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    18 Replies Latest reply on Nov 27, 2007 6:13 PM by NatOnline

    How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.

    NatOnline Tracker
      I have come across different issues as a small business owner running an online store and trust me you you need to be careful.

      After running an online store for a few years now, I am always looking for ways to make my site better and increase traffic and sales.

      It is kind of funny (sarcastic) to see how the internet professionals want you to spend your money on their services.

      1) Some web designers want you to build a hand coded site W3C Markup, so code will be error free and easier for crawl, spiders and robots from search engines. When you ask their price for that they say thousands of dollars.

      2) Search engine people (SEO) want to optimize your site on a few main keywords and they charge thousands.

      3) SEO copywriters are basically the same as the SEO people, perhaps more specialized in text, and they charge thousands dollars for their services.

      4) Marketers or SEM people charge more than a few thousand dollars to do a maketing campaign for search engines purposes.

       

      They all try to make money off of me, that's ok, but I would rather do the job myself even if the results are not supposed to be the same.
      How can I pay, let's say, $15,000, I want to do it all, and get ROI on these jobs? I will need to make at least $25,000 in internet sales just pay it off, which doesn't even include paying for my inventory, functioning and maintenance of my e-commerce, etc.

      My conclusion is whatever you make or whatever you sell, getting services you can't afford as a small business owner makes it pretty difficult to make a profit.
        • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
          WhiteBrow Wayfarer
          Thanks NatOnline for taking the time to make these valuable points. I have just purchased my domain name, but haven't developed a website yet. A website is on my to do list. Your post helps put everything in perspective!
            • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
              NatOnline Tracker
              If you did not yet started, I recommend to be get the basic for a while, then decide later which service option you want to buy first. Before doing anything expensive you need to be online the time search engines will index your pages. Search engines like Google will use the sandbox as a new site "penalty".

              My advises for new site owners are: First once your site is ready, advertise on search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN or Ask, that will help search engines to find the site quicker. Submit to main directories like DMOZ.org, Dir.Yahoo.com, Business.com etc... depending of your budget.

              Let simmer for a while, check your statistics, and decide if you need and can afford services described above. Like I said I took the hard road because I wanted to do as much as I can myself (the only way you master things) and use the money saved for advertisements.

              Learn from mistakes, we all do mistakes even the more experienced.

              Watch out for scams and good luck.
            • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
              LUCKIEST Guide
              It is the American way. Everybody wants you to spend money on their product or service.
              As a small business owner you are exposed to all types of deals, some good, some unbelievable.
              Most unbelievable deals truely are unbelievable or scams.
              Develop a Business Plan, Have an Accountant, A Lawyer and an Insurance Agent.
              We all make mistakes. Learn from them. Watch out for scams.
              LUCKIEST
              • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
                Lighthouse24 Ranger

                As you noted in your post, the things that allegedly drive more traffic to a website can cost thousands of dollars, but do those investments actually convert to thousands and thousands of dollars in new sales? Almost never -- except for a revolutionary new product or service that's truly unique (i.e., there is NO place else to get it anything like it) -- and even then you're only guaranteed a click to take a look -- not a sale. Most people don't wake up in the morning and say, "Hey, I think I'll try to buy something I've never bought before from someone I've never heard of at a website I've never visited."

                Walk along Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco at dinner time and you'll see guys in front of the average restaurants trying to draw in customers like carnies at a sideshow. Meanwhile, the good restaurants have people waiting in line for tables. It doesn't matter what the business is -- when you've got something good, people find you. If you're pretty much the same as everyone else, you may need to shell out a few thousand for the "Internet carnies."
                  • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
                    NatOnline Tracker
                    I agree with you Lighthouse24,

                    I found it very difficult to make the choice between how I need to market my business and people trying to convince me I need their service to market my business.

                    I don't have a brick and motar store, the only way to get known is for us is to be visible on the internet, via different ways. I can do myself the SEO as you can read on this forum, but marketing and coprywriting, SEO or not, are difficult for me because I am not a native English speaker and my wife works more than 8 hours per day for a corporation, so it is pretty hard
                      • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
                        Lighthouse24 Ranger
                        I would not have guessed that English is a second language for you. My compliments on your skill!

                        I feel that it's important to re-emphasize that the Internet is not "the only way to get known" for an e-store. Many of the same techniques that bring people to brick and mortar stores will also bring them to an e-store. One example:

                        I had a neighbor who ran an on-line business with her aunt that was much like yours. They worked out of her aunt's house. One weekend, they made up small samples of lip balm with their logo and web address, then took them to a PGA golf tournament and handed them out in the parking lot as spectators arrived. The next weekend, they made up travel size samples of a soothing after sun lotion with their logo and web address, then took those to a regional soccer tournament for girls from 6-18 and handed them out to players (who'd been in the sun all day). Within days, they had hits and orders coming in from all over the country. The offered discounts and coupons to those new customers, and rewarded them when they told their friends and referred new customers to the site. The resulting profits far exceeded the cost of the giveaways. They showed that they had a good product, and people found them -- but would ANY of those new customers have sat down at a computer and typed "lip balm" or "after sun lotion" or "scented soap" and searched them out? I doubt it.

                        Thanks for your posts, and for sharing your perspective. It helps all of us learn and improve.
                    • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
                      DomainDiva Ranger
                      Nat thanks for the info. When we first put up our website a friend (sarcastic) dissed the site and the design and everything saying it looked 'homemade'. yeah I guess it did/does since our site has real design. He works for an internet advertising company and was all juiced becasue he was at the GOOGLE conference (blah blah). The kicker came when he told me he would take over our advertising for 15,000 a month. Good grief I am just trying to keep my programmers fed and clothed and he wants a boatload of money!

                      My designer and I have designed a targeted markeing campaign and have decied WHO we want to be our customers and then after the first three rounds we will target the general public in this industry.

                      I am glad that you have the savvy to say no. Glad to have you in America...but I still love Paris the most.....I can go everywhere on the Metro....(dreaming of latte and croissants and La'Coupoule....

                      Best, DomainDiva
                      • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
                        Biz Online Adventurer
                        Good points, Nat.
                        The best rule of thumb, regardless of what others want you to spend, is a budget you can afford, and a clearly defined return on investment. I do search marketing for a living: SEO, PPC management, etc.

                        On my PPC management clients, I guarantee I'll turn around their campaigns to profitability, or I don't get paid. Having the confidence in knowing how to drive return on investment is the only way to choose an internet marketing company.

                        I have several local clients here in Dallas that spend very little on pay per click. Here's an example.

                        One of my clients sells a very specialized service. He was spending about $75/month with Google, but not having much success. I asked him how much he makes on one deal, and the answer was $350. So I told him I would clean up his campaign, turn it around to profitability, all within 30 days.

                        My only suggestion to him was to spend the amount he makes on one deal ($350) in one month, but we'll do whatever you are comfortable with. He chose the $350, I did keyword research, got a bunch of negative keywords, re-did his ad copy with two ads to test, and improved his landing page. In one month, we spent $337, and he got 20 new service orders strictly through the PPC campaign.

                        The return on investment calculation is: $7000 Profit minus $336 cost, divided by $336 cost = 1983%

                        He profited, I got paid, he's happy, and so am I. He continues to be a client, and that's the way it should work.

                        The conclusion is there are companies out there that know what they are doing. Some are expensive, but the real deal is finding a company that guarantees outcomes AND a clear return on investment. You should be able to find someone local to do this for you. Meet them face to face, check their references, and then get a clear agreement and a 100% guarantee.
                        Good luck,
                        Cliff
                          • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
                            Lighthouse24 Ranger

                            Cliff (Biz Online), please clarify. Am I understanding that you will guarantee an increased profit that exceeds the cost of your services?

                             


                            For example, there are two "paths" to our management seminars -- existing clients (who already know the program) simple call or register on-line through their company's portal, while a separate URL/website exists to "promote" the program to everyone else (and to handle their on-line registrations and payments). The past three times the program was offered, we have had just enough client attendees to break even in two of our cities, with nobody signing-up in those two cities through that other path. (We'd discontinue the program in those locations except those are really good clients.)

                             


                            Assuming the profit margin for each additional seminar attendee was $350, are you saying that you could provide up to $700 in services, and guarantee that it would result in at least two sign-ups through that site or there'd be no charge?

                             


                            Thanks for your response!
                              • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
                                Biz Online Adventurer
                                Hi, Lighthouse24.
                                Yes. I guarantee a return on investment that includes my costs, the campaign costs, all costs. There are many pay per click campaigns that are not profitable. I review them for free to see if it is something that can be turned around. My fees are based on size of current campaign in ad spend, and I clearly state that if I can't make it profitable, a 100% refund is paid. This method works for all of my clients.

                                If your company is profitable, after advertising expenses and my fees, then I get paid. It doesn't get any easier, and that's why my company is managing online advertising for a variety of clients selling either products and services. Nothing is more motivating than making a ppc campaign profitable, as my fees disappear if I don't do my job.

                                The reason I post here is to help people out, not to drive business to me directly. But every once and a while someone will contact me to see if I can help out their situation. I post on many forums in the hope that people will learn something. Occasionally someone will read my bio and contact me, or review articles on my website. This happened recently and Lowes Home Improvement contacted me and interviewed me for an article on their website.
                                Cliff

                                 


                            • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
                              NatOnline Tracker
                              Thank you all, there are some great information on this post, this is why I love this forum.

                              I sent you an email Cliff :-)

                              Jean-Luc
                              • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
                                NatOnline Tracker
                                I decided to focus on organic searches long time ago and I was right, PPC is another game and could cost a lot of money guarantee or not, I believe this is not for my kind of business.

                                There are different chiper ways to advertise than PPC.
                                • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
                                  LUCKIEST Guide
                                  The New York Times, Monday Nov 7, Business has a TECHNOLOGY section with
                                  an E-Commerce Report "Virtual Lures For Holiday Shoppers", where online merchants are
                                  introducing search features meant to take even more pain out of the shopping experience.
                                  LUCKIEST
                                  • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
                                    NatOnline Tracker
                                    I was contacted recently by a few marketers, but the last one needed to be highlighted in this forum.

                                    I think all of you know Haker Safe, this company was trying to sell me their services for $9,000 per year. The sale person was trying to make the point of 14% more customers lol, that's pretty expensive for 14%.

                                    I am wondering on what planet they are living on :-)
                                    • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
                                      scsurfguy Wayfarer
                                      my saying on PPC is "a short-term solution to a long term conundrum". The only way to increase your ROI is to achieve natural placements under your most relevant keyword phrases. 85% of all searches online click on the natural results. 12% - 16% click on PPC or sponsored links. If your concerned about money invest in something long term rather than the short endless costly ppc, not including all the click fraud going on nowadays.

                                      Online marketing is up 22% this year, so why not take advantage of online marketing. There are several companies out there that are hard working legitimate and cost effective that will do the work for you. I personally had to hire an SEO company because of the time consuming effort it took me to do it myself with little results. I invested on PPC for 3 months at $349 for 15 keywords and got 20,000 hits a month, but then they placed me naturally for the same 15 keywords and 10 more for 5k a year, and a money back guarantee if I didn't get first page placement.

                                      A little money took me a long way for the next year. Invest wisely and you will find something reasonable out there on the web.

                                      The presence of people searching online is increasing everyear with millions of people online. Take advantage of it.
                                        • Re: How they want you to spend money on your e-commerce.
                                          NatOnline Tracker
                                          I don't do PPC.

                                          I do everything myself get fantastic results for Free in SEO and enjoy it.

                                          Hits, visitors, pages view, PR doesn't mean anything, only SERPS and unique visitors count for me, and of course conversions into sales.

                                          I will not spend a penny if I can do the job myself, that will allow my business to offer low prices.

                                          My customers support my business and to thank their loyalty, It is my job to provide them some decent prices.

                                          It is always easier for a e-commerce owner to rise prices to pay off services (most of them are a waste of money anyway).