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The Internet as a tool for powering businessesViews: 621
Sep 24, 2005 10:58 amThe Internet as a tool for powering businesses#

Ozo Omosigho
I just started a business. Selling leather slippers, but I am finding it quite daunting understanding how I can use the Internet as a tool to power my new business and move it to higher heights. I know the Internet is a power tool (powerful people-network tool to be precise), but how do I model my business on the Internet so I can tap into the riches inherent in the network.

Ozo

Private Reply to Ozo Omosigho

Sep 24, 2005 4:55 pmre: The Internet as a tool for powering businesses#

Wendy McClelland
Ozo - you are absolutely right that the Internet is a power tool! From anywhere in the world you can connect with others from around the globe and do business with them.

By joining this network you are taking the first step. This is the place to ask questions and get feedback from people who have been using the internet for some time.

Here are a couple of ideas I have for you:

1) go to Google and type in "leather slippers" - take a look at what your competition is doing, what do their websites look like, how are their sites laid out, what are their prices? I'm NOT suggesting you copy these sites but it will give you an idea of who you are competing with.

2) If you can afford to start your own site - you can create an inexpensive one using software like Frontpage or you buy a premade template from many online companies (just type in "website templates" at Google).

3) Start your own email newsletter even before you have a site - promote the newsletter in your "signature" (the lines of type under your name on postings you make on various networks and in emails you send) Your newsletter could contain interesting facts about things that are fun to know - not a sales pitch! This builds your credibility and helps you build a mailing list of potential customers.

There are millions of online resources that will give you free advice about how to get started - read as much as you can, ask questions (don't get offended if some people don't answer the way you expect - remember this is a huge community made up of people with different personalities), educate yourself.

I have a number of articles on my site that may be of interest to you:

Promote Yourself Online
http://www.thinkwithoutboundaries.com/dyn.Promote_Yourself_Online.php

How Do People Know You're in Business?
http://www.thinkwithoutboundaries.com/dyn.How_Do_People_Know_Youre_in_Business.php

Unique Marketing Ideas that Generate Cash
http://www.thinkwithoutboundaries.com/dyn.Unique_Marketing_Ideas_that_Generate_Cash.php

If you look at the headings on the left side of my site you will see lots of others as well.

I also suggest you complete your Ryze profile - it will give the rest of us a much better idea about what you do, and possibly how we can help you.

Have fun online and keep asking questions!

Wendy McClelland
Create a Winning Marketing Plan in 10 Easy Steps
http://www.thinkwithoutboundaries.com/dyn.10_Steps_to_a_Winning_Marketing_Plan.php

Private Reply to Wendy McClelland

Sep 25, 2005 1:06 amre: re: The Internet as a tool for powering businesses#

Lamar Morgan 954-603-7901

Ozo,

While newsletters are a popular tool, do you have the time to commit to maintaining one? A lot of folks start out doing newsletter and end up discovering they do not have the time to continually maintain them. Something you might consider instead is a VMT (Viral Marketing Tool). Once created, this goes to work for you 24/7. It does take awhile to create. But, it is not something requiring you to update on a monthly basis. Remember, with a newsletter you are reinventing the wheel every month. Every month you MUST put out NEW information. And, you have no guarantee as to the benefit to your business.

So, what is a VMT? It is a free download of helpful suggestions with links to your website and others. One suggestion pops up on a person's computer once-a-week. A link to a website is provided along with the ability to share the information via email automatically with friends. Hence, what you are doing is promoting your business to specific individuals 52-weeks-a-year and empowering them to share that information with others, automatically.

Another viral marketing tool is Garland Coulson's Free Traffic Bar. This is a great way to spread your message as well. Like the VMT, the Free Traffic Bar resides on your browser. Those who choose to affiliate with you through your toolbar link will be spreading your business message via their browser toolbar line. This toolbar can help increase the traffic coming to your website. It all depends upon how well you put forth your business message. And, Garland provides free tools to help you do just that when you download the toolbar. This is something that is worth having - not simply for what it does traffic-wise, but educational-wise as well.

Finally, I would like to recommend you spend some time writing down who you would want to have as customers - given the products you sell. Who could not only use your product, but be in the best position to tell others about it? This is called "targeting your market." It may sound silly to some. But, if such a strategy is good enough for one of the wealthiest businesses in the world, it just might be good advice for you. I spent nearly 16 years with an investment banking firm. It never advertised in the newspaper, on radio or TV. Why? Because it only wanted to do business with the wealthiest of the wealthy. The company had a database of who those people were and proceeded to pursue them via direct mail and cold calling. That simple system has served this company well since 1923. The company has always done well - even during recessionary periods. So, find out who your target market is - make a physical list, if necessary - and go after them with a targeted campaign. Don't expect them to find you simply because you have a website. The Internet is NOT a "field of dreams." The "if you build it they will come scenario" scenario does not apply.

Lamar Morgan
CDMM
Creating a BUZZ for Business in the Boardroom


Private Reply to Lamar Morgan 954-603-7901

Sep 25, 2005 1:37 amre: re: re: The Internet as a tool for powering businesses#

Wendy McClelland
Ozo,

Lamar has added some VERY valuable suggestions - the key one in my mind is identifying your "ideal client". This means WHO are you looking for?? Man/woman, young/old, rich/middle class, etc. By identifying as many characteristics as possible that point to your ideal client it makes it easier for you to "go where they hang out".

In my latest e-book, "Create a Winning Marketing Plan in 10 Easy Steps" the first step is to "identify your target market". Why? Because if you don't know who you're looking for you can't find them!

Thanks for bringing this up Lamar.

Wendy McClelland
Create a Winning Marketing Plan in 10 Easy Steps
http://www.thinkwithoutboundaries.com/dyn.10_Steps_to_a_Winning_Marketing_Plan.php

Private Reply to Wendy McClelland

Sep 26, 2005 3:48 amre: re: re: re: The Internet as a tool for powering businesses#

Lamar Morgan 954-603-7901

Wendy,

You are most welcome.

It is not enough to idenitfy the "market" you want to be in, but the "right folks" in that market. When it comes to customers, we are not all "equal" in importance. It is important to identify those individuals who are "most important" to the success of your business. In other words, if you are going to appeal to a customer, wouldn't you prefer that customer be in a unique position to refer MORE customers to you? If you have never bothered to make a list of the public companies and organizations best-suited to use your services, do it. Then, order an annual report and contact the members of the board of directors via direct mail and do a follow-up. You might be surprised at what that will do for your business.

So many people make the mistake of running an ad in a newspaper that has a high circulation thinking that for no other reason than because the circulation is high they they will get a lot of feedback. Well, it usually does not work out that way. People do not read the newspaper for the ads any more than they listen to the radio or TV for the commercials. But, for some strange reason most people buy into the process even if it does not work for them. The only way a person can get a good return from mass media exposure is by spending a lot of money. That means repeat exposure - over-and-over again. Most small businesses cannot afford to do that. Talk about throwing good money away on a bad idea. It happens every day.

My former employer never advertised in the mass media - even though it had the "big bucks" to do it. Why? Because the company did not want to waste time responding to people who could not afford its services. In other words, they did not want to the mass media determining their audience. They wanted to go after the wealthiest of the wealthy and sell them securities. For the company, the solution was to establish its target market with the use of a proprietary database provided by Dunn and Bradstreet. Then, they would pursue prospects relentlessly - daily and directly. This meant doing a lot of "cold calling" and direct mail. Yes, feed the pipeline - because it is the pipeline that feeds you.

Lamar Morgan
CDMM
Creating a buzz for business

Private Reply to Lamar Morgan 954-603-7901

Sep 26, 2005 9:33 pmre: The Internet as a tool for powering businesses#

Garland Coulson
Hello Ozo,

Some excellent ideas here already. I won't bother repeating most of them, but I will second Lamar's recommendation of my Free Traffic Bar.

Since you have a physical product, I would strongly suggest listing them on eBay. eBay is the largest marketplace in the world with a huge number of buyers. This would be a great first step for you and a quick way to test interest in your product.

Garland Coulson, "The E-Business Tutor"
Market while you surf!
FREE Traffic and Research Toolbar for FireFox and Internet Explorer
http://www.freetrafficbar.com
Moderator, Internet Marketing Tools

Private Reply to Garland Coulson

Sep 27, 2005 10:55 pmre: The Internet as a tool for powering businesses#

Jeffrey Henderson

Here is an idea for you:

Go to Google, search "leather slippers" and picture seeing your website in the top 10 natural results, send me a message telling me you want that to be reality.

I am the director of marketing for an SEO firm and I can help you get some serious traffic from all the major search engines.  PM me and we'll go from there.

Jeffrey Henderson

Director of Marketing

VIP Search Engine Marketing

 

Private Reply to Jeffrey Henderson

Sep 28, 2005 3:04 amre: re: The Internet as a tool for powering businesses#

Craig Kiessling

Don't be daunted. Armed with the right knowledge & understanding, implementation, drive, and continued learning, the internet is the most accessible way for the "little guy" to give the "big guy" a run for their money.

I back up what Jeffrey says - in general, with Search Engines, there are a variety of way to boost your visitors. However, most of the are paid methods, such as ads, Pay-per-clicks, paid search engine marketing, etc.

The one "free" way is to research and implement what is called "Organic" Search Engine Optimization. This means that your site has relevant information about the topic the searcher is looking for.

To give you an example of all of the above... Have you ever heard of Hallmark? Yes, I believe you have - so has most everyone - it's a well-built and established brand.

Now...Go to Google and enter in "Greeting Cards". Who comes up first on the list of results? Should be Hallmark, right? Well, it's not. It's a fairly small outfit. Hallmark shows up later, with a horrible landing page url that lands you deep into their nest of content management and takes forever to load - not a great thing for such a strong brand.

The point is that the little guys understand what they are doing when it comes to search engine optimization (I can not speak for the rest of their practices).

There are many different things to consider inside and outside of SEO, but in general all you have to do is this:

Identify who is in your industry as a key competitor. By this I mean who is top at what you are trying to achieve. If it's at being at the top of search results for a certain page on your site, then find the ones that are currently showing up top instead.

Investigate & Study what they are doing that makes them have this edge and replicate it.

Study it further and then do it better than they do. Sound simple? It is. Of course, there are a lot of things to take into consideration, but in general the key is to be a clever A+ student

Do your homework, do your outside reading and research, apply what you've learned, see the results and refine - all the while learning more and more.

Hope that helps.

Sincerely,
Craig S. Kiessling
----------------------------
Build a Better Net
CSKnet
www.csknet.net
----------------------------

Private Reply to Craig Kiessling

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