Monthly Archives: July 2011

Website Customization: What can we do?

Nowadays, in this trendy world, people get very uptight when they do not look entirely presentable. This would also be the case in web designing.

Every individual would definitely want their website to look good, if not, to the best they can. Here are a few things we could look out for when wanting to create a professional looking webpage.

Color Schemes and Themes.

When designing, always choose matching colors. An example of a matching color would be to have a dark background, with visible words and designs. With the dark theme, try not to mix too many bright colors into the design. What we should NEVER do, is to mix two very different colors, such as purple and yellow. Now, of course, it would depend on the purpose of the website, but those two colors are too striking for one who wants it to look more professional.

Themes must always suit the company or rather, the organization / etc. If the website was made to cater for a food company, it would be wise to stick to that particular category, rather than to revert to a different theme, such as machinery.

Fonts should be used in regard to the formality of the website. A simple sans-serif font would suffice in most cases. Exceptional cases such as design and art groups might want to use fanciful designs and fonts. Of course, that’s only if you know what you’re doing.

Finally, we must always try to think of our visitors, see the way they see. The resolutions and file sizes of the pictures must not be too large in terms of size. This is to allow maximum compatibility and cater our visitor’s needs.

So, planning is something we should always do, before attempting something.

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Improve Your Sales with Auto Responder Improvements

Improve your marketing and sales with some auto responder Improvements. Try some of these:

1. Publish free reports to send via your auto responder. The reports should be related to your business or web site & contain info, ads and links to your sites. People love getting freebies.

2. Collect vital customer satisfaction information by publishing a survey to send via auto responder to those who sign up on your site in exchange for a free eBook, software or trial period at your membership site. This type of information will help you understand their needs, likes & dislikes better.

3. Instead of answering each customer question that is e-mailed to you, publish “Frequently Ask Questions” and make them available via auto responder to those who sign up. To save time and support headaches.

4. Instead of publishing all of your customer testimonials or endorsements on your website, publish only a few there. And set up an auto responder form that invites visitors to receive a complete list via your. Give them a power-packed list; it’s more effective to include all of them.

Mix and match. Change your auto responder strategy to change your auto responder results!

How Important is Your Buyer’s Reputation?

Your reputation as a buyer (or ‘feedback rating’) is the most important thing people see when they deal with you on eBay. It is on the basis of this little number that they will decide whether they can trust you or not.

Each time you buy or sell something on eBay, people can leave feedback for you, and you can leave feedback for them. This feedback can be positive, negative, or neutral, along with a comment. Your feedback rating, then, is worked out using a very simple sum: the number of positive feedback comments people have left for you, minus the number of negative ones. This means that someone with a feedback rating of 28, for example, might have 30 positive ratings and 2 negative ones.

If you are a considerate buyer, then you should find that positive feedback will just appear next to your username, without you needing to do anything. If you want to help it along, though, there are a few things you can do.

Always leave feedback for others: People will feel an obligation to leave feedback for you if you leave it for them (eBay will send you an email after each transaction to offer you the opportunity). Take the time to write a positive comment about sellers who do what they should and the chances are they’ll do the same for you.

Pay promptly: Sellers love nothing more than to be paid promptly – paying as soon as the auction ends saves the seller all sorts of worry, especially if you pay by credit card or another electronic method. You will often find that your positive feedback appears within a few minutes of you paying if you pay as soon as the auction ends.

Don’t be a difficult customer: Understand that your seller might take a day or so to respond to you, and perhaps a few days to send your item – harassing them is nasty and unnecessary, and won’t get you good feedback.

Build relationships: If a seller sells a lot of a certain kind of thing you like, buy from them a few more times. They will be very happy to find a regular customer, and will go out of their way to leave positive feedback like ‘a joy to deal with as ever’. Also, they might offer you a few special deals!

Sellers won’t generally be reluctant to sell to buyers without much of a reputation, simply because it is the buyer who takes most of the risk in a transaction. It is worth remembering, however, that transactions where you are the seller and where you are the buyer are counted towards the same feedback total – so if you ever want to start selling, being a good buyer is especially worthwhile.

On eBay, people pay far more attention to sellers’ ratings than they do to buyers’ – most sellers can’t be bothered to check their buyers’ feedback, while bad feedback on a seller can (and should) be a dealbreaker. When you are buying, then, you need to worry more about the seller’s reputation than you do about your own, and that’s why the next email will be all about sellers’ feedback ratings.

Do the Two-Step!

Top sales pros confirm that it often takes seven or more communications or sales messages before prospective customers make a purchase. They also confirm that it’s generally easier to sell to a referral, because someone they know gave positive testimonial about their products or services.

What would happen if you combined both of these powerful ideas? A nifty and thrifty two-step. Try this two-step tip:

1. Collect leads with your auto responder. Ask for mailing addresses and telephone numbers, too, for additional ways to follow up with each person. When you download the e-mail digest of everyone’s e-mail addresses and other information from those who requested additional information from your auto responder, follow up multiple ways. Send postcards. Call. Mail sales letters and other promotional pieces.

2. Publish a price list of all the products and services that you offer in an insert, direct marketing package and / or .pdf to be made available via auto responder. You could also include order forms, product descriptions, and other sales material. Then send to the people in #1 above with monthly updates, announcements of new sales and products / services, and a request for referrals.

So why not improve your closing ratio and reach out even farther at the same time? Do the two-step!

The Key to Better Websites

[A] Navigation

Introduction

Importance of the latter :

One of the primary implications of a well-organized / good website, is to keep your visitors in the website. A website is definitely created for a purpose, unless intended for personal use, which is the minority. For example, a portfolio website would want to be visited and it’s content viewed. For companies and internet businesses, your website certainly aims to provide product information, to make sales, or somewhat similar. However, most individuals undoubtly prefer visually captivating designs, so on and so forth. It is undeniable that this causes no harm, but one must put himself/herself in other people’s shoes, as to understand how a visitor to the website might think, do and react.

1 ) Navigation

As I said, a web designer has to learn how to think the way your visitors think.

Situation A : Website with good navigation ( 2-3 hyperlinks to target page ), well planned in terms of placement, and design.

Situation B : Website with poor navigation ( takes forever for the visitor to reach his/her target page ), hard-to-read navigation fonts and poor placement of the navigation buttons/bar.

In Situation A, a visitor will always want to be able to access his/her target page. For example, the individual comes across your website, and is interested in the product sold, but wants to find more information. He/she finds the navigation with no trouble, and enters the particular product information page.

As for Situation B, a visitor stumbles into the website, and would also like to find out more information about the product. Unfortunately, due to bad placement and fanciful font-types, the visitor takes forever, or even fails to find the navigation bar. Even when he/she does so, links to the product information are nowhere to be found, (example : home > about > products > product image > etc[a few more clicks] > product information ).

Analysis : In both situations, wouldn’t a website with characteristics similar to the Situation A be more rewarding ergo better?

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Auto Responder Marketing Techniques

The Internet offers many means of affordable marketing with auto responders. Here are a couple of popular ways of using them.

DIRECTORY

Some webmasters set up link or article directories on their sites. They create a directory on a specific industry topic, placing their own ad or banner along the top. Then they invite others to add their website links via a link exchange program, listing themselves in your directory. Or they invite articles to be submitted that include a resource box at the bottom of each with a link to the author’s website. This results on increased traffic as sites link up across the World Wide Web. Enter “link exchange software” or “article directory software” into a favorite search engine for help with each.

TEACH A COURSE

Some marketers write up a simple step-by-step instructional class in their area of expertise. Then they break it up into smaller portions or messages and set them up in an auto responder as email messages, including short ads within each message to invite sales & website visits. Then they invite website visitors to sign up through on online form or email subscription address offered through the auto responder service. As people sign up, they will learn more about the products and services through the teaching series.

Your Rights as an eBay Buyer.

When you buy things on eBay, you pay the seller before they send you anything. This means that you, as a buyer, are vulnerable to all sorts of problems. You might not get the items you have paid for, or they might be damaged or faulty. Luckily, you have two very important rights when you buy on eBay.

The Right to Receive Your Item.

Maybe the seller never sent the item, or maybe it got lost in the post. Whatever happened, you paid for the item. If it doesn’t arrive in the post as described, you have the right to a replacement or a refund, whether it’s the seller’s fault or not.

The fact that you bought something on eBay doesn’t mean that you don’t have the exact same rights that you would have if you bought it in a shop (these rights are pretty much the same all over the world). Plus, under eBay’s rules, the seller isn’t allowed to change their mind about selling you the item: once the auction ends, it becomes a contract – you must buy and they must sell, or face eBay’s penalties.

The Right for Your Item to Be as Described in the Auction.

Sometimes sellers don’t wrap items properly, and so they get broken. Occasionally they write descriptions that are misleading or just plain wrong to begin with, leaving out vital details that would have caused you to change your mind about buying. If this happens to you, you again have the right to a replacement or a refund.

So How Do I Use My Rights?

First, you should take it up with the seller – most will be responsive, as do not want to have their reputation damaged when an upset buyer leaves negative feedback for all their future buyers to see. If that doesn’t work, report them to eBay.

While eBay don’t have many people handling complaints, they do have a relatively effective set of automatic process to handle common problems buyers and sellers have with one another.

Finally, if that doesn’t work, then you should seek advice from consumer groups in your country, and as a last resort from the police. You should never have to get this far, though: problems on eBay that can’t be resolved easily are extremely rare.

Don’t Be Too Quick.

Remember not to get too annoyed and be unfair to the seller: nice sellers have agreed to give me refunds for undelivered items, only for me to find out a few weeks later that they were being held for me at the post office! Always try your best to communicate and think of everything that might have gone wrong: eBay works best when buyers and sellers sort out their problems together, instead of reporting each other to the authorities straight away.

More often that not receiving what they paid for, buyers have an altogether different problem: they knew what they were paying for, but didn’t realise that what they were paying for was overpriced, low quality or a scam. The next email will give you a list of tips on how to avoid being ripped off on eBay.

Should I Create a Website? Do I Need One?

People always want to follow the latest thing, be it in fashion, sports, that kind of thing. Websites have become a necessity to almost everyone. Companies, businesses, individuals, even young adults have created personal websites with their respective purposes, be it for profit, or for entertainment.

What one must consider, however, before creating a website, are the factors in which must be put to thought before doing so, such as the cost, maintenance, use, web host and so forth.

Firstly, associating with the cost, we must always try to find an affordable host, not spending too much, nor too little. A cheap host does not exactly symbolize a credible reliability rating, but we must always look for value for money deals. Also, regarding the efficiency and server/web host reliability, there are many cases of web hosts not providing the service they had assured other people, some had even shut down and were nowhere to be seen. Keep this note in mind, as if you would like a long-lasting website, this would be the first thing to look for.

Next, would hiring a professional be affordable? Is it the best option? For simple websites, we could always pick up the coding, or even use programs, as it is relatively simple. However, when it comes to more complex coding, and when you want it to do a tad more than just providing information, hiring help in doing so would be the best way. Not only in terms of design, but security is also a key factor in assuring a quality website. If the website also acts as a portal for businesses, security would definitely be the issue here.

So, having considered the things to do before building a website, do we actually NEED one? If creating one would boost sales or promote positive implications to oneself, then by all means, go ahead and do what’s best. Yet again, planning is the key to success, in everything we do.

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Auto Responder Improvements

Stuck in an auto responder rut with only your eZine going out regularly? Get out of the rut with some of these ideas for improvements.

1. Provide back issues of your eZine archives via your auto responder instead of hosting all your archives online. This will give your subscribers and web site visitors easy access to them and offers a chance to include graphics, audio and video and other components all rolled up in .pdf files for quick, easy download.

2. Help with tech issues and publish your entire web site, save it in a pdf file, and load it into an auto responder. Sometimes visitors don’t have enough time read your entire site or they lose their Internet connection or time online. So this way, they could print it out and read it offline.

3. You could offer your eBook via an auto responder. Often your visitors won’t have to download it or have the software to read it right away, so this way they can take it “to go”.

4. For a handy – -and nice legal – touch, you could include the terms and conditions to purchase transactions and load them into an auto responder that is triggered with each purchase. This could include return policies, purchases, refunds etc.

Is It Easy to Create our own Website? What is HTML?

Creating a website is not so much a feat, if we compare it to the education of other technical skills. Most people tend to give up and pack their bags as soon as they hear the word “programming” and “technical”. They think it`s too much of a hassle to actually learn a whole computer “language”. HTML, the most basic computer language in building websites, is actually pretty simple to understand, as long as we have the interest in learning new things.

What is HTML?

HTML is the acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language. For learning purposes, just think of it as a language that the computer understands. For example, as humans, we were taught different languages; i.e. HTML as a language, is mostly and specifically used to create a website. The web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, will then decipher and interpret the code or rather, language(HTML), and display it in a way we can understand it, just like in a basic webpage.

Coding.

Coding the HTML language might be a bit tough for some people, so we can actually purchase programmes, such as Macromedia Dreamweaver, or even Microsoft Frontpage. These programmes are solely created to help individuals in designing professional webpages/websites.

Furthermore, one could also gain access to online web-builders, website builders that are inbuilt and can be directly controlled from the net. There are many different and specific builders online.

Books and magazines contain guides that can help in offering tutorials and ways to put up our own websites. Even online tutorials are credible, as in the modern world, information technology is the best and most cost efficient way in retaining knowledge, especially in this particular field.

So, you could start and build one right away. If you enjoy coding, it might even become a favourable past-time.

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A Popular Auto Responder Marketing Technique

Marketing through auto responder series is a popular strategy to increase repeat website visits and sales. Here is a popular strategy.

EZINE EBOOK

Instead of trying to publish a small daily or weekly eZines, try publishing one large monthly eZine (similar to a monthly magazine) as an e-book format delivered via auto responder, preferably an Adobe .pdf file. You could have it made up of a large number of articles per issue and insert regularly featured areas throughout like inspirational quotes, industry tips, favorite sites and advice from the pros. You could also insert full-color graphics, multimedia components like audio / video file links and ads. Then you can charge a monthly rate, with an annual discounted package purchase, and sell advertising spots to sprinkle in your auto responder announcements for each issue and with an informational series to announce your monthly eZine to new prospects.

In summary, by using customized marketing techniques like an eZine eBook, tailored to fit your own products and services, you can reach out and increase your website traffic and sales opportunities. Internet marketing can mean more ways to grow your business.

10 Tips for Increasing Your eBay Response.

So you’ve got the buyer in front of your auction, and they’ve read the description. They’re must be interested, or they wouldn’t be looking but just how can you push them over that line and make them leave a bid? Read on for some tips.

Improve your picture: In all that description writing, you might have missed the vital importance of your item’s picture. A picture with bad lighting or an intrusive background looks amateurish and won’t make anyone want to buy from you.

Add an About Me page: You’ll be surprised how much you can reassure bidders just by creating an About Me page and putting a little bit about yourself on your business on there. You can also have a few special offers there for people who bother to look at the page, and let people subscribe to your mailing list so that you can email them updates.

Use SquareTrade: Signing up at SquareTrade and displaying their logo on your auctions shows that you are committed to have them resolve any disputes that arise. You always see this on PowerSellers auctions – it makes you look more professional.

Write terms and conditions: Have the ‘small print’ clearly visible on all your auctions, giving details of things like shipping times and prices, your refund policy, and any other business practices you might have. This helps build confidence with buyers.

Show off your feedback: Copy and paste a selection of the feedback comments you’re most proud of to each item’s description page, instead of making bidders go and look for it. If you have 100% positive feedback, be sure to write that on every auction too.

Add NR to your titles: If you have extra space in a title, put ‘NR’ (no reserve) on the end. Bidders prefer auctions that don’t have a reserve price, and doing this lets them see that yours don’t.

Benefits not features: Make sure your description focuses on the benefits that your item can give to the customer, not just its features. This is a classic sales technique. If you have trouble with this, remember: ‘cheap’ is a feature, ‘save money’ is a benefit.

List more items: If you want more people to respond to your items, then list more items! You might find you have better like listing items at the same time, instead of one-by-one. There’s no need to use a Dutch auction – you can just keep two or three auctions going at once for an item you have more than one of in stock.

Accept unusual payment methods: To reach those last few buyers, accept payment methods that many sellers don’t, like cheques.

Buy some upgrades: The best upgrade is the most expensive one, which makes your item appear first in search results. In crowded categories, you might find that this is worth the money.

Once you’ve got some buyers, you want to keep them coming back to you. The next email will show you how to turn one-time buyers into long-term customers.

Why You Should Use Graphic Templates

When it comes to graphics, most Internet marketers shy away from using graphic templates whether it’s ebook covers, website layouts or promotional banners because they firmly believe that by using graphic templates, they are tarnishing their own business. They want to own a unique identity and hence will always find a professional graphic designer to do the job. Well, you’re in for a big surprise!

When you purchase a graphic template, you will be able to customize it to an extent or even build a totally new design based on it! What’s the point of using the template then, you say? Well, it serves as a source of inspiration and ideas for a totally new design. You can’t derive anything from a blank canvas, right?

On top of that, you are actually saving a lot of precious time that you can otherwise spend on more important matters like developing new products or market your products. When you buy a pre-made template, you only need to edit a thing or two to give it an identity of your own, and that gives you more time and flexibility to work on other stuff.

Okay, let’s say you argue that hiring a designer to do the job is equally fast. That may be true but don’t forget, hiring a professional designer to do a custom design for you will cost you a lot of money. Unless you need a totally unique identity that you are aiming to establish firmly in your niche market, you don’t need to get a designer to design it for you.

Not all graphic templates are suitable, so you have to be careful when choosing one. Consider quality over the price, and you’re on your way to creating a positive image for your business while saving more time for more productive chores!

Building Your List with Give Away Ventures

With the awareness of the importance of list building, comes a recent Internet Marketing trend which was started just a couple of years ago for the mutual benefits of all Internet Marketers and mailing list owners.

This method is more recognized as a “starting a Give Away venture”.

In a real sense, a Give Away event is much like a big time version of ad swaps. In a nutshell, a group of mailing list owners partner together and pool in their individual gifts in one limited-time event.

Each participating partner contributes a gift to the event. The gift can be a free product, membership pass or a product he is already selling (if he is kind enough to offer into the event).

The participating partner prepares a Lead Capture Page where he gives the gift in exchange for the subscriber’s email address. In other words, in order for a visitor to download the digital gift, he must opt in and subscribe to your mailing list.

When the gifts are pooled together into one event (site), every partner will then endorse the Give Away event to their own mailing lists.

The result: lots of visitors to one event as a collective effort of several participating partners!

With so many visitors downloading gifts from one focused event, it is a true win-win situation. This is because the visitors get to download several free gifts for their own use and every partner gets to build their own mailing list!

You can easily get notified about a Give Away event in the making by communicating with other Internet Marketers often or participating in Internet Marketing discussion and Joint Venture boards.

eBay Description Writing Tips.

Once you’ve drawn the buyers in with your title, the next thing to do is to tell them all about your item with the description. But just what should you write in your description?

At its heart, your item description is an ad. Without making it too obvious, you should be writing sales copy. You’re trying to get buyers excited about your products, and that’s usually hard – but on eBay, if you have the right thing to sell and give enough details, the buyers almost excite themselves.

Technical Details.

Include every technical detail you know, including the item’s manufacturer, its condition, how big it is, where and when it was made, its history, and anything else special about it. Don’t be too boring, though: the best descriptions are written in friendly, conversational language, and show a real knowledge of the item. Whatever you do, make sure you tell the truth!

Remember that most of the people who’ll be buying your item will be just as knowledgeable about it as you are, if not more – this is their hobby, and they’re experts. Don’t feel like you need to explain the basics of the item: just go into as much technical detail as you can. As a rule, don’t write anything in the description if you don’t know what it means, as the chances are someone will, and if you’ve got it slightly wrong then you’ll look like you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Interesting Details.

You might find that you enjoy writing a few things about how you got the item, why you’re selling it, and who you think might like it. This isn’t strictly necessary, but it gives your auctions some character and a personal touch, and can make people more likely to trust you. People might wonder what you’re doing selling 500 CDs all at once, and if you tell them the reason, then they’ll feel reassured that nothing dodgy is going on. If you’re selling them because you’re having a baby and you need the space, just say so.

Write as Much as You Can.

Leave nothing out of your description, even if that seems to you like it makes it cumbersomely long. There is no way you can be too thorough: someone, somewhere will appreciate that you took the time to write the extra information.

Don’t assume that anyone who wants extra information will email you to ask a question: many buyers are shy and won’t do it. Think of questions that buyers might have and add the answers to your description, as people generally tend to ask the same questions over and over again.

Each time a buyer does email you with a question, you should both answer their question and update your description so that it will include the answer next time. If people ask questions that are answered in the description, try putting these parts of the auction on a line alone, or in bold, to make them easier to notice.

In the next email, we’ll focus on increasing the number of buyers who respond to your auctions.