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Old 19th November 2007, 02:54 PM   #1
johnnylew
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Default Lessons Learned Online Business

I have learned so much from the posts on this site I thought I would give back so of my most important and sometimes costly lessons. New online business owners you could benefit the most from not repeating some of the mistakes I have made.

1. Never ever a free lunch, it is too good then its not true - All apply in real life and for an on-line business. 2 years ago I paid a SEO firm to get my better rankings. They set up a site and liked to mine. They key word spammed and set up back doors, set up non-quality links (all of which I didnt know about then). They promised results, I saw a dribble of traffic and then the company was gone, I think Google droppped me from their index and I was out of alot of $$$. But time heals all wounds, I learned from the people on this board and set up good content on my site, learned about key word optimization, internal key links and if you type into Google: NFL Towels Johnny Lew's Sports is number 1. Yahoo NFL Merchandise and we are in the top 5. Wow!!!

2. Dont try for the most traffic. Get the most quality traffic. I once bought Dallas Cowboys as a key word . Do you know how many times Dallas or Cowboys is searched on Google and Yahoo??? I do, thousands of dollars worth of CPC, and I had almost no sales...Why...because people are searching for Dallas Cowboys news, player updates, game days and to see pretty picutres of Cheerleaders. Refined my keywords to what I sell Dallas Cowboys Flags and I was back on track.

3. Focus on Conversion. Quality traffic means that someone looking for what you sell or offer comes in to your site. Now you need to get them to buy from you. Buying is the conversion from a browser to a buyer. If your not taking your CPC campaigns and making sure you have the best landing page (not just your front page) your losing conversions. If your not making sure the order button is above the fold (ie not hidden below the screen) and your order process is clean and un-inhibited your losing conversions. Make it simple. Make sure your giving that customer a sense of security to buy from you. We are all not JC Penny or Dick's Sporting goods, so our brand name and recognition is almost nill. So make sure you have a phone number, guarantee, and a good about you page.

4. Costs less to Sell to existing customers. Once you convert a customer NEVER EVER forget about them, because they will surely forget about you. And thats too bad, becuase if your a reputable firm and provide a good service that customer will likely come back. If you give them a reason. Send them a post card from time time. Remind them that your still around, ready to help them. From my top ten converting key words johnnlew.com or Johnny Lew's Sports is in 4 of the top key words. People are searching for our company, how cool is that.

5. Start Small and be real good at that first. Dont try to launch a huge selection of products all at once. You will be out of capital quick as you try to stock all those different items. Here is a great way to optimize your Cost Per Click campaings. If you sell Wall Clocks for example, start by focusing on your best selling wall clock. Optimize your key word for wall clocks. Once that is going well and you want to expand products, dont go for something totally unrelated like Playstations, but branck out to Alarm Clocks. Take advantage of the CPC traffic your getting from Wall Clocks, and you will be offering your customer more choices (they love that) you have a chance to get more items sold, you can link from Wall Clocks to Alarm Clocks and vice versa, helping your organic SEO efforts and get higher ranked in the natural search results, and you will save some $$$ in CPC because you wont have to fund and entirely different set of terms.

If you made it this far thanks for reading... I will cut off here and post more later.

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Old 20th November 2007, 07:12 AM   #2
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Thanks man. This sure opened up my eyes to some points. I'll be looking forward for more of your posts.

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Old 20th November 2007, 10:09 AM   #3
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Very informative, I'm going to have to give this some serious thought to make sure that I'm up to par with all you've suggested.

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Old 20th November 2007, 01:04 PM   #4
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Part II. Tips on Improving your Sales

(first I read my original post - man do I need to do some serious spell & grammar checking)

Use every shipment as a Marketing Opportunity. If your not sending a flyer, brochure or a promotional item with every shipment your missing out on a great marketing opportunity. Have you costed out Direct Mail program lately. I have. I have a 5,000 customer list. Sending them a colored postcard would run $2,250. What I do instead is send all of my customers a post card at time of sale. This adds no weight to the package. The customer has paid for shipping so the marketing piece gets a free ride. I use Brio Print to print me double sided post cards, I think I paid $300 for 5,000.

Use traditional means to promote yourself. Being on line is great. Improved efficiencies over brick and mortar, but you still should yse traditional means of promoting yourselves. Scott Rauber (a moderator of this site) sells promotional items, not cheap, good stuff. I personally like the pens. Pens are in offices, offices have computers, computers are usually hooked to the internet, the internet is where my business is. I have actually had customers ask me for more pens!!! I send one in shipments. Now thats a good marketing program.

Have what you sell in stock. Many people swear by direct ship programs. Not me. If I dont have it in my inventory I do not have control over it. If a customer wants an item, and I say its available, it better be out the door within 48 hours of payment (if not sooner). Relying on drop ship supplier to have the item, to ship in a reasonable period of time, to get it right, etc.. is too much risk for me to assume.

OK, back to work lunch is over..more later

Happy Turkey Day from all of us at Johnny Lew's Sports

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Old 26th November 2007, 01:59 PM   #5
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Wow, great advice johnnylew, thanks for sharing it with us.

I especially like your recommendation on focusing on quality of traffic, not quantity. Too often marketers will focus on gaining a lot of traffic, but see practically no conversions.

All it takes is one visitor to your website who needs a lot of help that can make a difference.

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Old 27th November 2007, 09:46 PM   #6
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very very helpful and informative. Especially in regards to Never forgetting about the customers you already have! AND Quality vs Quantity

Thanks for the post!

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Old 29th November 2007, 04:52 PM   #7
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Yeah, good stuff Johnnylew! I especially like the "every shipment is a marketing opportunity." thanks!

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Old 30th November 2007, 08:39 AM   #8
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Good stuff.

Point #2 about the Dallas Cowboys is a classic example of why I strongly recommend that all of my clients start with a keyword analysis before doing any additional SEO. You have to know which keywords you have a realistic chance of ranking well for.

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Old 2nd December 2007, 04:00 PM   #9
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Couldn't agree more! I didn't bother with "presentation skills" and went for "presentation skills training" ..... resisting the urge to slip in a link there!

It's not about numbers, it's about numbers * conversion rate.

S

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Old 2nd December 2007, 06:49 PM   #10
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Glad you learned from it. and the best thing is move on...

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