Have you given up on email marketing?

no email

no email
By now, most of us have experienced email fatigue. That is the point at which we wish we never had an email address to begin with.

Yet, ask anyone today if they were willing to give up their email address, for real; you would get an incredulous look. How can you survive in the modern world without an email?

It is precisely the fact that emails have become so much a part of our lives, that email marketing is and will always be, an important marketing channel. The real problem comes from the mis-use of email marketing, and that has really destroyed the market for many.

If someone came up to you and offered you something that you wanted, you would be interested to learn more. However, if you are repeatedly confronted with junk that you do not want, and you cannot seem to stop it, that is when you have a problem. What can you do as a marketer?

One good way is to ensure that you do proper segmenting and have a coherent strategy to find your target market. If you sent an unmarried woman information about diapers and baby clothes, it’s junk. Send the same information to an expectant mother or to a lady with young kids, and you are providing a valid offer. Same information, totally different effect. Stuffing your flyers into the coat pocket of every passer-by might seem really clever, but you will not see much results, if you don’t get beaten to a pulp first.

Once you have got your target segment, how then are you going to get a list? This is tough. There are basically two ways to get a list.

The first is to simply buy one. It is tempting to just buy the largest list you can find at the cheapest price. That might not be the best strategy (see paragraphs above). Or, you could find a reputable list provider and purchase a truly targeted list.

You can take a look at List Giant. The fact that they run their list through the NCOA (National Change of Address) information provided by the USPS, is an indication of the quality of the information that they keep. However, as with all things, test first. A good way to test is to purchase a small list, and monitor the results. If you are running your own small business, one good thing about List Giant is that its services are available 24/7 and you can get your lists any time you are ready to send out your marketing pitch.

The second way to get a list is to do it yourself. In the course of running your business, you will have many opportunities to collect information from clients and potential clients. Most businesses do not bother to keep track of this information. They are missing out on a goldmine of opportunities.

The best approach would be to combine both of these strategies. Use reputable lists to kick start your email marketing or list marketing, and at the same time, begin collecting your own lists from customers, potential customers and other interested parties.

Have you heard of managed hosting?

For those who have experienced it before, you know that when you site gets into trouble, it is a painful experience.

We recently got our site taken down because someone hacked through some WordPress loophole. Anyway, it’s all good now. But since then, we always pay attention whenever we see any information on web hosting appearing before us.

So, it was only natural and rather tempting to take on a managed hosting package, if nothing else, simply because we could stop worrying about a lot of stuff related to managing the servers.

But that is an over-kill for a small time business like us. But when we do have larger web needs, that is definitely a direction to consider seriously. After all, what is the point of having a nice thriving business if you have to spend all your spare time looking after the little stuff?

At this time, we are still happy with our simple hosted site. But if ever we do grow, its good to know that there are lots of options out there!

How Important is it to have Exact Keyword Match Domain Name

Just a few days, I was talking with a few people in a well known online forum. There was this guy who was quite prepared to throw in his towel in internet marketing. Basically, Bob has invested more than $60,000 and two years of his time learning, developing and driving traffic to his website. However, he has not monetized the way he saw his compatriots did. Bob’s online income was pathetically little. In his own words, “quite insufficient to pay for website hosting even”.

Bob was extremely puzzled because he believes that he has done what every internet guru did. First and foremost, he said his domain name was keyword rich. His site offers wedding management and tips, and he therefore used a long tail key word which include “weddingtips” in his URL. He said there must be millions of people looking for wedding tips and he could not fathom where those targeted audience wander to. Alas, Bob only got the computation partially correct. While it is true that “wedding tips” are words used by to-be-bride and bridegrooms, it also meant that these 2 key words are highly competitive. The last I checked with Google, there was 108,000,000 search results on “wedding tips” alone. Our frustrated friend’s URL has an adjective and a number before “weddingtips”.  What this means is Bob’s website is no where near #1 spot on Google Page 1. In fact, his website is not listed in the first ten pages of Google’s search results.

Some online marketing experts would suggest that it is a much better route to attract “Type-In Traffic” than spend exorbitant amount to draw in traffic. Type-In traffic is Continue reading “How Important is it to have Exact Keyword Match Domain Name”

Small Business Web Hosting Revisited

Just a few days ago, we explored some thoughts about small business webhosting. Seems like it never rains but pours…

Here we are again, just barely a few days down the road and I run across another webhosting review site that promises to help you find a good web host. Since we were on the topic, I felt it was just as well that we put this up also.

These kinds of sites are quite similar. They give you a top ten list, and then they cover various topics about hosting your website, your email hosting and so on. In fact, a friend of mine just called to ask about email hosting for his small business. He said that he did not need just any web site,  he prefers a reliable source to help me manage the entire web affairs.  He asked me how to choose. I told him he can google for information or  take a cue from the “Best Web Hosting Awards 2009” by the folks over at Web Hosting Rating.

Usually, when you are doing your research, you do not rely on just one site. Information on the internet is well known for being unverified. However, an opinion from a professionally run review site is a tad more reliable than random bits of information that you find scattered all over the internet.

Whatever your needs may be, you should do a little searching. This review site could be a good starting point. And if all else fails, you can always do a Bing or a Google, I guess.

Small Business Web Sites

Recently, a friend of mine sent me a “distress email” with regards to her website. Apparently, she bought a webhosting package about 6 months ago, then suddenly, she got an email that informed her about the service closing down!

Can you imagine that?

You spend days, maybe weeks looking for a “good” web host and then spend more days and weeks getting your website designed, tested and finally launched. Months later, you are informed that you need to go through that whole process again. Now, coming from a recent failure in your ability to pick a “good” web host, what should you do?

Sometimes, it is better to leave such decisions to experts. But if you are not able to afford a good web consultant, maybe you can check out some sites that give our web hosting awards?

Again, this is not a 100% fool-proof method as there might be exceptions. However, your chances would be significantly higher, since these sites rely on their professional reputations and will quickly rescind any awards given to companies that have bad reputations or display signs of instability.

Another way is to do an online search for “good web hosting”. Again, this is not very reliable as many web hosting companies will “seed” the internet with good comments about themselves. So, maybe an independent website rating service might be a better bet.

All the best to your search for the best web host.

Small Business Web Hosting

In our previous post, we talked about web sites and translations. Thank you for your comments and feedback. But one of the challenges facing many of us, other than creating a great website, is how to get started in the first place.

Many times, web hosting becomes the first biggest hurdle. Yes, it is not a complicated thing. However, its like text messages on your mobile phone. Whether you are using T9, iTap or pressing buttons repeatedly to tap out your messages, it was tough at first. Most small business owners are not familiar with web hosting even if they are comfortable online with emails and social networks.

There are three key things you need to be aware of:

Is the Web Hosting company reputable/reliable?

The worse thing that can happen is if you got your web site hosted, then a year or two or even three years later, the web hosting company folds up. As a non-technical person, transferring web sites, back up and moving to a new web server is a nightmare.

Is the Web Hosting Plan affordable?

The top tier web hosts are, of course, reliable. But they are also expensive. Many of the smaller web hosting companies are serious businesses with dedicated staff and a solid business plan. Good deals can be found. You just need to spend time asking around and checking.

Is the Customer Service good?

Usually, with a good web hosting company, the only time you need them is at the beginning, when you set up your web site. And of course, at first, everyone is nice. The most important though, is when things go wrong. If you do not have a good customer service, there is little you can do to your web site if the problems are on the “server side” of your site.

Do you have good or bad experiences to share?

Survey First Before Choosing a Cheap Web Hosting Provider

Cheap Web Hosting Companies

I said recently that cheap web hosting can be good but one got to be discerning. I checked 3 things before I settled with my current web hosting provider:

  • The response rate of the short-listed web hosting provider by sending a ticket with a question.
  • A few blogger-friends’ sites who had similar hosting companies to test the speed.
  • Online reviews.

I received a short email from yesterday inquiring which site I used for my research. That’s a tough question because there are simply too many sites reviewing web hosting providers. However, I used Web Hosting Geeks for independent review of the top ten cheap professional web hosting services under $10 a month. Currently, it listed BlueHost at the pinnacle of its Top 10 Best Web Hosts, 2008. BlueHost received a very positive overall review of 98% with “Reliability & Uptime” at an impressive 99%. Still, when I clicked on customer reviews, I found extreme opinions on BlueHost’s technical and customer support. Many reviewers gave it a one-star while a few bestowed the ultimate 5-star salute.

What does it mean? Continue reading “Survey First Before Choosing a Cheap Web Hosting Provider”

Can Cheap Web Hosting be Good?

I have an interesting tea party yesterday with a few blogger-friends. Almost everyone was lamenting that their wallets were getting empty faster with the impact of rising fuel price.

One said he will have to cut down on smoking, which actually isn’t a bad idea. After all, he is literally spending money to burn his life away. Another said she intends to replace branded food items with no-frill house brands to trim down household expenses. The cost-cutting conversation then sparked an interesting debate about cheap web hosting.

Cheap does not equate to no good. If cheap goods do not serve their purposes, they will not survive in the competitive markets.

Many blogged free of charge using blogspot platform. If you do not need to own your own domain name, free space is great especially when it is Google who owns it.

Bloggers with their own domains are likely to pay the lowest hosting packages over the top of the range that promises unlimited bandwidth. After all, most of us don’t need more than 100 megabytes of space, the basic package will do.

Actually, whether cheap equates to no good is not important. In fact, price should not be the only factor to consider when buying something. When I bought hosting space for this blog, I wasn’t thinking of price. Continue reading “Can Cheap Web Hosting be Good?”