+=+=+=+= INSIDER REPORT =+=+=+=+

November 18, 2003

E-Zine #129

SIM's INSIDER REPORT is a free bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to helping readers succeed online while saving both time and money with cutting-edge tools, tips and strategies for internet marketing, online advertising and website promotion.

==> Tip of the Week
==> Tips, Tools & Resources
==> Online Weekly Reports
==> Feedback & Contributions
==> Food for Thought
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==> Administrivia

SIM's Insider Report free marketing newsletter

First, a warm WELCOME! to all new subscribers!

Merle explains how and why we should be split-run testing all our ad copy, sales letters, home pages and anything else contrinuting to your bottom line. The report is titled "How To Use Split-Run Testing To Raise Your Conversion Rates" and you'll find it in this week's Tip of the Week.

Bob Osgoodby has some tips in this week's "Feedback & Contributions" about the significance of maintaining an effective workspace and avoiding some common startup "traps."

Don't miss either of these reports.

Dan Porteous

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How To Use Split-Run Testing To Raise Your Conversion Rates

Have you ever heard the phrase "split-run testing?" No? If you have a website and you're trying to sell something online, you need to know about this valuable testing process that can increase your bottom line.

Split-run testing is where you create different versions of a sales page (for example) to test its effectiveness. When users enters your site, they're shown one version or the other. Once you do this enough times you can easily see which version converted visitors into buying customers. Are you following me here?

The benefits of split-run testing are many. You can see at a glance what's working and what isn't. By testing different versions of your copy and tracking what converts, you can make permanent changes and see an increase in your sales with the same amount of traffic. When you improve your conversion rates, the money you spend on marketing will work harder for you as more of your site's visitors make the leap from browsers into buyers.

If your sales copy is ineffective, all the traffic in the world will not increase your sales activity. By testing and tracking and finding out what does and doesn't work, you can incorporate changes that are proven winners and make more money. Sound good? Of course it does.

So what kinds of things might you want to test? Some people might start with two different versions of their sales letter (for example, your home page). Then once they finish testing the copy itself, run tests on more specific elements like including more or less testimonials, the headline, adding a Post Script or not, etc.

There are many different factors that you can test, but for the most accurate measuring results, the trick is to test only one component at a time. You'll also want to allow each test to run to between 500 to 1000 unique visitors before coming to any conclusions.

Here are some things you might want to test:
  • Your Headlines
  • Different Design Elements of Your Site
      (i.e., fonts, colors, etc.)
  • Sales Letter
  • Navigation Structure of Your Site
  • Bonus Offers
  • Pricing Points (high or low)
  • Long Copy Versus Short Copy
  • Different Advertising Strategies such as...
      banners, ezine ads, pay per click copy
  • Openings/Closings
  • Order Forms
So now that you have a clear idea of what "split-run" testing is, how do you do it? There are many different software packages out there that can do the job for you.

Let's review some options:
  1. Split Test Generator:

    This script is free to download and once it's installed on your server, you simply enter two web addresses into a form and press submit to start the testing process.

  2. Scientific Internet Marketing Assistant:

    Created by Duncan Carver, who is an absolute genius when it comes to online marketing. It's hard to believe he gives this software away for free, but he does. It allows you to run multiple tests simultaneously, broken down into individual campaigns. You can test five different test subjects against each other at once.

    If you need help with installation or have some questions on the script's workings go to Duncan's forum http://www.marketing-strategy.org/forums/ You'll find plenty of other test users willing to answer your questions or provide assistance.

  3. Sales PageMaster Pro:

    This $149 software package runs on UNIX systems. You'll need access to your CGI bin and the ability to run Server Side Includes on your site. You decide what to track, actual subscriptions, sales, etc. You can also enforce a fixed deadline for special offers.

  4. Split Hits

    Install this $29.95 PHP database driven software and it will automatically rotate different versions of your website, so you can see at a glance which ones are outperforming the others.

  5. Scientific Web Marketing System

    A script that runs on your server and is UNIX based. This software works by constantly displaying different versions of the same web page at the same url. Comes with a 60-day money back guarantee and sells for only $37.97.
As you can see, testing and tracking what works and what doesn't isn't that hard -- and can save you a lot of money in the end. Without testing, you have no way of knowing what's working with your marketing efforts, and that's like playing pool in the dark. You might be able to feel your way around, but you'll have no way of knowing if you're aiming in the right direction when it comes to sinking the ball in the pocket.

Converting visitors into buyers is the name of the game online. Isn't it time you found out if all your hard work is paying off?

. . .

About the author: Merle http://www.EzineAdAuction.com
"Where some of the BEST Deals in Ezine Advertising are Made"
Buy & Sell Ezine Ads in a live auction setting! Publishers sell off your excess inventory and Buyers pick up some Fantastic bargains. Go now. FREE e-book on how to "Write Winning Ezine Ads" http://www.ezineadauction.com/ebooks/greatezineads.pdf


SIM's "Tip of the Week" back issues available at... http://www.startupinternetmarketing.com/ezines

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Google Alert
Use Google often and want to track the same query over time? Google Alert is a free service that does this for you. It will run a query, then check each day to see if there are any changes. If so, you'll be informed of these via email. HTML and RSS feeds are also offered. The service is free but does require you to signup for an account. http://www.googlealert.com

Need help with Windows? Windows-guru Brian Livingston has a specialized search engine that brings back results from sites he considers to have high-quality Windows information. http://www.briansbuzz.com

This site claims to be the largest directory of email addresses, compiled through crawling the web. http://www.addresses.com


The Birth of a Professional Website
This free download is brand new and available from the SIM site ONLY. It's a compilation of 10 articles by Shelley Lowery that completely covers the job of launching a professional website, as only Shelley can. HIGHLY recommended... http://startupinternetmarketing.com/birth.htm

Internet Marketing Basics
If you're not TOTALLY familiar with the BASICS of marketing online then you owe it to yourself to grab AND read this dynamic 39-page report by Shelley Lowery. She discusses the many aspects involved with bringing your business online. Shelley is tops! http://startupinternetmarketing.com/shelley

* For more great tips and tools, visit our website:

*Mastering Search Engine Placement
*Becoming a high-earning affiliate champion
*Creating, producing and selling your very own infoproduct
*Finding the Perfect Price that will maximize your profit
*How to write sales-clinching copy on the Net

UPDATED Affiliate Masters Course
The Affiliate Masters Course is a fantastic stand-alone information resource. This course REALLY has ALL the info and strategies required to build a profitable affiliate-based e-biz from the ground up.

It's the best product available for affiliates AT ANY PRICE...
and it's free - Click here to download immediately... http://startupinternetmarketing.com/affm

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Questions and Answers About Keeping Your Legitimate Opt-in E-mail Messages Out Of The "Trash Bin." -Don't let fear of getting your messages flagged as spam scare you away from legitimate e-mail promotions. A carefully thought-out campaign to a targeted opt-in list that you have a strong relationship with is still one of the best ways to get your message out there! Keep these tips in mind...

How to Find A Winning Niche On The Internet And Earn A Great Income! -Finding a high demand, low competition niche market can take a bit of effort. But if you apply the following five steps for identifying and evaluating your niche business ideas, you'll save yourself many painstaking hours of work, and make a great living... http://startupinternetmarketing.com/tips/tipsales.html

Customers Buy More Than Your Products
-Customers buy for a lot of reasons and most of them have nothing to do with the quality or price of your product... http://startupinternetmarketing.com/tips/tipbiz.html

Customizing Scrollbar Colors (IE)
-If you would like to change the colors of your web page's scrollbars, add the following code between your <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags... http://startupinternetmarketing.com/tips/tipdesign.html

Dropdown Navigation Menu Generator
-An informal survey suggests that about a third of subscribers are adept with Perl CGI and JavaScript, about a third are able to get by without too much trouble, and about a third are beginning the learning process. So ease of use is very important...

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Visions Of Sugarplums

Not a day goes by that I don't hear about someone lamenting about their decision to leave corporate America and work at home. Maybe they were laid off, opted for early retirement, or just decided that commuting four hours on the train, coupled with an eight hour workday was simply too much. Possibly, they will keep their job and work part-time at home to earn extra income. Who knows what the reasons are, but that is not important.

With "visions of sugarplums" dancing in their head, they decided to start their own home business. They believed the ads about working in their pajamas when the spirit moved them, and after a month or so woke up to reality. They weren't making a dime.

Where did they go wrong? Well, when they worked for someone else, they were expected to be at work at a certain time every day. Depending on the business, there was a certain dress code, and they had goals to meet. Granted, these goals were usually determined by someone else, but they were the ones who had to meet them.

It is easy to work for someone else, as they are the ones calling the shots. They actually lived under an umbrella of discipline. Granted it was someone else's umbrella, and maybe they didn't realize this. Possibly they did, and that was the reason they decided to work on their own.

One of the most common problems behind the failure of a home business, is the lack of discipline. Some think they can work when (and if) they want to, and their mailbox will "overfloweth" with twenty dollar bills. Well, I got news for you!

Running your own business, whether it is a brick and mortar establishment, or a home business, requires work. It usually requires more effort than if you worked for someone else. You will also have to do some things you don't enjoy. But, if you are the chief (or only) "honcho", you had better be able to handle all facets of your business.

So, how do you go about working at home? First and foremost, you have to have a regular schedule and adhere to it. This is especially true if you expect people to contact you by phone. If people try to call you, and don't get an answer, they quickly move on. You have to be available during normal business hours. If you are in an online business, this is usually from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Yes there are three time zones in the USA. If you live on the east coast like I do, when you are getting ready to pack it in for the day, folks on the west coast may just be returning from lunch.

If you are not tied to a telephone, it is still important to maintain regular hours. More importantly, you should have daily goals. If you meet those goals, the rest of the day is yours. But many people always think there is tomorrow.

For far too many, tomorrow never comes, and things that should have been done aren't. Maybe when the kids are at school will work for you, or possibly late at night. You might even have to pass up on your favorite "soap opera". Don't deal with hours, you're not being paid by the hour - deal with goal oriented results.

Working in your pajamas sounds great, and many of the offers you may hear state that you can. If I get an idea in the wee hours, I may hop on the computer dressed like that, but for normal business hours that is simply a myth. Who wants to spend their life like that?

You must have an effective work space, which is free of distractions. You should have quiet office space in your house, which is out-of-the-way, and off limits during your work hours. Treat this like an office. Keep it neat. While I am not the neatest person in the world, I do know where everything is. If I get a call from a client, I'm not fumbling about looking for the information I need. A filing cabinet next to your desk goes a long way.

When you get an email, take appropriate action the same day, then file it in a place where you can find it. Delete all emails in you "in-basket" older than 30 days. If they're older than 30 days, they're not worth anything anyway.

If you don't fall into these "traps", which many folks do, those "visions of sugarplums" just might come true.

. . .

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:

If you have a promotion tip to share (or an affiliate program that would be of interest to the rest of us) or if you have a web design tip, or a specific question, please feel free to post all tips, questions, or answers to posted questions here and I will add your email or URL with it. It's FREE promotion!

Send your tips, questions or answers to:

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The best part about telling the truth is that
you don't have to remember what you said.
startup marketing and website promotion--Mark Twain

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Back issues of the INSIDER REPORT are available at http://startupinternetmarketing.com/ezines/back.html

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The SIM's INSIDER REPORT is a production of Startup Internet Marketing and is owned by Dan Porteous

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Although all of the articles have been selected for their content, the publishing of such articles within this newsletter does NOT constitute a recommendation of the products or services mentioned or advertised within those articles.

Be responsible! Always do your own Due Diligence before responding to any offer.

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