Five Smart, Effective Ways to Boost Website Profits
By Angela Wu, Feb 2004
* Offer a printed copy of a premium newsletter service. For example, it could be based on your free email newsletter but with more detail, or with coupons or discounts that readers would not otherwise receive.
* Popular site? Charge an annual fee to sites that want to appear in your links or resources directory. This helps to weed out "casual" link requests while also paying you for the time required to review links for approval and to maintain the directory.
* Create a service that's available to subscribers only, and offers information that isn't freely available to others visiting the site. For instance, let's say your site specializes in finding executive-style condos. People who visit your website are presented with all the details - photos, rates, amenities, and so forth. The only thing missing is the contact information for each rental. If someone is interested, he or she pays a subscription fee to be able to view the contact information for all the condos on your site.
There are plenty of other ways to create a subscription service. Use your imagination!
3. Fire Bad Customers.
Most customers are wonderful, but there's always a small percentage of them that end up costing your business far more time and effort than is justified. For instance, someone may constantly demand special treatment yet be unwilling to pay for it. Another might be extremely rude to you and your employees. The good thing about operating your own business is that you can choose not to deal with these types of people.
Some people are just impossible to please. Know when to cut your losses. Be professional and polite, but also firm, when you let your customer know that you don't want his business. If you're so inclined, you can even direct him elsewhere.
4. Cultivate Relationships.
People buy from other people. Establish yourself and your business as a trustworthy and credible source of information and quality products or services. Offer fast, responsive, and helpful customer service - and even try to go above and beyond what your customers expect. Web businesses that venture outside of the internet and into the 'real world' can help them to stand out from the competition... even if it's something as small as a thank-you card in the mail.
Publishing a newsletter is a popular way to keep in touch and develop trust. Although it can be time- consuming, it helps to keep your business in the forefront of your readers' minds. When they're ready to do business, your company is more likely to pop into mind.
5. Follow-Up With Prospects and Customers.
There can be any number of reasons why someone won't buy immediately, even if they're interested. They might be waiting for the next pay cheque. The dog may be barking to be let in, or maybe dinner is burning. Whatever the reason, people do get distracted from their original intent to purchase. Many people are also naturally cautious and prefer to do more research or mull things over before making the decision to buy. By following up with a prospect you're more likely to catch him at a time that he's ready to make a purchase.
Many businesses will also follow up with existing customers to offer their backend products. For instance, someone who has purchased a dog training book may also be interested in purchasing a complementary video that demonstrates these dog training techniques.
There are lots of excellent autoresponders available to take away the tedium of manual follow-ups. One excellent choice is ListMailPro, which offers many helpful features, including unlimited lists. Read more here: http://www.onlinebusinessbasics.com/listhost.html
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Angela is the author of Online Business Basics, a practical
guide to marketing a business on a beginner's budget. This guide offers loads of instantly useable tips and links, in a down-to-earth style that even marketing "newbies" can understand! Pick up your copy at: http://onlinebusinessbasics.com/article.html
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