Sunday, December 31, 2006

Unlocking Sales Among Untapped Prospects

Author: Sarah Harrington

Article: Most companies, including those with sterling marketing reputations, operate without a comprehensive view of their market. These companies often market and sell to approximately one third of their available potential. If you are in this situation, and it is likely you are, this limited view is resulting in a number of undesirable consequences. First, you are over-communicating to the one third of the market that you are seeing, wasting marketing effort and funds. Second, you are effectively giving up two thirds of your opportunity, and a major chunk of revenue, to the competition without a fight.

Winning marketing sales operations can overcome these issues by engineering their processes to ensure better market visibility. Then, they make this improved visibility pay off by aggressively targeting viable new prospects, instead of overworking tired, old ones.

Massini Group has measured the results of Engineered Processes among our clients. Quantitative outcomes include: * 40% or more increase in quarter-over-quarter sales in a down market. * 36-fold increase in net new opportunities produced. * 600% improvements in ROI by tapping into unrealized market opportunities.

WHAT ARE ""UNTAPPED PROSPECTS? Untapped prospects are a) accounts and sites with the same characteristics as your best customers, but are not in your marketing database, and are therefore invisible to you, and b) unidentified key player contacts within accounts and sites you are already targeting who are in the decision-making group for your product or service. These contacts are especially significant, because they represent a segment of your market you may now believe is visible to you but in fact, is not.

HOW THE STAUTS QUO CREATES BLIND SPOTS: Many marketing and sales techniques in use today practically assure that your company is overlooking major parts of your available market, missing viable prospects in the part of the market you are actively targeting.

DATABASE BUILDING BY DRIVE-BY: Sales people, including those that work for channel companies, generally build market knowledge through referrals and drive-bys. A ""drive-by"" is a situation in which a sales person is on their way to an appointment and notices a large building with an impressive logo and thinks, ""They must buy what I sell somewhere in there."" The sales person adds the company name to a list of cold-call accounts. When business is slow, they might pull out that list of cold call accounts. Sales management works diligently to keep sales people from spending any time on untested accounts, and that is an absolutely correct posture for them to assume. Ideally, it is a salesperson's job to close deals, not find and cultivate new opportunities.

RELYING ON LISTS: Rented lists are one of the most common ways that marketing tries to build market knowledge and generate leads on behalf of sales. Have you ever taken the time to look at those lists? Massini Group has, and what we see is not encouraging. We've found that even list sources with relatively strict selection criteria can be 50% or more off target from how they were described. If you doubt this, look at the list of respondents to your latest email or direct mail using rented lists. In one particular case, an enterprise software company found 53% to 76% of its respondents were ""off target"". In another, a storage systems company found that eight in nine of the respondents was ""off target"" even though selection criteria were very strict and the source deemed credible. Worse yet, you have absolutely no leverage to push list owners to develop contacts at accounts that are not presently in their list.

Another appealing source of information to tackle the problem of gaps in market visibility is a commercially compiled list or database. However, like rented data, in and of themselves they are not comprehensive.

A computer hardware company that uses a major provider of IT-installed base data recently estimated that the source had detailed information for just one third of its market.

COMMERCIAL DATA SOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO YOUR COMPETITION TOO: Also remember that your competition has access to the same commercially available sources. And so does every other company that is marketing and selling any product even remotely similar to yours. This translates to a massive amount of competition for mindshare among the unfortunate individuals whose names appear in those databases.

""AUTOMATING THE PROBLEM"" WITH CRM AND SFA: A growing number of companies are investing in CRM or SFA solutions with the expectation that they will improve marketing and sales operations. Unfortunately, these tools generally only increase the velocity of the status quo. If no specific effort is made to change the culture, improve the methodology or advance the science of market penetration, then a system to automate the processes will not help--it will only automate and accelerate a flawed and ineffective process.

In our experience, these tools take significant time to implement and are initially focused on late-stage pipeline accounts and customers, thereby providing no assistance at all to individuals trying to grow their business, generate leads, or meet aggressive sales targets beyond the installed base.

SHEER NUMBERS ARE NOT ENOUGH: No single source of market information can assure you comprehensive market visibility, coverage and penetration. But even a variety of sources of accounts, profiles, attributes and contacts do not necessarily solve the problem. If all of the sources that you acquire essentially offer overlapping views of the market, you have not gained a thing, except maybe a false sense of security. For instance, having 100 contacts at one account and none at 99 other accounts is not helpful. In another scenario, having detailed knowledge of 10% of the installed base of a complementary product is necessary, but not sufficient.

The key is to develop a single data set built from multiple sources, and then develop metrics that illuminate the gaps, both in terms of overall scope and of depth of knowledge. This is an on-going process, and additional sources should be reviewed and added as they become available. The biggest returns are realized as gaps are filled and marketing and sales efforts are directed at the newly discovered accounts and untapped prospects. FINDING BETTER POINTS OF ENTRY: Tired of fighting to get past gatekeepers? Wouldn't it be better for you to locate a different individual within the same target company that is not constantly subjected to such a barrage? The response rates that most email, direct mail and telemarketing generate might suggest so. Massini Group definitely believes so. This is not to say such sources of information are not useful. Use them to clarify your vision of the available market, but seek a more fruitful path of entry into the target company.

Most sales process training available today makes it a point to differentiate between the individual within your target company that can make the decision and those that prepare the decision maker to do so. Called the point of entry, or point of receptivity, this individual lives every day with the pain that you seek to remedy.

Depending on the industry, this individual is probably not someone whose name appears in SEC filings. But they are the key to your ability to get your foot in the door. They can identify all of the players in the process and provide your sales people with the internal intelligence needed to advance the process. Your challenge is to find them. This is where alternative sources and data gathering techniques should be used to fill in the gaps left by commercially available sources of information. For example, by first seeking the individual with operational responsibility for the solution they were offering, a data warehousing company increased its appointment-setting rate five times over, making it possible to utilize a face-to-face, scheduled meeting to get past the CIO's phalanx of gatekeepers.

INCREASING MARKET VISABILITY - THE MASTER TARGET SITE LIST: The key to successful market penetration lies in exposing untapped prospects by improving the quality of the data upon which you base your programs. This is not accomplished simply by ""buying a better list."" It is done by qualifying existing data, verifying it, identifying and filling in the gaps, and engineering an improved system that allows you to continually improve and augment the data throughout the sales cycle--all while furnishing your sales force with higher-quality, on target leads. The result is greater market visibility in the form of a Master Target Site List that accurately represents your full potential market.

Creating a Master Target Site List is a process, not an event. If your current marketing practices are based on sales-force or third-party data sources, the steps are straightforward: * Build a comprehensive list of members (sites) in each market segment. * Assign a value to each member that is shared by sales and marketing. * Identify and quantify additional information gaps (e.g., incomplete data in title field). * Methodically gather data to fill the gaps. * Maximize the value of new visibility to untapped prospects by aggressively communicating to those companies and individuals.

Once developed, the Master Target Site List provides the following critical benefits: * Guarantees the list contains only those companies your sales force agrees are valuable. Therefore, any time or money spent to develop a lead or sale will be on target in terms of company/site. * Guarantees you are seeing the entire list of companies or sites within a given geography that correspond to your target market criteria. Thus your untapped prospects are minimized, and you are calling on a much greater percentage of the overall market. Each lead will be truly incremental to the current sales force funnel. * By knowing your entire universe through your Master Target Site List, you are taking a critical step toward being able to market efficiently and effectively, and in alignment with the needs and expectations of your sales force. * Sales force resources are not wasted qualifying leads; the sales force can concentrate on converting quality leads into sales.

The payoff potential is enormous in terms of the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing operations, alignment between marketing and sales, and the ability to rapidly sequence actions based on an objective understanding of the gaps in your knowledge base.

PROOF: MASTER TARGET SITE LIST = BETTER RESULTS Fortune 1000 Storage Company

ASSIGNMENT: This company was seeking to substantially increase penetration of their storage products among the 4,000 largest hospitals in the U.S.

MEASURE: Gain initial responses from qualified targets in order to initiate a marketing dialogue.

KEY STRATEGY: Compare traditional direct marketing with the Master Target Site List approach while gaining initial responses. The incumbent approach involved use of direct mail targeted using rented lists. The rented lists had exactly the selection criteria they wanted and were generally known to be the best sources available. The direct mail seemingly produced good results, generating a 4.5% response in a market generally known to produce only 0.5% response. However, of the 450 responses, only 100 actually hit the target list of 4,000. The remaining responses were from a) hospitals that were too small, or b) allied industries (companies selling products to hospitals). Of the 100 in the target list, 50 were from hospitals with previous sales processes underway and thus did not present new sales leads. This left only 50 new hospitals that would be considered ""good"" prospects for the sales force. Thus, the ""successful"" direct mail program really only generated that same anemic 0.5% response the market ""expects.""

ENGINEERED PROCESSES: Using the Master Target Site List approach to achieve the same objective, the company purchased an unlimited-use list of contact names and cross- indexed them with the target 4,000 hospitals. There were 2,500 of the contact names that connected to the target hospitals. The remaining names, those not on the target list, were discarded for a lack of fit (prior to any further investment by marketing or sales). A telemarketing effort was directed at the 2,500 names, and 900 offers were accepted, representing 600 of the target 4,000 hospitals. All 600 sites were in the Master Target Site List of 4,000 hospitals and none of them had a prior sales force relationship (both of those factors were confirmed prior to the telemarketing effort).

RESULTS: The Master Target Site List approach resulted in 12 times the number of accepted offers by qualified prospects, compared to the previous direct marketing approach.

To further emphasize the value of the Master Target Site List approach, the cost of the rented list approach was three times the cost of the Master Target Site List of 4,000; therefore, the overall benefit of the target universe base approach in terms of cost-per-outcome was 36 times better than the standard approach.

The tremendous improvement experienced by this company exemplifies the rationale for using the Master Target Site List approach. If you allocate some of your marketing funds to developing and maintaining the complete target universe, your marketing programs will perform better in terms of achieving sales goals, and will easily pay for themselves.

CONCLUSION Many companies are experiencing underwhelming sales figures because their database marketing programs only effectively target and sell to one third of their market potential. The remaining untapped prospects must be identified, targeted and cultivated to produce the sales figures necessary to keep companies competitive.

Developing a Master Target Site List, which includes previously unidentified accounts and sites, and previously unidentified key players, is the key to: * Increasing market visibility. * Developing programs that yield a greater number of higher quality leads than traditional marketing and sales-funnel strategies.

This is true whether companies depend on ad hoc sales, drive-bys, rented lists, internally developed marketing lists, or automated sales-funnel systems. Combined with the Massini Group Dialogue Strategy, the Master Target Site List methodology enables strong ROI, and sales growth superior--by orders of magnitude--to other industry practices.

The net result of this engineered approach is greater market visibility, increased operational efficiency, improved alignment and relations between marketing and sales, and clear action directed by concrete gap analysis.

About the author: <a href=""http://www.massini-group.com"">Massini Group</a> is a full-service Business-to-Business database and relationship marketing firm specializing in complex marketing and sales processes.

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Internet Marketing

Author: Verline Bennett

Article: One question that I hear more then any other in the internet marketing world is ""What is the quickest way I can start generating a profit""?

My biggest piece of advice... FOCUS!!

There are a TON of different ways to make money online but whatever you decide to pursue you've got to focus all your energy on it.

There's an Internet Marketing trap and it goes like this...

&#9679; You start signing up for everyone's email list to ""learn for free"" &#9679; You start seeing what everyone is doing and you think to yourself... ""I should do that""

&#9679; You finally get the courage to start pursuing something but you actually start pursuing everything. You go in all different directions and only make a half assed effort one way or the other.

&#9679; Because you didn't experience ""ultimate success"" the first go around, you start buying products and information on Internet Marketing.

&#9679; Well unfortunately that takes you in 50 different directions because although the advice from most of the big named gurus is good, they all have a different approach.

&#9679; Then you spend some more money following another strategy that you heard about or you buy some resell/private label/public domain materials hoping that just through the nature of putting it up on the web, sales will start coming in.

&#9679; Because sales aren't pouring in, you decide to buy some traffic from Google Adwords.

&#9679; After your Google Adwords account gets run up and you've blown a whack of cash AND still don't have that many sales you start to get a bitter taste in your mouth about Internet Marketing.

&#9679; Then it hits you... I'm all over the place and don't have a plan at all.

How do I know this?

This was my exact story.

I'll never forget the moment when a well known internet marketer shared with me an ENORMOUS tip that this year has helped put thousands of dollars in my bank account.

I was eagerly showing him my big elaborate mind map of another ""million dollar idea"" when he did something that confused me at first, but then made total sense.

He closed my mind mapping software on my computer and said focus.

So...

&#9679; Figure out ""how"" you want to make money online. Do you want to create and sell your own products? Do you want to make money with Adsense? Do you want to do affiliate marketing? Do you want to buy and sell on eBay?

&#9679; Think through the process of what you want to do. What's the first thing that needs to happen? The second? The third?

&#9679; Create a flow chart to help you understand clearly the ""steps"" in the process. Then focus on each step and either master them yourself or find reliable outsourcing partners who can take care of certain ""steps"" for you.

&#9679; Start taking consistent action!!

This is where most people drop the ball. They jump in too quick, loose some money and get out. It takes consistent action of doing the same things over and over. Build momentum over time.

Hopefully that helps because if I had followed this earlier, my life would have been a heck of a lot easier!

Here's to your ""early days"" being more lucrative than mine were!

About the author: Successful work from home Internet Marketer and independent representative for many affiliate programs.http://www.PlugInProfitSite.com/main-10794

Dotcomology"" is The Science of Making Money Online! http://www.PlugInProfitSite.com/main-10794/dotcomology.html GET IT FREE!

Check out my blog: http://www.money4u-2.blogspot.com

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Automotive Sales Leads - How To Caputure And Generate Leads From Your Own Website

Author: Gus Skarlis

Article: If you are like most car dealers when prospective buyers visit your current website you only have 2 ways to capture their information.

They must either submit a vehicle inquiry (less than 3% will do) or apply for financing (less than 1% will do), that means 96% of your website visitors are leaving your site without you even knowing who or what they were looking for.

Now some car dealers will have savings certificates and free test drive gifts but that still only captures the ""in the market right now crowd.""

Consumers use the internet for information and most of the time they will look and shop a few months before they are actually ready to buy. With your website only offering 2 ways to capture your visitors information and these two methods being designed for ready to buy now consumers it is totally eliminating your chance to follow up with the ""not ready to buy at this exact second"" crowd which is over 96% of your website visitors.

Studies have also proven that generating automotive leads from your own website offers the best closing ratios however if you do not have effective ways to capture those ""ready to buy now"" and ""just looking"" automotive sales leads you will never see the true success of your Internet Sales Department.

You need to look at your current website capture methods and try to incorporate a system that will be able to capture your visitors information no matter where they are at in their own buying cycle.

By focusing your capture efforts and trying to build a large database of email addresses you will have greater success and sell more vehicles online.

If you would like to see what some of the top automotive groups are doing to build their database visit: http://www.HiddenAutoLeads.com

About the author: None

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Blogging = The Latest Phenomena in Traffic Generation

Author: Ryan Smith

Article: In what was originally a form of online journal keeping by stay-at-home moms and college students, it has now become a national phenomenon with its presence felt as a legitimate business booster. For the novices, blogs are online journals that are periodically updated with articles in the form of posts. It can serve as an informative vehicle between business and consumer. The possibilities are endless when it comes to its ability to draw customers. If your blog is full of valuable information, you will earn more traffic by retaining them. How?

1) Suppose your blog is based entirely on uncovering conspiracies from the JFK assassination. By creating a daily blog, you label yourself as an expert to the subject, which makes it easier to promote yourself all over the net. This builds more of a personal relationship between yourself and your site visitors, since it can come equipped with message boards and comment boxes where they can voice their opinion about anything you write. A sense of community is established, and people will want to visit again and again.

2) Search engines will give you a boost in the rankings if you have a blog added to your site. This is because blogs are frequently updated, and any fresh content will automatically trigger the search engine mechanisms to classify your site higher - generating more traffic. All it takes is 5 to 10 minutes of your daily time and search engine spide bots will keep reverting back to your site.

3) By adding a blog to your arsenal, you can submit it to the myriad of blog directories posted on the Internet. Some of them include Blog Catalog at blogcatalog.com, Blogarama (blogarama.com) and BlogsCanada.com which has a whopping selection of over 10,000 blogs.

Some of the better blog sites on the Internet include wordpress.com, blogger.com, and blogista.com. They have full HTML capabilities which allow you oto insert the page into your own website or direct to it if needed. I recommend using Blogger the most of all, since it costs absolutely nothing to get started with free hosting and you don't have to learn any fancy HTML or FrontPage to publish content to your site. Just write, and publish it to the Web for all to see.

About the author: Ryan Smith is the owner of http://www.LearnToBulk.com/ and founder of Promotion Academy, which offers written lessons, videos, and other resources. Find out more at http://www.PromotionAcademy.com

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5 Hidden Ways Super Affiliates Use Google to Boost Sales

Author: Codrut Turcanu

Article: Have you ever wondered why and how Super Affiliates are using Google to Boost their Sales?

HINT: Google.com is a TOP Search Engine and maybe the most POPULAR. Other MAJOR Search Engines are Altavista.com and Msn.com .

FACT: last month there were 8 622 220 searches on Overture for ""google.com"" term.

I am going to show you below 5 ways Super Affiliates use Google to Boost their Sales:

Way #1 - Google Toolbar

Google offers a *free* downloadable TOOL called Google Toolbar that works into your browser. Super Affiliates use it mainly to find popular Web Sites by Page Rank and backward links.

Google Toolbar SAVES time by helping Super Affiliates to block pop-ups, autofill Web forms, translate Web Pages into English and more.

Way #2 - Google AdSense

Super Affiliates can GENERATE more revenue by serving highly targeted text-based ads on their Web Sites via the *free* Google AdSense program.

AdSense delivers Google ads relevant to the information people see on a Web Sites / Page.

When someone clicks on the ad, you profit.

You can find more info about Google AdSense at: https://www.google.com/adsense

You can even profit from their red-hot referral program that pays $100 when someone you referred makes his first $100, as well as $1 when someone downloads the FireFox browser from Google Toolbar.

Way #3 - Google AdWords

Google AdWords offers Super Affiliates a low-cost way to send targeted visitors (*traffic*) to their Web Sites and finally generate more *Sales*.

With AdWords advertising program you pay only when someone clicks on your ad.

You can find more info about Google AdWords at: https://adwords.google.com/select

Way #4 - Google DomainPark

Google DomainPark enables Super Affiliates who own lots of domain names to unlock the value in their parked page inventory.

DomainPark delivers targeted keywords and ads to parked domain name pages. DomainPark's technology analyzes domain names and displays targeted ads and related searches based on the meaning of the domain name.

If your Web Sites generate more than 750,000 page views per month, DomainPark could be the opportunity you've been waiting for.

You can find more info about Google DomainPark at: http://www.google.com/domainpark

Way #5 - Google Web Search

Super Affiliates use Google to search for high *traffic*, targeted keywords with less competitor Web Sites.

They use those keywords to build optimized Web Sites / Pages that bring *free* visitors on a regular basis.

Super Affiliates use Google to find out why other Web Sites ranked high for certain keywords and will try to achieve a higher ranking based on their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) knowledge.

Super Affiliates also use Affiliate Finder Pro, a TOOL that helps them boost their *Traffic*, Link Popularity and Search Engine Rankings. Read a review here:

http://www.my-top-sites.com/affiliate_finder_pro.htm

Remember - Google is probably the most popular Search Engine and can help you boost *Sales* in record speed, if you use it wisely.

About the author: Codrut Turcanu's FREE $29.97 eReport Reveales For The First Time Ever... ""The Quick And Easy *Formula* For Boosting Your Site Traffic By Up 267% AND Generating 297% More AdSense & Affiliate Income!"" http://www.adsenseconfessions.com/ClaimYourReport.html

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Seven Secrets of Writing a Book That Sells

Author: Penny C. Sansevieri

Article: It's one thing to write a book, it's an entirely different thing to write one that's a saleable, viable, marketable product. Ensuring the success of a book is something even the biggest publishers have never been able to guarantee. Mitigating circumstances, flash trends, and world events will all affect buyer preferences. That said, there are still ways to leverage the sales-factor in your favor and here's how you do it.

1. Know your readers. We're not just talking about whether your readers are male or female. You'll want to know myriad factors about your audience. How old are your readers (age range)? Are readers married, single, or divorced? Where do your readers live (generally)? What do your readers do for a living? What other books/publications do they read? Develop a profile that includes where they shop, what clubs they belong to, etc.

These elements will help you incorporate these aspects into your book *and* help you unearth salient marketing opportunities (i.e., publications and stores).

2. Know your market. What's the market like for your book? Is there a trend out there you're positioning yourself toward? Are you reading all the publications related to this topic/trend? Are there any ""holes"" out there your book could fill? What's the future for this market/topic? For example, let's say you're a fiction writer looking to publish chick lit. Go to any bookstore and you can't help but spot the cutsie, pink, cartoonish covers. Many thought this trend was dying out, but it has recently seen another surge. What do you know about trends related to your book/topic/audience?

3. Similar books. What else has been published on your topic? Have you read all ten books in your category? If you haven't, you should. You'll want to know everything you can about what's out there and how it's being perceived in the marketplace. It's never a problem having a similar topic. When I published No More Rejections - Get Published Today, I knew there were other books out there on marketing. I read them all--then angled my book differently.

4. Getting and staying current. What's going on in your industry today? What are some hot buttons? What are people looking for? What's next on the horizon for this topic/audience? If you can't seem to gather this information through traditional channels, why not survey your target audience? There are a number of places to run free surveys, Survey Monkey is one of them: http://www.surveymonkey.com

5. Follow the media. What's the media talking about these days? Keep track of media buzz--what they're paying attention to and what they're writing about. Delve beyond the front page of your paper to the second or third page and see what's filling the pages. If you can get your hands on out-of-state papers, do a comparative review. Do you see a trend in coverage? Is there something that seems to be getting more buzz even if it's on page six?

6. Talk, teach, listen. One of the best ways I've found to get in touch with my audience was to teach a class and do speaking engagements. When I was putting together my book, Get Published Today, I found that the classes I taught provided valuable information for creating a great book because they put me directly in touch with my audience!

7. Timing is everything. When do you plan to release your tome? Are you releasing around a holiday or anniversary? Could you take advantage of any upcoming event and/or holiday for your book launch?

About the author: Penny C. Sansevieri: Her most recent book: From Book to Bestseller was released in 2005 to rave reviews. Penny is a book marketing and media relations specialist. She also coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans and instructs a variety of coursing on publishing and promotion. To learn more about her books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at http://www.amarketingexpert.com

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Publicity From Thirty Thousand Feet

Author: Penny C. Sansevieri

Article: We all know that marketing a book is a process. But sometimes the process takes longer than we'd anticipated. That's why it's nice every now and again to hop aboard the publicity jet and get a look-see at what you've been doing from the thirty-thousand foot level. Why? Well, first off this birds-eye view will reveal to you areas you might be overlooking or other options for marketing you hadn't considered.

To accomplish this bird-eye view you'll want to get yourself a big white board, or something else big enough to chart your flight plan on. Then, once you've gotten that start charting the course you've taken so far. Don't leave a single thing out; it doesn't matter what it is. What you want to end up with is a serious list of everything you've done from the time you held your first proof book in your hands.

One of the things this type of a project will do is give you a new perspective on what you're doing. It will show you areas that you've possibly been spending too much time on or potential holes in your campaign. Sketching out your marketing campaign will also give you a chance to see what's been leveraging you results and what hasn't. Keep in mind that some things like bulk sales and national media might take longer than other items so you'll want to keep putting forth effort toward those long-term goals. But let's say you've been spending tons of time doing radio but nothing really seems to be happening in that area. You then look over to your speaking engagement section and realize you haven't done a lot with that recently. Perhaps it's time to pull back on radio and start pushing speaking events.

Once you've spent a good long time in this birds-eye view mode, start developing a to-do list of items or add to an existing list to help reinvigorate your campaign. One of the many things you'll learn from doing this thirty-thousand foot perspective is that we often become myopic in our campaigns, focusing too hard in one area and not hard enough in another. Stepping back from your work will allow you the breathing room you need to regroup and reset your goals. Then you can focus in on particular areas or tasks that might need a boost.

It's been said that a plane flying from Hawaii to Los Angeles is always off by three percent. If left to fly without any adjustments to the course, however slight, the plane would land up in Seattle instead (a difference of almost 1,200 miles!). But through corrections and readjustments the pilot eventually reaches his destination. As you pilot your own campaign, remember: don't leave your marketing on autopilot. Realign, readjust, and refocus and eventually you too will reach your destination, wherever that might be.

Happy flying!

About the author: Penny C. Sansevieri: Her most recent book: From Book to Bestseller was released in 2005 to rave reviews. Penny is a book marketing and media relations specialist. She also coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans and instructs a variety of coursing on publishing and promotion. To learn more about her books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at http://www.amarketingexpert.com

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Friday, December 29, 2006

5 Ways To Increase Website Traffic To Your Website.

Author: : Fayola Peters

Article: Millions of websites online can be placed in their own special category of ""Deserted Town"". The only life you can find there are those of the webmasters who created them. This is because they get very few, if any, targeted visitors. For these website owners, there are simple techniques they can use to increase website traffic.

Read on and I will give you five ways to increase website traffic to your website. These aren't hidden secrets and they won't give you millions of hits per month for just $ 9.99. (I'm sure you know what I mean). However they are effective and using them will increase website traffic to your website. And the visitors that you get will be more profitable because they will be targeted.

Increase Website Traffic

You can pay to increase website traffic. (I've decided to get the money spending out of the way first). There are many ways you can pay to increase website traffic; here are three (3) popular ones.

pay-per-click ezine ads website ads Before you use any of these paying methods to increase website traffic to your website, I want you to first examine your website with your ideal customer in mind. What keywords will they use to find your website in the search engines? Write them down.

Increase Website Traffic - technique 1

Pay-Per-Click

Now you're ready to increase website traffic with pay-per-click search engines. Start by using the keywords you have written down, go to the free keyword suggestion tool at digitalpoint.com and type in the search box one keyword at a time and press the 'suggest' button.

The results will show you how many people search for your keyword each day and also suggests other keywords you can use and the number of visits they get each day. Write down this information or create a spreadsheet with the headings 'keyword', 'visits per day', and 'pay-per-click cost'. Your pay per click cost depends on which pay-per-click search engine you use, the competition for your keywords and on how much you're willing to pay for a click.

Once you've finished the spreadsheet, sign up for an account with the pay-per-click-search engine of your choice and bid on your keywords.

You will notice that the keywords with the most visits per day cost more per click than those with less. To get more clicks for your money the trick is to bid on those keywords with have a few visitors a day. There is less competition for these keywords so your bid price should be low.

Increase Website Traffic - technique 2

Ezine Ads

When using ezine ads place them in ezines which are related to your market, which have subscribers who would be interested in your product or service. You can find ezines in ezine directories and you should be subscribed to a few of them already, start with these.

Increase Website Traffic - technique 3

Website Ads

For website ads, use the keyword list you made for your pay-per-click marketing. Starting with the keyword that gets the most visits per day, do a search at a search engine. Research the first ten (10) to twenty (20) websites looking for any information which indicates that they sell advertising space on their website, like 'Advertise With Us'. If you don't see any advertising information look for a 'Contact' page or email address and send a message asking if advertising is sold on their website and if so then what's the cost. Once you've finished this research, choose where to place your ads.

Increase Website Traffic - technique 4

Search Engine Optimization

To find information online most people go to are the search engines first. If you're not list in at least the first two pages of search engine results for your keywords, then you're missing out on a lot of free targeted website traffic.

Increase Website Traffic - technique 5

Article Writing

Another way to increase website traffic is by writing articles for your niche market and submitting them to article directories and ezine editors. Your increased website traffic will come from the resource box at the end of your articles. The resource box is like a 4 to 6 line ad telling your readers who you are and to encourage them to seek more information on your website by clicking on your website link, which you will provide.

One advantage of article writing, beside the free increased website traffic, is that it will make you an expert in the eyes of your readers. This will increase your credibility and your readers trust in you causing them to open their minds and wallets to your recommendations.

Like I said earlier the five (5) techniques I've written about here to increase website traffic to your website are not hidden secrets, they're nothing new. They are used everyday by website owners whose websites are far from deserted. So start using one of the techniques today and see how it goes, then try another.

To increase website traffic for your website using those techniques check following resources:

&#61623; Free Resources: http://bestfreehomebusiness.com/Free%20Stuffs.htm

&#61623; Resources for e-Bay: http://bestfreehomebusiness.com/E-Bay.htm

&#61623; Website Promotion (Search Engine Optimization, Web Positioning, Top Ranking, Keywords & Other Tools) & Money Making Opportunity Tools & Strategies: http://bestfreehomebusiness.com/Website,%20Business,%20Money%20Ma king%20Promoting%20Tips%20&%20Advises.htm

&#61623; Useful Resources: http://bestfreehomebusiness.com/Useful%20Resources.htm

About the author: None

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Introducing New Ideas or Innovations

Author: Joy Cagil

Article: Masterminds recognize patterns around them and usually come up with new ideas. Archimedes found his principle, the law of hydrostatics, while he was taking a bath and ran out yelling, ""Eureka"" because he was so excited. I suppose Newton felt a similar emotion when the apple hit his head, no matter how much pain the impact produced.

Strangely enough, new ideas that cause leaps in human progress are more liable to get rejected than old stale ones. Human beings measure any new idea against what they already know. Consequently, the more unusual an idea is, the more liable it is to be made fun of or get rejected. During the eighties, I bet many people, starting with Bill Gates' teachers, shook their heads disapprovingly, when he announced he was quitting school--Harvard University to boot--to find his own way and build his own company.

Taking into consideration the resistance to new ideas and new ways of doing things, how can one assure the success of his new approach? Or if one has a new idea on how to do anything new, what kind of a business or sponsorship can he search for?

The first step could be to investigate for sponsorship within a business community. A place to start the search is probably in the area of one's interest, inside companies, businesses, or groups of people who are always coming up with new ideas, different products, diverse and better supplies. Original models in an area may develop usually because a new incentive is launched inside an existing condition. A revolutionary and better-working operating system for computers should not be searched in the plumbing supplies area, but in the vicinity of the computer companies that are noted for their ground-breaking procedures.

After canvassing the immediate area, the next step is to look at the surrounding areas. An innovative theater company, for example, may decide to give a chance to a poet to read his poetry before the curtain rises, if he has the talent for reading poetry.

Following that, one might try the more remote areas, even plumbing supplies for an operating system if a plumbing company is using a computerized system of any kind. That may be possible only if one is ready to modify or reallocate his ideas and apply them to different patterns with an eye for the appeal or the possible rejection of his new approach. The trick is to find out what is or is not working with the existing system and take it from there.

Some companies, as well as people, are more open to novel approaches in increments, rather than sticking out their necks totally with a unique project. A well-thought out positioning and presentation by the owner of the new idea or invention could overcome this inflexibility. Any company whose goal is progress would not turn down a novel idea if the concepts are explained clearly; if the continuity during the product development is guaranteed; and if the assurances are given that action and method will work in step with each other.

If none of these approaches work, the only way out for the innovator is through his own resources. Depending on one's own resources takes a longer time to reach one's ideals; however, one does not have to adapt his unique product to anyone else's criteria and the command and gain will belong to him alone.

When one is presenting an invention on his own, he will need services and help. At this junction, he may have to look for funding from non-profit organizations or outside connections and strategic partnerships, while making sure that his product never loses its quality. In addition, the innovator can draw in volunteers with the lure of sharing the credit when things get going. A new product, be it an idea or a tangible object, needs to be advertised. A resourceful innovator will look for high-interest, low-cost ways of getting the word out.

New ideas necessitate new associations to take hold and grow. Networking with other innovative industries or businesses inspires more flow and creativity in one's vicinity. At times, small groups may join together for big results. Surely, no one can go at it alone even if the novel product is the most fantastic invention after the wheel.

About the author: Joy Cagil is an author on a site for <a href=""http://www.Writing.Com/"">Writers</a> (http://www.Writing.Com/) Her education is in foreign languages and linguistics. In her background are varied subjects such as psychology, mental health, and visual arts. She has been taking some courses on business and finance matters during the last couple of years. Her portfolio can be found at http://www.Writing.Com/authors/joycag

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Fun & Effective Presentations That Make You Money

Author: Liz Folger

Article: You answer the phone and the friend on the other end basically says....""Want some free advertising to say 25 - 50 people?"" ""Free?"", you say. Sounds good, but then this person, who all of a sudden may be your worst enemy, says, ""Yeah, we need someone to give a speech at our club meeting. You have such a unique home business that we'd love you to share how and why you started it and how it's helping our local community.""

Bad thoughts flash through your mind. Your hands get cold and clammy, you start to stammer and say...""Uh.....when...when...is this talk...uh...um...scheduled."" This friend (with friends like this, who needs enemies) on the other line gives you the time and date and says, ""GREAT, I'll schedule you in.""

Oh dear, it's your worst nightmare -- public speaking. The thought of it makes you want to, how do I say this, puke! Public speaking can strike fear in even the most confident person. But don't let this be a reason for NOT undertaking such a project.

Below are 5 ways to make your next presentation fun and successful.

USE PROPS

Don't hide behind the podium, read your speech and then sit down. Boring!!!! Get up and move around. Wear a funny hat, throw things around, make some noise. Get these people's attention. And get it quickly. It's a fact that you have 90 seconds to convince the audience that you're worth listening to or not.

TELL STORIES

Facts and figures are nice, but they aren't something that should rule your presentation. I start, end and sprinkle throughout my talks -- stories. People can always relate to a good story.

Take the Bible for example. I use this book because it's a best seller. People usually have one or more copies of the Bible in their homes at any given time. Find one of those copies and you'll see LOTS of stories sprinkled with guidelines.

You might say, ""But I don't know any stories."" Oh please, how long have you been living? It doesn't have to be a life changing story, just one people can relate to. If you are looking for a life changing story, look to the ""Chicken Soup For the Soul"" books -- lots of great stories there!

LOOK IN THEIR EYES

I have a problem with this one, but have been getting better. When you talk, look into your audience's eyes. Hold that contact until you get some sort of response like a nod, a smile or something.

END EARLY

Don't ramble on. You know the saying, ""Keep it short, stupid!"" Well, that might not be exactly the way that goes, but you get the point here. When you see people start to walk out, look at their watches, drift off to dreamland...your talk has either been a bore from the start or has gone on way too long. You want to end so that people are still interested in what you have to say and wouldn't mind if you kept talking a bit longer.

HAVE A Q&A TIME

After you end -- a little early, ask if anyone has any questions. Because no matter how prepared you are or how smart you are, you still didn't answer all their questions. This is also a great way to shorten your talk a little. Say you are slated for a 30-minute talk. You can present for 15 minutes and have 15 minutes of discussions. People are going to ask questions you never thought about adding to your speech. This will make your talk very well rounded.

When using the above 5 ideas, make sure your speech is fun -- fun for you to give and fun to listen to. People will remember your talk (and your business) much better if it was a never-to-forget presentation!

* BONUS TIP *

I know I said I'd only give you 5 tips, but I'm in a great mood and thought I'd share one more way to make your presentation even more fun for you. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!! Find a family member who will listen to you and can give you some much needed feedback. The more comfortable you are with your presentation, the less fear you'll have. Promise!

[ Submitted with ArticleSubmitter Pro - http://www.articlesubmitterpro.com]

About the author: Liz Folger is the founder of http://www.bizymoms.com. Bizymoms.com is the leading online resource for work-from-home ideas. The site offers home-based business start-up kits, online classes, e-books, chats and enthusiastic support for moms who want to have it all - a family and a career. Visit http://www.bizymoms.com for more information.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Trade Show Giveaways: What Works

Author: Mat Kelly

Article: You have your trade show exhibit ready to go, the trade show booth is set up, and your product is a winner. Now all you need are the customers. Standing room only, please. Right?

Well, for most trade show exhibitors, attracting customers is just as important as the product they are selling. Enter trade show giveaways! Trade show giveaways are promotionals tools (items, handouts, marketing materials) designed to attract customers, promote business, and help market a product after the trade show exhibit is over. By using these strategies, the goal is to bring business to your trade show exhibit, then give the customer something to remember your product by. Hopefully, the promotional item will be a success and your customers will leave satisfied, happy, and gladly telling everyone they encounter about your fabulous product and great free trade show giveaways.

There are some choices to make when deciding what promotional tools to use. Ultimately, the goal is to choose the promotional method that will attract the most visitors to your trade show booth, and make your trade show exhibit a success. You will also need to determine the amount of marketing dollars you have to spend on your promotional materials. If you are unable to afford what you believe is the best promotional or marketing tool available, then you may have to settle for other items until your budget allows you to expand in this area. Many promotional tools are designed to be kept by the customer, and to remind the customer continually of your products and services. This is accomplished through items that have been customized with your company's information and logo. Items such as free pens, notepads, balloons, magnets, and key chains are perfect examples.

Another great and effective trade show marketing strategy is to have a raffle where the entrants are required to either sign up at your trade show booth (using their contact information) or leave a business card (you can set up a bowl or container to collect the cards), and then after they have enjoyed the exhibits, they will return to your booth for the announcement of the prize winner. The wonderful benefits from using this technique is that you have a book full of contact information and a container full of business cards that you may use in the future to contact these potential customers.

Another great idea is to use an attention grabber to attract customers to your trade show booth. This includes ideas such as: setting up a massage chair (sit back and watch how long the line grows as customers wait for their free massage), or even setting up a free food giveaway. These are just a few things you can do to catch the eye of the customer. Things such as free massages and food will help bring the customer to your trade show booth, and and a free promotional item is something they can take home with them to remember your company's name.

Above all else, it doesn't matter how many trade show giveaways, free food, or raffles that you have if you don't have a ready-made script and properly greet all of your potential clients. When you notice a customer looking at your display, immediately greet them with a smile and start a friendly conversation with them. Your products, giveaways, and tickets are there to work for you, but you must be the one to work them. If you need to have assistants help you, then by all means do so. You should never enter into a trade show exhibit without adequate preparation and help.

Remember that the most important giveaway that you have to offer all of your customers is your genuine smile and friendly conversation.

About the author: Mat Kelly is the president of ExhibitDEAL the Original Exhibit Wholesaler specializing in trade show displays, exhibits and booths. ExhibitDEAL sells <a href=""http://www.exhibitdeal.com"">portable trade show displays</a> at nearly half the market rate and offers a 100% money-back guarantee. ExhibitDEAL can be found on the Web at http://www.exhibitdeal.com/.

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Every Entrepreneur's Worst Nightmare

Author: Neil Sagebiel

Article: Gone: Customers, sales, profits. Following is a simple little tale about how it happens.

""Jones was a typical entrepreneur who worked long hours and wore many hats.

""The problem was that all the hats screamed for attention. Jones solved the problem by wearing the hat that screamed the loudest.

""Unfortunately, this was only a temporary solution since all the hats kept screaming until they were worn.

""There was, however, one hat that never screamed. It never complained, whined or whimpered, even though it was lonely. It knew it was important, whether or not it was worn. That hat was right.

""One day the customers quit coming. The other hats became quiet; they no longer were needed. It was then that Jones noticed the hat named Marketing and how little it had been worn.

""'Why didn't I wear the Marketing hat?' thought Jones.

""For one thing, Marketing hadn't screamed for attention like the other hats. The other reason was that Jones was afraid the Marketing hat was too expensive to wear and would drain profits.

""But now there were no profits; the customers were gone.

""Jones put on the Marketing hat. It was time to get the old customers back, and to get new customers, too. It was time to wear the Marketing hat regularly.

""Even the other hats perked up.""

(c) 2005 Neil Sagebiel

About the author: Neil Sagebiel is a veteran copywriter who has served clients such as Microsoft, The Seattle Times, Lucent Technologies, March of Dimes, Airborne Express and Unisys. To sign up for his FREE expert tips to help you write better and sell more, visit <a href=""http://www.neilsagebiel.com""> http://www.neilsagebiel.com</a>.

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Preshow Planning Equals Success : 10 Essential Questions You Have To Ask

Author: Susan Friedmann

Article: The early bird gets the worm. The same holds true for trade shows -- the most successful exhibitors are those who start planning at least 12 months prior to the next event. Exhibiting requires a great deal of time, money, and personnel. Make the most of your resources by utilizing them at the show that best meets your marketing needs.

But how do you know what show is right for you? Here's a hint: It's not necessarily the one with the largest ads in the trades or the one that is offering deep-discount exhibit space. Instead, ask yourself these ten questions about the shows you're considering, and you'll soon discover which are right for you.

<b>1. How well does this show fit our marketing needs?</b>

This is the paramount question. Exhibiting at a show must clearly fit into your marketing strategy. Whether you are planning to launch a new product, expand into a new geographical region, or reach out to reinforce existing consumer relationships, every show should have a well-defined goal that is an integral part of your marketing plan.

<b>2. When is the show?</b>

Show timing is crucial. Not only should an event be convenient for you and your staff, it should not be in conflict with other major industry shows or events. While there is a seemingly endless supply of competitors out there, there is only a limited amount of customers. They have to pick and choose what shows they'll want to attend. Don't undermine your chances by exhibiting at a small show that conflicts with the larger event that 'everybody' goes to.

<b>3. Where is the show?</b>

Location is everything. Some events purposely locate at destination locations such as Las Vegas or Orlando to entice attendees. There is some validity to this strategy, although you want to watch against the tendency to attend a show because of the amenities nearby. You're sending a team to sell your products and services, not to visit SeaWorld or gamble the night away.

<b>4. Who comes to this show?</b>

A show must attract your target audience. Use attendance data from previous shows to determine what percentage of attendees are likely to be interested in your products and services AND are from your major service areas. It's no good presenting your products to an audience that you can't sell to.

<b>5. Who else will be there?</b>

You will want to know which and how many of your competitors will be exhibiting at a particular show. Remember, you need to be visible to be memorable! If you are not in front of the public, and your competitors are, the public will remember your competitors and not you. However, a savvy marketing strategy might be to exhibit at a show that attracts your target audience but is outside of your immediate industry.

<b>6. How successful is the show?</b>

While individual success is the responsibility of each exhibitor, there is a great deal that show management can do to ensure a high quality show. Discover what organizers do to promote the show, and take a look at previous shows. Ask for a list of previous exhibitors to contact about the show and ask them for their thoughts. Would they exhibit again?

<b>7. Has someone from my organization actually visited this show?</b>

A first-hand perspective from someone who fully understands your marketing goals and objectives can be an invaluable tool. Do they think the show is a good fit? Ask them about show logistics. Did things appear seamless, or were there some rough edges?

<b>8. How much does the show cost?</b>

Participating in a show can be expensive. Make your decision only after looking at some real life figures. Add in every expense affiliated with the show, not just registration fees. How much will it cost for items such as signage, graphics, literature, travel, lodging, meals, giveaway items, etc? And, don't forget to calculate your indirect expenses - your people's time away from the office.

<b>9. What kind of help will we get?</b>

Ask show organizers about promotional assistance. Are there sponsorship opportunities to raise your company's profile at the event? What types of media are being invited? Also, ask for audience quality information before you decide. Are the attendees the type of attendees you want to meet?

<b>10. What return on investment can be expected from this show?</b>

Return on investment will in part depend on what your goals are for any given show. If you are concentrating solely on lead generation, and do not plan to be doing any selling at the show, return on investment will appear to be lower. It may take several weeks, months and even years for those leads to generate sales. However, with that in mind, set a benchmark ROI, or ROO (return on objectives) that your company would like to achieve from participating in the show. Does this mesh with reasonable projections?

About the author: Written by Susan A. Friedmann,CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, Lake Placid, NY, author: ""Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies,"" working with companies to improve their meeting and event success through coaching, consulting and training. For a free copy of ""10 Common Mistakes Exhibitors Make"", e-mail: article4@thetradeshowcoach.com; website: <a href=""http://www.thetradeshowcoach.com"">http://www.thetradeshowco ach.com</a>

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Product Pricing Strategies

Author: Marc Entz

Article: When you are pricing your goods on your website remember that you are essentially assigning a market value to your products. You don't want to price them too low and risk diminishing their perceived value, or price them too high and be stomped by your competitors.

As a good rule of thumb, you must look at your strongest competitor's price for a given product and sell yours for 5% less. This gives your customers a reason to buy exclusively from you, especially if you price all of your products in this way.

It would be a simple matter if all pricing could be done this way. The truth about effective pricing is that you must be aware of the perceived value of the product in your customer's mind. Not all situations are equal, and you may be able to command a higher price than normal because you carry an item that is hard to find or your terms of sale (TOS) are more enticing to your propective buyer.

The most profitable businesses offer the best TOS to their customers. If your business offers support after the sale like http://www.usdsavers.com does, you are more likely to gain trust upfront from shoppers visiting your web site. Guarantees of 100% satisfaction are very appealing to new customers.

Try to answer product questions on your website in the form the benefits of the product. This allows even more credibility to your business and cinches sales that otherwise might be lost due to not enough information while your prospects are shopping online. Profit on the internet is derived from matching information about a product or service to the specific want for satisfaction as perceived by your prospective customer.

Then you must consider a thing called elasticity. This is the common value of any marketable product. If the product you are selling is a hard to find item or an item that has a large amount of value added to it, then it is said to be highly elastic. On the other hand an example of an inelastic product would be something like common table salt.

Pricing a highly elastic product gives you more room to experiment with a correct pricing strategy. I recommend that you gauge the value added components of your product to arrive at an adequate price. For example, if you were selling winter coats, the value added components would be such things as down fill, a fur lined hood, or maybe an insulated inner lining. All of these things add up in a consumer's mind when making the purchase.

The point to remember is that the customer knows what they want. Your job is to give them the product they want, and price it so you can secure the sale and make future sales from the same customer as well. You would be well advised to pick a pricing strategy for all items of a category and apply it to all the items under that category to keep consistency in the customers mind.

To summarize the main point, consumers will always attach a perceived value to every item they want to buy. If they think you are charging too much for the benefits that the item provides, they will not purchase from you, but continue searching the web. This means you lost a valuable customer and future sales.

To prevent this from happening you must research your competitor's prices and TOS. Then develop a pricing strategy that meets the needs of your customers and provides for the immediate sales to your company. In short, people buy the most benefits they can get for the lowest price available.

About the author: Marc Entz is a recognized expert in the field of Marketing and Economics. To view many examples of correct pricing strategies visit The Internet Outlet, a web site that markets affordable shoes and accessories for the whole family. http://www.usdsavers.com/

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Countdown to Success : Twelve Things to do Twelve Months in Advance

Author: Susan Friedmann

Article: When a show's a year away, it may seem like you have lots of time to get ready. But appearances can be deceiving. Twelve months is not long, especially with all the pre-show planning, training, and preparation you've got to do. Here is a checklist of sixteen vital items that need to be done approximately one year before you set up your exhibit:

<b>1. Identify Where The Show Fits In Your Marketing Strategy</b>

Every show has a purpose. Do you want to introduce a new product to a new market? Increase existing services in an existing market? Increase your visibility in a new geographical region? Reinforce existing customer relationships? Knowing what you want to achieve at any given show is vital to your success.

<b>2. Decide Which Products To Focus On</b>

Your company may produce dozens, even hundreds of different products. Obviously, you can't showcase all these items at a trade show. Attendees would be overwhelmed. Instead, with one eye on your marketing strategy, select those products that need to take center stage. Remember that 70% of people attending shows are looking for something NEW!

<b>3. Identify Your Target Audience</b>

Ideally, every show would be attended solely by consumers desperate to buy your products and services. However, things don't always work that way. Determine who the decision makers are in your industry, and exhibit at the shows they attend. You want to spend your time talking with the people who have the power to make purchasing decisions.

<b>4. Identify Your Exhibit Objectives</b>

Clearly explain to your booth staff what goals you expect them to meet during the show. Make these goals quantifiable. Examples could be number of leads generated, target sales figures, gathering marketing intelligence or educating your target audience.

<b>5. Write an Exhibiting Plan</b>

Writing out an exhibiting plan not only clearly deliniates what needs to be done before, during and after the show, what your exhibit team need to do, and a timetable. Include every step of the show in the written plan, leaving nothing out. Re-reading this plan will allow you to identify any items you've overlooked.

<b>6. Establish an Exhibiting Budget</b>

An exhibiting budget should include every item needed for show participation. Beyond registration and space rental fees, include charges for show services and transportation. Add in the cost of your exhibit design, signage, graphic, and display materials as well as advertising, promotion and special activities. And, finally, don't forget your exhibit team's travel, accommodation and meal expenses.

<b>7. Reserve Your Booth Space</b>

Prime real estate go fast! To get the booth space you want, remember to reserve early. Avoid 'discounted' spaces in out of the way aisles or near the bathroom. The savings realized won't balance out all the attendees who never get near your booth - or worse, who go by in a big hurry with other things on their mind!

<b>8. Pay Deposits</b>

Check in with the accounting department to make sure deposits are paid on time. This often-overlooked item can cause all kinds of headaches, not to mention high late-payment charges.

<b>9. Ensure Booth Design Meets Objectives</b>

There are no one-size-fits-all displays. Make sure your design meshes with your marketing plan, helping to support current objectives while maintaining your corporate image. Booth layout is vital. Make sure it contains all the needed elements, including a 'quiet' place to talk with hot prospects.

<b>10. Assess Your Current Exhibit</b>

Give your current exhibit a critical once-over. Does it still look sharp and engaging, or is it tired, faded, and worn? Signage and graphics sometimes travel around the globe several times in a year - and they don't always look better for it. Check flooring material for wear and tear as well as your other displays.

<b>11. Purchase New Items as Needed</b>

Order new graphics and signage as far in advance as possible. This way, if there are any mistakes, you'll have time to make necessary corrections. Additionally, allowing yourself extra time gives you the room to negotiate for the best deals. As you replace worn items, make sure the old ones are disposed off - you wouldn't want your booth staff setting up last year's signage by mistake.

<b>12. Order Show Services</b>

Show services should be ordered in advance. These can include electricity, signage, audio/visual equipment, booth cleaning services, plants and flowers, telephone and computer hookups, waste removal, and furniture. You'll be sure to get everything you need, and enjoy a substantial savings over those who wait for the last minute to order these items.

About the author: Written by Susan A. Friedmann,CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, Lake Placid, NY, author: ""Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies,"" working with companies to improve their meeting and event success through coaching, consulting and training. For a free copy of ""10 Common Mistakes Exhibitors Make"", e-mail: article4@thetradeshowcoach.com; website: <a href=""http://www.thetradeshowcoach.com"">http://www.thetradeshow

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If You Don't Have this on Your Niche Mini-Site, You've got Nothing!

Author: Doug Grant

Article: What is it? A sit up, slap in the face, shut-up and listen headline.

Pretty tough language? You bet!

But you've only got about two seconds to convince someone they should stick around and hear what you've got to say. Blow it and you end up talking to an empty room.

<b>How do you write that sit up, slap in the face, shut-up and listen headline?</b>

Start with a big promise. A BIG-G-G-G promise.

""In six months, you can clean out your desk and go home...for good!""

""This exercise machine can turn your flabby stomach into a washboard in time for summer!""

<b>BIG! Yeah. But also make sure it's true.</b>

Don't exaggerate. Don't mislead. Play it big but straight.

If your big promise sounds too good to be true, tone it down...even if it is true. Perception is more important than truth. If prospects think you're playing loose and fancy with the facts, they'll be out the door faster than you can shout, 'Honest!' And that's probably the last you'll ever see of them.

<b>Your BIG promise should also include a BIG benefit.</b>

Maybe you think a big promise naturally includes a big benefit. Not necessarily so.

Example: 'This program is guaranteed to provide a hundredfold return.'

That's a big promise but not really a big benefit. Let's revise it.

'Retire early with the hundredfold return this program guarantees.'

That's much better but it still needs one more thing. The most important word you can use in a headline. 'YOU'. Let's try it again.

'You can retire early with the hundredfold return this program guarantees.'

Now look at what we've got. A big promise...with a big benefit.

<b>And don't overlook the action.</b>

Our first headline had little action-power built into it.

So, we added the words 'retire early'. Now the headline has movement. And by adding the word 'you', we've related the action directly to the prospect.

<b>Is all this word editing really necessary?</b>

You bet. And I wouldn't stop with the last headline above. I'd continue to push it around a bit more to see if I could add even more benefit or action.

Just don't push too hard. I've seen more than one excellent headline edited into failure.

<b>Remember, you are after the prospect's attention.</b>

Anything less and you've got nothing.

Only when you have a prospect's attention can you begin the process of selling.

About the author: Doug Grant describes his experience in building niche mini-sites using what he considers the best and easiest instruction program on the Internet. (Which doesn't happen to be his.) There's no obligation to take a look. And by doing so, you can grab a free copy of his comprehensive business writing book that previously sold on the Internet for $24.95. Visit www.masterfulbusinesswriting.com and pick up your free copy.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The 10 essential elements you must include in every offer.

Author: Eugenijus Sakalauskas

Article:

Before you begin writing any e-mail promotion , it's important that you sit down And clearly map out your offer. Do not skip this critical step.

You want to make sure that you have all the details of your offer sitting in front of you before you start writing , because you're literally going to be plugging this information into a formula. And if you want it to flow together nicely, you need be focused on the ""big picture"" - the overall structure and layout - when you are writing ... not scrounging up the details as you go.

You'll need to prepare answers to the following 10 questions in advance:

1.What action do you want your readers to take? Promotions that focus on a single offer will pull much better results that promotions that include several offer. 2.How will readers benefit from responding to your call to action? Benefits are an extremely important component of your e-mail promotion, because it's the benefits that push the readers to follow up through on your call to action.

3.How will create urgency in your offer? Urgency is critical because it's what compels your readers to act TODAY rather than put it off with the intention of ""coming back"" another time.

4.Does your offer include NUMEROUS compelling benefit or just one? If you need to communicate multiple benefits, you may want to write copy that includes bullet point, which allow you to cover information quickly in a small space and keep the text ""scannable"" by maintaining lots of white space .

5.How long should your copy be? Once you've decide how many benefits your letter will include, and which format you will be presenting it in, you'll be able to decide on letter length.

6.What links will be included and where should they appear? If you're including a link to your web side , you need to make sure that it doesn't appear too early in the letter. You call to action with your link should appear after you've presented your benefits and created urgency.

7.Who is the audience you're targeting? It's really important that you decide this in advance, because the more personal you can make your letter , the more sales it's going to generate.

8.Who is e-mal coming from? This should be an easy decision - you should ensure that all of your e-mai promotions come from the same person within your business.

9.What contact information will you provide? The last paragraph of any e-mails you send should include a contact e-mail address for anyone with questions. Always remind your readers that you're a real person.

10.What ""extra"" benefit will you include in your P.S.? So it's a good idea to include an effective P.S. that either restates the biggest benefit of your offer or includes a ""bonus"" grabber benefit that isn't mentioned in the body of the e-mail.

About the author: Eugenijus Sakalauskas is an established ezine publisher and direct marketer who specializes in developing new ideas and methods on Website Marketing & Home Business Secrets http://www.pluginnetproefit.com Get FREE info mailto:pluginnetproefit@getresponse.com Support:mailto:support@pluginnetproefit.com

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The Art of the Pay-per-Click Start - Round 2 of 2.

Author: Kevin Gold

Article: Starting an ultimately effective pay-per-click campaign is difficult. Although the paid search engines like Google Adwords and Overture (now re-branded as Yahoo Search Marketing Solutions) want you to believe otherwise. A goal of ""getting website traffic"" is logically appealing since marketers tend to directly associate website traffic to producing website actions like sales, subscriptions and so on. The problem is ""all website traffic is NOT created equal."" Just because you receive ""traffic"" does not mean you will achieve website actions.

For example, if you are selling a real estate course on buying foreclosures and you bid on the keyword ""real estate"" - you may receive thousands of website visitors yet not sell a single real estate course. A large percentage of the businesses that come to us for assistance relate their pain from this experience by commenting, ""We were getting x,xxx visitors to the website per month and no sales, we can't figure out why?""

Let me tell you ""why?"" - All traffic is not created equal. What this means is that you need to attract visitors (your target market) who are most relevant to your product or service. In the example above, the keyword ""real estate"" is so general that its relevance is diluted especially for a niche market for a course on buying foreclosures.

You need to actually perform a search for each of your primary keywords and look at the type of websites that rank high in the natural search listings. They have earned (well...in most cases) a high ranking because they are highly relevant to the meaning of the keyword.

A search engine's mission is to deliver highly relevant search results to their customers. Therefore the natural search results indicate what the search engines believe most effectively satisfies their customer's expectations when they search on a particular keyword.

Paid search increases the simplicity of ""getting website traffic"" yet the difficulty lies at the heart of your primary goal - getting actions that drive business growth like sales, subscriptions or contact us form completions. Here lays the challenge not advertised by the paid search engines - how to generate website actions.

You are faced with a number of real challenges when aimed at achieving website actions from your paid search engine campaign. The challenges focus on two key aspects: the cost you pay per click and the relevancy you present to the click-through. These are important because they affect your business growth in terms of conversion and profitability - the intersection of website visitors with website actions.

Paid Search - Bidding Strategies

The first aspect is your cost per click. It is controlled by your willingness to bid and budget a certain amount for an ad placement. All pay-per-click search engines possess unique bidding nuances. However, for the two largest, Google Adwords and Overture do not become fixated on the top bid position. Test how each keyword performs in achieving your primary website actions all the way up to the seventh bid position.

Depending on your product or service, you may be amazed how bid position six attracts less click-throughs but produces more website actions. Or maybe position four generates more actions. Regardless - test, test and test - the outcome may mean lower costs and higher actions for you.

One tested strategy is to determine the keyword ""click price"" you are willing to pay using your performance metrics (e.g. your cost per action, conversion rate, value of a buyer and so on) and then search for that keyword on the major search engines where your ad will appear. Check out where each bid position is listed on the search results page.

Recently Overture and Google Adwords have increased their number of displayed results to up to eight ""sponsor results"" or paid ads on the first page. In some cases, the fourth and fifth or fifth and sixth bid positions will show at the bottom of the first search results page and again at the top, right margin of the page - in essence two ads for the price of one. Be aware of this strategic opportunity!

Here is another proven strategy that has worked wonders for our clients. In Overture's direct advertiser center, a marketer only views the top five bid placements. Bid a penny below the fifth bid position to attain the sixth one. Typically, because this bid placement is not ""visible"" in the marketers' control panel, you can obtain a great bid placement at a dramatically lower click cost with sustainable or increasing conversion rate.

For example, we set a real estate client's bid for a high demand / high cost keyword to the sixth bid position and paid $0.59 less than the fifth position and increased actions significantly while drastically reducing their cost per action. Even better, this bid position was sustained for the keyword for over four months! Because it's under the ""radar screen"" in the Direct Advertiser Center in Overture and marketers never bothered to view the actual search listing results, we made a killing! If you want to conquer your competition - follow this strategy.

Landing Page Development

Have you heard of landing pages? If not, you must get familiar with them this week and immediately start implementing them for your paid search campaigns especially your primary and most competitive keywords. Why the sense of urgency? Because highly-relevant landing pages have proven to increase website actions.

In one of many possible examples, a client's website actions to website visitors' ratio increased from 0.7% to 10.8% in one month because of implementing and testing different landing pages. That's a ten times increase! Landing pages work.

So, what are landing pages? Landing pages are simply web pages designed specifically for a keyword or related group of keywords. They are highly relevant to the keyword searched and consistent with your ad's claim. They immediately focus a visitor's attention to a primary action. In essence - landing pages ask your visitors to take an action.

One of the reportedly major reasons why pay-per-click marketing programs fall short of their intended goal is because businesses direct all of their click-throughs to their home page. Since most businesses' home pages are designed to serve mutliple audiences (i.e. media relations, investors, current clients, potential prospects, customer services, etc.) they do not provide the level of relevancy and consistency expected from the visitor.

If your pay-per-click marketing is not living up to your expectations, consider which web pages you are sending visitors to. Are they relevant and consistent with your pay-per-click ads and keywords? Do they offer too many calls-to-action? Do they ""fit"" the expectations of the visitor searching on the particular keyword?

For example, are you sending a visitor searching on the keyword ""Sony LCD TV"" to a web page with twenty varieties of electronic products? An effectively designed landing page would present the visitor a ""Sony LCD TV"" with customer benefit oriented copy, an immediate ""buy now"" call to action and all applicable guarantee, shipping, customer service and return policies.

A study conducted in April 2004 by Atlas DMT called ""Search Listing URL and Conversion Rate"" connected the use of landing pages to their affect on increasing website actions. The study showed the following astounding results...

* Headline of landing page matches keyword = 0.79%. * Headline of landing page is on Home Page = 6.31%. * Headline of landing page matches theme of Keyword = 9.28%. * Headline of landing page matches specifically to Keyword = 11.81%.

The study showed that the more relevant your landing page is to your website visitors, the higher your website actions.

Landing pages also provide an excellent format to ""split-test"" different relevancy strategies like changing your headline, changing colors or graphical images, and alternating actions to determine which produce the best outcomes. If you are not familiar with split-testing (also called A/B split-testing) then do a little research - it has emerged in the mainstream as a proven strategy. But a word of caution, don't get caught up in the scientific application of split-testing. Instead use a simple tool like www.Hypertracker.com and focus on trends - like are your website actions increasing or decreasing.

Marketing whether online or offline has historically been viewed as a cost of business which breeds simplemindedness. A laggard's attitude of ""why spend the extra time to achieve a positive ROI?"" To some degree in the offline world, the complications and costs of tracking campaign results supported this attitude; however, the connectivity of the Internet enables real-time campaign tracking. It allows the extra effort focused on generating positive ROIs to reap significant rewards to those who learn and implement proven and tested strategies.

For your paid search campaigns, do not take the simple road to get more website visitors. Instead take the ""road less traveled"" to get more website actions. Start implementing landing pages and strategically building a paid search campaign that generates astounding ROIs and conquers your competition. The strategies are now in your hands - the rest is up to you.

About the author: Kevin Gold is CEO of Enhanced Concepts, specializing in turning website visitors into leads or sales, co-editor of WebSalesability.com and published writer. Get a free report, ""12 Sure-fire Ways to Increase Your Website Sales"" and an exclusive 5-day website conversion email course by visiting www.enhancedconcepts.com.

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Improved Pay-per-Click Marketing Performance from Time-Tested 80/20 Principle

Author: Kevin Gold

Article: As marketers and business owners, we're always looking for ""the next big idea or strategy"" to maximize our business performance. Yet, the application of time-tested principles consistently achieve greater results over efforts to create newer ideas and strategies.

For example, Stephen Covey's New York Times best-selling and world-renowned book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a self-proclaimed synthesis of principles taught by great teachers and philosophers over 150 years ago 1. The world-wide success of this book is evidence to the time-resistant power of principles.

In addition, many hugely successful Internet Marketers generated significant fortunes from applying 50 to 75 year old direct mail principles to the new Internet medium. Marketing strategies used by greats like Claude Hopkins, Robert Collier and John Caples have significant application in today's digital environment.

Although pay-per-click marketing is a relatively new Internet marketing strategy, its performance relates well to an old principle called ""Pareto's Law"" or better known as ""the 80/20 Principle"".

The meaning of the 80/20 Principle is best explained by a recent book, The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less"", written by Richard Koch:

""The 80/20 Principle states that there is an inbuilt imbalance between causes and results, inputs and outputs, and effort and reward. 80/20 relationships typically will show that 80% of outputs result from 20% of inputs; that 80% of consequences flow from 20% of causes; or that 80% of results come from 20% of effort."" 2

When applied to pay-per-click marketing, 80% of outputs (or desired visitor actions on your website), result from 20% of the inputs (your keywords.)

Applying the 80/20 Principle to Pay-per-Click Marketing

One of the benefits of running a pay-per-click marketing campaign is the control gained from selecting keywords to bid on. In essence, the keywords you select enable you to target specific types of individuals among varying demographics and at various points within their buying cycle.

But because it is difficult to know specifically which keywords (inputs) will ultimately generate the most actions (outputs) the process of ""keyword selection"" should be applied liberally. This means that all possible keyword variations and associations should be selected to figuratively ""blanket"" or span across all potential search queries for your products or services. By relying on your keyword-level tracking system, over time, the resulting website actions will sort the top performing keywords from the poor-performing ones.

Under the 80/20 Principle, if you initially select 1,000 keywords for your pay-per-click marketing campaign, over a month or two depending on visitor volume, your keyword-level tracking system will uncover 20% of keywords that produce 80% of your results. Likewise, the 80/20 Principle will expose roughly 80% of the 1,000 keywords selected that produce minimal to no results.

Aside from seasonality variations and marketplace trends that effect keyword performance, the 80/20 Principle pinpoints a significant operational process that all Internet marketers should implement immediately. By tracking your pay-per-click marketing campaign at the keyword level and identifying the specific keywords that produce maximum results, you can eliminate roughly 80% of your poor-performing keywords. Through this ""keyword filtration process"" you will re-allocate budget dollars to the top performing keywords and reduce keyword management time spent on poor-performing ones.

Remember These 5 Keys...

1. During your keyword selection process, ""blanket"" your target market with every relevant keyword variation and association used by your target market to find your products or services. Use Overture or Google Adwords' editorial review to define the relevancy boundaries (or ""the ends of the blanket"") for your target market.

2. Define at least one value-oriented action such as an opt-in, subscription, registration or sale that you seek a visitor to perform on your website. This action (called your ""marketing objective"") is the determination point for measuring how your keywords are performing.

3. Implement keyword-level tracking to identify which 20% of your keywords produce 80% of your actions.

4. Pay close attention to seasonality variations and marketplace trends that may cause fluctuations in keyword performance. Instead of eliminating all 80% of your poor performing keywords, identify the most relevant ones to your products and services and the ones with the highest demand volume and work on adjusting their bids, re-writing their titles and descriptions or re-engineering their landing pages to increase their performance.

5. If branding is your primary objective as opposed to ""performance"" remove your brand-oriented keywords from your 80/20 Principle analysis and associated performance metrics. Analyze your pay-per-click marketing against the 80/20 Principle to see if an imbalance exists between your inputs (keywords) and outputs (actions). You will discover that a simple revamp of your pay-per-click marketing campaign will significantly increase your visitor-to-action conversion rates, reduce your cost per action and enable a more efficient allocation of your budget across your top performing keywords.

Sources: 1 Stephen Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (New York, Simon & Schuster Inc., 1989) pg. 18.

2 Richard Koch, The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less (New York: DoubleDay, 1998) pg. 4.

About the author: Kevin Gold is CEO of Enhanced Concepts, specializing in turning website visitors into leads or sales, co-editor of WebSalesability.com and published writer. Get a free report, ""12 Sure-fire Ways to Increase Your Website Sales"" and an exclusive 5-day website conversion email course by visiting www.enhancedconcepts.com.

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