When I was asked to speak about how to market an online store, I

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408 Ways To Build a Successful Web-Shop and
30 Sure-Fire Ways to Destroy It
The New Business of Online-Selling
- Eugene Rembor, MBA There has never been an online-store marketing manual like
408 Ways To Build a Successful Web-Shop and 30 Sure-Fire
Ways to Destroy It is not about programming or search
engine optimisation. Instead, it lays out an innovative
strategic marketing approach focused almost entirely on
how your online store should be designed, what it should
contain and how you achieve maximum marketing impact. It
tells exactly how to make an online-store commercially
successful, with tips never before offered in print. While
many books are written for the web designer or programmer,
this book has been written with the client in mind and will
offer help to the marketing manager and assist him when
briefing and controlling his web developers.
Working closely with your web designers, search engine
optimisers and programmers is important, but don�t make
the mistake of letting them develop your marketing strategy.
If you owned a supermarket chain, you would not let the
shop-fitters be in charge of your marketing. You would
employ a marketing director to do your marketing and have
marketing agencies to produce the material. Do the same
when it comes to e-commerce. Why is it that so many onlinestore operators seem to leave it to their web designers and
programmers instead of developing a strategy and then have
the technical geeks implementing it? Let 408 To Ways Build a
Successful Web-Shop and 30 Sure-Fire Ways to Destroy It
reveal to you the New Business of Online-Selling. Read this
book! Develop your strategy! Write a detailed briefing on
what your web-shop should contain! Do and achieve and
then ask your designers and programmers to execute it!
408 Ways to Build a Successful Web-Shop and 30 Sure-Fire Ways to Destroy It
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Yet another "how-to" book! It seems we can't go through life
anymore without A-B-C manuals instructing us about our
very basics of doing business.
Did our grandparents need such manuals? Imagine - "15
ways to bale the hay "or "25 ways to grow a row of
cabbages"....life was oh-so simple not so very long ago.
"408 Ways to build a Successful Web-shop and 30 Sure-Fire
Ways to Destroy It" is today's guidebook for every person
entering the digital age who was not born breathing cyberspace at birth.
It is happily succinct and to the point. It tackles what usually
would be considered a dry, technical subject, and renders it
a delightful and surprisingly easy read. "408 Ways..."
certainly helped to alleviate my fears of web site demons. If
you are still part of the business world, having a coherent
and engaging Web Site today is comparable to yester-year's
farmer needing fertile soil to grow nutritious food.
"408 Ways..." helped me - I hope it helps you
Ruta Strobel
If you sell goods or services through a Web site and believe
you've thought of everything to maximize your Web-based
success, think again. Even established companies involved
in Web sales to the global community should read Mr.
Rembor's book. These five dozen pages will serve you well.
Patrick Suarez
I am currently in the process of putting my own website
together and assisting a client of mine both of which are
service companies. However, within your book I have found
some very useful information. I am daring to be different and
so its good to some and refocus on the main issues from the
perspective of the person looking on the website.
One of the most frustrating thing is to try to get what you
want across to web designers who are so technical that they
don�t really speak your language. Everyone thinks that they
can create a website and sometimes it goes horrible wrong
because in the first place who are so busy and reliant on the
web designer based of examples of previous sites that they
have done. To enable proper dialogue one needs to have a
408 Ways to Build a Successful Web-Shop and 30 Sure-Fire Ways to Destroy It
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reasonable good understanding of what it is that you need to
ask of the designer and your book provides a simple guide to
the kind of things you need to be considering when creating
a site.
I like reading things in point form and I found it very useful as
you have done away with the jargon and made it simple to
read and understand. Best of luck with the book.
Marie Fuller
В« 408 ways to build a successful web-shop and 30 sure-fire
ways to destroy it В» is to be put in all hands of those who wish
to create or improve their online shop. The advice is rich and
intelligent and contains best practices. Like a check list, it
allows the business pilot to take off safely with the guarantee
to arrive at the planned destination.
Max Tessier
Congratulations! Excellent easy to follow guide that anyone
building a web shop should definitely refer to. I know will join
the "1%" who follows the tips given. Makes a lot of sense and
takes away a lot of unnecessary guesswork which in turn
could avoid lost time and cost which means more profit!!
Well done!
Mike Brewster.
408 Ways to Build a Successful Web-Shop and 30 Sure-Fire Ways to Destroy It
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Also by Eugene Rembor, MBA
Doing Business With Americans
408 Ways to Build a Successful Web-Shop and 30 Sure-Fire Ways to Destroy It
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408 Ways To Build a
Successful Web-Shop and 30
Sure-Fire Ways to Destroy It
The New Business of Online-Selling
How to Sell More Online, Increase OnlineShop Traffic and Conversion Rates with ECommerce Marketing
- Eugene Rembor, MBA –
Arpe Publications
London, UK
408 Ways to Build a Successful Web-Shop and 30 Sure-Fire Ways to Destroy It
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Copyright В© 2010 by Eugene Rembor
All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy or reprint
portions for any non-commercial use, except they may not be
posted online without permission.
This book would not have been possible without the valuable
input from the following persons and organisations, whom I
like to thank profoundly for the time they took to talk to me,
write to me and share their expertise: Google, Alan Eager
(Web on High), Optimease Search Engine Marketing, The
Institute of Directors Information Center, The LinkedIn
Network and especially Vikas Sarin, Denver Prophit Jr., Paul
Zanotta and my friend Pankaj Shah of Different Colours
Production, Ruta Strobel, Patrick Suarez, Marie Fuller, Keith
Hayes, Peter Gerlach and Stephen Morall.
ISBN 978-0-9562654-1-8
408 Ways to Build a Successful Web-Shop and 30 Sure-Fire Ways to Destroy It
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Reviews .................................................................................................................. 2
Credits .................................................................................................................... 6
Contents ................................................................................................................. 7
Foreword ................................................................................................................ 8
Planning your website .......................................................................................... 12
When your web-shop is up and running .............................................................. 19
Marketing and PR ................................................................................................ 25
Sales Promotion ................................................................................................... 29
Customer Service ................................................................................................. 32
Net-working, networking and social media ......................................................... 34
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) ..................................................................... 66
Driving traffic ...................................................................................................... 71
Ease of use and customer journeys ...................................................................... 78
Online Marketing ................................................................................................. 79
Thank you and best of success in your online business! ................................... 107
The Author ......................................................................................................... 108
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US online sales revenues have accounted for $78bn in 2002,
and $137 bn in 2007. 1.9% of US retail transactions took
place online in 2004 and E-commerce accounts for 4% of US
retail sales. 15-35% annual growth is projected over the next
5 years. These figures leave no doubt that online shopping
cannot be neglected if you want to survive as a retail
In the UK online shopping is set to overtake traditional instore shopping with 90% of online consumers searching for
their latest purchase via the Internet, claims a new report.
With only 8% more consumers shopping in-store than they
did online last year, just under half of those polled during the
research, said they had received a better level of service
online compared to when they shopped in-store.
The research, conducted by communications agency
Likemind and Vision Critical, highlighted the ever increasing
popularity of online retailing which has now almost caught up
to its high street counterparts as online retailers put a
stronger emphasis on catering for shoppers.
The study which involved over 2,000 UK consumers also
showed that shoppers aged 55 and over most strongly
believed the online experience to be better than in-store.
Further findings revealed 66% of respondents said they have
previously changed their mind about making a purchase
because of the poor service they received, while 65% of
shoppers said they would stop making a purchase if the
service was too slow.
Nick Jefferson, Chief Executive of Likemind, said:
Whether you are designing a company website or a full-on
transactional site, putting the user at the centre of the
experience will guarantee you have happy and loyal
customers that will also recommend you. This really puts the
pressure on companies to work hard to understand their
408 Ways to Build a Successful Web-Shop and 30 Sure-Fire Ways to Destroy It
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website user needs and learn from analytics how visitors are
behaving on their site.
There is a big hype and mystery around the online business.
Experts tell you that you need to increase your website
traffic, junk mails tell you that you need to buy lots of
software that will increase your Google ranking and website
techies make you believe that with the right SEO (Search
Engine Optimisation) and some technical tricks they can
solve all your problems.
Now let me start with a bold statement: It�s all complete
rubbish. First, you don�t want to increase your traffic,
because what you really want is to increase your conversion
rate. What�s the difference? If you spice your web shop with
the word ―sex‖ (no matter if that�s in any way related to your
web shop), you will probably attract a million visitors a day to
it. Experts call this ―buzzword stuffing‖. A million visitors a
day may make you feel good but has no value at all if they
don�t buy. Quite the opposite: It will upset genuine visitors
and it will cause you a lot of work and trouble, having to
answer all those totally unrelated emails you will generate.
Second: Don�t waste your time on dodgy software that
promises you to generate the catchiest headlines ever or to
make sure you end up on Google rank number 1. They use all
those black hat techniques and that�s no good. If there would
be a magic warrant, everyone would have it, everyone would
be an internet millionaire and everybody would know about it
through the press and the media.
Thirdly: You do not need the techno-experts all the time,
because running a store is a commercial venture and not a
business where all your worries can be solved by
programming. What you need to do is build a solid
commercial web shop that attracts customers and gives
value. Period.
That�s hard work and it does not happen over night. But by
saving you the time to try and err and to look out for ideas, I
have gathered and compiled them for you, so you don�t need
to re-invent the wheel.
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The secret of success is this: Most people talk but few people
do. Approximately 99% of people who bought this book will
agree that these are all great ideas and decide they will
implement them – and never get round doing so.
If you work the list and ―just do it‖, you belong to the rare
breed of doers and have an excellent web career in front of
The proof of the pudding?
My own website ranks number 12 in organic google results,
beating over 2,1 million other website when you key in
―Turnaround Management‖. It�s the first company that shows
up, after turnaround associations, universities, definitions
and books!
Now, without any further ado, enjoy!
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408 Ways To Build a Successful Web-Shop and 30 Sure-Fire
Ways to Destroy It
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Planning your website
1. Before you start developing your website, make sure
that you tell your web-designer what programming
language he should use. There are different
programming languages, some are easier to learn and
some are more difficult to learn. Some web-designers
and programmers know them all, some just know the
simple ones. It is important that your website is
programmed in HTML, because the web was invented
using HTML and there are hundreds of reasons why
HTML is the best choice of programming language.
HTML, which stands for Hyper Text Markup Language,
is the predominant markup language for web pages. It
provides a means to create structured documents by
denoting structural semantics for text such as
headings, paragraphs, lists etc as well as for links,
quotes, and other items. It allows images and objects to
be embedded and can be used to create interactive
forms. It is written in the form of HTML elements
consisting of "tags" surrounded by angle brackets
within the web page content. It can include or can load;
scripts in languages such as JavaScript which affect
the behavior of HTML processors like Web browsers;
and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to define the
appearance and layout of text and other material. The
W3C, maintainer of both HTML and CSS standards,
encourages the use of CSS over explicit presentational
Some programmers like to use PHP, because it�s simple
and easy. While PHP is a stable and competent
programming language which is utilised for interactive
websites, content management systems and shopping
baskets, generally web pages would be better
structured in HTML with the shopping cart functionality
alone, in PHP. PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, is a widely
used, general-purpose scripting language that was
originally designed for web development, to produce
dynamic web pages. It can be embedded into HTML and
generally runs on a web server, which needs to be
configured to process PHP code and create web page
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content from it. It can be deployed on most web servers
and on almost every operating system and platform free
of charge. PHP is installed on over 20 million websites
and 1 million web servers.
2. Some advice regarding colours: You should normally
select one or two colours from your logo and create a
strong border with them to a white background and
ideally black body text – the greatest contrast one can
achieve. For example, white on a darker background
only has 60% readability.
3. It is recommended to use Verdana or Arial font, of
about 10 point size as these fonts would be virtually
universally available on all computers.
4. Do not use shadow effect as they use a great deal of
computer memory as they are image based, slow
loading times down and are difficult to read.
5. Think carefully about the domain you intend to use for
your website. Once registered and once you start
branding and communicating your web address, it
becomes very painful to change it. Don�t become a
fashion victim: Fads like .biz or .eu have yet not caught
on. The number one domain is still .com and it�s likely to
be so for a very long time. To seasoned internet users
(your customers), names like .biz or .info suggest a
start-up site with no budget to buy a proper .com
The point is that most customers have not much
confidence in doing business with start ups: 8 out of 10
start ups fail within the first 5 years of business, and
clients fear that they will be the guinea pigs to
inexperienced newcomers or they are investing in a
supplier-customer relationship only to see you
disappearing after a short period of time.
For all those reasons you do not want to appear as a
start up, but as professional and established business,
and this means that you need a domain that brings this
message across.
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Source: ―Die Welt‖ newspaper
6. Have you researched the habits of your current
customer base? Who uses your product? Why do they
use your product? What are some of the basic hobbies
and interests of your ideal customer? What are their
consumer habits? Where do they dine out? What are
their favourite TV Shows? Their age group, gender,
disposable income, education level, geographical?
7. Once your marketing research and customer focus
group studies are complete, you should be able to know
where to target online / offline advertising campaigns. If
you are a skateboard retailer, find out every skateboard
club in the world and target it with special ―Club
Offers‖: Skater John Doe might appreciate them. Use
loss leader tactics: Sell skateboard wax at near cost to
encourage skateboarders to purchase larger ticket
8. Amazon.com started out as a book store, but today it is
offering books, electronics and computers, home and
garden accessories, groceries, toys, shoes and
jewellery, sport and outdoor equipment and tools.
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Capture you customer
while in store and
offer him as many
different products as
possible, so he can
enjoy one-stop-shopping. It is the same
strategy that brought
us hyper-markets, gas
stations with integrated super-markets,
stations with shopping
malls attached. All of
these places were
born from the idea to
offer more than the
basics, to do more
than selling grocery,
tickets. If you happen
to be in the service
Travel websites are good examples. SAS airline is not
just selling tickets on its website. It offers hotel and car
reservations, online check-in and runs an online store
for luggage and other travel amenities.
That�s all good practice but still not best practice. I say
so because if you are operating an online store, it is not
good enough to match products and service offered by
your competitors, you will need to do more if you want
to lure customers away from competition and into your
store. You need to offer an extra benefit, an ―added
value‖, and tell your clientele in clear and simple words
what is it in if for them when buying from you instead of
buying from your competitor.
In the example of the airline website you will notice that
most airlines websites offer exactly the same service.
Their websites may have a different layout, but the
service proposition is the same. Now how about adding
shuttle service to and from airports as a service? How
about gift vouchers for a helicopter trip over the city?
How about offering selected gifts from all over the
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People who travel might enjoy buying their favourite
Japanese sake (Japanese rice-wine) or Alaska salmon,
a Panama hat or Swiss chocolate, and an airline would
be a great portal for selling such things. Why do all
airlines stick to the same boring toy planes and silk
These are all missed opportunities to outperform
competition. It�s the same with petrol stations:
They all are the same. A number of pumps --- a small
convenience store and a cafГ© shop. Why not coming up
with a rapid filling lane for those in a hurry?
Instead of the usual slow pumps there could be high
pressure pumps as used in Formula 1, service staff
would fill the tank and run credit cards through
electronic processors attached to their belts, so the
driver doesn�t even have to leave the car.
Why not offering a full
service lane where
your car gets washed,
air, water and oil is
checked and you even
get a shoeshine, a
newspaper and a cup
of coffee while waiting
for your tank to be
These are all added value ideas that would justify a
different price for your product and make customers
walk out on their current service station and into yours.
What has this all got to do with marketing an online
Marketing is innovation creativity and service, and if
you develop an online store, it�s not enough to follow
the leader; it�s much better to become the leader, and
by this I mean the service and innovation leader.
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9. If you decide to sell on price, that is to say to sell low
priced products, the problem is that you need to make a
lot of sales to make profit.
Since prices tend to erode, you need to sell more and
more every year just to maintain your level of current
revenues, and sooner or later –--- no matter how large
your market is ---- some future day your market will be
saturated, leaving you nowhere to go. I always found it
much better to be in the high-end of the market. Rather
than trying to sell 10.000 bicycles a year, try selling 5
Rolls Royce a year. You will find that this is much less
work, gives you a much better margin and offers you
almost infinite potential for increasing sales.
This is especially true for online shopping, where the
whole world is your target group. Out there are so many
wealthy customers that there is really no need for
suicidal prices. If you offer the lowest prices, the
message you are really giving is that you have
absolutely nothing else to offer but a cheap price.
Be aware that we are living in a polarising world, and
the middle ground is rapidly disappearing, so it�s a
good idea to be either at the very bottom or at the very
top, and not be stuck in the middle, where you have a
hard time keeping a profile.
Today there are either discount drugstore chains where
you buy your essentials at cheap prices, or there are
perfumeries where you can spend a small fortune for an
disappeared, because they had no clear profile, they
were middle of the road. The same goes for
supermarkets, shoe shops and electronics.
Once you have determined your product and your
price, you will find that the question of positioning your
business and your product in the market will come
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To position a business simply means to find your place
in the market. Would you like to be perceived as the
Volkswagen or the Rolls Royce? Are you aiming for the
mass market or for a niche? Are you a first-class airline
or a no-frill budget carrier? Once you have made up
your mind, make sure your message matches your
The key is to be consistent with your marketing
message, and remain coherent. Last year I consulted a
luxury shopping outlet retailer. It had excellent
products at prices 40% cheaper than elsewhere but still
not enough traffic. One of its problems was that it
changed its message every month, confusing its
customers. One month the message was ―great
products‖, the next month is was ―great prices‖, then it
was ―great experience‖, then it was ―great destination
for a day out‖ – they were simply confusing its
customers and nobody had a clear idea what it really
was that was being offered.
Don�t make this mistake. Focus on one core message,
keep it simple, and stick to it.
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When your web-shop is up and running
There is a great temptation to change all the time,
because it is so easy to change things on a website. But
don�t forget that people dislike change. Every time you
change something, you lose someone.
Placement starts with the right location for your store. If
you have a physical shop, you try to rent a space on the
high street, at a corner on the sunny side, with a lot of
traffic and where people see you from all directions.
If you are about to open an online store, your equivalent
to a location is the domain registration.
.com gives you great exposure and makes it easy to find
you. On the other hand a .my domain might not bring
you the desired traffic.
And for heaven�s sake select a reasonable name.
Names that are difficult to remember, prone to spelling
mistakes or meaningless won�t be recalled by your
target group and not be easily identified by search
servicelimited.com is totally meaningless while
american-second-hand-cars.com says it all. And make
sure that the web address is easily remembered when
people see it in an ad in a magazine. If it�s too
complicated – forget it.
capitallimited.com is another common nonsense. Who
on earth is interested whether you are incorporated as
a limited company, owned by shareholders or a oneman show?
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When did you last see an address that said ―microsoftincorporated‖ or ―Norske Bank AS‖? - Never! Keep it
sweet, short and simple.
The next thing is in-store placement of your products.
Just as you have to place products in a logical order,
easy to find and convenient to reach in a physical store,
make sure you have a clean cut website layout, a
perfect search function, top quality pictures, short and
informative descriptions and a clear, limited number of
categories in your online-store.
Placement is all about
aesthetics. Just as a
real store must be
clean and neat, so
must your website.
are often too busy and
confusing. Make sure
you have a clean-cut,
neat layout that is
easy to read, easy to
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An image gallery page is a good way to visually present
your business, particularly if you are not selling tangible
product which to show is natural, but some sort of
abstract product or service. People need to relate to
your business and pictures help a great deal. For
example, if you are a property developer you may want
to show before and after images of a property
development or if you are a photographer you may want
to compile a gallery of images into categories which
would provide a good method of demonstrating your
work. Even if your business is completely abstract, like
a law firm or a management consultant, show pictures
of happy clients and people in a meeting or shaking
hands, as it will convey an air of confidence, prudence
and a positive flair.
Primary navigation is placed on the left hand side of
each page, which is a good point, the reasoning for
which being the English speaking world (it�s an
accepted fact that English is the world-wide-web
language) reads from left to right and in that way
navigation on the left can be nothing if not intuitive.
Optimise your website navigation by allowing your
customers to turn your site into "their own site" by
providing capabilities to:
- Control navigation or layouts,
- Store most favourite selections / searches,
- Sign up for notices regarding special interest items,
The most important point has to be P R O M O T I O N. If
you don�t promote your business, you might as well
open a flagship store in a desert.
Does your market know that you exist?
Many good businesses have never taken off because
they thought creating a website and going online will do
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the trick and orders will arrive automatically, because
people will surf, find the shop and place an order. Big
Your sales revenues are always in direct proportion to
the work you put in, and you must never forget that! But
fear not! It does not mean that you have to have huge
marketing budgets.
There are lots of low-cost and no-costs ways, and just
as working smart beats working hard, creativity beats
throwing money at a problem. The Internet is a
platform that offers equal opportunities, because you
can create a great business and compete with the big
boys, without having to loose your shirt over the start
No matter whether you have a physical business or an
online store, when you open it, let you clients know that
you exist.
And you need to let them know long before you start
trading. The word ―pre-opening-campaign‖ was
invented for a reason. Do not assume that your target
group will find you themselves. They eventually may or
may not, but it can take a long time, and by the time
they found you, you could be out of business.
When the British car insurer elephant changed from a
field based business to a web based one, it ran a
nationwide TV campaign, making sure that everyone
knew elephant.Co.uk and could recognize it in their
sleep. Confused.com and moneysupermarket.com did
the same, they all ran TV and newspaper campaigns to
make sure people know.
Even Ebay runs TV campaigns and issues its own
magazine, and one really won�t think that Ebay needs
that. So if you open an online store and don�t have the
profile of Ebay, you had better make sure that you get
heard and seen.
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Otherwise you risk spending all your money and still
having to maintain the business, or keep your day job,
ending up working twice as hard instead of half as
Announce special online purchase before consumers
can obtain them in-store.
When you launch your business, think also of niche
Against public opinion, the word ―niche‖ does not mean
small, it simply means off mainstream, less crowded
and something for the ―smart ones‖.
For example, the single largest customer on the planet
is the US government. It�s a clear niche market but is it
small? No, it�s the biggest market of them all!
They buy everything under the sun, from telecoms to
stationery, from publishing services to car tyres, from
office furniture to cosmetics, and they spend the
world�s biggest budget on it:
$ 1500 billion year on year - the equivalent of the GDP
(Gross Domestic Product) of France. Yet, not many
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businesses know about it and exploit the vast business
Most American online businesses display their US
Government accreditation logo and have a separate
portal for government customers who –by government
rule- have to buy online. Most European companies,
So think outside the box and identify and address niche
markets, there are so many of them that some
businesses have abandoned mainstream markets and
service niche markets only.
There are not only all the government markets and
quangos such as the United Nations and the NATO, but
also geographical niche markets.
Everybody is talking about the emerging markets of
China, India, Russia, Malaysia and the United Arab
Emirates, but how many websites cater for those
potential clients and have their website translated into
the local language? How many offer specialised
products and service for those markets?
If you are going for the international markets, design
your online store with your target group in mind.
Thinking of translation is one thing, cultural awareness
is another. Do not use pictures showing sparely
dressed females if you are trying to sell products to
Arab countries. If you target the Chinese market, it�s a
good idea to use plenty of red colours, and if you are
selling to Russia you will have it much easier if you
show prices in Roubles and not US Dollars as often
falsely assumed. When designing a website for your
Israeli, Arab or Japanese market, don�t forget that
people there read from right to left.
Once you have designed your store with all this in mind,
it�s important that the world knows about you.
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Marketing and PR
In order to get attention and market your online
business, you have to use offline methods.
It sounds like a bit of an oxymoron but many of your
future customers will be recruited from the masses of
customers using traditional shopping sources and
reading traditional media. Still, more people read
newspaper ads than website banners. More people still
watch TV than ―YouTube‖.
Include the details of your online shop in your
stationery, your marketing literature, and any
advertising you do. Why? Because you want to utilise
every opportunity to promote your web-address, make
people memorise it and eventually visit your website.
If you want to advertise your online business, it�s a good
idea to use traditional media to tart up your PR
activities. Mobilise the press. Getting PR is not as
difficult as you might think. And it is not true that you
need the expensive services of a PR agency either.
They can maximise the impact of your PR work, but if
you are a start-up, you can do a lot yourself.
The secret is: The job of a journalist is to fill the spaces
between the advisements he has sold.
The easier this job is made for him, the better. That�s
why they are in fact grateful for good articles, because
every article that is sent to them is one they don�t have
to write themselves. And they ARE interested to hear
from the local business community because they are
sick and tired reporting about the same stories every
other newspaper is reporting.
BUT you need to make it relevant, and make sure it is
not a sales pitch. I give you an example:
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When you write an article for the London Business Life
magazine, write about effective office management,
saving money on telephone costs or low cost
marketing. That�s relevant to this magazine and of
interest to its readers.
When you write for the London Chamber of Commerce
newsletter, write about case studies by Bergen
businesses because the readers want to learn from
another and share best practise.
When you submit an article to the local newspaper in
your home town, write about the local boy who went to
set up a business and won a contract in another
country, because that�s the stuff proud small-town folk
likes to read about one of their own.
Make it relevant, send a few pictures along in your
email and provide helpful information and value, and
chances are that you will get your article printed
unchanged, including your website address.
Send it by email but do not add attachments, journalists
don�t like that. Include your pictures in the email body. I
can�t tell you why that is, but it works that way.
It is similar for radio stations and TV. If you have a local
Miami TV station and have a business win to talk about,
share it. If it is a thumbs-up-for-Miami story and its
business community, they will use it.
Radio and TV stations keep lists of experts for call-in
If an elk is roaming the streets of Vancouver and it�s the
talk of the day, they will no doubt have an elk expert call
in to talk about the animals, how they behave and why
the are not afraid of humans.
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If there is a postal strike, they will have experts on
communication, logistics and international business
commenting on it.
What you can do is to make sure you are on the list of
experts in your chosen field. Everyone has a field about
what he or she knows a lot, and that is worth sharing.
Write a letter to your TV and radio stations and explain
what the field of expertise is, that you will be more than
happy to comment on current issues if something
relevant comes up and leave your contact details. Once
you have the chance to get exposure, use it and let your
audience know so that it can find out more about the
issue on www.mybusiness.com. Use traditional media
to promote your new media.
If you want to do even more, suggest a radio show or a
TV program about the best way to choose an insurance
company, 10 ways to save money on DIY jobs or how to
plan a wedding, just whatever happens to be the
business you are in.
You know a precious lot of things others don�t know but
would like to know. Make your expertise accessible to
others, get exposure and through that promote your
Specifically smaller radio and TV stations are very
grateful for such ideas as they don�t have the budgets
and the resources for own productions and always love
to interact with their audience, hoping you will buy
airtime after they gave you the opportunity to cooperate
with them.
The easiest thing you can do is offer a customer
feedback promotion.
Offer your customers to get something for telling you
why they like doing business with you, and feature the
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answers on your website, i.e. a discount voucher, a free
report, or a key-ring.
Offer yourself as a speaker – talk about your expertise
with your online store, helping others and getting
Maybe someone will come up and hire you for your
expertise or buys the product you are selling. People
like nice people who share and give valuable insight.
Never under-estimate the power of word of mouth. If
you are doing your best and give a value service and a
quality product, treat your customers the way you like
to be treated as a customer, then you can�t fail.
The word will spread like a wildfire and people will find
you. This is especially true for the worldwide web. If
something is good, the Internet community will know it,
but if something is bad, they will too. That�s why quality
and customer service are the foundation stones for any
online business.
I think we have talked enough about PR and how to get
Let�s talk about your online offer now. The Internet is a
current medium and nothing is a more sure-fire killer
than websites whose last update is from last year.
Topicality and actuality are the orders of the day. Have
daily, weekly or monthly offers.
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Sales Promotion
Offer packaged solutions, such as
gift baskets (Interflora and Harrods Hampers have
good examples)
office packages (if you are an online stationer, why not
offering a deal including paper, ink, letterheads and envelopes, for example?)
travel packages (the classic: flight, hotel, rental car), or
whatever. You can really let your creativity run wild on
And have
kid�s promotions (kids go free / get a toy / discount on
certain kids products)
single promotions (small units are on sales)
family promotions (family size units are on sale)
business promotions (special offers for businesses, i.e.
―we pay your VAT‖)
traveller promotions (travel products on sale) or
promotions for 88 year old pensioned steam train
locomotive drivers if you want, just do something
special and keep your website interesting.
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―Theme‖ things. Make a holiday theme,
a Mexico theme (Mexican food and decoration)
a summer theme or whatever, there are thousands of
ideas if you only sit down with pen and paper and think.
Piggy bag on events like Olympic Games (look what
Cereal brands do, i.e. add some gimmick or call your
Offer a special ―Olympic offer‖), or
Chinese New Year (same concept, other ideas)
or the release of a new movie and create a specific
promotions for the occasion.
Source: The internet
Personalising is another great way of attracting
customers. You can buy cakes with a photo of the
birthday boy on it; you can buy engraved razors,
embroided house-slippers and a myriad of other items
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that can be personalised, adding value to them and
taking them out of the comparisons game. Think about
how you can personalise your product or service.
Offer free web-seminars and share your knowledge.
The customer perception is this:
If these people are giving me so much value already,
how much will I get once I actually become a customer?
Promotion also means entertainment, to offer real
experience in the best sense.
You can offer a quiz and draw prices,
give away complimentary gift for every 1.000th visitor or
shoppers who completed their 100th order
and build a user network online, where users can
exchange experience and useful product tips,
tie your customers in by a monthly newsletter,
engage customers in a competition and ask for ideas
how to make your online store even better,
create bonus deals (BOGOF <buy one get one free>)
customer loyalty programs, offering additional
discounts (mimic airlines miles and more programs)
engage video clips and
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sound, and let your imagination run wild.
In comparison to the real world, nothing is impossible in
the virtual world, and you can live out your wildest
Customer Service
Another important point to consider is the ease of
which customers can do business with you.
Accepting all major credit cards, cheques and money
transfer is the minimum, including PayPal, Google
Checkout and accepting various currencies is the
maximum. Talking about payment: Don�t forget the legal
stuff and include your terms and conditions
somewhere. If you are selling to different countries, be
aware of legal differences and list different terms &
conditions for each market. In some countries there are
different rules on guarantees, discounts and
People expect instant order recognition for peace of
mind and
ideally an order tracking number.
Shipment should be instant with
a money-back-guarantee and a
no-questions-asked-policy. Land�s End (the mail order
company) is an excellent example for this.
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The Internet is a 24/7/365 medium and customers
expect to be able to use it this way.
If your online shop is only open from 9-5 Monday to
Friday and no inboxes are checked, no orders
processed or no enquiries answered in a true 24/7/365
fashion, you are going out of business faster than you
can say ―insolvency‖.
I said this is the minimum, because there are extra
values you can add, such as trade-in opportunities.
Look at amazon.com where you can sell second hand
books, for example. That�s a great trade-in policy.
In a day and age where going green becomes a key
driver, recycling options are getting important, too.
Where relevant, you should offer your customers the
option to return used goods for recycling. This might be
a bit difficult but it�s a brilliant chance to demonstrate
that you are prepared to go the extra mile and
outperform your competitors. What stationery suppliers
do when they supply cartridges – providing you with a
freepost return envelope to recycle the cartridge- is a
concept that should be looked at for many other items.
Promoting your store also means offering convenience.
Equipment rental,
home- or desktop delivery,
a help-line,
assembly service,
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technical after-sales service,
online training,
zero percent finance and
consumer loans are all tools of the trade and help to
drive popularity.
Net-working, networking and social media
Use Twitter to broadcast all of the above. Twitter might
be a phenomenon not completely understood by all at
the time this book is written, but there is evidence that
Twitter is here to stay. There are many customers who
have such a high interest in your product that they
actually follow you on Twitter and can�t wait to read the
latest news or offers about your product.
Commercialise on their interest! Here is all about
Twitter that you need to know:
Here's a quick marketing question for you: How often
do you tweet? If you don't know what I'm talking about,
you're missing out on one of the hottest marketing tools
on the Internet today - Twitter.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a micro-blogging site - meaning you can state
your thoughts, views, opinions and links, but in a supercompact way. In fact, with Twitter, you only get to use
140 characters for each post, affectionately known as a
tweet. At first glance, you may think 140 characters
can't possibly give you enough room to say anything of
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value, but once you jump into the flow, you'll be amazed
at the way Twitter can change your social media
marketing world.
How Does it Work?
Twitter works as a real-time social media platform for
users to update their followers with tidbits of
information, chitchat, tips and tricks and other short
messages that are broadcast to a group of users who
have chosen to stay updated to your messages. While
there are over 6 million users on Twitter, according to
the latest statistics, individuals choose who they want
to interact with by "following" them.
Every user gets a profile page, with room for a short
bio, a photo and a link to the site of your choice. Your
profile page also includes a button people can click on
to begin "following" you - which means they will have
access to all of your updates.
The more followers you acquire the stronger your
networking capabilities become on Twitter. Twitter
functions as an ever increasing network as each person
interacts with their following, who then connects them
to their own group of followers and on and on it grows.
Let's break it down a bit.
When you create your user account and choose some
people to follow, they have the opportunity to follow you
back. As your followers start to get to know you, they
will look to you to promote other people on Twitter and
when they find people they relate to, they will begin
following them as well. This "tell two friends who tell
two friends who tell two friends" networking will expand
your network faster than you can possibly imagine.
Who Uses Twitter?
At the rate Twitter is growing, it won't be long before
the answer to this question is EVERYONE! Twitter is
growing at a pace of over 7500 users every day, with a
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total right now of over six million users! Twitter is a
great place to connect, both in business and
personally, for anyone who is looking for a platform
where they can reach out to a wide network of people
at one time.
Twitter is popular with many different kinds of people.
In business, you'll find lawyers, realtors, writers, web
entrepreneurs, bloggers, small business owners, large
corporations, politicians - even the President of the
United States! You'll find famous people, infamous
people, unknown people - the truth is, Twitter is being
used by folks from every walk of life you can imagine to
connect with others and market their businesses.
Why is Twitter So Popular?
One of the reasons Twitter is so popular is that Twitter
is so popular! In other words, so many people are using
Twitter that it is rapidly becoming THE place to connect
on the web. In fact, mainstream media has started using
Twitter- and talking about it. CNN and Fox News both
discuss Twitter and use it as a way for viewers to offer
input on various stories. In the recent Presidential
election, President Obama's campaign used Twitter as
part of their massive campaign efforts - with obvious
Twitter's popularity comes from its ease of use. It's also
quite addictive! Many people who questioned whether
Twitter was worth the effort find they love the fastpaced interaction of the site. Twitter is all about
immediate connections and real-time relationship
building. Human beings are social animals who thrive
on relationships and interaction with each other.
Twitter provides immediate contact with others- no
waiting for return emails or finding people on various
Instant Messengers. You can jump on Twitter any time,
day or night, and connect with someone immediately.
Often, just taking five or ten minutes to tweet with
others is all it really takes to build your followers, bring
people to your website or break through a struggle.
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Why Twitter Works for Marketers
Twitter works for marketers for a couple of reasons.
The first, and most important one, is Twitter is different
from a lot of marketing techniques. It really is all about
making connections and creating relationships. Yes, it
sounds impossible to believe that communicating in
short little bursts can actually foster real relationships,
but it's true. Perhaps it's because of the real-time
It could be because when you have to focus on your
word choice, with only 140 characters, you take the
time to make sure every word counts. It could come
down to the fact that Twitter is downright fun - and
Of course, some folks will tell you Twitter is a great
marketing tool because you can find a targeted
audience who CHOOSE to follow you and read your
messages and they'd be right.
The truth is Twitter works for a variety of different
reasons. The good news is, those reasons all add up to
the reality that Twitter DOES WORK! Even though it is a
serious marketing tool, there is something about the
way people get real on Twitter that you just don't see in
many other platforms, that lets you get to know people's
real personalities. That is what inspires trust and
creates bonds that lead to sales.
Let's look a bit closer about how to get started on
Twitter, so you can begin using this amazing
networking tool in your business today.
How to Get Started on Twitter
The easiest way to get a real understanding of the
power of Twitter is to create an account and get
started. It only takes a few minutes to set up your
account, so let's get started.
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Setting up an Account
Go to http://www.twitter.com and click on the ―Get
Started - Join‖ link.
You'll be taken to a form to create your account that
looks like this, where you�ll enter your first and last
name in the Full Name box. (Easy so far, right?)
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Then follow the steps to create your username. Your
username is the name everyone will know you by, so
give some thought to the name you choose.
Every time you post a message, known as a tweet, on
Twitter, your name and profile picture will be displayed,
so you definitely don't want to choose a username made
of random numbers and letters.
Twitter lets you use up to 15 characters (with no
spaces) for your username, so use them wisely. If you
choose not to use your actual name, try to create a
name that tells people what you do. You can use your
business name, but very often, something a little more
personal is more effective. Remember the key to social
media is the social part, so you want to choose a
username that lets people relate to you as a person.
Keep in mind, also, that if you choose a random
username made up of assorted letters and numbers,
people may think you are a spammer and block you.
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Your next step is to enter your email address. Make
sure you enter an actual email address that you use on
a regular basis. Twitter will not send you spam email,
but they will use your email address to alert you to new
followers and direct messages, if you choose to be
alerted later in your profile. You will also be notified, via
email, if you lose or forget your username or password.
Once you create your account, you will be taken to a
screen where you can check to see if anyone you know
is already using twitter based on various email address.
We�ll skip this step because well, almost everyone is
using Twitter! пЃЉ
Next is a screen with some suggested followers. You
can scan through if you�d like or you can choose to skip
this step as well.
Now we�ve reached the area that will help you market
yourself and your business. This is where you start
personalizing your profile.
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In the upper right hand corner is your navigation panel,
with links to move around the backend of your Twitter
account. Click on ―Settings‖ to continue personalizing
your Twitter account.
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Once you reach the settings page, you�ll notice some
things are already filled in for you. Your name,
Username (this is what makes up the URL to your
profile page) and your email address. If you want to
change them feel free to do so now. You�ll need to reenter your password if you do.
After you get those items they way you want them,
there are two important fields you need to fill in so that
people can find you and your business.
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1. The first is the "More Info URL." Use this to add a link
to your website, blog, Facebook page or any other
significant link you have that gives people an
opportunity to find out more about you and/or your
2. The other field you need to fill in is the "One Line Bio"
field. Here you have one line (160 characters) to
share some more information about yourself. Make
this as interesting as you can in the space allotted.
This bio will be one of the ways people decide if they
will follow you or not, so tell them who you are and
what you do.
The settings page also allows you to add your time zone
and your location. So be sure you complete those too.
Finally, on the bottom of the page is a box you can
check if your want to protect your updates. If you check
this box, people will only be able to see your updates if
they have special permission. This option is not
recommended - especially when you are trying to build
a network of followers. Unless you plan to use your
Twitter account to communicate only with a select
group of people, you should leave this box empty.
When you are finished filling in your settings, be sure to
click on ―Save‖ at the bottom of the page. Let�s navigate
back to your home page now.
Using Twitter with Your Cell Phone
On the right hand side of your home page, you will see
section towards the bottom labeled Device Updates
with a link ―Set up SMS Device.‖
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If you want to send and receive your Twitter messages
from your mobile phone or an instant messenger, you
can add that information here. Keep in mind however, if
you use your cell phone to communicate on Twitter, you
may be charged standard text messaging rates for your
Notification Options
Click on the ―Notices‖ tab and you will find options for
receiving email notifications when people follow you or
when you receive a direct message. A direct message
is a private message sent from one follower to another,
without showing up in the general stream of tweets for
others to see.
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It's a good idea to select the email option for direct
messages (or DM's, in Twitter-speak) as you don't
receive any other notification that you have one. All
DM's you receive do show up in a special section on
your home page (labeled Direct Messages) but other
than checking this area periodically, you won't know
they are accumulating without the email notifications.
It's also nice to receive an email when you get a new
follower so you have the opportunity to follow them
back and/or send them a "welcome" message. (This is a
great opportunity to let them know a bit more about you
and your website, but don�t make it too sales pitchy.
After all, you�ve just met! 
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Show ‗Em Who You Are
Your next step in preparing your Twitter profile is to
upload a picture to be shown with your tweets and on
your home page. Click the ―Picture‖ tab and upload
your photo of choice.
This isn't the time to be shy. Use a real photo of
yourself. You want your followers to see you as a real
person, so they choose to interact with you and a real
photo goes a long way toward helping people connect
with you. It helps to use the same photo you use on
other social media sites as well as on your own site or
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Give Your Page Some Personality
Finally, you can customize how your homepage looks
under by clicking the ―Design‖ tab. This feature allows
you a small amount of flexibility in the look of your
There are a few default design backgrounds you can
choose and you can change the colors of your
background. It can be helpful to use colors that
complement your website or blog colors as part of your
branding strategy. The design feature in Twitter is
pretty limited. If you are interested in a custom
background, you can design your own in Photoshop,
hire a designer or use a service like TwitterWebs.com
or TwitDesign.com for a custom Twitter background.
If you have a custom background made, you can share
more links with the people who view it. Although these
links are not clickable, your background is a place you
can at least let people know how they can connect with
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you. It's a great place to share your other social media
profile names or links, like Facebook and LinkedIn. You
can post a phone number if you like or any other
information about your business. While it's good to have
clear information available so people can find you if
they like, be careful not to let your background become
too crowded or cluttered. Keeping it simple is the best
route to go.
Here�s an example of a custom background made by
TwitDesign.com for the user NicoleDean.
Now that you've created your account and customized
your profile, you're ready to get started using your
Twitter account. In other words, it's time to tweet!
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Tweeting – Get Social!
There is an art to using Twitter to its full capabilities.
The most important thing to remember is to be social
and really interact with people in a new way.
The quickest way to ruin your Twitter credibility whether you are a new user or a seasoned vet - is to use
Twitter as a platform to hype your sales pitch and hawk
your products. Twitter is about networking - not about
direct sales. It's Twitter, not Tupperware. Your goal
isn't to see what the tally is at the end of the day.
Instead, your goal is about how many people come to
the convention - your website. Well, if you've ever dealt
with an over-zealous party planner, you know you love
to hear about what they do, but not every time you hear
from them and certainly not several times a day.
Disclaimer: Of course, sales are the lifeblood of every
business and whatever industry you are in, if you can
sell aggressively and deliver what you sell, you're on
the road to mega-success.
My point is Twitter is not the store front. It's the vehicle
that takes you to the storefront. And on Twitter - is all
about the ride on the way to the sale. So get tweeting
and have a little fun, while connecting with people for a
bit before you try to sell them your products and
To tweet most successfully, vary your messages
between encouraging and uplifting others, offering
helpful tidbits in your area of expertise, sharing a bit
about your real life and the occasional offer or link to
your site. You should consider a ratio of about 20 to 1.
In other words, for every sales tweet, you need 20
interactive tweets without pitches or site links. The
exception to this is if you have a blog with frequently
updated content. There is nothing wrong with letting
people know you've posted to your blog, but it is critical
that you are also posting the other types of tweets.
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Answering the Ever Popular Question, ―What Are You
To post a tweet (or message) on Twitter, select the
Home link from your navigation links. Fill in the box that
asks ―What are you doing?‖ Remember, you only have
140 characters to work with so make it count!
Type in your answer letting others know what you�re up
to. Click the ―Update‖ button. You message has now
been sent and others will see it.
Replies & Direct Messages
One of the best ways to use Twitter is to reply to other
people's tweets. When someone asks a question or
makes a comment you can answer or respond to, use
the @ sign before their username to reply to them.
Here�s an example:
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Notice how all the tweets directed to the user
NicoleDean had the @symbol before her username?
You can check all of your own replies by clicking the
replies tab on the right side of your homepage.
You can also click on the small arrow at the end of the
user�s tweet you are replying to. When you reply to
someone in this way, others can see what you are
saying as the reply shows up on the Tweet timeline.
So, what do you do if you want to send a private
message to someone without everyone else on Twitter
seeing it?
If you want to carry on an exclusive conversation with
one person for more than a few tweets, it's a good idea
to use the direct message (DM) feature. This allows for
privacy (great for things like getting email addresses,
phone numbers, etc.) from the entire Twitter universe
You can go to your DM folder from your Twitter home
page by clicking the link on the right hand side of the
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page. Once you're there, you will see a drop down list of
the people you can direct message.
Note: The only way this feature works is when both
parties are following each other.
The other way you can direct message someone is by
typing the letter D, leaving a space and typing the
username - without the @ sign preceding it in the text
box of your home page. Example: D username
Re-tweeting (RT)
One way to interact on Twitter is by re-tweeting
something someone else has said. Re-tweeting is
simply repeating what another user has said, preceded
by an @ and their username. If you want to re-tweet
something a particular user has said simply type the
following, like in this example!
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Re-tweeting helps you out in two different ways:
1. It provides content to your followers.
2. It gets you in with the original tweeter.
Re-tweet fairly often, but keep it for things that are truly
worth repeating. Again, don't use this method of
communication as your sole type of tweet, but mix it in
with your other posts.
Another way to spread the word even more about you (and
your business) is to provide your followers with quality
information that will have them re-tweeting your messages
to their followers!
So, how do you find people to follow and more importantly
get followers of your own? After all, no one likes talking to
themselves, right?
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How to Find People to Follow & Get Followers Too!
Building a network on Twitter starts by finding people to
follow. While you want to build a list of followers that is
comprised of people in your target audience, you should
also include a variety of other people as well.
Twitter is an amazing place to connect with people for
new ideas, joint ventures and partnerships you may not
find in your other business activities. By following people
in your own industry, you can find inspiring ideas,
opportunities to help others and the camaraderie of
connecting with people who understand the ins and outs
of what you do. Every field has specific highlights and
lowlights that only others in that same field can relate to
and understand. When you get to know people who
struggle with the same issues you have, you have the
opportunity to encourage each other and offer
suggestions for working through the tough stuff. Many
people in business online work in a solo enterprise, which
can become extremely isolating and stifling. Twitter can
be an excellent remedy for this affliction - which can lead
to greater productivity and success.
There are several ways you can find people to follow on
Twitter. Starting from your home page, you can look to
your right and find the link that says ―Everyone‖. This is
called the public timeline and it will show you tweets from
absolutely everyone on Twitter. Read through these until
you find one that interests you. Then simply click on the
username or profile picture to go to that person's home
page. Read through some of their tweets, go to their
website, and read their bio - whatever you need to do to
get a sense of who they are. If you like what you see, click
the follow link under their picture and voila, you are
following someone!
Another way to find followers is to use the ―Find People‖
link. This is at the top of your homepage, in the
navigational links. There are four different options in the
Find People section.
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п‚· Find on Twitter: Here you can search for people by
their username or their real name. This is great for
searching out specific Twitter users.
п‚· Find on Other Networks: This feature lets you import
names from your Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or MSN
accounts. You do need to enter your email password,
but it isn't stored and you won't be spammed by
п‚· Invite by Email: You can enter email addresses here
and send them a pre-written message inviting them to
п‚· Suggested Users: This little feature will offer you some
possible users to follow. Many of these names are
celebrities on Twitter - it may not do a whole lot for your
business networking goals, but then again, you never
know. You might just enjoy what they have to say!
On the bottom of your home page is the ―Search‖
function. You can use Twitter Search to look for a
username, a topic or a keyword. Type in your search word
and you will instantly get a page of results containing that
word. This is a great way to find followers in your niche.
Again, when you see a tweet that resonates with you, go
to that person's homepage and look around a bit. If you
like what you see, add them to your following list.
Once you are following a few people, you can check out
their followers! Go to their home page and check out their
followers. On the right side of their page, you see a link
that says Following, with a block of photos underneath it.
Click on the link or on a photo to go to the profile page of
that Twitter user.
Finally, you can get followers by adding those who follow
you. As you start tweeting and interacting with people,
you will start gaining followers of your own. Many people
follow everyone who follows them. Other people are more
selective and only choose to follow back those who are in
their niche. The choice is yours, but don't limit yourself
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too much. You may miss out on some great new friends,
colleagues and customers.
Mistakes to Avoid on Twitter
There is no "right way" to use Twitter. Some people use it
as a purely social platform, others use it as a teaching tool
and still others use it for both of these reasons - and more.
There are, however, a couple of important things to avoid
doing on Twitter.
п‚· The biggest mistake to avoid on Twitter is using it
solely as a sales platform. If the only tweeting you do
is self-promotional, you'll burn your bridges before
you have a chance to even build them properly. You
need to focus on the networking aspect of Twitter
before you try to sell. Spend plenty of your tweet time
reaching out to others, sharing useful information
and being a social butterfly. If you focus strictly on
self-promotion, you will be ignored or worse yet,
blocked by other users.
п‚· The other mistake to avoid on Twitter is spending all
of your tweets on literally interpreting the "What Are
You Doing?" question Twitter asks at the top of your
home page. While you can certainly include
information about your daily life, don't focus solely on
your mundane activities. No one cares if you are
brushing your teeth or doing laundry all day long. The
primary tactic on Twitter is to be engaged with other
people. Ask questions, offer helpful links to things
you are reading that might be of interest to your
followers and seek out ways you can be useful to
other users. Always remember Twitter is a
networking tool - not a sales engine.
п‚· Some applications that work in conjunction with
Twitter allow you to set up an automatic direct
message to be sent to people who begin following
you. Although many people use these auto - DM
features, a large number of Twitter users frown on
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them. Several Twitter polls have shown that a large
majority of users do not like automated messages.
п‚· If you do send direct messages in response to new
followers, sending a link to your website - especially
if you are trying to sell something - is a huge No-No!
Most folks on Twitter would like to get to know you
first before you start trying to sell your products and
Additional Goodies for Making Twitter Use Easier
There is no shortage of programs and applications used to
make Twitter readily accessible and easier to use. Many of
these can save you time and add convenience so you can
make the most out of your Twitter time.
Some of the most helpful Twitter tools include desktop
clients for accessing Twitter without needing to spend
your time on the actual Twitter website. The two most
popular desktop clients for Twitter are TweetDeck and
Desktop Applications
TweetDeck is an Adobe Air application that can be used
on either a Mac or PC. It helps you break down the vast
amount of information on Twitter into manageable sized
groups, which helps you stay abreast of your
conversations. You can split your TweetDeck screen into
columns, helping you to sort things out. For example, one
column is for your regular tweet stream, much like your
Twitter home page. However, you can also set up
separate columns for your @replies, your direct
messages, designated groups of people or results of a
keyword search.
When you separate things into these various columns, you
remove a lot of the "noise" from Twitter and can see the
information most important to you. This is especially
helpful so you don't miss any replies sent to you by other
users, as well as showing you direct messages
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instantaneously. One big frustration with the Twitter
webpage is you have no way of knowing someone has sent
you a direct message, without continually checking that
page. The same applies to your @replies (messages sent
to you, but in the public stream.)
When you use Twitter from the website, you need to keep
your focus on the page so you can see what's happening.
There's nothing wrong with that if all you are doing is
tweeting, but many people prefer to multi-task and tweet
throughout their day.
TweetDeck lets you continue working on the web, or any
other program you may be using and alerts you when you
receive messages, with a little chirp and a small pop-up
window. Then, with just a glance, you can see if the tweet
is a direct message, a personal @reply or a response to a
keyword search or simply a general tweet from another
Using TweetDeck for its search feature is a great way to
keep an eye on your company name, a keyword for your
industry or any other topic you want to keep in your sights.
For example, if you are selling golf shoes, you can set the
search feature for that term and whenever someone
tweets about golf shoes, it will show up in your search
TweetDeck also helps you respond quickly and easily to
other people in a few different ways. When you hover your
mouse over a person's avatar, you are given four options:
reply, DM, ReTweet or the other actions option. The others
actions button offers you a range of choices from
following to translating the tweet into another language,
among others.
Another popular desktop client for Twitter is Twhirl.
Twhirl is much smaller than TweetDeck and doesn't
have as many features, but it does give you a small
compact application to tweet and follow your tweet
stream. Twhirl will also let you know when you have
new messages. It also has a search feature. It also
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allows you to keep track of some other social
networking sites such as Friendfeed, laconi, ca and
Seemic. Twhirl will cross post to Facebook, MySpace
and LinkedIn as well.
Both TweetDeck and Twhirl have built in linkshorteners, which shrink a link to help accommodate
your 140-character limit on Twitter. These are only two
of the various desktop clients you can use for Twitter.
Other Handy Twitter Apps You Might Find Useful
Many other applications serve to make your Twitter
experience more convenient. Several of them allow you
to schedule tweets to be posted at a later date and
time. There is some controversy over whether these are
a good idea or not. Many people feel they sorely neglect
the social aspect of Twitter, which is the main point of
the site. Other people, however, like the flexibility of
being able to schedule tweets for times they are
unavailable to do so manually.
Tweet Later
This is a popular service for scheduling tweets. Tweet
Later lets you set up a tweet or a series of tweets and
schedule them for broadcast later. Tweet Later will also
let you automatically follow anyone who follows you and
you can even automatically send a welcome message to
your new followers.
Social Too
This application gives you the option of automatically
following anyone who follows you. It will also send you a
daily email with the names of everyone who follows you
or un-follows you each day.
Some people like to know who unfollows them, as they
believe it will help determine if they are tweeting
unpopular posts. However, the general consensus is to
not worry so much about those who un-follow you.
There are plenty of fish in the Twitter Sea and if
someone decides to stop following you, it doesn't
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necessarily have any great impact on you or your
Twitter Grader - There are also some services to help
you connect with appropriate people to follow. One of
the most popular one of these is Twitter Grader. Twitter
Grader calculates the power of your Twitter network
based on who you follow, who follows you and how
often you tweet. The more popular your followers the
higher your Twitter Grade. Twitter Grader also gives
you suggestions for people to follow based on your
profile and the most commonly used words in your
Twitter Buttons – This is a site where you can pick up
cute buttons to paste on your website, blog, newsletter
and more that encourage people to follow you on
Twitter. They�re free and updated frequently.
URL Shortening Applications
One type of service many people like to have available
on their tool bar is an URL shortening service. Because
Twitter limits you to only 140 characters per tweet,
posting a link to your website can be troublesome.
There are several services that let you type in the URL
of any site and will then shorten it into a clickable URL
that uses fewer characters.
Here are just a few:
You will find many more applications and services
available to help you get more out of your Twitter use.
There are new ones being developed everyday. If you
aren't sure how they work or which ones are the best,
simply ask around right on Twitter itself. You'll find
plenty of people more than happy to offer their
opinions. In fact, one of the things you will notice on
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Twitter is plenty of people are more than happy to share
all kinds of things.
The atmosphere on Twitter is a bit like a party filled with
generous, helpful go-getters who truly enjoy interacting
with people and doing all they can to help each other
out. THAT could just be the secret power of Twitter
right there - real people letting down their guard just a
bit and truly enjoying helping each other create
successful businesses. There is a genuine cooperative
spirit on Twitter that is making it one of the most
popular spots to be on the Internet.
What are you waiting for? Start tweeting and join in the
revolution. Watch your business soar to levels you
couldn�t have even imagined.
Twitter Resources & Additional
Marketing with Twitter a Breeze
Custom Background Designs for Your Profile Page
Twitter Webs
Twit Design
Easy WAHM Websites
Twitter Desktop Clients:
More Bling for Your Twitter Account:
Twit This - Let people tweet links to your website pages
or blog posts automatically with this. You can copy the
Twit This code to almost any website and there�s a
plugin for WordPress that will add it to each and every
post you publish!
Twit Pic – Share your photos with your tweeps!
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Twitter Grader - How cool is your Twitter account?
Want to find more people in your target market to
follow? Here you go!
Tweet My Blog – Want to post a tweet every time you
update your blog with a new post? This tool does it
automatically if you have a WordPress blog. You can
even promote it as an affiliate!
Additional Twitter Applications – From using Twitter on
your iPhone to posting badges that pull your tweets
over to your blog or website, you�re sure to find what
you�re looking for to make Twitter an even better
resource in your business.
Link Shortening Tools:
You can publish events on blogs and in social networks.
Better still, add an own blog to your website. It helps
increase traffic to your site because Google perceives
lots of updates and likes that. In terms of blogs on biz
sites and Twitter, there are conventions. Most
important: Don't use Twitter or your own on-site blog as
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a dumping ground for your gripes and problems. Keep
entries upbeat and personal.
invite people to visit your store at a certain time to join a
debate or attend product training. Why? Knowledge
drives desire. The more people know about a products,
its use and its benefits, the stronger their desire to
possess it. That�s why there are test drives for cars,
wine tastings and give away chocolate bars.
You could have a celebrity guest here. Say you are
running an online store for wine and spirits; you could
invite a sommelier to answer questions on wine and
give an online talk about it.
If you are selling sporting goods online, you could invite
a sportsperson and have him or her being interviewed
online by your clients. There are plenty of ideas if you
get the drift.
Customer referral systems are also a great way to drive
Simply offer the referor some sort of appropriate
reward for introducing a new customer, and make sure
you pay it out once the new customer spent some
money making a first purchase.
Another smart way to generate traffic is to issue a
newsletter. If you write a newsletter and most of all
engage your customers, you can get a lot of new
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The best newsletters are those that can be read in one
sitting. If they are small enough for this, they are far
more likely to be read in their entirety. The best
newsletters are specialized to the receivers needs,
timely, short and laid out in a way that is readily
scannable and arrive to a predictable schedule.
With all the other competing media, like video,
Newsletter use is down. Studies show that only 19
percent, down from 23 percent in the first study, of
people read an entire newsletter.
That�s why – if you are smart – you produce video
newsletters and publish them on YouTube.
Once you have managed to accumulate a few thousand
subscribers for your newsletter, sell advertisement
space to your suppliers and generate a second income
stream, allowing you to use the money generated to further improve your website.
Readers don�t love to hear what you're doing, what
you're experiencing, and how you feel about things.
They want to read about what they are doing, what they
are experiencing and how they feel about things, and
they want to read about the value you give. A newsletter
is not a sales pitch, it�s not a promotional leaflet and not
place to talk about yourself. The more value you give
and the less selfish you are, the better.
Readers prefer consistency and left-edge alignment.
They shouldn�t have to figure out where information is
or where the next line of type begins.
Images are both a plus and a minus in emails, they
certainly look good when displayed but so many users�
email applications now block the images for security
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reasons leaving unsightly gaps in the pages that
readers then see. Nevertheless, a picture can convey a
great deal, both in the emotive, sales side of your
newsletter, as well as the technical side.
The best way is to interview customers and print the
interview together with a photo of them.
People have egos and guess to whom the customer will
show your newsletter with his photo in it? –-- Right, to
everybody and his dog.
Landing pages are another great vehicle to drive traffic.
If your domain is .com, register .co.uk. .biz. eu .de and
whatever takes your fancy.
If your business is registered in Norway but you ship to
Germany, a .de domain makes sure German customers
and search engines will find you. Repeat the exercise
for every market you target.
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Then vary your name and register it. If your name is
―outdoor-sports.no‖, you might find it beneficial to
register outdoor.no, outdoors.no, camping.no. ski.no,
fishing.no and whatever is relevant, close and likely to
be a catchphrase being googled when looking for a
shopping source.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Web stats – You can learn loads from your web
statistics. They tell you where people click, where they
don't click and where they leave your site. Use it to
improve on sites clicked on and abandon those of no
apparent interest.
A useful way to measure the value of your website is to
track the actions your customers perform. These
actions might include a purchase, a member
registration, an email newsletter subscription, a sales
lead, a file download or any custom action you define.
With specific conversion analytics (i.e. Optimease) you
can analyse the behaviour of your visitors against these
actions. For example, how many visitors who arrived
from a given marketing campaign proceeded to make a
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After you have analysed and rectified your web-shop,
carry out usability tests. Usability tests simply mean:
Use your web shop and see how you as a customer will
get on.
No other tool provides so many headslapping "I can't
believe I didn't think of that" moments.
Customer surveys. Your customers know why they
ordered. And why they nearly didn't. Ask them about it.
There are lots of survey services available –
SurveyGizmo is a good one.
Talking about customers who nearly didn�t order:
Studies show that the vast majority of all shopping
baskets are abandoned before purchase. The numbers
are similar with other kinds of multi-step web
transactions. Scenario analysis (i.e. Optimease)
enables you to define the steps towards completing an
online transaction. Understand why visitors drop off at
each step in order to identify bottlenecks and barriers.
Affiliate marketing is when you reward another
business for visitors they sent to your website, and very
powerful. The idea is to generate traffic, because the
more visitors your web-shop has, the higher the number
of those visitors who will actually shop.
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If you sell from your website, then the most important
web performance metric is revenue. Some people say
that revenue is not everything, you could be after
building awareness. But why would you want to built
awareness? Probably with some purpose and most
likely to commercialise on the awareness. To drive your
revenue, you need to know where it comes from. What
was the traffic source? A banner or email campaign,
partner links, organic or paid search? To find this out
you can use special revenue tracking software (i.e.
Optimease) that will break down revenues according to
the traffic source. Once you have identified the
strongest sources, reinforce them and improve or
abandon weak sources.
Receive alerts when metrics rise or fall and record
important events (e.g. web site changes, public
holidays). It will give you valuable insight that helps you
to design and plan your promotions and marketing and
maximise its impact.
Track the individual products your customers
purchase, including the number of units and the
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revenue per product. Define categories for your
products, and analyse your product performance. The
findings will help you to decide what sort of products
you should offer more and promote, and which product
to abandon.
Increase revenues by studying customer purchasing
patterns and then by optimising your promotional
strategy. If you find out that your customer buys every
fortnight and always shops for some specific products,
tailor your promotional offer and optimise cross-selling
opportunities. I, for example, like audio books and buy
them every six weeks. Since starting doing this, my
audio book supplier sends me special 2 for 1 offers on
audio books in the fields that interest me most – that�s a
classic example and it�s very effective.
Examine how different groups of visitors respond to
your campaign landing pages, page layouts and calls to
action. German visitors might use the pages differently
from Dutch visitors (think of differences in travel
preferences) young customers might use it differently
from mature customers (think of different interests in
body care products). Knowing means being able to
optimise, and optimising means increasing sales.
Run live cost analyses. Calculate the profitability of
each PPC keyword and get insight into the
effectiveness of your paid search campaigns. Abandon
keywords of no apparent value and make sure you
retain such ones with a high relevance.
Copy the techniques that have been developed by
people who have been testing for decades:
That is, copy direct response advertisers. The internet
may be new, but your visitors aren't, and direct
response advertisers have been running tests to find
out what works for about a hundred years. It's easy to
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spot their ads in magazines, newspapers and direct
mail – they have tracking codes and coupons on the
bottom corner. And they tend to look a bit ugly.
Direct response can be a result of direct marketing. The
logical way of doing direct marketing is by direct Email
campaigns. You can rent or buy Email addresses of
your target group and use a fulfilment agency to carry
out your monthly Email campaigns. They will deal with
opt-in and opt-out, maintain and clean the data base
and handle inbound enquiries. To enhance the impact
of your Email shots, include incentives which will
encourage responses.
Choose the best possible timing for each mail-shot. For
business targets, do not send out mail just ahead of a
public holiday. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are
generally the best days of the week for a mail-shot to
reach people, though Saturday morning is ideal for
leisure and gardening products. Avoid main holiday
periods — mid-July to early September and the
Christmas break. Early January is a good time for many
businesses. A mailing promoting an event should
generally be sent six weeks beforehand.
Provide mechanisms to encourage people to respond to
your email mail-shots. Such tools are called
―redemption tools‖ and combine some sort of reward (a
discount voucher, a $ 10 value voucher) with their
Always provide an email address in your mailings which
customers can use to contact you.
Set up an auto-responder, which automatically sends a
standard message in response to emailed enquiries.
This lets your customers know that you have received
their mail and that you acknowledge it. That makes your
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customers feel good and like you. If they like you, they
are likely to buy from you.
Set up different email addresses for different
campaigns, to make it easy to compare responses.
Using an individual�s name as part of your email
address for enquiries is more inviting than
‗[email protected]вЂ�
Driving traffic
The best place to start improving traffic is by identifying
the weak links in your marketing funnel.
Sketch out a brief overview of your marketing funnel,
from advertising all the way through to closing the sale.
This will include… Your advertising, Your sales force,
Your homepage, Your product pages, Your checkout
pages, Your order confirmation page, Your call centre
staff and how packages are sent out. It will help you to
identify which step has the most scope for
improvement. That's the step to start working on.
Rank the top 5 points you want to communicate to your
visitors. You want to make sure that, whatever else your
visitors learn from your site, they definitely learn these
top 5 points.
Identify which products bring you the most overall
profit, (the good old ―ABC-Analysis‖), then put them in
prime position on the page, by which I mean above the
fold (that is, on the upper part of the page so the user
doesn't have to scroll down to see it), preferably on the
left-hand side.
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Headlines are extremely important. If your visitor
doesn't like the headline, he won't read any further.
People will spend no more than 7 seconds determining
whether or not a website (and therefore the
organisation it represents) can fulfil their needs.
Express your main message in a headline that:
…is worded in terms of benefit to the customer, not in
terms of product features.
Do you all know the difference between feature and
If you buy a car – a double exhaust is a feature. It means
the car has a powerful motor. So the powerful motor is
the benefit.
The headline should suggest that the person will get the
results with ease ….
And it has to be believable
Source: the web
Test high and low prices - because customers don't
always seek out the lowest prices. There is such a thing
as "reassuringly expensive". In many cases a high price
gives a product or service a higher value and there are
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many people who love to buy high value products and
pay a high price for it. Even most pizza delivery shops
distribute 2 different price lists nowadays, because
they know it will attract different customers.
Cross-price-elasticity: Try out what matters most to your customers, price or
performance. Source: Rembor & Partners
Test odd-pricing. Odd pricing is prices that end in 9's
and 7's, which tend to sell better. Would you or I be
fooled by that? No, we're far too smart. But someone's
falling for it, because this phenomenon has been proven
over and over again.
Test different offers. How about a one-month free trial?
In general, do whatever you can to get the product into
the customer's hands. If you're so confident in your
product, prove it by taking some of the risk.
Divide your product or service into a standard version
(for the prospects who are price-sensitive) and a
premium version (for the ones who aren't).
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Add a guarantee or
test different ones.
Start with the bravest
guarantee you dare
test. And if it works,
test a braver one.
Add testimonials from happy customers. In general, a
video testimonial is better than a testimonial with an
image, which is better than a testimonial with just a
name, which is better than an anonymous one.
Add testimonials from the media. If you don't have any,
try giving them free stuff in exchange for reviews and
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Test different "calls to action". The call to action is what
you want them to do next. It is usually written on the
'proceed' button. Test direct ones such as "Buy Now
And Get 10% Off" as well as indirect ones such as
"Learn More".
Try making the "call to action" button nice and visible.
Large brightly-coloured buttons convert better – they
draw more attention.
Test different reasons why the visitor should act
promptly. Create urgency. For example, "offer ends
Wednesday", or "only 42 tickets left".
People read first the upper-left-hand area of the page,
then your headline, then the bottom left-hand side of the
page. It�s called a ―Z‖ reading pattern. So put your best
features there.
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Remove clutter. Imagine that every pixel on your page
either increases the conversion rate or decreases it –
or just takes up space. If you can get rid of things that
aren't working, you create more space for the things
that are.
Put all the best stuff "above the fold". A surprising
number of visitors will not scroll at all, so it's best to
make sure that the area "above the fold" is used wisely.
Remove any distracting links that lead to places you
don't want them to go! Does your site contain any
courtesy links that don�t give you really a benefit? --Away with them.
Give your visitors the option to "zoom-in" to see a larger
image of the product.
It's surprising how many sites haven�t decent-sized
pictures, isn't it?
Put captions under your pictures. For some weird
reason, people always read the captions under images.
Test Violators, which are attention-getting shapes such
as starbursts, ovals and banners.
Use simple straightforward language. No reader is too
sophisticated for short simple sentences.
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Go multimedia. People don�t want to read boring stuff,
they want to be entertained. Use pictures and videos to
entertain them.
Under the email field, say something like "We hate
spam as much as you do" – and consider including the
HackerSafe logo.
Under an email newsletter opt-in box, have a link to
your privacy policy.
Under the "Order Now" button, remind them of your
guarantee and returns policy.
Do you have an "enter your coupon" field on your
shopping cart? Test whether this is turning people
away. (Some people resent ordering when they see that
others are getting a better deal).
Try adding "Reassurance logos"
Test a different version of your About Us page that
shows you as real people, not some cold faceless
Immediately after the customer has ordered – or agreed
to anything– they are in an especially agreeable mood
(sales people refer to this mood as the "yes set"). Take
advantage of this by making additional offers to them.
In particularly a good refer-a-friend program placed on
the order confirmation page can be very effective.
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Ease of use and customer journeys
Minimize your site load times. People hate to wait,
especially because many website designers like to
forget that still not everybody is on broadband. Even
with broadband, people remain intolerant of slow
websites – 28% simply won�t bother opening a website
or waiting for it to open if it takes more than 12 seconds
to do so. Incidentally over half will not wait if it takes
more than 20 seconds.
The landslide growth of Broad Band access is powerful
evidence of the demand for speed and you should not
develop a website with a home page exceeding 100k
(measurement of file size). This is because not only will
some users not wait for it to load, but its potential
prominence on the major search engines will be at risk
as search engines don�t like slow websites.
Make everything clickable. Visitors click on everything,
pictures in particular.
Simple and effective navigation of a website is critical –
you must allow users to concentrate on the content of
your website rather than on how it should be used. It
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has been proven that a user is far more likely to ―click‖
on a button if he has an intuitive concept of what is
beyond it, or will be the result of ―clicking‖.
Online Marketing
Talking about clicks, pay per click is an advertising
model used on search engines, where you only pay
when a user actually clicks on your ad to visit your
What you do is to bid on keywords your target group
will use as search terms when they are looking for a
product or service. When a user types a keyword
matching your keyword list, your ad may be shown.
These ads are called a "Sponsored links" and appear
next to organic results.
Search Engines can provide the most cost-effective
way of generating traffic into your website. This is
because getting listed in most search engines and
directories is cost-free and can generate pre-qualified
traffic in the form of web users who are looking for the
products and services you offer.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of
improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site
via targeted keywords.
Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the search
results or the higher it "ranks", the more searchers will
visit that site. SEO can also target different kinds of
search, including image search, local search, and
industry-specific vertical search engines. SEO efforts
may involve a site's coding, presentation, and
structure, as well as fixing problems that could prevent
search engine indexing programs from fully spidering a
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Search engines such as Google are becoming more and
more complex to achieve good listings on and
commonly look for textual information within the body of
the website. Often they will assess the number of words
that are repeated within that text (key word weight) and
sometimes the words that begin or close a paragraph
(key word placement). Therefore, write your text with
the amount of keywords in mind.
Having said this, don�t try to outsmart search engines
by ―keyword stuffing‖. If you build your keyword in
several times in each sentence, search engines will
also recognize this and class it as keyword stuffing.
These things are smart, aren�t they?
Search engines also assess links to your website from
other relevant websites. Read this sentence again and
notice the word ―relevant‖. Some bad boys have set up
quick and simple websites by the dozen for the only
reason to link to the one website they want to promote.
This practice is called link-farming, and guess what:
Right, once again you can�t fool search engines, they
will detect it and you will lose out.
The text for your homepage should normally not exceed
250 / 350 words to offer optimal search engine ability.
Another major point is the inclusion of other languages.
The automated programs of Google (for example) will
simply be trying to establish what the site is about and a
mix of languages is not helpful. If you translate your
website (which you should do), either develop a
separate landing page (see number 76) or make the
language changeable by clicking and going to a
different version of your website, but do not mix
languages on one site.
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Google AdWords, gives you the advantage of being
listed in Google, but takes away the gamble by
providing an online marketing mechanism that you can
instantly control and measure.
In addition you can also submit your products to
product search engines like Froogle.com to get the
better chances.
Link building is by far the most efficient, but also the
most sophisticated art of creating online traffic.
Are free directories a good place to build links?
Only dmoz.org has substantial linking value. It is a
directory used by Google, Alexa and other search
engines. Make sure that you are listed in dmoz.org, but
don�t waste time with too many other free directories.
Someone from India e-mailed me and offered to build
10,000 links for $50. Is that a good deal?
Generally with SEO, you get what you pay for, but when
it comes to link building, you need to outsmart your
competitors on every level. Only the best link building
strategies will deliver the best results. In this case, it�s
likely that a couple of hundred other customers have
bought the same service, so you will find your links
competing against all others who bought the same idea.
People can only surf the internet using one of two
a) they can type in your address, or,
b) they can click on a link
99.5 % of the time people travel by clicking on a link. So
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if you want traffic you need to give the world something
to click on.
What can people click on are:
links from articles
links from press releases
links from rss feeds
links from videos
links from podcasts
links from blogs
The simplicity is that promotion of your business can
only take place with text, audio and video. Ideally you
want to use all three to generate traffic to your website.
The New York Times recently reported that over 53% of
all traffic online is currently video related.
Is link building easy and can we do it in house?
You can, but it takes T I M E. It takes time to:
Find the websites to link with
Make the link requests
Wait on those link requests
Process, organize, and manage the links
Have the search engines find or "spider" your link
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Check to see if your links are still on your
partners� websites
Build a "101 list". These get Dugg all the time, and
often become "authority documents". People can't
resist linking to these (hint, hint).
Create 10 easy tips to help you [insert topic here]
articles. Again, these are exceptionally easy to link to.
Create extensive resource lists for a specific topic (see
Mr Ploppy for inspiration).
Create a list of the top 10 myths for a specific category.
Create a list of gurus/experts. If you impress the people
listed well enough, or find a way to make your project
look somewhat official, the gurus may end up linking to
your site or saying thanks. (Sometimes flattery is the
easiest way to strike up a good relationship with an
Make your content easy to understand so many people
can understand and spread your message. (It's an
accessibility thing.)
Put some effort in to minimize grammatical or spelling
errors, especially if you need authoritative people like
librarians to link to your site.
Have an easily accessible privacy policy and about
section so your site seems more trustworthy. Including
a picture of yourself may also help build your authority.
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Buy relevant traffic with a pay per click campaign.
Relevant traffic will get your site more visitors and
brand exposure. When people come to your site,
regardless of the channel in which they found it, there is
a possibility that they will link to you.
Syndicate an article at EzineArticles, GoArticles,
iSnare, etc. The great thing about good article sites is
that their article pages actually rank highly and send
highly qualified traffic.
Submit an article to industry news site. Have an SEO
site? Write an article and submit to WebProNews. Have
Syndicate a press release. Take the time to make it
GOOD (compelling, newsworthy). Email it to some
handpicked journalists and bloggers. Personalize the
email message. For good measure, submit it to PRWeb,
PRLeap, etc.
Track who picks up your articles or press releases.
Offer them exclusive news or content.
Trade articles with other webmasters.
Email a few friends when you have important relevant
news asking them for their feedback and/or if they
would mind referencing it if they find your information
Write about, and link to, companies with "in the news"
pages. They link back to stories and blog posts which
cover their developments. This is obviously easiest if
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you have a news section or blog. Do a Google search
for [your industry + "in the news"].
Perform surveys and studies that make people feel
important. If you can make other people feel important
they will help do your marketing for you for free.
Salary.com did a study on how underpaid mothers
were, and they got many high quality links.
This tip is an oldie but goodie: submit your site to DMOZ
and other directories that allow free submissions.
Submit your site to paid directories. Another oldie. Just
remember that quality matters.
Create your own topical directory about your field of
interest. Obviously link to your own site, deeplinking to
important content where possible. Of course, if you
make it into a truly useful resource, it will attract links
on its own.
Tag related sites on sites like Del.icio.us. If people find
the sites you tag to be interesting, emotionally
engaging, or timely they may follow the trail back to
your site.
If you create something that is of great quality make
sure you ask a few friends to tag it for you. If your site
gets on the front page of Digg or on the Del.icio.us
popular list, hundreds more bloggers will see your site,
and potentially link to it.
Look at meme trackers to see what ideas are
spreading. If you write about popular spreading ideas
with plenty of original content (and link to some of the
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original resources), your site may get listed as a source
on the meme tracker site.
Join the Better Business Bureau.
Get a link from your local chamber of commerce.
Submit your link to relevant city and state governmental
resources. (Easier in some countries than in others.)
List your site at the local library's Web site.
See if your manufacturers or retailers or other business
partners might be willing to link to your site.
Develop business relationships with non-competing
businesses in the same field. Leverage these
relationships online and off, by recommending each
other via links and distributing each other's business
Launch an affiliate program. Most of the links you pick
up will not have SEO value, but the added exposure will
almost always lead to additional "normal" links.
Depending on your category and offer, you will find
Craigslist to be a cheap or free classified service.
It is pretty easy to ask or answer questions on Yahoo!
Answers and provide links to relevant resources.
It is pretty easy to ask or answer questions on Google
Groups and provide links to relevant resources.
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If you run a fairly reputable company, create a page
about it in the Wikipedia or in topic specific wikis. If it is
hard to list your site directly, try to add links to other
pages that link to your site.
It takes about 15 minutes to set up a topical Squidoo
page, which you can use to look like an industry expert.
Link to expert documents and popular useful tools in
your fields, and also create a link back to your site.
Submit a story to Digg that links to an article on your
site. You can also submit other content and have some
of its link authority flow back to your profile page.
If you publish an RSS feed and your content is useful
and regularly updated, some people will syndicate your
RSS content (and some of those will provide links…
unfortunately, some will not).
Most forums allow members to leave signature links or
personal profile links. If you make quality contributions
some people will follow these links and potentially read
your site, link at your site, and/or buy your products.
Most brands are not well established online, so if your
site has much authority, your review related content
often ranks well.
Review relevant products on Amazon.com. We have
seen this draw in direct customer enquiries and
secondary links.
Create product lists on Amazon.com that review top
products and also mention your background (LINK!).
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Review related sites on Alexa to draw in related traffic
Review products and services on shopping search
engines like ePinions to help build your authority.
If you buy a product or service you really like and are
good at leaving testimonials, many of those turn into
links. Two testimonial writing tips — make them
believable, and be specific where possible.
Start a blog. Not just for the sake of having one. Post
regularly and post great content. Good execution is
what gets the links.
Link to other blogs from your blog. Outbound links are
one of the cheapest forms of marketing available. Many
bloggers also track who is linking to them or where
their traffic comes from, so linking to them is an easy
way to get noticed by some of them.
Comment on other blogs. Most of these comments will
not provide much direct search engine value, but if your
comments are useful, insightful, and relevant they can
drive direct traffic. They also help make the other
bloggers become aware of you, and they may start
reading your blog and/or linking to it.
Technorati tag pages rank well in Yahoo! and MSN, and
to a lesser extent in Google. Even if your blog is fairly
new you can have your posts featured on the
Technorati tag pages by tagging your posts with
relevant tags.
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If you create a blog make sure you list it in a few of the
best blog directories.
Web 2.0-ify your site. People love to link to anything
with AJAX. Even in the narrowest of niches, there is
some kind of useful functionality you can build with
Validate and 508 your site. This (indirect) method
makes your site more trustworthy and linkable,
especially from governmental sites or design-oriented
communities. There are even a few authoritative
directories of standards-compliant sites.
Order a beautiful CSS redesign. A nice design can get
links from sites like CSS Vault.
Hire a publicist. Good old fashioned 'PR' (not
PageRank) can still work wonders. Andy Hagans now
offers a link baiting publicity service.
Hire a consultant. Yes, you can outsource link building.
Just make sure to go with someone good. We
recommend WeBuildPages, Debra Mastaler and, ahem,
Eugene Rembor.
Swap some links. What?! Did we really just recommend
reciprocal link building? Yes, on a small scale, and with
relevant partners that will send you traffic. Stay away
from the link trading hubs and networks.
In case you didn't get the memo — when swapping
links, try to get links from within the content of relevant
content pages. Do not try to get links from pages that
list hundreds of off topic link partners. Only seek link
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exchanges that you would consider pursuing even if
search engines did not exist. Instead of thinking just
about your topic when exchanging links, think about
demographic audience sets.
Rent some high quality links from a broker. Text Link
Ads is the most reputable firm in this niche.
Rent some high quality links directly from Web sites.
Sometimes the most powerful rented links come direct
from sites not actively renting links.
Become a sponsor. All sorts of charities, contests, and
conferences link to their sponsors. This can be a great
way to gain visibility, links, and a warm feeling in your
Sell items on eBay and offer to donate the profits to a
charity. Many charities will link both to the eBay auction
and to your site.
Many search algorithms seem biased toward older
established sites. It may be faster to buy an old site with
a strong link profile, and link it to your own site, than to
try to start building authority links from scratch.
Sue Google.
Get sued by a company people hate. When Aaron was
sued by Traffic Power, he got hundreds or thousands of
links, including links from sites like Wired and The Wall
Street Journal.
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Hold a contest. Contests make great link bait. A fewhundred-dollar prize can result in thousands of dollars
worth of editorial quality links. Enough said.
Build a tool collection. Original and useful tools (and
collections of tools) get a lot of link love. What do you
think ranking for mortgage calculator is worth?
Create and release open source site design templates
for content management systems like Wordpress. Don't
forget the "Designed by example.com" bit in the footer!
Offer free samples in exchange for feedback.
Release a Firefox extension. Make sure you have a
download and/or support page on your site which
people can link to.
It is easy to take pictures of important events and tell
narratives about why they are important. Pictures of
(drunk?) "celebrities" in your industry make great link
Leverage new real world relationships into linking
relationships. If you go to SEO related conferences,
people like Tim Mayer, Matt Cutts, and Danny Sullivan
are readily accessible. Similarly, in other industries,
people who would normally seem inaccessible are
exceptionally accessible at trade conferences. It is
much easier to seem "real" in person. Once you create
social relationships in person, it is easy to extend that
onto the web.
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Engaging, useful, and interesting interviews are an
easy way to create original content. And they spread
like wildfire.
Here are 30 link buiding methods that may destroy your
brand or get your site banned / penalized / filtered from major
search engines, or both.
Submit your site to 200 cheesy paid directories
(averaging $15 a pop) that send zero traffic and sell
offtopic run-of-site links.
List 100 Web sites in your signature file.
Exclusively post only when you can add links to your
sites in the post area.
Post nothing but "me too" posts to build your post
count. Use in combination with a link-rich signature file.
Ask questions about who provides the best [WIDGET],
where [WIDGET] is an item that you sell. From the same
IP address create another forum account and answer
your own question raving about how great your own
site is.
As a new member to various forums, ask the same
question at 20 different forums on the same day.
Post on forum threads that are years outdated
exclusively to link to your semi-related website.
Sign up for profiles on forums you never intend on
commenting on.
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Instead of signing blog comments with your real name,
sign them with spammy keywords.
Start marketing your own site hard on your first blog
comment. Add no value to the comment section.
Mention nothing other than you recently posted on the
same subject at _____ and everyone should read it.
Carpet bomb dozens of blogs with this message.
Say nothing unique or relevant to the post at hand.
Make them assume an automated bot hit their
Better yet, use automated bots to hit their comments.
List at least 30 links in each post. Try to see if you can
hit any servers hard enough to make them crash.
Send pings to everyone talking about a subject. In your
aggregation post, state nothing of interest. Only state
that other people are talking about the topic.
Don't even link to any of the sites you are pinging. Send
them pings from posts that do not even reference them.
Send out link exchange requests mentioning PageRank.
Send link exchange emails which look like an
automated bot sent them (little or no customization, no
personal names, etc.).
Send link exchange requests to Matt Cutts, Tim Mayer,
Tim Converse, Google, and Yahoo!.
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Get links from nearly-hidden sections of websites listing
hundreds or thousands of off topic sites.
Go to webmaster conferences and rave about how rich
you are, and how your affiliates make millions doing
Instead of asking people what their name is, ask what
their URL is. As soon as you get their URL ask if they
have linked to your site yet and if not, why not.
Send a webmaster an alert to every post you make on
your website.
Send a webmaster an email every single day asking for
them to link to your website.
Send references to your site to the same webmaster
from dozens of different email accounts (you sly dog).
If the above do not work to get you a free link, offer
them $1 for their time. Increase your offer by a dollar
each day until they give in.
Emulate the RIAA. When in doubt, file a lawsuit against
a 12-year-old girl. (Failing that, obtain bad press by any
means necessary.)
Steal content published by well known names. Strip out
any attribution. Aggregate many popular channels and
just wait for them to start talking about you.
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Send thousands of fake referrals at every top ranking
Web site, guaranteeing larger boobs, a 14-inch penis (is
that length or girth?), or millions of dollars in free,
unclaimed money.
Wear your URL on your t-shirt. Walk or drive your car
while talking on a cell phone or reading a book. When
you run into other people say "excuse you, jerk".
Spill coffee on people or find creative ways to insult
people to coax them into linking at your site.
Sue other webmasters for deep linking to your site.
Well, this is more "hilariously dumb" than it is a "bad
linking practice".
As you can see, link building is difficult, frustrating and
time intensive.
Therefore Link Baiting is the latest buzzword in the SEO
Now what is this ―Link Baiting‖?
You can�t force other websites to build links, but you
can offer bait that gives so much value that they WANT
to link to your site.
So create something that naturally attracts links for
your web page by getting people to talk about it,
discussing it on forums, blogging about it, posting it and
linking to it.
Make a valuable resource (lists, special reports, history
of, how to, etc.)
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Interview (e-mail/phone) prominent people and publish
the interview
Build a useful tool (currency converter if you are a bank
or a recipe data base if you are selling food, you know
that sort of stuff)
Write an interesting article
Publish your article on the following websites and don�t
forget to include your name, your company name and
your URL at the bottom of your publication – if you
forget, nobody can click on your link, google your
business or visit your homepage. (Before you freak out
because you think you have to jot down and type in all
those URL�s, read on, I�ll tell you later how you can get
all the links online).
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I know it�s a daunting task to type all these URL�s into
your browser, so I don�t want you to do it. Email me at
[email protected] and I will email you all
these links.
Run a newsworthy ‗event� such as a contest
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Test something new that has not been done before
Be the first in doing something on the internet
Write something controversial
Be the first to write the latest news in your niche
Disagree with an authority
Post an interesting picture
Be the first to research and document something
Make a tool that others can put on their sites but that
links to you
Make a resource that is just in time for a major event
Write an outrageous theory and back it up with logic
Write useful comments on something that is happening
Give something valuable for free
Become an expert in your niche and write valuable
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And now we have made a Full circle and have arrived
back at where we started: Have a good quality website,
interesting content, be genuine, original and give
A good website is worthwhile investing in, but never
forget that it�s about content, not about packaging.
Just as you as a business person are ultimately judged
on your attitude and what you know, and not on the cut
of your suit, a shop is judged on the quality of products
and service, not on the coolness-factor of its website.
Every business is made by the people who run it. It�s not
the fancy building and the glass towers which make a
great company, it�s not their marketing spend, and
neither its staff having MBAs. It�s the attitude of people
who make a great company, and you must never forget
that. Even in an online business, customers can feel the
attitude behind the website. Therefore, have
consideration for the people. Think of your customers in
whatever you do.
Mission or Vision statements belong to internal
boardroom discussion of your company, not on a
website. People are only interested in what�s in it for
them, not in company�s missions and visions.
Don�t mix up introduction with sale pitch. It is okay to
introduce your business in the ―About us‖ section and
tell who you are, what you do and how you work, but
keep it short and sweet and don�t self-indulge.
Many online businesses pretend to be bigger than they
are and talk too much. Your clients are neither
interested in your headcount nor in your turnover. The
only thing they are interested in is a good service.
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But if you talk about how great your service is, you are
creating expectations and are in trouble if those are not
met. Therefore, omit all the attributes and describe
your service in sober, business-like words. Ebay and
Amazon don�t brag with the fact that they are the
greatest online shops in the world and that they will
blow you away with their service. They simply tell you
what they do and keep their promise. Style is the art of
modesty, and customers like businesses with style.
Talking about good style and service policy, here�s a
good business policy to close with:
Rule 1: The customer is always right.
Rule 2: if the customer is ever wrong, re-read rule 1.
Finally, always say ―Thank you for purchasing‖ to your
customer. He chooses to give his business to you, not
to someone else, so the least thing to do is to thank him
for that.
Make it abundantly clear how potential clients can make
contact with you or request more information. It is
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astonishing how many websites have been developed,
investing a lot of time and money, and still forgot to
offer contact details or make it very difficult to find them
on the homepage.
Thank you and best of success in your online
I always welcome your feedback and constructive critique.
Please email me directly at [email protected] If
your company would like to discuss how our consultants can
help you, please visit www.remborpartners.com or call us on
++44 (0)207 702 1077.
For further tips on how to improve your business
performance, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter ―The
Business Accelerator‖ by visiting www.remborpartners.com
and registering.
Do not miss to visit RTBC – Rembor�s Turnaround Business
Channel, the world�s first channel dedicated to the
turnaround community. Free to subscribe, commercial free
and full of massive value and practical advice, it gives you
hands-on, real life, no-nonsense help. Visit
to view our programme and to subscribe.
Feedback and suggestions are very welcome !
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The Author
Eugene Rembor, MBA studied in Mannheim / Germany,
Barcelona and Cambridge. An international career followed,
holding Managing Director and CEO positions within Top
Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 corporations. In 1999 he founded
a management consultancy in London.
Eugene is an expert in rapid bottom line improvement and
turnaround management. He has published three books and
writes business columns for various magazines and
newspapers. He regularly accepts international speaking
engagements. Part of the UKTI envoy, he spoke in Abu Dhabi
and Qatar, at NEOCON in Chicago, Hong Kong, Oslo and
London. He is a mentor to London Metropolitan Police and
lectures at various Chambers of Commerce and Embassies
on international business.
408 Ways to Build a Successful Web-Shop and 30 Sure-Fire Ways to Destroy It