I recently wrote about having your own social network and the benefits it can bring.
Most people I speak to feel as though this is out of their depth. (It isn't but they simply feel it is.)
So let's just look at a very trimmed down version of what I mean.
Here's the situation with most websites.
The site sells something and the site owner tells everyone how good their products and services are.
(Nothing wrong with that)
A few canny marketers even include some choice, specific testimonials.
That's always a good idea too.
But that's where it stops, which is a shame.
Think about the last time you a purchase. Let's say you were looking to book a holiday.
Did you just buy it or did you look around and see what other people were saying about the hotel or the resort or the airline or whatever?
It's one of the reasons sites like tripadvisor.com are so valuable.
It's why Ebay's feedback system is so valuable.
It's why Google invented the Page Rank System.(Inbound links are treated like 'votes')
Can people leave feedback on YOUR website? Can people see that their questions that they've posted have been answered and that you care about customer comments?
In my humble opinion, it's not simply the amount of good feedback that's important, it's vital that
you show people how you handle criticisms as well.
As an aside, psychologically speaking, people are a LOT more likely to return to a site that they have interacted with in some way.
How can you set this up?
Well, there's loads of feedback ratings and blogs and forums systems around, whether they hosted by you or indeed anyone else. Anyone who is an MKLINK Private Training Member for example has access to all these :-)
Loads of these scripts are free. Recently I've changed over to using the wordpress blog software and
it's got vast optional features & plug ins. (I need to invest a lot of time on mine because it's only recently been changed over but I know it's time well spent.)
Whichever system you use, enable people to leave their comments and suggestions on your website.
The search engines will love it as well. When your site has loads of good information that people can comment on, you will also get more inbound links from other people and then it snowballs...
It's easy to set up your listing and you simply renew it each month.
(In some circumstances e.g. if you're selling cars then there is a small fee)
There's No Auction
With these classified ads, you simply list your products or services at the full price that you want to be paid. There's no bidding as such.
And for services, you can list your prices in various ways, either by the cost of a job or your hourly rate.
A lot of people list their services with a low introductory price to get more leads and make their money at the 'back end'.
Given that Ebay gets so much traffic and classified ads can appear when people are searching then it makes sense to list your services because there's no overhead - apart from an initial few minutes of your time listing your services.
Some people I've spoke to are doing very well with their Ebay Classified Ads it so I just thought I'd share this with you.
Having spoken to a few people recently specifically about SEO, I noticed that quite a few of them were making the same mistake - so I thought I'd share the right way of doing it with you.
If your read my last email about segregating your emails, you know it's important to target your emails to whichever demograph your aiming for. "One size fits all" doesn't usually do as well as targetted emails. And it's easy to do it with a decent autoresponder and a little thought.
But loads of people chuck up all their website content up in the same way - i.e. non segregated.
If you run a sports shop, you shouldn't have all your stuff on one page or in ill-defined categories.
You should sort your website into clearly defined sections - each with a logical hierarchy.
Each section should have text anchor links to sub sections within it.
So, let's say you run a sporting goods website.
You'd have your main navigation typically down the left hand side with all the types of sporting equipment that you sell.
Let's look at the fishing equipment section. This can be divided into sea fishing, coarse fishing and game fishing. The coarse fishing section can have a carp fishing section.
The carp fishing section can include carp rods, carp bait, carp hooks etc.
Now, you might be thinking this is onerous. Perhaps it is but look at it this way.
Let's say that someone is looking for a carp rod to buy their son. And there's two websites of similar age, content and Google Ranking.
One one site, the owner 'A' has simply creating a section called "Fishing Rods" and within this section he has boat fishing rods, sea rods, pike rods, roach poles - you name it. The RELEVANCE for the key phrase carp rods is DILUTED.
Now, let's look at person 'B'. His carp rods are in the 'Carp Rods' section above as described, within the carp fishing section, within the coarse section. All the section contains is information about carp rods. Beautiful!
As far as Goggle is concerned, it has a higher relevancy and so will (hopefully!) get better rankings.
Not only that, someone interested in carp rods doesn't necessarily want to see a confusing page all about other types of fishing rods - so the conversion rate for website owner 'B' will be better as well.
Another thing to remember is that it's important to make the effort to optimise each page, section and each subsequent sub section individually, in terms of what that section is about.
That of course means page names, titles, meta tags - the whole lot. It's so lazy and a wasted opportunity to simply have the exact same meta-tags etc on each page within a section.
Some people have the same page titles and tags all throughout the site - criminal!
So remember - Divide(properly) and rule!
Reminder - your Last Chance Re Tomorrow(Wednesday 26t at 3pm)
"How to Double Your Business over Christmas"
You'll already know by know how much value I put on regular email contact with all my members and potential members. I think it's really important to help people on a regular basis by providing great tips and advice, in the hope people will join my private members' club or even one of my web consultancy courses.
But sending out emails is just the half of it. To be most effective and get the highest response rate, you need to personalise your emails as much as possible and that involves segmentation.
This can be as involved as you like and I'm certainly learning and improving all the time but let me give you a few ideas as to where and how to personalise/segment your emails.
Firstly, call people by their name, especially in the subject of the email. That's a no-brainer! Then you need to split up who's already bought from you against those that are still "prospects" as it can be off-putting to existing customers to be treated as if they've never bought from you. And yes, I'm guilty of this as well and if you're an existing client - sorry ;-)
If you can, take this a degree further by splitting up your emails by department. So, if you run a sports shop and someone has bought weight lifting equipment from you, they'll likely be looking for different bargains and advice than someone who's bought a dartboard!
By the way, it is insane to ignore people that have already bought from you. You should always send a few, sequenced emails reassuring them of their decision and offer thanks and product-specific support.
Naturally, someone that has bought a car from you will want to be treated differently to someone that has bought some packaging materials and also the frequency of the emails should be considered as well. People are likely to buy more packaging materials on a regular basis for example.
In either case, your emails should always be informative, not just a sales message!
Now, I appreciate that what I'm about to say will largely depend on how good your CRM(customer relationship management) is, but if you want to be really cute, you should further divide your emails into :
How they came to signup.(Did they use the search engines to find you and download information about weightlifting equipment from you, or did they join our newsletter after a friend recommended them on their mailing list which caters for discount sporting goods?)
Location. A car buyer in Huddersfield will be a lot more interested in an offer about a new showroom opening locally than in say, Luton.
And Lastly - demographics. Yep, that means age, gender, marital status, race - you name it.
Basically, what I'm saying is that if you have a decent list(and if you don't - start making one!) then just like I keep preaching about having multiple streams of niche traffic with regards to search traffic, you should have multiple streams of niche email open rates.
Conversely, try and make your email signup forms specific, rather than 'general' as well, for better signup conversion.
Using the example from earlier, A weightlifter would far prefer to join a mailing list offering "101 Weightlifting Tips" than "101 Sporting Tips".
Don't put people off!
I was running a seminar recently and the subject came up about Skype, the company that Ebay bought for loads of money not so long back.
And then it hit me that not everyone realised the reason they did it or indeed the power of the whole concept.
As you know, Ebay gets paid every time a seller either lists an item and then it gets paid even more when a sale is made. So it's really in their interest that sales are made!
They knew that if people can communicate with one another, then this would help sales to be made and consequently increase their profits.
So they bought Skype - the company that facilitates free calls over the internet.
This means that buyers and sellers could now communicate all over the world, in real time and with video as well if they like, enabling them to sell and buy more. Brilliant move!
Skype also means that people can contact your business, free of charge, if you let them.
But get this : Even if you don't sell all over the world, lots more people can and would contact you if you have Skype, not only because it's free but because it can be convenient and anonymous as well. Not everyone wants people calling them!
But, surprisingly, even if you completely ignore Skype and have a freephone number on your website, you'll still be putting alot of people off.
Specifically, people that are abroad or people that use mobile phones. And that includes using local rate numbers as well.
Think about how many people use mobile phones these days and most of the time, they have to pay to call a freephone number or local rate - don't ask me why but it's maddening!
So, here's an idea.
Put your freephone number on your website - next to your normal number - next to your Skype ID as well. Zero overhead and more enquiries and sales. Great move!
And please, if you have an 0870 type number, just get rid of it. If you don't believe me, there's a site called "saynoto0870.com" which loads of people use, proving that these types of phone numbers are universally hated.
Of course, there's other ways people can hear you(if not speak to you) as well.