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Archive for March, 2012

How to Sell Christmas Ornaments in February

The first thought that comes to mind when you hear the term “web marketing” is selling goods and services online. There are tremendous opportunities for entrepreneurs on the Internet, and no shortage of gurus to tell you how it’s done–for a modest fee, of course.

But today I’d like to point out another type of “web” marketing: developing a “web” of markets for your product in 3 easy steps.

Step 1 is to choose your product and make sure you’ll be able to fill orders. Don’t neglect this step–For a small business, especially, credibility is a must. DON”T PREPARE EXCUSES FOR LATE DELIVERY–prepare plans to assure IMMEDIATE delivery. “Web” marketing can give you explosive growth in a very short time. Here’s why . . .

First of all, traditional marketing is “linear:” Your product travels in a straight line to your market. One example would be crocheted angel Christmas tree ornaments. Product: angel ornament. Market: People decorating Christmas trees. One market at a time. Bound by the limitations of that defined market.

Who decorates Christmas trees in February? An eager marketer may eventually realize that “angel collectors” could be an even better (but still “linear”) market. After all, collectors buy year-round…

But why stop there? Take the next step. Get a blank sheet of paper. In the center of the page, write a brief description of your product. (Or better yet, glue a picture of your product). Draw a series of 10 or so lines radiating out from the “product”–like the spokes of a wheel. Take your time and begin listing potential markets for your product.

For the angel ornaments, the spokes might include:

1) Christmas tree ornament

2) Angel collectors

3) General craft and gift shops

4) Specialty gift shops–museum, etc.

5) Package ties

6) Suncatchers

7) Crochet shops

8) Bible bookmarks

9) “White Christmas”

10) Party favors

11)Angel letter gifts

12) angel wind chimes (add bells for sound)

13) angel mobiles for babies (guardian angels)

14) angels with flowered edgings on their robes “garden angels”

Hey, I live on a busy street.. I could get some free advertising by hanging some larger garden angels in my trees–plant all white flowers on the West side of the house–place an angel statue–have an “angel garden”.  Maybe even design some angels with “pockets” for bird seed . . . (and when that’s done, send a press release to the local paper . . .)

Look at every aspect of the product–color, size, possible uses. Take your time on this step. Think about it. Don’t limit yourself to the Internet. Now, to finish the “web” motif, begin making connections–both on and offline.

Both online and offline yellow pages can lead you to hundreds of wholesale buyers–and some retail buyers, too. (It’s just easier and faster to connect online.)

Let one aspect “feed” to another. When the reporter shows up to take pictures of the angel garden, give him the URL of your website. And after the article appears, scan it and get permission from the paper to post it on the website.

Focus on one “spoke” at a time. Exchange links. Don’t stop with websites. Look for e-zines, discussion lists, chats, and forums. A custom sig file for each spoke–or group of spokes–can pique interest. If your ISP allows different screen names, try varying that, too.

Be creative, but be aware of your market, too. (“The Happy Hooker” might attract some attention from fellow crafters and party favor sites,while drawing flames from the Bible bookmark set).

Consider starting your own webring–the list above suggests several themes, like “White Christmas” or “angel garden” or even “Christmas in February”..

Take notes on the sites you visit. If you find an obscure little “snowflake” site, drop the webmaster an email with the URL of the “White Christmas” site you visited last week.

The same technique can work for services. “Virtual Assisting” is a hot field right now, but the best clients go to the entrepreneur who has taken the time and care to approach them with more than a “dear sir” form letter. Targeting realtors? (I have this great direct mailer that takes a lighthearted look at FSBO’s) Designing web sites for attorneys? Take a crash course in your state’s attorney advertising restrictions–most people aren’t aware such regulations exist. A telemarketer with “taps” has a lot more than a friendly voice. What inside information do you possess that can multiply the value of your services? The jargon of the market–the unique problems of the market–the uncommon “extras” of the market.

The same “night person” tendencies that drove you away from “8 to 5” can bring you premium pricing if you market “moonlight secretarial services” and target business travelers . . .(or partner with a morning person and have “the only 24-hour secretarial service in town”.) Once again, write down everything that pops into your head–you can edit it later.

Instead of targeting a single “general” market, target several “special” markets–one at a time, but always looking for potential “connections”.

As you move through your “web” one idea will lead to another. New spokes will appear, new connections.

You can make money.

You can make friends.

You can sell Christmas ornaments in February.

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Judy (Wogoman) Cox is a freelance writer and blogger. Stop by https://publisherpotpourri.wordpress.com for free content!

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The Great Backend Myth

Success is simple. All you have to do is follow up your initial sales with backend products. After all, you have a list of people who trust you and your recommendations. Piece of cake, right?

Get the beach chair and the sunglasses. Ready to kick back and ENJOY that Internet ATM. You’re gonna get ten TIMES the response to the backend offers. The gurus said so.

Okay, let’s look at a few numbers.

You send your First offer to a targeted opt-in list of 1000 people. You get the average 1% response. That’s ten sales.

You send your first Backend offer to your satisfied customers–all ten of them. With “ten times the response”, you get one sale–a 10% response to your backend offer.

Numbers not big enough? Start with a list of 10000 people. A 1% response=100 sales, and a 10% response to the first backend offer is 10 sales, and a 10% response to the second backend offer is 1 sale.

Start with a list of 100,000 people. A 1% response=1000 sales. A ten percent response to the first backend offer=100 sales. A ten percent response to the second backend offer=10 sales. A ten percent response to the third backend offer=1 sale. It’s called the Law of Diminishing Returns.

Do you even HAVE a list of 100,000 people? (If you do, please email me for an ad swap!)

And that’s not even considering the fact that any one of your backend offers could turn out to be a total dud. It might be a perfectly good product that no one wants to buy. How can you fix that?

(When you find the answer, set up a joint venture with Coca-Cola. I’m sure they’d love to recoup their investment in the recipe for New Coke!)

So how do the gurus do it?

Here’s a clue–how many of them have Stopped Marketing and kick back on the beach all day every day?

One of the great things about an Internet business IS the fact that you can take your business with you–or take off a few days if you’ve got the automated systems set up and working.

But if you expect the backend sales to go to infinity, you’re dead wrong. When you make that first backend offer to your warm prospects, you’d better also be making ANOTHER initial offer to a new or expanded opt-in list to line up the next batch of warm prospects.

No matter HOW big the initial list is, repeated backend offers will eventually trickle down to one sale, then none. IF you don’t keep fueling your internet money machine. Keep on promoting the initial offer. Keep on finding new backend products and services.

The backend product is a powerful supplement to your business. The icing on that piece of cake, maybe.

You can benefit from your backend.

Or you can fall on it. Your choice.

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Judy (Wogoman) Cox supplements her Social Security by freelance writing online. Get free original content from her blog at https://publisherpotpourri.wordpress.com

The New Economy

When I was little, things were simple. My Daddy was a card-carrying member of the UAW. Every contract brought a better paycheck and better benefits. Daddy worked at the same company for 30 years, and retired to Florida with a paid off home, good credit, and money in the bank.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch….I married a card-carrying member of the UAW. Like me, Gary was an only child, and we wanted a big family. Our first daughter’s birth cost $249.
At first, every contract brought a better paycheck and better benefits. The last pair of glasses I bought for myself cost $38 (including eye exam). Eighteen months later, with our new vision insurance, I got new glasses (which cost $200, plus the eye exam). A similar thing happened when we got dental insurance. All of a sudden, a $20 office visit was $160. The hospital bill for our last baby was over $10,000–paid by insurance.
As a child of the fifties, I was taught to trust the government, believe in the American dream, and give a good day’s work for a good day’s pay. Cash was always preferable to credit, and money in the bank would help you cope with any emergency. We had an insurance man for life, home, and auto insurance, and health insurance from work. Life was good.
Somewhere between then and now, things changed.  Cash became suspect, and credit became all-important. In some neighborhoods, the insurance settlement is the new lottery jackpot.
All I ever wanted was the same–or slightly better–standard of living than what I grew up with.  Instead, I’ve spent most of my life scrambling to get by, sometimes working two or three jobs. I could always find a job when I truly needed one–until now.
The rules have changed. Everybody is trying to get a bigger piece of the pie, and the crumbs that trickle down aren’t enough to survive on.  Our young people can’t find work, so they stay home, supported by aging parents or even grandparents, barely getting by.
And the behemoth that is big government and big business cannot accommodate the drastic changes that are needed to turn this thing around in time to avert a crisis. We are in the early stages of crisis, and still pretending everything will be okay as long as the plastic is approved and the minimum payment stays low enough. After all, if we keep paying our bills on time, we can get the limit raised, and when we retire we can sell our home for ten times what we paid, and…wait a minute, what do you mean I paid ten times what it’s worth now?
The big question is “what are we going to do about it?” An even bigger question is “what can we do about it?”
Judy Cox supplements her Social Security by freelance writing online. Visit her blog at https://publisherpotpourri.wordpress.com

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