Business Ethics & Online Marketing

When it comes to Business ethics & online marketing there seems to be a big disconnect for some people and I’ve been seeing this for well over two years.

Recently I received an email from an online marketer that I have followed for the last couple of years. This email was his message to us, his subscribers, about business ethics. This message lead to his blog where he went on and on about business ethics and how he had marketed offers that were supposed to have limited time frames to order, but in actuality there were no limited times. And he readily admitted that he had done this.

I was a bit surprised by this email and the blog post that dug into the topic, but I took a tact  that I normally don’t take. I replied to him through email to let him know that there are no business ethics. There are only ethics.

I first heard the saying from John Maxwell when he said, “there are no business ethics, just plain ethics…”

You are either ethical or you are not. It’s pretty simple, wouldn’t you agree? Well, I never heard back from this marketer and hence I unsubscribed from his list. He broke my #3 rule about being available and when marketers do this or break any of my other rules – I just don’t put up with it, no matter how much I have enjoyed their past information and offers.

Ethics and integrity go side by side, and in online as well as off line marketing we as business people need to hold a high standard, versus taking short cuts and not being truthful.

For those online marketers who utilize email marketing, you need to stay connected with your clients and subscribers, along with being real and adding value whenever you can.

If you are building a list of subscribers – Build up the trust and never break it.

Build relationships and be available.

Be ethical in all that you do and go the extra mile both on and offline.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

 

 

What is an Email Autoresponder?

What is an email autoresponder and how does a small business use it?

The email auto responder is online software generally provided by a third party company. This software is what enables you, the small business owner, to capture, communicate and sell to the people on your email list plus have the ability to track and have access to data through detailed reports.

The email auto responder company that you as a business owner choose to use is an extremely important decision and should not be taken lightly. This company is going to be providing you with software and maintaining the database of subscribers that you accumulate. Without the auto responder it would be virtually impossible to develop and grow a list of subscribers online.

When I initially was looking for email software I tested two different products and ended up going with Aweber because of the simplicity and ease of use.

In my opinion their setup and interface was and still is one of the best on the market for email marketing, especially the beginner or those that are less technical when it comes to computers and software.

Auto-responder software provides many different features like the lead capture forms, an email interface, a database and reports for the user to review and analyze data for marketing purposes.

One of the best things about online email software is that if you happen to be involved in a traditional brick and mortar business, you can setup the email auto-responder and market to both prospects and clients with out a complex web site.

This is due in part to the simple web forms that the 3rd party software company provides. These forms can be posted anywhere and in some cases the company will also host the form for the business.

So for those people that want to keep it really simple, the lead capture web form can be used on social media sites like Facebook and on blog sites just like this one.

No matter which email software you choose for your business, make sure that the company has great support and provides you with an online resource for answering questions.

I’ve trusted Aweber and so far it’s been a great experience.

By the way, if you want more information about email marketing, check out my post about it by clicking here.

To your success,

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Online Marketing Training

When I first ventured back online – for the second time, I went in search of people to help me. I had tons of questions because it was like being woken up from a two decade long sleep; kind of like falling asleep in the early 1960’s and waking up in the late 1980’s.

It was a tough road let me tell you. Searching for real people that had real online business building experience and offered online marketing training. You know, experienced people who would answer questions and provide help without the $5k to $10k price tag?

There seemed to be lots of products for sale on how to do this and how to do that, but when it came to actual live help and assistance I was stone walled with support system software, hired employees, outsourced workers, fees that were in the stratosphere, no help here or simply no response at all.

But with every adversity comes an equal or greater benefit and I eventually found legitimate resources and mentorship from seasoned online veterans who also had offline experience.

Now I’ve always been one to seek out people who had experience in an area that I was looking to excel at. When it came to golf, I took lessons; tennis – tennis lessons; guitar and vocals – lessons. I always took lessons and learned from people who had been there and done that.

When it came to the web and online marketing training – this was an entirely different animal and boy was it hard to track down. But persevere I did and mentorship I did find.

That’s why I came up with Rule #3 – Being Available.

What does this have to do with your small business, Internet marketing and list building? Being available to your clients and subscribers is what will separate you from most of your competitors. Online and offline.

Most of the competition is looking to get away from human interaction in any way shape or form. They look at the Internet as a way to eliminate this interaction and create walls.

I challenge you, my subscriber, to break down those walls and create solid connections from the very beginning of the relationship when you make first contact.

  • Being available is how you develop relationships with your subscribers and clients.
  • Being available is where you can make a difference in someone else’s life.
  • Being available is creating a true connection with solid online marketing training versus a string of emails with sales messages.

Build your business – be available, and help those who ask for your help.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

PS – If you are still searching, looking and serious  – subscribe here  – and I’ll see what I can do to help you in your online journey.

Customer Satisfaction – Your Ticket to Ongoing Revenue

Customer satisfaction and retention should be one of the most important areas in any small business, yet the tide seems to be turning in the wrong direction.

In all the years that I’ve been around small business I’ve never seen customer service slipping so much. It almost feels like you have to pull teeth to have someone treat you like a human being – let alone speak with a human being or even connect with one.

More and more I see companies letting their customer service slip which ultimately kills customer retention. And then you have those businesses that implement what they call customer relationship management policies and practices that makes you wonder if anyone really understands the customer?

There’s a disconnect and I believe that until the owner or CEO takes a stand and determines that retaining customers is a top priority, then nothing will change. Because customer service shouldn’t be like the price oil and fluctuate all the time.

In order to have customer satisfaction you need satisfied customers and in order to have satisfied customers you need to have whoever is handling the sale understand what your objectives are. And implement the objectives the way you want them, not the way your workers see it.

Time and time again I experience customer service that speaks of people who don’t care.

Is your business like this? Do your staff or outsourced workers understand what customer satisfaction is? Have you defined what customer satisfaction is in your small business and built your business around satisfying your customers?  Or is your model a revolving door with ‘one sale sam’ written all over it?

I mean you can be an online business owner with a small enterprise that is up and coming and the great thing is that you can provide better customer service than larger competitors. But you needs to satisfy dose customers. (I know my grammar and spelling are sometimes quirky on purpose) – dot, dot, dot. :0)

So get on the right right track and create a simple plan for your staff to follow and make sure to create an outline for both online and offline. More on this in a future post.

In the book “The Five Love Languages”, acts of service is one of the five areas that the author writes about. This is a secret that you may be able to use in your customer retention strategy.

What you do is during the survey process (and yes you should have one) – ask your new customer what is most important to him or her. Ask specifically and dig deep. Why – because this is how you find out what it is that your customer really wants, needs and desires. Call it survey to success and watch what happens after you do this for a few weeks to a month.

It really works – and customers will respond if you ask genuine questions and offer solutions.

So the ticket to ongoing revenue is to satisfy and retain your customers. Be real, add value and be available.

Stay tuned and glued to this channel and dial in to Secrets of the TIny Store to find out how a little know business from the Puget Sound region of Washington State – rocked the search engines for 6 years straight. And provided good to great customer service for 18 years…

Dave Krygier
Publisher

 

 

 

 

Traffic for List Building – Part III

As I dig deeper and deeper into this topic of traffic for list building, please understand that there are so many different ways to drive traffic to your website and squeeze pages. In part three of this three part series I am going to give you some insights about where to find your buyers so you can use targeted traffic to bring them to you.

By the way – if you missed Traffic for List Building Part One and Traffic for List Building Part Two, click on the links and then you’ll have a clearer picture of what I’m writing about in this article.

My main focus in this article is on the buyer. Focus on your buyers.

Focus on your buyers and ask yourself the following questions:

Who is he or she? Where do they hang out? How old are they? What are their interests in your niche or subject? Is there any other information to be had about this person?

You see these are important questions and you need to narrow your focus and do some research in order to find these people. Remember, they are people, just like you and me and they have needs just like you and me.

The example I am going to use here is if you are in the niche that has to do with organic gardening and specifically how to setup and grow an organic garden.

If organic gardening is your specialty, then you are looking for buyers who have an interest in organics not traditional methods. This is where you start, with organics. Then you dig deeper and find out what’s hot in the organic marketplace and how it relates to setting up and growing an organic garden.

Now I can keep going but hopefully you see where this is leading and brings us back to targeting the buyers and bringing them to your website or squeeze page. Once you know who the buyers are, then you can develop and implement a traffic strategy that brings them to you.

Maybe that strategy is based on content and search engine optimization?

Maybe it has to do with pay per click and banner advertising?

Whatever method you choose – research and do some testing before you take the plunge and make sure that your traffic is targeted so you will have subscribers who are really interested in your niche.

For more …..info about how you can supercharge your list building activities, check out the List Building Guide and also receive list building tips, tactics and strategies.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Email Marketing for Small Business

            “The Secret Most Small Businesses Need to Know”

As a small business owner or professional have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a rapidly growing email list of subscribers and clients?

Now if you already have a growing list of subscribers and clients, then congratulations and stay the course. But if you are still one of the many offline companies struggling with email marketing, then this post if for you because I am going to share three steps on how offline companies and individuals can better use email marketing in their businesses.

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles and posts, offline businesses for the most part do not understand how to market with email. Some are great at marketing to their existing client lists through direct mail and direct response marketing, but when it comes to utilizing email they simply don’t have a clue.

Why do these businesses continually miss the boat?

Personalization is one the missing components. I see it all the time. Instead of saying Dear Dave or Hey Dave or just simply Dave, what do they do?

They simply bunch us all together with no personalized greeting and then send e-blasts that are so convoluted and crammed with information that you need a backhoe to get through it.

It’s like they need to say everything all at once, instead of communicating with a more targeted approach. The approach that more clearly and concisely states the offer(s) and calls for a response.

On the other hand you have big corps like the airlines – they kind of get it but still don’t personalize enough or find out what we, as consumers really want to receive. They just assume since you fly with them that you’ll be interested in other kinds of offers, some having to do with travel and some not at all.

It’s a mass-market approach versus a targeted approach.

Ok – let’s wind ‘er down…

It really boggles my mind that more companies and marketers don’t survey very often or at all, and use their email platform to do the heavy lifting. Surveying can make the difference and it’s worth doing every so often to see what customers and subscribers are thinking.

Sooo…

If you are involved in a small business that already has an existing list of clients, you can turbo charge your email marketing efforts just by tweaking a few things:

1. Personalize each and every message that you send to your email list.

2. Add & mix in quality content messages that build up to your sales and promotional messages.

3. Survey and Segment all your lists so you can better serve those that have chosen to stay subscribed.

BTW – if you are using email marketing now and haven’t implemented the three steps above; put them into action as soon as possible. If you are not using email marketing and want to learn how, subscribe to the List Building Guide and get started now!

Start Your Own Business Online – Part II

Part one of this series, Start Your Own Business Online, was primarily focused on the very basics of e-commerce, affiliate and email marketing. In part two I am going to share three additional ways that you could be working online in your own business.

To start a small business is an undertaking that more and more people are choosing and the online arena seems to be where they are going. To start your own business online could mean flexibility and the ability to work from home or in some cases just about any place that has an Internet connection.

But just because you start a business online doesn’t mean that you will make any money or  be able to succeed. It takes time, effort and money, just like any other offline business and you need to work at it. The traffic and revenue doesn’t just come your way overnight.

Let me emphasize that the ‘takes money’ part means that you will have to pay for online access and services like domain registration, hosting, tech support, training and software.

The whole idea of free is not going to build your business.

Yes there are some great reports, videos, audios and startup trainings out there and I even have some that I offer my subscribers. Remember, you are building a business, not a hobby.

So if you are really serious about starting in business online, here are three additional ways that might interest you:

1. Information products, otherwise known as digital products can be a great way to go if you already have expertise in a particular subject or business. This is one of the best ways for people with offline expertise to market themselves online and develop a digital enterprise. If you already have a specialty in the offline world then you might be able to convert whatever it is you do to the online world. The actual digital product(s) may be an audio, video or written document converted into a PDF for download or viewing online. So if this sounds like an online business that might work for you, check out the The List Building Guide for more information about how to develop an info marketing business.

2. Coaching and Consulting are two ways that you can work online, especially if you are transitioning to the web or desire a platform that allows for flexibility. As I mentioned in the previous option coaching can also be combined with information products. Consulting on the other hand can be more hands on where you actually do the work for the person or company.

3. CPA Marketing which stands for ‘cost per action’ is one of the least publicized methods of online marketing. This method of the affiliate family basically pays you for the actions that people take. It’s a very intense arena and takes a lot of know how and connections if you are going to venture here and make a go of it.

Whichever online business you choose to go with, make sure to do your research and ask the important questions, so you make quality decisions and start in business on the right foot.

Also, make sure to check out my previous post, Start Your Own Business Online and remember…to start a business is one thing – making it profitable and succeeding is a whole other story.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

How to Start a Blog

Today’s topic is ‘How to Start a Blog’ and what you as small business owner or professional can do to make this online method of content marketing work in your favor.

When I first started Click and Mortar Blog in early 2010 it never occurred to me that starting a blog was really one of the best ways to communicate and distribute content. I always thought a blog was used as a journal or way to offer commentary about different topics and subjects.

Well it didn’t take long for me to get up to speed and learn the ins and outs of blogging and how powerful this channel is.

So how does one start a blog for a small business?

If you want the simple easy solution, go to blogger.com. This way you can be up and running in very little time. It’s easy to setup, easy to load content and easy to manage without having to pay for a webmaster or technician to take care of all the backend work.

There are other blogging platforms you can use, if you are on a really low or limited budget. If you choose this route I recommend that you do some research and compare to see how each blog platform works and which ones might best fit your needs.

If you want more options, the ability to customize your blog, and use your own domain names, then consider using the WordPress platform like we do here at clickandmortarblog.com. Or if you already have an existing website – add a blog to it. This is a bit more complicated and depending on your level of expertise, you might have to find a web technician to help with some of the backend work.

No matter if you are a solo practitioner or operating a small business with 50 people, the blog can be used in so many different ways and has tremendous benefits.

What are the benefits of creating and maintaining a blog for your small business?

Here’s the short list:

1. Blog to drive traffic by using quality content to attract visitors to your websites.

2. Blog to communicate and offer additional content to your list of email subscribers.

3. Blogging can be used as a way to promote your business through quality content and then linking to other niche websites.

4. Blogging for other sites as a guest blogger can be huge, especially if you have specific areas of expertise and have the ability to create original posts on a continual basis. By guest blogging you can usually link back to your own blog and increase visibility.

And the benefit list goes on…

But know this, starting a blog for small business purposes is a great way to create exposure, especially if you are a new business or are just getting started online and need a jumpstart.

So if you haven’t started a blog for your small business, get started today. And if you want to learn how to utilize your blog with your email marketing, subscribe to the List Building Guide and I’ll share some tips and tactics.

Dave Krygier
Publisher

Traffic for List Building – Part II

Targeted traffic is today’s message in part two of this three part series about traffic for list building. If you missed part one about traffic for list building, click here so you can follow along.

As a list builder, targeted traffic is really what you need if you desire to build a list of subscribers and monetize it over time.

It’s best to find traffic sources that are targeted towards the niche market you are in versus massive amounts of traffic that may not even be interested in your information, products or services.

Remember we are talking about ROI – return on your investment in the traffic source. So choose your traffic carefully and always test each traffic source to ensure that you know if it works or not.

These first two traffic sources I have listed are ones that you can setup and do yourself and essentially trade hours, if you are on a limited budget. Once your business is profitable you could choose to outsource the work and still utilize these two traffic options.

Article marketing – is where you write and post articles to directories, blogs and sites that pertain to your niche, subjects and topics. This method takes time and effort but can pay off in the long run if you know what you are doing.

Social Media Marketing – uses social media outlets to display and show your content for searchers to preview and then decide if your info is what they are searching for.

This next traffic source is one that you will have to pay for:

Pay Per Click (ppc) is one of the most widely used advertising methods online and there are lots of people who specialize in it, so I’m not going into detail about it in this article. When PPC is mentioned it usually means Google, Yahoo, and even Facebook. The thing with PPC is that it takes money, time and knowledge of how to make it work, if you intend to see ROI.

It’s great for testing headlines and copy but true ROI is another story. If you have high converting sales pages or high-ticket products, then PPC might be worth checking into, but tread carefully. It can suck the cash out of your accounts really fast if you don’t know what you are doing.

Why – because the last thing you want to do as a list builder is to waste time and money on traffic sources that don’t pay off and bring you ROI.

Still not sure about list building or maybe you are uncertain about how to monetize your existing list? For more on list building tips, strategies and tactics, go get your self a copy of the List Building Guide here.

Local Search Marketing & What it Means to Your Small Business

Local Search Marketing is one of those topics that I don’t often write about but felt compelled to do so since I’ve been running into so many small businesses that are searching for ways to capture leads, create awareness and connect within their local communities.

In all my years of being involved in small business I’ve never seen a better time for new and existing small biz ventures to be able to reach out to their local communities through the web and local search.

For so many years all we had were the physical yellow pages and then the web came our way in 95′, but none of the directories were even tuned in yet. A matter of fact I can remember meeting with the USWest(now Qwest) folks in Seattle and they didn’t have a clue as to what was going on. Or at least they weren’t letting on if they did know.

I can also remember the first time that I heard about local search online from a business associate. This was way back in 2000 or 2001 and we had been looking and searching for ways to market to our region versus the rest of the planet.

By this time USWest and GTE(now Superpages) were charging $19.95 a month for each online listing and we needed a lot of listings because of all the product and services categories we were in.

We had tons of organic traffic and the phones and email were hot and sizzlin’, and the search engines really helped us, but locally it was still primarily traditional media and physical directories.

Enough about the past – let’s dig into the present and how you can take advantage of local search marketing for your small business.

Local search marketing is much easier now than it’s ever been before and you can develop a presence in your region or community within days and weeks versus months and years.

A big part of local search marketing is the local search directory. There are more than 30 places online to find and get access to local area businesses, so you need to know which directories are the best for local search. Do your research and you’ll quickly see who the players are including web-based directories like Yahoo! Local, Local.com, Superpages/ SuperMedia (originally operated by GTE), Yellowpages, Dex, Infospace and the list goes on and on. Also at the top of the pile is Google Maps so make sure to claim your listing there as well.

Getting Started with Local Search

To get started with local search you will want to get listed in the Universal Business Listing (UBL). This is the big daddy and they feed their listings to just about everyone else online. The annual cost is minimal and you will also receive listings with most of the other online directories.

Step Two is to go back and register with the top five online directories that are not included in the UBL. Most of the online directories are free for the basic listing so make sure to fill out all the information and provide complete descriptions whenever asked. And make sure to have a list of keywords and phrases that are targeted and directly relate to what you offer.

Step Three is to take the time and check your listings. This way you can monitor and see where you are coming up in the search engines and directories.

Lastly – if you have the capability, you might consider creating landing pages and/or dedicated URL’s for certain directories. This is a more advanced strategy and you need to make sure that you know what your doing before implementing it.

In closing – if your business revolves around and relies on the local community and region, then it is imperative that you get on the local search bandwagon now, and do what it takes to get listed in as many directories as possible along with optimizing your site for the search engines.

If you need more information about how to implement local search in your business, contact The Small Biz Mechanic.