Constant Change Is A Certainty In Online Marketing

“If you don’t like the weather, just wait for 10 minutes”…
This old saying which addresses the variability of the weather in
Montana is also applicable to the market dynamics for an online
business. If there is one thing that is certain about the future
of online marketing, it is that it will continue to change.

A generation in Internet marketing seems to last 12 months or
less and therefore it is very important for online marketers to
reassess their marketing plan frequently. It wasn’t too long ago
that popups and banner ads were all the rage and now they’re
about as welcome as a telemarketer or a lawyer.

In earlier times, just getting traffic to your website could
spell success. That just is not the case today. In the current
environment, Internet marketers have many tasks before them
including increasing traffic, maximizing traffic quality, and
improving conversion ratios. Much simpler said than done, but
the key element is to understand that we are dealing with a
dynamic marketing landscape where change is almost a continuous
process. A successful Internet marketing campaign will always be
a work in progress.

A dynamic internet marketing campaign will be a continuous
process of monitoring & analyzing, followed by tweaking &
experimenting, followed by measuring the impact (more monitoring
& analyzing) of the changes made.

The first step in analyzing your marketing campaign is
pinpointing precisely where the prospects are coming from.
Whether it’s search engines, email, or from other sources. All
of this data can be found in your server logs and there are some
very good traffic analysis tools (many of them free) that will
provide you with the information without requiring you to become
technically proficient at deciphering raw server logs.

By analyzing the information taken from the traffic analysis
tools you can track keywords and other parameters which will tell
you how visitors are getting to your site which, in turn, will
help you improve and target traffic.

The goals for your particular site will depend upon the nature
of your online business or endeavor. A good way to determine
how well your site attracts and converts visitors is to analyze
your traffic and then experiment or tweak some of the different
elements of your site such as sales letter copy, special price
promotions, limited time offers, free offers, headlines, color
schemes, testimonials, etc., etc.

After making changes in your program, once again analyze your
traffic to obtain a measure of the impact (good, bad, or none)
that your tweaking has produced. And then start the process all
over again, retaining the changes that yielded a positive result
and, of course, rejecting those that did not.

Remember folks, it is up to us to stay in touch with the fact
that there is one certainty about the future of online marketing,
and that is that it will continue to change.

Kirk Bannerman operates a successful home based business and
coaches others seeking to start their own home based business.
Visit his website at Legitimate Home Based Business for more details.

20 Tricks to Help Get That Envelope Opened


When your envelopes aren’t opened, you can’t make money!

Being Small Has Its Advantages

Those of us business owners who do it all, whether we are home based or a small business have it made. With today’s technology we can look as big as we want. With the web, faxes, video conferencing and all the burgeoning technology you don’t need to be a big business to succeed today. We can do a lot that our competition can’t or won’t do. So let’s take advantage of being small.

In fact, being small has its advantages. The mom and pop or one person operation only has to worry about themselves not employees. If we have a bad month, someone else is not depending on us to pay them. We tighten our belts and work harder next month.

We can also take risks that a larger company might not. A different marketing technique, a new and innovative strategy. We can go with our creative ideas. We don’t have anyone to answer to but ourselves. So our creative process doesn’t need to go through channels or get someone else’s approval.

Another advantage, especially for those of us in a home based business; we don’t need the fancy trappings of larger companies. For many of us home based businesses owners our office is in the kitchen, dining room, family room, part of their bedroom. Even for those of us using a second bedroom or den as an office, we keep our costs down. We don’t need the high priced rents, fancy furniture or luxury cars. We can keep our costs down by working out of our home, buying used or discount furniture. We keep costs down, cut corners and count our pennies. We are frugal rather than extravagant.

We can also make alliances with other business outside our area, network or form a partnership relationship with them. We compliment each other. These businesses are typically in a related but not competing field. However, we can also work with our competition. There are many word processors who network with one another, so if they have overflow work, they have someone they can give the work to. Lawyers who can’t handle a particular case, refer it to another. An example of a great alliance would be a travel agent with B&Bs, spas, resorts. Or, let’s say you have developed an exercise machine you have been selling through your website and mail order. Why not try to develop an alliance with a sporting goods store to sell your product. Or set up an alliance with exercise newsletters or magazines who could send a mailing to their subscribers about your product.

You could also check with organizations that can help you showcase your product. What about Weight Watchers, or Ediets.

If you were selling promotional items ask your local Chamber if they would be interested in getting T-shirts or hats imprinted. Catering businesses could offer their services to a local charity or a restaurant could give any left overs to a local food bank.

Giving away prizes, your time and services is something we have discussed in a number of other articles.

For those of you in business whose competition has been around a while and is bigger and more powerful, what do you do? Well, we would ignore them and go about our business. Never, ever bad mouth your competition. When students ask us about other coaches we never bad mouth them. Whatever you think personally of your competition is your business and it should never be shared. Run your business in an honest, and ethical manner and let your customer decide who they want to do business with. Remember, you are smaller so you can offer them more personalized attention, cater to their needs. Many times as businesses grow bigger and more powerful they forget what got them where they areattention to their customers needs. You don’t have that problem, you have all the time in the world to give your customers your undivided attention. Your business depends on it.

Always research your competition. Know what products they sell, how they market them, distribute and sell them. Be sure to keep this material and update it periodically. You should have examples of their promotional materials, pricing, their services, products, etc. Update on a quarterly basis. Reading periodicals in your area and joining groups in your area of business give you the opportunity to ask questions about how people got started, the problems they had. You need to make it your business to learn as much as you can from others in your area. Depending on your business you might also have an industry publication that contains information on your competition. If so, subscribe to it.

We can do a lot that our competition can’t or won’t do. So let’s take advantage of being small, being courteous, offering better service, trying harder and offering our personal attention. Very compelling reasons for customers to do business with us rather than our competition.

Copyright 2004 DeFiore Enterprises

Interested in having your own successful, home based creative real estate investing business? Chuck and Sue have been helping folks start successful home based businesses for over 19 years, and we can help you too! To see how, visit http://www.homebusinesssolutions.com for the latest FREE tips and tricks, educational products and coaching in creative real estate investing and home based businesses. No time to visit the site? Subscribe to our “how to” Home Business Solutions Digest, it’s like having your own personal coach: subscribeHBS@homebusinesssolutions.com

How Much Risk Are You Taking in Buying a Business

Any seasoned business buyer will tell you that buying a business
can be very risky. The word, “risk” is most often quantified
monetarily in business purchase terms, however, before you
start your business purchase program you need to calculate ALL
your risks associated with buying a business.

Many business buyers unfortunately pay a heavy price for not
investing in appropriate business acquisition expertise and
counsel after they’ve bought a business. They clearing bought
the wrong business or the right business for the wrong purchase
terms and now they end up paying dearly financially and
personally. Some business buyers, without adequate contingency
funds, loose the business altogether!

Financial Risks and NON-Financial Risks to Buying a Business

Whether you are a veteran business buyer or someone who
purchases a company once in a lifetime, you need to take the
time upfront to think about what really is at stake in any
contemplated business purchase. It is most enlightening for
business buyers to evaluate an acquisition from a financial and
a non-financial perspective. Let’s take a deeper look at these
business buying risk elements:

Financial Risk Elements:

* The $ you personally invest in the business purchase
* The “$ finder’s fees” you pay to locate the business
* The seller’s $ business brokerage fee you indirectly pay
* The lost $ income while you are searching and evaluating a
business to buy
* The $ acquisition counsel fees paid, (CPA, Attorney, Market
research, Consultants)
* The $ cost of personal guarantees for acquisition debt and
asset leases
* The $ interest on acquisition debt
* The $ you overpaid for the business, (determined long after
closing)
* The capital needed post purchase for “business surprises”

NON-Financial Risk Elements:

* Your time away from other things important to you
* Your stress levels, negative health consequences
* Your additional marriage stress
* Your self confidence/ esteem damage
* Your reputation
* Your personal credit rating
* Your future employment prospects

Obviously it is much easier to put a monetary value on the
financial risk elements than the non-financial. For that
matter, putting a monetary value on your personal risk elements
may not be appropriate for this analysis. However, it may be
insightful to put some numbers next to the financial risk items
listed above to give you a better feel of what really is at
stake.

Concepts to Consider to Reduce Your Own “Business Buyer Risk”

There are many noteworthy tactics you can consider and implement
to reduce your risk levels in buying a business. Some of these
concepts listed below may warrant further consideration:

A 3rd party business appraisal that comes in significantly below
the seller’s asking price should be leveraged in any way
possible to reduce the company purchase price, buyer down
payment levels, seller financing interest, buyer debt payment
time frames whatever you can RE-negotiate!

Do what you can to eliminate personal guarantee’s. This is best
accomplished within the business purchase terms. The business
buyer will undoubtedly appreciate this concept if the business
has to close its doors later.

If you hire the “right” business acquisition advisor you can
eliminate over half of your common business acquisition “sunk
costs”, even legal and accounting fees!

If you can utilize low or no cost means to find viable
businesses for sale that do not include a seller intermediary
cost augmentation to the purchase price, you can save thousands
of dollars and/ or significantly expand the seller’s ability to
negotiate.

If you can maintain your current source of income AND search,
qualify and negotiate a business purchase you can realize
substantial financial risk reduction.

If possible, structure acquisition advisor compensation formats
based on actual first year, post closing business results. This
concept will intensify advisor involvement and almost guarantee
continued support during the most challenging first months of
ownership.

Make a conscious effort not to try to do everything yourself.
Allocate funds to utilize high value expertise and reduce the
time required to either finalize or kill the deal.

Lastly, and probably most important, if you are heavily
leveraging personal assets and you are married, communicate all
the risks and all potential positive and negative consequences
of buying a business to your spouse. The personal risks of
buying a business are truly the most important!

This article is not intended to demotivate business buyers but
to give them another viable perspective about business merger
and acquisition risk and reward relationships before limited
human and financial resources are further invested in a pending
business purchase. As you can see, the risk of buying a
business starts at the moment you invest any of your time to
pursue a business.

If you correctly purchase a profitable business or obtain “a
deal” on an undervalued viable business, you should expect your
company’s annual profits and your owner’s compensation to total
at least 5% of total net revenues. Remember, best of all, that
your personal net worth will increase as you retain your
business profits, consistently pay off debt while your
company’s market value increases over time this is the
“reward” part of the risk / reward perspective!

About the Author:

Mark Smock is President of http://www.business-buyer-directory.com, the
FIRST international business buyer directory of its kind.
Business Buyer Directory provides a non-traditional means for
proactive business buyers to locate businesses for sale
worldwide that meet their exact registered purchase criteria.

Go With Quality Over Quantity And Your Business Will Prosper

Back when I first started developing my home business, I went for the numbers instead of focusing on targeting prospects. It took me a while to appreciate the importance of targeting (quality) instead of just going for the big numbers (quantity).

For online marketing, it helps greatly to get your website in
front of people who are actually looking for the product,
service, or opportunity that you are offering. This refers to
the concept of marketing your sites to your target audience,
rather than wasting your time, effort, and money on people who
are not already interested in what you have to offer.

Be wary of “massive action” techniques in this era when many ISPs
feel their hottest marketing theme is the blocking of incoming
emails, which they decide their customers do not want to receive
(they are the self appointed “information police”).

Many of the sources of cheap, high volume leads supply you with
leads that have absolutely no interest in your particular
business (or product or service) and furthermore, have been put
into the list in such a manner that can get you into trouble with
your ISP because you are unwittingly spamming (many of these bulk
lead lists are created by robots that crawl the Internet and
harvest email addresses) the recipients.

In order to be effective in the promotion your particular
proposition, whatever it is, you have to seek out your target
market. This is as true online as it is offline. Just because
you are able to reach huge numbers of people with your message on
the Internet far more cheaply and quickly than you can offline,
does this necessarily mean you should?

What’s the point of devoting your time and energies to marketing
to a massive group of people without first knowing whether they,
as a group, have a general interest in what you are offering?

It is much more efficient and effective to first find out where
your prospective customers congregate, and then target that
congregation, than it is to use a shotgun approach and hope that
one of your pellets will somehow find its target (you know…
throw enough up against the wall and something is bound to
stick). You will find that by selectively targeting your
prospects before marketing to them, your conversion ratio (the
proportion of your target market that takes positive action and
actually purchases your product or service) will be much higher
than the results you would otherwise achieve without first taking
the time to target your prospects. Once again, quality wins out
over quantity.

It seems that a great many webmasters have not stopped to ask
themselves the all-important question…What is the purpose of my
web site? For some reason, many of them seem to think that the
purpose of their web site is to give away freebies. Or it could
be to be a “showcase” for their products. Or it could be to
create links to all kinds of resources. Or it could be to have
fancy flash graphics and build a brand name.

One of the biggest mistakes people new to web design make is
going for more “flash” than substance. They bog down their site
with a bunch of fancy colored backgrounds, 3-D text, flash
presentations, etc. If a visitor to your site is using a 56K
connection and has wait to more than 8 seconds for it to load
(which can easily happen on sites heavy with graphics), you can
expect to lose about 1/3 of your visitors.

If you’re a business, the purpose of your web site is to sell a
product or service. Your web site should have one main focus.
It should not be selling a dozen products, a dozen opportunities,
or linking to a bunch of different affiliate programs. Presenting
too many options has a tendency to confuse your visitor.
When someone visits your site, it should be clearly obvious what
one action you want him or her to take.

Kirk Bannerman operates his own successful home based business
and also coaches others seeking to start their own home based
business. For more information visit his website at
http://www.home-based-business-team.com
Proven Work At Home Business for more details

Publicity – When Calling a Reporter, Keep it Short

When you are planning to call a reporter for the first time, it can help to imagine that you are a phone solicitor (albeit one with terrific, useful ideas).

When phone solicitors call you, you don’t want to hear a long explanation of their product. You just want to know the basics so you can make a quick decision and get back to work.

That’s why, in a first call or contact with a reporter, keep it short and sweet. Have one or two story ideas – no more – ready to convey.

Don’t try what I call the “shotgun approach” firing away with seven or eight ideas in the hope that one will hit the mark. Would you want a phone solicitor trying to sell you that many products at once? Of course not. It’s too much for the person at the other end of the line to absorb and process.

Before you call a reporter, pick your best two story ideas. Take a few minutes to rehearse your explanations of the stories, then make your call. If the reporter isn’t interested, don’t be discouraged. Thank them politely for their time, and then make a note to call them back in a month with two more story ideas.

Ned Steele works with people in professional services who want to build their practice and accelerate their growth. The president of Ned Steele’s MediaImpact, he is the author of 102 Publicity Tips To Grow a Business or Practice. To learn more visit http://www.MediaImpact.biz or call 212-243-8383.

Publicity – What to Say to a Reporter

You can have dozens of marvelous ideas to get free publicity, but nothing will happen unless you pick up the phone and call a reporter.

Here’s where the publicity game gets interesting for marketing-minded financial planners. You’ve been tracking reporters – you know who covers your topics. You’ve been tracking Topic A’s and trends affecting your market. You’re ready!

When you call a reporter, you’re going to say something like:

“Hi, Bob. I’m Stephanie Smart, and I am a financial planning consultant in town. I see you cover mutual funds, and I thought you might be interested in this.

Did you know that about two-thirds of my clients lately have been asking me for help with picking the right index fund? It’s a fascinating switch from what I’ve been seeing in the past.”

And it has broad implications for our community, given the number of young professionals in the area, just beginning to think about retirement planning.”

Or “Bob, I saw your story last week on retirement planning by young professionals. Did you know that these folks are already leaning more towards index funds than traditional mutual funds? Would you like to know more?”

Trust me, every mutual fund reporter worth his or her weight in stock certificates is going to listen very closely to you.

Ned Steele works with people in professional services who want to build their practice and accelerate their growth. The president of Ned Steele’s MediaImpact, he is the author of 102 Publicity Tips To Grow a Business or Practice. To learn more visit http://www.MediaImpact.biz or call 212-243-8383.

Halifax Loans If You Haven’t Stumbled on Best Loans Yet

The origin of Halifax loans can be traced back to 1852 when a group met in Old Fax Inn in Halifax to discuss the founding of an investment society. Halifax, now, is a name associated with the competitive rates on personal loans, mortgage, credit card, home insurance. Halifax is a part of Halifax Bank of Scotland group which in of UK’s premier building society.

Halifax loans are a financially secured way of providing for you’re the financial needs of borrowers in UK. Halifax loans are offered as personal loans at attractive rates. Halifax personal loans along with low interest rates have the advantage of not making repayment for the first three months. However Halifax charges interest rate between the first monthly repayment and start of loans.

The Halifax personal loans can provide for loan amount up to

16 Methods for Getting Free Advertising


1. Place copies of your circular on bulletin boards throughout your community, such as in coin-operated laundries, grocery stores, barber shops, etc. Concentrate of Fridays and Saturdays when shopping increases.


2. Check with local newspapers. Before going to press, many smaller newspapers have space left that needs filling.. Your ad may be just the right size to occupy this unfilled space and they will run it free.


3. Place your circulars on windshields of parked autos, Youngsters will be happy to do this for you for a dollar or two. Check first with city ordinances to see if this is permitted in your locality.


4. Leave sales literature on doorsteps of homes & businesses in your area. Do this on weekends in residential areas; weekdays for businesses.

5. Have your best pulling 1 inch or 2 inch ad made into a rubber stamp. Stamp this on envelopes of all of your outgoing mail.. Check rubber stamp dealer’s ads in current mail order publications for price information.


6. When you have envelopes printed with your return address, have them also print your best ad directly beneath your address. It costs noting additional to have this printed on the front of your envelopes.


7. If you publish a mail order magazine, newspaper, adsheet, etc., contact other publishers, If your circulation is equal to theirs, many will be happy to exchange an equal amount of ad space with you.


8. Many publishers will give you free adspace for mailing a few copies of their publication. Simply write to them and ask if they will give you a free 1 inch ad in exchange for mailing 50 to 100 copies of their pub.


9. Write informative articles for mail order trade publication. Most publishers will give you free ad space for the use of your article.


10. Take advantage of advertising specials. Many publishers offer ads on a 3-for-the- price- of -2- basis, or 4-for-the-price-of-3, etc. This saving is the same as getting one ad free of charge.


11. Some publishers offer a free classified ad with your first display ad. Watch for such specials. Use the free ad and pocket the savings.


12. When starting a new publication, many publishers will offer reduced ad rates to help fill space. Watch for ads regarding such offers.


13. In your ads, request a SASE. Then insert some of your other offers in regular outgoing mail. This is the same as getting free advertising.


14. Become a mailer. Get your printer’s lowest price for printing circulars on both sides of the sheet. Contact other dealers and state you will print and mail their circulars for this price with no conflicting ads on the back. Then print your circulars on the reverse and distribute them with your outgoing mail. There is no extra cost for postage and envelopes, and your side of the circular is paid for by your customers.


15. Offer a free commission circulars. Print one of your regular offers on one side; a commission offer on the reverse, leaving space where the mailer can rubber stamp his name & address, Your offer gets a free ride.


16. If you use a postage meter machine, use the ad space directly left of stamp imprint for a free message.



Copyright 2004 by DeAnna Spencer

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How Bankruptcy Affects Student Loans

The vast majority of government student loans cannot be gotten rid of easily, even filing for bankruptcy will not resolve these debts. The only way that these types of loans can be taken care of in bankruptcy is if you can prove that they are a substantial hardship on you and your finances and this is a pretty hard ting to do in most cases, especially since the rest of your debts will be taken care of with the bankruptcy filing.

If you do wish to try to get your student loans discharged you will have to prove that there is no way you will be able to pay this debt according to the schedule that has been laid out, that even in time you will still not be able to pay it according to the same schedule and that you have tried unsuccessfully in the past. A good faith effort is necessary. This means that you have not tried lying to your creditors and that you are working as much as you can to get the money that you need but are still coming up short.

What can be discharged and what cannot can also fall directly onto the shoulders of the bankruptcy judge. If you are lucky and you get a judge that allows for these discharges then you might just get away without having to pay off these loans, or at least part of them. In many places it is left up to the judge to go with their own gut feeling.

Keep in mind that while it is true that lenders cannot be sending you bills to pay while you are in bankruptcy, they have to wait until it is over, that does not by any means mean that interest will not be accruing on your loan. And since you do not have to pay, most people don’t and once they come out of bankruptcy they find themselves in a whole new batch of trouble than when they went in.

Student loans are flexible loans, they have many more options than some other loans out there. If you find yourself having trouble paying off your student loans let the lender know. Tell them exactly what the problem is and they will most likely be willing to work with you to get around it. If the plan and the schedule that you have set is just not a possible one for you to follow then talk to the lender about coming up with a new one. The thought of contacting lenders scares most people but it works, you are not going to get in more trouble, in fact what you are doing is heading trouble off at the pass. If you have defaulted on your loan you will even find such programs as rehabilitation programs that help you get you out of default. These programs are great, all you have to do is show your good faith effort by paying a lower amount for a set period of time. If you manage to stick to this it will show the lender that you can be depended upon and the lender can take you out of default.

Another route that many people take instead of bankruptcy is loan consolidation. The Direct Loan Servicing Center, working under the auspices of the Department of Education will give you several different options to choose from if you need some help to pay off your loans. Their standard plan is a great one, it is simple and it is effective. All you have to do is pay $50 each and every month until the balance is paid off in full or until 10 years is up, whichever comes first. There is another plan which will keep you paying for anywhere from 12 to 30 years. While this is a great option for those who just don’t have much money at all it is one of the most expensive ones simply because 30 years of interest really adds up to a significant amount of money. These are just a couple of the payment plans that you can find available to you. If you are in financial trouble talk to your lender! So you might not be able to resolve your debt completely all at once, at least there are options out there that will give you some peace of mind.

#1 Loans USA is a leading loan lender in the country. We have a loan for you at the best rates including refinancing of current loans. Click here now for your construction, new home loans, mortgage rates. Visit us at http://www.1LoansUSA.com