Essential Internet For Business
Welcome to another powerful eClass!
You’re about to discover some powerful internet based tools and resources that you can use to quickly grow your businesses profit and value, and put you way ahead of the competition.
This e-class is a camtasia where we show you through some of these resources and how you can use them.
Just click on the video below to play, or you can read the transcript below:
(you may need to wait a couple of minutes for the file to load)
After you watch the video, your tasks for this week are:
- Use the Google Keyword Tool to research your products, services, market and business and find out how your customers are searching for you and the products/services you provide, are there any interesting trends in your market, and are there new products or services that you could provide?
- Have a look at your website (if you have one) – does it pass the “10 second rule”? What can you do to improve it quickly?
- Go to an outsourcing site and post a job – even a very simple one. See what services are available and how much they cost, get used to using this method for solving problems and getting tasks done quickly and efficiently.
Enjoy the video, and if you have any questions please email us at [email protected]
All the best,
MATT AND LIZ
TRANSCRIPT of video:
[Liz] Hi everyone and welcome to e-class 11; which is going to be an introduction to the internet for business. So what we want to do today is to talk about the fast and easy ways you can use the power of the internet to really boost a business. So either one you’re looking at to buy or one you may already own and you’re looking at selling. So the main thing is— we all use the internet now, we all search, we all buy, the internet forms a major part of our lives. And the thing is most businesses don’t know how to take advantage of the internet and of these opportunities that are now available.
So not only do many businesses not know these things, when you think about it most of their competition don’t know this as well. So what we’re going to do today is really open your eyes to what’s possible—some really cool tools and programs that you can get online- some paid and even some for free that you can use in a business to really grow it very quickly and quite massively in some cases.
So probably we should start with a great example that Matt’s got of a business that used internet strategies and got amazing growth.
[Matt] I love this example because it sums up- it shows exactly what you can do with the internet especially when it comes to offline business and turning them around quickly and selling quickly and basically one of our colleagues told us about a business he was working with and a gentleman was doing home renovations. And he was turning over about 400 thousand dollars a month, that’s a nice business. And he had a very basic website; basically just a very standard website that we see with a lot of small businesses.
Now what he did was, he applied some of the strategies that we’re going to talk about today, very basic strategies and grew the business very rapidly through using the internet; so much so that his turnover jumped to 600 thousand a month. Which is when you think about it, that’s nearly 2.5 million dollars a year in extra sales and he did this- he’s very excited-within just three months. And quite simple, it didn’t cost him a lot of money to implement, it was about $30,000.
Now that’s just a fantastic result and it’s exactly what you want to be doing in your own business if you’re thinking of selling, especially if you’re thinking of selling in the next 3-6 months, you can do this kind of things yourself or alternatively of course when you’re looking to buy a business you want to try to identify where they’re weak in their strategies and where you can rev the business up. So run through some of the things we’re about to go through now.
[Liz] now obviously that guy- $30,000- paid for other people to do this stuff for him. So what we’re going to show you today is not only give you the ideas about how to do it but also some free tools so you can actually do these strategies for very little on a shoestring or even for free. But also you can pay other people to do it, so we’ll talk about that as well, the options that the internet can give you.
The internet gives you:
- Research tools
- Exposure, Leads and Sales
[Matt] Alright, so the main thing the internet gives you for offline businesses is it gives you very powerful research tools that just would not be available to the average small business owner in the years gone past. It gives you exposure, leads and sales which is obvious because you can put your business in front of a big audience and allows you to automate your business and also helps you in outsourcing a lot of key tasks in your business.
- Google Keyword Tool
- Google Trends
- Google Insights
- Google Alerts
[Liz] Ok so first of all we’re just going to go over the research tools now as Matt was saying, it’s incredible what you can find out about the people who are buying from you now. Because Google collects and collates all the enormous amount of data of peoples searches and habits online and it actually gives you the results of that for free.
So what we’ll look at first is the Google Keyword Tool. Now this is an absolutely essential tool if you’re actually doing this online, if you’re buying and selling websites. This is your first port of call. You must know how people are searching and getting to websites.
But for offline businesses it can be an amazing way to find new markets and the way your customers are finding you. So just go to Google and look up the keyword tool. You’ll find it there; it’ll be the first result. And you’ll come to a page that looks like this. Now here you can type in- you can choose where around the world you want to do your research. I’ve got it set on Australia and also you can put in the keyword or phrase that you want to look up, now I’ve put in motorcycle clothing that’s one of our businesses. But put in something that relates to your business so whether it’s a product name or products or service, or the name of your market or even the name of your business.
And what you’ll come up with is results like this now you might not be able to read these but we’ll just sort of have a look of how they look. Now you can chose the columns to display over here on the right hand side so you can choose which of these you want to see. What I’ve got showing is the estimated average cost per click, now that shows you how much advertisers are willing to pay on the Adwords program. Now I’ll talk about that in a little more detail in a minute.
It also gives you advertiser competition and here are the local search volumes for the month so you can see here under motorcycle clothing in Australia – 18,000 people searched that in December. And around the world its 1 million, so you can get a gauge of what your market is not just locally but also worldwide if you were looking to expand.
Now the interesting thing here is we’ve also been given results for motorcycles clothing, plural and that actually has more than 3x the searches of motorcycle. So- I don’t know why but this is interesting research, it shows you what your customers are actually looking up.
Now the next one I’ve looked up- and this is another business that we had- was fitness equipment and what I’ve done this time is actually sort the results by the estimated average cost per click. By doing this we’re shown how much advertisers are willing to pay for certain keywords, certain phrases and certain products. Now you can see here it’s actually $7.22 per click, when the advertisement shows and someone clicks on it, that top advertiser is willing to pay $7 just for the click. So you can tell there must be some money in that market.
So this is of when you’re looking through your products, possibly where the money is, where the popular buys are. Another thing it’ll show you when you scroll further down in the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, you’ll see it has additional keywords to consider. Now this is a fantastic tool, because it’ll actually show you other words that Google has found as relevant to your search that people are looking up; so what it came up with here is cross trainers- now maybe I wouldn’t have known that cross trainers was such a popular search term or popular product. So now it’s worth me investigating further and seeing- ok what is the market for cross-trainers. It’s a fantastic way to give you some more ideas of what your marketers are looking for.
[Matt] And therefore where you should be directing your marketing efforts
[Liz] Yes. Now a couple of other cool research tools that Google have are Google Trends and Google Insights. Now you can go and look those up in Google as well. Trends will show you an actual graph in the trend of volume of searches over time. So this goes back to 2004 and you can see that it’s a fairly consistent trend and each- December, January- obviously a lot of people start getting interested in fitness equipment and I’ve looked up cross-trainers here.
So it gives you a really great idea of WHEN to be spending the most of your advertising budget. Now it’s interesting when I looked up fitness equipment, that trend was actually falling slightly. So interesting that the specific product is gaining in popularity or remaining quite static, so it gives you a bit more information about what’s happening in your marketplace— great research tool if you’re looking to get into a business, to buy a business what’s happening.
Now the other tool is Google Insights and that’s really cool because you can actually look around the world at how the searches are distributed across the world. So you can see where the highest concentration of searches for a particular term is. This is for cross-trainers so obviously in England; cross-trainers are really popular. So if you’re a manufacturer of cross-trainers in Australia- one guess of where you’d first focus in exporting to. The other thing too is rising searches which are down here in the bottom right-hand corner. That will actually tell you- Google goes through and it will tell you what searches are suddenly becoming more popular. So you can see the real trends that are happening in your marketplace.
Another couple of cool tools- Google Alerts which- you can set up and Google will go out and find the info for you. Say your name- you can put an alert on your name, and if your name is mentioned anywhere on the web- Google will send you an email and tell you about it. So fantastic to see what’s happening out there.
Also have a look at Spyfu.com, that’s a good way to actually start looking at your competition- seeing what they’re doing, seeing how much traffic they’re getting, what they’re spending on advertising, what words they’re advertising under- so you can get some really cool information from there. Now that has both a paid and a free service, but you can get some good free information on sites like that.
Exposure and sales
Is your website effective?
Website- 4 Fast Fixes
- 10 Second Rule
- Opt-in Box
- Make an offer
- Contact Details
[Matt] Ok so now we’ve looked at how your customers are searching online and we’ve done the market research now the next big step that we want to take a look at is how effective is our website. We see a lot of issues here with a lot of businesses offline is that their websites just aren’t effective for capturing email addresses and capturing the customer.
So what we’ll go through now is four fast fixes that you can implement into any business that you take on into the website and these are some of the things we recommend you do and take a look at straight-away.
And the first one of course is the 10 second rule which is- basically people these days are surfing very fast, they are flicking between lots of different websites you probably do this yourself. So basically you need to capture their attention within those ten seconds. And convey to them very quickly exactly what you do and who you are, where you’re at and what sort of a service or product you provide. A lot of websites don’t do that.
Now the next thing that you want to do is have an Opt-in box on your website so that you can capture them as a customer and this helps you build your database and allows you to develop an on-going relationship with them. A lot of businesses do not have this and basically once their customer is off their website they’re gone forever. So why not have an opt-in box on there so that you can get their name and going hand in hand with an opt-in box is-
Make an offer of some kind to encourage them to sign up to your site. So it might be a free report or a free initial consultation, something along those lines.
And finally have some contact details especially if you’re a retail business and you want these clients to ring you, because often people are just looking for information, your website might not tell them what they’re interested in at that point so it’s often easy for them just to pick up the phone and ring you straightaway and you do not want to be making it difficult for them to find your phone number.
A free website in half an hour? (It’s now easier than ever!)
Get a Blog! Easy and FREE Great for SEO
[Liz] Ok so now, if the business that you’ve bought or that you have doesn’t have a website there is a really easy way to get a completely free website in a very fast amount of time. So we’re very excited to show you this. Basically it’s by using a blog. Now there’s a lot of blogging being thrown around, the term’s thrown around a lot. Now you may know what a blog is, you may not, so we’ll just have a quick explanation of what a blog is.
Websites were originally online catalogues, they were static page, you went up there and told the world what you did- it just stayed the same. Now a blog uses a piece of software that allows that website to change easily. So you can actually put up posts, you can put up news; you can put up all sorts of different things.
And now the software has got so good that you can create a website just with point and click and drag. A really good looking professional website- free by using a blog. So it’s a very powerful tool and something that’s really worth knowing how to do.
Now this is actually a quick blog we created- a local accountant, we went to see him and he wanted to know how to get his business up on the front page of Google, for the people who are looking for what he provides. Now when we did our research- People didn’t look up bob’s accounting or whatever it was, they looked up an accountant in the southern highlands. So that’s what we called this blog and it’s optimized for.
So you can see it’s called ‘Accountant Southern Highlands’ and straight up front it tells you exactly what the business is about- The Southern Highlands Leading Small Business Accountant. Now over here as Matt was saying before…
[Matt] Yes, on the right hand side you can hopefully read, that we’ve got the opt in box that we’ve been talking about before and it’s quite simple, people just put in their email and bang they hit submit and we’ve got their email address and we can keep working with them. And also we’ve got an offer that I mentioned before. It just says “ask James for your half hour personal or business accounting consultation” and we’ve got a phone number.
So nice and simple, straight-forward and the important thing here is, this only took us thirty minutes to set up as we said, and this theme, the background that you can see there, it’s totally free, and the picture there was free. Very simple and quick to put up and they have a great website.
So I guess why we’re so keen on blogs is just because they’re so quick and easy and they’re free. But also the really big advantage with them is that they’re really great for what’s called SEO, which is Search Engine Optimization, which basically means, Google loves them and they’ll tend to rank them higher.
[Liz] so now because a blog is so easy and free to set up and because it’s so good for SEO, it means that for every search term, really specific search terms, you can actually own that space. Really be on the front page of Google, really easily and really quickly, and really cheaply.
If you want to learn more about blogging, you can go to wordpress.org- that’s a site that creates the software that runs a blog. So you can download that, you can add it to a site that you already have or you can set up a site specifically to put a new blog on to.
You can register domain names, we use namecheap.com, it’s under $10 for a domain name and you can also host for very cheap, we use hostgater.com and that’s under $10 a month for unlimited websites. So you can have 100 blogs all targeting different, very specific keywords.
Another very good example Matt had- if your business sells very specific parts like window rubbers for HR holden, you can set up a blog specifically for that term and get the free traffic for everyone that’s looking for that product to find you and come straight to you.
[Matt] Because basically, these days it’s free to do that, whereas in the past you would have to pay a web designer 5 grand to set your website up and it might take weeks to put together. Literally, once you know to do this stuff you can put it together in 10-15 minutes, set up a blog for that and it just sits on auto-pilot, collecting people’s names and says come along. It’s just another great way to generate inquirers into your business on specific items.
[Liz] The other place to go is wordpress.com or blogger.com. What we were saying before with wordpress.org, you do need a domain name and you do need to host it, so there is a small cost associated with that if you want it totally free, you can get them at wordpress.com or blogger.com.
The only thing is your domain name includes those as well, so it would be bobsaccounting.wordpress.com, so if you’re happy with that then you can have as many free blogs as you like.
Ok so the next thing is, you’ve got your website- how do the people actually find you?
The whole point of being online, one of the major points anyway is to get people to find you over your competition, so you get much more traffic, much more people coming to see your products and services. So these days most people find things on search engines like Google. [Google would be the main one of course] Yes, there’s also Yahoo, Msn and other search engines but generally people search on Google.
And if you think about your own life and way of searching, most people don’t look in the yellow pages anymore, they just go straight to Google and type it in, because it is so quick, so targeted and so specific. You can get fantastic results.
So here’s a screenshot of a Google search, so we’ve searched Accountant southern highlands at the top there. Now you can down here, number 4 spot is our little blog that we set up in half an hour, now that got ranked there in about 3 or 4 days and it’ll stay there now, if we put a little more work into it, it’ll probably more up the ranks, even to be number 1. With some fairly basic strategies you can get ranked on the front page of Google.
Now that’s absolutely free because that’s what Google has gone out to the web and found the pages it thinks are most relevant to that search.
[Matt] And what we should point out here too is that one of the reasons that it is often quite easy for offline businesses to rank your web pages quite highly. Is because your competition don’t know how to do it, they’re no good at doing it at all and you can generally find your niche target market as well using those research tools, and it can be quite easy to get on the page one for the certain customers you want. Now the other way to get on the page one here is you see on the right hand side of the page, that is the paid part of Google, which is Google Ad Sense, and basically you just pay when someone clicks on it.
[Liz] So that’s a way to get an instant front page listing if you don’t want to go through the building blocks and SEOs. Instant front page listing- you can actually just pay for it and you’ll be on the front page if you go through Google Ad Sense.
[Matt] And it’s a great, smart strategy that you can employ to do that too.
[Liz] But while we’re on Google Ad Sense, we should give another example of a great small little business; he was actually a hire business, and obviously the main thing you want to do is get everything out on hire. Now he had very specific equipment, machines for shredding. Expensive machines, and he would often have them sitting in the yard not doing anything, and he was paying a lot in yellow pages, he was paying a lot in flyer drops and all sorts of newspaper advertising. And not really getting a good result.
And he actually got online and got onto Google Ad sense and put very specific ads, so his ads just showed up when someone looked for hiring that specific piece of equipment. Now previously he’d been spending hundreds of dollars a month on advertising. The Google Ad Sense at the end of the month ended up being $28 and he hired out every piece of that equipment every day. 20 machines he had.
[Matt] So now he can grow the business. And the great thing about this example is that think about it in your own business what niche you can find for certain services or products you have. But of course if you’re looking at buying a business and turning it around, do some research about the company and see what sort of business they’re doing online, in every business there’s always something you can turn around in there.
[Liz] And even, if you’re looking at cafes or beauty salons, and we’ll be talking about that, there are tools that you can use to keep in contact with your clients, so there are still powerful tools no matter what business you’re in. if it’s retail, manufacture, import, wholesale, service, there are tools online that can help you grow.
Ah yes but still, an instant front page listing as we were talking about, we can actually get one for free. So if you’re not already listed make sure you list your business on Google maps. Because Google actually really likes local business and so if especially if your business is local based.
Say like an accountant, and we put in accountant Sydney, can you see up above all the other organic results the first thing that comes up; is Google Maps, and so you can get ranked right above all the other businesses that have SEO’d themselves for that term just by getting on to the Google maps. Now to be able to do that just go to www.local.google.com and click on “Put your business on Google Maps.”
[Matt] And you do need an offline physical address to put in there.
[Liz] So this does work very well for service based business and local based business. So how else do people find you? We’ve gone through the search engine and paid advertising, but the other way to get free trafficking is other blogs or other websites that have your customers. So related industries of interest sites, they can link to you, you can write articles for them and include a link back to your site, or you can pay for advertising for them. And it’s actually a cheap and cost effective way, a lot of blogs it’s not expensive, so certainly something you should look at. Look at other sites that relate to your business but aren’t in competition.
The other thing is Social Media of course, Facebook and twitter and LinkedIn. Those sort of social networking kind of sites, we were actually kind of surprised, some of our sites, we’ve got one site in particular- I think it’s our top referrer- Twitter. I never understood twitter, and I don’t post regularly, but every time I post on a blog, I make sure I Tweet as well and it’s now actually one of the top referrers of traffic. So it does work, if you collect a group of people who are interested in your product or topic, you can actually drive a bit of traffic through social media.
So the next thing you want is the money- show me the money! How do you get these websites to actually increase the profits and the value of your business?
What you need to do is think about how people will buy from you online. So if you’ve got physical products, you might use shopping carts. Now these are actually much cheaper these days because there are so many that are premade and can just be installed on a site or another option- if you just want to add shopping ability to your site right away- you can actually use PayPal account. If you have an account, there are actually merchant options and you can now create buy it now buttons and it’ll automatically bring people back to PayPal to pay you for the product- so instant and absolutely free to setup, you pay a small commission to PayPal obviously but an instant way to get a shopping cart onto your site.
The other way you can actually make money online, especially if you’re in a service or you’re got very specific knowledge on a topic- one of the ways to generate some extra income and instant income is to generate information products like e-books. Now these are very common online. There is billions of dollars made every year being made online. So what you do is basically write your information out and you can sell it on your website. There are actually automatic programs that will sort out all the payments and affiliate commissions and all that sort of stuff for you. But e-books are a very powerful way to start generating some extra income for yourself and your business.
If you would like to learn more about e-books and a step by step process go and have a look at AndrewandDaryl.com and they’ve got a great step by step process to show you how to do that.
[Matt] The other way of course is to give direct quotes or inquiries on your webpage. Obviously that requires a phone number. You might want to also put very simple quoting programs on there. Which are quite easy to do, but basically this is the common one for small businesses- which is encouraging your clients to give you a call to get a quote about your service. Now the other one is as we mentioned before is having those opt-in forms there in case the client doesn’t want to buy there and then. And this just allows you to follow up and develop relationship with them and eventually get a sale.
[Liz] So now what it’s all about too is to make life easy for you. And as we showed in the five areas of a business is one of the biggest changes that you can make to a business is add more automation. Because the more the owner doesn’t work in the business the fewer hours you have to work as an owner the more the business is valued. So now online you can use automated payment systems like PayPal, you can use things like eBay to start selling and testing products, and also shopping carts.
[Matt] The other thing with eBay- I’ve seen a few manufacturing businesses and import businesses, etc, it’s a great way to get rid of excess stock or to test new items, you don’t worry about what price you sell it for but just to see how it’s accepted in the marketplace. And these days- we know a lot of people who make a lot of money selling on eBay, moving their whole businesses onto eBay.
[Liz] And this I touched on just a few minutes ago, there’s affiliate programs that automate the whole system of getting people to sell your product. So clickbank.com is the biggest provider for information products. So a really fascinating site-go have a look at clickbank.com and check out all the sorts of information products that are available. So you can actually sell those products listed or if you want you can list your product and people can sell it for you. We’ve got products there- we’ve got a couple hundred affiliates all out there promoting the product for us.
Commission junction- that’s another one it’s at cj.com, it’s got physical products and an Australian version- if you would like other people selling your products use clixgalore.com.au, but a very powerful way to get an immediate sales force for your little business.
Of course you can find online, drop shipping, fulfillment and product delivery service so- the more you can automate the process of sale and delivery, the more valuable your business is because the more you don’t have to be working doing those tasks.
And of course there’s automatic follow-up, so if you want to learn more about that have a look at Aweber.com. Now that’s a paid service but it’s probably the most popular online service for automatic follow ups. Now what you can do is write a series of 5, 6, or 10 emails that would be to anyone who opts-in to your site and it’ll automatically send them out. So day after day or however long you want them to be sent out. Now it’s a very personalized, and it feels very personal but it’s all automated for you.
[Matt] And there are specials on there as well and exciting information or upcoming events. So it’s a fantastic product.
[Liz] OK so now, you might hear all this, and think I don’t want to do all that myself. Certainly if you learn all this online you can save a lot of money, and certainly know what’s available and what to ask for but if you don’t want to do it all yourself there are all sorts of outsourcing tools online.
Now these are some of the ones we use- Odesk.com, I use a lot, they charge by the hourly rates, and you can hire people all around the world to do basically anything you can do without physically being present in your business. So think of- certainly websites, building a website, graphic design even print designs and all that stuff you can have transcription so all PA kind of services and follow up. So automatic, you might want to hire someone, if you’ve got email asking certain questions that you need to constantly answer in the same way, you can set it up so a PA, somewhere else in the world can answer those all for you.
You can get writing done. We get articles written- $5 for a 500 word article so we can build a blog site for a very small amount of money, you can also get software written, Rentacoder.com is fantastic, so if you want any software built, just nifty little software for your business to help make processes smoother.
[Matt] Or creating, as we mentioned before, simple little quoting programs that might sit on your website, if someone has to say it’s a removelists and you have to work out what the cubic meters are and what that would relate to in the cost to move your product, move houses. And the other great thing rentacoder is for creating websites, just to give you an idea- we’ve had some fantastic websites created for less than $200. You might spend a little more if you want a really flash one. But a very cost effective way of getting software or websites done.
[Liz] And there’s of course services such as PAeverday.com.au, that’s a local company that’s managing the people for you. So if you want to take that step out of it, and not want to get the quotes yourself you can go to sites like PAeveryday and they will organize someone ready to do whatever it is you want them to do.
OK, so hopefully that has given you a bit of an overview of what the internet can create for your business, how the internet can help you grow a businesses, find more customers, find new business opportunities, find new little niches to supply. How you can make some automatic money by selling your expertise or ideas like in e-books. How you can sell directly to customers if you’re a manufacturer. New ways of selling as in eBay or using automated delivery systems. And fantastic way to keep in contact with your customers and really start building a relationship with them in the future we will go in detail about how to create things like e-books, but for the moment this gives you an idea of what you can do, the power of the internet in growing your business very quickly.
[Matt] And getting your business ready for sale if you haven’t done any of these things, we recommend you look at that because it will impress buyers. You very quickly show a buyer look- I’ve got 500 people coming to my website every week and I’m making good money off that.
[Liz] Thanks guys and we’ll see you next week!
MATT AND LIZ