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Avoid a Summer Sales Slump
Did you ever see the movie "Terminator 3" by Arnold Schwarzenegger? Remember when the machines took over the controls and began to terminate society as we know it?
This is exactly how it feels every Summer for many business owners.
As if your computer somehow sneaks in during the middle of the night and takes over by putting a "Closed for the Summer" sign on your business.
You wake up on July 1 wondering where all the customers are.
My business is no different.
I've just learned to expect it every year and I do something about it before I can be sabotaged.
So, when the beginning of June comes around, I start ramping up for the Summer months to keep business steady and even on the increase.
And, here's what I do:
1) Find something in your industry that's timely and write an article about it. I'm doing just that with this article as an example. The fact that sales slump for more small business owners in the Summer than any other 2-month time of the year is timely since July is right around the corner.
The article doesn't need to be extensive, maybe 600-800 words, and write as if you're just talking to a friend sitting next to you.
2) Create a signature line at the end of your article that invites readers to visit your web site. Use mine below as an example to write your own.
3) Send your article to your clients or customers by e-mail or even regular USPS. They will appreciate hearing from you and they will be thankful for the timely courtesy.
Plus, any time you can get your name in front of an existing customer, you stand a chance of getting additional business just by simply reminding them you're still around.
4) Get your article posted on other peoples' web sites and in their on-line newsletters. This might sound like "old hat" if you've been doing business on-line for a while, but the fact is that people still turn to the Internet to find information.
5) Submit your article to other peoples' BLOGs. BLOGs are easy to find because web site owners are always adding them to the front page of their sites so that you can't miss them.
The challenge of owning a BLOG is contributing to it every day. It's easy to do for the first couple of weeks but then that dedication slips.
So, approach a BLOGger with your article and suggest they include it to their BLOG if they ever get in a bind and can't make a posting of their own one day. Chances are, you'll see your article posted within the week!
6) Submit your article to RSS feeds. RSS stands for "Real Simple Syndication," which essentially means you add your article to the list once and it will appear on potentially hundreds of other peoples' web sites. Search Google for "rss articles submission" to get you started.
7) Have something ready on your web site to inspire any new visitors to get more involved with your business. I'm not saying put the hard sell on them. Just offer some way for them to discover more about how you can help them.
Provide more articles for them to read. Maybe add a sound file or two. Have a newsletter subscription area. Offer a free tele-seminar or webinar. Be creative but captivating. Have a definite answer to the question, "How can my new web site visitors benefit from being on my web site for another couple of minutes?"
Follow these seven steps and there's a good chance you will not only increase your web site visitors with targeted traffic, but that visitation could happen more quickly than you might expect.
So, don't allow your potential sales for this year's Summer months to be "terminated" before they even have a chance to happen.
Take action this week and July and August could turn out to be two of your best sales months yet.
Marty Dickinson started the company HereNextYear in 1996 and has helped hundreds of small business owners to use the Internet to increase sales through web site design and on-line promotion. He is also a national speaker and author of the book, "Winning the Internet Dogfight." Visit HereNextYear.com, for more timely tips by Marty.
The Fun and Ease of Online Shopping vs. The Brick and Mortar Option
When my sister and discussed our shopping plans this year we found to our surprise that our attitudes were much different. She was the hip New Yorker, living in a trendy section of Brooklyn and commuting in to her publishing job in Manhattan. I'm a down home Midwestern type of girl who prefers to drive everywhere and I love my suburb. We were chatting together on my mother's couch after we had stuffed ourselves with cake from our parent's anniversary party, and when we got onto the topic of shopping (my favorite pastime), my sister gave me quite a shock. While I was dreading the upcoming birthdays and Christmas, but my sister had a very positive outlook. She was looking forward to the experience, and I was flabbergasted.As it turned out, she was a devote of shopping online, and so she was looking forward to surfing around, researching options and deals, and getting all her shopping done early. I argued with her, saying that the personalization of actually finding a gift by oneself in person was something that couldn't be duplicated by a machine. Also, many of the really great items I would like to get were not the kind of items that were technologically oriented, and what little vendors would have their stores online?The debate got pretty heated, and soon we decided to bet on it. We bet each other a new iPod player (pretty technologically oriented there, but I figured that I could sort it out once I won) that the other person would have much better shopping runs if each of us used the other's techniques. I was positive that if she could discover how nice it was to go into the brick and mortar shops, she'd forget all about online shopping ? and I definitely knew that I would like shopping online. Since we were basically buying gifts for the same people, we'd have a fair contest. We'd be fair in our evaluations, as well, and insist on telling each other how we'd done. Each of us would rate the shopping system on ease, quality, price, and getting gifts that was appropriate and appreciated by the recipients. Here's our results:For our brother's present, I hopped onto the internet and typed in bird watching into the search engine. After searching through a couple options, to my surprise I quickly found a birding book that was specific to our state, plus a CD of bird calls. The site not only offered free shipping, but would wrap the package and mail it to the my brother. "Well", I thought. "That was easy ? but I knew books and CDs were easy to get via the internet. How about something tough?"I thought I'd cheat a little bit by trying to find something that could only be bought locally. That failure would take my sister's idea out the utility of online shopping and blow it completely out of the water. For this specialized task I picked one of my favorite foods ? the organic, wild blueberry pancake syrup sold in our local farmer's market. While it's always a pain to wake up early on Saturday mornings to drive all the way down to the market, it's worth it to get this locally-made, yet exotic product. Unfortunately for me, it was easy to find. I entered the phrase Blueberry Syrup into Froogle and it was the first product sold there. I had no idea they sold this stuff on the internet! The new franchising and marketing opportunities have enabled the local growers to market and ship their product all over the states.One last shot ? I'd look for something for my sister, to get something so personal and unique that you'd definitely have to go there to get it. It was an item that we had seen on a friend's wall, and for years now my sister had wanted one of her own. As it turns out, Thai elephant painting (the elephants grab paintbrushes with their trunks and then paint a canvas) is now online, and yes, they will take custom orders. I hadn't really been willing to fly to Thailand to get a painting, anyway, but I certainly hadn't thought that would have been online.I called up my sister in defeat. After two hours online, I had bought all my major presents. Sis answered her cell phone and said that she was still stuck in rush-hour traffic on the way to the store.
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