Saturday, October 31, 2009

Learn the Power of Analytics - 1

Any business owner would understand or should know the importance of feedback. Businesses even pay some websites a small fortune to conduct case studies, get feedback from customers, shop anonymously and gather experience, etc

Why is feedback so important for any business?

A simple answer could be because it reveals what customer thinks about your products or image of your company in your customers mind.  More than that the feedback loop can discover some interesting facts of your business- particularly what's working and what's not.

Some of feedbacks are manual given by direct customers while others are something that your webservers collect in form of page visits, site referral, etc.

Ideally people don't have time and it's often difficult to get feedback from them. How to have them take time out their busy schedule is often a challenge and perhaps you can employ some tactic to get their feedback, like
- Promise a free report for their feedback
- Let them know how many questions or how much time it would take to complete feedback
- Outsource work to survey sites

This specially is very helpful and achievable when you have some customers using product. What best way to hear first hand from customers on what needs to be improved on product. Except of some industries like technology, almost everywhere your customers know what they want.

The other form of intelligence gathering is what your website server logs. You see, your webserver maintains a log of who all has visited your it's potentially gold mine for finding which demographics of your site visitor- whether they belong to particular age groups, socio-economic background or may come from specific country.

But there is a problem. The server log file is just too much of data in a format that's just not very intelligible to humans. It will consume a lot of your time to just try to make any sense out of it.

This is where you will need Web Analytics...special programs that may either use Server logs files or ask you to install special scripts on server and they then track every visitor movement to your website.

In next article of this series "Learn the Power of Analytics",  I will discuss various free and paid softwares available in market for web analytics. And I will show a video on how to use them as well.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Use Web-related Forums to Research Market

I bet you would always be interested to know what's on your customer's mind. Every successful internet business owner will think so.

There is a quick and easy way of finding this out. 


Join any of the web forums related to your topic. For e.g. you are a web host provider and want to know what your prospects would really like to find while looking for web host space. So go and join forums like"

And look for some discussion around, you will find threads that someone might have started what they look for in web host provider. here's your lead...listen them and incorporate that in your web host service. 

You can pretty much find forums for any topic, just google "your topic" forum.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Convert Excel file- XLSX to XLS

MS is notorious for coming with new file formats with each new version. If you only have Excel 2003 but have to work with a Excel 2007 (.xlsx) format, there is a nice utility available from Microsoft.

This utility called Office Compatibility pack is a 27MB package that let's you Open, Edit and Save all types of Excel 2007, Word 2007 and PowerPoint 2007 format files in your Office 2003 package.

Download Office Compatibility Package here.

Beware that if a 2007 file has 2007 specific feature, then it will not work in your office 2007.

Lost My Work in MS Word- Use Auto-Save Feature!

Hi Guys, I just had a major disaster, the latest ebook I was working on my MS Word 2003 just crashed and I lost all my changes :( Fortunately I had a back up copy but I lost all the new additions I had taken 2 hours to add. Bas****. Sorry for my insults, but I am just so furious right now.

I just wanted to let you take some lessons out my accident. Somehow the Auto-Save feature just didn't work, gosh what happened to MS. But anyways, it will take while to recover myself. I noticed the default Auto-Save is set to 10 minutes.I would recommend you to reduce it to something like 3-5 min...depending on how fast you type. You may not want to set it to anything lower, lest Word will keep the disks busy every now and then and on systems with low resources, it may just make a very slow experience for the other applications.

To modify the Auto-Save feature, go to Tools -> Options -> "Save" tab. Here you can change the period when Word will attempt to auto save your word docs. You can do save with Excel and PowerPoint as well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Securify Your Website with Trust-Guard Seal...Get a FREE Scan!

What the heck a security word doing on a marketing website?

Have you ever thought from a customer's perspective while they buy products or services from your website online shopping cart? Or better how did you feel while buying from some website which doesn't have some kind of security seal to it? Un-Comfortable...isn't it?

Security in their transactions and feeling that their credit card details are not compromised is the major concern and fear in minds of your customers. Often a lack of any security hallmark is enough for customers to abandon the shopping cart, meaning customers never hit the 'Check Out' button.

So here's your marketing gimmick...I am not trying to insult the word but this is an another opportunity for you to build confidence with your customers by securing each transaction on your website. If people feel safe in entering their credit card details on your check out box, then your sales will always increase and you can always brag rightly on how secure is your website in comparison to your competitors.

Multiple services from different security organisation has revealed customers always look forsome kind of security seal on ecommerce websites.

So if your website doesn't currently have any kind of security seal rest assured you are losing business!

Scott Brandley of Trust Guard Seal recently told me his company is launching a FREE PCI Scanning service online that would scan any number of your submitted websites and check against potentially 30,000 different types of vulnerabilities!

It doesn't hurt to check all your websites with this free PCI wouldn't take more than 1 minute. You just need to enter your website address to be scanned and an email id where the report should be sent.

Take me to Free PCI Scanning (normally $47 value, but FREE for now).

You can read Success Stories of all the business owners who have experienced increased business after they placed a Security Seal on their websites!

Think about this as an investment, your increased conversions (i.e. sales) will outdo your cost. Try this ROI calculator to see returns for yourself.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Copy Successfull Internet Marketers

Hi, one of the most important and easy way to achieve success is to copy other successfull Internet Marketers. This tip is just few sentence, but it's the most important thing you can do. Subscribe to their newsletters, be their customer, watch what they they communicate and then replicate that with your newsletters. Easy, isn't it? It doesn't involve brainstorming new marketing blitzkreigs, but it does involve spending some time to learn the tricks. Create a new email and use it for all your Internet marketing related subscriptions.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Power of Social Networking Websites

Social networking websites are the new rage today. There is no one untouched or not currently using any of the Social networking websites- Facebook, Orkut, Tweeter, etc. Some are used for personal while some websites like LinkedIn are used specifically for professional purposes.

How can you derive some mileage (read: website visitors) from these social networking websites?

There are so many social networking websites active today, each catering to varying interest. Now I don't say it's possible for anyone to register on each website, but may be you could start with a few.

How to use them?

Create an account with any of the social networking website. In the account profile, describe your product or service with a link to product website. You can use these channels to reach your customers.

For e.g. you can use Twitter account to broadcast short chunks of updates of your products. It's like having your own mini newsletter. Here's a course that specifically describes money making techniques with Twitter alone. 

I will probably expand more on major social sites in a their own separate post. For now, you can enjoy free videos from on how to make money from Twitter. It offers you 8 videos for mere 16bucks. But if you follow this link and close the browser without signing in, you will be offered first 6 videos absolutely FREE.

Build a FAQ

In course of your net-presence, your customers will come up with various queries, issues about the products or services offer you. Compiling all such queries and best answers can prove a time-saver for you as well as your customers. Getting instant answers to their questions can always make a positive impression on customer's mind. Besides, FAQ can also be indexed by the search engines giving you some extra visitors.

You can try some readymade software packages to automate your FAQ building, instead of trying to maintain interlinked webpages.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Starting Your Own Newsletter

All successfull businesses today use the power of Newsletter to reach both new prospects as well as maintain relationship with existing customers. A simple web capture form is used to capture email id and may be a name of the prospect. A auto-responder then takes care of sending automated email messages once your site user provides his email id.


Always give your contact details, an email id or phone no and even your business address. Now most people start out an Internet business from home and may be uncomfortable letting their home address. In my experience it wouldn't matter much even if you don't give your address. This of course varies based on nature of your business. If you are in business of providing information business (ebooks, audio, etc) which can be delivered via internet, then people most of time will directly get in touch with you over the phone or email. Besides, a home address makes people feel they are not dealing with a professional business.

Give an option to user to un-subscribe from your newsletter. I have personally felt frustated on not being able to locate the un-subscribe link on some newsletters I don't know when I subscribed. And this strategy backfires as well, because people are eventually going to find out how to un-subscribe and they will think you are dodgy and never come back.

Keep your newsletters short and concise- people don't like to read long emails. Or if you have to, break it down in various sections and put a full version online for their perusal.

Expanding above, it's always good to also maintain your newsletter emails somewhere on your website. This way your customers can always refer back and it sort of becomes a library.

Always let user know what they can expect in your newsletter and indicative frequency. You can also let them view samples of past newsletters before they subscribe.

Give them a choice to receive text or html newsletter. There are still users who doesn't have a system capable of reading html, and some users just like plain content than any flashy images. So to reach maximum audience, create two versions of it.


Never send out newsletter with sole purpose of advertising your product on-the-face. Nobody likes to be directly sold. Instead write an informative article describing the problem your product solves and then leave a link to your product page.

Do a spell check before you send newsletter, check if you have put subject line, your facts are accurate and what you write in general makes sense.

Always send newsletter inline with frequency, if you said it will be monthly, don't start sending daily ones.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Use Your Login, Logout, Confirmation, Thank You page

You wouldn't realize your website has many more places than the usual banner in the top and side-space, where you can promote your products.

These are
- Login page: normally most websites I have seen, has a single page dedicated to a login box which comprise of userid and password and occasional 'Forgot password' link. You can utilise the free space to put an ad for your products. May be it's best to give more info on 'site membership' and entice user to login or create a free account to know more.

- Logout: again with this, usually a logout always redirect user to the home page, or worse no page at all. You could potentially display your product info in an intermediate page while user is transitioning to some other page.

- Confirmation page: this can be displayed on various occassions. May be user has signed up for your newsletter, or something else. Again good way to reach your customers.

- Thank you pages: classic place that must be utilized. It could be customer has just bought one of your product and here's a golden opportunity to upsell a higher version of the product for little extra cost or simply cross sell other products.

Top 15 Ways to Build Your Subscriber List

Further to my post "Start Your Own List", below you will find several list-building ideas that will help you make the most of your email marketing efforts:

1.Provide useful, relevant and unique content. Your visitors will not give you their email addresses just because they can subscribe to your newsletter free of charge. You have to provide unique and valuable information that will be useful to your subscribers.

2.Add a subscription form to every page of your website. Make sure it stands out so it is easy to find. If appropriate, you can also include it in more than one place. For instance, your opt-in form might always appear in the top-left corner of your site, while you also include an opt-in at the bottom of some of your popular articles.

3.Make it easy for your reader to sign up. The more information you request, the fewer people will opt-in. In most cases, a name and an email address should suffice. If it's not necessary, don't include it here. (Note: If you don't have a Privacy Policy, put the words "privacy policy generator" into a search engine and you should be able to find a suitable form for your readers to review.

4.Publish a Privacy Policy. Let your readers know that they can be confident you will not share their information with others. The easiest way to do this is to set up a Privacy Policy web page and provide the link to it below your opt-in form.

5.Show your first issue or other sample to your visitors. This lets potential subscribers review your newsletter before they sign up to determine if it is something they'd be interested in.

6.Archive past newsletter issues. A "library" of past newsletters is both appealing and useful to visitors and builds your credibility as an authority. In addition, if your articles are written with good SEO techniques in mind, they can send additional traffic to your web site through good search engine positioning.

7.Contact other newsletter publishers. Introduce yourself and explore ways you may be able to help each other. Perhaps you can introduce other publisher's newsletters or print articles they have written to your list, with a link to sign up. When you contact them, be sure to tell them why you think THEIR readers would like what you have to offer and why YOUR readers would benefit from their newsletters. This is a win-win scenario; both of you will build your lists faster!

8.Give away bonuses subscribers can use. Create an opt-in bonus for joining your subscriber list. You can write an ebook or PDF report, or even hire a programmer to create downloadable or web-based software. But don't limit yourself to only a gift for new opt-ins. Remind your readers that the next bonus is coming soon. People hate to miss out on things. If you systematically pass on "goodies" throughout the year, your subscribers are unlikely to leave.

9.Ask your subscribers to pass it on. Word of mouth is a powerful viral technique that works great with email marketing. If your subscribers find the content you share with them to be informative, they will pass your newsletter on to their friends. This can be a good source of new subscribers.

10.Let others reprint your newsletter as long as the content is not modified. Many webmasters and newsletter publishers are actively looking for high-quality content and, if they reprint your newsletter, you will get new subscribers, traffic and links pointing to your site.

11.Include a "Sign Up" button in the newsletter. If you are using plain text instead of HTML, provide a text link to your subscription page. You may feel that this is not required because the subscriber is already on your list, but remember that readers will forward your newsletters to others, or reprint it online. You want to make it easy for them to subscribe.

12.Add a squeeze page. A squeeze page has one goal − to get an opt-in and build your list. Think of it like a mini-sales letter for your subscription or opt-in bonus. It features a powerful headline and a couple of very important benefits that should make subscribers salivate to sign up to your list. Once created, use a service such as WordTracker to find hundreds of targeted keywords, and advertise there using pay-per-click advertising from Google, MSN and Yahoo.

13.Include testimonials on your squeeze page. This is crucial. Put 1 or 2 strong testimonials from satisfied subscribers on your squeeze page. This can be in any format, but you may find that multimedia (audio or video social proof) is more "believable". To increase that believability, include full names, locations and/or urls; don't use "Bob K, FL" as a testimonial name.

14.Blog religiously. Blogging is a great way to communicate with your potential customers, and it creates a nice synergy with your email marketing. Be sure to include your newsletter sign-up form on each page of your blog. You can start a free blog at Blogger or Wordpress.

15.Post on other blogs. Post great comments and information on similar blogs with a link to your squeeze or opt-in page. Also comment on others' blogs through trackbacks. In most cases, your comments will be posted on their blogs with a link back to your site. This is an easy way to generate new traffic and subscribers.

Lastly, you can get started with a free account GetResponse that lets you create a Web form to capture Emails and Create Targetted Marketing messages to subscribers.

Promote With Your Signature

How many emails do you send out daily? For both personal and official reasons. I hope a quite a few. Email offers you a potent medium to spread your products- letting maximum audience get to know your product and then converting that initial interest to sale.

Use your email signatures. You can put
- Product info
- Affiliate link
- Your Intro

Now whenever someone reads your email, they will also see your product description or whatever you might have put in email signature. Hope you get the idea.

You can easily find instructions on google or your email client how to add email signature.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Start Your Own List

Most websites now use a simple email address capture form for interested readers to subscribe to some form of newsletter or site update. Whether you send that Newsletter daily/ weekly or monthly or whatever frequency is up to you.

But I just wanted to make you understand how important it is for you to capture your reader's email adresses. I am not talking spamming, but legitimate means to reach your readers outside your blog or website.

Think about it, your readers read your blogs or articles and once they are off, you have no way of connecting to them again! Unless they come to your site again. What if you have some new products that is related to your overall theme and could prove very useful to your readers.

Welcome to the world of online list building. People also call it as Cash Registers, because having a focused interested list of people following you is an relatively easy target for selling more products (then approaching totally new customers). This is because of two reasons- the reader liked your articles/ content and trust that your opinion/ views presented on the site are honest. So whatever product you will suggest, readers will ofcourse trust them as well. That's the power of list.

Let me take an example. Let's say your site gives information on Online Money Making tips (something like this blog). You also promote some products (may be an ebook / course) that are relevant to your overall money making opportunities.

It receives unique visitors- 100 per month and out of them, 5 people buy some product of 20$ each (your profit 5*20 = 100$). If you didn't have a list that's your max profit.

You don't know who visited your website and you don't have a contact to followup. If you had asked your readers to subscribe, you would have easily followed up with them to understand their queries, and answered all their doubts regarding products. See, this means extra profit!

Now comes the question of how do I implement this...a web form that can capture your readers' email adress and may be a name. You should perhaps not really try to capture any more detail than this. Why? Because people feel offensive to be asked their email addresses. Online world is begot with spammers and it's a risk for anyone to just give theitr email address to someone. How would you feel about it? So forget something like phone no.

You could coax people to give their phone numbers as well, if you could promise them some free report and something significant for them to let go their phone no. Otherwise, don't even try.

Second point, be sure you always have a privacy policy...or may be even a simple statement like 'We respect your privacy and will in no way share/ sell email ids'.

Now comes the form that will capture your reader's email ids.

There are many services that allow you to capture this, both free and paid. I suggest to start with, start with a free account at (you can watch a free tour)

Just follow their instructions on how to create a web form, it generates a html/ javascript code which you merely needs to inject somewhere in your website html code. Overall it takes approx 10 minutes to set up your form and see your list growing.

Add Your Business to Google Maps

Google Maps has now become mainstreams way of locating places of interest on the web. And they are very accurate too.

If you own a business, having a spot on Google Maps locating your business can often mean more prospects to your business. Often, people often search Maps for local business, e.g. Restaurants to find restaurants near their places. Common car GPS navigation systems also tend to use Maps and have a feature to find local businesses.

I would defnitely recommend you to list your business on the Google Maps. Just think for now, your 5 minutes now can perhaps give you lifetime worth's customer.

Just an example, I own a domain hosting company - that provides all types of domain hosting needs. If some user would had to search for 'Internet Domains' in my city, my business is listed second. Isn't it powerful way to even capture your in-city prospects and letting them know you are at service!

Adding your business info is a 5 minutes job that is followed by a phone, letter verification by Google Maps that ensure you are a genuine business. Click Google Maps