5 Top EBiz Myths Busted - Day 5

Here’s a quick reminder about this series:

There are lots of “myths” surrounding home-based EBiz that will seriously hurt your business if you believe them. I’ll talk about 5 of the most dangerous ones in this 5 day series. These myths are created and pushed around the ECommerce community by 2 kinds of people:

1. Those who try to sell you products, services and information that they know are useless, but they don’t care because they’re thieves and liars who want your money and what happens to you doesn’t matter to them. In this series, I’ll call them Marketurds (Marketing Turds) so that we’re clear on exactly what they are.

2. Those who simply don’t know what they’re talking about, but pose as someone who does. Like rabid parrots who’ve been force-fed too much caffeine, they flap around maniacally and re-gibber the oral garbage that’s constantly spewed by the Marketurds, not knowing any better. I’ll call these people Midiots (Marketing Idiots) in this series so we don’t forget what THEY are.

Marketurds and Midiots look and sound very convincing, and claim to be EBiz ‘gurus’. They make up more than 95% of all the so-called ‘gurus’ online, and will utterly destroy your chances at a successful business if you let them.

So let’s get on with 5 Top EBiz Myths Busted - Myth 5:

THERE’S TOO MUCH ONLINE COMPETITION FOR A SMALL BUSINESS TO SUCCEED

This is something I hear from people all the time. “How can I compete with eBay and Amazon?” How can I compete with all those big stores?” “Aren’t there too many online stores already?” “There’s no room left to compete!”

Well, “competition” is a big and scary word. Not big meaning ‘long-big’. A ‘long-big’ word would be something like Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicavolcanoconiosis. Now THAT’s a long-big word! (It’s easier if you sound it out).

No, the word “competition” is different. It’s “big” meaning all-encompassing; a generalization. Most people don’t really understand what “competition” actually IS.

Google, bless it’s googly little algorithmic heart, defines the word as “the person or people with whom one is competing, especially in a commercial or sporting arena; the opposition.” Here’s the important part: “THE PERSON OR PEOPLE WITH WHOM ONE IS COMPETING”. And ONLY those people.

Because the internet itself seems to be so big and all-encompassing, people often forget that internet users do NOT see the ENTIRE INTERNET ALL AT THE SAME TIME when they search for something online. Yet that’s what they base this fear of competition on; that somebody searching for a set of dog socks on Google can somehow magically see every single store, every single page and every single price for every single pair of dog socks on the internet ALL AT THE SAME TIME!

The reality is very different. When you search for a product on Google (and we always talk about Google because it’s by far the biggest and most influential search engine) what do you see?

You see some “display ads” up in the top right corner. Those are the paid advertisements with pictures. Then the first FOUR search results you see are PAID ADS as well (you can tell because they all say “AD” next to them). Then you see the NATURAL listings; the pages that for whatever reason, deserved or not (but usually NOT deserved), have worked their way up to the top natural rankings in Google.

Here’s a little-known factoid for ya. The human eye can “subitize” (meaning “perceive a number of separate items in a group without actually counting”) only about 4 to 5 separate objects at a time. A single paid ad on a search engine results page (SERP) is perceived as a single OBJECT. A single page link on a SERP (title, description, etc) is perceived as a single OBJECT. So people CANNOT effectively see THE ENTIRE INTERNET AND EVERY SET OF DOG SOCKS ON IT ALL AT ONCE.

They can only EFFECTIVELY see 4 or 5 objects at a time.

That just BEGS the question…does 4 or 5 search results sound like a LOT of competition to you? I’m guessing that you’re thinking, “no”.

Now, here’s the kicker. Add to that the fact that the search results that people see FIRST are psychologically interpreted as the MOST IMPORTANT AND RELEVANT results, and that vast macro-cosmos of millions of perceived competitors that so many people are afraid of has just shrunk to a number of competitors that you can count on ONE HAND.

Now, if THAT’S scary, you should not even think about starting a business (because it’s NOT scary, and if you think it is, well…you get the point).

Let’s throw yet ANOTHER fact into the mix. (If you’ve read this entire series [which you really, REALLY should], you know I LOVE facts). ANOTHER fact is that people will always favor NATURAL search engine results over paid ads. In FACT, the search engine listings that gather the most clicks by FAR, are the FIRST THREE NATURAL LISTINGS (the ones that are highest on the page, but are not ads).

Natural result #1 for any given search online gets about 40% of all clicks.

Natural result #2 gets about 18 to 20% of all clicks.

Natural result #3 gets about 8 to 10% of all clicks.

So there you have it. Nearly 70% OF ALL CLICKS ON A SEARCH ENGINE RESULTS PAGE are done on the TOP 3 NATURAL RESULTS.

Your competition just shrunk some more. Feeling better about it? You should be feeling a LOT better about it.

SO WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE FEAR “HUGE” COMPETITION LEVELS?

Well, to answer that question we have to go back and discuss that bane of our existence; the fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench, the hair in our soup…the MARKETURDS and MIDIOTS. The M&Ms spend a LOT of time whipping up a false frenzy about MASSIVE online competition that ONLY their Super-Secret Systems And Tools Made From Unicorn Dust And Sunshine can ever break through. They tell you over and over and over and over and over again that the only way you will EVER be found among the millions of other sets of competing dog socks online that people somehow MAGICALLY SEE ALL AT ONCE is to use THEIR Amazing Systems.

They tell you (eventually, over time, so as not to sticker-shock you) that you’ll need to pay them tens of thousands of dollars to create your site, run your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) handle your blog, your social media, etc, etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

What they’re REALLY do is spending about seven and a half minutes copying a basic template and calling it a site, and then installing some useless ‘automated marketing tool’ (which NEVER works) to do the rest. For tens of thousands of dollars. TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.

Utterly, completely and unequivocally (defined as “In a way that leaves no doubt”) DISGUSTING people, the M&Ms.

SO WE’VE ESTABLISHED that your only REAL competition are basically the three top listings on a search engine page that are natural, and not paid ads. How do you get your site into those top three rankings for the various keywords you’ll use while marketing your business?

I talked about this on Day 4 of this series. It was a LOT of information, so I’m not going to repeat it here. I’m going to suggest that you read it there if you haven’t read it already (although I can’t imagine why you might not have read it already…it’s DAY FOUR, for cryin’ out loud!!).

Basically, as you’ll learn MUCH more about when you read Day 4, Google ranks web sites based on closely targeted AUTHORITY for a SINGLE SUBJECT (read that SINGLE PRODUCT NICHE), which the vast majority of web sites are absolutely lousy at establishing. Ama-Bay and the big box stores CANNOT successfully establish it.

Understand how to REALLY market online (NOT with paid ads or M&M garbage!), and you can cut through that (now GREATLY REDUCED, right?) number of competitors like a hot knife through butter.

WANT TO LEARN A LOT MORE ABOUT THIS, AND ALL THE REST OF EBIZ?

THEN PLEASE HURRY! The 75% Discount Offer on my Live, Online EBiz Workshop ENDS TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT!

“Competition” is just another common everyday business issue when you KNOW how to deal with it. I have REAL marketing knowledge about that and a whole lot more cool stuff to teach you based on my very successful 24-year online career.

You should let me.

I’ve been teaching people how to market successfully online for years. I’ve made millions doing it myself. I’m not a Marketurd or a Midiot. I’m a successful business owner with 24 years of online experience, and I WILL teach more about real ECommerce in a single day than you’ve learned in all the time you’ve been trying.

Check out my Online EBiz Workshop and Mentoring Program for yourself. Go ahead and look…it’s just an information page, and it won’t bite or grab your wallet.

In fact, Register for a Workshop BY MIDNIGHT TONIGHT and you’ll find a whopping 75% Discount on that Workshop just because you had the stamina and patience to read this whole email!

At this point, I need to repeat the fact that this Discount ENDS TONIGHT (Friday July 14th at midnight), and these Workshops are already selling out. Don’t miss this!!

Questions about the Workshop? Just call me. I answer my own phone and will answer your questions. 888-824-7476.

THANKS FOR READING, and if you missed any of this series, you can find it ALL on my Blog.

Sincerely,
Chris Malta
www.ChrisMalta.com/Workshops
888-824-7476

Tags: , ,

Friday, July 14th, 2017 Surviving EBiz No Comments

5 Top EBiz Myths Busted - Day 4

Here’s a quick reminder about this series:

There are lots of “myths” surrounding home-based EBiz that will seriously hurt your business if you believe them. I’ll talk about 5 of the most dangerous ones in this 5 day series. These myths are created and pushed around the ECommerce community by 2 kinds of people:

1. Those who try to sell you products, services and information that they know are useless, but they don’t care because they’re thieves and liars who want your money and what happens to you doesn’t matter to them. In this series, I’ll call them Marketurds (Marketing Turds) so that we’re clear on exactly what they are.

2. Those who simply don’t know what they’re talking about, but pose as someone who does. Like rabid parrots who’ve been force-fed too much caffeine, they flap around maniacally and re-gibber the oral garbage that’s constantly spewed by the Marketurds, not knowing any better. I’ll call these people Midiots (Marketing Idiots) in this series so we don’t forget what THEY are.

Marketurds and Midiots look and sound very convincing, and claim to be EBiz ‘gurus’. They make up more than 95% of all the so-called ‘gurus’ online, and will utterly destroy your chances at a successful business if you let them.

So let’s get on with 5 Top EBiz Myths Busted - Myth 4:

YOU MUST USE PAID ADVERTISING (Um, no…)

We have a saying around here at “The People Who Know What They’re Doing Online” clubhouse, and it goes like this:

“People who use paid advertising are people who don’t know how to MARKET”.

This refers to home-based business owners, and if you use paid advertising now or have used it in the past, don’t take that personally. All it means is that you’ve gotten bad information from the Markturds and Midiots that have TOLD you to use paid advertising. That’s not your fault.

There’s a very good reason why the M&Ms tell you to use paid advertising, even though they know perfectly well that FOR HOME-BASED BUSINESS OWNERS it’s a huge flushing toilet the size of Niagara Falls, only instead of flushing water it flushes your cash down the proverbial drain. The M&Ms don’t care if that happens to you, and it WILL happen to you if you use paid advertising.

THEY NEED you to use paid advertising, though (which is why they tell you to do it), because the tools and programs they sell you are so uniformly turdulent that they only way you’ll ever make a few sales using them is if you actually pay for advertising on TOP of using their turdulent tools. (If you’re not sure what “turdulent” means, then you haven’t read Day 1, Day 2 or Day 3 of this series. You really should…not because it’ll hurt my feelings if you don’t [which is true, but you didn't hear that from me], but because the info in those other installments really is important for you).

This is really all about psychology. Again, the Marketurds and Midiots know the Magical Mystical Success Tools they sell you are junk and won’t work. But they ALSO know that if you use paid advertising, you WILL make a FEW sales (with a TOTALLY DIFFERENT marketing method…called paid advertising). If you start to make a FEW sales, then you don’t REALIZE that the Magical Mystical Success Tools are junk because hey, you made a few sales while you were using those tools (AND, don’t forget, paid advertising!). Psychologically they know that those FEW sales will make you feel that the junk tools DO work, but you’re not making ENOUGH sales because somehow you’re not doing it right or not working hard enough on them.

THEN, if you ever complain to the M&Ms about the tools, they can say, “Well, since you made a few sales, our Twenty Thousand Dollar Cornucopia Of Excellent Tools At Amazing Prices DID work, you’re just not using them right. In fact, you need to buy our Supersized Marketing Incredo-Pac; that’s only another ten thousand dollars and the few sales you’ve made so far will multiply like rabbits on an island that only rabbits live on!” (Which, of course, they won’t. Rabbits never live on islands that only rabbits live on).

See how that works? The FEW sales you’ll make with paid ads (which, by the way, will cost you more than you earn in profits!) will give you a false IMPRESSION (that’s a paid advertising joke…get it?) that the turdulence WORKS, then they tell you that you just need to buy MORE turdulent tools to amp it up into more sales.

As a home-based business owner with a limited budget and a pile of junk tools and information that frankly just suck, using paid advertising is like buying a new car, and then having to buy another new car to push the first car with, because the first car doesn’t run.

Would you ever do that? Of course not. You wouldn’t buy the first car if it needed another car to push it because it doesn’t run.

I know what you’re thinking (or at least I’m taking a reasonably educated guess). I’m guessing that you’re thinking “Hey, all those big box stores use paid advertising. Paid advertising is all over TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, bus stop benches AND the internet! So how can paid advertising be so bad??”

(If you weren’t thinking that, you are NOW, right?!)

Okay, let’s talk about the difference between big companies who have hundreds of millions of dollars to flood consumer markets with tons of advertising, and small home-based businesses that don’t have anywhere near that kind of money.

There, we just talked about the difference.

Small home-based businesses can’t AFFORD to blanket half the known universe with paid advertising. It’s not cost-effective, at least not when you’re starting out.

So how, then, is YOUR web site supposed to rise to the top of a search engine, or ever be found ANYWHERE in a search engine against all those big companies that have a gazillion dollars set aside just for lunch money? Well first, let’s dispel a sub-myth here. Many people have been told that your web site ranking gets better and better when you pay the search engines more and more money for advertising.

FALSE. Flat out, unequivocally, never-ever-happens FALSE. You CANNOT buy your way to the top of a search engine, period.

So how DO you get your web site to outrank all those big-box stores? YES, it most certainly can be done. You just have to learn a thing or three.

THE SEARCH ENGINES NOW RANK SITES BASED ON AUTHORITY

In the covered-wagon days of the internet, you could have a web site that had tons of different pages on it, EACH of those pages selling completely different things. That was back when the search engines were much simpler. They only understood NOUNS. Being simple and basic as they were, they used to rank web pages on each page’s INDIVIDUAL merit.

In those days, if AllTheStuffYouNeed.com’s web site had the word “Squeegee” on their Squeegee sales page 24 times, and BobsCratesOfVariousStufs.com’s Squeegee page had the word “Squeegee” on it’s Squeegee sales page 36 times, BobsCratesOfVariousStufs.com WINS. YOU GO, Bob!

Yes, of course, it wasn’t QUITE that simple. But that was a LOT of how ranking worked back then.

NOW (starting with Google’s big ‘Panda Update’ in 2011), search engines are much more sophisticated. They understand Nouns, Verbs, Pronouns, Adjectives and lots of other word-types that you probably forgot about ten minutes after you got out of school. I know I did. They also look at fussy little things like Grammar and Syntax.

The most important part is that they now look at an ENTIRE web site as a WHOLE, not just as a loose collection of individual pages. When a web site is a serious source of AUTHORITY for ONE THING and ONE THING ONLY, Google looks at that web site with unabashed adoration in it’s googly little eyes. It LOVES that web site. It writes that web site poetry, sends it flowers, and hopes it can take that site out to dinner and a movie on Friday night. Okay, I know I got a bit carried away…but I think I made the point.

The way Google operates NOW, a web site that is a focused source of AUTHORITY on ONE SUBJECT will ALWAYS naturally rank very well in the search engines.

Big-box store web sites and sites like Amazon and eBay have HORRIBLY SCATTERED authority. They have tens of thousands of product pages that are NOT related to one another as ONE SUBJECT, cannot rank well in a search engine on their own.

So what is a huge site or big-box store to do? Hmmm…how about paid advertising?

Big-box stores NEED paid advertising. And I’m not just talking about paid advertising ONLINE. I mean paid advertising EVERYWHERE. Those big companies would come to your house and paint an ad on your cat if they thought they could get away with it. They NEED physical-world mass-media advertising because they need their scatter-shot web sites to already be KNOWN to consumers, so that consumers go there DIRECTLY when they shop online.

SO THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF SUCCESSFUL SITES.

1. Sites that are big-box stores like Home Depot and Target, and bargain-hunting destinations like eBay and Amazon. They pay for advertising all over the place, online and in the physical world. They can’t rank well NATURALLY because their pages are so scattered among so many subjects that Google just can’t get an AUTHORITY handle on them. But their paid advertising causes lots of people to go DIRECTLY to those sites without ever using a search engine, and that’s what they need.

2. Sites that are small, home-based, very tightly niched sources of AUTHORITY for one subject, and one subject only. When built and marketed properly, those sites can easily out-rank the big-box stores and mega-bargain stores all day long.

SO WHY DON’T YOU SEE THOSE SMALL SITES AT THE TOP OF THE SEARCH ENGINES ALL THE TIME?

If what I just told you is true, how come you see so many big-box stores (and Ama-bay) at the top of the search engine results so often? It’s simple, really. VERY FEW PEOPLE know how to create real authority with a search engine. When a search engine can’t find a site with real, focused authority in a given search, it defaults to other ranking factors like size of the site, how long it’s been out there, how many links, etc.

WHY don’t more people know how to do that? That’s simple, too. If more people knew how to actually market a site with authority to a search engine, they wouldn’t need the M&Ms junk tools and systems. And the M&Ms junk tools and systems are a MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY. That’s right, I said the B word.

Most of those lousy Marketurds and Midiots out there work TOGETHER in some form or another, whether it’s passing your personal information around like a bowl of potatos at a company picnic or getting together to build new garbage info-products like rusty sculptures at a junkyard art festival. They’re part of an extended fat-cat conglomerate of liars and thieves who work with each other to PREVENT you from finding out the truth.

If everybody knew the TRUTH about online marketing, the bad guys would be out of business would and have to go back to living in their parents’ basements munching Cheetos and watching Seinfeld reruns all day.

THE TRUTH IS that while paid advertising does have a place in business, that place is NOT in your home-based ECommerce start-up. That means Google Adwords, it means Facebook advertising, all of it.

So when IS paid advertising useful to a home-based business?

When you learn how to market properly, your site will rise in the search engine rankings naturally and begin to make sales. As it does, you monitor your site’s metrics (a subject for another day!). After your business begins running well based on AUTHORITY, your METRICS will tell you what your top one or two keywords actually ARE.

THEN, if you CHOOSE to, you can put a little bit of your profits into a very SMALL, TARGETED ad campaign on just that best keyword at first. When that begins to work, you can use some of THOSE profits to expand that campaign to other keywords that your site metrics have already told you are working for you.

Then again, if you really learn how to market, you’ll NEVER need to use paid advertising if you don’t want to.

SO, IN SUMMARY:

1. For a home-based online startup, paid advertising is too expensive, ineffective (when you don’t have site metrics) and used as a tool to fool you into thinking that the M&Ms tools are actually working.

2. Web sites rank in the search engines when they are AUTHORITATIVE about ONE SUBJECT ONLY, which means niching tightly into a single product line and learning how to properly market it.

WANT TO LEARN HOW TO MARKET IT, AND A LOT MORE?

People who use paid advertising are people who don’t know how to market. I have REAL marketing knowledge and a whole lot more cool stuff to teach you based on my very successful 24-year online career.

You should let me.

I’ve been teaching people how to market successfully online for years. I’ve made millions doing it myself. I’m not a Marketurd or a Midiot. I’m a successful business owner with 24 years of online experience, and I WILL teach more about real ECommerce in a single day than you’ve learned in all the time you’ve been trying.

Check out my Online EBiz Workshop and Mentoring Program for yourself. Go ahead and look…it’s just an information page, and it won’t bite or grab your wallet.

In fact, Register for a Workshop NOW and you’ll find a whopping 75% Discount on that Workshop just because you had the stamina and patience to read this whole post!

These Workshops are already starting to sell out. Don’t miss them!!

Questions about the Workshop? Just call me. I answer my own phone and will answer your questions. 888-824-7476.

In the meantime…

Tomorrow I’ll gleefully bust Myth #5: “There’s Too Much Competition Online” (no, there ISN’T!)

Sincerely,
Chris Malta
www.ChrisMalta.com/Workshops
888-824-7476

Tags: , ,

Thursday, July 13th, 2017 Surviving EBiz No Comments

5 Top EBiz Myths Busted - Day 3

Here’s a quick reminder about this series:

There are lots of “myths” surrounding home-based EBiz that will seriously hurt your business if you believe them. I’ll talk about 5 of the most dangerous ones in this 5 day series. These myths are created and pushed around the ECommerce community by 2 kinds of people:

1. Those who try to sell you products, services and information that they know are useless, but they don’t care because they’re thieves and liars who want your money and what happens to you doesn’t matter to them. In this series, I’ll call them Marketurds (Marketing Turds) so that we’re clear on exactly what they are.

2. Those who simply don’t know what they’re talking about, but pose as someone who does. Like rabid parrots who’ve been force-fed too much caffeine, they flap around maniacally and re-gibber the oral garbage that’s constantly spewed by the Marketurds, not knowing any better. I’ll call these people Midiots (Marketing Idiots) in this series so we don’t forget what THEY are.

Marketurds and Midiots look and sound very convincing, and claim to be EBiz ‘gurus’. They make up more than 95% of all the so-called ‘gurus’ online, and will utterly destroy your chances at a successful business if you let them.

So let’s get on with 5 Top EBiz Myths Busted - Myth 3:

YOU SHOULD USE EBAY, AMAZON AND FREE TRIAL WEB SITES FOR “PRODUCT TESTING”

Of all the turdulent things I’ve seen Marketurds and Midiots tell people (and if you don’t know what “turdulent” is, you didn’t read Day 1 and Day 2 of this series [for shame! Read them!]); this may be the most turdulent ‘concept’ of all. Well, close, maybe.

Let me give you a truly horrifying example of what these M&Ms will tell you to do in order to cheat you out of your money.

A couple of months ago, I had a person scheduled into one of my Online EBiz Workshops who told me ahead of time that he had owned FOUR different web sites, and NONE of them had made any money at all. That in itself wasn’t surprising; about 97% of those who start an ECommerce web site have been cheated by the M&Ms into using incredibly useless things that don’t work. However, this one was a little different.

When we actually got into the live Workshop, this person told me that he had paid a ton of money (over fifteen THOUSAND dollars!) to an utterly amazing online guru who had rainbows streaming out of his eyes, could defy the laws of gravity and fly through the air at will, and lived on a private utopian planet at the center of the galaxy because he was so smart and made so much money with his Incredible EBiz System. And this Guru even showed his bank statements on his “I’m a Smart, Stunning Guru” web site to prove it (because copies of bank statements shown on a web site just can’t possibly be faked and therefore MUST be real).

One of the things that Stunning Guru Boy told this person to do was to “test” his products online before deciding whether to put real effort into selling them. That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Well, it’s NOT, but we’ll get into that later. Telling this person to do that was stupid enough, but the WAY that His Amazing Guruness told him to do it was much worse.

The person in my Workshop explained what he had been told to do by The Light Of The Internet Universe:

He said, “I went and got a Free Two Week Trial web site, put some products on it, and nothing sold during the two week trial period so I shut it down. Then I got another Free Two Week Trial web site and put some products on it, and nothing sold in two weeks so I shut it down. Then I got another Free Two Week Trial web site and put some products on it and nothing sold in two weeks so I shut it down. Then I got another Free Two Week Trial web site and put some products on it, and nothing sold so I shut it down. So I’ve had 4 web sites, and got no sales at all.”

Um…

Yes, that was my initial reaction. “Um…”.

I was so shocked at the sheer, unadulterated IDIOCY of what this person had been TOLD to do by The Fifteen Thousand Dollar Shining Nimbus Of Internet Commerce that I was literally speechless. I even felt my socks faint and fall all the way down into my shoes.

So let’s put this turdulent lunacy into some INITIAL perspective:

1. As I intimated earlier, the idea of a home-based business owner “testing” products online to see if they sell is utterly ridiculous. Now, if you’re a huge big-box store chain like Target or WalMart, you can afford to CAREFULLY test products in a FEW of your stores to see whether they’re viable, because you ALREADY have millions of customers streaming into your stores every year and you’re not basing the success or failure of YOUR ENTIRE BUSINESS on that single product test. BUT, even Target and WalMart will carefully research and study the viability of any given product FIRST, before they’ll ever place a single unit in a single store.

2. Using a Free Trail web site to “test” a product for TWO WEEKS is beyond ridiculous. Web sites are found through search engines. The search engines barely even know that store is THERE in two weeks. There certainly hasn’t been enough time for a search engine to start ranking that site anywhere near a point where somebody might find it online.

3. With absolutely NO time for any kind of marketing to even be STARTED in that situation, see #2. Literally.

In the Workshop that day, it probably took me at least a full minute to regain my senses enough to begin to speak again. (A full minute is a surprisingly LONG time…trust me, I’ve hosted live radio shows, and a full minute of “dead air” seems like an eternity.) I also had to take a few seconds to pull my socks back up, because bunched-up socks feel weird and can be distracting.

Remember, this WAS NOT the fault of the person in my Workshop. Like so many other people I talk to and teach, he had been LIED to by a Marketurd, and TOLD to do it. He believed it was the right thing to do. NO BAD on the part of the guy in the Workshop.

So my job at that point was to explain to him and the other people in the Workshop why that doesn’t work (just like so many other things spewed forth by the M&Ms don’t work).

This explanation assumes that you have read Day 2 of this series, and now know that you shouldn’t touch Amazon or eBay even with someone ELSE’S ten-foot pole. You should clearly understand by now that the most money that you’ll ever make online with the least amount of time and effort will always be your own web site.

So with that in mind, you don’t TEST products online to figure out what you’re going to sell on your site. You RESEARCH them.

“Testing” and RESEARCHING are two totally different things. And no, “testing” is NOT a part of Researching. Let’s look at the differences.

“Testing” a product on eBay or Amazon doesn’t give you an accurate test. There are too many variables. If you test on eBay, you have to cut your prices way down because of the horrible bargain-hunting mentality and brutal competition that eBay creates. So you can’t get an accurate picture of a viable profit for that product. You also have to create an eBay “listing” that follows what eBay shoppers expect to see, which is completely different from the proper marketing you need to do for a product in the real world, and marketing has a GREAT deal to do with whether a product sells or not. Add to that the fact that most dedicated eBay shoppers do NOT translate well to buying from individual web sites, and you have a worthless test. There’s more, but I’m sure you get the idea.

Amazon is the same way. If you’re going to “test” on Amazon, your best bet is to use Amazon FBA. If you haven’t read Day 2 of this series by NOW, you really should. You do NOT want to spend the time, money, and take the risk of “testing” products that you have to pay for up front, and may never sell.

Figuring out what to sell online is about RESEARCH, not “testing”. The process of Market Research is not rocket science (although it does use a couple of big words). It’s just a detailed process that you follow in order to come to a reasonable BUSINESS DECISION as to how much money is in a market, how competitive it is, and so on.

This process includes things like:

Learning to narrow down to niche product lines to research (yes, NICHE. You can’t sell everything to everyone at the same time online anymore; Google will no longer let you do that, and even if you could it’s a horribly confused and messy process.)

Learning the basics of Keyword Research, so you can properly identify your top competitors in a given product niche.

Searching out and locating those competitors.

Learning the basics of SEO, Demographics, Comparative Analysis and more so that you can EVALUATE your competitors, to figure out how competitive they actually ARE.

Comparing the wholesale pricing of each niche to to average retail pricing across the market.

Researching Keyword Demand and Competition levels, ratios and trending, so that you can determine (a) how big the market is, (b) how much money is there, and (c) whether it will be a viable market for years to come, or is just a flash in the pan trend that will leave you hanging in a couple of years.

Determining which single niche you research is the best among all of them, and making a final choice.

These are the processes that you go through to decide what to sell online. When you do it like this, you KNOW your final choice is a money-maker, you KNOW it will sell well, and you KNOW that you can sell it for a long, long time and live happily ever after.

Doing it any other way (including “testing”) is just, well…turdulent.

So don’t listen to M&Ms who tell you to “test” markets by actually trying to sell them online first, even if rainbows DO stream out of their eyes. (It’s just Photoshop).

WANT TO LEARN HOW TO DO THIS, AND A LOT MORE?

Much like Hawaii, this is just the tip of a mountain that sticks up out of the ocean. The mountain itself is huge (and very interesting, as mountains go). Meaning I have a lot more cool stuff to teach you based on my very successful 24-year online career.

You should let me.

I’ve been teaching people how to market successfully online for years. I’ve made millions doing it myself. I’m not a Marketurd or a Midiot. I’m a successful business owner with 24 years of online experience, and I WILL teach more about real ECommerce in a single day than you’ve learned in all the time you’ve been trying.

Check out my Online EBiz Workshop and Mentoring Program for yourself. Go ahead and look…it’s just an information page, and it won’t bite or grab your wallet.

In fact, Register for a Workshop NOW and you’ll find a whopping 75% Discount on that Workshop just because you had the stamina and patience to read this whole post!

These Workshops are already starting to sell out. Don’t miss them!!

Questions about the Workshop? Just call me. I answer my own phone and will answer your questions. 888-824-7476.

In the meantime…

Tomorrow I’ll happily bust Myth #4: “You must use Paid Advertising” (no, you must NOT!)

Sincerely,

Chris Malta
www.ChrisMalta.com/Workshops
888-824-7476

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 Surviving EBiz No Comments

5 Top EBiz Myths Busted - Day 2

About this series:

There are lots of “myths” surrounding home-based EBiz that will seriously hurt your business if you believe them. I’ll talk about 5 of the most dangerous ones in this 5 day series. These myths are created and pushed around the ECommerce community by 2 kinds of people:

1. Those who try to sell you products, services and information that they know are useless, but they don’t care because they’re thieves and liars who want your money and what happens to you doesn’t matter to them. In this series, I’ll call them Marketurds (Marketing Turds) so that we’re clear on exactly what they are.

2. Those who simply don’t know what they’re talking about, but pose as someone who does. Like rabid parrots who’ve been force-fed too much caffeine, they flap around maniacally and re-gibber the oral garbage that’s constantly spewed by the Marketurds, not knowing any better. I’ll call these people Midiots (Marketing Idiots) in this series so we don’t forget what THEY are.

Marketurds and Midiots look and sound very convincing, and claim to be EBiz ‘gurus’. They make up more than 95% of all the so-called ‘gurus’ online, and will utterly destroy your chances at a successful business if you let them.

So let’s get on with 5 Top EBiz Myths Busted - Myth 2:

YOU SHOULD SELL ON EBAY OR AMAZON (or both!)

Marketurds and Midiots spend a great deal of time trying to sell you all kinds of amazing tools and ‘coaching’ that are supposed to help you make money on eBay and/or Amazon. The Marketurds know that isn’t going to work, but they’ll get your money and that’s all that matters to them. The Midiots don’t know anything; they’re just parroting the Marketurds, as we’ve established.

I touched on an important part of this subject in the previous installment of this series: “5 Top EBiz Myths Busted - Day 1“. I’m assuming you read “Day 1″, right?

BUT, just in case you didn’t read ‘Day 1′ because you had some legitimate reason not to (like maybe having to fight off some evil space aliens who landed in your front yard…really, I can’t think of any other reason you didn’t read it!), I’ll repeat the part that applies here:

If you were going to build a lemonade stand on the sidewalk and sell cups of lemonade to passers-by, like kids do in the summertime, would you rather build that lemonade stand in front of The Dollar Store, or in front of Macy’s?

People walking into The Dollar Store are bargain hunting. They’re trying to save money. You might get a nickel a cup for lemonade once in a while in front of The Dollar Store. However, you’ll get a quarter a cup for lemonade all day long in front of Macy’s.

In the PHYSICAL retail world, LOCATION matters because the FOOT TRAFFIC matters. Higher end retail stores are built in physical locations that have a higher-income DEMOGRAPHIC per capita because that’s where the money is.

The same thing happens online. eBay (and Amazon) advertise themselves primarily as bargain-hunting locations. So, most people who are shopping on eBay and Amazon are BARGAIN HUNTING. Those people will most often be price-comparing, because they have a need to save money. In those places, price has a serious impact. When you sell in places where people shop with a bargain-hunting mentality, you have to drop your price to a point where your profit margins are so low you couldn’t see under them with a microscope, and that’s no way to run a business.

You need to place your business where the money is; where people are searching for products based on the quality they want rather than the price they can afford.

That is and always will be your own web site.

(Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program).

EBAY USED TO BE BETTER FOR HOME BASED BUSINESS

In the earlier years of eBay, up to about 2009, eBay was a place where you could make much more profit than you can today. It still wasn’t a gold mine by any means, because you were still dealing with bargain hunters and also with the ever-frustrating “Sort By Lowest Price” link that gives all eBay sellers that familiar “the monster is standing right behind me, isn’t he?” chill down their spines, but it WAS better than it is now.

The difference is a program that eBay started in about 2009. When their former CEO, Meg Whitman, left the company (in about 2009), the new management decided they weren’t making enough money. (Although if you’ve been inside the eBay headquarters in San Jose, like I have, they certainly don’t look like they’re hurting for cash).

So how to make more money, they wondered? I can imagine the meeting in the boardroom (but I won’t use real names).

I imagine Tibbet raised his hand and said, “what if we strengthen all the great programs that Meg Whitman helped put in place, like eBay University, the national ‘eBay Live!’ Convention, the outreach and training programs and all that stuff?”

I imagine that the board said “No!”, and promptly shut all those programs down forever (which they actually did).

I imagine that Johnson raised her hand and said “what if we help our home-based sellers by lightening up all our regulations, lowering our fees, allowing people to more easily appeal bad feedback and getting rid of the ‘Sort by lowest price’ link? That would stimulate more sales and better profits and help everybody!”

I imagine that the board promptly said “No!”, then created more regulations, raised fees, made it even tougher to appeal bad feedback, made the “Sort By Lowest Price” link even bigger (all of which they actually did), and then quietly had Tibbet and Johnson escorted from the room and fired.

I imagine that Mordecai raised his hand and said “what if we invite big wholesalers and manufacturers in through a back-door program and allow them to sell on eBay under assumed names so that nobody knows who they really are, and stimulate sales by pushing OUT the small sellers and lowering buyers’ prices across the board through big, direct wholesale sellers?”

I imagine that the board did a collective steepling of their fingers and gave a Monty Burns
“Eeeeexxxellleennntt!” (it’s a Simpson’s reference…you get it, right?) and then promptly did just that (which, yes, they actually did).

SO, eBay USED to be a place where home-based business owners got together and sold things to people who wanted to buy them.

NOW, eBay is a place where giant wholesale and manufacturing companies get together behind hidden identities, gleefully sneak up on and steamroll over all the unsuspecting home-based business owners, and sell things to people who want to buy them at low, low prices that no home-based business owner can ever beat.

Gee, doesn’t THAT just sound like a great opportunity for home-based business? The Marketurds and Midiots want you to think it is, because they make money TELLING you that self-destruction and financial ruin (oops…I mean “making money on eBay”) is SO EASY if you just buy their over-priced tools and programs!

Home-based business owners who sell on eBay generally see profit margins ranging from about 4% to about 11%. A business needs to make at least 20% to be sustainable, and 35 to 40% to grow.

eBay just isn’t the place to do that anymore. If you’ve been trying to make money on eBay for any real length of time, I’ll bet all of this explains a lot of the frustrating things that have been happening to you over the past few years. Sorry for hurling a stink-bomb into the rose garden, but SOMEBODY had to tell you.

AMAZON HAS ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY, AND DOESN’T CARE WHO KNOWS IT

While eBay has spent the last several years trying to imitate Amazon, Amazon has just rolled happily along being Amazon and not caring who knows it.

The Marketurds and Midiots want you to believe that you can make money as a home-based business owner on Amazon using ridiculous practices like “retail arbitrage” (which isn’t a real term; it was invented a few years ago by a Marketurd), importing stufs from China (which is actually horrendously expensive and risky even if you do it right, but of course YOU don’t need to know that), “private labeling” that stuff (which loosely translates in Chinese as “shooting yourself in the foot” [OK, I made that up, but it's the same result]) and using Amazon’s FBA program to get Amazon to do all the hard work FOR you (which makes skewering yourself on the bones of your failed business sound so EASY!) but is actually not what Amazon wants you to do at all.

Let’s take a look at all these spectacularly turdulent ideas one by one. (Yes, ‘turdulent’ [turd-yoo-lent, meaning turd-like in nature; approximating the properties of a turd] is now a word, because I said it in writing. I even gave you the phonetic spelling. Hey, that’s how the bad guys operate…just make things up and they suddenly become ‘real’. Why can’t the good guys do the same?)

1. Retail Arbitrage

The term “arbitrage” is loosely defined as “a risk-free way of making money by exploiting the difference between the price of a given good on two different markets”. Historically this term has been used most often by those who buy and sell in currency markets.

A few years ago some Marketurd was looking for yet another clever term that most people had never heard of to make yet another “amazing money-making system” sound good whether it was actually a good idea or not. (It was not). So he came up with a brilliantly turdulent scheme he called “Retail Arbitrage”. Among the Marketurds and Midiots, it caught on like a wildfire in a fuel depot.

Notice the words “risk-free” and “exploiting” in that definition I just gave you. Those two words are important in different ways here. First, this so-called “retail arbitrage” is anything but “risk-free”. It carries a tremendous amount of risk around in it’s back pocket but doesn’t want you to know that (hence the ‘back’ pocket). It also encourages it’s users to exploit their customers by artificially jacking up the prices of the products they sell, and exploiting your customers is NEVER a good idea.

So here’s the gig: (a) you spend all your waking hours burning gas and time running around to physical retail stores like Costco, WalMart, Target, Jack’s Retail Dumpster Of Stuff Nobody Wants, etc., etc. Then (b) you buy a whole bunch of stufs that the Marketurds’ and Midiots’ APPS tell you are a good deal (hence the risk…you lay out your OWN hard-earned money all day long, not knowing whether the crap you’re filling your trunk with is ever going to sell anywhere, for any reason…except that the APP tells you it will; oh, what a spectacular endorsement!).

Then you get yourself an Amazon Store, jack the prices of all the Appommended (meaning ‘APP recommended’; there’s another new word for ya!) crap in your trunk way up over normal retail, and hope to cheat enough people out of lots of money quickly before Amazon notices (which they WILL) that you’re jacking people around with inflated prices and shuts you down before you’ve made enough money to cover your costs (for gas, time, and trunkloads of Appommended stufs).

Wow, what a business model! Turd’s the word, baby! C’mon, sing it with me…T-T-T-Turd turd turd, t-turd’s the word, a-well-a turd turd turd, turd is the word…this actually fits spectacularly well with the 1963 song “Surfin Bird” by The Trashmen. You can listen to it here, substitute the word ‘turd’ for ‘bird’, and retail arbitrage has an Anthem! No disrespect to The Trashmen and Surfin Bird…love the song, and the band was cool! LOTS of disrespect to “retail arbitrage”.

2. Importing from China

Wow, this just sounds great, doesn’t it? Buy stufs directly from China at ridiculously low prices all day long and resell it on Amazon for huge profits. Would you like a helipad on that new yacht you’re going to buy next week with your AMAZING profits?

Oh darn, wait a minute…the Marketurds and Midiots left a couple of things out. Little things, really. Nothing to see here, folks, just move along and don’t pay attention to the FACTS. Inconvenient little buggers, facts are.

Like the fact that if your going to import from China SUCCESSFULLY, you must actually GO to China and spend time touring trade shows, meeting with manufacturer’s reps, hiring an export agent (that you can actually TRUST; good luck!), etc. That inconvenient little requirement will cost you ten or fifteen thousand dollars before you even start. Then there’s that annoying tidbit of a fact that there is no legal reciprocity between China and the US (or most other countries) in these matters, so once you pay for your products up front, if they never show up you’re ship out of luck; there’s nothing you can do to get your money back.

And pay no attention to the fact that in order to get TRULY profitable prices on these products, you have to buy them by the container loads (translation…railroad freight cars) which means you’d better go in loaded with AT LEAST tens of thousands of dollars (much more would be better), or just stay home. But nevermind that. Let’s hurry up and get on with ignoring the facts that you have to consult the US Harmonized Tariff Schedule to find out how much IMPORT TAX you’re going to pay to bring those products INTO the US, what your regulatory and Customs costs are going to be, and how much you’ll have to pay to have your products shipped from their port of entry to the warehouse space you’re going to need to rent and pay for.

Inconvenient things, facts. Inconvenient. That’s why Marketurds and Midiots leave them out while they’re recommending the Bentley dealership nearest you as a place to spend some of your spectacular overnight riches.

Here’s another set of facts. There are tons of large, competitive companies in the US who ALREADY collectively spend BILLIONS of dollars (yes, with a B) importing those products in to the US. THEY pay for all the costs, deal with all the hassles, and provide you with great sources of those Chinese (and many other nationalities) products WITHOUT you having to go through the incredible level of risk and expense that comes with trying to import on a serious level YOURSELF. And guess what…they have tremendous BUYING POWER, so the wholesale prices you get from these US-based importers are LOWER than you would end up paying if you did it yourself!

But those are facts, and the Marketurds and Midiots don’t want you to know those things, so please ignore them.

3. Private Labeling

Somewhere along the line, some Marketurd managed to string together 3 or 4 brain cells for a few seconds, and decided to fool everybody into thinking that it’s a good idea to ‘private label’ the products that you can’t effectively import from China without suffering huge risk and expense to begin with.

Yes, by all means, let’s make the virtually impossible task of importing PROPERLY from China as a home-based business owner even MORE impossible by telling them to relegate those products to the vast wasteland of retail purgatory known as BRAND OBSCURITY. THERE’S a good idea! Let’s try to sell things to people using brand names they’ve never heard of!

Facts. Once again, facts get in the way, annoying as they are. (a) There’s a reason that well-known brands exist. People TRUST THEM and BUY THEM much more often than they buy brands they’ve never heard of. (b) Trusted well known brands take tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars and many years to establish in a consumer marketplace. Whoops, you may have to put off buying that yacht with your amazing Amazon profits for a couple of weeks in order to establish a national brand with the unknown products you can’t afford the time or money to import yourself anyway.

It boggles the mind, really. The Marketurds and Midiots SWEAR that this is such a good idea, that they have people running around in endless circles trying to do all these things that will never work anywhere near as well as simply selling known brand products from domestic wholesale suppliers and importers (which is the RIGHT way to do things). The good thing for the M&Ms is that THEY make a ton of money off of selling you all the space-age tools and programs that make universal constants bend to their amazing magical powers.

YOU don’t make money, but that’s not their concern, is it? Nope. They’re magical, and magical beings can get away with anything, so you just don’t matter.

Think of it this way. You’re shopping online for a Coffee Maker. Would you rather buy a Cuisinart Coffee Maker, or a Joe’s Coffee Maker? ‘Nough said, I sincerely hope.

Giving something a random brand name doesn’t make it sell. Pouring tons of money into building a brand over years of time makes it sell.

Want to actually make money? Sell the brands that people already know, trust and buy.

4. Using Amazon FBA

The principle behind FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) is simple enough. A company sends a bunch of products into the Amazon warehouses, Amazon completely takes over the sale, and then cuts a small (remember that word ’small’, please!) profit back to the company that sent in the products, after the products are sold. (WEEKS after the products are sold, but let’s just ignore that for now). Wow, that sounds EASY! Just send Amazon the stufs that you’ve been driving all over town to collect or have (not) been successfully importing from China, and they do all the work! Geez Louise, just can’t wait for the delivery trucks to line up on your street to unload all that cash you’re going to make, can you!

Well, there are a few inconvenient things that get in the way again here. Dare I say it? Facts. Yes, facts; those troublesome, meddling things that are so much better off ignored, because we LIKE to throw our money away, don’t we? Don’t you just hate facts? I know the M&Ms do, because they completely ignore them, which is what we tend to do to things we hate, right?

So please follow the Marketurds’ and Midiots’ lead and completely ignore the following facts:

1. Amazon FBA doesn’t WANT to unpack boxes you send them with small (meaning less than dozens or hundreds of units) amounts of different stufs. That takes time. Amazon is all about EFFICIENT distribution logistics, which means things have to move FAST over there. When they have to open several boxes full of small numbers of different products, that slows them down. Multiply that by the fact that the M&Ms now have THOUSANDS of people doing that, and Amazon is pulling out their collective hair follicles in frustration.

They’re all about fast and efficient distribution because one of their primary features is FAST delivery. What they REALLY want to see is a tractor-trailer backing up to their loading docks and offloading pallets full of the EXACT SAME product, like 5,000 white, two slice Cuisinart Toasters, for example. That way they can immediately ship a full pallet of those toasters to each of several strategically located warehouses around the country so that they CAN deliver to local addresses quickly.

When they have to sort through a few boxes containing small numbers of tons of different stufs ranging from a couple of Fuzzy Fluffy Puppy Toys to five or six Loonie Moonie Bare Buttocks Garden Gnomes, their heads explode, and so does their highly efficient inventory and distribution process. Your Puppy Toys and Garden Gnomes end up being consigned to ‘Aisle: ZZZ’, ‘Shelf Location: Nowhere We’ll Ever Find It Again’ in a single warehouse, and that’s not good.

THEY DON’T LIKE SMALL (less than pallet load) QUANTITIES.

2. Amazon controls the Search function on the Amazon site. That’s okay, they’re allowed to do that. It’s THEIR site. As a business, they tend to place the large companies that have LOTS of products in their warehouses WAY above the home-based business owners who have small amounts of lots of different products. Again, they can do that. It’s not illegal, it’s not immoral…it’s business. They actively promote products sent in by companies who sent in lots of products, and they actively DEmote products sent in by people who send in, well, NOT lots of products.

That means that your small numbers of products don’t get seen in Amazon as much as they should. And THAT means that they don’t sell very quickly, if at all. And THAT means that they sit around Aisle ZZZ for a long time taking up space, even though that space is somewhere in the tumbleweeds outside the building at their Mojave Desert warehouse location.

When your products don’t sell quickly enough, Amazon will offer you some options: (a) You can pay Amazon a ‘Storage Fee’ (that will quickly add up to more than you paid for your stufs to begin with). (b) You can pay Amazon to ship your stufs BACK to you, so that you can rent a booth at the local weekend flea market and try to get rid of them. OR, (c) Amazon will offer to simply throw your stufs in their dumpster for you. Those are your options.

It’s a big dumpster, and it gets a lot of use.

3. Amazon watches their Metrics (what sells, when it sells, and how it sells) with an Electron Microscope, by the nanosecond. IF you manage to send in a small quantity (less than a truckload, remember) of a product that actually takes off and sells well, Amazon will do what a business needs to do in that situation. They will immediately contact the manufacturer or wholesaler of that product and tell them “Hey, get a truckload of this product over here right away; we can sell them for you like hotcakes!”

When that happens (or when any one of several other things Amazon doesn’t like happen) they can and often will simply shut off your product listing and kick it off of Amazon with absolutely no explanation whatsoever.

Then you’re cut out of the loop because you’re a small seller, and it’s back to options (a), (b) or (c).

SO THOSE are some of the inconvenient facts about being a small seller in Amazon FBA. There are more, but this piece is already nearly as long as the US Tax Code, and if you want to get REALLY RICH you’re supposed to IGNORE the facts anyway, right? So let’s end it there.

Even if you do what the Marketurds and Midiots want you to do and completely ignore the facts governing eBay, Amazon, retail marketing, inventory logistics and mathematical constants of the universe that have been scientifically proven and accepted for hundreds of years, there are two over-riding things that simply CAN’T be ignored.

They are:

1. SCALABILITY

You CAN make SOME money on eBay and Amazon. (Please take careful note of the word SOME). However, the problem is that in business you need to be able to increase the amount of money you make over time WITHOUT having to spend more time doing it!

When you have a job and work for someone else, you trade dollars for hours. You earn a specific number of dollars for each hour worked. Work more hours, you make more dollars. Work fewer hours, you make fewer dollars.

In business, however, the goal is to create a SCALABLE model. That means that once you get set up and running, you DON’T have to work more hours to make more dollars. That won’t happen for a home-based business owner in places like eBay and Amazon. Too much hands-on work; local sourcing, packing and shipping, dealing with inconvenient FACTS, etc., etc. We’ve talked about those things.

When you run your own sharply focused web site and do it RIGHT, your marketing efforts tend to remain consistent when it comes to time spent, but your visibility, traffic and sales INCREASE over time WITHOUT an increase in time spent on marketing efforts.

That’s scalability. It’s GOOD, and it’s the way successful business owners think.

2. PROFIT MARGIN

As I said earlier, the average profit margin for small sellers on eBay and Amazon ranges between about 4% to 11%. Primarily, that’s because eBay and Amazon are most recognized as places people shop for BARGAINS and DISCOUNTS. That, among other things we’ve already talked about, forces fierce price competition on those platforms, which is what drives the profit margins down. Is 4% to 11% money? Yes. Is it worth your time? No.

You should be dealing in profit margins ranging from 30% or 40% all the way up to 60% or 80%. You can do that with a tightly focused web site, because the vast numbers of people who search products through a search engine are NOT bargain hunting. If they were, they would go directly to eBay or Amazon. Or WalMart.com, for that matter.

Putting your business squarely in the path of the most bargain-hunting consumers on the internet is NOT a good idea, no matter how many facts the Marketurds and Midiots want you to ignore.

Lemonade Stand…in front of The Dollar Store or in front of Macy’s? Your choice.

WANT TO LEARN A LOT MORE?

This stuff is just the snowflake on the tip of the iceberg. I have a lot more to teach you based on my very successful 24-year online career.

You should let me.

I’ve been teaching people how to market successfully online for years. I’ve made millions doing it myself. I’m not a Marketurd or a Midiot. I’m a successful business owner with 24 years of online experience, and I WILL teach you more about real ECommerce in a single day than you’ve learned in all the time you’ve been trying.

Check out my Online EBiz Workshop and Mentoring Program for yourself. Go ahead and look…it’s just an information page, and it won’t bite or grab your wallet.

In fact, Register for a Workshop NOW and you’ll find a whopping 75% Discount on that Workshop just because you had the stamina and patience to read this whole post!

Questions about the Workshop? Just call me. I answer my own phone and will answer your questions. 888-824-7476.

In the meantime…

Next I’ll excitedly bust Myth #3: “You should use eBay, Amazon and Free Trial web sites for Product Testing” (NOT!)

Sincerely,

Chris Malta
www.ChrisMalta.com/Workshops
888-824-7476

Tags: , , , ,

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017 Surviving EBiz No Comments

5 Top EBiz Myths Busted - Day 1

There are lots of “myths” surrounding home-based EBiz that will seriously hurt your business if you believe them. I’ll talk about 5 of the most dangerous ones in this 5 day series. These myths are created and pushed around the ECommerce community by 2 kinds of people:

1. Those who try to sell you products, services and information that they know are useless, but they don’t care because they’re thieves and liars who want your money and what happens to you doesn’t matter to them. In this series, I’ll call them Marketurds (Marketing Turds) so that we’re clear on exactly what they are.

2. Those who simply don’t know what they’re talking about, but pose as someone who does. Like rabid parrots who’ve been force-fed too much caffeine, they flap around maniacally and re-gibber the oral garbage that’s constantly spewed by the Marketurds, not knowing any better. I’ll call these people Midiots (Marketing Idiots) in this series so we don’t forget what THEY are.

Marketurds and Midiots look and sound very convincing, and claim to be EBiz ‘gurus’. They make up more than 95% of all the so-called ‘gurus’ online, and will utterly destroy your chances at a successful business if you let them.

So let’s get on with 5 Top EBiz Myths Busted - Myth 1:

YOU MUST OFFER FREE SHIPPING

“Free Shipping” doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing. It’s a myth. Somebody ALWAYS pays for shipping.

In the 24 years I’ve been making money online (and in my 42 years in business overall) I have never come across a shipping company that ships for free. Have you? In one of my Online Workshops last year, I had a person who had been a UPS Driver for 17 years. I asked him if he ever worked for free.

He said no.

I was not surprised.

Covering the shipping cost of a product to an online customer happens in one of three ways:

1. The seller pays for the shipping, which comes out of their profit margin.

2. The buyer pays for the shipping, which gets charged to them during the purchase.

3. The seller pays for the shipping by HIDING the shipping cost in a higher product price, which still means that they buyer pays for the shipping.

Then of course sometimes, there’s a combination where the seller hides SOME of the shipping in a higher product price, and charges the buyer a lower ‘flat rate’ shipping price.

Any way you ship it, there is NO such thing as actual Free Shipping. You know that, I know that…hey, even my dog probably know that. She’s pretty smart.

Shipping has a cost. Always. Small business owners cannot afford to cover that cost out of their profit margins (which is the only way to offer Free Shipping). Marketurds and Midiots who tell you that as a small business owner you must offer Free Shipping are simply trying to feed you a plate full of ship, so to speak, and are expecting you to pay them for the meal.

Like so many other things in sales, Free Shipping is a GIMMICK. Sales gimmicks are the last resorts of people who don’t know how to actually MARKET products.

Let me repeat that LOUDLY for those in the back row who are playing games on their smart phones and not paying attention:

SALES GIMMICKS (like Free Shipping) ARE THE LAST RESORTS OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW HOW TO ACTUALLY MARKET PRODUCTS.

Marketurds and Midiots do NOT know how to actually market products. They only know how to feed you plates full of ship, and (ironically) charge you for delivering them.

Small business owners who DO know how to market products charge shipping to their customers all day long, and their customers pay it without a problem. So let’s talk about some of the things involved in actually marketing a product properly.

1. Choose a product market that’s profitable and has room for competition.

Market Research (when done corrrectly) is the process of finding products that (a) sell well, (b) are not overly competitive, and (c) fall within certain price ranges that make a product worth selling.

The Marketurds and Midiots will tell you to ’sell something you like’, or ‘test products to see what sells’. That’s why they’re called Marketurds and Midiots; both of those ideas are ridiculous.

This isn’t about selling what you like. It’s about researching what sells well and has room for competition, and then learning to love that product. A good retail salesperson is a die-hard evangelist for the product they sell. If they’re not, their lack of enthusiasm in their Social Media efforts will rat them out in a heartbeat and kill their sales before they begin.

2. Understand how people search for the product.

A good marketer knows that Keyword Research is, well, KEY to marketing a product. Researching every possible word or phrase, whether closely or distantly related to the product line, and then using those words and phrases properly in marketing makes all the difference. Marketurds and Midiots won’t even mention Keyword Research to you most of the time, and it’s absolutely critical to do it, and do it right.

3. Develop a deep understanding of WHO BUYS the product.

You CANNOT sell the same product to all age and gender demographics at the same time. No professional marketer ever even tries to do that. Not even the big kids at the multi-million dollar Ad Agencies on Madison Avenue. Every product line has a ’sweet spot’ where the highest concentration of customers for that product exist, and it’s a marketer’s job to find that sweet spot and understand it.

When you figure out who the customer is that buys the most of your product most of the time, you’ve found the money in the product line. Demographic Research then tells you things like how to talk to them, what color palettes work for them, whether they prefer to see a lot of text and less imagery, or lots of imagery and less text on sales pages, what style of graphics and typography we should be using, and many, many more critically important things.

When you understand the Demographic, you know how to present them with an extended marketing message that strikes an irresistable chord with them, and if that’s done right they’ll buy from you immediately even if they have to walk to the Moon and pick up the product themselves.

But again, Marketurds and Midiots know nothing of these processes. These are REAL WORLD marketing tools, and the M&Ms aren’t interested in the real world except as it applies to emptying your wallet.

4. Sell in the right places.

If you were going to build a lemonade stand on the sidewalk and sell cups of lemonade to passers-by, like kids do in the summertime, would you rather build that lemonade stand in from of The Dollar Store, or in front of Macy’s?

People walking into The Dollar Store are bargain hunting. They’re trying to save money. You might get a nickel a cup for lemonade once in a while in front of The Dollar Store. However, you’ll get a quarter a cup for lemonade all day long in front of Macy’s.

In the PHYSICAL retail world, LOCATION matters because the FOOT TRAFFIC matters. Higher end retail stores are built in physical locations that have a higher-income DEMOGRAPHIC per capita because that’s where the money is.

The same thing happens online. People who are shopping on eBay, Amazon, WalMart.com, etc., are bargain hunting. Those people will most often be price-comparing, because they have a need to save money. In those places, Free Shipping DOES have an impact, and so does price. When you sell in places where people shop with a bargian-hunting mentality, you have to lower your price to the point where your profit margins are so low you couldn’t see under them with a microscope, and that’s no way to run a business.

You need to place your business where the money is; where people are searching for products based on the quality they want rather than the price they can afford.

That is and always will be your own web site.

People who shop the search engines for products are NOT going directly to eBay, Amazon and WalMart. They’re searching for the PRODUCT, not the PRICE. The number of people who search Google and other search engines for products vastly outnumbers the people who bargain hunt directly at eBay, Amazon, etc.

If you learn proper Market Research, Keyword Research, Demographics, and sell in the right place with a clear understanding of marketing, you’ll make a lot of money and you won’t need to even think about offering Free Shipping.

So the next time some Marketurd or Midiot tries to sell you a plate full of ‘free ship’, hand them a spoon and tell them to eat it themselves; you’re not hungry.

WANT TO LEARN A LOT MORE?

I’ve been teaching people how to market successfully online for years. I’ve made millions doing it myself. I’m not a Marketurd or a Midiot. I’m a successful business owner with 24 years of online experience, and I WILL teach more about real ECommerce in a single day than you’ve learned in all the time you’ve been trying.

Check out my Online EBiz Workshop and Mentoring Program for yourself.

Go ahead and look…it’s just an information page, and it won’t bite or grab your wallet.

In fact, Register for a Workshop NOW and you’ll find a whopping 75% Discount on that Workshop just because you had the stamina and patience to read this whole post!

Questions about the Workshop? Just call me. I answer my own phone and will answer your questions. 888-824-7476

In the meantime…

Next I’ll gleefully bust Myth #2: “You should sell on eBay or Amazon” (NOT!)

Sincerely,

Chris Malta
www.ChrisMalta.com/Workshops
888-824-7476

Tags: , , , , , ,

Monday, July 10th, 2017 Surviving EBiz No Comments

What sells online, what doesn’t, and why

Something you need to do before you do any other Market Research when choosing what to sell online, is to assess whether or not that product is likely to actually sell online.

This has nothing to do with researching Demand, Competition, Price Point, Profitability, or anything like that.

The simple fact is that some products just don’t sell well online, for a variety of reasons. “Qualifying” a product is what we do to figure out whether it will sell well online or not, BEFORE we spend time researching the product in depth.

To Qualify a product, we look at two things: Demographics, and Points of Failure.

Understanding the Demographic

Understanding the product’s likely Demographic is the first thing we do in the Qualification process.
As we’ve talked about before, the word “Demographic” simply means “Statistical characteristics of a population”. In Ecommerce marketing, when we say “Demographics”, we’re referring to the characteristics of the people who might buy what we’re selling.

Some of those characteristics are Gender, Age, Income, Location, Career, Home Ownership/Rental, etc. Having a good idea what these things are helps us decide what other characteristics they might have.

For example, older people are more likely to be homeowners, likely to be more financially stable and are likely to be able to afford more expensive purchases. They’re good candidates for higher quality, more traditional products.

Younger people are more likely to follow popular trends but tend to have less money, so they’re better candidates for slightly less expensive but trendier products.

There are products that cut across all demographics to some degree or other, and products that are very specifically targeted to just one particular set of demographics.

Forming a picture in your mind as to who might buy the product you’re thinking about selling is extremely important, as you’ll see in this Lesson.

Points of Failure

Points of Failure are reasons why a product simply doesn’t lend itself well to selling online.
In this Lesson, we’re going to Qualify our potential product choices using some Demographic assumptions, and the 5 most common Points of Failure:

• Market Segment
• Size
• Integration
• Visualization
• Urgency

Let’s go through these Points of Failure and explain what they basically mean.

Market Segment

For our purposes, we’re concerned with three potential market segments. They are:

o Consumer – a product that’s designed for use by the average consumer.
o Prosumer – a product that’s designed for use by consumers who are semi-professional users.
o Commercial – a product that’s designed for commercial/professional use.

Size

This refers to a product’s actual physical weight and dimensions. For example, products that weigh more than 150 pounds are over the standard UPS, FedEx and USPS shipping limits and have to be sent using special delivery methods.

Those special delivery methods (Motor Freight, LTL [Less Than Truckload], etc.) are more expensive, and their pricing changes weekly as fuel prices fluctuate. This makes it impossible to provide your customers with standard shipping rates, and that causes problems with customer service and sales.

Integration

Integration refers to whether a product is a complete product in itself, or if it is a component that has to be integrated with other components from other sources in order to function.

For example, a BBQ Grill is a complete product in itself, and can be sold without worrying about potential Integration. However, outdoor BBQ grill components that are designed to be built into a brick BBQ enclosure are not complete products in and of themselves. Somebody has to build the brick enclosure and Integrate the components into the enclosure in order for the BBQ to be used.

Visualization

There are products that people are willing to buy without seeing and touching them, and there are products that people are not willing to buy without doing those things.

For example, it’s very difficult to sell Wedding Rings online. The Bride and Groom want to see the rings, inspect the jewels, try them on, have them sized, etc.

If a consumer can easily Visualize the product and doesn’t feel like they need to see and touch it physically before buying, that product doesn’t have a Visualization problem. Otherwise, it does, and is not a good candidate to sell online.

Urgency

There are products that people are willing to wait for, and there are products that people feel they need RIGHT NOW.

There are also situations in which a single product can be both Urgent, and Non-Urgent. That depends on the consumer’s frame of mind at the time of the need. The best potential products are those that don’t generally associate at all with a sense of Urgency.

Understanding who is likely to buy the product (the Demographic) goes a long way toward telling us which, if any, of these Points of Failure might apply, and whether they apply enough to decide against selling the product online.

Applying a simple numeric 0 through 5 rating system to each Point of Failure is the best way to Qualify a product overall. 0 (zero) would be no impact at all, and 5 would be maximum impact, and an automatic disqualification of the product.

The “CIP (Cumulative Impact Point) Score”

Use the following system to apply a “CIP Score” to each of the Points of Failure when Qualifying your product:

Market Segment:

Consumer = 0 points.
Consumer products reach the widest possible consumer base. The fact that a product is a general Consumer product has no negative impact on its likely sales online.

Prosumer = 2 points.
Prosumer products reach a narrower consumer base and require specialized knowledge to sell, which makes them a less likely candidate for the widest possible consumer audience and creates a higher level of difficulty in sales.

Professional = 4 points
Professional products reach a MUCH narrower consumer base. These products require professional handling and expertise to use or install. Professionals who use them most likely already have their own physical-world suppliers, and they’re much more difficult to sell online.

Size:

0 Points if the product is under 150 pounds and the shipping dimensions are within UPS, FedEx and USPS limits.

5 Points if the product is over 150 pounds or over any of the UPS, FedEx and USPS limits on shipping dimensions (size of box, etc.) This is an automatic disqualification.

Integration:

0 points if the product is stand-alone and no integration is necessary.

1 – 5 points if the product has to be built into or integrated into something else in order to function, with 1 point being simple integration and 5 points being something that has to be built into another type of product or enclosure in order to function. 5 points is automatic disqualification.

Visualization:

0 points if consumers regularly buy the product online and there is no need to “see and touch” the product.

I – 5 points if the product is something that consumers may feel a need to see and touch before buying, with 1 point being the slightest need, and 5 points being an absolute need. 5 points is automatic disqualification.

Urgency:

0 points if there is no urgent need to have the product in hand right away.

1 – 5 points depending on the potential need of the consumer to want to have the product in hand with some sense of urgency. 5 points is automatic disqualification.

Ideally, the product line you choose would have 0 (zero) CIP Score, which means it scores 0 on all Points of Failure.

Let’s go through a couple of examples of Qualification.

Example 1

PRODUCT:
Consumer-style Portable Hair Dryer

Demographic:

The basic demographic for this product would likely be women ages 15 and over of all income levels. While men do use portable hair dryers, it’s fair to assume that they are mostly purchased by women.
This demographic is very basic and wide. The product is generally not very expensive, and a tremendous number of people use them.

On the surface, this seems like a Qualified product, but we haven’t done a CIP Score yet.

CIP Score

Market Segment = 0 points.
This is a Consumer product, not Prosumer or Professional, so this gets 0 points for Market Segment.

Size = 0 points.
This product is well within weight and size limits for UPS, FedEx, and USPS, so it gets 0 points for Size.

Integration = 0 points.
This product doesn’t have to be integrated into anything else in order to work properly. Just plug it in and use it. So, 0 points for Integration.

Visualization = 0 points.
This is a widely used product that most people are very familiar with. There’s no need to “see and touch” the product before buying, the point score for Visualization is 0.

Urgency = 4 points
When we think about urgency, we have to think about how soon someone feels the need to have the product in their hands. Let’s look at it this way: WHEN do women buy a new hair dryer?

Usually when the one they currently have breaks.

How many women do you know who are willing to walk around with bed-head while they wait 4 days or more for UPS to deliver their new hair dryer?

I don’t know any. The woman whose hair dryer just broke wants a new one NOW, and she’s going to scoot right down to Wal-Mart or the nearest drug store and get a new one right away. So for me, Urgency is a big negative impact on considering this product for sale online.

Total CIP Score = 4 points.

In this example, the Total CIP Score for me is 4 points. Yes, I know that sites do offer hair dryers for sale online, but in my experience that’s simply big box stores who have the product in inventory anyway, and might as well list it on their web sites.

What we’re looking for here is a niche. We’re looking to build an entire web site around one single product niche.

Do I think I could build a successful online store selling only Consumer Portable Hair Dryers? No, because the Urgency score puts it out of reasonable consideration for me.

How did I come to the conclusion that Urgency was a factor? Because I took the time to think about whom my Demographic is. If my Demographic was mostly men, I might have given this product a lower Urgency score, because men are often okay without a hair dryer for a few days. They just need to know where to find the hair gel and a comb.

Women, though, react differently in that situation, and that’s why the high Urgency score.
Even though the Total CIP Score was not a 5, meaning automatic disqualification, it’s high enough that it’s not worth messing around with for me.

Example 2

PRODUCT:
Build-in BBQ Grill Components

Demographic:
These products are the grill, fridge, drawer and shelf components that get built into an outdoor brick or stone BBQ enclosure.

The demographic here is likely a male homeowner who earns a mid to high level of income and does a fair amount of entertaining in his home. He’s currently involved in some type of outdoor home remodeling. He’s probably not doing it himself, since stonework or bricklaying required to build an outdoor BBQ enclosure is a specialized skill.

The particular demographic that would buy these products is extremely narrow overall. I already know which way this is going to go just by looking at the products and thinking about the demographic, but I’m going to do a CIP Score anyway, because real business owners are nothing if not thorough!

CIP Score

Market Segment = 4 points.
This is a Professional product. It has natural gas fittings, so it needs to be installed by a professional even if the buyer knows enough to do the brick or stonework himself, so this gets 4 points for Market Segment.

Size = 0 points.
These are components shipped in separate boxes, so they are well within weight and size limits for US, FedEx, and USPS, so it gets 0 points for Size.

Integration = 5 points.
This product has to be fully integrated into a custom-built enclosure made of completely different materials, so this one gets 5 points for Integration, which is an automatic disqualification.

Visualization = 2 points.
This is a specialty product that will be built into a custom enclosure. However, since I have to assume that most buyers are working with professional installers and have probably seen samples and been given sizes, I would score Visualization at 2 points.

Urgency = 0 points
This is a part of a construction project, and as such there would not be much of a level of Urgency. Most people plan for delivery of components in construction projects when they’re ready, so I score Urgency at 0 points in this case.

Total CIP Score = 11 points.

In this example, the Total CIP Score for me is 11 points. This is WAY over the disqualification score of 5 points.

Example 3

PRODUCT:
Airline Pet Carrier

Demographic:
I see the demographic for this product as about age 25 and older, since people who both own pets and tend to travel enough to bring them along have a more stable home environment than people under 25. Although we’d probably be dealing with more women who would actually use the product, we’re probably dealing with more men (husbands, likely) who would be making the actual purchase. That’s simply because most women tend to defer to men to get the technical details figured out.

Nothing against women, who are more than capable of doing that, but that’s just the way it tends to play out and we have to be honest with ourselves about this research if we’re going to get it right.
This demographic would probably skew a little more toward people without young kids, or kids living at home. People with young kids living at home tend to travel more locally by car for vacations, and they tend to leave their pets at kennels when they travel.

People who are older who don’t have kids living at home become much more attached to their pets and want to take them everywhere they go.

So, while the demographic would include people 25 and up, the actual buyers probably skew more toward men age 45 or higher.

This is also a product that has an emotional component to the demographic, because of the often close emotional bond people develop with their pets. That means that the likely buyer will often be willing to spend more money to insure the comfort and safety of the pet.

On the surface, this looks like a Qualified product already, but let’s do a CIP Score to be sure.

CIP Score

Market Segment = 0 points.
This is a Consumer product, not Prosumer or Professional, so this gets 0 points for Market Segment.

Size = 0 points.
This product is well within weight and size limits for UPS, FedEx, and USPS, so it gets 0 points for Size.

Integration = 0 points.
This product doesn’t have to be integrated into anything else in order to work properly. Let the pet in and go! So, 0 points for Integration.

Visualization = 0 points.
This is a widely used product that most people are very familiar with. There’s no need to “see and touch” the product before buying, the point score for Visualization is 0.
.
Urgency = 0 points
While it’s possible that once in a while somebody would need an Airline Pet Carrier on short notice for an emergency trip, that’s not reason enough to give this product any points on the Urgency scale. Most people who are getting ready to travel know well in advance, and buy their tickets well in advance to keep their prices down. So I score Urgency at 0 points in this case.

Total CIP Score = 0 points.

In this example, the Total CIP Score for me is 0 points. This is a perfectly qualified product with regard to Demographic and Points of Failure.

Learn it and Use it!

Make absolutely sure you understand exactly how this process works.
When you get involved in Market Research, the best practice is to research several different product markets at once in order to choose one new product line for your business. Use this process every time you get into Market Research. It allows you to create a scoring system that can quickly and easily compare the likelihood of being able to sell the product online.

How do I know all this stuff?

I know it because I’ve been successful in ECommerce and online business for more than 20 years, and I’ve made millions at it.

Why should that matter to you?

Because there’s a lot you need to learn to run a successful Ebiz, and I’m the ONLY REAL successful person out here who is willing to work with you PERSONALLY to help you learn it all.

I’ve been running my Online Workshop and Mentoring Program for more than 6 years now. I can teach you more in a day than you’ve learned in all the time you’ve been in ECommerce, or have been thinking about starting in ECommerce.

THEN you’ll learn even MORE, because it’s a Lifetime program.

Learn how things REALLY work. Learn how the people who make real money online actually do it. I’m here, and I’m more than willing to teach you, whether you’re just starting out or have been trying for years.

Register Now and get a HUGE 75% Discount; but only until Midnight on Wednesday December 31st, because January’s Workshop seats are already selling out and that’s when the Discount ends.

Questions? Call me. 888-824-7476. I answer my own phone and I’ll be happy to talk with you.

Friday, November 7th, 2014 Surviving EBiz No Comments

Why Backorders happen and what to do about them

When you’re selling online, whether you use Drop Shipping or you physically stock and ship your products, Backorders from your supplier are always a real possibility.

They often seemingly come out of nowhere, and leave you holding the bag, trying to explain to your customer why you suddenly can’t deliver what they bought.

As a business owner, it’s really important for you to understand why this happens and what you can do to avoid damage to your online reputation.

So please bear with me as we go through a hypothetical Backorder situation, and a very real-world solution to that problem.

Let’s look at a very real scenario:

Let’s say you’re selling Coffee Makers.

The US-based Manufacturer of the coffee makers orders different parts for those coffee makers from different specialized suppliers around the world, and assembles those parts into the finished product in the US.

One day, somewhere in China, the machine that punches out the metal bands that hold the handle on to the coffee pot that comes with the coffee makers you sell breaks down.

As with many companies in China, it’s a very small manufacturing company using a very large, complex machine to punch out those metal bands. The breakdown is a crack in the pressure cylinder that drives the press, and the fix is very difficult. Parts for that machine are impossible to come by, because this small Chinese company bought the 50 year old machine at a cheap price from a Russian surplus equipment dealer and there aren’t any replacement parts to be had.

The Chinese company can’t manufacture the metal bands until they repair or replace the machine. They can’t replace it because there are no more cheap surplus presses to be had, and a newer machine is too expensive for this small manufacturing operation to buy.

The small Chinese company is down for 3 weeks while they remove the old cylinder and have a replacement specially made for it by an equipment fabricator in Thailand.
This one breakdown and repair delay sends a ripple effect across the entire Supply Chain for your coffee makers.

The small Chinese company is operating on a (very common) 3 month lead time. That means that the metal bands they make today, for example, don’t arrive on a ship and get offloaded to a US Customs Port for about 3 months.

Because they have that lead time, the Chinese company decides not to notify the US-based manufacturer that they have a problem. They’re afraid of losing their contract, so they keep the delay a secret for as long as they can while they scramble to fix the problem.

The US-based manufacturer happily goes along assembling coffee makers with the parts they have from the delivery of thousands of metal bands that just came in on the last shipment, unaware that one critical part is about to be delayed.

Because the Chinese company didn’t tell the US company that there would be a delay, the US company doesn’t go out and look for a replacement supplier for the metal band.

The Chinese company gets their machine back up and running 3 weeks later and works overtime trying to make up for the time they were down, but it’s impossible to catch up. The next order they send to the US company is going to be significantly short.

Months later, the next shipment of metal bands arrives at the US company’s facility, and it’s far fewer metal bands than it should be. The US company finds out what happened, and is forced to reduce the number of coffee makers they assemble and ship to their wholesale suppliers around the country until they can get their next full shipment of metal bands for the coffeepots.

The US company doesn’t want their wholesalers to go looking for other brands of coffee makers to sell, so they decide to delay telling their wholesalers about the upcoming shortage as long as possible until they can come up with a retention strategy that won’t cost them wholesalers. It takes them about a month to burn through their on-hand factory inventory, and then they start to notify their wholesalers that future shipments will be short for about 3 months or so.

Your wholesaler of the coffee makers you sell only has a fairly small quantity of the coffee makers in stock because they’re trying to manage their cash flow as carefully as possible during an economic downturn. They don’t bother to make a general announcement that the coffee makers will be in short supply for a while, because they don’t want to lose retailers. They decide to deal with their retailers on a case-by-case basis, offering discounts on other products in order to retain their retailers while they wait for their supply of that coffee maker to be fully available again.

Seven months after the initial equipment breakdown at the Chinese manufacturer of metal bands, you sell a coffee maker to one of your customers on your web site. You place the order with your wholesaler, only then to find out that the coffee maker is out of stock.

This is an example of poor Supply Chain management, specifically with regard to the transmission of information throughout the Supply Chain. However, it happens fairly often.

Now you have a customer that you can’t fill an order for, so you get mad at the wholesaler for not telling you their stock was running out. You’d be right; the wholesaler could have notified its retailers of the problem. However, the delay itself isn’t the wholesaler’s fault; the fault lies with that cracked pressure cylinder in China, and a couple of fear-based management decisions by other companies in the Supply Chain as well.

The Chinese manufacturer could have told the US company that there would be a delay, and the US company might have found a substitution for the metal bands. But, the Chinese company was afraid of losing that large contract if the temporary replacement supplier did a better job than they could.

The US company could have warned their wholesalers that the delay was coming, but they didn’t want their wholesalers shopping for other coffee maker brands from other companies.

The wholesaler could have warned their retailers that stock would be low to non-existent for a while, but they too were afraid to lose customers in a tough economy and decided to ride it out on a case-by-case basis. They also could have looked for other brands of coffee makers to carry, but for a wholesaler that can be a months-long process that gets very costly.

These are the kinds of things you need to understand and be prepared for.

When you’re in business, one of your primary jobs is to put out fires. They’ll spring up in the strangest places for reasons that are often a complete mystery, but the business owner who reacts well to situations like this is a business owner who succeeds in business.

Simply remember that every problem is an opportunity.

That’s an old saying, but it’s an old saying for a reason; it’s true, and has stood the test of time.

In the situation describe above, for example; what do you do to turn that problem into an opportunity?

Let’s take it step by step:

1. As soon as you find out that product is out of stock, remove it from your web site. Don’t mark it “out of stock” on your site; that’s a negative. Remove it completely until you can sell it again.

2. See if you can buy that same product from another web site; perhaps a big-box store that still has some in their inventory. If you can, buy it and have it shipped to your customer. Make sure you let your customer know what you did for them. The trust and goodwill that comes from that simple act far outweighs the few dollars you have to spend to buy the product elsewhere and send it to your customer.

3. If you can’t get the product anywhere else, contact your customer immediately. Let them know the product is out of stock. Offer them a choice; a similar replacement product at a discount, or an immediate refund.

Your immediate and effective response to your customer turns a negative into a positive every time. People will trust and respect a business that takes care of them as a customer.

It’s very important to understand that Supply Chains are complex and can be volatile, but the better you understand how they work and how to deal with the problems that arise, the more efficient and successful your business will be.

How do I know all this stuff?

I know it because I’ve been successful in business for 40 years, and successful in ECommerce and online business for more than 21 years. I’ve made millions at it.

Why should that matter to you?

Because there’s a lot you need to learn to run a successful Ebiz, and I’m the ONLY REAL successful person out here who is willing to work with you PERSONALLY to help you learn it all.

I’ve been running my Online Workshop and Mentoring Program for more than 6 years now. I can teach you more in a day than you’ve learned in all the time you’ve been in ECommerce, or have been thinking about starting in ECommerce.

THEN you’ll learn even MORE, because it’s a Lifetime program.

Learn how things REALLY work. Learn how the people who make real money online actually do it. I’m here, and I’m more than willing to teach you, whether you’re just starting out or have been trying for years.

Register Now and get a HUGE 75% Discount; but THIS DISCOUNT ENDS WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 31ST!

Dates for this incredibly successful online Workshop are already selling out. Please don’t miss it.

Questions? Call me. 888-824-7476. I answer my own phone and I’ll be happy to talk with you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short 3 day Ebiz series. Please remember this series is just the tip of a very large iceberg; there is SO much more you need to learn if you want to make REAL money in ECommerce!

Friday, November 7th, 2014 Surviving EBiz No Comments

Price It Right, Increase Your Sales [5 Critical EBiz Details, Day 1]

Like anything else, the ability to make real money in ECommerce comes from learning the details. Anyone can learn to do anything well. The key word there is LEARN.

There are a LOT of critical details that the 5% of EBiz owners who are successful understand and do well. The 95% who struggle every day and can’t seem to get anywhere don’t understand these things yet.

This 5 day series covers 5 of those many those critical details. Hey, it’s a start! Let’s jump right in.

[DAY 1] PRICED TO SELL

When I teach ECommerce business owners about structuring their pricing successfully, we go through several stages:

1. RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME

This is actually part of a very different discussion, but it needs to be brought up here if we’re going to talk about pricing.

The worst thing you can possibly do to ANY small retail business is to put it squarely in the path of a crazed, charging herd of the most bargain-hunting consumers on the planet.

A small home-based EBiz simply can’t compete in a bargain-hunting situation. It doesn’t yet have the buying power that the much bigger companies do. That means that the home-based EBiz pays a higher wholesale price per product and can’t make any profit when competing on price with bigger stores.

IF YOU LEARN how to run a real EBiz successfully, you won’t be stuck paying higher wholesale prices forever. As you grow, your buying power will increase as well.

However, everybody has to start somewhere, and trying to compete right out of the gate directly against large retail companies is like bashing your head into a brick wall over and over again. It gets really painful really fast, and pretty soon you’ll fall down and begin to mumble unintelligibly.

This is why it’s so difficult for a small EBiz to succeed on eBay and Amazon. Over the past several years, these huge bargain-shopping venues have become favorite hangouts for large wholesale and manufacturing companies who sell directly on eBay and Amazon, often under anonymous seller names.

Ever wondered how so many of these large sellers can sell so cheap and still survive? They are mostly large wholesalers and manufacturers who sell right out of the warehouse. They can undercut any small business on price. They thrive in price-driven destination sites like eBay and Amazon, and that leaves you out in the cold. If you’re not making at least a 20% to 45% profit on your sales, you’re not going to make a living at it.

So where should you be selling?

The best place for a home-based EBiz is, always has been and always will be on it’s own web site.

Why? Because your best customers are those who are searching for what they REALLY WANT, not for the lowest possible price.

When consumers are bargain hunting, they tend to go DIRECTLY to eBay, Amazon, Walmart.com, etc. However, when they search for what they REALLY WANT, they go to Google.

Far, far more consumers search for products on Google than on eBay, Amazon and Walmart.com COMBINED.

Consumers who search on exactly what they really want are doing what’s called “Discretionary Purchasing”. When people are buying on a Discretionary basis, they aren’t nearly as concerned about price as they are about quality and getting exactly what they want.

THAT is the sweet spot for retail businesses either online or offline. Discretionary consumers far outnumber bargain-hunting consumers, and they will pay a reasonable retail price to get what they want. For a small business, that translates directly to reasonable profits.

I know, I know; you might be selling on eBay or Amazon. However, all that had to be said in order to talk about pricing. If you plan to continue to try to earn a full time living on eBay or Amazon, just keep plenty of Advil on hand for the future, and continue reading. The rest of this discussion pertains to ANY place that you’re going to set a retail price.

2. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PRICING

Ever wonder why so many prices end in 95 or 99 cents? Those are known as “charm prices”. They use what we call the “Left Digit Effect” to apply retail psychology to pricing.

That effect is the fact that a nickel, or even a single penny will have an effect on a retail buyer that is HUGELY disproportionate to the actual money value in the price.

Most people who sell online tend to use the Left Digit Effect without really understanding why, because we’re all exposed to it on a daily basis in our own lives. However, many also ‘mix and match’ pricing in that effect, and doing that throws off the consumer.

Consistency is the most important thing when it comes to the Left Digit Effect. Either always use it, or never use it. Either always use 95 or always use 99. I’ve consulted for an amazing number of EBiz sites that use 95, 99, 00, 50, 67, 97 and so on as Left Digits in their pricing ALL on the same site!

Psychology is an amazingly important aspect of retail sales. When consumers see a mix of Left Digit pricing, it throws them off. They feel like something isn’t right, but they don’t know what it is.

Any time a consumer feels like something isn’t right on your retail EBiz pages, your chances of making a sale drop tremendously.

99 and 95 are the most commonly used Left Digit Effect numbers, and you should stick to them but never mix and match; either always 99 or always 95.

3. SALE PRICES - THE EXCEPTION

Running a sale? Use 00 for your Left Digit Effect. Psychologically, the 00 doesn’t work well for normal everyday pricing. It tends to make the prices look high to us.

However, when it’s used sparingly in an occasional Sale Price, it looks low.

That only works, though, when you use the Sale technique SPARINGLY. Many of the sites I’ve consulted for use the old, hackneyed technique of making everything on their pages a Sale price. You’ve seen that, right?
EBiz pages that list the ‘Regular’ price, cross it out and list the ‘Sale’ price below it, then list the ‘You Save’ amount below that. On ALL their products.

Hey, maybe you’ve done that or even do it now; it’s very commonly used by those who simply have not been told any different. It’s no crime not to be aware of something. The crime is being aware of something that hurts your business and not fixing it!

The technique of making everything look like a Sale price no longer works. Online consumers are much sharper than they used to be, and view that technique as something designed to fool them.

When people hit your product pages and think you’re trying to fool them, you’d have better success trying to sell baby shoes to a rock.

So use 00 as a Left Digit Effect for actual Sale prices, but run actual Sales sparingly and only on a few items at a time.

You’ll have much better success with it.

4. HOW TO SET PRICES

Setting prices is all about research. I know; painful, right?

Hey, you know the old saying…no pain, no gain. That’s especially true for business owners.

Researching pricing means that you need to find the exact same product being sold by 6 of your most annoying competitors. Why are they annoying? Well, because they’re competing with you! How annoying is that!

In reality, competition is a GOOD thing. It raises consumer awareness that a product exists, and brings more people into the marketplace to buy it. However, it does mean that you have to compete for those customers.

The biggest mistake that EBiz owners make here is in trying to undercut their competitors. You don’t need to do that when you sell to Discretionary buyers. Selling is about providing your customer with what they need and want through proper presentation. If you can do that, price becomes secondary, especially to the Discretionary buyer.

Another point that’s important to make is that if you get into a price war with competing EBiz owners, that war only ends badly for both of you because it ends when there is no profit margin left in the product. Game over.

So, find 6 other web sites that sell the same EXACT product, add up their prices, and divide by 6. That gives you the average price of your competition, and that’s where you should be. Psychologically, a product that has a price that ‘blends in’ well with other prices in the product’s market shifts the consumers’ attention away from the price and toward the value and benefit statements you make in your on-page marketing.

If you have a web site, DO NOT use eBay, Amazon or Walmart.com to research competitive price points even if they do show up high in the search engines when you do your research. A well-marketed niche web site can beat eBay, Amazon and those big bargain stores in the search engines all day long if they know what they’re doing, and learning how to do that should be your goal as an EBiz owner.

Consumers who shop on a Discretionary basis mostly shop sites other than the bargain hunting destinations, and that’s where you should focus your research.

If you do all your research on eBay, Amazon, etc., the price competition results are only going to show you how little (if any) profit there is available there, and that’ll just give you a headache.

Genuinely sorry to say that if you’re an eBay or Amazon seller, because if you are you MUST do your research on eBay or Amazon. I hate to say it, but it’s the truth.

5. ZEROING IN ON EXACT PRICE

When it comes to actually setting the exact price for a product after you’ve done your research, it might be helpful to make a note of this URL: www.PricePoints.com. That site lists commonly used retail price points from 0.00 all the way up to 10,000.

Use it as a guideline, though, not as hard-and-fast rules.

PricePoints.com is a good place to get ideas for your RIGHT DIGIT price numbers; the actual dollars in your price to the right of the decimal point. Look at the average product price you got from your research, then find the closest dollar value in PricePoints. That is likely going to be an effective dollar value for you.

However, if it’s too far off the average that you researched, disregard it and use your average.

Then, apply either 95 or 99 to ALL your price points for the Left Digit Effect, and you’re good to go.

Remember to keep it consistent!

Note: some internet marketers make a big deal of the number 97 as a Left Digit Effect. That works much better for information sales than it does for physical product sales, so don’t get sucked into that idea!

6. WHAT NEXT?

Check out [Day 2] of this series, and we’ll talk about another critical detail you need to understand to actually make a living in this business.

Between now and then, check out my LIFETIME Personal EBiz Workshop and Mentoring Program. I’ve made millions in this business, I’ve been doing it for over 20 years, and I’ve consulted for and taught literally thousands of EBiz owners how to earn a full time living online.

You are more than welcome to join us. There is a LOT more I can teach you about the REAL world of online business if you really want to learn.

Right now, there’s a very limited time 75% Discount on this very successful Lifetime program, but it always sells out very quickly, so Register Now! I promise you’ll be glad you did. :o)

Questions? Call me. Yes, I answer my own phone. I’m a Teacher and a Business Owner, not one of those online junk dealers. You can actually reach me on the phone, any time, and I’ll be happy to talk with you. 888-824-7476.

See you in the real world!

Chris Malta
888-824-7476
www.ChrisMalta.com/Workshops

Tags: , , ,

Monday, October 6th, 2014 Surviving EBiz No Comments

Build Your Brand, Increase Your Sales [5 Critical EBiz Details, Day 2]

This is the 2nd post in this “5 Critical Details for your EBiz” series.

[DAY 2] IDENTITY PACKAGE

When I consult for ECommerce businesses or teach EBiz owners, one of the things that stands out the most to me is the total lack of an Identity Package for that ECommerce business. An Identity Package helps to set the tone for site design, marketing style, and the entire Brand Identity of the business.

A well-constructed Brand Identity is an absolute MUST for ANY business to be truly successful, online or offline.

For an EBiz, an Identity Package consists of three things:

1. A GOOD SITE NAME

I’m often surprised by the number of people who have taken bad advice or learned the wrong things and given their web sites names that will do nothing for their business at best, and hurt it at worst. I don’t blame the site owners; there’s a tremendous amount of bad info floating around out there. However, they do need to learn how to do it right.

How many times have you seen a site named something like “MyGreatBargains.com”, or “GreatBuys4U.com”, or “BigPlaceFullOfExcellentThingsAtLowPrices.com”? Okay, that last one is a stretch, but you know what I mean, right?

Actually, that was a trick question. You probably only rarely come across sites with a names like that. Why? Because they don’t rank well in the search engines, and hardly ever get found by shoppers.

The reason they don’t rank well is another topic altogether; perhaps a discussion for another day, but I’ll mention it here in passing. They don’t rank because they’re trying to sell a whole bunch of different products on the same web site. Those products all have widely different Keywords in their product names and marketing content. Google and the other search engines rank best on RELEVANT Keyword content; Keywords that they know are related to one another in some way.

So, when the search engines see a site that has page after page of words describing products that the search engine knows are NOT related to one another, that site doesn’t rank well. Period.

Yep, I know, big-box stores that carry widely varied stuff seem to rank pretty well, don’t they. However, that’s for different reasons altogether, and they can be beaten with highly targeted web sites.

For that reason and many others, small home-based EBiz sites need to sell ONLY one specific product line per site in order to do well in the search engines.

As I said, though, that’s a topic for another time. There are LOTS of details involved in making an ECommerce business successful, and we only have room for 5 of them in this email series! So let’s get back to our conversation about an Identity Package, with site names being the first thing to learn.

A site name needs to reflect what it sells. On a properly built web site, that will be something very specific. However, it can’t just be “Toasters.com”.

For one thing, that name is already taken, which most of the best product-descriptive names are. For another, though, a site name needs to connect with its consumer demographic. To connect with its consumer demographic, the business owner needs to know who that consumer demographic IS. We’ll talk about that in another email in this series. Back to names, now.

Let’s say that an EBiz owner sells a very specific line of toasters that is best suited for a female audience (a demographic) made up of older women who have a serious passion for baking and cooking. What site name do you think would appeal more to that consumer audience?

- BestToasters4U.com

- CheapToasters.com

- CozyKitchenToasters.com

If you picked the last one, you’re right. A site name, like everything else in marketing, needs to tell part of a story and also make an emotional connection with its consumers. CozyKitchenToasters.com evokes a warm, comfortable, familiar place where family gathers and great food is carefully made with lots of love.

The other two choices, well…don’t. So, you can see the difference between thoughtless, sales-gimmicky names and a carefully selected audience-driven name, right?

Good. That leads us to some of the other things a good site name does. It helps to drive site design. A name like that inspires a site with a warm, rich color palette, a cozy, comfortable graphic treatment and a very personally friendly space.

What else does it do? Among other things, it helps to inspire the creation of the second part of an Identity Package. The Tagline.

2. A GOOD TAGLINE

These used to be called “slogans”. Now we call them Taglines, or ‘Tags’ for short.

A business without a Tagline is a business that needs to get one, or close up shop. I cannot stress strongly enough that this is a critical part of your Identity Package, and your Identity Package is a critical part of your Brand. Your Brand is a critical part of your Marketing, and…well, I’m sure you get the idea!

In ECommerce, Tag Lines are generally best inspired by site names. The Tag needs to support the name, while at the same time telling another part of the Brand story.

Professional copywriters who create Taglines often go through dozens, if not more than a hundred different ideas before settling on a good Tag. This is not something to be taken lightly. Remember, it has to support the name, and tell more of the story of the Brand.

“You’ve tried the rest, now try the best!” isn’t gonna cut it. At one time, that Tag was clever. That’s when it was new, back before humans discovered fire.

A good Tagline needs to be short, memorable, part of a story, and supportive of the brand. It needs to CONNECT with people emotionally as well, just like the site name should.

Another rule of thumb is that a Tagline shouldn’t ever be more than 3 to 5 words. That makes them much easier for consumers to remember, and that’s what you want.

Think of some of the most memorable Tags you know.

- Don’t leave home with it (5 words)

- You deserve a break today (5 words)

- Just Do It (3 words)

- The quicker picker-upper (4 words)

- The King of beers (4 words)

See what I mean? Short, memorable, and telling part of a story. Let’s look at the first one; the American Express Tagline “Don’t Leave Home Without It”. This Tag is using negative reinforcement to create a scary imagined impact if you DON’T have the product.

Warning a fellow human being not to leave a safe, comfortable place and go out into the big, bad world without a taking specific thing along makes a very visceral connection with us psychologically. It subconsciously makes us feel like bad, BAD things are going to happen if we leave our home without this thing. Again, it’s psychology. As humans, we look to other humans to warn us of danger, and a need to pay attention to those warnings is deeply ingrained in our psyche.

So, a negatively reinforcing Tagline like that works very well.

What Tagline would we give our CozyKitchenToasters.com web site?

There are lots of possibilities, and there’s a serious amount of research to do before choosing one, but I’ll just throw one out there off the top of my head. (Excuse me while I remove my hat…)

Okay, how about:

Real kitchens bake with love

That’s 5 words. Yeah, I know, it sounds a little sappy when you look at it sitting there all by itself. Hey, I spent all of 30 seconds coming up with that; cut me a little slack!

BUT, put that Tag together with the site name ‘CozyKitchenToasters.com’ and the right graphic design, and I promise you it will look perfectly natural, make an emotional connection, and tell another part of the story of the site’s Brand.

There’s still one thing missing, though. The site name and Tagline will play a part in helping us to design the third and final part of an Identity Package: The Logo.

3. A GOOD LOGO

How many times have you seen a web site that just has text in the top left corner of each page that says something like ‘BobsWebSite.com’? Probably too often.

The top left corner of any page on your web site is the first impression your customers have of your Brand. We all know how important first impressions are. Because we’re raised to read left to right, top to bottom (in most Western cultures, anyway) the first thing we see when our eyes hit a new piece of media, like a web page, is the top left corner of the page.

That’s where our brains expect us to start reading, so that’s the first place our eyes go. Sometimes we don’t even realize that, but it happens every time. No matter where we THINK we looked first, our brains instantly register whatever is in that top left corner.

The brainiacs at MIT tell us that the human brain can register and recall an image that it sees for as little as 13 MILLISECONDS. That’s 13 one-thousands of a second!! So don’t think for a millisecond that your customers’ brains don’t take whatever is in the top left corner of your web site pages as their first impression of your business and Brand; they absolutely do.

If that top left corner is a flat, dry, no-personality lump of text that says ‘BobsWebSite.com’, you’ve already lost that customer in their first couple of seconds on your site. At that point even the customer doesn’t consciously realize it yet, but SUBconsciously they already know they’re not going to buy anything from you.

A good Logo completes your Identity Package and is a cornerstone of your site’s Brand. In a quick, visually symbolic way, a good Logo captures attention, tells yet another part of the Brand story, sets a mood for your customers and much more.

Professional designers charge thousands of dollars for a really good Logo, because they do a lot of research into your customer demographic and your product market and play with dozens of ideas before finalizing the design.

Don’t think you can get a good Logo from one of those five-dollar graphics sites. The graphic artists who do those dirt-cheap Logo designs literally time themselves and only devote about 10 to 15 minutes of their time to each Logo they create. How else can we realistically expect them to make any money otherwise? They’re not doing it for fun!

10 to 15 minutes isn’t going to get you a good Logo, though, and a bad Logo will sink your brand faster than a boat anchor chained to a dog biscuit. So where do you get a good Logo? Here are three suggestions, from best to worst case scenario.

It’s probably the last thing you want to hear, but any business owner who’s serious about building a successful business from the ground up needs to develop multiple skills. As an Ebiz owner, you need to have some familiarity with graphics software like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. If you spend some time with it, you can come up with a Logo on your own. Just make sure to study other successful Logos in your market and take your time.

Or, you could find a friend or family member who’s good at sketching or drawing and work with them.

Finally, if you must, you can try to find a designer who will spend more than 15 minutes on your Logo. You WILL have to pay them a reasonable amount of money for their time, though, if you expect a reasonable Logo in return.

Remember that your Logo will be greatly influenced by the other parts of your Identity Package; your Site Name and your Tagline, so they must be developed first.

Logos come in several forms:

Word Mark - this Logo form is simply the name of the company written out in a stylized font with no graphics. Think Disney.

Icon - this Logo form is simply a graphic that stands on its own. Think Apple.

Lettermark - this form of Logo is the initials of a company name in a stylized text font with no graphics. Think CNN.

Combination Mark - this form of Logo uses both a Word Mark and an Icon. Think Adobe.

Emblem - this form of Logo consist of words or letters inside a graphic design. Think Harley-Davidson.

Our CozyKitchenToasters.com site name could use any of these forms of Logo, as can most site name and Tagline combinations. As the business owner, it’s up to you to learn to provide the creativity to build a good Identity Package for your web site. Your real-world business success depends on it.

6. WHAT’S NEXT?

Check out [Day 3] of this series, and we’ll talk about another critical detail you need to understand to actually make a living in this business.

Between now and then, check out my LIFETIME Personal EBiz Workshop and Mentoring Program. I’ve made millions in this business, I’ve been doing it for over 20 years, and I’ve consulted for and taught literally thousands of EBiz owners how to earn a full time living online.

You are more than welcome to join us. There is a LOT more I can teach you about the REAL world of online business if you really want to learn.

Right now, there’s a very limited time 75% Discount on this very successful Lifetime program, but it always sells out very quickly, so Register Now! I promise you’ll be glad you did. :o)

Questions? Call me. Yes, I answer my own phone. I’m a Teacher and a Business Owner, not one of those online junk dealers. You can actually reach me on the phone, any time, and I’ll be happy to talk with you. 888-824-7476.

See you in the real world!

Chris Malta
888-824-7476
www.ChrisMalta.com/Workshops

Monday, October 6th, 2014 Surviving EBiz No Comments

Focus Your Customers, Increase Sales [5 Critical EBiz Details, Day 3]

This is the 3rd post in this “5 Critical Details for your EBiz” series.

[DAY 3] VISUAL SALES VS PHYSICAL SALES

One of the things I see quite often when I work with EBiz owners is the fact that most EBiz owners don’t think hard enough about the distinction between the physical world and the online world when creating web site pages. There are several important things to realize here.

1. YOU CAN’T TALK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS

There’s a process to traditional physical sales that’s worked very well since the first caveman sold a hunting rock to his buddy in exchange for a chunk of meat.

A really good salesperson in the physical world understands that process and does it very well. That means that salesperson makes good money in sales.

The process basically goes like this:

- You show someone a product.

- You ask them questions about what they desire from the product and then speak to those desires and how the product fulfills them.

- You talk price and close the sale.

That conversation is critical in good physical sales. If I go to Sam Ash Music in Orlando and ask a salesperson to see a specific guitar, any good salesperson is going to try to find out what I want from the product. He or she might ask me if I’m going to use the guitar for practice, for fun, to play on stage, to record with, etc. What kind of pickups do I like? What kind of tone am I looking for? What gauge strings do I like to use?

My answers to these questions allow the salesperson to either point out that the features I want already exist on that guitar or can be added to that guitar, or point out that I might want to check out a different guitar.

During that process, the salesperson is GUIDING ME THROUGH THE SALE.

If he or she does a good really job of controlling that process and guiding me through the sale, I’m most likely going to buy the product.

Online, though, there’s something very important that’s missing from this time-tested process. You can’t talk to your customer about what they desire from the product. You can’t physically guide them through the sale with questions and answers.

So what do you do?

2. VISUAL MARKETING WORKS ONE-WAY

When you think about it, the entire marketing process online is VISUAL. From your product pictures to your written site content, your articles, blogs, public forum participation, social marketing, video content…everything you do is ONE-WAY, from you to your customer, and it’s all VISUAL.

Just like it’s easy to mistake someone’s tone in an email when you can’t see their expressions and body language in person, it’s easy to visually confuse people on your site and in your marketing.

In the many years I’ve spent teaching Ecommerce business owners how to fix sites that don’t work, I can’t even attempt to count the number of times I’ve seen web sites that are so visually confusing that I feel like I’m looking at them through a psychotic kaleidoscope.

Most web site owners (and yes, eBay sellers too) tend to cram so much stuff onto a single page that it simply descends into visual chaos right from the top of the page. It’s not the site owners’ fault, because that’s what EBiz owners see everybody ELSE doing.

However, when you understand that literally more than 95% of the Ebiz sites online never provide a full time income for their owners, it’s easy to see that this is one of the reasons.

‘Busy’ pages don’t work well visually. They’re too confusing. Online shoppers move very quickly as a rule, and a busy, confusing page turns off an online shopper faster than their cat peeing on their keyboard.

We’ve already established that this is one-way visual marketing. You can’t stand over your customers’ shoulders and direct their attention through that confusion for them. Your pages need to do the visual directing all by themselves! They can only do that if they are clean, clear, intuitive, AND focused on one thing at a time.

Visual marketing is a PROCESS. In that process, EACH PAGE of your site needs to accomplish the following things for your customer:

- Professionalism

- Legitimacy

- Engagement

- Action

- Closure

You have 3 to 7 seconds to move someone’s eyes to a single focal point on any given page. That’s because people are at their peak level of interest and attention for anywhere from 3 to 7 seconds after they first hit a new piece of media (your web page).

After that first 3 to 7 seconds, their interest and attention begin to drop off, and you’ve lost that Magic Moment when you had your one BEST chance to capture their interest. That’s one reason that confusing web pages lead to miserable sales; it takes way too much time to wade through the confusion. Other reasons are that confusing pages are hard to follow, don’t speak well of your Brand, and are just too much work for the typical fast-moving online shopper.

3. TEMPLATES ARE EASY, BUT NOT GOOD

I should point out that well-designed web pages are NOT the pre-built templates you get from an online store provider. They give you those templates to make building your web site SEEM simple and easy. In other words, the store provider just wants your money, and the simpler and quicker they make web site building SEEM, the more likely you are to give it to them.

Those templates are created by graphic designers who generally don’t understand marketing. They’re graphic designers, not marketing specialists; there’s a big difference! Sure, they’ll have slick graphics and pretty pictures, but they won’t move your customers’ eyes through the visual process that they need to follow in order to complete a sale.

The combination of any product and the particular consumer audience that buys it is always unique and different from any other product-audience combination.

Effective visual sales pages must take into account the uniqueness of your particular product-audience combination. When you do that, your pages have an effective visual process and create the emotional and other connections with your customer that are necessary to complete the sale.

One size fits all templates simply don’t cut it. You need to learn to either create your own pages, or modify the template you’re using. Unfortunately, most templates can’t be modified that much.

4. SALES SUCCESS MEANS UNDERSTANDING THE VISUAL MARKETING PROCESS

So how do you establish a visual process that leads your customer to a sale instead of chasing them away? Let’s explore that process again, with some added notes.

- Professionalism:

Your customers MUST feel that they are dealing with a professional company. Professionalism is immediately established (or not!) by the top left corner of any given page in your site. That’s where they Site Name, Tagline and Logo belong, as we talked about on [Day 1] of this email series. That’s your “Identity Package”. That’s what your customer will notice first, and first impressions are everything.

Make sure you learn how to put together a truly great Identity Package.

- Legitimacy:

Your customers must immediately feel that you’re a legitimate company. This is a function of how easy it is for them to contact you directly. It’s best established by a toll-free Customer Service phone number at the top right of every page on your site. It’s actually very inexpensive (about $20 a month) and it’s worth its weight in gold (sales).

- Engagement:

You have to create a SINGLE focal point on each page of your web site that contains the ONE THING that your customer needs to do on that page in order to further the sale.

This is why you can’t jumble up a nasty mess of multiple product buy buttons, “free shipping” exhortations, coupons, ads, flashy graphics splattered all over the page, and all the rest of that garbage. When you do that, you create multiple focal points for your customers’ eyes, and they get lost, confused, and then they leave.

Engaging a customer’s eyes means catching their attention with something that moves their eyes toward your focal point. You can do this really well by placing an image of a person USING your product near the upper middle portion of your page, above and usually slightly to the left of the focal point. That person in the image should be LOOKING TOWARD your focal point; your customers will follow the eyes of the person in the image.

- Action:

This is what happens when you successfully establish Professionalism, Legitimacy and Engagement. At this point, your customer has landed on the focal point of your page, and takes an ACTION.

On a Home Page, the focal point is usually images that clearly represent your categories. On a Category Page, the focal point is a group of clean, clear product images (NOT prices and buy buttons!) that represent the products in that Category. On a Product Page, the focal point is the product image itself, the description, and the Buy button.

If your page’s visual sales process quickly and effectively moves your customer to your focal point, your customer will click on it.

Get a customer to click on a Category image on your home page, and it’s much more likely they’ll click on a Product image in the Category, and then MUCH more likely they’ll buy the product once they hit the Product page. That is, if you effectively move their eyes through the visual sales process on each of those pages.

- Closure:

This is what happens when your customer buys the product and completes the sale.

Always keep in mind that most of your customers will land somewhere in the MIDDLE of your site, not on your Home Page. That’s just one more reason that EVERY page must be clean, clear and be built with an effective visual sales process!

5. NOW WHAT?

Check out [Day 4] of this series, and we’ll talk about another critical detail you need to understand to actually make a living in this business.

There is a LOT more I can teach you about the REAL world of online business if you want to learn. In fact, I’ll bet I can teach you more in a single day than you’ve learned in all the time you’ve been trying to start or run an online business.

Check out my LIFETIME Personal EBiz Workshop and Mentoring Program. I’ve made millions in online business, I’ve been doing it for over 20 years, and I’ve consulted for and taught literally thousands of EBiz owners how to earn a full time living online.

Right now, there’s a huge LIMITED TIME 75% Discount on this very successful Lifetime program, but it always sells out very quickly, so Register Now! I promise you’ll be glad you did. :o)

Questions? Call me. Yes, I answer my own phone. I’m a Teacher and a Business Owner, not one of those online junk dealers. You can actually reach me on the phone, any time, and I’ll be happy to talk with you. 888-824-7476.

See you in the ‘real’ world!

Chris Malta
888-824-7476
ChrisMalta.com/Workshops

Tags: , , ,

Monday, October 6th, 2014 Surviving EBiz No Comments