How To Write Effective Web Content

picture of business associates pleasently meeting

How to write effective content for your website
By Lori Bratz
Webprohelp.com

The best advice I can give you is to stay focused on your message. Be sincere. Be helpful. Help the people that you can and have a focused “call to action”.

Be focused. What is your product or service? Specifically? Write about your product in detail. What size is it? What are the benefits? Being specific and describing your product or service carefully will help you in your search rankings. People aren’t looking for “the best darn sewing machine company in the world”. They’re looking for a Husqvarna sewing machine dealer in Paducah.

Be sincere. When you write about your product or service, write about it truthfully. Be honest. If you truly ARE the leading business in your industry, add backup information to your claim. Don’t just throw words around about how awesome you are. That just makes you look untrustworthy.

Be helpful. Let your customers and potential customers know that you have a business or service that can be helpful to them, and why. Your content should PRE-ANSWER the questions that a potential customer might have. Why should they have your service/attend your class/buy your program?

Accept that your product or service is NOT for everyone. There are some people who are not interested in or who will not benefit from your product. Don’t try to “trick” people into buying your product or service by making misleading statements. What you have to offer may not be the right fit for some people. Accept it and move on. Focus on reaching out to the people you CAN help.

Have a “Call to Action”. That is to say, have a statement that tells your visitors what you want them to do. “Buy Now”, “Sign Up Here”, “Call For an Appointment”. If a customer has found your website and is interested in buying your product or service, let them know how to do it.

Good luck and remember, nothing speaks to customers like a sincere attitude!

 

 

 

 

 

Keyword Advertising: 10 Things You Need To Know Before You Spend Money on Keyword Advertising

 

10 things you need to know before you spend money on keyword advertising
By Lori Bratz
WebProHelp.com

The best customers are the ones that come looking for you. I could sit and cold call businesses all day long and try to explain why they need me, but it’s much easier to pay search engines or strive for high organic placement to send me qualified leads: people who are looking for my services already. It’s good to strike while the iron is hot, and when keywords turn into hot customers, send them to me.

What do you need to know to buy keywords that actually convert to sales?

#1. Know your bottom line. An alarming number of business owners have NO idea what percentage of their money is being spent on essentials or how much profit they are earning, consequently, they don’t know what they can afford to spend on advertising. Do not start buying advertising (or anything else) until you know your bottom line.

#2. Know your customers. Who are the people that want to buy your product or service? Where do they live? Target those people in that area only. Highly targeted ads are more expensive, but they also deliver more qualified leads.

#3. Know your sales cycle. How long does it normally take consumers to purchase your product after they decide they may want or need it? Usually, the more expensive a product or service is, the longer the buying cycle. If you’re selling a $50 radio, you will probably see lots of conversion right away. If you’re selling a $15,000 roof repair job, the sales process will take a lot longer. Your audience is taking time to make an informed decision, gathering information, talking to experts, financial institutions, insurance companies, etc. If you stop advertising before the buyer completes the buying process, then you wont be there when they are ready to make the purchase. Be prepared to go the distance.

#4. Have a realistic advertising budget. Remember the old saying, “You need to spend money to make money.” I always tell my clients that if the conversion is there, they should spend as much as they can on their advertising. That is, if it costs you $10 to make $100, why wouldn’t you do as much as you could? Throwing just a few dollars at advertising is like throwing it out the window.

#5. Know your acquisition cost in order to get started. That is, how much it costs you right now to get a customer. For example, if you spend $200 mailing out flyers, and you get 10 customers in your store, then your acquisition cost is $20. It costs you $20 to get a customer. Online advertising works in much the same way. Don’t expect the internet to magically send you customers for nothing. Anything worth having is worth working for. It’s a numbers game. Go go go.

#6. Know your availability and inventory. Are you advertising so aggressively that you can’t keep up with your orders?

#7. Know your industry. If you are selling a product or service that is in a highly competitive market with major, corporate-backed budgets, consider niching. A niche is a specialty product or service. If your market is highly saturated, your keywords will be far less effective than a new or un-tapped market.

#8. Know your competition. Study your competitors ads to see how they are representing themselves and then make your ad more inviting to customers. If you see that your competitor is offering your main product for less, then offer free shipping. Note: You must NEVER click a competitor’s ad. That is plainly and simply stealing. When you visit your competitor’s site, type their URL into a browser. There’s plenty of customers out there for everyone. Fraud click is the lowest, most reprehensible behavior on the net.

#9. Know when to try something else: You can learn what keywords people are searching to get to you by studying your search engine account page and you own website statistics. If you have keywords that aren’t converting, then simply stop spending time and money on those keywords.

#10. Hire a professional: There are lots of people who claim to be SEO specialists, but only a few truly deliver on these claims. You truly get what you pay for. Look for someone with proven results.

We Can Help Sell Your Products on Amazon

Do you have a product or products that you would like to sell on Amazon.com? WebProHelp.com can help you set up your store! We can do everything from obtaining your UPC barcodes (which you WILL need to list products for sale on Amazon), prepare MP3’s for the MP3 store, list your products in your business’s Amazon store or simply list them as an individual. Call or email us NOW for more information!

Small Business Success in Tough Economic Times

picture of a woman giving a giftTips for asucceeding in small business: Give more than your competition
By Lori Bratz
WebProHelp.com

If you have a small business, you know that consumers are guarding their spending now more than ever. In order to compete, and sometimes even to stay in business, small businesses need to offer more than their competition. Consumers are forgoing personal services such as haircare, massage, even extracurricular activities for their children because they simply have less dollars to spend on non-essentials. Consider making a space in your business to accomodate and entertain smaller children, enabling families to skip the cost of childcare when they visit your place of business. Clear out a corner, put down some washable carpet squares and a safety gate. Add some safe toys, a dvd player, some video games and you have instantly added value to your business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Networking: Business vs Social

Business owners swear by the “good old boy” network.  That is, your best resource for business is a well-connected network.  It’s important to discern between social and business networking.  The two, while not necessarily mutually exclusive, are rarely the same, especially for younger business owners who are still socially bound to roommates, teammates and family members.   The folks in these networks are social connections and, unless you attended an Ivy League university with well-connected people, are rarely avenues to serious money.  Well-meaning friends can be the source of terrible business meetings and time-wasting, non-clients who can at best provide you with barter or small income opportunities.   (NOTE: Don’t underestimate the value of a good trade: I’ve traded services to have my house cleaned, my hair done and my house painted by some of the best in the business.)

What you are trying to find, every day, are business associates who may or may not become friends. Business associates are people in a decision-making position, have a budget and are serious about doing business. Social connections are people that are described as, “a real sweetheart” or “a good guy”.  Terms of endearment may be flags that people are social connections and not serious business prospects. It’s good to learn the difference so you can decide if you want to help someone out of the goodness of your heart. I assume that any time a friend has a friend who wants help that I wont be making any money. I’ll be doing a favor for a friend and having coffee with someone who might know or become someone with a real project.  

At the onset of any meeting, you should ask about budget.  Sit down with your coffee, smile broadly, and ask, “Do you have a budget for this project?”   It’s not rude to get down to business in a business meeting.  It’s a disaster to spend time and share ideas with someone and then be told that there’s little or no budget. 

It certainly isn’t a waste of time to meet new people, no matter what their circumstance, but remember the golden rule: to succeed in business you need to make sure that you are managing your time well and are always doing the most important thing you need to be doing.

Business Plan Basics

How to write a Business Plan

The following information is an excerpt from the SBA’s website. For more information and the complete article, please visit: http://www.sba.gov/starting/indexbusplans.html

What goes in a business plan? This is an excellent question. And, it is one that many new and potential small business owners should ask, but oftentimes don’t ask. The body of the business plan can be divided into four distinct sections: 1) the description of the business, 2) the marketing plan, 3) the financial management plan and 4) the management plan. Addenda to the business plan should include the executive summary, supporting documents and financial projections.

Elements of a Business Plan
1. Cover sheet
2. Statement of purpose
3. Table of contents

I. The Business
A. Description of business
B. Marketing
C. Competition
D. Operating procedures
E. Personnel
F. Business insurance
G. Financial data

II. Financial Data
A. Loan applications
B. Capital equipment and supply list
C. Balance sheet
D. Breakeven analysis
E. Pro-forma income projections (profit & loss statements)
Three-year summary
Detail by month, first year
Detail by quarters, second and third years
Assumptions upon which projections were based
F. Pro-forma cash flow
Follow guidelines for letter E.

III. Supporting Documents
Tax returns of principals for last three years
Personal financial statement (all banks have these forms)
In the case of a franchised business, a copy of franchise contract and all supporting documents provided by the franchisor
Copy of proposed lease or purchase agreement for building space
Copy of licenses and other legal documents
Copy of resumes of all principals
Copies of letters of intent from suppliers, etc.