I’m on Page 1 of Google! You need Lori Bratz.

I met Lori Bratz about 10 years ago at a Google workshop.  She was the BEST thing I got from that class.  Lori has been my webmaster since that day.  She is a joy to work with, kicking ideas around and coming up with terrific results.  She does the work faster than anyone I’ve ever worked with (I’ve had a website since 1994 and a LOT of webmasters) and  she keeps my site updated beautifully.  I’m on Page 1 of Google for “hypnosis weight loss” in no small measure due to Lori.

Lori is really, really smart and very funny; two qualities I need in people I work with—AND she answers her phone.  If you’re looking for a quality website, professionally designed and problem-free, you need Lori Bratz.

Author, therapist and CEO of the Living Lite Weight Loss program, Katie Evans

LivingLiteNow.com
Living Lite Now!

Choosing a domain name? Leave your ego at the door.

Business owners are known for 2 qualities: #1. Tenacity and #2. A big ego!  Let’s face it, if you own your own business, you are probaby a confident,  success-driven individual who is willing to take chances.  And while those qualities certainly contribute to your success, business owners must be careful to NOT let that ego get in the way of common sense when it comes to their business website.    Time and again, I see a perfectly sound business struggle to find customers because they insist on using their name as a domain name!   Ego, ego, ego.  

Thing one: No one is searching for YOUR NAME to find a product or service.   Unless someone has already recommended YOU (in which case you don’t need to spend money advertising to find me), I’m not searching for Joe Smith.   

Thing two: Exception, if you are famous (Kristen Stewart), or if you are a busy as you want to be and don’t struggle to find customers (LoriBratz.com), OR if your name is Donald Widget, and I’m shopping for Widgets, then you’re all set.  Otherwise, you need to set your ego aside and choose a smarter domain name. 

By the way, if you MUST satisfy your urge to have a self-named website, you should know that you can have more than ONE domain name for the same site.  SO, you could be JoeSmithRules.com and also SeattleChiropractor.com. 

Make sense? If I needed a chiropractor, I might search for these keywords: Seattle chiropractic care, Seattle holistic chiropractor, Seattle chiropractor, Eastside back relief, sciatica pain relief Seattle , back adjustment Seattle , licensed chiropractor Seattle …

What do you think people would search for to find you?

Branding your business! Brochures!

 
Brochures are an important way for you to make a good impression on potential and existing clients.   The brochure pictured below was designed by Lori Bratz and it matches the client’s website.   Aside from being attractive and well-designed, it was quite inexpensive to produce. We printed this brochure at online-super printer VistaPrint for less than $1 per brochure, the client was able to log in and see the project at different milestones instead of wasting time and money meeting with the designer, and, as per always, the initial design process was a collaborative effort between designer and client, to eliminate the need for the usual “back-and-forth-how-do-you-like-it-now” that can substantially drive up the cost of a project.
D&E Customs brochure
D&E Customs brochure

Here is an article written by Janice Jenkins that explains the importance of a beautiful, professionally designed brochure that matches your company brand (website, business cards, postcards, flyers, newsletters, etc.). 

Are your brochures helping your business or do they only hurt you further? How good is your brochure printing? Do you often apologize for your marketing collaterals because you feel they just do not make the cut?

If you are often unhappy with your print brochures every time you send them out to your target clients, then you need to re-evaluate yourself and your collaterals – whether you still want to pay for mediocre marketing collaterals that just do not achieve what you expect them to accomplish.

As one expert marketer used to say, owning a wrench does not make one a qualified mechanic. Just as a desktop publishing application does not make for an effective brochure with great copywriting and design template. A little thought and careful planning are in order. When you plan your brochure printing right, it can go a long way in creating marketing collaterals that not only incorporate the brand identity you want, they can also provide you with the means for your target clients to respond to you positively.

So why do you need a good brochure? First of all, a brochure is as important as your business cards. But more than introducing yourself to your target clients, your print brochures actually do more – they introduce your entire company to your target clients. Each of your brochure prints is an executive summary that gives your target clients an idea of what you do and what you can offer. Thus, your brochure is one of the more important marketing tools as you are afforded the means to do a little bragging without having to be embarrassed doing it.

Your brochure just gives you a way to create a lasting impression by putting your best foot forward in the most favorable manner.

Second, a good brochure is important because it affords you to get the success you want. It allows you to accomplish what you have set out to do in the first place – that is, to be able to grow and be successful in your industry. Hence, your brochure must be able to effectively communicate what is essentially your business. This means having to convey in the briefest and most concise way possible all about your business, your products and services. Your marketing tool must be able to reach out and move your target clients who know nothing of who you are and what you can do in the first place.

A good brochure is also important to have because it is necessary to leave a good impression to your target clients. People generally expect a professional and reliable company to have print brochures in their marketing arsenal. And it goes without saying that a professional and credible company would also have equally great and solid products and services as offerings. A good quality and professional brochure can help you build trust and reliance among your target clients which can make them want to learn more about you and your business.

Finally, a good brochure is important because it lets you introduce yourself and your company to your target clients that they get to have something concrete to make them feel who you are and what you can do. Thus, your quality brochure printing should be able to become both an opportunity to open doors for you, as well as become reminders afterwards for target clients to refer to in the future.

So here is the final question: does your brochure printing do all these? If not, then it is high time for you to scrap the brochure template you have been using and get a new one to fully describe the best that you can do for your target clients – so much so that they do not hesitate to act on your call every time they read your brochure.
Article Source:http://68articles.com/why-do-you-need-a-good-brochure-7c82351d.html

Call Lori Bratz today to get a professional, high-quality brochure that contributes to your company’s branding! 

Website Optimization: Put The Rabbit Back In The Hat

The secret of website optimization is that there is no magic involved at all.  Forget about tricking the search engines and work on defining your business correctly by logical, descriptive keywords. 

Combating common website optimization mistakes:

List Spamming:  Some “Website Specialists” believe that the best way to get “juice” is to spam list services like Craigslist.  Posting to public forums every day only serves to annoy the community and will guarantee that you are flagged and removed and possibly even banned from the service.

Instead:  Post to lists no more than every three days and delete your old listing.  Exercise common courtesy.

Posting junk:  Never try to “trick” your audience into clicking your links.  That just costs you time and bandwidth.   Driving unqualified traffic to your website is about as useless as inviting triangles to a circle convention. 

Instead: Be as clear and descriptive as you can, and post only where you believe your target audience to be.

Using useless adjectives in meta tags:  This is a common mistake made by the best of writers.  Adjectives, or words that describe other words like, “Best, brightest and premiere” are not effective for meta tags because people who are looking for you are not searching for those words. 

Instead:  Use simple noun combinations that describe your business or service and physical location; Seattle Catering, Puyallup Flat Roof Replacement, Capital Hill Document Storage.

Be sincere in your aim to give the most comprehensive description of exactly what your business does so that people who are looking for you can find you as quickly as possible. Thoughtful logic will tell you exactly how to optimize your website.

Website Basics: Recipe for Success

The most frequently asked question I get is, “How can I do this myself?”  Let’s first establish that building your own website is like installing your own fence instead of paying a contractor.  It’s not going to look professionally done.  It won’t be very hardy and you should expect it to break down more quickly than it would if you had invested in a pro.  That said, you CAN do it.  And, like building your own fence, you will be required to learn how to use the tools.  You can’t just go toss some lumber and some nails on the ground and walk away.  You have to actually build a framework.  What is the main thing you want your website visitors to do? Buy a widget? Buy your service?  That is your Call to Action.  Make sure visitors know exactly what you want them to do when they arrive at your site.  Create a clear Call To Action and put it in the body of your page.  

Picture of a basic web page
Website Basics

Other pages might include About Us, Testimonials, Other products for sale, etc. So, go sketch out a plan for your site, keeping in mind your Call To Action!

Fresh! Refreshing Your Web Browser

Every once in awhile I get a frantic call from someone who can’t see their web changes because they are looking at a stored version of a website.   One solution is to install a “no cache” meta tag in the header of the site.  It looks like this:

meta http-equiv=”Expires” content=”0″ /
meta http-equiv=”PRAGMA” content=”NO-CACHE” /

Certainly you should encourage your clients to do some basic browser maintenance. I found this helpful step-by-step resource for helping non-technical people manage their PC housekeeping, written by the I.T. department at the University of Indiana. 

“Each time you access a file through your web browser, the browser caches (stores) it. In this way, the files (including any images on the page) do not have to be retrieved anew from the remote web site each time you click the Back or Forward buttons. You should periodically clear the cache to allow your browser to function more efficiently. http://kb.iu.edu/data/ahic.html

Words Are Worth a Thousand Pictures!

Be sure your designer creates your website with text in mind, organized in managable, easily distinguised boxes or paragraphs with lots of keyword-rich headline h1 tags. You need to have lots and lots of real, searchable keyword-rich text on your site, especially on the homepage. Your homepage should contain samples of every bit of content you care to place on every page of your website. Not just -links, but nice descriptive paragraphs. Keyword-rich text text text all around. Google spiders should visit your site and eat up tons and tons of text and index you with loads of valid, solid information. Text that is written for the web isn’t as lovley or poetic as it is for print, but it’s essential that it be very straightforward, direct and descriptive.

Government Contracts: How to Bid

Government Contracts: How to Bid
By Lori Bratz
Webprohelp.com

Everyone thinks that winning a government contract is a big payday.  Think again.  Most companies earn only 15% profit on their governement contracts, which is, of course, a decent margin.  In addition to the contract NOT being a huge financial windfall, there is an enormous amount of paperwork and preparation involved.  You may want to hire a consultant who specializes in government contracting or commit a dedicated staffer to just do the legwork.  

Don’t bother sharpening an elevator pitch.  The federal government does not take unsolicited calls or proposals from the general business public.  They are interested in creating as level a playing field as they can.  When the Federal Government needs a vendor they open the bidding to all registered, qualified vendors.   So, roll up your sleeves and prepare to do lots of legwork so you’ll be ready when/if the Federal Government invites you (and all your registered competitors) to bid on their projects.

Step 1: Make sure your website is in good order.  Your website needs to look professional, be easy to navigate and have no objectionable content.  The Federal Government is populated with lots of very serious grownups.  They will not award a government contract to an organization that does not look like it will take the responsibility seriously.  That goes for most of the big companies that have sizeable project budgets.

Step 2: You must be registered with Dunn & Bradstreet.  D&B serves as a central location that lists all businesses with a 9 digit DUNS number.  It registers and keeps track of all businesses seeking to work with the Federal Government.  You will not be able to get a DUNS without getting a Master Business License with your state.  (This article assumes that your business is a legitimate, tax-paying entity).

Step 3: Set up a comprehensive profile with the Central Contractors Registry. You’ll need your DUNS number for that. 

Step 4: When you are invited to bid on a contract, make a serious and reasonable bid.   You don’t want to bid so low that it’s not profitable.  Once you are awarded a contract and agree to the terms, you have to deliver to the letter of the terms.  Make sure it’s worth your time and that you can actually satisfy the contract.

Good luck to you.

The Promotions Mix: Advertising

Today’s topic: Let’s talk about the promotions mix: Advertising.

Every entrepreneur has to find effective ways to promote their business. What exactly is promotion? A promotion is an activity that communicates the merits of the product and persuades target consumers to buy it.  Defining a promotion is simple enough, but spending your hard earned budget to promote your business isn’t so easy.  You have to feel confident that you’re making the best decisions.

There are several types of promotions that you can focus your advertising efforts and budget on. Let’s take a look at advertising.

Advertising

The most obvious member of the promotions mix is standard advertising.  You can advertise your business itself; selling or promoting your corporate image. This is sometimes called advocacy advertising.  This type of advertising is good for getting your name out there and getting consumers used to thinking of your company in a certain way.  Maybe you have a business that sells products to moms, and you want people to perceive your business as one that cares about education, or healthy lifestyles. This is called branding.  The advantage of branding is that potential customers gain product awareness and knowledge about your company, advertising is usually repetitious, and you usually achieve a wide geographic reach. If you have a tighter budget, you may choose to advertise a certain product, or category of products.  This type of advertising is sometimes called product positioning.  A common theme of this kind of advertising is direct competitor comparison.  In your ad, you tell why you are better than one or more of your competitors. Some distribution channels for advertising are: radio, newspaper and Internet.  Advertising on the Internet is a completely different genre of advertising that we will take a closer look at in the coming weeks.

The disadvantage of advertising is that there’s a high absolute (immediate and out of pocket) cost, it can seem impersonal and standardized, and it can be ignored by consumers who feel they are being inundated with advertising clutter. This is especially true in Internet advertising where the saturation level of advertising has definitely reached its peak.  Note: banner advertising has dropped to nearly 10 percent of the Internet, where it used to be a major revenue generating channel.