Saturday, December 29, 2012

How to Target a Trade Show Exhibit Audience and Hit the Bullseye Every Time

Marketing is all about targeting the right people and saying the right things to convince them to buy, sign up, or follow whatever call to action is desired by the company. Trade show exhibits require the same amount of precision, if not more so, than regular marketing in order to quickly attract and convince attendees. Here are a few hints and tips to help target the right audience and maximize profits:

Know Their Biggest Fears And Problems

Nothing motivates human beings more than fear. They will leap tall buildings, pay millions of dollars, and trip over themselves and others to avoid something they fear. So, if a business has the product or service to eliminate these fears or solve these problems, people should be running to the business' trade show exhibit and lining up by the masses to make a purchase. Unfortunately, attendees don't always make the connection between their needs and the various products and services offered at trade show exhibits.

One of the best ways to help make this connection is to identify their fears and problems and show them how the business can help. And, the more specific the problems and solutions get, the more targeted the campaign becomes.

Identify With The Target Audience, Don't Preach

Anyone who has ever had their mother tell them to eat their vegetables or make their bed, knows being told what to do isn't pleasant. And, chances are pretty good that when you tell someone what to do, they'll ignore you or do the complete opposite. A target audience for a trade show exhibit will work in much the same way. Therefore, use displays that the ideal customer can identify with; show them that your company understands where they're coming from.

For example, a business selling a pacifier might identify with new parents by recognizing the frustrations of being a new parent and dealing with an inconsolable baby. If inspiration is lacking, look at television and magazines for the best audience and make note of which feelings they identify with.

Be Observant And Flexible

No matter how closely a particular type of attendee is targeted, every person has different needs and feelings than the next person. Therefore, to be as effective as possible, every team member working in the exhibit needs to be able to read people and react accordingly.

Trade show exhibits shouldn't 'go live' without a comprehensive plan for dealing with leads, but it's on the staff member to identify which route to take and when to change the strategy. And, the faster the individual can recognize irritation, disbelief, mistrust, or boredom, the faster he or she will be able to make the switch and convert a cold lead into a hot one.

Targeting attendees for trade show exhibits always requires careful observation and evaluation. Once businesses know what makes their customers tick and can act accordingly, however, the ROI of the show will improve exponentially.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

How to Make the Most Of Your Business' Trade Show Exhibit

Participating in a trade show is a worthy investment for your business. If you make an effort and properly showcase your business, you will reap financial rewards. Exhibiting your business in a trade show is one of the fastest and most effective methods to showcase your business to a lot of potential clients and build confidence in the customers you already have. Certain marketing strategies will help you maximize the success of your exhibit.

A trade show provides you with the opportunity to market your products and services directly to consumers and give you a chance to make a lasting first impression. In order to introduce your business to the public at a trade show and fully take advantage of the experience, there are certain guidelines that you should follow in order to maximize your business' exposure.

Remember the KISS acronym. You probably invoked it during grade school and you should follow the same motto now: Keep It Simple, Stupid. You do not want to overwhelm an audience with too much text on your trade show displays; the more words you have on them, the fewer times they will be read. The colors you use for your company's exhibit should reflect the colors of your brand or the latest design trends, or some combination of thereof. You need to draw a large initial crowd; people will be lured to your booth by seeing other people already there. Additionally, remember that the more fun attendees have at your booth, the more serious business you will do with them after the show.

At a trade show, you are able to immediately interact and connect with potential consumers, who will appreciate that they are getting personal attention. And, if you offer them fun, interactive freebies such as flashlight pens or glow-in-the-dark Frisbees, they will have a stronger positive association with your business. They will appreciate that you gave them something more proactive than a sticker. And, current clients' faith in your business will reaffirmed with these interactions.

Your employees will also be more inspired to make an effort, if they witness you pitching in and making an effort. When selecting staff to work at the booth, you want individuals have demonstrated that they listen well and are not overly chatty. These expos are satisfying for both attendees and participants; the former get the satisfaction of instant gratification and the latter has a forum to appeal to a new audience. Trade shows are the best way to strengthen old relationships and foster new ones with consumers.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Top Seven Strategies to Help You Market Your Local Business Online and Market Your Virtual Business

Roughly 75% of the business owners I speak with in any given town or city see little, if any, need for an online presence. They believe in doing business the way it's always been done, with local advertising, foot traffic, telephone book listing or advertisement, special promotions, and word-of-mouth marketing, and assume that local residents will find out about their business in these same ways.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with these promotional methods, but it does create a tunnel vision view of marketing in this day and age. In September 2004, a Kelsey study found that more than 74% of respondents said they had conducted local searches and confirmed that 20% of all searches among respondents was local. Whether business owners acknowledge it or not, the Internet is here to stay, and using the Internet to find local businesses has now become mainstream, and will only continue to grow as today's children and teens, who have been online almost all of their lives, become adults.

I know that when I do a search for local businesses, I am often taken to one of the local city directories, where I am given the address and phone number of the business, and if I'm lucky, the website URL, if they have a website. Most days, I search out the website of a local business to "check them out" before deciding to do business with them.

One of my most frustrating times comes when I want to place a takeout order at a local restaurant and don't have a takeout menu handy. I'll go online to find the menu of the restaurant, and unfortunately, unless it's a local chain with multiple locations, I don't typically find what I'm seeking. That restaurant usually ends up losing my business to one in which I can scope out the menu online and call in a takeout order.

If you have a brick-and-mortar business, how much business are you losing because you don't have an online presence, or your website doesn't contain enough information to help someone decide to do business with you? Or, if you have a virtual company, what if no one can find you when they conduct a local search of businesses in your industry?

I do no marketing locally, as there is little demand for the type of services I provide in this area. However, I began to wonder if I were losing out on what little local business might exist for my virtual company, so I did some research to find what websites would help my company website show up in any local searches.

1. Local Portal Sites: Search Google, Yahoo, and MSN for your city name and see what comes up. Are there any sites on the list with which you can exchange links, buy advertising, purchase a membership, submit articles, etc.? If you live in a small city, as I do, you might also search for larger cities that are close to your location, or search for a regional name that your area might have. For example, I found more portal sites by using "Southeast Texas" as a search term, rather than an individual city name.

2. Search Engine Directories: Search Google Directory, for your city name and look for a category that ends with "Guides and Directories". When you click on that, you'll see the directories listed by importance, as determined by Google's Page Rank feature (you'll need to download Google's toolbar to see this info. The toolbar can be found at The higher the rank (10 is high), the more traffic the site has. Or, you can manually search Google as follows: Regional Directories (by continent/country): By state in the US:

You can also search Yahoo Directories, To suggest your business for inclusion, see Yahoo's guidelines here: Yahoo's regional directory listing can be found here: and listing for the US states is found here:

3. Yellow Pages Sites: There are a number of bigger city options here: (SBC and BellSouth): Super Pages (Verizon):

4. Nationally-Based City Guides: The largest of these services, CitySearch,, drives content to many other city guides. Other city guides include AOL CityGuide,, Area Guides,, Online City Guide,, and Associated Cities,

5. Newspaper-Based Local Sites: If you live in a larger urban area, your local newspaper may sponsor a site for your city, like, sponsored by the Charlotte Observer) or, sponsored by the Boston Globe.

6. Locally-Based City Guides: Again, in larger urban areas, your local chamber of commerce, convention and visitor's bureau, or a private business may operate a local portal for your city. Here in Southeast Texas, our locally based site is, owned by a private business. Others, like, is sponsored by the Ft. Worth Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

7. Association Guides: Your membership to your local chamber of commerce, convention and visitor's bureau, professional association (by industry), general business groups (networking groups, men's or women's business associations, civic groups) may pay off if the association has an online membership directory where your listing might be found. Make sure that the listing includes both your contact info and a link to your website.

I've only scratched the surface of the local possibilities available for both virtual and brick-and-mortal companies. In doing the research for this article, I discovered there are thousands of businesses who aren't listed in these directories. Don't let yours be one of them. Get your business listed locally so you local customers can find you!

Copyright 2006 Donna Gunter

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Online Chat Room for Adults Can Revolutionize the Way We Do Business Online

As a disclaimer, the online chat room for adults that this article refers to is not the ones some might think about. I am talking specifically about a useful website utility that especially targets the adult segment of the market.

Sure, webmasters have tons of ways to target the adult niche. One can always rely on the awesome power of conventional search engine optimization and search engine marketing, and on the ubiquity of social media marketing. These are tried and tested means of getting the word out about a product, brand and service and thousands of businesses have already established their presence via these tools.

These days, though, online chat room for adults also proves to be a powerful means of strategically targeting the adult consumers, and there are quite a number of chat tools that can be easily installed to any website that zeroes in on the adult demographics.

How does a chat room tool work so you can specifically target the adult segment?

You may not realize it, but on-site chat tools can be an excellent customer service platform for your website. With it, you can track your customer's conversation in real-time. Every now and then you'll read how some of your visitors may like your products or services. Other times you'll read from the conversations how others don't like how slow your site loads. And then there are times when you'll read a question being raised about how your particular product or service works.

Chatting tools have been already explored by thousands of websites and e-commerce. These tools are highly customizable so you can name your chat room as "Daddy's Garage" or "Mother-in-Law Channel" for example to simply let users know who these chat rooms are for. What's great with some of the newer chat programs, apart from they are free and easy to install, is that sites with the same theme that use the same chatting service get linked via categories, so that visitors can find all sites specifically targeting adults upon visiting the chatting service's main site.

Also, with an online chat room for adults, visitors can get a whole new interactive experience, connect with like-minded individuals and can talk freely about products and services that they find useful elsewhere. With chat rooms, website owners will also have the great opportunity to reach out to adult visitors in real-time and get first-hand information on user experience and preference. This type of service will also allow website owners to resolve quickly any issues adult visitors and customers may have.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

4 Keys to Using Trade Shows in Your Marketing Mix

Trade Shows are a great way to capture leads for your business. Remember that getting the lead is the most important part of any marketing plan. You are building a list of hot prospects that are interested in your product. The best kind of lead out there.

1. Don't sit behind the booth!

This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people at trade shows do. You spent a lot of money to be there. Don't waste it by sitting behind your booth like a bump on a log. Stand in front of your booth and be interactive with the people walking by. Catch their attention. Talk to them and invite them over to look at your materials. Answer questions related to your products. Don't just let them look and walk away.

Ask people that do come up to your booth if they have any questions. Ask them if they are familiar with your services or products. Engage the audience. Think about the carnies at the fair midway. You are similar to them. You don't get paid if people don't play. Now you don't have to as annoying or pushy as them but you do need to stand out and engage people so they don't just walk past your booth without talking to you. They may not even know they need your product but after you talk to them they might see a whole new light and really be interested in talking more. Guess what... That's a lead!

2. Get their name and phone number!

So what are you really at the trade show for? To get leads. If anyone tells you trade shows are just great name awareness, walk away and try not to laugh at them. Yes, that is one reason to be there but it's not the main reason. Just because they saw your booth, doesn't mean they will remember you once they've gone through two more rows of booths. You need to collect their information. If it's a Business to Business trade show, collect business cards from everyone you meet. If it's Business to consumer, have a simple form to fill out so you can follow up with them after the show.

One of the best things you can do it have a Free Report or Consumer Awareness Guide that you can mail or email to them after the show. Offer to send it to them the next day if they give you their name, email address and physical address. Now you are building your list. You now have someone specific to market to!

Offer a free giveaway item. Everyone has seen the fishbowl drawings at trade show booths. They don't do this just to get you to stop by their booth. They do it because you now have given them your contact information so they can follow up and market to you in the future. You should be doing the same. It doesn't have to be something big like a free vacation if that's not in your budget. It can be for a gift basket of your products or even as simple as a gift card to your local coffee shop. People always like the opportunity to get something for free. They will go out of their way and fill out your registration form in order to get something for free!

3. Stay to the end

It always amazes me how many vendors at trade shows stay for an hour or so and then pack up because they're bored or tired. Guess what! You paid to be there. Stick it out to the end. I've personally made more connections in the last 30 minutes of trade shows I've attended than in the entire three or four hours I've been there. This is especially important if you are in a Business to Business trade show. You can make more connections with the other vendors than the walk through traffic so don't discard the value of visiting the other vendors there also. It might be the best connection you make. You will never know if you leave after the first hour.

4. Follow up after the show

So many people I see at trade shows collect business cards or names on a list and never do anything with them. They expect that just because someone saw them at the trade show that they will call the vendor to buy something. It's your responsibility to follow up and get the sale. Not their's. This is your chance to make a great impression on them and follow up as soon as you can to set up a meeting, send them more information about you or just to ask them if they are ready to buy. Offer them a free estimate.

You just need to follow up as soon as you can and keep them in your database for future promotions.

This is how you can build a list quickly and use trade shows to build your list of prospects quickly and get the most out of any trade show you are part of.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

About the Forex Trading Money Business

What is Forex trading and how did the name originate?

The Forex trading name derived from Foreign Exchange. The first three letters of Foreign and the first two letters of Exchange are added together.

Forex trading is about dealing in international currencies to make money. When trading in the stock market we sell the currency of one country to buy that of another, hoping to make a good profit.

Before the onset of the internet, Forex trading was open only to multinational corporations and banks. Now, many people work from home with their Forex trading money business.

The Forex trader deals in Foreign Exchange at the most appropriate time to profit from the transaction. Dealing in the stock market requires a good ability to forecast the outcome of all currency transactions.

Trading in the currency market is popular because although there are frequent fluctuations in currencies, in percentage terms they may be small.

You may then wonder how trading in currencies can be such a lucrative earning opportunity since fluctuations in exchange can be so little. However, when trading in large volumes, a small change can mean a lot.

You can make a lot of money Forex trading online in the stock market. But there are certain conditions to follow before trading in foreign currencies.

A thorough knowledge about the trends in the stock market is required. You should also know the basics of this type of trading and risk taking. Alternatively, you can use a robot for attaining these conditions. Especially a robot that does all the currency trading work for you!

You gain if the fluctuation favors you and the reverse holds true as well. No one can accurately predict the trend of the currencies. Liquidity is another reason why Foreign Exchange is so popular.

You can make lots of money trading in currencies, even if your initial investment is quite low. So remember that even with a nominal investment, your earning ability is certainly very large.

Most of the great businesses are connected to the internet today, and Forex is no exception. It is now easy for you to work from home and start trading in foreign currencies. In fact, it is fully conducted online. You are at liberty to choose when to start trading, without having to meet any deadlines.

You can quickly start your own work from home Forex trading business. The process of trading online in the currency market is fairly simple for anyone to understand. Especially with a currency robot that does all the trading work for you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Are You Thinking of Setting Up a Business Online? There Are a Few Things You Need to Know

Do you know that 95% of people who try to start a business online fail to make any money, or make losses?? There are a lot of questions you need to ask yourself when considering setting up an online business, because if you don't treat it like a business and take it seriously, then the inevitable will happen. It sounds quite daunting, but all you need to have is the drive to succeed and you won't have a problem!

If you are the type of person who would just buy a system and wait for the money to roll in, then you're dreaming! So many people fall into this trap, and then they think they have been scammed, but the truth of the matter is that no system out there will just make you money when you buy it, you need to put in some work to get it to that stage! Also if you give up easily, then it really isn't for you! You need to persevere with what you're doing to make it work, it doesn't just happen overnight! If you are under any of these illusions then it might not be the greatest idea for you to start an online business!

So then there is the other category of person. If you are the type of person who is willing to do exactly what it takes to succeed and become a success, then an online business will be just what you're looking for!

Online businesses are booming, and there really is no better time to start a business online. Whether you know exactly what you're doing or absolutely nothing, it really doesn't matter. It can be as inexpensive or as expensive as you want it to be and could change your life. Everyone out there has the potential to make money online, but you choose whether you want the success and what you're prepared to do for that success. Remember, you determine your future and the path you take, whether it be to succeed or to fail, make sure you choose the right one!

Internet marketing is rapidly becoming the biggest venture on the Internet. To get the help and support you need to make your internet business a success, then join me [] and make your online career exceed the boundaries!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Could Shopping Online Be Hazardous to Your Bank Account?

I love shopping online. It is so convenient to sit in front of my computer and order just about anything I can think of without ever leaving my chair. No more changing out of my grungies into clothes more suited for shopping in person, no more planning my shopping trip around other duties or engagements, no more wasting gas driving to several stores to find exactly what I am looking for and no more parking tickets for not getting back to plug the parking meter of my car before my allotted time expires.

That makes shopping online sound like the perfect substitute for shopping locally, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, there are several drawbacks to shopping online that should be taken into consideration, before you make a permanent switch. But, as with most drawbacks, those associated with shopping online can be lessened, if not entirely avoided, by taking a few simple precautions.

Most online businesses are run by honest people, just as most local businesses are. However, there are exceptions no matter where you shop. About a year ago, I began to wonder what would happen if I made the mistake of giving out my credit card number online to an unscrupulous person. Could they wipe out my whole bank account? Would I have any recourse to recover damages from them, or would I just end up swallowing my losses and going on, hoping the next person I dealt with was an honest one?

This bothered me of and on to the point where I made a special trip to our bank and asked some questions. Verbally, they assured me that if I lost my card (which was a debit card, not a credit card), I would only be responsible for the first $50 of fraudulent charges, assuming that I reported my loss promptly.

The assurances didn't leave me as assured as I would like to have been so I asked them to open a new checking account for me in addition to my regular account. I deposited only a few dollars into it and began to use that account for my online purchases only. Since it was at the same bank as my regular account, I could transfer money into it whenever necessary to cover an online purchase. Since my accounts were online, I could do this from home. All very convenient.

This has worked very well, giving me confidence that even if someone did try to make fraudulent charges to my account, they would be limited to the small balance in the account.

Not long ago, I transferred a little over a hundred dollars into the account as I intended to shop for a more expensive item than usual online. I hadn't made my final decision yet and got busy doing other things so it kind of slipped my mind for a while.

A little over two weeks ago, I saw an offer online that interested me. You were supposed to receive a CD disc by mail and examine it for 7 days before letting the company know whether or not you wanted to become a regular customer of theirs. You only had to pay $2.50 for shipping the disc. I thought that sounded reasonable and smugly typed in the number of my special debit card to cover the cost.

When two weeks passed with no sign of the CD arriving, I went into my account only to find that they had charged $2.50 for shipping the disc, but also a 2.5 percent fee for international handling. Then, to my dismay, they had charged my account $39.95 for a one-month membership. Oh yes, and another 39 cents for an international handling fee. It seems that this company was located overseas somewhere.

Needless to say, I signed in online and transferred the rest of my balance out of that account to my regular account, and then headed to the bank to talk it over in person.

I told the teller that I had not received the CD I was supposed to be able to use for 7 days before making up my mind about the service, and that I had never authorized anything beyond the first $2.50 to be taken from my account. She sympathized with me and gave me a toll-free number to call to dispute the charges. Unfortunately, since the company was doing business from overseas, she doubted that I would recover the funds that had already been taken from the account, but was kind enough to commend me for removing the remainder of my money from the account. She cut up the debit card in question before giving me a new one with a different number.

She also gave me another tip which I also plan to share with you. So, to keep unscrupulous people from cleaning out your online bank account here are two things you can do:

1. Set up a small account like I did, (avoiding my mistake, of course).

Keep only enough money in this account to cover whatever you are purchasing online. Actually, this wouldn't be a bad idea for all of your shopping, except that you would probably be spending a lot of time transferring cash from one account to another. My mistake was in letting too much money accumulate in the account, and in not checking it frequently enough to catch the fraudulent charges earlier.

Actually, I think I was pretty lucky to get away with a loss of less than $50, and since the bank is investigating my claim, I may end up getting my money back. I suppose though that I might as well give up on ever receiving that CD disc they promised me.

2. Check into purchasing a limited amount credit card. (This is the tip the teller provided to me.)

You've seen gift cards and phone cards you can purchase at places like Target, or Wal-Mart. They also have limited credit cards which can be purchased in different amounts like $30 or $50. When you use them online, the amount of your purchase is deducted from the card's value immediately. If you order some books for $25 online and used your pre-paid $30 credit card to pay for them, it would be impossible for the company to charge more than an additional $5 to your account. If you should lose your card, you would never lose more than the value remaining on it. This kind of card might be worth considering for teens who are notorious for losing their debit cards.

My experience hasn't dampened my enthusiasm for shopping online. I am just a lot more cautious these days, and hope that my suggestions may help you be less likely to become a victim yourself.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Secrets of Successful Business Relationships Online

Operating a successful business is largely about building and maintaining relationships. Sure, your customers are concerned about price, quality, service, etc., but the most successful businesses are those that work to develop a relationship with their customers. Look at Wal-Mart, for example. Do you really need someone handing you a shopping cart on your way in the store? No, but they always hire a nice, elderly type people who smile and says hello to you as you walk in. That's relationship building!

Truth is people will often pay more for something if they have established some kind of personal connection with the person or persons within the business. Certainly, such relationships lead to repeat business, whether you run a grocery store, a restaurant, a sporting goods store, or a movie theater.

For most of us, it's not often that we develop substantial relationships with people at the places we frequent. This is due to a number of reasons; maybe the store is large and has many employees and therefore you never really see the same people with each visit, sometimes it's just a quick stop or perhaps you don't visit all that frequently. But if you think about it, there are probably places you go often, where you have established some kind of relational bond with someone who works there. It's that kind of familiarity that keeps bringing you back. And of course, not every place of business can develop an intimate relationship with every customer, but those that try are often more successful than those that don't.

Building Business Relationships Online

While online businesses lack the ability to build relationships face-to-face, this does not negate the importance of building relationships with your customers--you just have to go about it a bit differently. In part, this is accomplished through your website itself, sometimes through email communications, and occasionally over the phone. Since the website is usually your first point of contact, and therefore the point where you establish your first impression, it's vital that your website do all that it can to set the groundwork for building a strong relationship. The website can't do everything for you, but if your visitors come and leave without ever having made even a superficial contact with a person or a persona worked into the site copy, they will leave without having established any sort of intimacy, and therefore no sense of "connection," with you or your business.

I found the following quote the other day in regard to building relationships with people in a personal sense, but I felt it also applies to building relationships for business as well:

People are insecure; give them confidence.

People want to feel special; compliment them.

People desire a better tomorrow; show them hope.

People need to be understood; listen to them.

People are selfish; speak to their needs first.

People are emotionally low; encourage them.

People want to be associated with success; help them win.

--Pete Vossler

While all of the above are generalities, they do largely apply to most people, regardless of how successful, "important" or how well-known they are. And of course, it also applies to the average Joe and Jane Doe web surfer looking for a place where they feel comfortable handing over their money. So how do you go about building relationships with your potential customers online? Glad you asked.

People are Insecure; Give Them Confidence

It's easy to buy from a brick and mortar store where you see real faces involved. Even if it's some 16-year old kid, with numerous body-piercings standing behind the counter, you have confidence that when he takes your credit card he won't be stealing the numbers. This kind of confidence in the buying process is lost online. My biggest issue with buying products online is the return process if, for whatever reason, something goes wrong. It's easy to drive back to Target and return something you don't want. But online, once the purchase is made, the return process is more cumbersome and often results in extra shipping fees.

You need to give your visitors confidence, not only in the security of the purchase process, but also in the quality of your products, their expectations and your policies and procedures in case something doesn't go as expected. This is most easily accomplished through making sure you have pages on your site that address each of these issues, and clear and obvious links in the places where the customer will be most looking for them. For example, your product pages might need an obvious link to your return policies page--even if that link is already available through the main navigation.

People Want to Feel Special; Compliment Them

Who doesn't want to feel special? A compliment goes a long, long way in helping to establish that mental relationship. How do you compliment someone you don't know? Some simply ways are to write these compliments into your content, "You're obviously looking for quality baby clothing, you've made a wise decision visiting our store." It might sound a bit cheesy, but it works, as long as you don't go overboard. These types of compliments can also be worked into your email and phone communications.

People Desire a Better Tomorrow; Show Them Hope

Will your products or services make their lives better or easier? You must already believe that otherwise you wouldn't be selling what you do. So use this opportunity to explain how your products are going to be good for them. Explain how life will be better once your customer purchases what you are selling. Illustrate to them the benefits, not just the features. If you can give your customers hope--convince them--that your product or service will improve their lives; you've got a sale in hand without the cost being a significant factor.

People Need to be Understood; Listen to Them

Even before you have a chance to communicate with your clients verbally or via email, are you listening to their needs? Whether or not you listen to your website visitors can easily be determined by your USP, Unique Selling Proposition. What? You don't have one? Then you may not be listening to your customers needs. Your USP is what makes you stand out from the thousands of other stores online peddling the same wares as you. Why should they buy from you as opposed to someone else? Price alone is rarely the determining factor.

You need to offer your visitors something unique that tells them that you have listened and responded to their needs. Even if you sell the same product or service as others, your unique approach is one developed out of conversations with your customers and seeking ways to find solutions to problems even before those problems existed.

People are Selfish; Speak to Their Needs First

More than anything, people want you to meet their wants and needs. They're not shopping on your site for your benefit; they are there because they are in need of a solution for X. Your first order of business on your website is to tell the customers how you can meet those needs and what your products or services will achieve for them.

People are Emotionally Low; Encourage Them

For some sites, shopping cart abandonment is astronomically high. Why is that? Primarily because people need to be encouraged to proceed with their purchase. I'll often start shopping for a book or DVD, have it in my basket, go through much of the checkout process, but just before I finalize the payment I hesitate. In my mind I'm thinking, "should I buy this now?", or "Will my frivolous spending upset the wife?", or for larger purchases, "Can I afford this?" Most of these questions surface on an emotional level; sometimes rooted in fact, sometimes not. The bottom line is that a little extra encouragement can help persuade visitors through the selling process.

In fact this very thing happened to me just the other day. I threw a couple of books into my Amazon shopping cart but since I've purchased quite a few books lately so I began to think twice about buying a couple more now. Amazon provided the encouragement I needed. By filling out an application for an Amazon Visa card I got something like $30 off my purchase. I was sold and so were the books. You don't have to give away money to encourage your visitors to make a purchase, but you can re-iterate the benefits of their purchase one more time.

People Want to be Associated with Success; Help Them Win

Everybody wants to feel successful. The funny thing is that people don't even have to be successful in the larger financial/business sense in order to feel successful in every day life. Success often comes from the little victories achieved here and there. Your product or service may not be able to change your customer's destiny, but you can help him or her feel that their decision to purchase from you will help them be successful at something.

Selling baby diapers? Your diapers can successfully prevent leakage. Selling batteries? Your batteries can successfully start the car each morning. Selling cleaning supplies? Your supplies can help them successfully clean their house better. Let your visitors know what they will be successful at with their purchase.

The other side of this is that people also want to see that you are successful. Your success--or lack thereof--is inferred by how your website looks, the number of employees that work for your organization, or possibly even the number of clients you have. A business' success is determined mostly by superficial perceptions. If visitors perceive that you are successful they will gravitate to you based on that alone. After all, you must obviously know what you're doing if you can afford a great site, X number of employees, to charge outrageous fees, etc. But be careful here as well, success can often create a negative perception of you or your business. You might be considered too successful to be able to give them the time or quality your visitors expect.

If you are able to build strong relationships with your website visitors, even perceptually, this will give you a significant sales and marketing advantage over many of your competitors. Building these relationships alone won't make your business the most successful in your industry--there are many other factors involved--but relationships are a crucial factor in being able to establish and maintain long-term customers. Every marketing dollar saved by not having to seek a replacement for a former customer that now shops elsewhere is an additional dollar (plus additional sales profits) that can be spent in obtaining and maintaining new customers.