Thursday, August 28, 2008

More about SEO, black hat, white hat, no hat

Since I wrote an article warning about not wasting your money on “link farms” to try and get better page ranking, lets write another one about search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. Search Engine Optimization or SEO has become a multi million dollar industry, since most web owners want to make money with their businesses and websites, they realize that the only way to do it is by driving lots of highly targeted visitors to their particular portal, web page, or store front. Lets get busy:

1. Avoid “black hat SEO” techniques. If someone recommends you to hide links by changing the font color to the color of the background, don’t do it. Also, when you write for your blog or web page, make sure that the content of what you are writing makes sense. Some people used to advocate writing all your keywords, several times, in a long nonsensical litany of words. Avoid, making duplicate web pages, with the same content. The problem lies that when the search engine Gods find out, and they will, your website will be penalized and possibly banned form search engines.

2. Tags and Meta tags make sure that you know the difference, and place your keywords on the title tag accordingly.

3. Ensure that you repeat your key words in the body of the article. Please write coherently. It is counterproductive to write your keywords over and over trying to write so the search engines will pick them up. When you write that way, you forget the primary target demographic: humans. I don’t know you, but I get annoyed easily, and if what I am reading does not make sense, will never subscribe to your blog or page.

4. Use Google web master tools (they are free) to search for html coding mistakes.

5. Think your keywords through. Most of the times, people use phrases when they search for merchandise or just doing research. So if you are selling cowboy hats, make sure that you include “cowboy hat”, “white cowboy hat”, “black cowboy hat”, etc. Got the picture?

6. Link building. In three words: “forget link farms”. Get your links the old fashion way, by commenting on blogs, , giving things away, and trading with other webmasters. Yes, I know, it is not easy, and it takes time. But I never did promise you that it was going to be easy, did I?

The bottom line is that search engines search and assign page ranking based on an algorithm, and unless you are a math mayor, or a computer guru, you will not know what it is. And here is the bad news, the people that is selling you the promise of a better page ranking, probably doesn’t know either, since the search engine gods change the algorithm to fool those who try to cheat.

Provide great content, participate in discussions on high traffic blogs, volunteer to write a guest post for a high traffic blog, and “never give up, never give up, never give up”.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Social Media Marketing and how to waste your money in SEO

Lets face it, Social Media Marketing is a growing phenomenon, and here at social media marketing 101, we try to help you with business ideas, relevant topics, how to, and how not to succeed on Internet Marketing.

With Billions of websites in the web, competition for the number one spot in the search engines is fierce. Those who can achieve the coveted top ten places per specified keyword have the potential of making millions of dollars. This fact has created an entire new industry, Search Engine Optimization. Search Engine Optimization can make you a millionaire, or rob you of your hard earned money.

The main purpose of SEO is simple enough: to be showcased in the top spots by the search engines for a particular key word or phrase. How to do it, is as clear as muddy water, and like in the Old West, the Snake Oil salesmen are a dime a dozen. Inbound links is one way to get there.

When your credibility as a blogger, or as a subject matter expert is well recognized by all, people will quote you as a source on their own blogs, or websites; or they will just simply cut and paste your article, links and all, and pt it on their website or blog. That is an inbound link. When search engines comb the net indexing websites, they find those inbound links to your site and think: hmmmm, there is a lot of people linking to this site, content should be good, let me place it high; and your page rank increases.

When your buddy and you place each other’s links on their respective web sites, a reciprocal link is formed. You have two links pointed at each other. It is not hard to figure out that you are doing me a favor and I am returning the favor. Google does not assign that much value to those links. They are not bad, but not great.

Unless you work for Google as a programmer, or you are a world class psychic, you will not know exactly how to place high on the search engines.

Those ads that you see promising #1 Google Ranking in days, might be the proverbial Snake Oil chuck wagon. Since what many of these businesses do is to collect hundreds or thousands of domains, and create thousands of web pages, in which, for a price, they will place the link to your website. Those are called link farms. When search engines find you there, they tend to penalize you by not counting your links (you just wasted your money) of by blocking their indexing robots from going through your site.

It is believed that in some occasions, when the same URL appears many times within a single web page, it is counted only as one, thus defeating the purpose of commenting many times in particular blogs, or web pages.

So, since I have just given so many bad news, let me give you some middle of the ground news: do try to contact the webmaster or admin of popular blogs, offer them to write an article for them. If it is well written, and offers promise, and they publish it with your links, chances are, those will give you a lot of inbound links; and the best part, it is free.

Talk to me, tell me your opinion, and money-making suggestions, readers will thank you.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

What is an affiliate program?

What is an affiliate program? How do I find the one for me?

An affiliate program is any system that allows you to interact, contribute, improve upon, distribute, and or market a particular idea, product, or service.

An affiliate program has many of the benefits of owning your own business, without the hassle of actually having to run it by yourself. Payroll, storage, shipping, handling, delivery, etc, are some of the most gratifying tasks of owning your own business, but like everything in life, too much of a good thing, can be hazardous to your health. At first, you might be having fun, but unless you absolutely love what you do, it will eventually get old, and something will have to give, either your business suffers, or the freedoms, and perks of owning your own business will translate to slavery (working 10-16 hour days, always taking care of problems, and never being able to take a day of).

But how many affiliate programs are there for me to choose? Two words: TOO MANY. So, how do I find out, which are worth my time and hard earned money? Lets do this:

a. Find something that is worthy of receiving your endorsement. Remember, if you are going to advertise it, your name brand, your name, your image, will be associated with it. If you peddle every little junky product out there, you will loose credibility. On the same token, if you always recommend high quality products and or services, people will learn to trust you. So, the best I can tell you is that you make sure to do your research, because in everything that you invest money in, there is always the risk of loosing your shirt. It is a lot easier to maintain an honest image by virtue of being honest, than it is to reinvent yourself every few years.

b. Only you can determine what is too little money for you. You might be very altruistic, but the bottom line is that if you want to continue to be altruistic, you need to make money. The more you make, the more altruistic you can afford to be. So make sure that whatever program you get yourself involved with pays a decent commission. To me, a decent commission is anything over 30%. Some will pay you 50%, and if you are lucky, you might find something paying 60%. Who knows, it is up to you. But remember that if you are investing the time, you need to be paid.

c. Ensure that your affiliate program tracks every possible way to sell a product and service. Unfortunately, with the advent of the Internet, many affiliate programs concentrate only in the online portion of the business. So the fax orders, the mail orders, the phone orders, are fulfilled, but not credited to you. Make sure that whatever affiliate program you go into, can track the old fashion snail mail transactions.

d. Check out how easy it is to make a sale. If five people of every hundred that visit and inquire about the program joins, or purchase it, you will be doing great. The higher the percentage rate, the better.

e. Is your program sink or swim? When you get your affiliates, you should provide them with tools for success, from links, to examples of advertisement. The better the support, the longer they will stay being your affiliates.

f. Read all contracts, agreements, and websites. Also, do a web search for the names of the people affiliated with the management of the program, and try to find anyone who has done a review of the particular program you are contemplating joining. I have found that just five minutes and few well placed key words, can provide you with food for thought, and give you judgment elements that you will need in order to make an intelligent decision.

g. As with everything, only invest money that you can afford to loose.

Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify, change niches, and try several programs. Life is flexible, you be too. Do your homework and you will be successful.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Why do you want to be and entrepreneour?

For the money? Freedom (Braveheart comes to mind), dreams, hated your old boss? Why do you do it? Who knows? For some strange reason we love the challenge, and we insist on putting our necks on the line every day, or at least our wallets.

As an old Army recruiter, we were taught that people joined the military for five reasons: Money, Adventure, Education, Patriotism, or to Travel.

Oh heck there he goes again telling old war stories… LOL

Well, I did spent a lot of time in the Army, I might have learned a thing or two, and might as well share it with you all.

Lets condense review reasons and see what motivates most of us to become entrepreneurs.

Money is probably number one. Many of us would not get out of bed if we were not going to get paid. Money does not buy happiness, but it sure can help us provide for our families, and take us places where we can expand our horizons. In addition, money allows us to expand our business, and make more money. Ok, so it is a vicious cycle. I haven’t heard those who complaint about the rich people state that they ever got a job from someone who was broke, or that they were able to become debt free without making money first.

Adventure is a concept not usually associated with becoming an entrepreneur, but if you think about it, there is the excitement and the anticipation of planning the next business deal, and the adrenaline rush that comes from masterfully presenting your business proposal, and the ecstasy of succeeding where others failed. So the same emotions that we feel when we are entering uncharted territory are felt by the entrepreneur looking to seal the next deal.

Education is needed if you are going to succeed in business, whether formal (college) or informal (someone took you under his or her wing), unless you are willing to learn by failing, you will need to spend time sharpening the proverbial axe. Abraham Lincoln once said that if you had one hour to cut down a tree, you should spend the first 45 minutes sharpening the axe. Translation? Prepare yourself. Learn the art of persuasion, hypnotic selling, study the laws of the State where you will do business, learn about Internet Marketing, the sky is the limit.

Traveling is one of my favorite activities. I love meeting new people, new cultures. Today, the economy of the planet is a global economy, and unless you are just trying to open a street corner grocery store (nothing wrong with that) we have the potential of having a truly international business. So, if you really want to succeed, expand your horizons, learn to appreciate diversity, and get to know other cultures. So what if they speak funny, to them you speak funny too. In all my travels around the world, I found out that most people, in every culture, just want to feed their families, and be happy.

And patriotism; what can be more patriotic than to help stimulate the economy of your Nation by virtue of being a successful merchant or marketer. When the economy of a Nation grows, education follows soon after, jobs are created, health is improved, mortality rates decrease, and in many instances, a sense of National Pride is common among the citizens.

So why again do you work so hard to be an entrepreneur? Who knows, but whatever your reason, the ramifications are far reaching and the good that you achieve and spread makes us all better people.

Leverage, the key to success:

You want to be an extremely successful individual, don’t you?

I dare to bet that you have seeing many would be marketers, with incredible potential come and go, and for a long time, you have asked, how come so and so, with his or her powerful presence, knowledge, and drive, did not achieve the success that was there for the taking.

And you have asked yourself, maybe a few times, if he or she failed, then how can I expect to succeed?

The reality of the situation is that even though those would be successful MLM, or Social Media Stars, had the potential to succeed; sometimes they do not have the right tools to ensure success.

The purpose of any marketing campaign is to put a product or service in front of many sets of eyes, and convince them that such product or service will fill a very important need in their lives. The job of the marketer is to ensure that this happens.

This premise seems simple enough, right?

Well, not really, it so happens that it fails to take into consideration a critical part of the equation, the prospective buyer.

Why would someone not buy this incredible product or service that I am promoting? Maybe:

a. They do not want it.
b. They do not want to buy from you. They do not trust you.
c. They do not have the money.
d. They do not need the product.

Ok, lets look at all of those, I could write a complete chapter on each of those, but lets limit our analysis to the basics.

a. They do not want your product. Most of the things that we buy on a daily basis, we do not really need. You did not need the house you just bought; you already had a roof over your head. And yet, you purchase that house. Once we see the house, the new car, the diamond ring, or someone shows them to us and explains their advantages; we can no longer live without that product or service. Appeal to their emotions, and they will become receptive to your message.

b. Your customer does not want to purchase from you, because they do not trust you. You either remind them of their brother in law, ex husband, ex wife, or they have being burned before, or heard that someone lost their shirt because they bought whatever it is that you are selling. Unless you develop credibility, and act and look professional, your sales record will not impress anyone. Start by becoming a real expert on your product, and while you are at it, make sure that you yourself would purchase that product or service; otherwise, your prospect will see that you do not believe in the product, so they will not buy from you.

c. They do not have the money. Lets face it, the economy is not doing that great and many people live paycheck to paycheck. So, unless you have a way to finance whatever it is you are selling, and you honestly believe that your customer’s life will be better off by purchasing your product or service, find a new customer.

e. I hate pushy salespeople. If they do not need your product or service, don’t sell it to them. They will appreciate your honesty, and you can probably get some referrals from them, and who knows, maybe, in the future, they might call you and get your item.

The bottom line is that not everybody will buy your product; but trust me, it is not personal.

Remember that your prospective customer is a human being, treat them with respect, not just like a prospect, or a future down line, and chances are, your sales stats or your recruiting average will improve.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Money matters

When we talk money, as a business owner, we need to make sure that we keep tabs on income and expenses, keep a very through record of assets and liabilities, and generate adequate forms to fulfill the needs of our business.

You can track income and expenses using the register of your checkbook; or the old fashion way, using a ledger or notebook with columns. The main point here is that you should categorize your debits (income) into some sort of income category. Lets see, if you receive revenue form the selling of e-books as an affiliate, you can create a category called “Amazon income”, or if your income came from selling something on e-bay, “E-Bay”; while at the same time, you create categories for your liabilities (expenses). If you have a home office, you might deduct a portion of your utilities from your home, or a portion of your Internet bill. Do remember to consult our professional tax advisor for clarification of any doubts, and if nothing else, to ensure that you are familiar with the new laws. Our Tax Code grows by leaps and bounds every year.

Microsoft has it’s own accounting program that can help you with these items, and so does Quicken.

Using a checkbook program like Quicken assumes that you are using cash based system for your business, or in other words, you get paid in cash, you deposit the money, and you write a check for your expenses. If you have inventory, you should consult your Tax advisor, since you might get yourself in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. Tracking cash advances, and services received in advance, can present its own variety of challenges to a cash based system.

Invoices, checks, credit memos, contracts, monthly statements, purchase orders, inventory forms, are just a few of the forms that you might need to standardize if you want to be effective accounting for your business traffic, inventories, sales, demand, liabilities, etc. Quick Books, Peachtree’s Complete Accounting, or Microsoft Business might help you out. I sometimes create mi own forms with Microsoft Office.

The computer you just bought for your business, your fax machine, your fancy teleconferencing phone, the scale you just bought to weight your packages before mailing them, your car if you use it for business, are some assets that you might need to keep track for tax purposes. Office supplies, alarm system, etc, are just but a few others. Again, check with your Tax Advisor.

There is no one formula to ensure that you will have an efficient accounting system if you insist on doing it yourself; just make sure that you keep the number of a professional CPA handy, in the event that you feel overwhelmed, and be weary of your buddy who tells you that you can take certain Tax deductions when he actually majored in “Partying and boozing” while in college.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Good managers and lousy ones too!

After spending twenty-two years in the U. S. Military, I can say that I have had my share of excellent leaders, and lousy ones too. I myself have learned by doing, which means, I have made plenty of mistakes. This experience translates to my civilian life. And as so, you can use it to save yourself some time, expedite your business, and improve the bottom line.

When you are an entrepreneur, is easy to forget that you are still a manager, of one, but never the less, a manager, a leader, you are leading yourself. Unfortunately, not everybody has the tools to be one, or have being taught how to do it.

People tend to admire those who appear to obtain the loyalty of others, and are followed by all. But many are just looking at someone’s charisma, and thinking that they are natural borne leaders. Charisma does not equal leadership skills. I have seeing the young strong, rugged, and impetuous novice “leader” fall flat on his or her face, because instead of learning to plan, and think about the consequences of each possible course of action, the intrepid novice rushes in for the kill, just to fail.

In combat, it is those leaders that get their troops killed, while more experienced leaders, come out unscathed, and their troops, have greater possibility to survive.

In business, it is the manager who rushes in, who unless lucky, will loose his or her shirt.

Observing good leaders, I realized that there are a few tactics that will make you a better leader, manager, or supervisor:

1. “Sharpen your Axe”, I think that it as Abraham Lincoln who said that given one hour to cut down a tree, he would spend forty five minutes sharpening his axe. Take time to prepare yourself, gather knowledge, get to know and understand your contacts, and customers, also your market. Know and trust your product. If you are into Internet marketing, ensure that you become an expert in Search Engine Optimization. And also, make sure that you take time to exercise, eat correctly, and get a proper amount of rest. You will function better.

2. Stay in control. My father once told me: in order to solve a problem, you need to look at it. That was his way of telling me that I needed to analyze the situation, and find the real cause of the problem. Once you find the real cause, you can find the real solution.

3. Time management. Someone was asked to help create a time management system. This gentleman came back an next day, he told the executive to write a list of everything that needed to be done. He also ask him to identify which was the critical task. Then, identify the second critical task, and so on. Next day, he was to do task number one until completion, then task number two, and so on. Whichever tasks could not be accomplished that same day, that was fine, they could be move to next day, and priorities re evaluated. But the most critical tasks were accomplished every single day. Do the same.

4. Know your people, and their characteristics. Know their strengths and weaknesses; that way, you can use your team more efficiently.

5. Respect your team. You will only be respected when you respect others first. Take care of your team, and your team will take care of you. We call that “Leading from the front”. It is incredibly hard to lead from the rear; you are then only pushing your team, not leading, and nobody likes to be pushed. It is those who care for the team, lead by example, and are willing to go the extra mile, who distinguish themselves as leaders.

So in retrospect, make sure that you take time to sharpen the axe, stay in control so you can have a clear and accurate view of the situation at hand, mange your time, know your people and use them according to their skills, and make sure that you respect your team, and that your team respects you.

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Five not so secret keys to marketing

A lot of people talk about marketing, they want to develop a marketing business, they talk social media marketing, multi level marketing, and truth be told, many do not have the least idea of what marketing implies. Lets bounce five ideas that might give you a leg up and kick-start your business.

First things first: lets talk about your level of commitment to your product. Are you convinced that it is the best product available? What does that has to do with marketing? I am a firm believer that your integrity has to come first. I cannot advertise a product that I cannot honestly say it works, or has the true potential to work. As so, I am truly passionate about what I do, and the passion can be felt in my writing, in my speeches, and in everything I do. You would be surprised at the difference that commitment makes in an advertising campaign.

Number two: how is your support system? Who is your partner, and what kind of ideas he or she brings to the table? Are they zapping your energy with negativity? They need to be as committed to the product as you are. Their passion should complement yours.
Third: make sure that you give 100% effort to your customer, or whatever it is that you are marketing. A half-baked idea, or a lacking ad campaign will produce just that, mediocre results.

Fourth: do the absolute best job that you can do for every customer. Your fame will multiply, and you will get what others envy: repeat customers, and true referrals. If your product is good, you have the passion, and your firm exemplifies ethics, values, and an emphasis in customer service, you will have no problem later on, since your customers will give you the greatest compliment of them all: referrals.

And fifth: not everybody knows everything. So when you have doubts, talk to your loyal friends. If you are a good friend, the relationships that you have cultivated, will be there for you. Ask, and when your friends ask for suggestions, you be there for them too. In that way, it is a mutual benefit relationship.
Do this, and you will prosper.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

So you want to make money online?

I want to make money with my blog.

Blogs, electronic journals, e-zines, e-books, online versions of paper magazines, the options are endless. How can you find the blog that you would like to read? That seems like a stupid question to ask, the stereotypical answer would be: “Google it”. Yeah right. Try it, and when you have pulled every hair on your head, let me know. Search engine categorize blogs by keywords, and there are exponentially, as many ways to find your blog, as there are words in whichever language(s) you are currently using.

The next problem that you will find, is that people tend to start a blog entry, and suddenly, a friend comments on the blog, but instead of adding content, they start a non-related conversation about the immortality of crabs or some nonsensical topic like last night’s dance. Don’t take me wrong, that is totally ok. But it does not serve the purpose if you are limited in time and want an expedite way of research.

The problem is that blogers are human beings, they get bored, they get busy, they become frustrated, and that lends itself to inconsistency. Inconsistency breeds the mess that we find now on the Internet.

The thing is, that this is supposed to be a blog about making money, business opportunities, and social media. So why did I started this post in such a convoluted way? You guessed it, here is the answer: you can make money with a blog if you follow a few very basic rules. Many people have done it. It does not take a rocket scientist. I read about a teenage girl that started designing “wallpaper” for her MySpace account, and gave it away for free on her blog. Suddenly, her popularity skyrocketed (went viral) and at seventeen, someone offered her over $1,000,000.00 for her blog. Yes, that is over one million dollars. She declined, the upped the offer, and the rest is history. John Chow, started a ranting blog, and now he receive tens of thousands of hits (visitors) a week. He makes a killing on advertisements.

How does that benefit you? Simple, start a blog; the experience alone, even if you make no money of the back, is worthy. You will get used to the pace, posting, replying to comments, and placing ads on your blog. You can start a blog for free, get an Adsense account (from Google) and start making modest amounts of money. But if you really want to make money, you need traffic; you need to drive visitors to your blog. Your writing needs to be interesting; your blog should have good content, and need to be updated often to keep people visiting you often.

Tell me again why I should start a blog? Here it goes again: a blog is a diary that others read, get interested on, comment on your postings, and gives you the opportunity to reply to those postings, thus establishing a relationship.

Follow me now... You suddenly get many friends to follow your writings, some will agree with you and some will not, no surprise there, but if you are honest, treat everybody with dignity, they will come back. You have managed to establish a following. You are establishing yourself as an authority.

Keep up now, I’m going fast here… what is marketing? Marketing is the art or science of advertising a product or service so people will purchase it. The marketer should be credible and savvy enough to advertise a product so the viewers, readers, friends, etc. accept his or her word for it, and want to purchase such product or service. But how can you advertise if you have no credibility? And how can you create or develop credibility if people don’t know you? Enter the BLOG… Got it?

Got it. Get your name out there, for the right reasons. Be serious about it. Research your postings before publishing. Treat others with a modicum of respect. Advertise your blog to your Social Media friends; hopefully you will have more than ten. Have your friends recommend your postings to their friends. Have them Digg, or Stumbelupon, or bookmark your articles. Soon enough, not overnight though, your name will be on the search engines. And your blog will have a good following; making you an authority. Oh, remember the adsense and other advertising that you started doing on your blog? With some luck, you will be bringing some revenue as your visitors click on your advertisements.

So, lets summarize:

a. Create a blog.
b. Add fairly good quality articles or postings; make sure that you research the topic.
c. Place some advertisements on it.
d. Tell your friends and ask them to ask your friends to visit your blog, if it is good, some will continue visiting and reading it.

Tell me what you think… leave your comments below.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Get attention

by: Rikki Arundel

We live in a world of noise ? not just auditory noise but total sensory overload. Everywhere we go marketing messages are shouting at us day and night. Hundreds of TV and radio stations, thousands of newspapers, magazines and books, millions of ezines, brochures, and leaflets, billions of emails and web pages. And unfortunately much of it is junk so it's hard to find the important stuff.

You have to cut though the noise and get people to see and hear your message. If people don't see you or hear you then there is no way they are going to buy from you. If people don't visit your web site, read your articles, brochures or sales letters, attend your seminars etc., why even bother to produce them.

Now I know this is going to sound blindingly obvious, but most important ideas are just common sense things that we have stopped doing. The key to Getting Attention is to give people what they are looking for. Find a bunch of people with the same problem keeping them awake at night and offer to take away the problem. People buy for two reasons only:

Desire for Gain or Avoidance of Pain.

The one that motivates us most is avoidance of pain, removing a problem. What problem does your product or service solve? Look for people who have that problem, market to them and you will get their attention because that problem is on their mind, they are thinking about it they are looking for a solution so they are much more likely to see your message. This is what gives pay per click its potential and why it's so important to build tightly targeted mailing and ezine lists.

Write these words on a large poster and stick it up on your notice-board.

Get Attention ? Be Remembered

Now once you have their attention it's a lot easier to keep that attention and even get them telling their friends about you, provided you get them to Remember You. This is so important but so many businesses do nothing to be remembered. The cost of acquiring a new customer is about 10 times the cost of repeat business so it's crucial that you do everything to make sure that customers remember you and get into the habit of doing business with you.

Consider the Lifetime Value of a customer. One purchase may be worth $100, but if that customer comes back to you just 4 times a year for the next 5 years their value is $2000 ? 20 times their first purchase. If every year that customer refers another 2 customers to you who each spend $400 a year, at the end of 5 years that one customer will have introduced 8 customers with a total value to you of $10,000. Now if maths is not your strong suit you will just have to trust me on this, but if each new customer also referred 2 additional customers each year, you would have a total of 121 customers with a 5 year value to you of $48,400. Nearly £50,000 dollars from one $100 customer.

What you are doing to make your customers feel really great about doing business with you. Be creative. It's not what they buy it's who they introduce that makes the difference. How can you overwhelm people with the quality of your service, massively exceed their expectations and give them real value, especially value that doesn't actually cost you much.

One day I was booked in at a small 3 star hotel. As I approached the door, a lady welcomed me and opened the door for me. As I waited at the reception to check in, she brought over a tray offering me a glass of sherry or brandy while I waited. As soon as I had checked in a porter took my bag and escorted me to the room showing me around. 15 minutes later the reception called just to check that everything was OK. This was an inexpensive 3 star hotel yet they delivered the kind of service that even 5 star hotels struggle to match. The result; I became an evangelist selling their hotel to friends and contacts at every opportunity because they massively exceeded my expectations.

So the marketing process is ? Get Attention to acquire new customers by giving people what they want, - Be Remembered by massively exceeding expectations so they do your marketing for you by recommending you to their friends.

About the Author:

Founder and First President of the Professional Speakers Association (PSA), Rikki Arundel is a truly unique International Keynote Speaker, Trainer and Writer. She is openly and proudly transgender and an expert in sales and marketing communications with an impressive track record, and being transgender has provided her with a unique understanding of the differences in the way men and women communicate in business.

Friday, August 1, 2008

E-Business 101, in layman's terms

An online business; that is the dream of many entrepreneurs. The old adage that “you have to spend money to make money” is still partially true in this day and age. But the days of spending thousands of dollars in order to start a business online are pretty much over, unless of course you get yourself swindled by some fast talking person. But how can you make it if you have no idea how to start your own business, much less an online business?

Here is the scoop. You will have some initials expenses, and if you are smart and lucky, you can keep them to a minimum.

First things first; what do you want to do with your business? Do you want to sell something tangible, intangible, your own products, someone else’s, do something in the entertainment industry (use your imagination on that one), or… you take your pick.

It does not matter what you want to do, you will need a website. Here is the warning: almost everyone who offers you a free website, is probably only offering you the website, not the “Domain name”, or the “hosting”, and for sure, not the advertising.

What does all that means in layman’s terms? The “Domain” is the name for your business. Here goes another warning: when you go to purchase your domain, make sure that you have the usual fee for the hosting (about $5.00-$25.00 per month) because when you enter your very original “name” and try to figure out if it is available, the search engine that you are using, or the company that is trying to sell you the hosting, will keep tabs of it, and if you do not snatch it right away, they will buy it, and then auction it back to you at a higher price. Also, “Hosting Companies” will give you the better rate if you pay for the entire year up front. I.E. you will pay about $20.00 per month, if you pay one month at a time; versus $5.95 per month, if you pay the entire year.

“Hosting” is the place where you are going to keep your files, and website. They have a server, or huge storage facility and can sell you a package that would allow to keep your site, provide you with emails for your business, and or give you the option to rent space for other entrepreneurs to hang their websites, that way you also make money from it. That of course is more expensive.

Web design, HTML, and whatchamacallits: You can buy a cheap WYSIWYG program (what you see is what you get) at your local software store, you can ask someone to do it for you and pay a few hundreds to thousands, or use the hosting company WYSIWYG software and hope you can figure it out. I suggest for you to go to, or and create a free account, then, practice, practice, practice… figure out the colors, the layout, the advertising placement, etc. It will give you an opportunity to practice your decorator skills.

Once you figure it out with a few disposable blogs or websites, you are ready to get your feet wet. Do these next:

a. Buy your domain; the “Free domains” gimmick is to make you buy a hosting packet.
b. Buy your hosting packet. See if they throw an auto responder with it. Trust me, you will need it.

c. Get the auto responder if you did not get it with the hosting.
d. Create your website.

Now I am going to break your heart. Just because you have a great website, does not mean that you will have people coming to look at it. No visitors, no purchase, no advertising revenue. The only business that is really a sure thing is an “adult website business”. Other than that, you will need to do some serious “Search Engine Optimization” in order to get visitors.

Search Engine what? Here it is in English: if search engines like Google, Dogpile, Ask Jeeves, etc. cannot find your website, nobody will see it. If your website is not within the first few results in the main search engines, people will not take the time to find it. So, you can do it yourself, or again, pay someone to do it.
Once you have your domain, your website, your hosting, your auto responder, and your site fully optimized, you need to ask yourself, how am I going to get pay?

E-Commerce, Electronic Shopping Cart, PayPal, SafePay, etc are topics for a future article, in the meantime, do not fall for every Tom, Dick, or Harry that promises to make you a millionaire. Only invest what you can afford to lose, and make yourself smart. I am not trying to be condescending; I am trying to tell you to start studying. Continue to read this blog, go to, check out their 100 top blogs, read some of those and learn, learn, learn.

Any doubts, feel free to ask.