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The Secrets to Getting Ahead of Your Competitors

Every business has competitors and yours is no exception.  Let’s say you have a nice little ice cream shop and your biggest competition is just around the corner. So how do you sell more ice cream than him?

The secret is to add online marketing.

Here’s what you do if you’re a smart ice cream shop online marketer:

You have a website because people search online for types of ice creams shops, where they’re located, and if there are any coupons or specials available.  Really!

You get a Facebook fan page up and offer a shot at a contest prize if they “Like” you and spread the word to their friends.

You get on Twitter and gather followers who are waiting for you to tweet about Twitter Only specials and other sweet tweet deals.

You ask people to tweet, email, or fill out an online order form with your bulk ice cream orders or special ice cream cake orders so you can have it all ready and waiting for them when they come in.

You ask for interaction on your website in order to build community. What’s your favorite flavor? What flavors would you like to see us offer? Tell me what your favorite creation of mix-ins would be? Should we have a karaoke night once a month?

You collect email addresses with a special form on your site and market to these people who are interested in your ice cream shop and your brand of ice cream.

Do you think your competitor is doing this?  Probably not. That’s why it’s a great way to get ahead… way ahead.

Regards,
DeVerne Chapman

Marketing and Promotional Ideas for 2012

Now is the time to start planning your promotional calendar for 2012.

Use these “Holidays” as special sales promotions in the upcoming year.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

January

New Years Day
College Football
New Year’s Resolutions
Martin Luther King
Super Bowl
Back to School – 2nd Semester
Bank Holiday (UK)

February

Ground Hog Day
Mardi Gras
President’s Day
Valentine’s Day
Daytona 500
February Sweeps for Television
Black History Month

March

St. Patrick’s Day
Passover
Easter
First Day of Spring
March Madness
Academy Awards
Spring Break with the Family!
End Q1

April

Baseball Opening Day
Good Friday
April Fool’s Day
Tax Day
Earth Day
Master’s (Golf)
Prom

May

Cinco de Mayo
Mother’s Day
Graduation
Victoria Day (Canada)
Memorial Day
Spring Bank Holiday (UK)
Kentucky Derby
Season Finales for Television
Teacher Appreciation Week
National Small Business Week

June

Father’s Day
NBA Playoffs
NHL Playoffs
Flag Day
Graduation / School’s Out
First Day of Summer
Time to Take a Vacation!
U.S. Open (Golf)
Wimbledon (Tennis)
End Q2

July

Independence Day
Canada Day
Summer Fun

August

Back to School
Tax-Free Sales Events
End of Summer
College Football

September

Labor Day
NFL Opens
First Day of Fall
End Q3

October

Columbus Day
World Series
Thanksgiving Day (Canada)
Red Ribbon Week
National Boss Day
National Book Month
Halloween

November

Election Day
Veteran’s Day
Thanksgiving Day
Black Friday (Busiest Shopping Day)
November Sweeps for Television
NBA
NHL
Global Entrepreneurship Week

December

First Day of Winter
Christmas
Boxing Day
Happy Holidays
College Football
New Year Resolutions
New Years Eve
End Q4
End of Year

If you need any help getting more ideas together, let me know!

Regards,
DeVerne Chapman

This is why your website sucks…

You might think it’s enough just to have a website up and that it doesn’t have to be perfect. After all, it’s not your specialty and you’ve got LOTS of other stuff to do.

You’re right, it doesn’t have to be perfect. But it shouldn’t suck. Here’s a list of what makes for a website failure.  Hopefully you’re not making these mistakes too.

* Too many ads. This is a turnoff to anyone who stops by. They’re not necessarily there to buy and even if they are they don’t want it forced down their throats.

* Confusing site navigation. If people arrive on your site and they can’t find what they’re looking for easily, they’ll quickly leave.

* Similarly, there is no clear call to action. Does your content/information conclude with asking them to take action, like buy or click on another page?

* Amateurish website. Graphics that look like you did them yourself (no offense), content that’s not aligned and goes off the page, photos that cause some pages to be too wide, etc.

* No enough content, or content that’s lacking in value. Too many pictures and not enough words not only annoys your visitors but doesn’t help your website’s search engine rankings.

* Shopping cart is hidden. Make it easy for people to buy! If they have to go through several pages to make a purchase, they’re not going to stick around to follow through.

* No contact information. Your site needs your email address, physical address, and a phone number.

* Missing pages. Search engines like to see that you have certain pages such as a privacy policy and terms of use, among others.

Are you thoroughly confused and scared about your website now? Allow me to take care of it all for you. Great websites are what I specialize in. :)

Regards,
DeVerne Chapman
518-832-9393

What’s on YOUR website?

Have you ever looked at a great website and analyzed what exactly is on it? This email talks about the extra pieces, besides the general writing, that make up a successful website.

One such “extra piece” is the use of videos. Not everyone likes to read so if you give your visual visitors something to look at, such as How To videos or a tour of your store, they’re more likely to stay around and see what you’re about.

An essential item for a website’s success is testimonials.  If you have happy customers, put their letters or emails on your site. Potential clients like to know that others have gone before them and are happy with what you provide. The testimonials can also be videos if you have people who prefer to do it that way.

Another very important element, besides the written words (also known as content), is the use of graphics. I’m talking about eye-pleasing photos, charts, and clip art pictures that draw focus, make the web page interesting, and break up what would be considered a lot of text.

This next one is simple, yet so many websites overlook it – contact information. There is nothing more frustrating than looking all over a website and not finding a way to contact the site owner.

On every page of the website there should be an address, phone number, and email address.  This is crucial to good customer service, and it makes a site look more legitimate and less suspicious.

The Right Words On Your Website = Traffic!

There’s no doubt that having a website for your brick and mortar business is crucial, and even necessary these days.

But it’s not enough just to have any old website. You need a website that will draw traffic, aka visitors, who are surfing the web. These are visitors you wouldn’t otherwise have and they can make a huge difference in the success or failure of your online presence.

So how do you get these visitors who are surfing the web?

By your choice of words…
* in your content
* in your content titles
* in your graphics titles
* behind the scenes of your site
* in your links to other pages of your site

Some words are better than others because they are searched for again and again by TONS of people. Some words, called longtail keywords, are searched for a lot yet have little competition from other sites (not as many sites use these keywords). If you use these favorable longtail keyword phrases it may mean you can land on page 1 in Google for the phrase.

The result of being on page 1 of the Google search engine is huge! Just think what it means if people find your website on the first page of their search – a marked influx of traffic and a big new market of people to market to.

I can help you find the best keywords for your website. I can also add them to your site in all the right places. Let me know if you’d like to talk about this powerful traffic-getting technique.

Regards,
DeVerne Chapman

The right words on your website = traffic!

 

There’s no doubt that having a website for your brick and mortar business is crucial, and even necessary these days.

 

But it’s not enough just to have any old website. You need a website that will draw traffic, aka visitors, who are surfing the web. These are visitors you wouldn’t otherwise have and they can make a huge difference in the success or failure of your online presence.

 

So how do you get these visitors who are surfing the web?

By your choice of words…

· in your content

· in your content titles

· in your graphics titles

· behind the scenes of your site

· in your links to other pages of your site

 

Some words are better than others because they are searched for again and again by TONS of people. Some words, called longtail keywords, are searched for a lot yet have little competition from other sites (not as many sites use these keywords). If you use these favorable longtail keyword phrases it may mean you can land on page 1 in Google for the phrase.

 

The result of being on page 1 of the Google search engine is huge! Just think what it means if people find your website on the first page of their search – a marked influx of traffic and a big new market of people to market to.

 

I can help you find the best keywords for your website. I can also add them to your site in all the right places. Let me know if you’d like to talk about this powerful traffic-getting technique.

The reasons why customers are not reading your emails…

Emailing your past customers and potential clients is a very important tool you can use to bring in more people to your physical business. Your emails can also keep your company name front and center so people don’t forget about you and what you offer.

But with the number of emails people get these days and knowing they don’t read half of what lands in their in-bins, it becomes more important than ever for your emails to stand out.

That doesn’t mean using spammy subject lines or misleading titles to lure people in. It means using subject lines that have certain trigger words in them. This is crucial because if they don’t even open your email, there’s zero chance they’ll act on what’s inside.

The emails need to be formatted in such a way as to make them easier and quicker to read. There are simple things you can do to make the layout of your emails more inviting to read.

Did you know there are certain words you should not use in your emails or it will cause them to land in your subscribers’ spam folders? It’s pretty easy to avoid these words if you know what they are.

Your emails must have a purpose. Before you send one, make sure it has a call to action. This can be anything such as purchasing during your sale, contacting you for more info, visiting your website to do xyz, or coming in to your store in person for the abc event.

Writing emails is not that hard but crafting them so they stand out and get opened because the subscriber likes your emails is something else.

If you’d like to know my secrets to emailing success, just pick up the phone and call or simply send a reply to this email.

I look forward to talking with you.

The 3 reasons why there’s no website… is this you?

I love small businesses; the people behind them are intelligent, creative, hard working, and focused! But I worry when I see them working harder than they have to on every aspect of their business.

They’re wearing all the hats and making things happen as best they can, yet they haven’t begun marketing online with a website. Having their own website could really take a load off their shoulders plus give them a whole new world of customers.

Why don’t they have a website?  These are the 3 reasons I’ve come across…

1.  They don’t know what to do.

They’ve been in business long enough to know there’s always a steep learning curve with something new – the technical details, the marketing details, the necessary insider info.
Very true.  A real amateurish-looking, poorly laid out website can do more harm than good.  A website should be more than one page filled with ads.  Building a website is something that can be learned and some aspects of it are easy, but it takes time. Which leads to objection #2.

2.  They don’t have the time to mess with it.

They don’t have time to learn what to do, time to get it going, time to keep it going.
Agreed.  That’s why there are companies like mine that specialize in setting up your website and even keeping it updated if you want.

3.  They can’t afford to.

Their business is just starting off or they’re not in the position to afford “luxuries” like a website.
A website is a necessity today and I would argue it’s better to get it up as soon as possible so it can help bring in clients.  People like to check your company out online, it gives them more of a sense of who you are, and they like to buy online.  A website means customers are global, not just local, and that should tell you your chance to profit from your website can far outweigh the cost of getting a website designed and “put up”.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I’m harping, but adding the online component to your business is so important. It gets me jazzed because I know how to put it all together and make it work for you.

 

Regards,

DeVerne Chapman
Merge Web Design
518-832-9393

Online marketing terms… Greek to you?

Congrats on having a website, but did you know there is so much more you can do with your website right now to help bring in new customers, make current customers happy, grow your business, and have it do many of the online tasks for you?

I’ve got a few online marketing terms to run by you. If you’ve not used the services of an online consultant before, then these terms might sound like Greek to you…

SEO – This stands for search engine optimization.  Optimizing your website for the search engines, like Google, means the difference between a trickle of traffic or a lot of traffic.

monetize – Is your website laid out to make you money?  Chances are, you haven’t monetized it properly or you’re lacking in the different ways to make money (monetize) your site.

email marketing – This is what you do to actively market your products online; it’s in addition to just showing your website to the world. Collecting email addresses from people means you can send them periodic emails on new products, sales, etc. to bring them back to your site and purchase from you or into your physical place of business.

autoresponder – An autoresponder is the vehicle by which you send your emails. You don’t have to set up time-consuming individual emails and put in each email address. The autoresponder does it all.

shopping carts – If you’re selling product, you need shopping cart software on your site. Not all are the same so pick one that has all the features you need and it will make your life easier.

It’s a whole different world, isn’t it?  I can walk you through this confusing maze as it’s my specialty. Online consulting and taking care of your online needs is what I do. You can contact me by replying to this email or calling me at the number below.

Regards,

DeVerne Chapman

Is social media good for your business? Really?

Good grief, not another thing you have to learn about and try to figure out when you’ve already got so much going on with your small business?!

Yet social media really is something you should give heavy consideration to using because social media can be really good for your business.

Here are just 7 of the reasons why:

1. You can give instant killer support. Turn your occasional unhappy customers into raving fans by dealing with them directly, quickly, and in a satisfactory manner.

2.  It offers ways to get your name out there and keep your name out there. Don’t get forgotten or left behind; offer discounts or limited-time offers or whatever works for your particular company. It’s all about branding.

3.  Social media also offers you a chance to show a bit of the face behind the brand. This means a lot to people.

4.  It’s another way to be found – you might not be found on the first page of a Google search if you’re a little guy competing against the big guys, but you can be seen when you use social media.

5.  Social media gives you targeted traffic.  The ones who stick around are the ones interested in your product and company.

6.  Consider social media a much less expensive way to advertise/market!

7.  It allows your customers a chance to communicate with you using their preferred method. Conversations are real and valuable.

If you need help setting up a Facebook fan page or want to know the social media do’s and don’ts, I’d be happy to help.  Please contact me with your needs and let’s get you benefiting from social media as soon as possible!

Regards,
DeVerne Chapman

Increase your sales with the right shopping cart and backend offers

Let’s say you have your website all set up and you’re able to take and process online orders for products. Congratulations!

The next essential step is to suggest other products that are a continuation of the same type of product they just bought, or something that compliments their purchase.

The best time to make an additional sale is during the customer’s buying experience on your site or fairly soon afterwards while they’re still in the buying mindset.

You can suggest further products automatically based on what they’re buying *before* they finish the last steps of their purchase. This is something you do through your nifty online shopping cart. Think about your own online shopping experiences and how the carts suggest items and allow you to go back and add them to your order.

Another way is to steal an idea from Amazon which is very successful – have a spot on each item’s page towards the bottom that says something like “If you like this item you might also be interested in these items…” And list similar items on the page.

You can also collect their email address so you can suggest additional items over an extended period of time after they originally purchased.  This is an easy way to market to customers who are really pleased with your products and would like to be kept informed.

Emailing your customers down the road means you can offer extra service packs, coaching, additional services, another item in the collection, a similar product with added value, or a similar “lite” product. These are your backend products and can greatly increase your sales per customer.

Consider setting up a backend online system where the emails will go out automatically after a sale at intervals you’ve predetermined. This is email marketing at it’s best!

Regards,
DeVerne Chapman
518.832.9393

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