Entries tagged with “small business tips”.

Have you clicked on a link on a website only to get a page with a “Page Not Found” error? Create a custom 404 Error Page for your website and take advantage of the space:

If you have a broken link on your site and a visitor clicks on this link they will be directed to what is called a 404 Error Page. This is a standard page that will let the visitor know that the link they clicked on could not be found. We all know how annoying this page can be. The good news is that there are ways to make this error page work for us.

Although these pages can drive traffic away, we can design them to actually become productive sales tools. Customizing your 404 error page should be a fairly simple process. Check with your host or the program you are using for your site to see how it can be done. Consider the ideas below to change your 404 page from a hindrance to a benefit.

1. Warm Welcome – Add a warm greeting and make your potential customers feel welcome as opposed to chasing them away with a giant “ERROR” plastered across the page.

2. Apologize with Free Gift – Offer them a free gift for the mistake. Add a link going to a $5.00 gift card, a bonus product with order, a free report or ebook, etc. Try to give them a gift that will be beneficial to them and you.

3. Subscription Page – Send them to your subscription page. Be sure to give them a free gift for subscribing. Offer helpful info, needed resources and more in your mailings.

4. Affiliate Product – If you are an affiliate for quality products and/or services, add a link to your affiliate page.

5. Your Product – Redirect them to your product pages. Be sure you have well-designed, easy to navigate product pages.

6. Use a Little Humor – Add something humorous to the page to lighten the mood and make your visitors want to look around more. Use cute, happy, funny graphics to put a smile on their face. Be sure not to cross any lines and be professional.

7. One Time Offer – Give the visitor a special one-time offer. Give them a deal not available anywhere else.

8. SEO Benefits – Design your error page so it is similar to your site’s other pages. Give it a keyword rich title and content. Add your blog/site title. Add a link to your site map or a site search function. It is hard to avoid the error pages so making them work for us is a good option.

9. Main Site Links – Be sure to add the important page links of your site so the visitors will know where to go. Briefly explain how going on will benefit them and what you have to offer.

10. Call to Action – Be sure to add a call to action on this page to instruct the visitor what to do or where to go to next. In the seconds you have to get people’s attention after the error page comes up, a call to action will sometimes make the decision for them.

The goal here is to not let this usually irritating page make your visitors quickly leave your site. Grab their attention with something interesting or entertaining so they will overlook the error and stay on your site. This can lead to more traffic and sales for your business.

“10 Ways to Benefit from Your 404 Error Page” by Terry Seymore in www.sitepronews.com

If you’re not sure exactly how to create a customized 404 error page, contact your web designer for assistance.

Wise words via Sandra Yancey, eWomen Network on ways to be a “Quitter” in your business:

1.  Quit hanging around people who aren’t smarter than you –  surround yourself with the right people that will help you move forward

2.  Quit waiting for the perfect “launch” moment – don’t wait for the when – go for the pursuit of progress, not the pursuit of perfection

3.  Quit trying to figure it out by yourself – find your tribe and let them help you

4.  Quit trying to do it on the cheap –  it’s hard to steal second base and keep your foot on first base.  Sometimes you have to let go – jump and build your wings on the way down – why have wings if you’re never going to fly?

5.  Quit taking it personally – some will, some won’t…so what?


Get out of your own way and take your business to the next level!


Is there something you’ve been hoping to purchase for your business, but you can never seem to be able to afford it because you always seem to be spending your money on other things? This may seem very simplistic, but make it a point to set aside some money to pay for what you want.

Create a “phantom” account in QuickBooks and set an automatic transfer from your checking account to that account every week. If you need to, go to your bank and open a separate savings account and have them automatically transfer a small amount into it each week. Think of it like a layaway plan and earmark an amount to go specifically towards your goal purchase and nothing else. If you don’t “see” the amount in your checking account, you probably won’t be tempted to spend it.

If it’s really important to you, you’ll find a way. Whether you decide to deposit $10/week or $100/week, review your current spending and start setting aside a small portion of your earnings now and you’ll be on your way to being able to afford what you want.

Of course, you can’t spend all of your capital and marketing and not have enough left over to be able to create the products you intend to sell. On the other hand, you can’t put all of your money into the products without developing some kind of marketing strategy to bring them to the attention of potential customers. Where and how you market will depend on the type of customers you hope to attract. When you have a niche area and you know there is a demand for your product or service, you do need to do your research to find competitive ways of bringing it to the attention of the buying public.

A friend of mine, marketing maven Stacy Karacostas, of SuccessStream Sales & Marketing Solutions, (www.success-stream.com) wrote in one of her Bright Ideas newsletters:

“Marketing is a mandatory investment in the success of your business…I regularly run into entrepreneurs with a terrific small business or product, and no money (or time) for marketing. But if you don’t get the word out about your business, no one knows you exist, and no one buys what you’re selling. Then you don’t have a business…You have a really expensive and time consuming hobby.”

10 Steps to Generate More Leads (part 1 – the first five!); by Barry Harrison, Resolve Digital

For professional service firms and others engaged in complex sales processes, pushing users toward a shopping cart isn’t the primary goal. The main objective is to persuade visitors to contact you to generate leads for your sales team, to nurture those prospects and convert them into new and repeat business.

One of the best ways to ensure websites are producing the most possible leads is to evaluate your site from a visitor’s perspective. Follow these steps for numerous, qualified leads.

1. Establish credibility
Just as you would in person, start building rapport with website visitors as soon as they arrive. Instead of a crude “welcome to our website” headline, create a positive feeling that reassures visitors: “You’ve come to the right place.” This encourages them to stay on your site, read a blurb or click a link. Now you have the opportunity to establish your credibility and earn their trust.

Initial impressions have a lasting impact known as the “halo effect” – what they first see influences their perception of the rest of your site and your brand, assuming they stick around.

2. Respond to inquiries quickly
Whether the inquiry comes by email, phone, Twitter or any other method, a quick response on your part (ideally within an hour) builds confidence and trust. It’s also the best way to capture a lead before they change their mind or find another vendor.

3. Give facts, but promote the benefits
Provide succinct descriptions of your services. Note your customers’ common questions and develop a FAQ with the answers. Above all, look for the emotional components that reveal the benefits of your solution and eliminate your prospects pain points. By creating this emotional connection you encourage them to continue interacting with you.

4. Provide information during each phase of the buying cycle
Relevant content guides prospects from one phase to the next. In the research phase, they gather information. Be a resource. Tell them what then need to know. Offer a how-to video. Capture their contact info by encouraging them to sign-up for a newsletter or register for an event or webinar. In the comparison phase, they evaluate your company relative to your competitors. Highlight content like success stories and case studies, checklists and guides. In the decision phase, valueadded offers and guarantees provide reassurance and help them feel good about making their decision.

5. Address the pricing question
Prospects need to know if your offerings are within their budget. They don’t expect to see a final price on your website, but look for budget ranges to qualify your company as a viable option. With this information upfront, both parties can avoid wasting time and energy.