Every Successful Business Needs to Set Marketing Objectives

No sensible person would set out on a long journey without deciding on a route. Without a route you will either get lost or travel a lot further than you need to.

In much the same way its really very fool-hardy to try and set up and run a business without having some fairly clear marketing objectives and a plan on how to achieve them.  These objectives are central to your business.

The plan showing how you’ll achieve these objectives is your Business Marketing Plan which should be a big part of your overall Company Business Plan.

Many small businesses don’t have a marketing plan. They almost always have some marketing objectives, but these are often not well thought out and don’t provide a good foundation for achieving business growth.

A marketing plan doesn’t need to be an elaborate document.  You can easily start with just a single page outlining your marketing objectives and the tasks and actions necessary to achieve them.

There’s quite a lot of stuff on the web that will help you with the task of producing your marketing plan. You’ll also find other articles on marketing plans elsewhere on our website.

The Content of Your Marketing Plan

We mentioned above that the marketing plan is an integral part of your business plan.  It explains how you’re going to get your customers to buy your products and/or services.

The marketing plan will include sections about your company’s:

  • Products and/or Services
  • Market competition
  • Unique Selling Proposition
  • Pricing Strategy
  • Sales/Distribution Plan
  • Advertising and Promotions Plan

The easiest way to develop your marketing plan is to focus on each of these sections in turn. Don’t get over-whelmed by trying to do everything at once.

You’ll need to carry out some market research and prepare sales projections etc, but the work you do at this stage will also provide much of the content you need for your business plan.

Read more by visiting  this article.

Marketing Plan Templates

A good way to start producing a marketing plan is to use a marketing plan template. There are lots of marketing plan templates available for small businesses. You should be able to find one that’s suitable for your business.

Whatever template you use, you’ll have to make some amendments and changes so that it suits your own business, but the template will help you make a good start.

Here’s a short video by Growthink on their Ultimate Marketing Plan Template. It’s a very comprehensive template suitable for any type of online or offline business.

Now Take Action!

Don’t put off the task of producing your first marketing plan.  Once you’ve got into the habit of writing down your marketing objectives and incorporating them into your marketing plan you’ll be in a much better position to manage, review and control the growth of your business.

Les Signature

Getting on the First Page of Google

website backlinking planAny small business would like its website to show up regularly on page one of the Google search results.

It’s quite feasible to achieve this if you know how.

The key tasks necessary are:

  • Choosing the right keywords
  • Using HTML tags correctly
  • Producing quality website content
  • Building lots of backlinks.

This article describes how to set up and implement a backlinking plan. All the website optimization tasks listed are important, but building back-links is one of the main ways to increase your website traffic.

When we talk about link building I am not referring to the HTML hyper-links that will take your visitors to other websites or to other pages of your own website. These links are advantageous to the sites you link to, but don’t do much to popularize your own site.

However, if other sites link to your website and do so in sufficient numbers this indicates to Google that your site is popular and so Google will rank it more highly in it’s search page listings.

These links are called backlinks, and if you want to increase your chances of being found on the web by the major search engines, you need to learn how to build them.

Back-links Have Many Dimensions

A backlink has six dimensions. They are:

  • Quantity
  • Quality
  • Value
  • Diversity
  • Velocity
  • Reciprocity

We’ll describe each of these dimensions in turn.

1. Back-link Quantity

Volume matters. As a general rule, the more backlinks you have, the better.

2. Back-link Quality

One of the most important parts of quality is the “Anchor Text”. The anchor text is the hyper-linked words that people click on to follow a link.

Google analyses this anchor text and uses it as one way of determining what keywords to use to index your page.

You should try and make your back-links look as natural as possible by using variations of your keywords as anchor text.

If you have too many identical anchor text phrases this could raise a red flag with the Google and the other search engines (i.e. they will assume you are trying to trick the system).

3. Back-link Value

There are three main factors that determine the value or “weight” of any given back-link. These are:

  • Page Rank
  • Page Location
  • The No-follow attribute.

Page Rank

This is an arbitrary score assigned to web-pages by Google.

The Google Page Rank (PR) ranges from 0 to 10. Ten is the best score, but it’s very rare.

In theory, Page Rank is divided up and passed on through all the links on a web-page. Each of the pages linked to is accorded a small portion of the total PR.  A page with a high PR and a small number of links passes on more PR than a page with a low PR.

Most experts say that you shouldn’t worry too much about PR. However, it’s still a useful way of determining how valuable a back-link from any given web-page is likely to be.

Location on Page

The location and context of a link on a page is the second factor that determines the value of a back-link.

For example, if a back-link comes from a page that consists of a large list of back-links, then your link value will be much lower than it would if it was situated in the main body of the linked article and was in context. This rule was introduced by Google to discourage so-called link-farms (sites that contained nothing but links to other sites).

It also makes a difference whether a link is part of the main content area of a web-page or whether it’s tucked away in a sidebar or footer (a common way of setting up back-links).

No-follow Attribute

The “no-follow” link attribute can be added to guest site links by the site owner. It tells Google to discount the link in question.

You may think that using no-follow is a rather mean thing to do. It was introduced to reduce link-spamming, particularly in blog-comments (i.e. using comments on a blog which contain a link back to the commentator’s site).

If the link in a blog comment doesn’t count, as it were, it’s no longer worthwhile for someone to send out lots of comment spam.

4. Link Diversity

It’s important that links going to a particular page come from many different sources.

A hundred back-links all coming from a single website are worth far less than a hundred back-links coming from a hundred different websites. Also, if those one-hundred different websites are all coming from the same IP Address (i.e. they are all hosted on the same server), then they are less valuable than if they were coming from many different IP Addresses.

5. Link Velocity

Another important concept is that of link velocity or link-acceleration.

If a site receives lots of back-links in a very short period of time it will usually rank very well for a while, but if no further back-links are added it will quickly drop in rank.

Of course, for your marketing efforts, you’ll want to get your sites to the top positions and you’ll want them to stay there. To ensure that this happens, make sure that you maintain a consistent rate of link-building. It’s better to build 10 links a day for 100 days than it is to build 1000 links in a single day.

6. Reciprocity

If two sites are exchanging links between themselves, Google considers this of less value than a one-way-link from one site to another.

This factor is one you shouldn’t worry about too much. Reciprocal links still count and the majority of the link-building techniques that you will use will produce only one-way-links.

Create the Perfect Back-link

To summarize all of the factors we just discussed, here’s what the perfect Backlink Battleplan should include backlinks which are:

  • In the anchor-text of your main keywords
  • Located in the main content part of a web page that has a high PR
  • Surrounded by text relevant to your site and on a page that covers roughly the same topics as your site
  • tagged ” no-follow”
  • Spread across multiple IP addresses
  • One-way links

Most of the back-links you will acquire or build will not fulfill all of the above criteria and that’s perfectly fine. We’re not suggesting that you should strive to get the perfect back-link every time.

The above list can be looked upon as a checklist, of sorts: The more of the criteria a back-link fulfills, the better.

Why Learn How to Blog?

If you’ve already got a website do you really need a Blog, and if so why?

The answer is a definite YES. Websites with a Blog (where content frequently changes) attract more search engine traffic than most brochure-style Websites (where content is normally static).

So, if one of your strategies is to grow your business by attracting more visitors to your website through the search engines then you need to learn how to blog and set up and regularly add content to it.

What’s the Evidence

A recent study by the Internet Company Hubspot demonstrated that out of 1500 customers only 50% had a blog, and those that did had 50% more site traffic than those that didn’t.

So, if your website has a blog and the websites of your competitors don’t, you’ll gain an advantage over them.

Of course, there are some provisos here. It’s no use setting up a blog without selecting and using keywords that are relevant to your business, and it’s no use setting up a blog if you don’t add to it regularly (see below).

How Do Blogs Increase Website Traffic?

When you learn how to blog you’ll be able to use your blog to:

  • Interact easily with prospects & customers
  • Provide industry or topic-related instruction and education
  • Communicate industry and community news

And as you do this you’ll increase your website traffic.

As you build your blog you’ll be adding new keyword-rich information to your website on a regular basis. Search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing) will reward your efforts because they love new quality content that they can deliver to web surfers. All search engines have become more intelligent over the last few years, and are able to distinguish between new quality content and duplicate content of inferior quality (i.e repetition, bad grammar, poor structure).

Blog content doesn’t  have to be only text. It can also include, video and audio podcasts and pictures.  If you go to You-tube you’ll find examples of many small Internet businesses successfully promoting their products using video blogs.

How a Blog Can Increase Website Traffic

When you learn how to blog here are four ways of using your blog to increase the traffic to your Website:

1.       Provide News 

A blog enables you to keep your website visitors up-to-date with information about what’s going  in your business. You can use your blog to talk about the great things you’re doing and get visitor feedback (blogs enable your visitors to write comment and ask questions). You can also introduce new products in an informal way and comment on what’s happening in your industry.

2.       Educate & Instruct Your Customers

You can use your blog to inform and educate your customers.  You can use your blog to position yourself  as an industry expert. The better your customers know you the more likely it is that they’ll buy more of your products and services.

For example, a local garden center could use its blog to write about particular shrubs and plants etc. and provide advice on varieties to choose and growing tips. Its blog articles could recommend plants and other products that it sells, and these products could be purchased on-line for customers who aren’t able to visit the garden center.

3.       Encourage Customer Dialogue and Discussion

A business blog is also a superb way of starting a discussion with your customers. You can ask them questions and seek opinions on their problems and plans for their gardens. This is a good way of getting valuable feedback which you can use to improve your business as it grows.

Start a Blog Straight Away

Hopefully I’ve convinced you about the importance of having a business blog.  You can create one either by adding one to an existing website or redevelop your current website to include a blog.

Laern how to blog by starting with simple blog articles and whilst you are creating them visit other blogs on the web to get inspiration and ideas on how to develop your own blog.

If you’re new to blogs there are a number of products you can look at to build your blog:

  • WordPress
  • Drupal
  • Blogger
  • Hubspot

Perhaps the best known of these is WordPress. It’s used by almost 3 million individuals and businesses world-wide. It’s easy to use and very secure.

Visit You-tube and you’ll find lots videos providing lessons which will help you set up and develop a wordpress blog and learn how to blog using text articles, photographs and videos. Most web-hosting companies provide tools which will help you set up a blog in minutes rather than hours and videos and articles to help you learn how to blog.

Why Develop a Marketing Plan?

Even though you may know your market well and are very enthusiastic about your products and servicess your business online and offline won’t survive without developing a marketing plan.

We are all very good as business people at reminding our friends and colleagues about having a plan for doing this and that, but find it very difficult to produce that “umbrella” plan that will ensure that we make the very best use of our time and resources.

A Marketing Plan doesn’t have to be a long multi-page document. In fact you can easily produce your first plan in a day on a few pieces of paper by following the eight steps I’ve outlined below.

The Eight-Step Marketing Plan

The steps below are particularly relevant to a business operating both on and off-line. Some of the steps are not as relevant if you market solely online.

You can develop an initial marketing plan for your business in less than one day. Once you’ve finished you’ll have a document that’s a template for all your marketing and sales activities.

1. Investigate and Understand Your Market and Your Competition

You may have a really great product to sell, but have you chosen a marketplace that’s got a big demand for your product?

Start building up your knowledge and understanding of your marketplace by asking questions such as:

  • What are the segments (niche markets)  in my marketplace
  • Are the buyers in these segments able to find and buy products like mine?
  • Are the segments I might be interested in big enough for me to create a business?
  • What share of the total business could I achieve in each segment?
  • What’s the competition like in each segment?
  • What are the weaknesses of my competition?
  • What unique selling points  (USP) do I have to enable me to win market share?

 2. Understand Your Customer

You can’t begin to start selling until you’ve done this.

Gain a good understanding of your customers by asking questions such as:

  • How do the customers I am targeting currently buy products like mine? (On the internet, in a store etc.)
  • If I am selling to a family or organisational unit, who does the buying? (Husband, wife, purchasing manager, project manager)?
  • What are the buyers habits? Papers they read, clubs they go to, TV they watch etc.)
  • What will motivate the buyers to buy my products? Pain avoidance, self esteem, desire for health etc.)

 3. Find a Niche in Your Market

Don’t make the mistake of believing that everyone in your marketplace is a potential customer.  Each buyer will assess and judge your product in a different way. Some will decide to purchase, others won’t, even though you might think they have a need for it.  In addition, your market place probably has lots of competition (make sure you build up a file of information on your compatitors).

Your best strategy is to carve out a market niche and aim to dominate it.  When you’ve done that move on to another niche and dominate that.

Make sure that in the niche you’ve chosen you can easily contact your buyers.  If they are remote and difficult to get hold of you’ll need to spend a lot of money and time on additional marketing and sales activities.  However, don’t walk away permanently from a niche that you think looks very promising because of this.  Put it on one side and select an easier one first.

4.  Develop Your Marketing Message

Your marketing message is a bit like a slogan. It tells your marketplace what you do, and if it’s a really good slogan it will start to persuade individuals in your marketplace that they should look at what you’ve got to sell.

Good marketing messages are short and to the point. You’ve probably been to meetings where you’ve been asked to give your “Elevator Speech”.  Your marketing message is a bit like that.

 5. Determine Your Marketing Communication Methods

We’ve already established that your niche should be contactable.  The marketing communication method (sometimes called “medium”) is the means/vehicle you use to deliver your marketing message.

 Here are some examples:

Telemarketing Website
Newspaper ads Ezine ads
Classified ads On-line articles
Posters Social Media
Banners Sales Letters/eMail Letters
Card decks Social media
TV & radio ads Web 2.0
Doorstep Drops/Card Decks Gift Certificates/Vouchers
Trade Shows/Exhibitions Window Displays
Newspapers & magazines Meetings/Public Speaking
Charity events PR
Networking Catalogs
Telemarketing Agents & Partners
Fliers/Brochures/Postcards Business cards

You’ll need to make sure that the marketing messages you use match the media you’ve chosen. Also make sure that you keep a close record of everything you spend so that you can work out the ROI (return on investment)  for each media campaign you run.

 6. Set Marketing & Sales Goals

Make sure these are SMART:

– Sensible

– Measurable

Achievable

Realistic

Time- specific

You’ll need a mix of goals, some financial and some not.  For example, you should set monthly revenue goals, but you may also want to set goals for types of products and categories of customer as well.

 7. Develop a Marketing Budget

If you don’t set yourself a budget when you develop a marketing plan you’ll soon run into trouble. Start your budgeting with some approximations and build up to a more detailed and accurate budget later.

–  Work out how much money it’s going to cost you to achieve your goals. You may need to make some guesses initially about some of your marketing activities.

–  Use a simple spreadsheet to calculate how much it’s going to cost you to win one customer.

– Calculate the value of an average sale

– Compare estimated costs and sales. Will you make an acceptable profit?  If not, adjust your marketing and sales budget until you do (or look for another niche).

Review your budget as the year progresses.  You may need to reduce your spend if your monthly sales goals are not being met.

8. Set a Date to Review and Update Your Marketing Plan

When you have developed your marketing plan set a date to review your progress. Start with monthly reviews and then move on to quarterly reviews. When you carry out your reviews note down your progress and make amendments to your plan if necessary.

Sunmmary

If you follow the eight steps I have outlined to develop a marketing plan you should feel more in control of where your business is going. Your first marketing plan won’t be perfect, but make every effort to follow it and ammend it as you go along. And if you reach a stage in the growth of your business when extra money is required to accelerate growth your marketing plan will help you negotiate a bank loan on good terms!

Les Signature

Your Internet Marketing Success

The world of internet marketing doesn’t stand still. If you’re an internet marketer you need to be constantly vigilant, watching internet trends, observing competitors and then adapting and changing what you do. If you don’t stay ahead of the game these competitors can easily erode your hard-earned gains.

Over the last ten years I’ve watched internet marketers come and go. Some decided to opt out of the business altogether and others just faded away. These things are to be expected in any market area, but they are much more common in the rapidly changing world of the internet.

Starting an internet business can all to often appear very easy. Start-up costs are fairly low and the lure of massive global markets appears to offer limitless opportunities to anyone seeking to make money selling on-line. But whilst there are plenty of examples of successful internet marketers, for every one that succeeds, there are many, many more who fail.

And amongst those internet marketers who are successful there are many who fail because they refuse to optimize their business once they have started to make significant amounts of money. If they had done this they would probably still be successful internet marketers today.

The fact is that even though your internet products may be selling successfully now with sales increasing month on month, there are always ways in which you can make enhancements.

It’s attention to detail that separates the marketers who are good from those that are truly great, and so to help you continue running  with the internet marketing winners we’ve provided a few ideas and tips below that will help you optimize your website sales funnel to increase website traffic and sales conversions.

Validate Your Sales Funnel from Top to Bottom

The home page of your website is probably at the top of your sales funnel. Potential customers start here. The bottom of your sales funnel is the check-out page where sales transactions are completed.

These two pages are the main focus of attention for most internet marketers, but there are lots of steps in-between where potential customers can be lost. Because of this it’s essential to analyze all the pages involved in your sales funnel, not just those at the top and the bottom.

GOOGLE ANALYTICS will help you to do this. This free tool from Google can be used to help you track activities on every page of your sales funnel and find out what happens to visitors as they traverse the relevant sales pages of your website.

Use Split Testing

Once you have analysed what’s happening on each page in your sales funnel you will be able to use split testing to help optimize your sales funnel.

Split testing isn’t a new technique. If you’ve been involved in internet marketing for any reasonable length of time you’ll be familiar with it, although you may not have used it. Split testing will enable you to identify the factors that are influencing your level of sales conversions, and identify positive and negative factors affecting every page of your website, not just the sales page.

There are many products that will enable you to track how minute changes can affect the performance and success of your website. Two of the best are VISUAL WEBSITE OPTIMIZER and OPTIMIZELY.

Both of these products provide useful features that you can use without a high level of technical expertise, although before you start using any split testing product, make sure you check all available features and choose those which are most suited to your needs.

Both the products above when used with Google analytics will help you find out which parts of your website are doing well and provide you with the tools to test how they could do better.

Change and Tweak Your Sales Funnel

Here are some examples of things that you might want to look at to change and tweak your website pages.

  1. Work on Your Headlines

There has been lots of research carried out to demonstrate the importance of gaining the attention of visitors when they first visit your website. The consensus is that if you don’t gain attention within ten seconds your visitor is likely to leave your page.

For this reason your headlines must be optimised to create maximum visitor impact. Achieve this and they’ll continue to read your website page. Fail and they’ll leave.

There are countless ways in which you can increase the impact of your headlines, from using emotional (even shocking!) statements to providing testimonial snippets. There are lots of headline examples all over the web that you can learn from and more than a few tools you can use to help you put together attention-grabbing headlines.

  1. Use Stories

Most people surfing the web are looking for specific information or are looking to be entertained. A good sales page will do both. If you can excel in both of these areas your visitors are much more likely to continue working their way through your sales funnel pages.

Here’s an example of how to use both of these to grab the attention of a website visitor.

If you have an IM product that you’re selling to help your prospective customers achieve their objective of making money on-line, first grab your visitors attention with a good headline and then tell a story about how you started as an internet marketer, describing the hurdles you had to overcome in order to establish your business. In this way a potential customer will identify with you and trust you and have the confidence to take the next step towards buying your product.

  1. Learn from Competitors

Study what your competitors are doing. If they are successful it’s likely that they have tested various internet marketing models to find the one which works best. You can copy bits and pieces from their campaigns and split-test them to see how they might affect your internet traffic and conversions. Find those bits that work well and identify those which don’t.

This process of “reverse engineering” competitors websites will also work for those things which are off-site. For example, products such as ISPIONAGE can help you discover what pay-per click keywords and ad text your competitors are using and the average price they are paying for specific ads. Such information can prove invaluable even if you are only working with a small marketing budget.

  1. Test All Aspects of Your Site

Test every detail of your site, not just the text. Test colour combinations, side-bar positions and widths, menu placements etc. The smallest changes can sometimes make a big difference.

Relentlessly Innovate

The point of this article is to encourage you to relentlessly innovate with what you are doing, but do this in a planned not an adhoc way. As you do this and discover additional methods and techniques to improve your sales conversions don’t keep your experience to yourself. Let me know so that I can pass on information about your successes to other internet marketers.

Les Signature

How Unique Selling Propositions Have Helped Create Corporate Success Stories 

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is an introductory statement that differentiates you from your competitors. It’s a short, carefully chosen description of what your business does that makes it different.

Your USP should ensure that you stand from the crowd and are remembered for the products and/or services you sell.

Here are two examples of well-known businesses that have a very good understanding of how effective a good USP can be:

1. John Lewis, the well-known London Departmental Store;

“Never Knowingly Undersold”

2. The Computer Company Sun (now part of Oracle Corporation);

“The Network is the Computer”

Both of these USP’s are strong statements that stick in the memory and influence customers.

A good USP alone isn’t sufficient to ensure success. John Lewis would never have been as successful as it has if it didn’t offer a wide range of quality products, and Sun would never have succeeded if it hadn’t built its reputation on its ability to help both small and large companies network their computers.

But in each case their USP’s ensured that both these businesses stand out from competitors who provide similar products and services.

Why its Important for a Small Business to Seem Unique

One of the biggest mistakes many small businesses make is not being (or appearing) unique. If you want to establish yourself as a small business in a competitive marketplace or survive in an economy that isn’t doing well you must differentiate yourself.

The businesses and individuals that you want to sell to need to have a reason for buying from you rather than from your competition. Consider an example from your own experience. How often have you looked in Yellow Pages or done a Google search for a local business and been overwhelmed by the choices presented?

When this happens you probably don’t go through each business in turn. You look for those that grab your attention and seem relevant, and more often than not will choose one that proclaims a particularly eye-catching benefit or purpose in a single statement (the USP).

For example, if you’re looking for electrical goods you might choose an electrical retailer who boasts “the widest range of electrical goods in the county” or if your looking for a plumber choose one who offers a “24 hour call-out service”.

In each case it’s the outstanding USP that commands your attention.

Companies with outstanding USP’s are the first we investigate, and are likely to be the ones we visit or telephone first.

Build Your USP into the Fabric of Your Business

Your USP needs to be embedded into everything you do. It’s not something that you mention from time to time or use in an advertisement. It’s the single statement that becomes strongly linked with your business.

Whilst you might not find it difficult to include your USP in your advertisements and on your business cards you may find it more challenging to use it in verbal introductions and conversations (when the USP becomes what many people call your business Elevator Pitch”.)

For example, whereas you might have said:

“I’m John Smith. I run the computer shop in the high street”

You might now need to get used to saying:

 “I’m John Smith. My computer store has the widest range of laptops in the City”

Without a USP you are no more than a ‘me to’ business, and “me to” businesses rarely survive for long. They usually end up in price wars because prospective customers can’t identify anything unique about them.

Make Your USP Clear & Specific

The more clearly you announce your USP the more often you’ll get chosen instead of your competition.

Your objective is to ensure that when someone is looking to buy a product like yours, your company’s name must be the first that comes to mind.

However, there are lots of very woolly USP’s that are poignant or witty but don’t do a very good job at helping you understand what the business is about . Make sure that your USP is clear and specific.

USP’s like:

 ‘The Best Selection” or

‘Service with a Smile”

are worn-out,tired and unspecific.

Choose USP’s like:

 “Delivered in 30 minutes or your money back” or 

“Buy today and be watching it tonight”

Both of these are specific and measurable.

How to Identify and Develop Your USP

Don’t rush into deciding on a USP.

As we pointed out earlier, you’ll be using it throughout your business on your business cards, in your literature and on your website. If you get it wrong and need to make some changes, it’s going to cost you money.

If your USP is a promise, make sure you’ll be able to fulfill it. This is especially important if it’s a delivery promise with a money-back guarantee! Or a value promise like that of John Lewis (they back their USP up with a price match guarantee).

Research Your Market Before Picking a USP

You’ll need to do some research to help you with ideas for your USP. Start by looking for urgent needs in your market area that aren’t being met (sometimes called “performance gaps”). Many businesses that base their USP on industry performance gaps are successful.

For example, if you live in an area where plumbers are regarded as unreliable because they don’t turn up when they promise, your USP if you have a plumbing business could be:

“XYZ Plumbers. Two-hour response – or we pay the call out charge” or

“XYZ Plumbers. Prompt and Efficient Service and a Five-year Guarantee”

Your USP Doesn’t Have to be Unique

After all we have said so far, this statement might surprise you because although a USP is a statement of your uniqueness it doesn’t always have to be unique.

Just make sure you proclaim it first!

For example, if you are a furniture retailer and choose the USP:

‘Buy today, we’ll deliver it tonight.’

It’s very likely that your competitors can probably do this as well. But you grabbed the USP first, so it’s yours.

If others follow you and use the same USP they will be strengthening the advantage you have already fixed in your customer’s minds.

Integrate Your USP into Everything You Do

We have already talked about this earlier in the article, but it’s a point that needs to be made strongly.

Once you have your USP start integrating it into everything you do:

  • Put it in your brochure headlines
  • Use it in your advertisements
  • Display it prominently on your website
  • Use it frequently in your direct mail and all your email communications
  • Put it on your business cards and promotional items
  • Use it in sales presentations and at networking events.

See “Step 5” of our article on “Developing a Small Business Marketing Plan” for more ways of using your USP.

If you’re fortunate enough to be interviewed by the media, make sure you use your USP as much as you can during the interviews.

You can’t “over-do” or “wear out” your Unique Selling Proposition – especially if it’s powerful. The more you use it the better it will stick.

Some of the best USP’s have become established company slogans and strap-lines that others start to use in conversations about the business. John Lewis and Sun are good examples of this.

When Sun was building its business it wasn’t unusual to hear people say “…. if you want to get the best out of the individual desk-top computers in your business you should talk to Sun, they reckon the network is the computer. It’s the way forward”. Of course we all know this now, but this wasn’t always the case!

Also today, if anyone mentions John Lewis it’s not unusual to hear people say “. . . . you should visit them, they are never knowingly undersold”.

Four Steps for Developing Your USP

Every small business needs a USP?  Start developing yours today. Here are four steps to follow:

  1. Research your marketplace and start building a list of unmet needs or performance gaps
  2. Look at the USP’s your competitors are using. The chances are that many of them will not be very good USP’s. They’ll provide you with some examples of USP’s to avoid.
  3. Come up with a candidate list of USP’s which apply across the whole of your business. Make sure they are not too long. Four to five words is best, although up to ten is OK (this may be necessary if your USP hinges around a guarantee).
  4. Start trying out these USP’s on friends and colleagues. Ask what the USP suggests to them and get them to compare your USP’s with those of your competitors.
  5. Lastly, choose the best of your USP’s and use it in meetings and conversations. If it’s effective and you feel comfortable with it launch it and use it throughout your whole business.

As your business grows, don’t forget to ask your customers why they decided to do business with you. When you do this you’ll find out how effective a good USP can be, especially if they use your USP in the answers they give!

 

How Unique Selling Propositions Have Helped Create Corporate Success Stories 

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is an introductory statement that differentiates you from your competitors. It’s a short, carefully chosen description of what your business does that makes it different.

Your USP should ensure that you stand from the crowd and are remembered for the products and/or services you sell.

Here are two examples of well-known businesses that have a very good understanding of how effective a good USP can be:

1. John Lewis, the well-known London Departmental Store;

“Never Knowingly Undersold”

2. The Computer Company Sun (now part of Oracle Corporation);

“The Network is the Computer”

Both of these USP’s are strong statements that stick in the memory and influence customers.

A good USP alone isn’t sufficient to ensure success. John Lewis would never have been as successful as it has if it didn’t offer a wide range of quality products, and Sun would never have succeeded if it hadn’t built its reputation on its ability to help both small and large companies network their computers.

But in each case their USP’s ensured that both these businesses stand out from competitors who provide similar products and services.

Why its Important for a Small Business to Seem Unique

One of the biggest mistakes many small businesses make is not being (or appearing) unique. If you want to establish yourself as a small business in a competitive marketplace or survive in an economy that isn’t doing well you must differentiate yourself.

The businesses and individuals that you want to sell to need to have a reason for buying from you rather than from your competition. Consider an example from your own experience. How often have you looked in Yellow Pages or done a Google search for a local business and been overwhelmed by the choices presented?

When this happens you probably don’t go through each business in turn. You look for those that grab your attention and seem relevant, and more often than not will choose one that proclaims a particularly eye-catching benefit or purpose in a single statement (the USP).

For example, if you’re looking for electrical goods you might choose an electrical retailer who boasts “the widest range of electrical goods in the county” or if your looking for a plumber choose one who offers a “24 hour call-out service”.

In each case it’s the outstanding USP that commands your attention.

Companies with outstanding USP’s are the first we investigate, and are likely to be the ones we visit or telephone first.

Build Your USP into the Fabric of Your Business

Your USP needs to be embedded into everything you do. It’s not something that you mention from time to time or use in an advertisement. It’s the single statement that becomes strongly linked with your business.

Whilst you might not find it difficult to include your USP in your advertisements and on your business cards you may find it more challenging to use it in verbal introductions and conversations (when the USP becomes what many people call your business Elevator Pitch”.)

For example, whereas you might have said:

“I’m John Smith. I run the computer shop in the high street”

You might now need to get used to saying:

 “I’m John Smith. My computer store has the widest range of laptops in the City”

Without a USP you are no more than a ‘me to’ business, and “me to” businesses rarely survive for long. They usually end up in price wars because prospective customers can’t identify anything unique about them.

Make Your USP Clear & Specific

The more clearly you announce your USP the more often you’ll get chosen instead of your competition.

Your objective is to ensure that when someone is looking to buy a product like yours, your company’s name must be the first that comes to mind.

However, there are lots of very woolly USP’s that are poignant or witty but don’t do a very good job at helping you understand what the business is about . Make sure that your USP is clear and specific.

USP’s like:

 ‘The Best Selection” or

‘Service with a Smile”

are worn-out,tired and unspecific.

Choose USP’s like:

 “Delivered in 30 minutes or your money back” or 

“Buy today and be watching it tonight”

Both of these are specific and measurable.

How to Identify and Develop Your USP

Don’t rush into deciding on a USP.

As we pointed out earlier, you’ll be using it throughout your business on your business cards, in your literature and on your website. If you get it wrong and need to make some changes, it’s going to cost you money.

If your USP is a promise, make sure you’ll be able to fulfill it. This is especially important if it’s a delivery promise with a money-back guarantee! Or a value promise like that of John Lewis (they back their USP up with a price match guarantee).

Research Your Market Before Picking a USP

You’ll need to do some research to help you with ideas for your USP. Start by looking for urgent needs in your market area that aren’t being met (sometimes called “performance gaps”). Many businesses that base their USP on industry performance gaps are successful.

For example, if you live in an area where plumbers are regarded as unreliable because they don’t turn up when they promise, your USP if you have a plumbing business could be:

“XYZ Plumbers. Two-hour response – or we pay the call out charge” or

“XYZ Plumbers. Prompt and Efficient Service and a Five-year Guarantee”

Your USP Doesn’t Have to be Unique

After all we have said so far, this statement might surprise you because although a USP is a statement of your uniqueness it doesn’t always have to be unique.

Just make sure you proclaim it first!

For example, if you are a furniture retailer and choose the USP:

‘Buy today, we’ll deliver it tonight.’

It’s very likely that your competitors can probably do this as well. But you grabbed the USP first, so it’s yours.

If others follow you and use the same USP they will be strengthening the advantage you have already fixed in your customer’s minds.

Integrate Your USP into Everything You Do

We have already talked about this earlier in the article, but it’s a point that needs to be made strongly.

Once you have your USP start integrating it into everything you do:

  • Put it in your brochure headlines
  • Use it in your advertisements
  • Display it prominently on your website
  • Use it frequently in your direct mail and all your email communications
  • Put it on your business cards and promotional items
  • Use it in sales presentations and at networking events.

See “Step 5” of our article on “Developing a Small Business Marketing Plan” for more ways of using your USP.

If you’re fortunate enough to be interviewed by the media, make sure you use your USP as much as you can during the interviews.

You can’t “over-do” or “wear out” your Unique Selling Proposition – especially if it’s powerful. The more you use it the better it will stick.

Some of the best USP’s have become established company slogans and strap-lines that others start to use in conversations about the business. John Lewis and Sun are good examples of this.

When Sun was building its business it wasn’t unusual to hear people say “…. if you want to get the best out of the individual desk-top computers in your business you should talk to Sun, they reckon the network is the computer. It’s the way forward”. Of course we all know this now, but this wasn’t always the case!

Also today, if anyone mentions John Lewis it’s not unusual to hear people say “. . . . you should visit them, they are never knowingly undersold”.

Four Steps for Developing Your USP

Every small business needs a USP?  Start developing yours today. Here are four steps to follow:

  1. Research your marketplace and start building a list of unmet needs or performance gaps
  2. Look at the USP’s your competitors are using. The chances are that many of them will not be very good USP’s. They’ll provide you with some examples of USP’s to avoid.
  3. Come up with a candidate list of USP’s which apply across the whole of your business. Make sure they are not too long. Four to five words is best, although up to ten is OK (this may be necessary if your USP hinges around a guarantee).
  4. Start trying out these USP’s on friends and colleagues. Ask what the USP suggests to them and get them to compare your USP’s with those of your competitors.
  5. Lastly, choose the best of your USP’s and use it in meetings and conversations. If it’s effective and you feel comfortable with it launch it and use it throughout your whole business.

As your business grows, don’t forget to ask your customers why they decided to do business with you. When you do this you’ll find out how effective a good USP can be, especially if they use your USP in the answers they give!

 

An autoresponder is a “must have” internet marketing tool

f you’re serious about internet marketing and want to create a thriving on-line business you’ll need to learn how to use an autoresponder or some kind of autoresponder service.

In this article we’ll explain the basic facts about autoresponders and help you get started on using one.

What are autoresponders?

If you use the internet frequently you have probably received messages from an email autoresponder at some stage although you may not have been aware of it. These autoresponder messages can either be short welcoming messages or alerts or longer emails such as reviews and newsletters. They are called autoresponders because no human intervention is required to make them work. They perform their allocated tasks based upon pre-determined schedules and rules.

Here are some examples of events which might automatically trigger an email autoresponse:

  • Sending an email to a particular mail inbox (perhaps requesting information)
  • Entering information (including an email address) into a form on a website
  • Clicking a web hyperlink on a website such as Facebook (the link will automatically pick up your Facebook address and trigger an autoresponse.
  • The email auto-responder response you get will be specific to your request. For example, information on a particular product or specific to a particular situation (e.g. recipient away from office).

How long have autoresponders been around?

Autoresponders have been around for well over ten years. They were developed by email marketing companies with very large email address databases. These companies wanted to be able to identify incorrect and blocked email addresses so they developed software which would automatically send return messages to a sender when emails couldn’t be delivered. These email addresses could then be removed from the address database because they were no longer useful for marketing campaigns.

The software these companies developed became the basis for the very sophisticated email autoresponder software which exists today which is used by all sorts and sizes of company.

Now that email autoresponders are so widely available , it’s no longer considered acceptable for a business not to respond promptly to an email.  An autoresponder can be used to send an immediate response to any incoming email informing the sender that the message has been received and that a response will be on its way shortly (hopefully with one or two days)

The first autoresponder software packages were very expensive and only used by large companies. Nowadays, autoresponders are inexpensive enough to be used by even the smallest companies and are sophisticated enough to enable any company to automate lots of areas where electronic communication is an important part of the business.

It’s foolish to ignore the benefits autoresponders can bring, and very important for every small business to learn how to use one.

Types of autoresponder

Before we can start talking about how to use an autoresponder we need to explain the two different types;

  • Application service provider email autoresponders
  • Own server email autoresponders

Application server autoresponders

An application server (ASP) autoresponder is one in which the autoresponder software is hosted on the computer of an autoresponder services supplier. In this instance no software needs to be loaded onto your own computer because the supplier gives you access to the software through a screen control panel.

This panel can be used to carry out a wide variety of different tasks such as:

  • setting up emails
  • defining triggering events and dates
  • creating autoresponder web forms
  • managing email databases.

You can get a good idea about how this type of autoresponder works by signing up for a $1 trial with aWeber, one of the most popular ASP suppliers. Typical monthly costs for an ASP service are around $10 to $15.

Here’s an introductory video from aWeber on how to use an autoresponder as an ASP service:

[imaioVideo v=1]

Own server autoresponders

As the name suggests an own-server email autoresponder is one that works on your own server. This could be your own PC or a home server, or a server provided by the company that hosts your internet services. In this case you are responsible for loading and managing the autoresponder softwaeWhen you decide to use an own-server autoresponder you are responsible for installing and operating the auto-responder software.

The basic features of this type of autoresponder software are very similar to the ASP software. The main difference is that you won’t get the comprehensive back-up and support you get from an ASP supplier. Own-server autoresponder software is generally purchased outright. Costs can vary from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars.

Two good examples of own server autoresponders are Elite Autoresponder and WP Autoresponder (a very versatile and feature-rich WordPress autoresponder plugin).

Watch the video below to see what’s involved in setting up WP Autoresponder:

[imaioVideo v=2]

Examples of how to use an autoresponder

Now that you know what autoresponders are and have an idea on how to use an autoresponder you’ll find it useful to see some examples of email autoresponders in action.

These examples will give you some ideas about how autoresponders can be used on your own website.

1. Responding to visitors to your website

The objective here is to collect details of website visitors. To do this use your autoresponder services to create and install a form on one or more of the pages on your website and then create an email welcoming visitors. This email will be sent automatically when they have completed and submitted the web form containing their personal details.

At the same time the autoresponder email is sent the name and address details of the responder will be entered into a database on the server.

If your visitor has completed the form in order to receive a free report which you’ve offered then you can use your autoresoponder to set up a special page with a download link. This special page is accessed through a hyperlink in the autoresponder email. The “Social Media Report” on this website is a good example of this sort of application.

2. To collect email addresses for a database

The objective here is to build your own email database of prospective customers from a larger database that you might have rented or purchased.

To achieve this include a promotional hyperlink (e.g. click here to get a report/more details) in the emails you send out. When clicked this hyperlink will send an autoresponder email containing the requested information or a link to a download site. At the same time the responders email address will be added to the email database.

3. To set up a subscription to a series of newsletters

The objective here is to create database of subscribers for a series of newsletters. To do this set up an autoresponder web-form which collects the email addresses of website visitors interested in receiving newsletters from you over a specified period of time (generally one every 4/5 days).

Autoresponders are powerful business-building tools

I hope this article has demonstrated that auto-responders can be very powerful tools for building a business (internet or otherwise). It should be a priority of yours to learn how to use an autoresponder if you want to create real growth in your business.

A good way to get started is to sign up for the Aweber trial. You can always do a thorough survey of available autoresponders and autoresponder services once you have learned the basics of how to use an autoresponder.

And if you’ve found this article useful make sure you read our other articles on Marketing Ideas for Small Business.

 

You must be able to write sales letters that are effective and powerful if you want to grow your business. In this article we’ll teach you how to write sales letters even if you never written one before.

First of all, you don’t need to be an amazing copywriter to create an effective sales letter. By using our Sales Letter Template you’ll be able to create effective and compelling sales letters even if you’ve never written one before. We’ ve used this template many times ourselves, and it’s worked amazingly for hundreds of small businesses. It’ll also work for you to.

Follow each of the steps described below to write sales letters that will grab the attention of introspective customers and encourage them, to buy your products and services.

Step 1. You Must Grab the Reader’s Attention

It doesn’t matter whether your letter is on paper or on a computer screen, the opening headline you use is the first thing that will come to your reader’s attention. If your headline doesn’t create an immediate interest your letter is likely to be thrown in the waste bin.

Here’s some headline ideas that you can use to write sales letters. They’ve all proved themselves in action:

“Learn the Secrets of …….”.  Good for readers that are anxious to pick up knowledge from insiders.

“How to ……….” .  An obvious one. Aimed at readers who are anxious to learn how to do things

“Don’t do ….. until”.  This will attract the attention of readers who want information about hidden dangers or problems

Here are some other examples of headlines that grab attention.

Step 2. Next, Spell Out the Problem

After you have grabbed  the attention of your reader you you can begin to describe how your product will solve his/her problems. Build on the attention gained with your headline by outlining the problem in detail and describing how unpleasant or uncomfortable it is to have this problem.

Your aim is to get your reader agreeing with the things you’ve written in your letter.

Step 3. Now Provide the Solution

Once you’ve got your reader’s full attention and involvement describe your proposed solution. Be very emphatic about the ways in which you can help with this problem.

Elaborate on how the product or service you are offering will help your reader.

Step 3. Describe Your Experience & Present Your Credentials

At this point the reader of your letter might be agreeing that you, very possibly, have a solution to a very real problem, but you can’t go any further until you’ve created some trust. Think about your own reactions when you’ve read sales letters in the past! Even though when you write sales letters they may may be very convincing, there’s a bridge to be crossed before the reader completely believes the claims you make in your sales letter.

Help your reader cross this bridge. Tell him/her about your previous sales and how they have helped your customers. At this point you should mention the names of some of the companies you have sold to, and indicate how long you have been helping people solve the sorts of problems you’ve described. Its also a good idea to talk about industry events that you take part in and exhibitions you regularly attend.

Your primary objective here is to ensure that your reader has confidence in you level of experience and knowledge and can trust you as a supplier.

Step 4. Now Spell Out the Benefits

At this point, when you write your sales letters, you should spell out very clearly and in detail how your reader will benefit from the product or service you’re offering. But don’t make the mistake of providing an elaborate list of the features of your product. At this stage your reader needs to be hooked on the benefits and see very clearly what your product or service will do for him/her. You’ll have an opportunity to cover features later (and relate them to the benefits)

Read our article on product features, advantages and benefits to get some ideas on how best to do this.

Step 5. You Must Provide Some Social Proof

Now is a good time to confirm your credibility as a supplier. Provide full testimonials, with pictures if possible. Depending on your product and service it may even be a good idea to provide ‘phone numbers (but don’t forget to ask for the permission of your customers beforehand).

Step 6. Next, Make Your Offer

Now comes the most important part of your sales letter. You need to try and make your offer in an irresistible way. You want your reader to say at the end of your letter “ It would be stupid of me not to take advantage of this offer”.

To make sure you achieve this its really is worth-while putting a lot of thought into how you structure your offer.  Think about how you could use product combinations and bonuses etc. to give your offer weight.

However, avoid (directly or indirectly) making a “reduced price” offer. Aim for an offer which stresses value not price (like the “two for one” offers in your local store).

Read our article on product price competition to get more useful ideas.

Step 7. Provide a Guarantee

To make your offer really irresistible, take the risk out of buying by offering a guarantee.  Most of us worry about being “ripped off” when we buy something a little bit out of the ordinary and get concerned that what we buy may turn out to be something we can’t use or something that’s not good value for money.

Make the guarantee as strong as you can. If you’re at all uncertain about doing this go back and work on your product before you take it to market. There’s nothing worse than having to make lots of refunds for products that don’t work!

Here’s an example of a convincing guarantee:

Guaranteed 100% for three months – Return this product if not satisfied –  No questions asked

Get round any skepticism about your guarantees or offers  by providing reasons for them such as:

“. . . . because we overstocked” or
“. . . .owing to this item being out of season”.

Step 8. Inject Scarcity into Your Offer

Even though you may have done a fantastic job with your sales letter, people won’t necessarily rush to take up your offer. Maybe they want to spend some time thinking about it or maybe they’re too busy. They may even not quite be convinced yet.

Get round this particular problem by giving them an incentive to take immediate action. Here’s some examples:

  • Create additional bonuses
  • Limit the period for which the offer will be available
  • Emphasize that you only have a limited supply.

Step 9. Create a Strong Call to action

You mustn’t make any assumptions that your reader knows exactly what to do in order to take up your offer.  Provide detailed and concise instructions to guide his/her actions. For example:

… pick up the phone and call us today

… don’t delay, call now

… tear off the slip below today and send it back to us

Most of us need to be urged forward even after we are convinced about the benefits.

Step 10. Provide a Warning and Write a Postscript

By structuring your letter along the lines we’ve described you’ll build up the emotional involvement of your reader step be step. Now you must remind him/her about the consequences of not taking action. For example:

– Loss of specila offers or bonuses

– Continuance of the problem (.ie. poor sales growth, few customers  etc.)

– Possible increases in price

Paint a vivid picture of the consequences of not taking action, and always include a postscript at the end of your letter.

Whether you believe it or not the PS at the end of a letter is, according to the marketing experts,  the 3rd most read part of the letter.

Make this PS count. Remind your reader again about an important part of your offer or the consequence of not taking it up.

Summary

When you write sales letters using the Sales Letter Template described above, you’ll be able to produce an effective sales letter that will help you win more business.  Start writing today. Your first attempt may not be perfect, but you’ll be moving in the right direction.

Our customers frequently test out their sales letters on friends, colleagues and existing customers in order to get feedback that’ll help them improve their letters.

Finally make sure you check out the other articles in our Small Business Marketing Ideas Series.

 

Choose the Right Strategy

If you’re using the internet to sell your products or services you need a “Website Traffic Strategy”.

Here are three well-tested strategies that will help you increase website traffic (you can choose to use a combination of all three):

  • Invite visitors to your website by distributing marketing materials (business cards, brochures, advertisements etc)
  • Drive visitors to your website using targeted lists (e.g mail-lists of potential customers in your target market sector)
  • Attract visitors using the search engines (Google, Bing, Lycos  – using what’s often called “organic SEO” )

But it’s not sufficient to get more visitors, you also need to make sure that they linger long enough on your website to take some form of action. The action they take could include buying one of your products, downloading a report you’ve written or signing up for your newsletter.

However, they are unlikely to decide on any of these actions if the content on your website is poor (i.e it doesn’t say anything interesting, is badly written or is badly presented).

The important point to understand here is that its not sufficient to increase website traffic without at the same time making every possible effort to improve the quality and presentation of your website content.

Good quality content will also encourage visitors back to your site and increase website traffic even more.

Articles or Blogs?

You can either write articles or blogs to help boost website traffic. Which you choose is going to depend upon your writing skills, the sort of products your selling and the profile of your customers. If your product is complicated your prospective customers will be looking for good well-written, informative articles on the features of your products.

Blogs are very different. They are more like conversations or chats and probably contain opinion and views; sometimes controversial views. Although they may also inform, they are more about building on-line relationships.

It doesn’t have to be either or. You can increase website traffic by using a combination of both.

Make Sure Your Website isn’t just a “Brochure” Website

If you’re a small business and you’ve just started to build your online presence you probably started with a website containing mostly product-related articles to create a website that’s a bit like an online brochure.

There are millions of small business websites that are really no more than on-line brochures

If you want to increase website traffic significantly you need to make sure that your website isn’t just a brochure site, but combines informative product and topic articles and blogs. If you do this, your customers will not only have better information about your products, they’ll also get to know you (the guru or expert), behind the products, and by building strong visitor relationships you’ll boost website traffic even more.

You can get a good idea about the social value of a blog by considering your own interactions with people who try and sell you their products. It can make all the difference if you know the person or product.

So what do you need to include in your blogs so that you build up a loyal following of customers and, boost website traffic and ensure a steady flow of repeat business?

The Secret Power of the Website Blog

When you start writing blogs, make sure they aren’t monologues (articles often are).  Above all you need to make sure that your visitors can interact with you concerning the things you blog about.

Here are seven ways of creating this interaction:

 1.    Encourage Visitor Comments

Most website building tools nowadays provide facilities to set up a “Comment” section at the end of a blog or article (tools like WordPress are among the best known).

It always seems strange to me when I visit other websites that there are very few (if any) visible comments from previous visitors. Make sure your blog is different by encouraging your visitors to make comments and you’ll be taking a very significant step to boost website traffic.

Ask visitors for their views and opinions and stress how useful it would be to have their input on the matters you’ve discussed in your blog.

 2.    Carry out Opinion Polls

You can increase website traffic by using polls on your website.

There are lots of low-cost and free tools and services to help you do this. PollDaddy is one very popular one.

Polls are an excellent way of providing visitors with information about particular community or business groups and topics. Opinion polls will also provide you with new ideas for other blogs and website articles.

 3.    Create Community Forums

Community Forums are an excellent way to build communities of users that increase website traffic by encouraging visitors to return to your website repeatedly to read about or discuss particular topics of interest.

There are lots of free and low-cost forum-building software tools suitable for small businesses (for WordPress websites SimplePress provides a good solution).

By taking part in the forums you set up you’ll discover ways in which you can quietly promote your products and services and the products and services of affiliate partners. But make sure you don’t overdo your promotional bit!

 4. Use Social networks

You can increase website traffic by embedding social sharing buttons on your website (Facebook, Twitter, Scribd etc.) These social links will make it easier for visitors to share the stuff on your site with others. You’ll notice that on our site we use “floating” social icons.

People like to recommend products they have found useful and often do this through social networks.

5. Offer Videos and eBooks

You can increase traffic by using videos instead of writing articles and blogs. You can inform visitors about your product with a video in a very relaxed, personal way. If you want to get a strong message or view across a blog video is sometimes much better than writing.

Sometimes there’ll be subjects you want to write about but don’t because the articles would be too long (a good length for an article is 1000 words). Tackle these subjects with an  ebook instead and make them available as downloads on your website.

Your ebooks don’t have to be long. Twenty to thirty pages is sufficient in most cases.

If you decide to produce an ebook make sure you obtain the name and email address of your visitor and build up a mailing list for future marketing.

 6. Create Product reviews and ratings

The popularity of websites like Trip Advisor and Amazon is high because they provide visitors with the opportunity to voice their opinions.

If you’re selling products on line considering incorporating a review and rating service service like Feefo into your website (expensive but very effective).

If you have a business in a sector where there are lots of products complementary to your own, write product reviews and enable users to write their own comments. A review is a often a hybrid of the article and the blog; informative but relaxed and personal as well.

Don’t get worried about negative comments (unless of course they relate to shortcomings in your products or services). The occasional negative comment you do get will help to make positive comments more credible.

Have a look at the customer reviews and comments on Amazon. They are used by this highly successful on-line retailer to boost website traffic.

 7. Distribute Newsletters

Finally, you can increase website traffic by using email and e-Newsletters.  When visitors like your website content they’ll happily subscribe to your newsletter or email teaching series etc.

Another valuable feature of newsletters is that you can embed hotlinks in them to take the recipients to product pages on your website (and make a sale!).

Learn About Other Ways to Boost Your Website Traffic

The methods described above to increase website traffic aren’t the only ones, but if you start with these you’ll not go far wrong, and you’ll certainly have enough to keep you busy for some time to come.

Les Signature