Hope you are enjoying your summer. It's been a
wonderful July, aside from the occasional smoke
from the surrounding wildfires here in California.

I'm often asked about how to go about attracting
more customers. The answer to that depends on
your marketing strategy.

This month's newsletter has some great info all

From attracting customer traffic to your store
or site, to SEO tips, to writing tips and to ideas
on how the market economy is turning - get IT all -
here and NOW!

To Your Success,
Coach Danny


- New Product Source for July
- Get More Customers to Your eBay Store
- ISO Approves PDF As Int'l Standard
- Local Business Search Optimization Tips
- Promotional Article Writing, 6 Points
- Tough Times for eBay Entrepreneurs

"Persistence and determination are omnipotent.
The slogan 'press on' has solved and always
will solve the problems of the human race."

- Calvin Coolidge

New Product Source for July

Online, High Volume Consignment Auction

Recently, I became associated with a liquidation
company. Items are researched online, cleaned and
photographed for resale on ebay.

Much of the stock comes from this company
specializing in large bulk lots of everything from
sewing machines, computer servers, cell phone
accessories to dental chairs. Some is used and
some is still in retail packaging.

A lot of their stock comes from closeouts,
overstock, store returns and from businesses that
close down.

Then if your items don't sell, you can try sending
them back to BDI and auctioning them off to
another buyer.

AuctionBDI is an Internet based company specializing
in the resale and recycling of consigned
electronic equipment:

Telecommunications Equipment
Computer Components
Hard Drives/Storage Devices
Manufacturing Equipment
Medical/Lab Equipment



Get More Customers to Your eBay Store
by Tanner Larsson

Naturally, more visits to your eBay Store means a
better chance that your products will sell. eBay
markets Stores in several ways.

A link to Stores appears on the home page under
Specialty Sites in the upper left corner. And when
potential customers search for regular auctions, a
box labeled "More on eBay" appears at the bottom of
the left-hand navigation column. This box shows the
top four eBay Stores having the most items
currently listed that match the keyword searched.

eBay allows eBay Stores pages to be crawled by
search engines. While eBay can't guarantee
placement in search engines, they help to enhance
discoverability of a Store seller's pages by
creating META tags using the Store name, the Store
description and the names of all the Store's
custom categories. When you create your custom
categories, keep possible search terms
in mind.

But as a trade-off for the lower insertion fees,
eBay Store listings don't come up in regular eBay
searches. And since the "build it and they will
come" tenet doesn't work well on its own, we need
proactive measures in order to increase our sales.

Let's consider seven relatively easy and
cost-friendly ways to promote your eBay Store.

1) Know your eBay Store's URL.

Last time, we discussed how eBay creates the URL
for your store. You'll need this URL to build links
to your Store that your customers, in true Internet
style, can access with a clickety-click.

2) Take advantage of the tools they give you.

If eBay offers you a means of promoting your
store, take full advantage of it - especially
if it's an included service. For example, be sure
to add a link to your eBay Store on your
AboutMe page.

3) Keep regular auctions running.

There is a "Visit this seller's eBay Store!" link
in the seller'sregular auctions, which takes
buyers to the seller's eBay Store. One click and
they're in. This link shows up automatically on
every Store seller's regular auction listings.

The Cross-Promotion tool helps sellers cross-sell
and up-selladditional items from their eBay Store.
Cross-sell means if your auction is for a
necklace, you can advertise your Store listings
for matching earrings and bracelets. You can
include up to four items on an item listing page
and four on the Bid Confirm and Purchase
Confirm pages.

With the cross-promotion and Store links that
eBay adds to your auctions, it makes sense to list
plenty of auctions; this will be vital to your
eBay Store's success. Yes, you'll pay the regular
listing fees, but the exposure to your eBay Store
might make it worthwhile.

4) Link to your Store on your Business Web Site.

Develop valid content for your business Web site
that will be indexed by the search engines. Listing
the items in your eBay Store inventory is one way.
Build links so that a potential customer can click
right over to your Store. This is a powerful
way to entice new customers and possibly
generate more business.

5) Promote your Store throughout your
sales cycle.

Your primary communication with your eBay customers
is through email.

Don't pass up the opportunity to include the name
of your Store, a promo for any specials you're
offering, and a link to it in your email signature.
This can effectively bring your Store right
to your customers instead of them having to look
it up, and it can certainly help boost
repeat business.

6) Use message board signature lines to
your advantage.

If the site gods allow it - and do inquire about
that first - add your eBay Store URL to your
signature line for your message board posts.
Include the eBay Store or a modest custom graphic
to make each post a "click magnet."

7) Add your eBay Store URL to your print matter.

I see URLs listed in newspapers, magazines,
flyers, and on billboards so it's certainly a
valid way to promote a site.
The limitation is that visitors can't "click" - they must
actually type the URL order to visit it.

All of these techniques can be effective. The
bottom line: blast your own beacon. The
competition is fierce. If you're willing to
spend some extra time to promote your eBay
Store, you can elbow your way to the front of
the line where the odds favor more sales.


ISO Approves PDF as an International Standard
by Elizabeth Montalbano

The International Organization for Standardization
has approved Adobe Systems' widely used PDF
(Portable Document Format) as an international
standard, and is now in charge of any changes made
to the specification.

The format is open and accessible to anyone as ISO
32000-1, the standards body said Wednesday. The
standard is based Adobe's version 1.7 of PDF.

PDF, the file format for Adobe's Acrobat software,
has long been used as a standard way for people to
exchange and view business documents. However,
Adobe kept a proprietary hold on the format until it
finally succumbed to industry pressure and
submitted it for standardization in February 2007.

Adobe's move reflected an industrywide trend to
standardize broadly adopted file formats to increase
interoperability between different applications
people use to create business documents.


Local Business Search Optimization Tips

Search is constantly evolving, from general web
search such as the old giants Yahoo, AltaVista and
Excite through to the current day of Google.

Not only has search grown out, it has also grown up.
Vertical search engines are becoming more and more
popular i.e. Expedia - a travel search engine, great
for finding travel deals and accommodation and
Bizrate.com – a shopping search engine perfect for
comparing prices and chasing a bargain.

Another type of search is local search.
Local search is generally driven by a geographical
query and the service required e.g. Starbucks,
Los Angeles. Businesses that benefit most from this
form of search are local based business that have a
physical presence e.g. a shop, garage, restaurant
or surgery, that are looking for ways of driving
foot traffic through the door, as well as
capitalizing on internet traffic.

Local business listings have become even more
attractive since they are now being returned in
the general search results within Google and Yahoo!
Thus, a greater chance of driving search traffic to
your website!

The red box identifies the Google Maps/Local
business listings within natural search results.

Other than having your business submitted and
optimized in the local search of Google, Yahoo and
MSN, there are some other optimization elements
you can apply to your WebPages to help increase
your presence.

Include your contact details.
Your city name, state and zip/post code should be
in the footer of every page. Hyperlink the city name,
state and zip/post code to the contact us page on
your site.

Include local city information in your contact us
page (perhaps a brief bio on your local city/town).
Add geographical qualifiers, such as city and
state name, to the body of your content. Link the
qualifier text through to your contact us page.
Targeted to the correct business types, local
business search can be a very cost effective and
powerful advertising and promotional tool. Driving
more foot traffic through your door and click
traffic to your website.

Promotional Article Writing, Six Points You Must Know!

by Zachary Elwood

I’m sure most of you are aware of the marketing
power of a well-written promotional article about
your industry or business. A compelling and
educational article on your audience’s topic of
interest will drive traffic to your website and
increase customer confidence in your expertise.
Best of all, it requires no investment aside from
your time and effort.

But where do you start? The following quick tips
(presented in chronological order) should serve
you well in starting out upon this method of
online advertising. All of these points could be
several pages in themselves, but this should give
you a good overview of the process.

Think of an Article Topic
Write what you know about, first and foremost.
Brainstorm topics of which you have specific
knowledge. It doesn’t have to be something
obvious either. Write about a recent challenge
your company faced and how you overcame it. Write
about an interesting situation that you know is
a common problem in your industry but that is not
often addressed. Don’t be afraid to present
yourself or your company as imperfect, or as
facing challenges. You will come across as
genuine, conscientious and as a striver for
perfection in your field.

For instance, one of the articles I plan to
write in the next few weeks will be about our
video production company’s work on a forklift
training video. It was the first industrial
training video our company had done, and I plan
on laying out our specific challenges and what
we learned from the process. Of course I will
include the fact that the customer was very happy
with the finished product, but I will also express
the worries and difficulties we had along the way.
(Also make sure you get permission from your
clients if you plan to mention them specifically
in the article.)

Keyword Research
If you’ve done any work on doing search engine
optimization for your website, producing an
effective web article is quite similar. Because
you want your article to be relevant in searches,
you need to put a lot of focused keywords in your
content. First make a list of all the keywords
and phrases that you want your article to be
relevant for.

For instance, in preparing for this article, I
thought about who I wanted to read it. I did
internet searches to research what kind of
language was being used in the industry, and I
used a thesaurus to find similar terms. I came
up with a list of keyword phrases that included:
‘writing promotional articles’ ‘how to write
online articles’ ‘writing web articles’ ‘how to
write articles that advertise’ ‘tips for
promotional internet writing’, amongst many
others. Research will give you a good idea of
the kinds of search terms that are relevant,
and this will allow you to use these synonyms
and phrases in the body of your article.

Article Writing Strategies
Blatant self-promotion won’t often work in the
web article format. Your audience doesn’t want an
obvious advertisement; they want to be educated
and/or entertained, and that’s what you should be
striving to do.

Be concise. Use short paragraphs. If you find
yourself writing more than 1,000 words, think about
splitting your content into two articles. You’re
writing for an often impatient audience, used to
immediate gratification, so don’t get literary
or meander. Of course, this isn’t always the case;
if you’re writing for potential customers in your
industry and you know they like to read dense,
jargon-y content, you should cater to them.

Multiple Titles
Put specific effort into coming up with several good
titles for your article. They should be as
straightforward and as keyword-rich as you can make
them, as the title is the major thing that search
engines will be noticing, and because a good title
will make relevant potential customers want to click
on it. You will want to alternate these titles when
you post your article on different article
database sites.

For example, the first internet article I wrote I
titled ‘Tips for Effective Website Video’. Some
alternate titles I posted it under were ‘Producing
Effective Website Videos’, ‘Tips for Making Company
Website Video’, and ‘Pointers for Avoiding Bad Website
Video’. You get the idea; the more good titles you
give your article, the more likely it will come up for
these different combinations of keywords.

Posting Your Internet Article
Research good article-posting databases, particularly
ones that focus on your industry. No two sites are
formatted exactly the same. Some require you to break
your article into bullet-points with headings above
each paragraph. Some require you to know some basic
html code for putting in your website link or making
your title bold or in italics. Some will require you
to enter in a short synopsis of your article. Some
will require unformatted basic html code, so you
should save your article in a basic text format
as well.

I would advice you to post your article on as
many sites as you can; at least ten. Don’t
forget to alternate the titles you have chosen.
The more you post it, the more likely it is to
get read.

Article Resource Box
The resource box is the section, usually at the
bottom of the article, where you can put in a
short bio and a link to your company website
(the format varies from site to site.) Some of
the sites will require you to know a tiny bit
of html coding to put in your link manually.
You can find this easy enough by doing a search
for ‘basic html code’.

If your article has done its job pretty well, a
very small fraction of the people who read your
article will click on the link and check out
your website. A very small fraction of the
people that check out your website will think,
‘Hey, I’d like to do business with these guys’.
That’s if everything goes well. The first
article I wrote I posted on only six websites. I
did it mainly as an experiment, not expecting
anything much to happen. That article resulted
in two phone calls from companies asking about
our services, and one phone call from a
journalist wanting to interview me for a story
about online advertising she was writing.
Needless to say, I was very encouraged with the
potential of this medium.

About the Author
Zachary Elwood is a Producer/Writer for
Engaging Media, Inc. in Portland, Oregon

Tough Times for eBay Entrepreneurs

by Karen E. Klein

A bad economy and competition from big e-tailers
are challenging those who make a living via online
marketplaces such as eBay, Craigslist, and Etsy

Ann Wood was thrilled last January when her eBay
store, Willow-Wear, had its best month ever,
grossing around $33,000. In February, however,
Wood experienced a sharp drop-off in sales. Since
2004, Wood has run the home-based business, listing
and selling high-end jewelry, clothing, shoes, bags,
and antiques for more than 40 clients around the
country. She works four to six hours a day, and had
sales of about $250,000 in 2007, she says.

"I've still got steady sales and I'm making money
for my clients," Wood says, "but I've been seeing
more caution from buyers on the items priced for
$1,000 and over. People are being smart. They're
acting like my husband and I are trying to act,
which is to be more careful about purchases and
not buying everything we want."

Yet Wood's inventory is growing as her clients
scour their closets, hoping to make some extra
money selling unused items, and telling their
friends Wood can do the same for them. The other
bright spot for the former appellate attorney,
who became a home-based entrepreneur after her
three children were born, is international sales.
"A great portion of my stuff is shipped overseas.
With the dollar so weak, I've got great deals for
people in places like Germany and Italy. I even
sold something to Tahiti recently," Wood says.

"Pay to Play"
But overall, it's a tough time for entrepreneurs
who sell products through online retailers like
eBay, Craigslist, Etsy, and myriad other sites.
It's also tough to get solid financial data on
these individuals, many of them hobbyists
conducting virtual yard sales in their spare
time, rather than serious business owners. "What
we know is that probably half of all online retail
happens through companies that are smaller than
the top 100 e-commerce retailers," says Sucharita
Mulpuru, a principal analyst in the retail
division at Forrester Research (FORR).

It is suspected that probably about 60,000 small
and medium-size businesses have some sort of Web
presence, and another 650,000 sole proprietors
are selling through an online marketplace where
anybody can upload their product catalogs,"
Mulpuru says. "I can't imagine that they're doing
particularly well in this economy." Small online
operations must either sell unique items, such
as antiques and collectibles that appeal to
niche buyers, or do enough sales volume to keep
prices low.

"The challenge is that if they're sole
proprietorships, they will not be particularly
well-branded. In order to attract traffic, they
have to pay for some interactive marketing program,
which adds to their expenses and cuts into their
margins," Mulpuru says. "They have to pay in order
to play, but many of them don't have the resources
to do that."

That's not to say lots of people aren't trying.
A study of eBay market activity released in May
shows that in 2007 the top 10 markets in the
country—Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia,
Dallas, Orange County, Calif., Washington, Houston,
Nassau-Suffolk, N.Y., and Fort Lauderdale—generated
more than $7 billion, accounting for 55% of all U.S.
sales on eBay. In Los Angeles alone, 196,089
residents sold 24,051,645 items for a total of
$1.3 billion in sales, with cell phones, cell
phone accessories, and clothing the top categories

More Full-Timers
Jacques Stambouli is the CEO of ViaTrading.com,
an overstock liquidation firm that provides
merchandise for a number of online retailers.
"We deal mostly with entrepreneurs and people
trying to make a little extra money on the side
with home-based businesses. What I've noticed
recently is that a lot of people who were doing
this part-time are trying to ramp up their
activities and spend more time on selling. Others
are already selling full-time and they are trying
to grow," Stambouli says.

Some of his clients who disappeared two or three
years ago have gotten back into the swap meet or
online retailing business in the past few months,
he says: "If all of a sudden you have to spend
$1,000 on gas instead of $500, there's twice as
much of your income gone and you still need to eat.
There are also a lot of new faces showing up at the
flea markets, more people bargain hunting and
looking for cheaper ways to buy the same stuff."

The problem for small retailers trying to sell
merchandise more cheaply than volume discounters—
such as Target or Wal-Mart—is that they don't have
the economics of scale on their side, says David
Zahn, president of StartUpBuilder.com.

"It is harder [for small e-tailers] to turn a
profit, because the pressure is on the e-commerce
businesses to absorb shipping costs as many
established sites are doing," he says. "For
Amazon.com, as well as traditional retailers
that have e-commerce sites, such as Staples.com and
others, the costs are often absorbed for both
shipping to the customer and also from the customer,
if the item is to be returned.

What remains to be seen is if the gas crunch will
lead to more online purchasing," he says.

Free Listings
Small eBay sellers have been complaining
about the online marketplace's deal with
Buy.com, an online volume seller that can offer
free shipping and other perks that small store
owners feel will undercut their offerings. That
agreement, as well as recent price increases
(BusinessWeek, is driving eBay competitors as
well as eBay itself), to turn up the volume
on their appeals to get more small sellers
onto their sites.

Some, like newcomer Wigix, are offering
alternative business models. "We don't do
auction; we operate more like a stock market
with open bid orders for everyday stuff. We
don't charge anything for listings," says
James Chong, Wigix CEO.

The company, which launched in April, is
actively recruiting eBay sellers with its free
listings and low—or nonexistent—transaction fees.
"Every time there's a revolt at eBay, we're
getting a benefit from it," Chong says. "The
small sellers there are competing with a
gazillion other listings and they end up having
to pay a lot of extra fees to break out from the
clutter. Their margins are being eroded by
those costs."

For now, Wood is sticking with eBay and hoping
her sales will soon be up again. Her online
store, which grosses an average of $25,000 a
month, has been doing well so far in July, and
she is optimistic. "I'm on track to have another
big month, and we're seeing a lot of volume on
eBay now," she says. She is experimenting with
providing some free shipping as well as
increasing her sales listings, upgrading the
look of her online store, and letting buyers
know she can also sell items for them. "I'm
always trying to take a cue from the bigger,
higher-volume sellers. Watching smart sellers
is how I taught myself this business,"
Wood says.