Many people don’t realize how long some of the most recognizable businesses have been around for. Moviefone has been around regionally since 1989 even though many people may only know it form its online presence (or Seinfeld syndication). Many people also are only now becoming aware of 1-800-DENTIST with its online presence even though the company has been in existence since 1986!
For those still not in the know, 1-800-DENTIST was founded by a couple of guys in Los Angeles in 1986. Company co-founder Fred Joyal had a background in advertising and was pretty adept at writing ad copy. One of his contemporaries had the rights to this crazy phone number, so they decided what the heck! With a $30,000 birthing allowance, 18 partner dentists in the Los Angeles area, and Fred Joyal’s advertising experience they were off to the races. What began in Los Angeles on a microscopic budget and a single radio station has blossomed into one of the most recognizable brands in the nation.
What is 1-800-DENTIST: Okay so you’ve heard their radio ads, you’ve seen them on TV, you’ve heard people talk about them, you may have even uttered the phrase yourself (“1-800-DENTIST”) but what are they? Well 1-800-DENTIST is a 24 hour a day, 365 day a year phone service which operates on two floors in the very posh Los Angeles Howard Hughes Corporate Park. Folks from all over the country can call in and query the 1-800-DENTIST operators for questions about who to go to for braces, broken teeth, implants, dentures, crowns, whitening, extraction, veneers, cosmetic dentistry, or just general cleanings and exams, based off of the 1-800-DENTIST registry for both approved and area dentists.
How Much Does 1-800-DENTIST Cost? For the consumer, the service is free! 1-800-DENTIST has free operators available to take your calls any day, any time. 1-800-DENTIST also has grown in recent years and today has an impressive and always growing online presence. At 1-800-DENTIST.com folks can learn more about where to find dentists in your area, read real customers comments, research your dental problem, learn about dental care for your children, or you can even click-to-talk with one of 1-800-DENTISTS trained staff who can help to guide you to the right dentist for your situation.
Fads come and go but a business like 1-800-DENTIST seems poised to capture a larger and larger market share. Until dentists themselves get on the air and begin blogging or tweeting about their services and their specialties, you’re just not going to hear from them. Dentistry is maybe one of the less advertised specialties akin with cosmetic procedures or carpenters. You won’t find a tummy tuck with 1-800-DENTIST but you will have access to the largest database of dental specific information anywhere else in America.READ MORE
Having a newsletter is an excellent way to keep in touch with your opt in email list. A call out to ask your readers to subscribe to email list is a great strategy. Newsletters can be published daily, weekly, or monthly and can include any type of information. The problem comes, however, when you just cannot come up with anything else to say in your newsletter, or if you cannot stick to the publishing schedule.
If you want to keep in touch with customers or clients, but do not have the time and energy to create a customer newsletter every week, there are five great options to help you.
Create an E-Course
An e-course, or e-tutorial, is a series of informative emails that are sent through an auto responder service. You can write the stages of the e-course beforehand and then just set up the program to send them over a set period of time. You can send out the lessons once per week, or once per month, until they are all sent.
Of course, once the entire series of lessons has been sent to your opt in subscriber, there will be no more contact with them. You can include at the end of the e-course an invitation to another one, or to another newsletter option.
Use a Forum or Message Board
A membership forum or message board can be a great way to keep in touch with those who sign up. Not only can customers or clients talk amongst themselves about the business or products, but you can come by weekly and post an update for all of them to read.
This method of keeping in touch with your interested website visitors is slightly more time intensive than an e-course. A forum requires someone to moderate it and make sure that the members are not posting things that are against the rules.
If you do not want to worry about that, you can make the message board closed to new posts or discussions, and just use it as an announcement board.
Get a Blog
Business blogs are becoming very popular ways of keeping in touch with interested website customers or visitors. While your website may have static content, a blog can be constantly updated to include any new products or information. Unlike a newsletter, however, you do not have to update a blog on a regular basis. A simple announcement at the top of your website telling when you have posted a new blog post will suffice.
Keeping in touch with your clients and customers is an important thing to do if you want to have a successful internet business. Having a newsletter is one of the most popular ways of doing so. However, if the time constraints or need for constantly new content are impossible to deal with, there are a few other great options.READ MORE
If you are like most people, you like to do reviews of the merchandise you are considering buying. I am going to list several sites that are able to assist you so that you do not spend all day in front of the computer, just to walk away exasperated and upset with no information that helps you to reach your final decision. A few of the sites that I am going to list do act as merchants as well, however they have a large database of reviews on their sites, which I feel earns this a spot on this list. You are always free to purchase your item from another site, or even somewhere in your local area, the choice is yours.
Site #1 – Newegg.com
This is an online merchant who aside from offering great deals also has reviews from customers and those who purchased the item from somewhere else. They have been very helpful to me in looking at the products that they have. Biggest drawback here is, if newegg does not sell the item, it is not in their database. While that is a disadvantage, it can reduce the amount of time you are spending searching for the correct product as well.
Site #2 – Amazon.com
Once again another online merchant, however if Amazon.com does not have it listed in their database I must wonder if the item does exist. They have an enormous collection of reviews covering almost everything imaginable. Once again, you are free to purchase from them or someone else, however their reviews are almost always helpful.
Site #3 – Yahoo! Shopping
This is going to be a bit confusing if you are not careful; their reviews tend to be heavily saturated with different companies pushing their business. Choose a merchant carefully if you select one you find this way, however the reviews are fairly good. They seem to run consistent with the reviews I have found on other sites.
Site #4 – ConsumerReview.com
This is a site that is strictly devoted to consumer reviews. Search the database for the item you are looking for, as well as you can submit your own review. This site also offers several specialized websites that break their large database down a bit into different categories, which is meant to help reduce the time you spent searching.
Site #5 – ConsumerReports.org
This is the online version of the popular magazine Consumer Reports. They offer reviews from everything imaginable in the house, and outside. Massive library of reviews available here to search.
Site #6 – ComsumerSearch.com
While this is another review site, they only feature reviews written by professionals. While a professional opinion can be helpful, I personally prefer a review by someone who has used the item I am researching in their normal daily lives as I will be doing. This to me seems to be a better method; however, some experts are better judges of equipment than the normal consumer. The choice is yours on which type of review you prefer.
Site #7 – Epinions.com
Once again another online review site, this site links the product manufacture’s website to the review, as well as a picture of the item, so you can make sure that you are looking at the exact item you are looking for.
Site #8 – RateItAll.com
Another consumer review site that offers reviews on almost anything you can imagine. The reviews are not as good quality wise as some other sites, but they are still helpful in confirming any ideas or thoughts you have about property.
Of course, once you are about sure you want to purchase a specific product, you can always check the merchant’s website as well for a brief last minute review search. Most offer small review databases, and are quite simple to check. Remember to always review the product thoroughly before you make any purchases, so that you are happy with the item.READ MORE
If there’s one thing that every website owner wants, it’s more traffic. But how do you drive more traffic to your website without resorting to traditional paid marketing methods? Luckily, many methods have been created over the years to do just that: spawn an endless flood of traffic to your website absolutely free.
This article will share five of the most common, proven and effective methods to create free website traffic.
Method #1: Blogging
Blogging is much like a normal website but many additional benefits such as plugins that help increase your search engine ranking, interactivity and the flexibility to become whatever you need it to be. Each day, write a piece of content for your blog this way you’ll have another page indexed on search engines and another reason to share content with the web – the backbone of driving traffic.
Method #2: Video production
Video is a phenomenon that has taken the world by storm; did you know that you can create your own set of videos for less than $100 these days? Try creating a set of videos related to your content, place your link in the description (or video) and set back as each day you gain additional chances to send traffic your way.
Method #3: Content submission
Content on your website will give a reason for people to come visit but if you want to build backlinks and create a strong web presence you’ll need to begin to submit your content on other websites. You can begin by writing articles for article directories, guest blog on other blogs, release a press release and many other methods – the point is to create content on other sites.
Method #4: Social media
Social media doesn’t have to stop at just talking to your friends and family; social media is actually one of the easiest ways to begin driving free traffic to your website. There are literally thousands of social media websites on the web; however, the main ones you should focus on should be Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and niche forums. As always, share great content and interact with users this way you give them additional incentive to click your links and visit your website.
Method 5: Email lists
Finally, every visitor that you drive to your website gives you the opportunity to make them stick and bring them back over and over again. One of the easiest (and best) ways to keep a person stick to your website is to offer them an incentive to subscribe to your list. Once on your email list, you can send them helpful information that drives them back to you website whenever another email goes out.READ MORE
Blog commenting is simple enough: fill in your details leave a comment and you’re done. But what if you want to use your comments as a way to help build backlinks and drive traffic to your website?
The following article will help you with exactly that; this is how you can build backlinks and traffic through blog commenting.
Method 1: CommentLuv blogs
First in this list is to comment on blogs with CommentLuv enabled.
CommentLuv is a Wordpress plug-in that allows a commenter to automatically leave a recent blog post of their own within the comment area. After you’ve placed your information, CommentLuv will scan your blog and display between 5 – 10 recent blog posts to leave. Adding a comment on CommentLuv enabled blogs can help you build a backlink and has a potential for traffic as other readers can click through and visit your comment.
Method 2: DoFollow blogs
For many years, blog used the NoFollow tag within their comments so link-juice wouldn’t be passed to the commenter’s blog. Now, helpful plugins and Wordpress tweaks have given blog owners the choice in DoFollow vs. NoFollow. On a DoFollow blog, simply leave a comment as you normally would and you’ll be awarded with a powerful backlink.
Method 3: Leave a very helpful comment
Hands down, the best way to drive traffic to your own website or blog is to leave a very, very helpful comment. Instead of just saying “nice post!” takes the time to read through and dig into the information, telling your own, asking questions or even disagreeing (but backing your own comment with facts). Those that find your comment helpful will want to know more that you have to offer, click through and visit your site.
Method 4: Reply to other comments
A sneaky (no-brainer) trick to building backlinks and traffic is to just reply to other comments. More often than not, only the blog owner will respond to other commenter’s – now you will be. By commenting on other comments, you’ll not only increase the total amount you have on the post but also build the potential for the other commenter to visit your site or build backlinks.
Method 5: Go for top commenter’s
Finally, a helpful Wordpress plugin that gives you the opportunity to build massive backlinks and traffic is the Top Commenter’s plugin. The Top Commenter’s plugin will display those that have commented on the blog the most. By being in the list, more-often-than-not, your link will be on every page of the blog and have a greater potential for clicks and traffic.READ MORE
Are you thinking that you would like to cash in on the millions of dollars that are changing hands on Ebay? But maybe you’re not sure what you should sell. Well then, let me tell you that yard sales may be a great resource.
Finding items to Sell on Ebay
I have had some good luck finding items to sell on Ebay. You’ll have to keep a few things in mind to help you succeed.
- Buyers on Ebay are looking for good deals or bargains
- You’ll have to pay listing and selling fees to Ebay
- You’ll need a digital camera
- Negotiate when purchasing at yard sales
- Do some research before purchasing if possible
What to Look For
I have found for myself that furniture and antiques that have had the best results on Ebay. That may only be what I gravitate toward. If you have something that you are an expert in, like a certain collectible, look for things of that nature. I am not an expert about furniture or antiques by any means. But I have found that charming or unique things tend to sell.
Don’t Expect Huge Profits
Look for items that will make you at least $25-30 when you list them for sale on Ebay. You may find something that sells for big money here and there, but the bulk of the items you find probably won’t be of that caliber.
I have found that furniture items which can be sold for under $100 or, even better, for under $50 will get the most attention.
Negotiating Your Purchase
When you have found some items to buy at a yard sale, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the seller. I often cut the tag price in half and see if my offer is accepted. You never know and you can always increase your offer. Remember, people who are holding garage sales are looking to get rid of their things and make a few dollars. Don’t be intimidated by the thought of negotiating. The worst that can happen is that the answer will be no.
Make a Package Deal
If you are lucky enough to find several things that you think you can sell on Ebay at one garage sale, offer to make a package deal. Chances are that you will get an even bigger bargain this way. The owner will be glad to have sold several things at once and will like hearing the large number that you are offering. The breakdown per item may have less relevance.
Bring Cash and Go Early or Late
Make sure that if you go to some yard sales that you are ready to purchase. You may have someone who is on the fence about taking your offer, but if you have the cash in front of them, they may be persuaded.
Try to get to yard sales early. Often the best things are gone right away. Antique dealers often do the same thing to try to find items to sell in their stores and they hit the pavement early.
Another great option is to go at the end of the sale. If there are items which haven’t sold and the garage sale is almost over, the owner will be much more motivated to make a deal with you. This is a great way to make a package deal. Offer to take several items off the owner’s hands at a low price. You can always negotiate up.
Look for Unusual Items
You may try to find unusual items at yard sales. However, don’t buy things that are so way out that no one will bid in them when you list them on Ebay. Look for things that are unique. When I first started looking for Ebay treasures at yard sales, I though silver tea sets would make a killing. What I found, however, was that there were many, many silver tea sets listed on Ebay and so they don’t really sell for much money.
As I mentioned, I have had great luck with older and charming furniture. I found a heavily carved sideboard which was not necessarily my taste. But I was pretty sure that its carving would make it attractive to an Ebay buyer. It was tagged at $250, already reduced from $350. I offered $100 and my offer was accepted. I listed it on Ebay at close to $200 with no results. The listing expired. So, since I really wanted to sell it, I relisted it at $150. I would be up getting several bids and it sold for $305. Wow.
To Ship or Not to Ship
You may or may not want to offer shipping on your items for sale. In the case of the above mentioned sideboard, I listed it as local pickup only. Turned out a woman who lived in California bought it and arranged the shipping herself.
If your items are small and easily packaged, you should probably offer shipping. The expense will be that of your buyer and you can include a small handling fee to cover your packaging expenses.
If you are selling large furniture items, you don’t have to offer shipping. However, you may want to put a line in your Ebay listing which says something like: Buyer is free to arrange for packing, shipping and insurance at his or her own expense.
Include Pictures in the Listing
Make sure that you take some pictures of the items that you will be listing on Ebay. A digital camera makes it very easy. Photos will get your items noticed by buyers and should help you sell your garage sale items.
Be Honest When Listing Items for Sale on Ebay
This is quite important. You’ll want to get positive feedback from your buyers. This way, future buyers will feel secure about purchasing from you. If there are imperfections on your garage sale items, make sure that you state them clearly. You can also offer to email more pictures to a buyer if requested.
Do Some Research
Before you go out and spend money on items to sell on Ebay, spend some time on the site. Get a feel for items that are selling. You may want you first few yard sale purchases to be items that you can use. This way, if they don’t sell, you are not stuck with something you hate.
Once you have made a purchase and you are ready to list an item for sale on Ebay, check around. The item might just be worth more than you think. Check similar items that are listed for sale on Ebay and see if they are getting bids. You can also do a Google search and see if you can find out anything else about your item. Look for markings, labels or stamps on the item itself. These markings may tell you about the item, when it was made and about its value.
It will take some time and effort to find items to sell on Ebay at garage or yard sales. However, if you do a little research and buy wisely, you may just find yourself making a few extra dollars.READ MORE
Organic SEO is a term thrown around by many online professionals and writers that may sound odd but in the simplest of explanations: organic SEO is naturally crafting your content, obtaining rankings and building an SEO-friendly website.
Because search engines are such a high driving factor in website traffic, organic search results are what many website owners aim for; the higher your website ranks for its keywords – the higher amount of traffic you’ll receive.
So what are the basics of organic SEO and how can you obtain high ranking results through its implementation? A colleague who has been an entrepreneur and into Atlanta SEO for years has given me these basic points about SEO:
#1: Keyword rich titles
One of the basics (and fundamental) “rule” of organic SEO is the proper creation of your title tag.
Your title tag is the first thing people see when searching for content within search engines. In order to rank high within these search results you must craft your title to include the main keywords related to each page of content.
#2: Keyword (and interesting) descriptions
Secondly, organic SEO doesn’t just need to be high rankings it needs to also increase your click through. A website with the number one ranking in search engines that doesn’t have an attractive description will often receive less traffic than lower ranked pages with better ones.
Create your description to tell what the reader can expect if they click through, include power words to peak their interest and be sure to use your keywords to rank well within organic SEO.
#3: Great content
A fundamental property of organic SEO is creating great content. Great content goes beyond touching on a simple idea – it digs deep and becomes a reference point for all those that have read it.
You will want to use your keywords throughout your content but always craft your content in a manner that people will enjoy reading and want to share. Create content that people don’t expect, wow them and give them a reason to tell their friends.
#4: Natural link building
Finally, as part of your organic SEO results you’ll want to build links naturally. Backlinks will help you rank higher within search engines as they indicate to search engine algorithms others love your content (by linking to it).
The easiest way, again, is to create great content but be sure to network with other influential website owners and even go to the extent to ask for a link back to your content.
Natural backlinks will take some time but if you have patience and wait for them to roll in while building up your website you won’t harm your rankings with deceptive link building; you’ll become a master of organic SEO.READ MORE
In order to create a comprehensive marketing plan, you need to incorporate certain key elements. Once you have determined your goals and objectives, you then develop strategies to achieve them. Having done this, you can assign responsibility and set time lines for tasks to be completed. The next step of the process is setting and allocating a budget.This allows you to align your financial resources with your overall plan.
There are several ways to determine an appropriate budget that provides a cost effective way to market your business. One way is to allocate a certain percent of your sales towards your media and promotional plan. This method allows for increased spending as your overall sales volume grows. As long as there is profitable sales growth, this approach makes sense. Another way is to institute a “cents per unit sold” budget. For example, if you sell 100,000 boxes of product, and you allocate .10 per box, you would have a $10,000 marketing budget. If you have a set margin per unit, this is a good approach to use. For smaller companies another way to determine a budget is to use a monthly figure based on available cash flow. This will give you better control of your spending, however you must still allocate enough money to support the marketing effort. Whatever method you use to set the budget, it is important that you allocate a realistic amount that enables proper execution of the plan’s strategies.
Once you have a total budget, you need to determine how much is going to be spent on media (i.e. print, radio, direct mail) and how much on promotion (i.e. samplings, special events, customer entertainment). This will largely depend on the particular business you are in. The main idea is to develop a mix that allows you to allocate resources for the activities that will be most effective in growing your sales. Understanding your product and the marketplace you compete in will make this process easier to implement.
An important part of the budget process, is to build in ways to maximize the money spent. If you are buying radio, negotiate additional promotional value that ties your product or service into their on-air activities. Form “trade for mention” opportunities with all your media partners. Develop cross promotional programs with complimentary products and services. There are numerous ways to leverage the money you currently spend. By doing this on a consistent basis you will stretch your marketing dollars.
Setting and properly allocating a budget gives you the best chance to utilize the financial resources you have to grow your business. While this process will take some time and effort, it will provide a solid return on your investment.READ MORE
Just because your company is working to get the word out about your fabulous products or services in a creative and contagious way, doesn’t mean unsubstantiated claims and dishonest marketing should be part of your advertising efforts. Making claims you cannot support or untrue statements in your marketing will eventually hurt your company in a major way in the long run.
Sometimes, when you are working to be creative, original, and even outrageous in your business’ marketing campaigns, the line between fact and fiction can get a bit blurred. Originality and outrageousness can be really great elements in buzz-worthy and contagiously affective advertising – but make sure you are not making any statements about your product – what it can do, how much it costs, etc. – or your services to the customer that you cannot back up and support. The old adage is true – bad news travels much faster than good news does. And, the negative publicity generated from untruths will kill your customer trust, not to mention your sales may be dead before they ever get off the ground.
In addition to creating an advertising message that is simple, clear and accessible – you’re also trying to tell customers and potential customers a “story” about your company, your product and/or your services. This “story” needs to be true and accurate. As word spreads and customers talk about your company, information is likely to get distorted naturally (think of the natural course of gossip, or that old child’s game of “telephone.”) If you at least start the flow of information with accurate, truthful claims – you might be able to influence positive chatter. Untrue or unsupported claims in your advertising can really get blown out of proportion through the natural course of word-of-mouth and come back to haunt you.
Before using any marketing or advertising campaign or sending forth a message about your company, products, or services – put it to the truth test. Ask yourself if your company can back up and support every claim you’re making and the product will hold up to the scrutiny of a literal interpretation of the marketing materials. Don’t claim your product will do something it won’t or that your company is offering something that can’t be guaranteed. Keeping your message honest and above board will contribute to building customer trust and loyalty and make your long-term marketing efforts easier.READ MORE
If you have been in business for any length of time, you should have customers buying from you. If you are a businessman or woman, here are the absolute best for ways to make the most of what you have.
#1 – Learn about your customers
Learn as much as you absolutely can. Now I’m not just talking about getting to know their names and addresses, but also having an understanding of what it is that they want. If you are in a retail business for example, you should be able to add a service to the existing business that you have. Adding a new service can generate tons of extra revenue for your business, but this is something you have to creatively think about. Try thinking outside of the box with this one.
#2 – Try Newsletters or mailing list
Once you’ve gathered information from your clients, you may want to put them on an informational newsletter or mailing list about the new services or products that your business is going to offer. But also keep in mind people don’t just want to hear about how truly great your business is. They want to know exactly how you can help them. They want to know how they will benefit from your business, or from the services that your business is offering. Remember, it’s all about the customer. You may want to throw an occasional jokes, funny phrases, interesting facts and local events. Here’s a tip that I’ve learned: whatever it is that you write about yourself also include things about someone else or something else. Offering variety will stop your customer from dumping the letter in the garbage can.
#3 – Use your customers information to promote the other people’s products or services
This is what we like to call a joint venture. If you’re the one that has the customer list tried to find someone that has a product or service that might tend to your customers needs. This is a great way to make money fast with what you have, but also make sure that you are tracking the results. This is something I would only do with someone that I knew and trusted very much because it is very easy to be taken advantage of in this situation.
#4 – Use other people’s customer lists to promote your product or service
Make sure to give them their share as well. This happens all too often the people rip off others not trying to think about the future. I often give the individual a percentage of the proceeds for many reasons, they will most likely promote with you again in the future, they will recommend you to their friends that may have other huge customer lists, and if you use this leverage you can rest assure that you will gain more customer information and increase your business revenue.READ MORE