Have you ever received an email from a business and noticed that it came from a personal email account? You know the ones that I’m talking about. Maybe it’s your local handyman or your nail salon. You’re expecting to see their business name but if they’re using a Gmail or an AOL account, what are they branding? Themselves? Google? AOL? Recently, I received an email from a new restaurant. I had subscribed to a newsletter that they had posted on their website – which means they have a website. So why was their email from an AOL account?
This week someone left a comment about wanting to add a blog to an ecommerce site. He recognized that it would be a great way to help drive traffic to his website but he didn’t know what to blog about. His perception was that “it is so hard to build a blog for niche ecommerce sites.”
How can an entrepreneur or small business owner differentiate their product/service from everyone else’s? After you define your niche target customer and identify your marketing message, what else can you do to stand out from the thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) of websites that are offering a similar product or service? We all know that you should offer your potential customers and clients multiple ways to contact you. You can provide a contact form, an 800# and your basic contact info for customers who want to call, email, fax or even send you snail mail.. What if you could easily offer your customers a way to chat with you online? Online-help may be the perfect customer service tool to help you keep your customers and clients on your website long enough to answer your call to action. Why not try it? It’s free (or $20 to have the software professionally installed).
The original title for this post was going to be “Is Pay-Per-Click Advertising an Option if You Have a Zero Marketing Budget?” but let’s face it. . . if you really have a zero marketing budget, it may be time to sit back and look at your overall business plan. Is it time to switch gears? Should you temporarily put your idea on hold and make some cash to invest in your dream? Can you afford to continue promoting and marketing your business the same way you’ve been doing since you started? Is it time to try pay-per-click (PPC) ads?
I was commenting on an interesting blog article the other day and I clicked off the little box to be notified by email if someone replies to my comment or if someone adds a new comment. Should be simple right? (I mean I just gave them my name and email address in order to leave the comment in the first place.) So, I should be able to just click and go on my merry-way. Right? If the author replies to my comment (showing how much they care and that they value what I have to say), I’ll be notified. If someone else cares enough to comment, I’ll get to know what they’ve added to the conversation. I’m clicking to be notified because I truly found the article interesting and I want to follow it. So why, did I wish I hadn’t started the whole thing?
Seems these days, everyone knows someone who’s blogging. Whether it’s for fun or for profit, people are blogging. In my previous post, “To Blog or NOT to Blog. That is the Question”, I geared the discussion towards people who want to make money either directly with a blog or by driving traffic to an existing website (presumably where you’re trying to make money promoting a product or service).
Ok… you’ve “opened the virtual doors” to your business/blog by telling your friends, family and anyone else who would listen. So what now? (Maybe you’re seeing flashbacks of Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams”… “if you build it, he will come”.) As reality sets in, and you’re not seeing an increase in the number of visitors (or commenters) or more importantly you’re not seeing the results that you’re looking for (sales, email addresses, attention…), you may start asking yourself what next? Well, there are lots of things you can do like using the Google Webmaster tools, submitting your URL to directories, commenting on blogs and optimizing for search engines but…
Let’s just get back to the basics here…
Are you experiencing slow response times? Is your website sometimes unavailable? Are you frustrated by incompetent tech support? Is it time to choose a new website hosting company?
There seems to be two camps of website hosting companies these days. You have the hosting vendors that are competing on price and you have the vendors that are competing on customer service. Now, your choice of a website hosting company may not be what you consider a major decision in the scheme of things. There are certainly decisions that will have more impact on your business. You can always change your mind later and move your website to a different host right? Well, yes you can. And that move can range from a minor inconvenience (waiting for the DNS records to repopulate so your visitors can find you) to a major hassle involving your time (and possibly a lot of teeth-gnashing and pulling out of hair). After all, if you do decide to move your site, there has to be a good reason for it – possibly you were experiencing a large amount of down-time where your website was inaccessible which could translate to loss of revenue. Having to move your website is necessary sometimes but if you can avoid it, why not? So, it’s prudent to do your due diligence before you decide which hosting company you want to go with.
Well, I don’t know whether I chose the right domain name or the wrong one. (Is there such a thing as a right or wrong name? Maybe “better” would be a more appropriate term.) I like the domain name that I registered for this website. It’s easy to spell and it reflects the content I write about. It’s a name that I believe I can build a brand around. So why was I having second thoughts about it?