kept a constant watch on how those methods were working, if I hadn’t dropped those that weren’t worth the effort and repeated my success with those that brought in cash, I’d still be sitting at my desk, creating graphics for the YMCA and taking orders from a boss. I’ll tell you about the methods that I found consistently effective. If they don’t work for your product, give it a little time then switch the methods around. In the first chapter of this book, I’m going to explain exactly 15 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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what you have to do to build a website—from selecting a host, to mapping the design. Once you’ve got your site up, you have to bring in the traffic, and that’s what I look at next. I’ll reveal the secrets of successful search engine optimization, SEO, how to buy advertising that pays and how to make the most of the millions of affiliate programs that will pay real dollars for users you’ve never met and never will. I’ll also examine the various kinds of products you can create and sell online and, finally, I’ll show you how to put everything together to create a truly integrated business system that brings in real cash, hour after hour, day after day! Making a fortune on the Web is easy. Simply read this book and employ the methods I teach. I know it works because I’ve done it. Whether you choose to do it, too, is entirely up to you. The Benefits of Internet Marketing—Why is Internet Marketing Effective? The Internet is the one medium which can be used to reach every city and every country around the globe. It means businesses don’t just have to concentrate on local markets; nothing is impossible. If a business has a web site, this in itself means it is accessible by global and domestic markets alike. It is vital that businesses take advantage of this.

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Besides, the Internet is a very cost effective medium for not only new businesses but already existing ones. It offers excellent convenience to the prospective customer. An added advantage of having a website is that a company can attract customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only effective way for small and medium sized businesses to market globally as well as domestically is via the Internet and it is important that they do this effectively. Normal media advertising and promotion (such as the press, radio and local promotions) cannot reach as many remote visitors as marketing on the Internet can. If done correctly, only the sky is the limit. Not surprisingly, marketing has taken on a completely new media avenue, which has more power and effect than any of the traditional marketing avenues. This new avenue, which cannot be ignored in the 21st century, is the Internet. Internet marketing has become the way of the future, with successful businesses using it to advertise, promote, sell, place commercials and undertake public relations. According to a research study conducted in December 2002 by Aberdeen, consumers purchased more than $4.5 billion in goods and services online—$1 billion more than the same period in 2001. Interestingly, many studies conducted indicate that corporate America continues to disregard problems plaguing its 17 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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collective Web presence. Brand switching is easier than ever before, and companies that ignore signs suggesting that the online channel is quickly becoming the channel of choice, especially among younger consumers who will constitute the markets of tomorrow, are placing their brand equity at risk. Internet Marketing is simply a progression of steps for qualifying a prospect by capitalizing on the power of the Web. One needs only to create an Internet presence that will quickly become your company’s most effective sales tool. Making sensible investments in Internet Marketing such as Search Engine Optimization and Marketing, Webcasts, Email Campaigns, ROI tracking and measurement and other forms of promotion, is essential to your success. Why do businesses need to know how to market their products or services leveraging the power of the Internet? The number of new Internet businesses starting each year globally and specifically in the U.S., create a sizeable market. Often, an entrepreneur starts such a business with a solid idea for selling through the Web, but with little experience in creating the formal Web promotion strategies or marketing deliverables necessary to turn their idea into a successful business. With recent IPOs giving back much of their initial value, companies are now being forced to demonstrate profitable business models in order to maintain strong evaluations. 18 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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Venture capitalists need to focus on making their existing companies successful instead of simply prospecting for the next great idea. To accomplish this, founders need to effectively define and communicate their value propositions. Since this is not a core competency for many entrepreneurs, there is an opportunity to provide this skill set through outsourcing arrangements. Additionally, founders need experience in Internet marketing to exploit market opportunities and create early revenue wins. The benefits that the Internet offers to the world of business and commerce are numerous both in terms of the reach it offers for your message, as well as the efficiencies that if brings to transactions through speed and reduced costs. In order to use this potential to your advantage, you have to attract visitors to your site and tell them about your offering and you have to spur them to take action. You have to engage their attention and convert these leads to prospects. A whole new science has emerged defining the rules and practices of promoting your online presence, generating leads and converting them to prospects. There are just too many websites vying for the visitors’ attention and the market is flooded with tips and techniques of bringing those visitors to your site. Several large players can afford to appoint marketing specialists in the Internet media and can lay down budgets running into several hundred thousand dollars each. It is the small and the medium sized enterprise that is looking for cost effective 19 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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solutions. Individual efforts are just too costly and the landscape is ever changing. You could use the services of professionals who have the experience and the insight about what strategies fit your business needs. Or, you can do it yourself. If you don’t have money to burn and you are willing to learn various techniques, you can do a great job of promoting your site. After all, selecting the right professional, laying down the scope of work, setting metrics to determine if the services have led to adequate results and setting an optimum price for the services, are complex matters. They do not come easy, and more often than not, you rush into things and regret your decision later on. Let’s take a look at how a professional marketing consultant in the area of Internet marketing presents their services. This will give you insight into the professional way to market online. If a small enterprise wants to promote its online business or message, it can spend weeks trying to understand the techniques and then experiment with them. Do you just submit to specific search engines or go for pay per click advertising? Do you go for e-mail campaigns using opt-in lists or do you go for affiliate marketing? Where do you get relevant and genuine opt-in subscribers? Should you stuff your site with keywords? Even if you do manage to bring visitors, how do you ensure it impacts the bottom line? 20 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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How do you convert visitors to profits? Does anyone in the enterprise have the time to read and analyze options and follow them up logically to bring measurable results? Let’s say XYZ has invested extensive resources in developing a well-honed marketing and promotion methodology. This methodology is intended to systematize the mechanics of assessing the customer’s business objectives and current Web presence and evolving and implementing strategies to elevate their effectiveness over the Web to a new level. The entire process has been laid out in a series of analytical and action steps that are well documented. The company has many trained specialists in this methodology. When they have to devise a road map for the customer—with the process template in hand—lay out the current practices adopted by the customer, they establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and gain agreement on baseline levels. Then the specialists perform a thorough evaluation to redesign the strategy. New and improved KPIs are developed and a first-cut business case is prepared. The customer is handed a comprehensive and detailed proposal. XYZ can thus help move the customer’s organization from comparative advantage to competitive advantage. This is your role model when you are out there trying to achieve it by yourself.

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Consider this. US consumers spent more than $14 Billion online during the first 32 days of the 2007 holiday shopping season, according to comScore. That is up 17% compared with the same period for 2006.“This most recent week started strong as consumers spent $733 million on Cyber Monday, which was followed by three consecutive days where spending surpassed $700 million,” said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni, in a statement. Considering such staggering figures, it is absolutely vital for smaller and midsize companies to not only have a presence on the Internet but also to attract customers to their websites by employing proven strategies. The need for Internet marketing services is rising enormously. The effectiveness of online advertising and marketing is being recognized by more and more businesses. US marketers will continue to shift their spending into online advertising in 2008 for a total of over $20 billion.

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Chapter 1 Getting Started The first step towards creating an online business is building a website. Now, that isn’t as complicated as it sounds. When I built my first website, I thought Java was a type of coffee and HTML the name of a robot in Star Wars. That’s why I didn’t know how to do it. I did some research online and decided on a little HTML editor called ‘Visual Page’ by Symantic. It cost me a little over a hundred bucks, and I earned that back in a matter of weeks after building one of my first ecommerce websites. It only took me a couple of days to complete and was worth its weight in gold with the education I received. This chapter discusses how to begin the process of creating your first site and where you can find someone to build your site if you don’t want to do it yourself. Making your website attractive, interesting, engaging and interactive To succeed at your online business (whether you are selling your own product/service or are selling for other merchants as an affiliate), you need a website created just for that—a simple, focused site. One that is easy to build, maintenancefree, low cost, credible, and a powerful traffic-builder and customer-converter. 23 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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Having the right tool and the right product alone doesn’t insure the success of your website. There are many factors to be considered while designing a site. Unfortunately, most of these are easily ignored by Internet business owners. Build It for Speed—It’s a fact of modern life; people are in a hurry. This means that you have between 7 and 10 seconds to capture your potential customer’s attention. To minimize your load time, keep graphics small. Compress them where possible. Use flashy technology (JavaScript, Flash, Streaming Audio/Video, animation) sparingly and only if it is important to your presentation. Target your Market—Know who your market is and make certain that your site caters to their needs. It is critical that your site reflect the values of your potential customers. Is your market mostly business professionals? If so, the site must be clean and professional. Is your product aimed mostly at teenagers and young adults? Then your site could be more informal and relaxed. The key here is to know your market and build the site to their preferences. Focus the Site—Make certain your website is focused on the goal; selling your product or service. A site offering many unrelated products is not necessarily unfocused, but this is often the case. If your business does offer many products, dedicate a unique page for each instead of trying to sell them all from one page.

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Credibility Is Crucial—The most professionally designed site won’t sell if your customers don’t believe in you. A clear privacy statement is one way to build your credibility. Provide a prominent link to your privacy statement from every page on the site as well as from any location where you are asking your visitors for personal information. Provide legitimate contact information online. Navigation Should be Simple—Make site navigation easy and intuitive. Simple and smooth navigation adds to the convenience of the visitors. Add powerful search and catalog features. Many times, visitors do not have the patience to navigate through the whole website to find what they are looking for. Consistency is the Key—Make sure the site is consistent in look, feel and design. Nothing is more jarring and disturbing to a customer than feeling as if they have just gone to another site. Keep colors and themes constant throughout the site. Make Your Site Interactive and Personalized—Make your website interactive. Add feedback forms as well as email forms that allow your prospective customers to ask you any questions they might have pertaining to a product. Personalization of your website is another key element that can lead to customer delight and can increase your sales. Personalization technology provides you the analytic tools to facilitate cross-selling and up-selling when the customer is buying online. It would give you an idea about which 25 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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products to cross-sell and up-sell. For example, when a person buys a CD player, a disc cleaner can also be offered. Content is King—Good content sells a product. Ask yourself the following questions. Does your copy convey the message you wish to get across to your visitors? Is it compelling? Does it lead your visitor through the sales process? Have others review, critique and edit your copy to insure it is delivering the intended message. Always double check your spelling and grammar. Navigation The aim of a website’s navigation is simply to allow users to get to the content they require. For sites that have a large number of sections and web pages (and information sites can be one of these) the navigation plan has to be properly researched and designed. You have to consider different types of visitors and simulate the most common steps they would take to find what they want on your site and the navigation plan has to optimize this movement. For example: searching a catalog of items, selecting from the catalog, adding them to a shopping cart, proceeding to check out, to entering the payment particulars, is a specific sequence that should be facilitated by the navigation system. If the sequence is haphazard, it could lead to frustration or the user may miss an important step and you have an aborted sale. 26 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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To find their way about, users need to know two things:  Where they are now   How to go elsewhere  Navigation does not exist in isolation; good site organization is a prerequisite for a coherent navigation system. Objectives of a Navigation System Navigation can be broken into two primary types: Location Indicators and Navigation Controls Location Indicators Location indicators let users know where they are in the site at the moment. Keep in mind that users coming from outside your site may enter at any page, not necessarily on a ‘main’ page. They need to be able to orient themselves. Equally, it is important that users navigating around your site have a clear idea of where they are both in absolute terms and in relation to other content. Location information should appear on every page of the site, in the same place and in the same style. Location indicators should tell the user precisely where they are and this should be clear even to a user who has entered the site at an internal page. The location indicator should be identifiable for what it is and make sense in the context of other navigation. 27 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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In simple sites, a page banner—text or graphic—naming the page will be sufficient. For this to work the page name should also appear in the main navigation so that it is relevant within the overall structure of the site. Color can be used. For example, a different color background, contrast color or sidebar in each part of the site. To be really effective the color change should be reflected in the navigation. Using ‘breadcrumbs’ on every page is a good idea. Breadcrumbs show you a series of hierarchical links that you have used to go from page to page within a section. Using breadcrumbs is like leaving a trail of the path you have followed. The breadcrumbs appear at the top of the content section, just below the main navigation template. Each element in the breadcrumb is a link to that section or subsection. This helps in avoiding a series of back buttons allowing the user to go directly back to the main section page or another sub section. More importantly, it always shows the context of the page that is being viewed and how it belongs to a section or sub-section. Navigation Controls Navigation controls are the main navigation links; they allow users to move around the site. Whether they comprise images or text they should be predictably located in the same place, and with the same appearance, on each page.

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These have several purposes:  To allow users to move about within the site  To tell users what information is available at the link  To work with location indicators to orientate users A good navigation control:  Is clear—it looks like navigation  Leads to obvious content—users have a good idea what they will find if they click  Is consistent with other navigation controls  Is predictable in its style and location on the page There is no mystery to usability. It simply involves creating a site, which is accessible to the majority of people, is easy to use and get around and delivers on its promises. You can have a site that meets the most important standards of usability by planning it well and always keeping the end user in mind. Remember that websites should not be designed for their owners—they should be designed for their users. Problems with usability could be said to stem from just two sources: the site itself and the user. The fact is, the site is always at fault if a user, no matter how experienced or inexperienced, has problems navigating, getting information or understanding the site. While websites have become far more complex, web users have become less, rather than more, experienced as more 29 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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and more people go online. It is a mistake to think that the majority of users will be web—or even computer—savvy and will understand subtle clues about content. Most will not.  Defining a Usable Site A usable site will:  Help users achieve a goal, usually to find something, such as information, or obtain something, such as a book.  Make it easy for them to achieve that goal  Make it possible to achieve the goal quickly  Make achieving that goal a pleasant experience A site will be generally usable if:  The content is good and relevant  The content is easy to find  The content can be found quickly  The page is pleasant to look at and cleanly designed Good Content A site with good content, regardless of its subject, is one that provides products or information that is useful or beneficial to users. A good usable site will make it clear what information or content is available and at what price AND what is not available. A good usable site should define clearly all subscription packages offered.

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Ease of Access to Information Good navigation, precise location indicators, secondary navigation, clear linked text and a well organized structure all contribute to making information easy to find for a wide range of different users. This is discussed earlier. Keep in mind that many users are inexperienced, it may be necessary to include explanations of things you consider self-explanatory. For example, an inexperienced user may need an explanation of how to use a drop down menu. Sad, but true. Quick Access to Information This is the aim of the majority of web users. It can be broken into two important aspects: Speed of Page Loading This requires, in particular, attention to images to ensure they are properly optimized and do not excessively delay load time. It may also mean breaking up long articles and ensuring that important content is at the top of the page where it will load first.   Speed of Access To Content This is where the much-vaunted 3-click rule comes in—no important content should be more than 3 clicks from the home page.  Some standards even say that it should be no more than two clicks. 31 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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One helpful way to speed access to content is to consider each type of user, select the content that they are most likely to be interested in and create links from the home page to one piece of content for each group. This will get them quickly to the appropriate part of the site. Clean Page Design Cleanly designed pages are pleasant to look at and easy to read. It is almost impossible to make a site with an image shown as a tiled background, usable—the whole thing is too distracting and confusing. It takes no great design skills to create clean pages; it just requires thought and adherence to the principle that when it comes to design, remember, less usually is more. Download status Most paid membership websites are limited to online access and information download rather than selling products. There should be clear download instructions. In case of information download, it is crucial that you show a download bar and the download status. Many websites offer huge files for download but while the user is downloading he/she has no idea the status of the download or the speed of the download. This is very frustrating, especially in the case of larger files and often you’d see users canceling the download midway and leaving the website. Your website should also state the size of the file in kilobytes and the estimated time of download for a user having a 56K modem, DSL, Cable and so on. 32 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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Usability Problems While for large commercial sites, investment in full-scale usability studies may be not just useful but essential, few small sites can afford such luxuries.  However, identifying problems with usability for your site need be no more complicated than asking a few (honest) friends to act as guinea pigs on your site and, if possible, watching them silently as they do this. Watching users try to find information at your site can be both instructive and quite surprising. Remember, if at any stage you feel the urge to intervene and explain, then you have identified a usability problem. List of the Most Common Usability Problems   The site does not state its purpose clearly  Java applets, huge images, banner ads or flashy elements slow down loading; 10 seconds is about as long as the average user will wait for a page.   The site requires specific software to be used. Have you ever actually changed browsers or downloaded a piece of software just to see a site?  Poor navigation, too little navigation, too much navigation and, not uncommonly, no navigation at all  Bad design leading to poor readability  Discomfort due to ugly design or inconsistent design; almost always because a designer overestimated their skills. 33 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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 Irrelevance of content—for example, the business site that includes biographies and photos of each of the board members. Happy egos on the board; bored users!  Complexity or excessive originality of design, which requires users to learn how it works in order to use it.  Inaccessibility because the site cannot be used by browsers used by people with disabilities Building Interactivity and Personalization Make your website interactive. Add feedback forms as well as email forms that allow your prospective customers to ask you any questions they might have pertaining to a product. Personalization of your website is another key element that can lead to customer delight and can increase your sales. Personalization technology provides you the analytic tools to facilitate cross-selling and up-selling when the customer is buying online. It tries to restore to the online business the magic of personalized attention that is one of the chief reasons why most people still prefer in-store purchase. You can use personalization to match your customer with the right products through either rules-based or customer analytics based processing. Thus, as your software stores customer information and preferences, it can help categorize them into groups. At the same time, observations over time can suggest products to cross-sell and up-sell. Thus, when a person 34 www.HomeBusinessSuccessKit.com

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buys a subscription to a fitness site, exercise equipment is also offered. Amazon pioneered personalization on the net—when you a buy a book, it shows you other books in the similar genre saying “people who bought this book also bought these,” inducing you to buy more. A consumer survey from the Personalization Consortium found that 56 percent of respondents say they are more likely to purchase from a site that allows personalization, and 63 percent are more likely to register at a site that allows it. Personalization can lead to customer delight and can increase your sales. Graphics Your site has to be aesthetica