How To Be a Frugal Shopper

A frugal shopper has skills and ways of looking at things that help him or her take advantage of the money-saving opportunities in life. There are eleven of these techniques below. You can learn them in a matter of a day or two, practice them for a few weeks, and then save money for the rest of your life.

1. A frugal shopper studies other people. Do you know someone who always gets the best deal on cars, boats, or whatever? Ask him how he does it! Some people will tell you that the cheapest coffee in town is $3 per cup, while others will say 50 cents. There are probably people near you living a good life on half of what you make. Learn how others do things, so you’ll know your options.

2. Frugality requires knowledge of values. It’s tough to get a great deal on a car if you don’t know what a great deal is. Start educating yourself on prices, especially before you’re ready to buy anything that costs a lot.

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3. Frugal shoppers pay cash. Things are cheaper when paid for in cash instead of credit. Want that new patio set? The price divided by the number of weeks you can wait to get it equals how much you need to set aside each week. You’ll not only save on interest when you pay cash, but you’ll often get a better price.

4. A good shopper looks for alternatives. Maybe you’d have just as much fun taking that discounted trip to the Bahamas as you would going to Jamaica. If you happen to enjoy pizza just as much – or more, skip the expensive restaurant and call Dominoes.

5. Frugal shoppers tell people what they need. Just mention it in conversation. Do you know how many people get free or cheap things, just because they talk? My neighbor wanted to upgrade her living room debt, and was thrilled that I would take her 3-month-old couch off her hands for $30. Glad I mentioned I was looking for one.

6. Do the math. You didn’t really save $400 on that car if it costs you $500 more in gas each year. Also, be aware that some stores are cashing in on shopper’s assumptions that larger is cheaper. Yes, the gallon of pickles might actually cost more than four quart jars. Be ready to do the math if you want to be a frugal shopper.

Do You Have These Frugal Living Habits?

Frugal living requires skills and ways of looking at things that help you take advantage of the money-saving opportunities in life. The truly frugal person makes these into habits. Six of these habits are outlined below. These are techniques that can be learned in a matter of a day or two, and made into new habits a few weeks. Then they will save money for you for the rest of your life.

1. Frugal living requires a knowledge of values. How can you get a great deal on a car if you don’t know what a great deal is. Get in the habit of educating yourself on prices, especially before you’re ready to buy anything that costs a lot. It takes a few hours of looking at listings for sale, for example, to know what homes are selling for in an area, but this is knowledge that can save you thousands.

2. Learn from other people. Most of us know someone who always gets the best deal on cars, boats, homes, or even groceries. Why not ask him or her how they do it! One person will tell you that the cheapest coffee in town is $3 per cup, while another will say 50 cents. Ask the latter about coffee shops. People near you are living a good life on half of what you make. Investigate that. See how others do things, and you’ll know your options.

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3. Frugal living means always looking for alternatives. You might have just as much fun taking a discount trip to Mexico as you would going to Jamaica. Maybe you happen to enjoy pizza more than fine French dining. If so, why not skip the expensive restaurant and call Dominoes. This isn’t about sacrificing, but about getting even more of what you really enjoy by paying less for cheaper alternatives that work just as well.

4. Pay cash. What happens when everything you buy costs an additional 20% because of the interest you pay over the years? You can’t buy as much! Everything is cheaper when paid for in cash instead of credit. If you want that new patio set, divide the price by the number of weeks you can wait to get it. Set aside that much each week, and buy it for cash when you have the money. Not only do you save on interest, but you’ll often get a better price when you pay cash.

5. Learn to do the math. Did you really save $400 on that car if it costs you $500 more in gas each year? Did you know that some stores are cashing in on shopper’s assumptions that larger is cheaper? It’s true. That gallon of pickles might actually cost more than four quart jars. Make it a habit to do the math if you want to save money.

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6. Tell people what you need. Mention it in conversations. Many people get free or cheap things, just because they talk. For example, a neighbor wanted to upgrade her living room debt, and was thrilled that I would take her three-month-old couch off her hands for $30. I sure am glad that I mentioned I was looking for one. You need to make this little trick a part of your frugal living habits.

Changing You Spending Habits

It is every one dream being a millionaire and retiring with a healthy bank account, but how many people can actually achieve it? So few. This is largely due to lack of discipline in building up their retirement fund and poor spending habits. While building a retirement fund requires time, you can accelerate the process by making incremental but positive changes in your spending habits. Here are seven ways that you can change your daily lifestyle for more positive results in your spending habits:

1. Have you ever noticed how much time you spend sitting in front of the television? The longer you sit, the worse it is for your blood circulation. Besides, the time you free up can be used for more useful tasks such as teaching your kids or learning a new skill.

2. If you are an avid reader, use the public library whenever possible. There is no need to buy the latest books from bookstores like Borders unless it is in a category that does not fit into a public library. The public library will usually acquire popular titles after some times. Learn to be patient.

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3. If you are a smoker, start reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke each day. Over time, you may be able to quit smoking completely. Besides saving money by not buying any more cigarettes, your health will also improve and this means a huge saving in your medical bills.

4. Use a bicycle if the destination is within 30 minutes by car. This helps promote blood circulation in your body and also reduces environmental pollution. You can also save on gasoline and parking fees.

5. Dine at home more frequently. You can experiment with different recipes and save some money at the same time. In addition, you are honing your cooking skills and this could be very useful for the home dining experience.

6. Bring your own coffee to office. Many people like to drop by a Starbucks or similar coffee outlet and end up spending a few dollars or more on a cup of coffee. You can potentially save many dollars each week just by making your own coffee at home and bringing it to your work place in a Thermos. Besides, who knows, it may taste better than the coffee from Starbucks! If you really cannot live without Starbucks coffee, consider getting a Starbucks rebate card. You can use the rebates to redeem free Starbucks coffee after you have accumulated enough points.

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7. Do more walking than driving. If you can reach your destination within ten minutes by car, consider leaving the car behind and walk instead. You will save money on gasoline and parking fees. This can easily add up to a few thousand dollars a year.
These seven ways are a good start for changing unhealthy spending habits. However, you should continue to research and incorporate more healthy habits that contribute to the building of your retirement fund. By re-investing the money saved from using these tips, you will be many steps ahead of your peers and closer to your retirement goals.

Bargain Finder Secrets

Want to be a bargain finder? Want to be the one that always finds the deals and has money left over? Start by learning the secrets of opportunism.

Do you know that you can eat a wider variety of fruit than your neighbor, and spend only half as much to do so? How? By buying fruit in season, when it is at the lowest price. As a bonus, it is also of the highest quality at these times. This is opportunism.

Notice that this means not always getting exactly what you want when you want it. You get more variety this way, and you spend much less, but you go with the flow. If oranges are cheap, you’ll be eating oranges. If apples are in season, you’ll be eating apples. Whatever the case, you’ll always be finding bargains.

You never have to eat things you don’t like or deny yourself pleasure. You just shop for those things that you like among those that are cheaper now. There will be other, different, great deals next week or next month. Unless you are extremely picky about what you eat, you’ll almost always find delicious foods that you like on sale.

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That’s the premise of opportunism – that you get more by going with the flow. A true bargain finder gets more variety in the long run, and more for the money. This can be applied to many areas of life.

Bargain Finder Examples

When I went to Ecuador a few years ago, there were many interesting places I wanted to go. I chose Ecuador because it was a thousand dollars less to go there than to any other country. I had a fantastic time for a month for $1040 (including airfare). I also met the most wonderful woman I know there, and eventually married her, so you never know what riches you’ll find when you go with the flow.

We go to the movies here in Tucson on Tuesdays, when we can get in for $2.00 each. Others are paying $8.75 a couple miles away. What are they getting by paying four times as much? They get to see the movie six weeks earlier. The movies don’t change in those six weeks, by the way, and enough friends have seen them by then to let us know if they’re good or not.

Opportunism means not paying more unless you are getting more. It also means making honest choices. Will you actually enjoy that movie more by seeing it now? More than you’ll enjoy the FOUR movies you can see in it’s place? Do you have to take that fishing trip now? If you’re planning to take both a fishing trip and a gambling trip, why not do each when it’s cheapest?

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When William Danko and Thomas Stanley wrote “The Millionaire Next Door,” they found that MOST millionaires bought used cars. They bought BMWs and Mercedes, not old Ford Pintos, but the lesson was clear: They understand opportunity. Cars often lose half of their value in the first three years, but they’re not half used-up, are they? Is it worth an extra $6,000 to say you have a new car (And you will have to tell people, since it’s hard to tell a three-year-old car from a new one)?

To be an opportunist doesn’t mean just settling for whatever is easy and cheap to get in life. We all have our areas that are more important to us. If you really love those $15 cigars, why not buy them? On the other hand, if you really can’t tell the difference between the $5 and $50 wine, why not buy the former? Opportunism is one of the keys to being a true bargain finder.

3 Simple Steps To Building An Affiliate Empire

If you have your own product or service on the Internet today then you will know that the way to explode your profits is to have your very own, successful affiliate program. The problem is that most people do not have their program set up in the right way resulting in low traffic counts and therefore poor sales from their affiliates.

In this article I am going to outline some tricks and strategies that anyone with their own affiliate program should use in order to take their online business to the next level.

Encourage People To Sign Up

This is where most people start to go wrong. They set up an affiliate program, stick up a link that says “click here to sign up” and leave it at that. You need to sell your affiliate program. After all there is an incredible amount of competition out there.

Have a mini sales letter that explains the benefits to people signing up. Tell them their commissions and how they can earn an income without having to worry about creating a product or having a website but from promoting your products instead.

Provide Affiliates With Marketing Materials

Here’s another big one. Site owners get people to sign up their affiliate program and then just leave them to it. It’s like they’re saying “thanks for signing up, now go and make me some cash”. That’s ridiculous. To start earning the big bucks, you need to do all the hard work for your affiliates. If you don’t, somebody else will.

Provide your affiliate with email promotions, articles, press releases, pay per click ads, banner adverts and whatever else you can create that will enable people to promote your site to the masses with as little work as possible.

Here’s the thing. You could write an article and submit it to article directories all over the Internet and do very well for yourself. However if you just had one hundred affiliates blasting that article all over the net you’ve just multiplied your marketing power by one hundred. This is the key to making massive mounts online.

If you can’t write articles etc yourself hire someone to do so from www.elance.com but do provide your affiliates with marketing materials or your just setting yourself up for having a very mediocre Internet business

Have An Affiliate Only Newsletter

Here’s a real cracker. Have an email list of only your affiliates. Each week send out a mini blueprint on how they can market your products and earn a commission. Inform them of new products you’ve just launched or new marketing materials you’ve just added to your affiliates area.

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Another great method you can use with this is to have a weekly completion. Each week your affiliate who earns the most gets an extra one hundred dollars or whatever you can afford. Mention the winner in each week’s newsletter and say things like “who thinks they can overtake Joe Bloggs as being my top affiliate? Come on guys I know I’ve got some great marketers signed up as my affiliates prove it and I’ll mention you in next weeks newsletter”.

This is great. Psychologically you are motivating your affiliates to promote your products like crazy to get recognition as being your “top gun”. Often ego trips are just as motivating as money.

Motivate Your Affiliates And Explode Your Profits

In this article I’ve been taking about what you need to do in order to earn a serious living online through having your own affiliate program. Done properly this could earn you more money than you could ever have dreamed of. The methods in this article outline what you need to do to in order to overcome the three barriers of starting an affiliate program

You need to:

Persuade people to sign up

Make it easy for them to market

Motivate them to market fast and market hard.

Do these three things and you will be able to create a massively successful affiliate program and you will sell buckets of your products, and build a huge list without any real hard work or costs.

Take my word on this; if you implement these simple strategies today then you will see a marked improvement in both your affiliate sign ups and your affiliates marketing efforts. Go on. Give it a go!

10 Reasons Why People Don’t Buy From You

1. You don’t make people feel safe when they order. Remind people that they are ordering through a secure server. Tell them you won’t sell their e-mail address and all their information will be kept confidential.

2. You don’t make your ad copy attractive. Your ad lists features instead of benefits. The headline does not attract at your target audience. You don’t list any testimonials or guarantees included in your ad.

3. You don’t remind people to come back and visit. People usually don’t purchase the first time they visit. The more times they visit your site, the greater the chance they will buy. The most effective way is to give them a free subscription to your e-zine.

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4. You don’t let people know anything about your business. They will feel more comfortable if they know who they are buying from. Publish a section called “About Us” on your web site. Include your business history, profile of employees, contact information etc.

5. You don’t give people as many ordering options as possible. Accept credit cards, checks, money orders, and other forms of electronic payments. Take orders by phone, e-mail, web site, fax, mail, etc.

6. You don’t make your web site look professional. You want to have your own domain name. Your web site should be easy to navigate through. The graphics should be related to the theme of your web site.

7. You don’t let people read your ad before they get your freebie. When you use free stuff to lure people to your web site include it below your ad copy or on another web page. If you list the freebie above your ad they may never look to see what you’re selling.

8. You don’t attract the target audience that would buy your product or service. A simple way to do this is to survey your existing customers to see what attracted them to buy. This information will help you improve your target marketing and advertising.

9. You don’t test and improve your ad copy. There are many people who write an ad copy and never change it. You have to continually test and improve your ad copy to get the highest possible response rate.

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10. You don’t give people any urgency to buy now. Many people are interested in your product but they put off buying it till later and eventually forget about it. Entice them to buy now with a freebie or discount and include a deadline date when the offer ends.

9 Ways to Increase Business Profits Quickly and Easily

Many business owners who operate a business want as many clients as possible, both those who have just started their business and those who have owned one for a long time. They are, however, not fully utilizing all of their assets as they could be in order to achieve their desired results.

The objective of increasing business profits isn’t only met by attracting more clients. There are several other reasons why a business doesn’t make as much money as it should besides not having enough clients.

Here are a few simple, yet effective business coaching ideas that will help you unlock the hidden profits in business and also some reasons why things aren’t operating at full potential as they should:

– Focus more time on the important matters – you may not have enough time available to boost your business, especially if you are the one who is serving clients on a regular basis. In this case, you should consider hiring somebody to help. Running a business takes a lot of work, so let the employees handle the day-to-day issues, while you take care of the important ones such as developing strategies for present and future growth. Set aside an hour each week to brainstorm ideas, implement strategies and nurture key business relationships.

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– Carry out competitive intelligence on other businesses, especially the ones that are successful and emulate them. This doesn’t mean copying whatever they do. Take the best parts of your competitor’s business and apply them to your own. It is also very important to keep a close eye on the competition, regardless of the nature of your business. If you are running a restaurant, for example, you should inspect the services, the offers and the prices of the competition. By doing a little research on other businesses, you will be able to reorganize, improve your services, adjust the prices depending on the competition, as well as introduce new offers to your clients. By knowing what your competitors are up to, you will always be one step ahead of them.

– Spend less of your gross profit on overhead and ineffective marketing. Lease unused space in your office or warehouse. Track sales as a result of expense. Employ salespeople on a higher commission scale rather than a high base salary. Test and measure for effective marketing campaigns before dumping a ton of money on any marketing campaign that is doomed to fail from the start.

– Instead of competing on price, develop an ultimate strategic advantage™. Emphasize the qualities that make your business stand out and create a whole new positioning in the industry. Find out what really matters to your clients by surveying them and give it to them.

– Talk with clients and find out if they are delighted or not. Ask for suggestions. Dissatisfied customers will not return, while a delighted client will refer others.

– Nurture existing clients. Instead of focusing on acquiring new customers, concentrate on nurturing and maintaining the clients that you already have! Make sure they are pleased with the services you provide for them and pay attention to their needs, desires and complaints. It is very important to establish and maintain good relations with your clients, as they are the ones who keep your business running.

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Many business coaching companies encourage selling more to existing clients because it improves a business bottom line by increasing the lifetime value of a client. It also brings new clients, attracted by positive experiences from your delighted clients. Referrals lower your acquisition cost through word-of-mouth marketing and this also adds to business profits.

– Up sell other products/services. Selling extras is known to be a great method of increasing profits. For example, grocery stores strategically place many magazines and snacks near the checkout. People browse and buy these while waiting in line raising the average dollar sale with these extras. McDonald’s is well-known for its up sell before a sale is completed by simply asking a simple question to add on more products (complete meal, fries, sundae, or apple pie).

– Increase your advertising – advertising is expensive but if things work well, the money will definitely return to you. You can also try to make the best use you can out of free advertising. Get the most out of promotions and limited offers, especially around holidays.

– Seek out business coaching advice. Having a comprehensive set of business strategies can help you further, by providing you with new efficient methods of increasing the profits of your business. To operate a business effectively long-term, most businesses will have to deploy several strategies in order to diversify their sources of leads and maximize their profitability through smart marketing, team building, and business process management.

7 Ways to Stop “Selling” & Start Building Relationships

Sometimes we can all use a friendly reminder to keep us from backsliding into old ways of thinking about selling that lead us down the wrong path with potential clients.

New Thinking = New Results

Maybe it’s time to take a different approach. Maybe we need to seriously analyze our sales thinking so we can identify why we’re not making more sales. Take a look at the table below and thinkabout your current selling mindset. How would your selling behaviors change if you changed your sales thinking?

Traditional Sales Mindset Vs Unlock The Game™ Mindset

1. Always deliver a strong sales pitch. Vs Stop the sales pitch — and start a conversation.

2. Your central objective is always to close the sale. Vs Your central goal is always to discover whether you and your potential client are a good fit.

3. When you lose a sale, it’s usually at the end of the sales process. Vs When you lose a sale, it’s usually right at the beginning of the sales process.

4. Rejection is a normal part of selling. Vs Sales pressure is the only cause of rejection. Rejection should never happen.

5. Keep chasing every potential client until you get a yes or a no. Vs Never chase a potential client — you’ll only trigger more sales pressure.

6. When a prospect offers objections, challenge and/or counter them. Vs When a potential client offers objections, uncover the truth behind them.

7. If a potential client challenges the value of your product or service, you must defend yourself and explain the value. Vs Never defend yourself or what you have to offer — it only creates more sales pressure.

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Let’s take a closer look at these central Unlock The Game™ concepts so you can begin to open up your current sales thinking and become more effective in your selling activities:

1) Stop the sales pitch — and start a conversation.

When you call someone, avoid making a mini-presentation about yourself, your company, and what you have to offer. Start with an opening conversational phrase that focuses on a specific problem that your product or service solves. If you don’t know what this is, ask your current customers why they purchased your solution. One example of an opening phrase might be, “I’m just calling to see if you’d be open to some different ideas related to lowering the risk of any computer downtime you may be having in your company?” Notice that you are not pitching your solution with this opening phrase.

2) Your central goal is always to discover whether you and your potential client are a good fit.

Let go of trying to “close the sale” or “get the appointment”– and you will discover that you don’t have to take responsibility for moving the sales process forward. If you simply focus your conversation on problems that you can help potential clients solve, and if you don’t jump the gun by trying to move the sales process forward, you will find that potential clients will actually bring you into their buying process.

3) When you lose a sale, it’s usually right at the beginning of the sales process.

If you believe that you lose sales because you make a mistake at the end of the process, take a look back at how you began the relationship. Did you start with a presentation? Did you use traditional sales language like, “We have a solution that I believe you really need” or “Others in your industry have bought our solution, so you should consider it as well”?

When you use traditional sales language, potential clients can’t help but label you with the negative stereotype of “salesperson.” This makes it almost impossible for them to relate to you from a position of trust. And if trust isn’t established at the outset, honest communication about the problems they’re trying to solve, and how you might be able to help them, becomes impossible too.

4) Sales pressure is the only cause of rejection. Rejection should never happen.

Rejection happens for only one reason: Something you said, as subtle as it might have been, triggered a defensive reaction from your potential client. Yes, something you said. To eliminate rejection, simply shift your mindset so that you give up the hidden agenda of hoping to make a sale. Instead, everything you say and do should stem from the basic mindset that you are there to help potential clients. This makes you able to ask, “Would you be open to talking about issues you might be having affecting your business?”

5) Never chase a potential client–you’ll only trigger more sales pressure.

“Chasing” potential clients has always been considered normal and necessary, but it’s rooted in the macho selling image that, “If you don’t keep chasing, it means you’re giving up — and that means you’re a failure.” This is dead wrong! Instead of chasing potential clients, tell them that you would like to avoid anything that resembles the old cat-and-mouse chasing game by scheduling a time for your next chat.

6) When a potential client offers objections, uncover the truth behind them.

Most traditional sales programs spend a lot of time focusing on “overcoming objections.” These tactics only put more sales pressure on potential clients and also fail to explore or understand the truth behind what the potential client is saying. When you hear, “We don’t have the budget,” “Send me information,” or “Call me in a few months,” do you think you’re hearing the truth, or do you suspect that these are polite evasions designed to end the conversation?

Rather than trying to counter objections, you can uncover the truth by replying, “That’s not a problem” — no matter what clients are “objecting” to — and then using gentle, dignified language that invites them to reveal the truth about their situation.

7) Never defend yourself or what you have to offer — it only creates more sales pressure.

When a potential client says, “Why should I choose you over your competition?,” your first, instinctive reaction is probably to start defending your product or service because you want to convince them to buy. But what do you think goes through your potential client’s mind at that point?

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Something like, “This ‘salesperson’ is trying to sell me on why what they have to offer is better, but I hate feeling as if I’m being sold.” Rather than defending yourself, try suggesting that you aren’t going to try to convince them of anything because that would only create sales pressure. Instead, ask them about the key problems that they are trying to solve, and then explore how your product or service might solve those problems –without ever trying to persuade.. Let potential clients feel that they can choose you without feeling “sold.”

You too can improve your sales effectiveness if you are open minded and willing to try a new and more natural selling approach.

7 Ways To Sky Rocket Your Google AdWords Revenue

Making money online is the goal of every entrepreneur, and one of the most effective ways of generating revenue online is to use Google Adwords. But, to make the most of what Adwords offers, you must have a firm grasp on how to run an effective Adwords campaign.

The first step you must take is to learn everything you can about Adwords. That means you must invest time in researching Adwords, and you may also want to consider taking an Adwords course or purchasing an Adwords guide.

Here are seven ways that will help you increase your Google Adwords revenue:

1. Once you have a thorough understanding of Adwords, consider how much you want to invest initially to bid on keywords. Set a budget that you are you comfortable with, and stick to it. Once you drive more traffic to your Web site and, in return, make larger profits, you may want to increase your budget. For now, however, only bid what you can comfortably afford to pay.

2. Know how to use keywords to maximize your investment. Your main keyword or keyword phrase should be in the headline of your ad, in the ad itself, and in the content on your Web site.

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3. Your ad must be innovative and grab the attention of your prospective customers. Illustrate to your prospective customers WHY they should click on the link and visit your Web site. Remember, the objective is for prospective customers to click on your ad.

4. Your Web site must contain information that is valuable to your target market. Once prospective customers click on the link to your Web site, they want to find information that they need and can use. By providing unique and compelling content, you’ll give prospective customers to both sign up for your list and visit your Web site again and again (provided that you add fresh content on a regular basis).

5. Always keep track of the competition. You must know what your competitors are doing, so you can ensure you’re doing enough to get ahead – and stay ahead – of them.

6. Use a variation of keywords, including commonly misspelled words. By using a variety of keywords, you’ll reach a larger audience.

7. Avoid using negative or inactive keywords. If a keyword isn’t getting many hits, stop using it. Likewise, avoid using negative keywords. All of your keywords should be directly related to your target market.

If you apply the right techniques, you should see an increase in traffic to your Web site which will, hopefully, increase your overall profits. Remember, you should only bid as much as you can comfortably afford.

Purchasing keywords before having a thorough understanding of what to expect could end up costing you money, so be sure to do your research before you actually start bidding and placing ads.

7 Ways to keep Customers Coming Back to Your Site

You’ve built a website. Wonderful! The next question to ask is this: Once you get a visitor’s attention, how can you bring them back?

Of course, you don’t want every visitor returning, but rather customers and potential customers. Articles and other content published on your site should be relevant, interesting and well written. Unique content will give your site a better chance of reaching targeted visitors through search engines.

Here are seven ways to keep customers coming back to your website:

1. Run short-term specials. Internet users love a bargain, and sales are a sure way to capture attention. Use short sales periods to motivate people to act — giving them three months to make a decision will just help them avoid making the decision to buy. Let users know that the items on offer are always changing to encourage them to visit your site regularly. And get creative with your specials. For example, consider giving away a free gift rather than just cutting the price.

2. Make your site topical. Internet users often look online to learn more about interesting topics in the news. Creating a link between your business and a hot news story can be a great way to attract visitors to your site. This is a common tactic used by public relations firms to get media coverage, and could work equally well for you.

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3. Update information regularly. Why would a user want to return to a website that rarely changes? Keeping your information up-to-date sends a message to visitors that your company is current and serious about doing business.

4. Hold a competition. This is a great way to get visitors excited about your website and what you do. Consider asking users for feedback, so that it doubles as a market research tool. Prizes don’t need to be extravagant, but should be fun and appropriate for your target market.

5. Send out an e-mail newsletter. This popular promotional tactic is an effective one. Don’t expect to build a list of thousands of subscribers, but focus instead on building a high quality list of targeted readers. When sending a newsletter, keep it short and informative. Promotions are expected, but don’t overdo it.

6. Join niche e-mail groups. If you have the time, participating in a targeted e-mail list is a great way to connect with potential customers and keep reminding them about your business. Participation in a group works best when your company services a niche market. For example, the owner of a pet store might join a mailing list for pet owners. By participating as an expert, the storeowner is able to promote his business to a community of prospective clients.

7. Know your customers. An understanding of the needs and goals of your clients is the best way to ensure that your marketing efforts are effective. Statistics and tracking reports will help you gauge the interests of visitors to your website. Website usage statistics will help you understand how people come to your site, and what they do once they have arrived. Are they finding what they want, or do certain pages on your site trigger them to leave? Was the contest you ran successful? This understanding will help you hone your online marketing efforts.