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How to Use Backwards Planning for Web Site Success

I think that this advice is very smart - tough but smart:

Newcomers to the Internet world often begin by asking, "Should I
pay to drive traffic to my website? Pay-per-click? Overture? An
ezine articles service?"

Used wisely, these methods will drive traffic to your website.
But you need to ask, "What will visitors do once they arrive?"

To answer these questions, you have to work backwards.

(1) Create a selling machine.

Before driving traffic to the site, turn your website into a
selling machine. Will visitors convert to buyers? There's no
point in driving thousands of tire-kickers to come visit your
website. And there's even less rationale for paying to get them.

These days, more and more sites have begun to use straightforward
sales letters on all their web pages. They sell e-books,
consulting services, classes and audio products.

The sales letter approach offers two benefits. First, you
probably sell more (if you have a good sales letter and a product
that fits a genuine need). Second, you can track your success
and test as you tweak your sales letter.

(2) Design a way to collect emails.

So, you say, the next step is to develop a killer website, right?

Wrong! When visitors come to your site, you want to collect email
addresses for your ezine list. You want to add them to your
customer base and take the first step to create a community of
raving fans.

So before you create the website that will become a selling
machine, create an ezine concept and a mouth-watering gift that
will motivate visitors to sign up for the ezine.

Without a way to collect e-mail addresses and build a community
of raving fans, your website is like a bicycle: basic transport
but you do all the work. Add an e-mail collection and you've got
a marketing engine - like moving from your bicycle to a
motorcycle. Vroom!

(3) Get testimonials.

You will increase sales exponentially with improved copy. But to
move in high gear, you need powerful testimonials.

Killer testimonials are signed with a real name and identifying
information. They mention results related to money, love or
health. And they emphasize the unique way you delivered
information or service.

(4) Test your target market.

But wait - where can you get testimonials if nobody buys? Do you
know if customers and clients are willing and able to buy your

If you're offering a service, see if you can get a few paying
clients before you open up a website. If you offer a product,
wait to see if customers ask, "Where can I get more?"

Sometimes you have to test aggressively. Offer early-bird
discount coupons (but not free trials). Set up a low-cost trial
and see what kind of response you get.

(5) Choose a target market with spending power.

Now we come to the heart of working backward. You need a
profitable niche: potential customers who want what you offer and
who have the motivation and means to pay.

Some markets are used to spending money. I've been told that
people who make quilts and scrapbooks are often eager to buy
supplies, guidebooks and advice.

But some markets just don't spend. Some have price ceilings so
it's hard to charge enough to earn a meaningful income.

And sometimes they value confidentiality so strongly that you
won't get great testimonials. You'll need to rely on
word-of-mouth - and a website may not be your best marketing

Sometimes you're a really good fit for a market because of who
you are. Twenty years with an advertising agency would lend great
credibility to your marketing consulting services. Someone who
rose from mailroom to vice president in five years could create
an office politics coaching service.

So plan backwards. Starting with a market that values who you are
and what you offer will be the first step in a chain leading to
community of raving fans and a money machine website that
benefits from more traffic.

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., helps solo-preneurs, professionals and
small businesses build Internet revenues -- without turning
themselves into techies or high-powered pushy sales people.
Download: 7 best-kept secrets of client-attracting websites. or (206) 819-0989

We are still at step 1 - so there is plenty more to do!

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