Rabu, 16 Juli 2008

My First Year In Cyber Space

My first year as a Cyberpreneur was a steeplearning-curve. I was an academic beforestarting an online business, so I had a lot to learn.But even if you were in offline-business before goingonline, you may still have to learn some new skills-online business is a whole new ball-game. Here aresome of the things I learnt in my first year in CyberSpace:

(1) Be careful who you register your domain with.Some domain name registrars make it very difficult tochange your web host.

I registered my first two domains with a registrarthat caused me more headaches than I care to thinkabout.

When I needed to transfer one of my domain names to anew web host, my original email address had changed. Iwas no longer able to send them an email from thataddress and so I couldn't authenticate my request fordomain transfer.

So I tried to update my personal record with my newemail address. I got a message saying that I couldonly change my email address by sending an email frommy original email address (which no longer existed).

This bureaucratic nightmare went on for 4 weeks. Toadd to my frustration, I was communicating with amachine, not a human being. By the end of that time Ihad no less than 35 computer-generated emails tellingme that my domain could not be transferred.

Finally, I sent my request for domain transfer in a5-page fax, including photocopy of my passport. Theythen sent me an email saying my request for domaintransfer could not be processed because my request wasnot on company letterhead.

So I designed a letterhead and re-submitted the 5-pagefax. Finally, 6 weeks after my first request, my domain wastransferred.

To avoid this kind of experience I recommend you useregister.com: http://www.register.com

Using their online Domain Manager, it took me lessthan two minutes to transfer my domain!

(2) A slow-loading index page is still one of themain reasons that online businesses lose customers.

Surveys show that the average surfer will wait no morethan 8 seconds for a web page to load before movingonto another website. So 'load-time' is a vitalconsideration when you choose a web host.

Below is a website that allows you to check the load-timeof a web host:http://www.hostpulse.com/app/networktools/ping.asp

(3) Once you've designed your home page and uploadedit to your server space, check to see what it lookslike to other people. What you're seeing may not bewhat other people are seeing.

I once designed a home page I was very proud of - Ihad added a piece of javascript that gave the day anddate.

Then one day I checked my home page at Anybrowser.com.I was horrified to see that my home page was invisibleexcept for my company logo and the navigation bar. Fortwo weeks it had been virtually blank to mostvisitors! So take a minute and look at your websitethrough your visitors' browser:http://www.anybrowser.com/siteviewer.html

(4) If a customer asks you for a refund, give it tothem immediately, even if you think it's unjustified.You'll be out of pocket by a few dollars, but yourname and your integrity will be intact. Your good nameis perhaps your most precious commodity on theInternet. Remember these words from Shakespeare:

"Who steals my purse steals trash;

'tis something, nothing;

'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;

But he that filches from me my good name

Robs me of that which not enriches him,

And makes me poor indeed."

(Othello, Act III. Scene III.)

(5) Reply to emails quickly. Nothing impresses memore on the Internet than a rapid response to abusiness enquiry. Try and respond within 2 hours, orat least within 24 hours.

(6) Never reply angrily to abusive emails or flames.People who send flames want you to reply, but there isnothing to be gained by replying. An abusive email canbe very disturbing, but the best thing to do is ignoreit. Better still delete it - that way you remove itfrom your life and you remove the temptation to reply.

(7) Lastly, never give up. Most successes are due tosheer persistence:

"Nothing in the world can take the place of

persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common

than unsuccessful men of talent. Genius will not; the

world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and

determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, 'press

on' has solved, and always will solve, the problems of

the human race." (Calvin Coolidge)

By Michael Southon

How to Write Classified Ads that Get Results Now.


Classified ads can be used to sell products directly from the ad.
This works best for items costing no more than
approximately $5. The best use for classified ads is to utilize
them in obtaining inquiries. This is called the two step
approach. The first step is to get maximum inquiries from the
classified ad, in the second step the promotional package is sent
to the prospect and as many inquiries as possible are converted
to buyers.


Classified ads are substantially less expensive than small space
ads, but by no means are they cheap. Most national publications
catering to the mail order business charge from $3 to $8 per
word. A well laid out ad should consist of about 20 words which
includes the company name and address. It is important that you
remind yourself that only the purpose is to get the prospect to
take immediate action and write for more information.

Before you write the ad know exactly what it is you want to sell.
You must know very specifically what you are going to accomplish
through this ad. Once you have determined what you want to get
across to the reader, write it out in one or more complete
sentences. For example, you have the reproduction rights for
several reports and want to market them. So the objective is: "I
want to get the maximum number of responses to inquire about my
self-publishing material which has excellent income potential and
is easy to market, especially for a newcomer to the business."

This ad may read as follows:

to do. Request free Special Report! XYZ Publishing/E, PO Box
1000, Frederick, MD 20908.


The first 3 or 4 words-- are critical. Since there are hundreds
of classified ads in any given publication you must be able to
get the reader who scans all, or some of them, to stop in his
tracks when he gets to your ad and read your ad and then take

Open any publication and review the ads and you will see that
many of those ads have absolutely no purpose. They are a total
waste of money. But that is good for you since I am sure you will
make a real effort to get your message across. Here are a couple
of examples of useless ads:

Still Looking For A New Beginning? Write.......

What do they mean by that? How does any of that pertain tome and
what am I supposed to make of that? Here is another one:

The Easiest Business On Earth. Valuable information mailed

Do you think many people are going to write in for an ad like
that. Especially not since there are hundreds of other ads in
competition for the readers' time.


In less that 25 words you have to create a message that will make
a reader stop; give him a reason - benefits to him - why this is
for him; tell him what to do - action; and provide the vital
information. It is as simple and as complicated as that. Simple
because you know what you want to accomplish, but complicated
because it has to be done with so few words. I think you can see
why it is virtually impossible to sell a $10 or $20 item from a
classified ad. You just would not have enough space to tell a
story compelling enough to convince someone to part with $10 or


With some practice you should have no problem getting lots of
inquiries from your ads. Stay away from "Self-centered
advertising copy", copy that speaks about you. How great you or
your company are, or how great your product is.

The only thing the reader cares about is himself. What's in in
for Number One! Nothing else.


Almost all weekly and monthly publication will charge for each
word including your company name and address. Most daily
newspapers have a per line rate. Since just the address can take
up from 6-10 words here are some ways you can save money.

The following ad has 23 words.

Start part-time. Easy to do.
XYZ Publishing Co.
Dept 12 P.O. Box 1000 Frederick, MD 20908

This ad has 21 words.

Start part-time. Easy to do. Free details.
XYZ Publishing/E (The E becomes the code instead of Dept 12
PO Box 1000
Frederick, MD 20908

Or this one which has 18 words

Start part-time. Easy! Free report.
XYZ Publishing/E
PO Box 1000
Frederick, MD 20908

Some publications charge 2 words for the zip code and state, some
only one. If you live in a city which consists of several words
such as Palm Beach Gardens you are only charged for 1 word.

Evaluate the cost effectiveness of your ad by the cost per
inquiry and not the cost of the ad. Example a $150 ad generates
170 inquiries $0.88 per word versus a $28 ad which generates 15
inquiries at a cost of $1.87 each.


If you have written and placed an effective ad and the inquiries
start rolling in, the most important job, or actually several
jobs have to be done. They are as follows:

1. Your sales/promotional package must be ready before the first
inquiry arrives and it must be answered promptly, preferably the
same day but certainly within 48 hours. The longer you wait the
more chances are that a competitor will win out over you.
Although some people will wait for weeks before they make a
decision, many will act within days.

2. The ad you are placing is just the beginning. The names which
are generated from the ad must be used again and again in order
for your total advertising effort to be effective in the long

3. A percentage of your inquiries from this first ad will become
buyers. You need to send these buyers additional offers within
several weeks after their first purchase and thereafter mail at
least 3 times per year to them. You drop them from your list if
they have not bought anything for about 8 - 12 months.

4. The inquiries that did not buy buy this time may still buy at
a later time. You can send them the same material again, or a
similar offer. It is advisable to send 2-3 more mailing to them.

Many mail order companies may only make a small profit or just
break even when the actual sales results are measured against a
single ad. But over the life of the customers which are converted
from those inquiries and the subsequent purchases from the
inquiries who were not converted from the initial ad many
hundreds or thousands of additional dollars will be generated.

Copyright 2004 by DeAnna Spencer

This article may be reproduced freely on the Internet as long as the resource box remains intact.

By DeAnna

12 Ways to Reduce Postage

1. Never send a letter that weighs less than 30 gms. Five size
8-1/2x11 circulars can be mailed with a 1st class postage stamp.
By using all 10 sides with a variety of offers you have a
greater chance of receiving an order.

2. When you advertise, state the price of your product and add Plus
stamp or SASE (self addressed stamped envelope). When inviting
inquiries always say "For information send SASE".

3. Advertise that you will do paid mailing. Set a competitive
price and recover some if not all of the costs involved in
mailing your own offers.

4. Write a good plan or folio; then create a good ad to sell it.
Or offer it to others on a "commission" or "all profit" basis
and fill the orders for a SASE. Your offers can then go along
for a free ride when you fill the orders.

5. Make up an interesting ad sheet. Use up some of the spaces for
your own ads then sell enough ads to others to cover the cost of
postage, printing, advertising etc.

6. Advertise a "Free Big Mail for Postage - the More Postage the
More Mail". (Big mail consists of at least one mailorder
publication plus a variety of circulars).

7. Do exchange mailing. You mail 100 of another dealer's circulars
and they will mail 100 or yours.

8. Purchase an accurate postal scale. Then you will never add more
postage than necessary OR you can use up the full value of the
postage being used.

9. Reduce postage by using Bulk Mail. Inquire at
the Post Office. This requires the mailer (U.S.) to sort their
mail by state and zip code and mail at least 200 like pieces at
one time.

10. Stamps that have not been canceled due to an error of the
postal cancellation machine may be used again.

11. Accept stamps from another country. If you can't use them trade
with a dealer from that country for stamps that you can use or
buy something from them paying them with stamps of equal value.

12. Watch mailorder publications for dealers who have new stamps to
sell at a reduced price.

Note: It is false economy to not send a SASE when making
inquiries of other dealers. You are more likely to receive
an answer much more quickly and it improves business relations.
Copyright 2004 by DeAnna Spencer
This information may be freely distributed on the Internet as long as the resource box remains intact.

By DeAnna

Getting Started in the Mail Order Business. How Much Does It Cost?


To get any business started successfully takes many ingredients. All requirements fall into one of the following four key categories: 1. Desire, 2. Knowledge, 3. Time, and 4. Available funds. This report deals only with the financial requirements of starting a mail order business. Hopefully it will help the reader to evaluate whether he is financially able to embark upon a business venture that will bring about success. It is generally true that it takes substantially less money to get started in many mail order businesses than in a variety of other businesses.

Many a promoter will want you to belive that it is possible to get started successfully for $50, $100, or even $200. However, it is totally false. It does take more than that. How much more depends on many factors which I will try to define as much as is possible here.

Since the mail order business covers a vast number of services and products I would like to define the contents of this report to deal with the selling of information products. This is where my expertise lies. While the same or similar conditions may apply to any number of other mail order businesses, there may however be some differences to selling information products such as books, etc.

The following makes a number of assumptions. The most important ones are:

1. The operator ( or operators) of the new mail order business is employed or has other means of income.. He will not need to derive any profit from his new business for a period of time.. How long will depend on many factors.

2. This is a home based business which has no employees.

3. The business, at the start - until volume reaches $3,000 to $5,000 per month - will utilize the drop shipping services of a wholesale company.

4. Basic office equipment such as desk, file cabinet, computer, etc... are on hand.


This is an exciting business and it can be extremely profitable once it reaches a certain momentum. However, like almost all businesses it is a very cost sensitive business.

As you are getting started in planning and setting up your new business think and act with caution when it pertains to any expenditures. This is one of the most difficult things to do since you are probably very enthusiastic and want to do everything today. So you need to learn HOW TO CONTROL YOUR ENTHUSIASM or it is going to cost you lost of extra money.

In this state of enthusiasm we tend to think that there is nothing we can do wrong and since we will be making lots of money in a few months lets get all necessary and often unnecessary supplies and equipment. It would be much better to wait until profits of the business make it possible to acquire what is needed. In the meantime you can make do with less. To be able to do so is a most important quality for the owner of a small to do so is a most important quality for the owner of a small business.

If you are a parent think of your new business as a child. There will be a never ending sequence of surprises. And as the business grows so will its demands, and yes its expenses.


The below listed expenses will be incurred in the very early stages of setting up your business. This is at a time when you probably are not sure as yet what you will be selling. You will be writing to different companies for information to come up with the right product selection. Once you have decided what it is you will be selling you have to line up reliable suppliers, This is also a good time to buy a few books to help you with your mail order education. Although most expenses incurred in this phase are relatively small they will add up quickly.

These prices are estimates. Prices will vary according to your location.

Stationery and envelopes...............................................50.00

P.O. Box rental........................................60.00 per year

Miscellaneous office supplies..........................30.00





You have now reached the point at which you have decided upon one or more reliable suppliers for the product you wish to market. You may also be ready to have some promotional material printed. In addition you may be placing one or two classified ads for testing purposes.

Once again, please remember that these prices are estimates only.

Dealership or distributorship (1 or more)...................................................80.00

Small supply of brochures or catalogs...............................................50.00

Printing of sales letter, order form, Return envelopes, etc......................................................90.00

1 test ad, classified (national magazine)..........................................100.00

Business or traders license...............................................30.00



Until now you have only had expenses for your new business. You have not derived any revenue yet. In the next and final stage of starting your business you may have some revenues. Stage one and two may take from approximately 3 to 6 months.


You have now reached a stage were you will expand your advertising, or alternately you may go the direct marketing route and rent a mailing list. The comparison of expenses and revenue results of a direct marketing effort versus classified advertising need to be carefully evaluated. Since expenses for a direct marketing effort are generally higher than for a small advertising campaign, the below listed expenses focus on an advertising campaign,

Estimates provided for illustrative purpsoes only.

Advertising -- 3 classified ads........................................................................280.00

Postage for several hundred inquiries derived from adverting effort....................................................75.00

Miscellaneous office supplies.................................................................30.00



The combined expenses as listed above total just under $1000. They are based on broad estimates and may vary somewhat by area of the country and individual circumstances. The figures are reflecting a minimum amount. Some individuals may be able to cut expenses further. Since this planning period takes several months the expenses as shown above can be allocated over a period of 4-6 months.

The above figures represent a conservative start. For those who want to get started more aggressively expenses would be higher. While many of the basic start-up costs would be the same the expenses that would increase would primarily deal with additional advertising, printing and postage expenses. By how much would largely be an individual decision.

Since most new businesses fail because of lack of funds, it would be advisable for an individual who does not have the necessary funds to get started to wait until he does. In addition to the basic start-up expenses an individual should also consider that most businesses will loose money for several months and sometimes much longer than that. Unfortunately no matter how well you plan, circumstances often change and we must make allowances for those eventualities.

Copyright 2004 by DeAnna Spencer

Note to editors: To show my appreciation to the editors that use my articles, I offer a free solo ad. Simply send an email to me by using the form on the contact me page on my website to tell me the url the article was used on or send me a copy of the ezine it was used in.

This article may be redistributed freely on the Internet as long as the resource box remains intact.

By DeAnna

Santa - The Brand

Every Christmas Eve, a burglar named Santa busts into homes around the world, but he has never been charged with B&E. He has one of the best, most positive brands around and it continues to inoculate him against any hint of impropriety, as it has for generations.

Why does Santa's brand remain so strong? Because Santa is:

? Consistent

? Unique

? Customer-focused

? Viral

Let's examine these to see what lessons we can learn.

First off, Santa has a positioning statement and has used it to stay true to his mission for decades.

It is this consistency that has helped him build a brand franchise that is the envy of other marketers. No matter what kind of communication vehicle he uses, the message is measured against the positioning statement.

Fed-Ex and UPS also deliver packages, but they don't do it in the middle of the night in a sleigh drawn by eight tiny reindeer. Santa has cornered the market on uniqueness.

He has not strayed from the market he identified in his positioning statement. His target is not every carbon-based life form. He focuses on kids. End of story. Talk about customer intimacy. Santa has perfected data mining.

Who else knows if you:

? are sleeping or awake

? want a Barbie or a baseball bat

? have been naughty or nice

Santa invented viral marketing. As his customers get older and become parents, they market to the emerging group of customers for him. They know that if they deliver Santa's message, they will benefit from their children's good behavior.

And it's not just the parents. Other marketers help him, too. Santa has never spent a dime on advertising. He has used good public relations tactics to develop, manage and maintain solid relationships with marketers who advertise for him. Consider the Coca-Cola ads featuring Mr. Claus. Think of all the newspaper inserts that carry his picture during the holidays. Then, there are all those helpers in department stores everywhere.

Because of his adherence to simple marketing tactics, everyone loves Santa. Not bad for an old burglar with a reindeer fetish.

By Harry Hoover

Brand Your Consulting Brilliance

Today's competitive marketplace for consulting services is no longer responsive to the marketing strategies that worked in the past. The services you provide should speak volumes about your consulting business. Think about what happens when you hear phrases such as "the ultimate driving machine," "don't leave home without it," and "just do it." Chances are good that you can immediately associate them with BMW, American Express, and Nike. These companies have mastered "brand brilliance." Brand your consulting brilliance because the future of your business depends on it.

There's an old adage, "Perception is reality." Simply stated, the perception of a brand lies in its ability to influence a client's behavior. When you have successfully branded your business, in the client's eye there is no service in the marketplace quite like your service.

All consulting businesses should have a distinct, sustainable, and competitive advantage to differentiate their services from the competition. I call this process of identifying your advantage "Brand Your Consulting Brilliance."

Here are six simple steps to brand and differentiate your services in the new economy.

1. Think client focus first.
The client's reality: Consulting businesses exist to serve clients. Develop a client visitation calendar and schedule in-person visits. Look the client in the eye and say, "I am here to serve you." Follow up and follow through on all client-related matters in a timely manner.

Create a client questionnaire so clients can rate the performance of your services. You want them to tell you how you're doing and what you can do to serve them better. It's also a way to discover what challenges they are currently facing. Be relentless in your client retention efforts.

2. Discover a distinct advantage that will set you apart from competitors.
Start by articulating your "unique marketing proposition," a statement of all of the qualities and characteristics that set your services apart in the marketplace. Analyze your services: What skills and services do we provide that are distinctive, measurable, and add value? Which of our past successes can we leverage in the marketplace? And don't forget to ask colleagues what they see as your competitive strengths.

Communicate these messages reinforcing your unique marketing proposition anytime you have an opportunity to write or speak about your consulting firm and what you have to offer to prospective clients.

3. Generate publicity.
What others say about your brand is much more powerful and credible than what you can say about it yourself. When it comes to branding your consulting brilliance, favorable publicity in the media or word of mouth is far superior to advertising. So how do you generate the publicity "buzz"? Create a buzz about your brand by being visible: speaking at seminars, publishing a newsletter on your website, participating as a host or guest on television or radio talk shows, writing a column in a reputable trade journal, and networking.

4. Promote a powerful perception of quality in the client's mind.
What is quality if not a perception that resides in the mind of the client? You build quality intangibles around trust, reliability, excellent people, and innovative client services. Show clients that you can interpret and process their information to convert it to results oriented solutions. What you say is important, but what you do is even more important for reinforcing their perception of your brand quality.

Keep the lines of communication open. The goal of branding your consulting brilliance is to convince the client that your brand is worth their trust and worth a premium price.

5. Establish your credentials as an industry leader in the field.
Clients like to know they are doing business with an industry leader. Make clients aware of your consulting acumen, presence, and commitment. Know your clients' businesses inside out - what they do, why they do it, how they do it. Tout your firm's successful track record of accomplishment in working with companies like theirs.

Build and sustain credibility with clients by strengthening your client relationships, developing a client retention strategy, demonstrating that you value your new clients, and going the extra mile for them.

6. Practice consistency in building your consulting brilliance.
Stay focused on implementing the branding of your consulting brilliance. Keep abreast of marketing trends in your profession and position yourself as a recognized expert. Make the most of your unique marketing proposition. Accelerate and elevate the perceived value of your brand in the marketplace.

In short, to brand your consulting brilliance, know what you have to offer, know how to differentiate it, and know how to market it.

By Robert Moment

You Bored Me at Hello - Top Three Strategies for Networking Your Brand

"You had me at hello," those famous words from the movie Jerry McGuire let Tom Cruise know that Rene Zellweger's character was hooked from that point and the rest of his talking was unnecessary. When in networking situations, many small business owners leave people with a slightly different feeling. If questioned for the truth, what would likely be said is, "you bored me at hello!" That is definitely not a great way to grow your business into a powerful name brand. Networking works, but not if you leave your prospects bored.

Networking opportunities are everywhere. You can find them at Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau events, not to mention when you are in line at the grocery store. There are even groups of people who regularly meet solely for the purpose of networking. Unfortunately, all of the networking opportunities in the world will not help grow your business unless people remember you and your company after you are gone.

Here are three strategies to avoid boring people during your next networking opportunity:

1) Gone in Thirty-Seconds - Attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Any longer than thirty seconds for your "elevator speech" and you will be tuned out. People cannot sit through a thirty-second commercial without changing the channel on the television. Your business will be treated the same way. They will start thinking about what they need to pick up on the way home or other random thoughts. Many times, they are simply waiting for you to stop talking so they can try to sell you on their business. Your brand message must be short, simple and to the point. If you ramble too much, the person will start feeling like Charlie Brown in school - "wahwah, wah wah wah," "yes ma'am."

2) Red or Black - Pick a color. Roulette gives you the option of betting on red or black. If you bet red, you win when it hits on any red number. Winning is good. If it hits on any black number, you lose. Losing is not so good. However, when you "hedge" and bet on red and black together you are guaranteed to not win. In a networking situation, limit what you talk about. Sure, you are risking leaving out something the prospect would like to hear. However, unless you get lucky and mention it first, the odds are that you will lose their attention by then anyway. Limit the scope of your brand, or say everything and be remembered for nothing.

3) Listen - That's right, you are remembered more when you listen. Most of us go through our day fighting to be heard. It feels really good to be acknowledged and understood. So good that we automatically think highly of the person listening to us. Listening demonstrates that you value the person talking. Sincerely listen to what the other person has to say and they will leave with high regard for you and your business.

There ya have it, networking success as simple as 1, 2, 3! Follow all three strategies and you are sure to notice a sharp improvement in your networking. Before you know it, you will leave your future clients saying "you sold me at hello!" Now, those types of responses build a powerful brand!

By Kevin Kearns