May 31, 2008

Using Myspace to Promote Your Business

One of the newest phenomena's hitting the business world on the internet is using interactive community sites, such as Myspace to promote your business.

The reasons are clear as to why business owners have chosen to promote their businesses on Myspace. With an average of over half a million long ins a day, Myspace is easily one of the most popular website on the internet today. With this kind of traffic, every business is sure to find a target group that is interested in their products, or services.

Perhaps one of the best reasons for using Myspace to promote your business is the fact that it is free. The only investment you will need is some time to build your profile, and time to find and add people to your "friends list," which in this case is actually your targeted group.

Setting Up Your Profile

Once you sign up, you will be asked to create a profile. Your profile is the single most important thing when you decide to advertise using Myspace. Your potential targets and clientele will look at this profile first. It will literally give them their first impression of you.

You will want to set up your profile with as much information as you can, however do not overdo it and make it seem as if you are just trying to get them to read about your business. A good balance is key.

Do not over use images or other media within your page, so it will load fast for even the slowest of internet connections.

Gaining Targets

One have everything setup on your profile, you will want to begin looking for targets. You will want to look for the type of people that may be interested in your business.

Myspace provides a search feature that allows you to search by age, gender, status, and location. Use this feature to search and find people in your area. Click on their profile, and if they fit your criteria, the use the "add to friends" button. A message will be sent to them, and then they will be able to add or deny your profile. Once you see that they have accepted you, then post a "thank you" message on their profile.

Proper Myspace Etiquette

When using Myspace to promote your business, you will want to practice some etiquette. It is easy to overdo it, which can greatly hurt your image, especially with potential local consumers. After all, the idea is to promote your business, not to hurt it's image.

Spaming, or sending unsolicited messages to random users and addresses, is strictly prohibited, and will get your account deleted. Never send unsolicited or unwanted messages to anyone. However, if the person contacts you first (whether it be by comment, or message) feel free to communicate with them about your business.

Another type of spamming, which is potentially dangerous for your business, is over-posting comments. The comment system on Myspace allows you to post comments on other's profiles, that is usually viewable by everyone that views that person profile. This can be a great way to reach additional contacts, provided that you follow some rules. First, never post a comment solely about your business. Instead, you can post a message thanking that person for accepting your friend request, or thanking them for sending you a friend request, whatever the case may be. The only acceptable way you should post a comment about your business is if the user posted a comment on your profile first.
Never post pictures on other users profile.
If you are a small business owner that has just started a corporation or LLC, one of the more important tasks is to retain a lawyer. While many people wait until their business has grown or until an issue has popped up to retain a lawyer, having a lawyer retained can help you get information fast and help make important decisions. Here are some tips on retaining a lawyer.

There are two ways to retain a lawyer. Many people have relationships with a lawyer before starting a business so they usually know who to call if they have any problems or a quick question or two to ask. If you don't know a good lawyer, it is usually very easy to find one. While it may take some time to find a lawyer in your field of preference that can help you out with immediate questions, it is important once you find a good lawyer to retain him or her.

If you don't have the money for a large law firm or to retain a lawyer, there are many small business services that provide affordable alternatives to retaining a lawyer. Sort of like medical insurance, you can pay a subscription fee for the year in case you need the services of a lawyer. Many services are free, however there are many others that are above the benefits and must be paid out of pocket. If you are starting a business or have a business and need answers or legal assistance, look into retaining a lawyer.

May 22, 2008

Scams to Avoid Online

If you surf the web, have a web site or ecommerce site, or sell on auction sites, you should be prepared to be scammed. There are thousands of hackers trying to hack your computer, business or scam you out of money each and everyday, here are some tips that help you avoid scams.

There are major ways to avoid scams and hackers online. Have a powerful antivirus program running all the time, do not click on any links that you are not aware of, and if doing business online, never pay with sources other than check, money order or Paypal. You can cut down your risk to being scammed by following these three tips.

Virus software will help you protect you from general viruses as well as spyware and Trojan horses. Trojan horses are small programs that are inadvertently downloaded and find personal information which is then sent to a database online.

Do not click on links that seem suspicious. You can download a Trojan horse or give away your personal and financial information to an entity other than which was stated. If you do business on auction sites, never accept money or merchandise off the auction site and don't pay with Western Union or Cash. Western Union can not guarantee your payment and many times, it is used for scamming purposes. So follow the above tips to avoid being scammed.
If you are a road warrior and are on the road conducting business, then it is important to keep constant communications, find a comfortable place to work and be able to have the right office tools at your disposal in order to complete business quickly, effectively and efficiently.

Over the past decade there have been lots of exciting changes that have made it much easier to conduct business on the road. Here are some great tools to get your business done on the road.

Most people can't live without their laptop, but even for some road warriors, a lap top might not always be the smallest item to carry around. Many people usually need their laptop computer to read and send email. However, today there are portable devices that can be easily used to read and send email wirelessly. Blackberries are great little gadgets a little bigger than a cell phone that can easily send and view email wirelessly, no matter where you are. These little gadgets are super small, light weight and can fit in your pocket. So whether you are out in the desert or at the doctor's office, you can conduct emails sessions on your blackberry.

If you have a laptop computer and need internet access no matter where you go, you can sign up for wireless internet service. This service is usually available through your cell phone provider and only requires your laptop to have a wireless card to send and receive data. The speed for the internet connection is usually very good, faster than dial up and sometimes approaching cable. So if you are a road warrior and are on the road, check out these great tips to get business done on the road.

May 17, 2008

Keeping Records for Tax Purposes

If you are a legitimate business or just sell on auction sites part time, it is always necessary to keep excellent records for tax paying purposes. Taxes can take a big chunk out of your income and by law; you must keep certain records in order to file for income tax each year. If you have amassed some income via online auction sites or ecommerce web sites, here are some tips on keeping excellent records.

Many people with auction sites and ecommerce site businesses usually have an easier time keeping records for tax purposes, due to the nature of the internet. Everything on the internet including logs, and files is easily downloaded and if you use a payment process or even Paypal, you can easily download logs of all your income, sales and purchases made quick and easy.

Auction sites such as Ebay already keep detailed records on all items listed and all items that have sold. Whether you have sold 10 or 10K items you can easily download this information to your computer where you can figure out your tax liability. So if you are doing business online, use these great tools in order to keep excellent financial records to file for taxes this year.
One of the essential small business marketing tools lies in a marketing plan, although most small business owners do not relish planning. They would rather spend their time in trying to bring in a few more customers by doing much simpler things than planning big. In any case, most of them do not think that drawing up a plan for their small business will be of any use. The plan need not be elaborate, however. It involves taking just a few simple steps. Proactive small business owners focus on understanding what their customers need most by interacting with them and then they gear themselves to fulfill such needs. They notice changes in the market trends and recreate their marketing materials as well as website content periodically. They put emphasis on the core areas of their business that bring the most benefits. A lot many customers come in to buy when they know that they get the best value for their money. Small business marketing is also about establishing individual contacts with your prospects as well as existing customers.

Email marketing
This can best be done through email, which has now become a very important means of promoting the small business. Emails reach the target audience directly. Small business owners and their customers or prospective customers get to establish an informal and continuous relationship, which will be good for their business in the long run. Being inexpensive and fast, emails are a good tool for promoting their business, especially because they have a wide spread and can reach, at once, a large number of buyers looking for products or services offered online. Best of all, emails can be used to encourage customers to give feedback, for improving sales as well as for modifying email marketing strategies.

Other inexpensive marketing tools
Owners of small businesses, in general, can't afford to invest in pricey advertisements in the media. Consequently, they are always on the look out for ad opportunities that cost next to nothing. No doubt, emails offer such an opportunity. Blogs can also be used similarly, provided they reach those people that evince some interest in the goods or services of the small business concerned. A well-written press release is another tool that can profitably be exploited without expense.

If advertisements are all about catching people's attention to promote business, you can get it by spreading information that highlights the line of your small business by word of mouth. People are ready to listen to you if you talk about how the various aspects of their life will change for the better when they choose to become your customers. What you say, of course, must be convincing and interesting. Power point presentation of your projects and products to small manageable groups will serve your purpose, although to a limited extent. Ads using Google AdWords do not need any initial investment, but if they work for you, you will be able to afford the overall expense of the effort, particularly since you are allowed to wait to pay till you receive successful results.

Strategies to promote the small business may not be totally different from those that work for the big business, except that there will be a shift in the emphasis.

May 13, 2008

Sign Up to Be an Affiliate

If you have a small business or work from home, it is about time to get rid of your old dial up internet connection and move to a broadband internet connection. Not only is a broadband internet connection super fast, but there are tons of accessories and utilities that you can use with it. Here are some great uses for broadband internet connection.

Broadband connection is widely used because it offers extremely fast download speed. Most dial up connections only offer about 56K download speeds. DSL can download up to 3 MB per second and Cable sometimes up to twice as fast as DSL.

Having a faster download speed can enable you to watch streaming video, download music from legitimate music sources such as iTunes or even play games on line. If you have broadband, you can sign up for VOIP which can cut your phone bill in half easily.

Voice over internet protocol is a service that can enable you to receive and send phone calls on your normal home phone over the internet. The reason why VOIP is so great is that it usually only cost about $25 per month for unlimited local and long distance calling. So look into installing a broadband internet connection. You can save big and bring a world of entertainment to your home computer.
If you are looking for a great way to increase your profits and expand your business, signing up to be an affiliate is one of the best ways. Signing up to be an affiliate marketer is one of the best ways to cash in on the best products and services being sold on the internet. Here are some tips.

Many products and services that are offered on the internet can be sold through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is an easy concept. If you are the owner of web sites, blogs or forums that receives traffic, turn this traffic into revenue, by offering your visitors great affiliate products. As an affiliate marketer, you are paid for either producing a sale or producing a lead. If you sign up to be an affiliate, you will receive a special link with your private code in the link. Every time one of your visitors clicks your link and buys an item, you are recognized as the seller and are given a huge commission. Many commissions usually range from 10% all the way up to 50%.

The great part of signing up to be an affiliate is that it costs you nothing. It is usually free to join, free to sell a product and once the product is sold, you only have to collect your money. You do not have to worry about delivering the product or any tech support involved in the product. Signing up to be an affiliate is a super easy way to make hundreds or even thousands of dollars off of other people's great products and services.

May 11, 2008

Ways to Make Your Affiliate Website Successful

One of the most important functions in any online business is the ability to sell your product. Many small businesses fail not because they have a bad product or service, but because they do not know how to sell their product. One of the easiest ways to sell a product or service is to put together a list of leads or people that fit your market that may be interested in your product.

Many salespeople work hard to put together a list of possible customers. Putting together a list takes lots of time, smarts and plenty of hard work. One of the easiest ways to put together a list is just to buy one, while some lists are a good value, if you are selling a certain product or to a certain list of people, you may find that lists are extremely expensive and usually worth the time and effort to create one yourself.

There are many ways to put together a list. One of the easiest ways to create a list is to set up a web site on a specific topic and offer a free product, service or newsletter. However, in order to get the newsletter, the visitor must submit his or her email address. Depending on the amount of traffic, over a few months you can receive hundreds or even thousands of email addresses that are interested in receiving information on products or services. If you are looking to build your business by developing your contacts, check out the above tips on putting together a list.
An affiliate website is defined as a website that sells other's products or information for profit. This is one of the best types of investment sites simply because you do not have to product any of the products, just the website to market them.

Here are a few ways that you will maximize your profits from your affiliate website.

1) Join affiliate programs that offer high commissions. Each affiliate program is different, especially when it comes to the amount of money is paid for each referral. If you are only going to make a fraction of a penny each sale, why bother when they are thousands of other programs that offer much more?

2) Join 2 or 3 tier programs. A "tier" program allows you to not only sell their product or service for profit, but it also allows you to recruit others to do the same. Once you recruit others, you then gain profits for each of their sales as well. A 3 tier program allows you to collect profits for the people your recruit AND the people they recruit. Essentially, you make money off of their efforts.

3) Join affiliate programs that offer lifetime commissions. Lifetime commission means that you not only make money on the initial sale, but you will also earn commission each time that customer comes back and buys something additional.

4) Join Google Adsense. Google Adsense is by far one of the most profitable and well known affiliate program on the internet today. Instead of making money based on sales, you make money based on when someone clicks on the link. Perhaps one of the best features is the fact that the ad generated by Google Adsense is targeted towards the content on your website. This means that the customers that visit your website are more likely to click on the ads because they pertain to what they were looking for in the first place.

Alternatively, Google also allows you to place a search box on your site, and you will be paid each time someone uses it and visit a link.

Because Google Adsense changes its links to match the content on the page in which it is found, it can be used easily on every page of your website, including pages with other affiliate links on them.

5) Join affiliate networks. An affiliate network is a website that offers a wide variety of products and services to sell on your website. This allows you to easily search for affiliate program in which you want to market. It also will monitor all of your commissions from the various programs, add it to one account, and then send you one check once the amount in your account exceeded your specified amount. If you have ever tried to manage several affiliate programs at once, you will greatly appreciate this feature.

6) Optimize your website. You will want to make your page friendly for both search engines and your visitors.

Search engines use bots to scan and track your website in order to index it. You must provide these bots with easy to read code, keywords, and content. Use keywords and information that describes the product you are trying to sale.

More importantly, you will want to make your page friendly for your visitors. Make sure you have a clear, easy to read website that remain constant throughout.

Make sure that your pages load quick, as you may have some customers that are on dialup. Make sure you include a navigation menu on all pages of your website, which leads not only to the type of product that they are looking for, but also other categories as well. You never know if some may be looking for a specific item, but may also stumble on something they were technically looking for, but something they are still interested in none the less.

May 3, 2008

Advertisements for Budget Minded Merchants

If you have a web site or sell products or services on the web, it is very important at some stage in your business to advertise your products to the masses. For many small businesses advertising can cost a big chunk of money and sometimes does not return any meaningful results. If you have a small budget but would like to see great results from your advertising campaign, here are some suggestions on advertising.

There are a few great ways to advertise with a low budget, such as Google Adwords and banner exchanges. Google Adwords is a great resource for online merchants. You can create a text based ad and keywords in which your ad will show if a visitor searches for the term. You pay by the click, so you are guaranteed that a person visits your site and hopefully sees your product. Depending on the keyword and competition, Google Adwords can cost from $.05 to usually about $1 per click, for extremely in demand keywords, you can pay more than $1 per click.

Another great way to advertise is banner exchanges. You can swap banners with other merchants and reach visitors that are in many different categories or on the same topic as your web site, product or service. Banner exchanges are usually free and the cost to produce a banner is usually relatively inexpensive. So take a look at these great ideas for budget minded merchants.

May 1, 2008

8 Ways to Manage Your Business Contacts

Your clients are the number one reason why your business is successful, because after all, a business cannot exist without money, and money comes from your customers. So once a customer uses your business, how can you keep them coming back for more? The secret is simple, keep in contact with them, and give them reasons to come back to your business.

Each business is different, so you will want to look at what will work best for you. Here are a few ways that successful businesses keep in contact with their previous clients:

1) Start a client list. Unless you record each one of your clients information, you will have no way of getting into contact with them. You can do this a number of ways, from as simple as getting a customer to sign a guestbook, all the way to as complicated as requesting your client to sign up for a newsletter. Once you have a list of clients, you will be able to contact as often as you wish.

2) If add a new product, service, or expand your business is anyway, inform your previous clients first. You can achieve this a few ways:

-If you have a newsletter, include it in your newsletter.
-Do a mass mailing using postcards, letters, etc
-Call any client that has willing included their phone, but only use this idea if the change would directly relate to them.
-Post the change on your website.

3) Start a website. Websites can be accessed by any of your previous clientele, and provide a great link of communication. Not only should you provide information about your business, but you may also want to include information such as tips, and articles.

4) This one is simple: write thank you notes to your clients. A handwritten thank you note shows the client that you truly appreciate their business. If a client feels that they are appreciated and welcomed, then chances are they will come back to your business before doing business with one of your competitors.

5) The use of marketing materials can keep you in contact with your clients. You would be surprised how much impact a simple pen with your logo and phone number can do. Other marketing materials include: magnetic business cards, Key rings, and notepads. These marketing materials are typically fairly inexpensive, and can be ordered in mass quantities.

6) If you do not want to directly ask for contact information, you may need to get a little creative. One idea is to hold a contest. Require the client to fill out a card with their information, or drop in their business card. Make sure that you tell the clients that you will be contacting them about your services or products(this can be accomplished by writing it on the card, or displaying it near where they have to their business card or information card once they are finished). Give away something that would be of great interest to your type of client, so you can get the maximum number of entries. Change this contest frequently to gain maximum exposure.

7) Discount coupons are a great way to bring your customers back. Will 10% off hurt your business, especially if it means whether or not you get that client to come back in? You may want to mail these coupons out, or supply a code for use upon checkout if you have an online business.

8) You may want to consider starting a referral system. A referral program will not only get your previous clients to come back, but it will also help you obtain new clients as well. For example: for each referral, you will give the client a 10 dollar gift card to use in your store. Be careful not to give out cash, as this may or may not be used for products or services for your business.