From Gil Carlson
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Never leave it up to their imagination, you have to be their imagination! Show and describe what they make with your products!

Then, and we all neglect this, describe what you are picturing with a photo caption such as I'm using here.

We should never have a photo without a photo caption, Everyone looks at the photo then looks under it to read about it.

Tell where the picture was taken, why it is important to your message, and play up your deal!
An orange juicer like the one above would be a great gift for customers who buy a large assortment of oranges. Free gifts are hard to pass up!

Don't just tell them that they are freshly-picked, illustrate it,  show them hanging from the branches!
From one of the original Gevalia ads... powerful artwork and copy that creates the mood and desire. How many other ads have you seen that could transport you off to someplace like Sweden?
Stew Leonard's, the experts at making shopping fun and entertaining!

They prove that every little thing has to be just right, and there's nothing wrong with marketing the heck out of your customers, they really like it!
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4 Steps to a Profitable Website
4 Steps to a Profitable Website
Ready to succeed with your Internet marketing? Want the secrets to a profitable website? Here are 4 time honored marketing secrets that will guarantee your website success!

What’s the secret to making money on the Internet? Although many have become rich off their website, many more have tried and failed. Today I’m going to reveal the 4 secrets to making you successful with all your Internet marketing.

And without these 4 basic steps,
you are sure to fail!

So please read on…

My friend, I’m able to help show you the way today because I’ve spent 37 years in marketing. Creating numerous direct mail and catalog companies as well as showed numerous marketers how to make big money. Hundreds big name catalog companies have paid me big bucks to help them improve their response!

A number of years ago, when I started in Internet marketing, I already knew the marketing secrets, I knew how to make money.

When I see these hopeful entrepreneurs today trying to make money of their websites, I realize that so many of them are doomed to failure. Some of them may have snazzy, products, great ideas, lots of enthusiasm and the ability to create a powerful website, but there’s more…

Before you even start marketing your website, make sure these 4 building blocks of websites are in place or you are libel to stumble. And please, don’t leave a single one out!

Ready? Here goes…

Website marketing secrets
building block

PERCEIVED AVAILABILITY: You have to be the one they need to go to for this product you offer. They must feel that you are the best or only one that has it!

Thousand of websites may be offering this same product, but you must stand out. That’s why I said “Perceived” Availability. Reality doesn’t count, it’s what’s in that prospective customers mind that really matters.

Now how do we make them feel that this product is more readily available from you than anyone else?

Somehow you must make your website and the product or product line seem like one. Don’t just put together a snazzy looking website and then throw in some products. Your website has to appear to think, eat and breath that product.

What about your design? Your color scheme? Your writing style? Even your website name?

OK, let’s say you are selling crates of Florida Oranges. I hope you don’t have a blue or pink border around that website. Make it orange. Have a border of orange branches with big, luscious oranges hanging off those branches.

Make it look like you are Mr. Orange, not someone just reselling a few oranges off their computer in their New Hampshire apartment. We do this by showing the steps to harvesting and packing those oranges. And then theirs a shot of you holding up a big juicy orange.

This is something that some of us more successful marketers learned many years ago, people like to buy from people. Today, you’ll find so many cold websites. You don’t even know who’s behind it or even where they are at!

Show them who you are, tell them a little about you, talk to them! Yes, have a lot of friendly copy on your website that appears to be coming from you. Can’t do that? OK, check out my website copywriting secrets.

OK, now you are talking like someone who really loves these oranges, your website makes these potential buyers feel like they are right there in those orange groves of yours.

Want to really cinch it? Really convince them that you are Mr. Orange? Have a sidebar with orange facts. Like the secrets it takes to growing great oranges. Don’t know how to do that? Better check out my website copywriting secrets!

Now you can sprinkle some orange recipes throughout your website. Are there really such things as orange recipes? My mother used to make an orange and onion salad. But don’t use that, my brother and I hated it. Let’s stick to some orange smoothie or orange cocktail drink recipes.

Now that you look talk and act like oranges, why would they buy from someone else? Let’s not chance it, let’s go in for the kill.

The oranges you are selling have a special ingredient! What is it? Don’t ask me, they are your oranges. I’m sure there is something special or different you can find to play up.

Years ago in the marketing business, I discovered that you could pull out a benefit or feature that was also in the products everyone else was offering. And then play it up and it would appear (remember, we are talking about appearances
not reality) that only your product had that benefit.

I remember when the FDA outlawed certain additives in chickens. And along came Tyson, advertising that there chicken was natural, free of additives even though all other chicken producers could have said the same thing.

Of course Vitamin D is played up in advertising oranges. But what if your oranges had Vitamin D3? Wouldn’t everyone want them then? Now you are the only one advertising it, so it must be exclusive with your oranges! (I believe that the Vitamin D in oranges is Vitamin D3 since that’s what we produce in our bodies from sun intake.)

Now that we have them sold (we hope) on our oranges, we must be sure they don’t go and do some of that price comparison stuff that’s so easy on the Internet. After all the work we’ve done, we don’t want some price-cutter to steal our customer!

Do we lower our prices to compete? No! How are we going to make those big bucks if we give everything away? Why don’t we throw in some extra stuff? Another bunch of oranges? A gift? Maybe some kind of special orange slicing gizmo that they’ve never seen before?

One habit I developed is not wanting to mail out anything that doesn’t have an offer in it that will bring me back more orders. I like free gifts like orange recipe books. They can be cheap to produce, have a high perceived value, plus you can be pitching your oranges with each one and have a special offer or discount coupons scattered in it!

Years ago there used to be a little 4 page newsletter format brochure called the “Cheese Lover’s Club” it was stuffed so full of marketing genius. They gave the owner a French name, Pierre something, actually he was from Brooklyn.

These were the days when you couldn’t get these gourmet cheeses at your local market. Exciting cheese such as the Huntsman. I loved it. Sure, I probably paid a lot for that cheese, but you always thought you were getting a bargain because you got all those little free gifts. The more you spent, the more gifts you could choose. I loved all those cheese slicing knives and stuff like that. I ate a lot of cheese, spent a lot of money, but had a lot of fun.

See that’s what I’m talking about! Market the hell out of them, make it fun and exciting and they’ll keep coming back and thanking you for taking their money!

I wouldn’t have even considered buying my cheese from anyone else. Can you build that into your website? If your website isn’t all that it can be, better drop everything and check out my website critique offer!

Can’t figure out how to create an image out of thin air for your website?

Let me give you another example:

Gevalia coffee. How many coffee drinkers pay inflated prices for that stuff? Come on, it comes out of Iowa. Did you think it really came from Sweden? They don’t grow coffee anywhere near Sweden and I’m sure they don’t ship it to Sweden for special roasting and then ship it to the U.S.

A number of years ago I sold a house I owned in Connecticut to General Foods’ top coffee expert (General Foods must have been paying him good to afford this house I sold him, it sat on top of a hill, had 7 bedrooms, 6 baths, offices, library, wine cellar and electric entrance gates).

Anyway, he was telling me about his hand in creating Gevalia and a little about the quality of the Gevalia coffee! I learned a lot.

But there’s an image created by Gevalia. You can drink that coffee and be taken back to a cozy kitchen table overlooking some foggy seaport in Stockholm. The merchandise such as coffee cups and canisters with the Gevalia logo help to promote the image.

OK, now go ahead and create an image like Gevalia for your website.

Website marketing secrets
building block

YOUR AUTHORITY: What right do you have to be making those claims on your website? Why should you be believed?

Every successful website will have some kind perceived authority. It may come from the website owner. Is he or she famous for other accomplishments? Caruska Jarecks, famous as a model, designer, fashion store owner, and her Carushka catalog, all before she opened her website.

Someone running a successful business then bringing it to the web, brings along authority. Just play it up so they will know who you are. Stew Leonard was famous and well-known from his store before he opened his website.

What about you location? If you are selling skiing equipment on you website, and you are located in Aspen, there’s your authority! Say you are film critic, a Hollywood location is instant authority. Of course you have to play up those locations on your website.

Your authority could also be built on the quality of your products. If you are selling bike accessories and you also race bikes, play it up, put those photos on your site. What, you don’t race them? You are too clumsy? OK, put on some outfit, head over to the bike track, and get your picture taken in front of it. Maybe no one will realize you fudged on this one.

Of course you have to let your authority be known on your website. Besides telling them, and showing them photos, spotlight organizations you belong to. And of course the most believable method of selling there is… keeping your mouth shut and letting your customers sing your praise. Most of the time they won’t believe everything you say, so use testimonials, they are more believable!

Also consider featuring a celebrity spokesperson or someone skilled in your field. A column or a few facts from an expert will give you credibility. Of course you can give yourself credibility just by acting like an expert and stuffing your website full of advice that goes with your products.

Website marketing secrets
building block

VALUE, PERCIEVED VALUE: This means the right price for your particular audience. Of course there are things you can do to make the values easier to perceive.

How? You tell them! Explain to them what a deal they are getting. Compare to other sellers. If your prices aren’t really that competitive, then explain about the added value.

Whether this is the additional services, quality, customer services, quicker shipping, better shipping or packaging, guarantees, the way you stand behind your products, and the lifelong friend they just made!

Explain why if you have low prices on some items. Or maybe you have regular prices, then weekly specials. Give reasons: Such as you are buying direct from manufacturer, Out-of-season items, Volume purchase, Remainders, Introducing a new item at a low price to establish it, special offers to entice new customers, last years models to make room for new merchandise.

Website marketing secrets
building block

SATISFACTION, PERCIEVED SATISFACTION: Since they aren’t buying in person, as in a store, they need to be convinced.

You have to convince them that you are going to live up to your end of the bargain and that your products and service are what you say they are. As I mentioned earlier, that powerful guarantee is so important. Then you have to back it up. Talk about and show some satisfied customers.

Explain how important customer satisfaction really is to you. How you live and breath customer satisfaction.

Stew Leonard of Stew Leonard’s Dairy has it written in stone! Right there when you enter his store is a giant stone that has “The Customer is No. 1” chiseled into it. And of course he’s got that on his website.

And now a little summary on these 4 website building blocks I’ve been giving you…

After 37 years  in marketing and seeing certain things that anyone who was trying to succeed learned to include in their ads, direct mail and catalogs, it always surprises me to see so much of what really works left out of websites.

You may believe that this is a new age. The Internet is different, everything moves at the speed of light, commerce works different today, no need for all these gimmicks from direct marketing.

Maybe we need to think again. Especially today with so many folks nervous about using credit cards to purchase on a website, and not knowing who’s really behind it, and if it’s really just a scam.

We used to reassure our catalog customers that they could trust us, even though we weren’t in their hometown, but maybe a state or two away, it was safe to order from us. Now we expect customers to order from our website and we may be located on the other side of the World from them.

Often we don’t even tell them where we are located, or it’s buried somewhere on the website. Maybe I’m still in the old days of catalogs, but I like to see where someone is located.

When I hear so many Internet marketers complaining about how difficult it is to convince their customers to buy from them, maybe we need to consider some of those old ideas that worked so well for so many years. After all, the speed of the medium has changed, but human nature is still the same as it used to be!

If you haven’t picked up a few ideas about what I’m talking about, here’s a heads up… Lots of selling copy. (Don’t know how to write that stuff? Check out my website copywriting secrets.) You know, copy that’s friendly, me-to-you stuff.

Include elements that make you appear sincere and solid: Testimonials, photos of yourself, employees, your building (Unless you work out of your apartment up there in New Hampshire on the ski slopes.) 

And include what will convince them to buy from you: Write copy that addresses all their fears and doubts. Props to make them buy: Comparison charts showing your product is the best deal, lists of features, then write copy that demonstrates all the benefits to them of those features.

Use testimonials, photos of your product in action. Before and after photos, Guarantees. And so much more. Discover what you can add to your website to make it more powerful, check out “76 Powerful Ways to Turn Your Website into a Money-Machine"

Plus you just may need to more info on my Website Critique offer!

Yours for a powerful website,

Gil Carlson
Stew Leonard's does a great job of showing that there's more to it than just a store.