Article by: Willie Crawford
A very big part of internet marketing success is dependent upon conveying a professional, ethical, and trustworthy image. So many businesses convey just the opposite image without seeming to realize it. So I'll point out just a few things you may be doing that probably hurt your business more than you realize.
Domain Name. It IS a widely held belief that if you don't have
your own domain name and a site hosted by a paid host, you are somehow
fly-by-night. Free web pages are great for nonprofit purposes - but not
for business purposes. The perception is that since you didn't pay for
the site you have nothing to loose by setting up house, making a quick
profit, and then moving on to another site.
Prior to getting my own domain name I was directly challenged by a number of prospects who obviously were interested in my product - otherwise they wouldn't have bothered writing. I also saw where queries were made to see if complaints had been filed against me at several oversight groups. So again, I had indicators that prospects were interested, but didn't know whether they could trust someone using a free web site.
Back in April 98 I
asked the 80,000 members of the Links Exchange Digest their opinion on
this very issue - in a post. I already knew the answer to the question
but wanted to see how strong this opinion was. All respondents seemed
to agree that you must have you own domain name hosted by a full service
host to project that vital professional image. Another thing pointed out
was that when you use a free host your name will usually be longer than
many surfers will be
Free email addresses at some domain names are also considered to be less
than professional and also somewhat disreputable. The real problem here
is that spammers hide behind phony names at throwaway email addresses.
They don't risk losing anything if they have one address closed down because
they can just get another one. As a result, many businesses and individuals
now have filters setup that send emails from certain domain names directly
to the trash.
Spamming and bulk email. Email sent randomly to extracted
4) Hit counters, unrelated
icons and other items that slow down the page but contribute nothing significant.
Hit counters either show that your pages get very little traffic or they
give visitors the impression that you have inflated the count and are
therefore untrustworthy. Either way - you loose. instead of a hit counter,
I recommend software that tracks hits discretely. I use and recommend
WebLog by Darryl Burgdorf. It is cgi script so you do need cgi access
at your ISP. You can download this script at http://awsd.com/scripts/weblog.
It not only tells you how many hits each page has, but where
Unrelated icons distract from the message on your page and slow it down. Surfers demand speedy loading and will not wait for a slow page to load. They will visit one of the hundreds, perhaps even thousands of other sites that provide similar products or services. My site has a number of good articles on web page do's and don'ts so I won't list them all here. Check out these article at http://www.williecrawford.com - and watch your traffic explode when you fix some of the more glaring web page defects.
5) The final issue I will mention in this article is offering a needed, somewhat unique product. Marketing is not convincing someone that they need a product that they know they don't need. It is helping them to realize that your product fills a need they have and then prompting them to respond. It is a mixture of emotion and reason, but not changing a prospects mind. When choosing what you will devote your time and effort to offering, choose something that there is a genuine need for and that you really believe in!
I see too many businesses
advertising the same products and services as everyone else. This is great
if you are presenting your offers to a different audience or have a unique
angle -- and if the product or service fills a real need. But if ten individuals
offer the same product, to the same prospect, in the same ezine or on
the same classified ads site, the prospect has to believe that this is
either a very good product, or that particular program is perhaps reaching
a certain saturation point. Which is the conclusion that you generally
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