Five Outstanding Free Resources to Grow Your Online Business TODAY!Written by Pam Renovato
If you have been doing business on Internet for long, you know that you can spend a lot of time searching. Searching for all sorts of things. You may have even found that you spend 10 times amount of time searching as you do promoting or creating. If this is true for you--and I am sure it is--it doesn't have to be true anymore!
What you are reading is your opportunity to stop searching and start promoting. Let someone else do searching for you! Every week, we will list "Five Free Marketing Resources You Can Use to Grow Your Online Business TODAY." Each week this list will be completely different from previous week. I promise you, you won't want to miss it! So, be sure and return every week to see what great things we come up with. On to list...
1. Marketing discussion boards are a great way to get help and network with other Webmasters. If you participate (ask questions/give advice--Never advertise) often, they are also a good way to get traffic. Chayden Bates has started a new discussion board at his site. It is a great board! The response time is outstanding. Visit board here: http://www.marketingeffect.com/cgi- bin/forum/webbbs_config.pl (You may have to cut and paste above URL.)
2. If you enjoy board listed above, here is a huge list of other marketing boards for you to visit and participate in. http://www.marketers-edge.com/discussion-forums-strategy.htm
3. By now, I am sure you have noticed all of those beautiful covers that people are using to promote their ebooks and other products. Those images really add credibility to your ebook or product. There are a number of services that will create those covers for you for a fee of anywhere from $29.95 to $115. A very affordable cost really. But if you need more than one image, that can get pricey. There are also a number of tutorials that will teach you to create those images yourself. Also worth every penny. But... here is an outstanding free ebook cover creation tutorial! It will teach you to create images just like pros. This tutorial is every bit as good as ones that are for sale. http://coverartguide.com/index2.htm
CRM in SmallBiz: Disappointing MisconceptionsWritten by Dinko Bacun
In last few months there has been quite a lot of discussion on CRM (customer relationship management) solutions in forums and ezines. Although it is extremely positive that people finally started to talk about one concept that will make future of a business successful or unsuccessful, there are quite a few misconceptions about term. Those misconceptions make people lose time and energy finding solutions in areas they should not be even searching, instead in concentrating on really important things. First, simplest and least obvious: Customer Relationship Management is about RELATIONS between people (yes, business is done by people, not companies). It is NOT technology. Business did exist before computers, so relations between business people existed before computers, i.e. CRM was not invented with invention of computers (just name CRM was). The good practices of relating with your customer did not become obsolete with introduction of computers, though TOOLS changed. So we use same practices, but we take advantage of possibilities that technology gives. It certainly is a different experience for buyer if he is met on web site by a human voice or keyboard chat (LivePerson, FireTalk, HumanClick) which is what technology now makes possible. The technology enables us to see how customer is navigating through site, and, if we want to, interrupt him and offer assistance. But I wonder whether customer will welcome that. If you are a salesman in a brick and mortar store, you would watch expression of customer and, based on that, decide to approach him or not. On net you cannot see his face (it's questionable if he'll let you even if possible). In any case, CRM is NOT technology, so you will not find your CRM solution among SW vendors. Which brings us to misconception number two. Business people tend to search for a CRM solution among SW developers and vendors. "They know technology, which I (the business manager) don't know, so they will know my needs and how to implement it". If a business manager would object to such a suggestion he would be labeled "old" and "overdue". In today fast business lane, fortunes are made fast, and young managers tend to "buy" a CRM software solution. CRM should already be in place, functioning, BEFORE starting IT implementation (who has to forward which info to whom to be ready for who, when? Who has to respond to what in how much time?). CRM Software solution is only a TOOL for procedures already in place. Let me draw a parallel. With invention of cars, way we conduct business changed. We could do much more business and do it better. But never once, it occurred to us to let auto designers lead and ENFORCE way we are building relations with our customers. So why does everybody think that software designers are capable of that? They might be brilliant SW developers, but still they wouldn't know how to better customer retention in a company manufacturing furniture. So why do we try to do that? Because it is easier not to lose time over enforcement of customer retention rules in our own company, when we can pay someone to do it. Because we have money, but we don't have TIME. Well, we can't do that. We cannot avoid our involvement in process (and our hours, of course), although I know most of you didn't want to hear this. Which brings us to misconception number three. You search for an SW solution for your CRM, buy it, and let those people do their job. As good manager, you organize weekly meetings to have your finger on things. Because you selected a SW vendor which is a respectable company, first thing those people do, is to organize internal audit. They pass out forms to people in different departments, to find out exactly what are needs of different parts of your company. Alternatively, they conduct interviews. And that is good. That is much better then them trying to force their "proven" flow of documentation upon your company. But what they are actually doing is LEARNING way your company functions. And teaching is done by people who work in each department, that most probably, don't have whole picture. So integration of whole picture is done by SW vendor. Can they learn in a fortnight or a month? I would suggest another approach. Find an "oldie" within your company, preferably one year from retirement. The one that does know how your company lives, who preferably worked a bit in sales, a bit in procurement and a bit in support or reclamation.