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SEARCH ENGINE TRICKS

Think Small and Grow BIG
By: Developer Shed
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    2004-03-04

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    Think Small and Grow BIG
    by Kristie Tamsevicius


    In this ever-growing-techno-jungle we call the Internet, it's easy for
    the little guys to get overlooked. If you aren't Coca-Cola,
    Microsoft, or Amazon, it can be hard to compete. Small
    businesses are faced with the challenge of standing out in the face
    of giants. So how do you differentiate and survive? The key is to
    be SMALL in a big way by capturing the essence of YOU in your
    web site!

    To illustrate my point I'll paint a picture. Imagine that you have a
    taste for a strawberry milkshake, so you head down to Joe's Ice
    Cream Parlor. When you walk in, Joe greets you with a smile and
    asks, "How you doing Sam? Do you want the usual strawberry
    shake?" You plop yourself down on the barstool and say, "That'd
    be great!" Joe asks how the wife and kids are. You ask how Joe's
    business is doing. Joe pours the milkshake into a tall curved
    soda glass, pops a straw in, and puts not one, but two cherries on
    top.

    What's good about this picture? It's small at it's best! It's the good
    ole' days of Mom and Pop stores relived. You know that when you
    go to Joe's you'll get more than a great milk shake you love, it's
    the experience of it. And the value that Joe adds to that milkshake
    goes a long way toward building and keeping a relationship with
    that client. Let's talk about how you capture the "you" and put its
    power to work in your business?

    STOREFRONT
    It all starts when you walk into Joe's Ice Cream Shop. The
    nostalgic look, the music from the jukebox, the real whip cream he
    tops his milk shakes with. Does your web site have stopping
    power? If you don't capture the visitor's attention in a few
    seconds, you've lost their business. Through use of friendly copy,
    attractive graphics, and color you can add interest and set the tone
    for your visitors.

    MOTTO:
    The front door of your web site is the home page. You need to
    state right at the top of the page: who you are, what you do, and
    why customers should care! What is your unique selling point?
    Are you friendly? Are you affordable? Are you available 24/7?
    Do you have a specialty? Are you a one-stop shop?

    Remember those catchy phrases you can't get out of your head:
    Bounty, the quicker picker upper. Burger King - we make it your
    way. Hertz, we try harder.. These are perfect examples of
    slogans that tell customers immediately WHO you are and WHY
    you are better than the rest.

    WHAT ARE THE SPECIALS?
    Joe lists his "soda for the day" right on his menu for all to see.
    Similarly, you need to tell visitors about the exciting features your
    site has to offer. Write home page that reads like a "special of the
    day" menu telling customers about the free reports, the resources,
    the products, and other features your site has to offer them. If you
    offer a free initial trial or full money back guarantee make it
    VISIBLE on your home page!

    WORDS:
    Just as Joe's conversation gave you a warm friendly shopping
    experience, you can put personality in your web copy to create a
    friendly visitor experience. Steer clear of web copy that makes
    you sound like a high-pressure car salesman or a fancy high
    profile VP of sales. Instead, write honestly with a personal
    approach.

    Your web site copy (writing) should NOT be a laundry list pulled
    from your resume or simply listing your services. Instead, tell
    people in your own words what you have to offer them, how it will
    help them, how much they will save, how much easier it will make
    things for them, how convenient your are. Think like a customer
    and ask, "Why should I buy from this company versus the one
    down the street?" The answers to THAT will form writing for your
    web site.

    USE OTHERS WORDS:
    When your friend George said, "You've GOT to try the Milk
    Shakes at Joe's. You won't believe how good they are" you were
    SOLD! There's nothing like a heartfelt testimonial to build trust
    and credibility. If you don't have a big brand name and the
    reputation that goes with it, you'd need to give the customer a
    reason to believe that you or your product does what you promise.
    Testimonials do this. And honest words from a happy customer
    will get you more customers than any high paid advertisement
    ever will.

    A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS:
    Joe always had a way of making you feel right at home in his
    shop. Similarly, by adding a picture of yourself on the web site,
    your customers will feel like they know you. The more customers
    feel they know you, the more likely they will want to do business
    with you.

    If you don't have a good picture of yourself here's some ideas for
    you. Go to Sears, Glamour Shots, or JC Penny studio and get
    one taken. If you take "horrible" formal pictures, consider taking
    one of you "in action" doing what you do. If you teach, consider
    showing a picture of you working with students. You can even
    "cut" yourself out of a good casual shot, remove the background,
    add a shadow, and make a GREAT head shot! See my picture on
    about us page http://www.kcustom.com/aboutus.htm. I take
    TERRIBLE formal picture because I hate getting my picture taken.
    This one is of me in Key West on my honeymoon. No wonder I
    look so happy!

    If you sell widgets, show a picture of your product on your web
    site. When people shop in a store they like to feel, touch, and hold
    the product. Recreate this experience with pictures and visual
    imagery with words. Don't tell customers that it's "solid leather
    construction", instead tell them "the seat is made with leather so
    soft you'll sink right into it"!

    MAINTAIN FRIENDLY, RESPONSIVE COMMUNICATION WITH
    CUSTOMERS
    Have you ever gone to a store counter and waited, and WAITED?
    You could see the store clerk standing up there chatting with her
    fellow sales clerk. You clear your throat, and try to make eye
    contact with her, and then FINALLY she comes over and asks,
    "Can I help you?" This is how your customers feel when they send
    your business an email and you don't respond right away.

    Responses to emails should be timely. If you don't have time to
    answer someone's question right away, send them a note to tell
    them you got their inquiry and when they CAN expect an answer.
    Go back in your head to the "waiting at the counter" scenario . . .
    when the clerk says, "I'll be right with you" it sure makes you feel
    better doesn't it? This tells the customer "You are important to me, I
    noticed you, and I will help you soon as I can"

    OFFER IMPECCABLE SERVICE:
    The key to Joe's success at the Ice Cream Shop wasn't just his
    incredible milk shakes; it was the value he added by adding the
    extra cherry on top. Promise 8 and deliver 9. What do you do to
    add value to your business? Give freely of yourself by adding
    those little extras.

    IT'S ALL IN THE PACKAGING:
    Somehow milkshakes never taste as good in a paper cup with a
    plastic lid. And even though the milkshake may cost $1 extra at
    Joe's, you don't mind because you know your are getting your
    money's worth. Think of ways to package your services that are
    attractive and convenient for your clients. Don't nickel and dime
    your customers to death. Sometimes $150 per hour fees can
    sound pretty scary to clients. Think perhaps about creating a
    package with a set number of offerings at a set price. You could
    offer a basic, a deluxe, and the GOLD package. When clients
    know exactly what to expect, it takes the "fear" out of their
    purchase.

    ANSWERING THE PHONE:
    I don't know about you, but there is nothing that impresses me
    more when I call a customer help number and actually get
    HUMAN live help! I want a person who listens and understands
    my problems. I don't want to choose options 1, 2, or 3 and push a
    button on the phone.

    When Joe answers the phone he says "Welcome to Joe's Ice
    Cream Shop, this is Joe!" What a nice first impression that makes!
    Smile when you answer, people will hear the difference in your
    voice.

    BE SMALL - BE YOU - You won't believe the difference it makes!
    I can tell you from experience that being "myself" is what has built
    my business. And everyday as I build web sites for small business
    owners I help them put a piece of themselves into it. The
    importance of branding yourself cannot be overstated. Take a
    look at your own business. Try to look with a different set of eyes.
    How do you present yourself? Does my site "feel" like a warm
    comfortable place to do business OR does your web site look like
    screaming over-hyped ad or business brochure? Remember the
    secret to competing with the BIG guys, lies in adding the human
    touch to your service, your communication, and your web site! Act
    small for BIG profits!

    ~ Article by Kristie Tamsevicius, author of
    "The Ultimate Guide to Creating and Marketing eBooks."
    (http://www.ultimateguidetoebooks.com)

    Kristie Tamsevicius is President of Kristie's Custom Design
    (http://www.kcustom.com) a full service web development and hosting
    services.

    Subscribe to our FREE Internet marketing ezine THE EDGE
    at http://www.kcustom.com/newsletter.htm

    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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