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Going Fishing

Every year about this time, we make our annual pilgrimage to the
waters of the Atlantic to go striped bass fishing. Loading the
boat with all the essentials, such as something cool to quaff and
piles of sandwiches, we grab our rods and reels and sally forth.
But wait - did we forget something? Sure did - we need to have
bait. What are they biting on this time of year?

Fortunately there is a bait shop on the way out, so we tie up to
the dock and go inside. There we talk with the owner who tells
us they are biting on several different kinds, so taking his
advice we buy several. At first we each use a different kind, and
if they seem to favor one bait over the other, we all start using
the one that is attracting the fish.

Hmm - sounds familiar doesn't it. We do the same thing when
trying to lure customers into our online offers. Like in
fishing, you need the essentials in your business. Our web site
and email programs can be compared to the fishing equipment, but
we have to have the proper bait. This is where your advertising
comes in. Your ads are your bait, and you will need to use
different ads to attract different customers.

Writing ads is a skill you must master if you wish your online
business to prosper. There has been a lot written about writing
effective ads. Sometimes what might be considered a bad ad by the
pros is one that actually works. Why you might ask? Different
styles appeal to different people, and you have to realize, that
while the web might provide a level playing field for
entrepreneurs, the likes and dislikes of potential customers are
vary widely.

While "Glitz", and exaggerated earnings claims might appeal to
some, to others it is a turn off. Wild claims about earnings
potential might gather some prospects, but will be an automatic
"click away" for others who prefer a low key approach. You must
experiment with different ad copy, and keep records of what is
drawing.

There are many ways to do this, and some suggest that you have
multiple web sites geared towards ads that are running. In your
ads, you point your visitors to different sites and by keeping
statistics, you can see which ads are working.

But here is the dilemma. Depending on any number of factors,
visitors could be coming from places other than your ads, and the
results might be misleading. If, for example, a search engine
picks up one site and not the other, you will obviously have more
visitors to the site that has been indexed.

Bluntly, hits to your web site don't really count - sales do.
Your first job however, is to get visitors to your site. This is
done through a variety of methods, including advertising, the use
of search engines and email. Once you get them there, you must
then sell them on your product.

On our web sites, we have an "after sale" questionnaire and we
simply ask them how they found us. Now these people have decided
to do business with us, and their answers will most likely be
truthful. We then log this information, which helps us determine
what advertising is working.

Ads that don't appear to be pulling, we modify until we start
seeing positive results. One of the best places to test your ads
is in ezine publications that are highly targeted toward your
potential customers. I don't recommend ads in publications that
are not targeted to your prospects. Unless you have a very
generalized product, the return you get in these will most likely
be minimal. More importantly, you won't get sufficient
information to determine if the actual copy is working.

Many people have been advertising in the same ezines for years.
Remember that there is some "thrashing" that occurs, and some
people drop off the subscription list for the publication, but
others are added. This gives you a constant new group of people
who will read your ad every time it is published.

Experienced online entrepreneurs will even keep the same copy
year after year if it is pulling. It usually takes 5 to 7
exposures anyway until they receive "brand identification". When
someone is willing to "bite", if they have the proper ad, they
will remember them. To land your customers, like in fishing, you
must have the proper bait.

About the Author

Did you know that subscribers to Bob Osgoodby's Free Ezine the
"Tip of the Day" get a Free Ad for their Business at his
Web Site? Great Business and Computer Tips - Monday thru Friday.
Instructions on how to place your ad are in the Newsletter.
Subscribe at: mailto:tipofday-subscribe@topica.com

Bob Osgoodby