Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Confidence -

So how can you instill confidence in your buyers?

1) Provide testimonials from your current customers. How do you get testimonials? Believe it or not the easiest way is to ask them for one. Some will trickle in on their on, but the easiest way is to email them and ask how they like your product, what can you do to make it better.

2) Include an about us page that tells about you , why you decided to start the business, what makes you different from some of the other folks.

3) Include your phone number and easy to find contact information.

Till tomorrow,
have a good one.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Warm and Fuzzy - so what does that mean? There are several different ways that you can make your site warm and fuzzy.

1. Security.
2. Confidence.
3. Comfort.

Today we're going to talk a little about security. Prospective buyers want to know and be assured that -

a) No one is going to take there credit card information.
b) There personal information is going to be safe.
c) They won't be getting spam if they ordered.

So here are some tips -

1) Make sure your order process is secure - make sure that you tell your customers it is secure.
2) Have a privacy policy - tell them exactly what you're going to do with their personal information. Make sure that you explicity tell them what you're going to do with their information (I know I repeated myself, but it is important).
3) Explain to them how and what kind of email communication they'll get from you (and what they won't get).

Tomorrow we'll talk some more, till then have a wonderful day.

Monday, October 25, 2004

This week we're going to continue our talk on getting ready for the holidays - sorry we missed Friday :o) Below is an article I also think is relavent -

Internet Tip of the Week
by Bob Osgoodby
Information Overload
We receive so much information on the Internet, especially via email, that many times we have difficulty separating the good "stuff" from the junk. Most of us put unsolicited email (spam) in the junk category. By the time we weed through all that "stuff" however, we are approaching information overload, and may give "short shrift" to the really good information we receive.
One way to overcome this very real problem, is to create email filters for things you may wish to read at a future time. For example, create a generic filter for the ezines or newsletters you subscribe to, or one for each. This will then automatically separate this good "stuff" from the junk. You can then keep your "inbox" clean and read the information at your leisure when you are less harried.
Use your email filters to weed out the junk. It only takes a moment or so to create a filter, and this will keep all the repeat spam out of your inbox. The best way to filter spam, is not to filter on the senders email address. Most of these are forged anyway, and are different every time. Pick out some "key words" contained in the body of the message. "Stop Snoring, Own an offshore retirement fund, $16,000+ with ONE $20 gift" just to name a few. Filter out those emails that match your key words.
Some of the spam is one time only and you don't need to be concerned with that. One way to do it, is to create a folder titled "Spam". Every day, instead of simply deleting them, transfer them to this folder. If you see a pattern developing, you can easily pick out the worst offenders, and create a filter for them.
When you subscribe to an ezine or newsletter, don't make a summary judgment that you don't want it. Most publishers try to provide a "variety" of items, and it may take several issues before you both click. Like a baseball player, don't expect a "homerun" every time at bat. Give it a half-dozen or so issues before making up your mind. You may simply get an issue that doesn't appeal to you, but the next might be a winner.
Some people go so far as to set up a separate email account just for their personal use, and another for their ezines, which is not a bad idea. But, if you do this, for goodness sake remember which one you used. Most publishers use list servers for their mailings. You can't unsubscribe from a publication except from the address that they have on file. To prevent the "cranksters" from running amok, they require you to be signed on the address they have on file in order to be removed.
If you decide you don't want a particular publication any longer, try to unsubscribe, and if you get a message that you are not on the list, it does little good to rant and rave. If you're not there, you're not there - period. While most publishers don't want people on their list who don't wish to receive it, they have no idea what email address you used when subscribing.
Most publishers will make an honest effort to remove you from their list, and threats to report them for spamming, will not help them to remove you. The majority of the time the people who complain are using a free email account, and are automatically forwarding the mail to their main address. To compound matters, they forgot they are doing this, and get aggravated when they can't unsubscribe under their main email address.
If you are receiving a publication and cannot unsubscribe, filter their publication automatically into your trash basket. This will save you and the publisher a lot of aggravation.
There is a great deal of information on the Internet. If you approach it wisely, you will benefit. If you don't, you may be suffering from information overload, and deleting some really good information mixed in with all the junk mail you receive.
Did you know that subscribers to Bob Osgoodby's Free Ezine the "Tip of the Day" get a Free Ad for their Business at his Web Site? Great Business and Computer Tips – Monday. Wednesday. and Friday. Instructions on how to place an ad are in the Newsletter. Subscribe at:

Thursday, October 21, 2004

I got this article yesterday and thought I would substitute it for what I was going to talk about today - it's still very pertinant - about keeping things simple.

Simplify for Success
The distractions of complexity are everywhere.
Look Around!
Your customer’s business, decisions, interactions and communications with their
customers are continuing to get more complex. Today’s sales landscape offers more
products, more services, more options, more choices and more providers than ever
before. Business is moving at a dizzying pace and people are trying to juggle more
projects, more priorities, more responsibility and more balance.
Salespeople and business owners are trying to manage more customers, more
information, more technology and more distractions that have nothing to do with
selling more products and services.

This is not a picture of doom and gloom but rather a picture of opportunity. This is an opportunity to communicate more effectively, to follow-through more thoroughly and
your opportunity to make your customer’s life easier, and more profitable! To sell
more and increase profits immediately, simplify the following areas:


GET TO THE POINT! Never say in 100 words what can be said in 25 words. The
important part is the substance of what you say rather than how long you take to say it. Simplify by cutting in half any written, verbal or e-mail communication with your
customer. Begin a proposal or presentation by simply stating the three key points
around which you will provide impact to your customer. Be clear and concise in all
that you say.


This doesn’t mean eliminate preparation and start "winging it" through sales
presentations. Break planning into fifteen minute segments and designate a topic
for each block.


Help your customers buy rather than just trying to sell them. Help your customers
buy in both short and long cycles through the use of multiple resources, decision
making levels and relationships.


Repeatedly practice your delivery and presentation with an emphasis on being
conversational. Emphasize the skill of talking with your customer rather than talking
to your customer. Breathing is the key to both tone and pace so insure that you have
plenty of air in your lungs.


When it comes to productive sales behavior, follow-through ranks as the highest
priority. It is the most talked about and least executed activity in the sales toolbox. You will service your customers at a higher level and sell more when you execute on follow-through relentlessly. It is the one or two things you do differently that make
you memorable in the mind of your customer. Never underestimate the power of
urgency and immediacy. Stated simply, you must do what you say you will do
consistently and with greater focus if you want to put significant distance between
you and your competition!


Here’s the bottom line: Your customer wants you to simplify their life by simplifying their experience! Your customer is looking for every way possible to increase their
sales and improve the profitability and performance of their company. You possess
key strategies, services and products to make these goals a reality.

SIMPLIFY the experience for your customers and get ready to increase your sales,
margin and effectiveness BIG TIME!

Brent Patmos is President & CEO of Perpetual Development, Inc., specializing in
Sales Training, sales seminars and consulting. Mr. Patmos can be reached at

Till tomorrow,

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Load times - Even though many people have high speed internet access, many people don't (about half of your potential customers). If your site takes a month to load then they aren't going to wait.

A great place to check your load times can be found at the following link -

So how can you speed up your site -

1) Keep flash etc. to a minimum.
2) Optimize your images.
3) Use thumbnails if you have a lot of images - make sure that you have two images saved - a large one for when folks click on the link and a smaller one for the thumbnail - many times I've seen sites that have both saved as the same image, that basically defeats the purpose.

Have a good one.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Browser compatability - a while back you could safely design your site for Explorer and forget about it. These days with all the security problems many people are switching to different browsers. The main browsers these folks are checking out are -

Mozilla -

Firefox -

Safari - This is apples alternative.

The best thing to do is -

a) download the browser.
b) check out your site.
c) place an order.

How do things work - any glaring problems work on correcting them.

Monday, October 18, 2004

This week we're going to continue our series on getting your site ready for the holidays. This week we're going to talk some about the look and feel.

Tuesday - Browser compatability.
Weds - Load times.
Thursday - Warm and fuzzy - how secure is your site.

Hope you have a great Monday.


Friday, October 15, 2004

Hopefully you learned a bit this week in our series on prepping your site for the holidays - really I should have started the series sooner but better late than ever.

Remember that many times we get blinded when working on our sites - what may be simple and plain for us may not be for someone else. Things we look at day in and day out may be hidden to others. That's why it is extremely important to get feedback - from your friends and especially from your customers.

The next week or two we'll continue talking about some tweaks that you can make to your site.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Here are some questions to ask the test subject -

1) Was their anything difficult about the order process - if so what?
2) What would be one thing that would make the process easier?
3) Do you have any suggestions for additional products?
4) Could you easily find -
a) Sign up for the newsletter.
b) Toll free / phone number.
c) Contact information.
5) Did you feel secure on the site?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Now some things to consider -

1) How long did it take them to buy the products. If its more than 4 or 5 minutes how can you streamline the process.
2) Did they ever appear to get lost in the process - if they did get lost - where did they get lost at. Did you provide an easy map to get unlost?
3) Did they hesitate any during the order process - why did they hesitate. If something was unclear, what was it, how you can you make it clear.
4) Was it easy for them to find the second product. If not why? What can you do to correct it.

The order process should be no more than two or three clicks at the most to order.
At each stage of the order process - the next step should be outlined clearly - as well as instructions for how to do the current step.
Contact information - including a telephone number - should be provided in case folks get lost along the way.
Security of your site / pages / should be highlighted during the process.
Explain to people what you're going to be doing with their personal information.
Reiterate why they should trust you.
Perhaps include a testimonial or two within the process.

Tomorrow we'll talk a little about some questions you can ask your test subjects.


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The next thing to do to get your site ready for the holidays is to think of five or so good friends that you know well that aren't your current customers. Invite them individually to your house and give them an assignment on your site - you can't give them hints.

Ask them to pretend they are shopping for "x item". Point the browser to your front page and watch them as they navigate to buy the product. Just before they enter in their credit card information tell them that they just remembered that they need "y item" as well.

The more obscure the "x and y item" the better - ie it shouldn't be visible on your front page at all. Tomorrow we'll talk about some things that you could learn from this experiment.


Monday, October 11, 2004

This week we'll be talking about some more things you can do to your site to get ready for the holidays.

Hopefully everyone had a wonderful weekend, I know we did. It is getting cooler hear and the leaves are starting to change colors. So we know that winter is just around the corner (whether we like it or not).


Friday, October 08, 2004

Hopefully you enjoyed the series this past week. Haley has a day off from school, so if everything goes according to plan it may be a long weekend for us as well :o).

Next week I think we'll continue on some touch-ups you can do in preperation for the holiday season. Hope you have a great weekend too!


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Spread the word - one of the best methods of promotion is word of mouth. Whenever we get a client referral we know that the "selling" part of our job is so much easier. So how can you get referrals:

1. Ask - ask and you shall receive! When you send a follow up note to make sure your product arrived, and they are satisfied with it ask them to send you more business.
2. Bribe them - you can include that if they send you a new customer and they buy something you'll give them a discount or something free.
3. Make it easy - make sure to include your websites URL / contact information where it's appropriate on your product. You may want to include a small free gift like a magnet, pencil etc. Remember out of site is usually out of mind.

Till tomorrow,

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Why Buy? Some things you need to make sure you do in order to answer this question.

1. Make sure you include testimonials from your satisfied customers.
2. Ensure that your shipping policies, return policies, frequently asked questions are listed prominently on your site.
3. Give them a reason to buy now - today.
4. Explain to them about security and how your order is secure.
5. If they don't buy then encourage them to sign up for your newsletter / literature.
6. Make sure to compare your prices to other sites - if your prices are more expensive make sure to list plenty of benefits / reasons why.


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The big thing to make sure you do this holiday season is to offer folks the option of buying a gift card or gift certificate. Billions were spent last year on gift cards. When you use this you also get two customers instead of one (the person who buys the card - and the person who redeems the card). You can find a ton of vendors (check the paid links) by searching Google - click here.

Make sure to price shop to compare rates etc. If you can't take advantage of it for this holiday season, make sure to put on it next years "to do" list.


Monday, October 04, 2004

We didn't get any questions last week, so we'll continue on as before. This week as you prepare for the holiday rush (which some folks are having right now). We're going to give you a few hints on how to maximize things.

1. Gift cards and Certificates.
2. Why Buy.
3. Spread the word.

Have a great day!!