Why GroupOn is Worth $6 Billion

Over the past week, rumors that Google had put in a bid to purchase Groupon, a popular deal-of-the-day site, reached a saturation point. Everyone, it seems, weighed in. First, the rumor was that the search giant had shelled out $2.5 Billion. New reports suggest that number is probably closer to 5.3 Billion with an additional $700 Million Earn-out, making this — by far — Google’s biggest acquisition ever. And it’s a smart buy.

HC Consultants are huge fans of GroupOn.com! We have been watching and observing GroupOn’s success ever since their infancy – And we are extremely Impressed with their recent offers from Google for Billions of dollars! We are so impressed, that we even came up with a script that allows anyone to own their own daily deal website. We will create it for you in days, and you can capitalize on this trend with ease!

We came across this impressive testimony of how this deal (between Google and GroupOn) is going down, and this article grants excellent proof of how fast deal of the day sites can BLOW UP!

Just two years old, Groupon has built a huge following around a very simple idea: one really good deal every day in every major city. (Today, in Washington, D.C., the deal is $20 for three Bohemian Belly Dance classes, which would normally cost $60.) The fine print: Buyers aren’t charged — and the deal isn’t “on” — unless a critical mass of people sign up. That way, the company or organization being promoted that day is guaranteed to bring in enough new customers to make steeply discounted deals worthwhile.

That model — offering only one deal per day — made some question whether a $6 billion valuation on the company was too high. But with that model Groupon is bringing in a reported $50 million a month in revenue, according to CNBC. Other reports dispute that number — maybe it’s closer to $20 million — but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the model has proven itself. And now Groupon is expanding.

One deal per day per city has a very restricting limit: one deal per day per city. But Groupon is rolling out Groupon Stores, a way for store owners to set up and run a virtual space that partners with Groupon to offer as many deals as they want. A new Deal Feed will present a custom stream of offers to registered Groupon users that brings together the signature daily deal, deals from any shops that user decides to follow, and recommended deals put together by a new Groupon algorithm.

“We originally designed Groupon to account for the constraints of being a small company. Since we didn’t have any merchant relationships, we limited ourselves to one deal per day,” Groupon explained in a blog post highlighting its expansion plans yesterday. ”Today things are different – our biggest problem is that demand is so high, merchants often wait months to be featured.” The expansion is sure to grow Groupon’s revenue exponentially.

Writing on Mashable yesterday, Ben Parr argued that the acquisition would be a smart one for Google for another reason: local advertisers. “Through its massive sales team, Groupon has built an impressive array of relationships with thousands of restaurants, spas and local businesses in hundreds of metropolitan areas,” Parr wrote. “It’s a market that Foursquare, Facebook and Yelp all target, but none of them has figured out the formula like Groupon.”

And it’s a market that has a lot of potential. We’ve seen a number of big media companies — the ones Parr mentions, but also, notably, AOL through Patch, its effort to launch hundreds of hyperlocal news websites across the country – scrambling to pick up local advertisers. There’s a lot of advertising money that once went to small town newspapers that is no longer being spent on print waiting for someone to come and snatch it.

Groupon’s board of directors will meet today by conference call, according to a report this morning from the Wall Street Journal, to discuss the offer. They may or may not vote, but, regardless, it’s a given that we’ll have an official word sometime soon.

______________________________________________________

This article about GroupOn compares to another daily deal site, called Woot.com, that sold to Amazon for $110 Million! This is so impressive, and HC Consulting Group is offering the perfect platform to create a daily deal just like GroupOn and/or Woot.

Why would you not want to make a few million!? Call HC Consulting Group and get the full scoop – 1800.794.7192 today!


Even Silly Niches Can Make Money Online

Yes, it’s true. Even silly niches (ie. Handmade Pillows) can manifest success and generate consistent wealth online. It’s easy to have doubts, but the video above, coming from a website that I am newly in love with, does a great job of showcasing how simple niches can be in order to be successful.

The main purpose of this article is not to talk about geeky pillows… The point is to explain that there is online potential for any and all niches.

When our clients purchase one or more of our software platforms, the first step is always to identify what niche & marketplace that they seek to operate within… This is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be hard.

We offer all sorts of software solutions, and our company can build a number of custom infrastructures to base your online ventures off of. We currently offer the following software tools that you can run on your own domain name, as well as cater to any niche of your choice.

- Video Sharing Empire

- Social Network Empire

- Bloopio

-Secure Pay Pro

-Info Product Revolution

- and a wide variety of custom services found only at HCDesk.com

With all of this being said, pick a niche, pick a platform, and create an online business of your choice. You can sell info., software, or even geeky pillows with ease!

Go big or go home!


13 Ways to Quickly Drive Your Target Market

There are several methods used for quickly motivating people to take action through triggering necessary emotional responses – As well as highlighting the benefits you offer.

Oftentimes, our company runs into challenging target market questions in light of both or clients, and the consulting that we do; as well as in reference to our own internal ventures. Picking a defined target market is a challenge in itself, but research can help you out a lot! Getting your target to bite… well that’s another story. Here are the 13 ways to Instantly Motivate Your Target Market:

1. Create the Impression of Scarcity

Raise the expected value of your products and services by emphasizing their rarity. For example, you might display limited stock quantities for products in which you might be selling or giving away. When it comes to your own work, the best way to increase a sense of scarcity is in producing work that is unique and genuine in your own genius.

You might also emphasize the scarcity of your services in the way you describe yourself, such as in highlighting that what you do – few others can. Really pick out and clarify your strengths when doing so. This is the one time to really flatter yourself :)

2. Build a Sense of Obligation!

You are able to move people towards action-taking steps when you give something away. This is certain to trigger a sense of indebtedness or liability to you the GIVER. By giving something away, such as in the form of free information through a blog post, this will effectively drive people to feel the need to give something back to you.

3. Express Yourself

Reveal your personality, your passion and your personal character through everything you do online, particularly through your own work, but also through your writing. The design of your site and in the way you interact with people, will appeal to people in a big way, and will get people quickly interested in you. Sometimes even in love with you.. :)

Visitors will be more motivated to buy into your brand after they have witnessed some of your self expression.

4. Limit Your Customer’s Need to Make Decisions

By cutting down on the choices and decisions that you offer your people, (whether this be all the products you want to sell them, or in the various services you might offer) you will reduce the issue of ‘too many choices paralysis”, which restricts one’s ability to make a decision at all. By minimizing choice, options become clearer and easier.

Those who you’d like to take action will be more motivated to make decisions if the options in front of them are not complicated. This includes simplifying the navigation and design complexity of your site/s.

5. Inspire Desired Emotions

In the world of ‘cognitive marketing’ expert marketers suggest embedding messages into your writing (or spoken word) to affect people’s thought patterns through evoking positive feelings like excitement, curiosity and interest. The best way to sell yourself, products and your work is to have prospects and customers associate positive feelings with them.

Think of this as helping people better understand your benefits and not as an exercise in deceit. You can use motivational statements here and there in any persuasive communication you do to motivate people positively, such as:

“What would it feel like to have a beautiful, clean new website?”

“See how you’re getting excited about the prospect of having a print on your wall”

6. Tell good stories

Toss some stories into any content that you have, that seeks to persuade people in the content of your blog and articles, for example. You don’t need to go overboard with telling stories but they have been shown to grab the attention of viewers and readers very effectively. Grabbing attention through intriguing stories is a powerful way of motivating people to take action in the ways you want them to.

7. Get people to make a small step

People are much more likely to make a decision or take action if they have already done something small towards it or in relation to it. According to psychologists, a small commitment in this way activates a committed persona in the person, which they will then look to maintain with future commitments.

So, if you provide the ability to leave comments or feedback on your site, for example, this can lead to people taking further action in committing to you if the opportunity is there.

8. Activate the Brain’s Survival Mode

Triggering the survival instinct in the human brain will have an effect on people’s attention, and in getting them motivated.

Three things are linked closely to the this survival trigger: sex, food and danger. Consider incorporating these themes and images relating to them into the headlines you write, your articles, images you include on your blog and in the work you create to grab attention and motivate people to act.

9. Present Snappy Results

Promise a ‘quick service’, ‘instant download’ or ‘super fast shipping’ in the details you include with products and services you offer. Only do this if you can deliver on what you have promised. People are much more inclined to be motivated by getting something quickly.

10. List Key Things First

Anything you list first, such as a point on a list, or an illustration in your portfolio, will be prioritized by your visitors. So, if you want to get people motivated about a particular thing more than anything else you have to offer at that point, make sure if is listed first in a sequence to boost the priority people give to it.

11. Represent Social Validity

Showing that you and what you offer is liked and respected by others, has a strong motivational effect on people. Social validation in this way triggers the part of the unconscious brain’s urge to ‘belong’, and hence will attract people to you and your work.

You don’t need to be the most popular kid in school to do this, just make sure you give preference to such validity whenever the opportunity arises.

Social validity can be demonstrated in the following ways:

  • Showcase any ratings, testimonials and reviews others have made on your site.
  • Enable and encourage commenting, but delete spam and any overly negative comments.
  • Display popular posts and articles.
  • Install social media buttons like Digg and Tweet and recently introduced Facebook ‘reshare‘ buttons.
  • Display your RSS subscriber and Twitter follower numbers.

12. Use the word ‘You’

People’s attentions will be drawn to this word, and being spoken to directly, because we all give priority to ourselves in an evolutionary, survivalist sense. Speak directly to your visitors and you will see improvements in your own persuasiveness.

13. Be Professional

This applies to how you present and apply yourself in carrying out your creative work with clients and in the areas surrounding this, such as interacting with prospects, and presenting your work (in the form of your portfolio site etc).

Make sure that you treat everyone you deal with with respect and courtesy, as this feeling of importance has a strong motivational drive behind it for others. Be professional as you go about writing your blog and designing your site too as this will instill a sense of enthusiasm in people as they engage themselves with your professionalism.

HC Consulting Group wants to help you master the art of target marketing, and once this can be accomplished, we can help you platform your venture to capitalize on this specific niche with ease.

Whether it is owning your own daily deal site, or running an online community; you can take these proven strategies and put them to the test!

Let the community know if you can think of other ideas and if you have other views with regard to anything that has been mentioned.

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What Exactly Is Your Personal Target Market Interested In? « Make

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BP relief well ‘reaches target‘ | www.bullfax.com

BP says Gulf relief well on target for mid-August (AP). BP says it’s on target for mid-August completion of a relief well, the best hope of stopping the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. BP says Gulf relief well on target for mid-August (AP). BP says it’s on target for mid-August completion of a relief well, the best hope of stopping the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. … Comments. Incentivizing Military Service · In Praise of TARP · The markets speak …

Publish Date: 09/17/2010 10:38

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Grow Your Niche Business By Keeping It Simple!

Today I Stumbled Upon a really cool article. Fast Company blogger, Drew Neisser writes all about how S.I.M.P.L.E it is to make your niche business grow. The acronym he has come up with is truly inspiring, and I wanted to share this article below:

Grow Your Niche Business by Keeping It SIMPLE

BY FC Expert Blogger Drew NeisserMon Sep 13, 2010

This blog is written by a member of our expert blogging community and expresses that expert’s views alone.
How Clean Perfume is cleaning up in a category that isn’t.

Things have not been exactly rosy for the perfume industry in the last two years. Many big brands suffered huge declines in sales as consumers turned up their noses. Meanwhile Clean Perfume, an indie fragrance from NYC-based Fusion Brands, enjoyed double-digit growth, building up a remarkable fan-base on a miniscule budget. How the Clean team, including CMO Roslyn Griner, pulled this off is a potent reminder of the beauty of SIMPLE, especially when it comes to the marketing of consumer goods.

S is for Story

A number of successful niche brands like Tom’s of Maine and Nantucket Nectars have a compelling story about their creation. Clean is no different. Founder Randi Shinder, not a fan of perfumes, took notice when people commented on how good she smelled, a smell that was simply her soap. Unable to find a fragrance to match “that universal fresh out of the shower scent,” she developed her own in 2003.

That simple start launched a line of products with wonderfully evocative names, such as Fresh Laundry, Warm Cotton and Summer Linen. Explained Griner, “Everyone can identify with the idea that you just used a bar of soap and smell really good or the smell of towels coming fresh out of the dryer.” Having a clear story also helped drive sales, “We were one of the first perfume brands to be successful on HSN because we had a wonderful story where people could imagine what it smelled like,” advised Griner.

I is for Involve

A lot of brands pay lip service to their fans, offering token opportunities for involvement. Clean, on the other hand, works hard at nurturing all of its fans from the lone customer to the highly influential blogger. “Be good to the people who really make your brand and reward them every once in awhile,” counseled Griner, who supports a vibrant Facebook community with contests, special offers and quick responses to inquiries.

Clean also created a product testing “advisory board” from among its Facebook fans. “We recruited people who were Warm Cotton fans to test a new type of Cotton fragrance as a disaster check, because if your real avid fans don’t like the fragrance, you’re in trouble,” advised Griner. Amazingly, over 1,000 people applied to be on the advisory board, demonstrating both the strength of their fan base and their fans unbridled enthusiasm.

M is for Minimize

With retail strategy, for smaller brands sometimes less is indeed more. Rather than striving for broad scale distribution, Clean minimized its approach, concentrating its efforts on a single outlet, Sephora, a decision that has paid off many times over. One of nearly 200 perfume brands on Sephora shelves, Clean is now in the Top 10, making them a priority product for this retailer. “Sephora gives us prime real estate, allows us in all of their promotions and provides huge merchandising opportunities,” explained Griner.

With such a strong retailer relationship, Clean is also able to test new products and push through large seasonal promotions. Griner noted that Clean is currently testing Bath and Body products in 25 Sephora stores, though perfumes remain their top priority. “We had amazing point-of-sale opportunities including end-caps for our summer perfume and the launch of our Outdoor Shower Fresh which gives you an indication how strong the brand is performing.”

P is for Promote

At the risk of being obvious, niche brands simply can not gain traction without some well-planned and well-executed promotions. Clean gained over 13,000 fans in two-weeks by offering a free sample to anyone who became a fan on Facebook. Clean spread the word initially via email and then encouraged referrals with a sweepstakes. With an acquisition cost of under $2.00 per fan, this program provided a cost-effective foundation for their on-going social media program.

In-store promotions at Sephora also played a crucial role in Clean’s success. Noted Griner, “Our primary drive to acquisition is through sampling so we created 30,000 gift sets, half of which sold through in two weeks!” Part of Sephora’s “Steals and Deals,” the gift set bundle was an incredible value offering three scents of Clean perfume for $10.00, enticing existing Clean fans as well as targeting new customers to try the product or share it with their friends.

L is for Leverage

Like David before them, niche brands need to make the most of their opportunities, finding leverage wherever they can. One place Clean gains leverage is through a partnership with HSN (Home Shopping Network). “We’re on HSN at least 9 times a year selling gift sets that are very different than what we sell at retail,” explained Griner. “We were a ‘Today’s Special’ two weeks ago and sold out of 17,000 gift sets, providing us a million dollar day,” she added.

In addition to the immediate sales generated, HSN also provides an extraordinary halo for Clean. A delighted Griner offered, “Being on TV as much as we are with HSN, it’s basically our form of advertising.” That said, working with HSN can be challenging, explained Griner, “There is a lot of complexity but we plan this months in advance.” Griner’s team also created a scented towel to make the HSN gift set truly unique, helping to leverage the relationship.

E is for Emotion

Niche brands seem to have an inherent understanding of the emotional relationship consumers want to have with their products and respond accordingly. Offered Griner, “You have to be genuine as a brand, because people can spot fakery.” Griner believes that marketers should be careful not to delegate social media communications to outsiders who might misrepresent the brand. “The marketer has to be the one responding to the consumer,” added an emphatic Griner, “because the consumer can smell phoniness.”

In addition to honesty, Griner is a big fan of using humor. To this end, Griner created the Clean etiquette guide which offered tongue-in-cheek advice on texting, tipping and hand washing among other topics. Consumers responded with content of their own which in turn inspired bloggers and Real Simple magazine to join in on the fun. Concluded a delighted Griner, “I just think it’s about creating emotion.”

Final note: As anyone who has ever designed a marketing program will tell you, keeping it SIMPLE is anything but. Fortunately for Clean, the idea of simplicity speaks to the very essence of the brand itself.

________________________________________________

As you can imagine, all of these tips can help brand your daily deal website. Keeping it simple is the way to go, and we are here to help you make it that way. HC Consulting Group’s products are by far the easiest to use, and you can capitalize on online trends with our proven methods that we will set up for you personally.

Let us know how we can help you make your online venture simple! As simple as possible…

HC Consulting Group
404.939.6011

5 Profitable Marketing Positions

We’ve had a lot of recent questions coming into our support staff about how to brand websites and company images online. To simplify this idea, it is easy to look at other big names brands for the best answers and advice for making a brand name successful.

When looking at how to position one’s brand, there are 5 essential levels to individually assess. Once the position is selected it may be somewhat difficult to move out of your brand’s position, so please read closely:

Position Number One: The Market Leader

The market leader is the top of the food chain. This level of business has the most quality and well known products out there, and an example might me something like Coca-Cola. Coke’s brand has the highest level of market share and is the most well known brand in the soft drink industry. If you enter this level of recognition, make sure that you have a superior product and a company that can be the absolute best it its class.

Position Number Two: The Runner Up

The second place spot is the second favorite/alternate brand that competes with the market leader. Branding is most important here, as the brand will be riding the waves of the market leader at all times, and will remain in constant, head to head competition. An example of this spot is (in comparison to the Coke example above) Pepsi.

If you are entering an already competitive, internet market place, your brand (like Pepsi) needs to have a similar product with a slightly different brand message. As long as your product’s quality is as good as the leader, you can remain in a good second place position behind the trendsetter in position number one.

Position Number Three: The Alternate

If first comes Coke, then Pepsi… What is an alternate to these two leading brands? Arguably, RC Cola might be considered the alternate soft drink leader…  This is questionable, but RC has some great things going for its brand. RC offers something different, but does not need to compete head to head with the Market Leader and Runner Up. It’s hard to market something not as good as “the real thing” but remaining close to 2nd place is still an impressive feat, especially in the soda niche.

Being an alternate, especially in the online market place, is going to take some strong branding and promotion. Offer a deal, and stray the consumer away from the leading brand names.

Position Number Four: The Boutique

The fourth position is definitely our favorite and the one that allows for the most creativity. Boutique status market share screams quality, authenticity, and an almost ‘rare’ element to the branding equation. Don’t float the mainstream! Make a unique take on already existing, quality trend.

Jones Soda is an example of a boutique brand because they are different. The logo, and brand image is not even close to that of Coke, Pepsi, and RC; and they are hoping that  their customers are looking for something different and cool.

Boutiques need to pick an angle in order to be different, and this could be anything from down to earth, rustic, better ingredients, or maybe a local spin on an already generalized product concept. ie. Cola…

When branding your website, if you can’t make for second place, go for a unique boutique version. The key here is to deliver quality to a unique consumer base!

Position Number Five: The New Category Leader (NCL)

Aside from the boutique, the NCL is a favorite of ours in a whole new ballgame. A product in this category would be something like Red Bull. Consumers looking for new beverage can opt for a Red Bull because it’s sort of like a soft drink but comes equipped with some other features making it different from Cola altogether.

The strategy here is to disrupt the category all together and ultimately come out on top as the new market leader of a new category. In this position, your brand has gone full circle and off into a new realm.

HC Consulting Group specializes in creating NCL-esque software applications that enable clients of ours to capitalize big time, with big trends on the internet. Let us know if you have an idea for an NCL (New Category Leader) and we will provide the best online assistance for your start up or existing web business.

Using key online tools, along with the help from a strategy expert, HC Consultants can take your online brand into the future with excellence.

HC Consulting Group
404.939.6011

 


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How to Get Noticed in a Market Full of Daily Deals

While investigating some of our clien’ts Daily Deal models, as well as talking with many of our customers personally, it is evident that there are some unnecessary apprehensions towards starting up a Daily Deal site; entering a focused niche, and gathering product ideas.

Our clients want know how to get noticed, and how to make a the deal model a success… Well, here’s how:

Pick a niche that you are familiar with: Make sure that you are operating within a space that you feel comfortable and somewhat knowledgeable.  Remember to do your research in advance.  Who are the competitors?  Who are the suppliers?  Who are the industry leaders.

Do Not Limit Your Reach, but try to start out relatively local: Gathering a repertoire of local deals, and promoting them to locals is a fitting model. People like to be active in their community, and by providing a proven refuge for great local deals is a sure way to get noticed. Take the time to find the hot spots and then seek deals.

Once your site takes off locally, brand your Daily Deal site in other places. Start a trend and dive in head first!

Consider Offering Services and not JUST physical products: People love service based businesses and there are tons of business owners that are looking to promote a daily deal. Think about some of these great service indsutries:

-Massage Therapists

-Spa’s

-Chiropractors

-Physical Trainers

-Cleaning Services

-Taxi Services

-Veterinary Care

-Interior Design

-Music Venues

-Coffee Shops

-Restaurants

You can easily approach these types of businesses and put together a simple deal. Maybe you request to demo the promotion by launching it for one day… See how much response you get and then tweak your approach accordingly.

Daily Deal sites can be an awesome business model and make a killing for you, the entrepreneur. Local daily deals are easily recognized as valuable places to find steals on great restaurants, local services, and fun activities for families and individuals alike.

If you are having trouble thinking of the right niche to apply your Deal of the Day website to, then look to your local community for the answer. There are so many possibilities.

To start your own deal of the day website, visit Bloopio before we close the door on this special offer.

Make moves today!
HC Consulting Group
(404) 939 – 6011

Deal of the Day Traffic Increases by 610%

“Visits to a sample of group-buying websites and aggregators increased 610% between August 2009 and August 2010, according to Experian Hitwise, a global information services company. (Experian Hitwise 2010).”

The above statistic is astonishing to us, and we wanted to elaborate on how excited we are about daily deal building software, and the potential masses that will flock to your daily deal. I was actually looking at GroupOn yesterday, and was somewhat shocked  at the offer results… GroupOn was promoting a “buy $14 dollars worth of vegetarian meals for $7″ deal at a vegan restaurant in N.Y.C.

To my amazement 2,765 people purchased this offer!!

Can you believe that this little, tiny restaurant sold 2,765, $7 units??? This is truly incredible! That’s $19,355.00 for one, simple offer!

The amount of monetary potential is incredible here, but think about the nice list of 2,765 buyers… Now this restaurant can cater to the same people again with other compelling offers. The restaurant made a name for itself and now has a network of targeted individuals that obviously are interested in not just their food, but probably other aspects of vegetarian culture as well.

Once again, Daily Deals wins at the game of marketing. GroupOn helped this little restaurant make a local name for itself, and made a boat load of cash out of simple offer, that was too good to pass up.

Make and offer and they will come…

If you are interested in starting your own deal of the day site, visit Bloopio to check out our daily deal software.

Make moves today!
HC Consulting Group

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BuyWithMe – Group Buying, Big Discounts from Local Businesses Free

Continued here: BuyWithMe – Group Buying, Big Discounts from Local Businesses Free (buywithme.com)

Publish Date: 08/26/2010 22:23

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Consuming Interests: DODTracker, a deal-of-the-day aggregator

DODTracker, a deal-of-the-day aggregator: Consumer Website of the Week. DODTracker Woot made the concept of a “deal of the day” popular by offering steep discounts on products for no more than 24 hours. It spawned many group-buying

Publish Date: 09/01/2010 10:48

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Beauty Thrifter: Sweet Deals on Group-Buying Sites | Beauty Bets

I just found a group buying site aggregator – http://www.urbanspoils.com – that includes a few other sites in addition to rounding up deals from Groupon, Living Social, and BuyWithMe. BY: Caitlin on August 12, 2010 at 1:55pm …

Publish Date: 08/11/2010 9:39

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25 Tips to Increase Conversion Rates

With nearly a thousand new Bloopio business owners, we have had a wide variety of questions. Many of the questions revolve around how to make a successful deal of the day site, and so we wanted to provide this great list of tips to increase conversions.

Site owners spend so much time and money on search engine optimization that they often leave conversion optimization to chance. They’re happy with a 1% – 2% conversion rate, the typical rate for smaller sites. Converting visitors to buyers is part science, part art. No one formula fits all sites but here are 25 tips that will boost conversion rates on most

  1. Keep it simple. The simpler it is for visitors to complete a purchase the more purchases (and fewer shopping cart abandonments) you’ll see. Make it simple to find the product and go through the checkout process.
  2. Provide complete contact information including a telephone number. Buyers want to know you’re real and they want to know how to reach you in case of a problem.
  3. Provide encouragement throughout the checkout process. The best way to do this is to let buyers know what stage of checkout they’ve reached, and to provide them with highlighted signage to let them know what to do next.
  4. Use product pictures in shopping carts. This reminds visitors what’s in their carts. It also reinforces, in the visitor’s mind, the reason(s) for the purchase.
  5. Link back to the product page. After an item has been placed in the shopping cart, the visitor should be able to click on the item and be directed back to the product page in a new window for example. This makes buying comparisons easier and ensures the visitor has the right item for his/her needs without leaving the shopping cart.
  6. Don’t keep shipping costs a secret. Nothing kills a conversion faster than a $19.95 shipping and handling charge on a $10 item. Provide shipping cost information on the first page of the checkout.
  7. Is it backordered? The visitor finally reaches the end of the checkout only to discover that the item isn’t in stock. Do you think they’ll come back when the item comes in? They won’t.
  8. Provide complete product information including sizes, colors, styles and other product descriptors. This will cut down on product returns because buyers will know what they’re actually purchasing. Avoid hyping products for the same reason.
  9. Keep terms of service (TOS) simple and unambiguous. What’s your guarantee? What’s your return policy? Eliminate the boilerplate and give them the facts.
  10. Provide a menu of payment gateways. Not all buyers want to pay by credit card. Some don’t even have a credit card. Buyers should be given the option to pay by debit card, personal check (snail mail), PayPal and other similar services, bank transfer and, if the want to stop by to pick it up, you’ll even take cash.
  11. Never blame the buyer. When a potential buyer clicks on the wrong link, or forgets to enter all data fields, put up a message explaining the problem and how to fix it. The customer is always right and it’s always your fault. Period.
  12. Offer gift cards. Some buyers just don’t know what to buy as a gift. A gift card solves the problem.
  13. Use real testimonials. If you’re doing it right, you’ve gotten good feedback from some buyers. Ask permission to use their testimonials. Don’t use fake testimonials signed by Diane E., California. It’s an obvious fake testimonial.
  14. Provide a customer service line. Outsource it if it isn’t part of the budget but buyers want to know there’s help in setting it up, whatever “it” is.
  15. Avoid distracting links. If your home page is crammed with PPC ads and links to other sites, it’s distracting and you’ll see a lot more bounces (visitors who never get past the home page).
  16. Offer incentives. Free shipping encourages buyers. So do upgrades, i.e. “Spend at least $50 and receive 10% off your entire purchase.” Some buyers will do the math and figure out they’re getting something for half price.
  17. Welcome repeat visitors by name. Your customer data base is filled with solid gold information including names, purchase amounts, items purchased and so on. First, welcome a return buyer by name. Then, offer suggestions for purchase based on individual buying histories. (See Amazon.com for examples of using data base information to boost conversion ratios.)
  18. Provide a currency converter. Not all buyers will be using your country’s currency. Make it easy to convert from euros to drachmas to dollars.
  19. Offer a free newsletter. Your regular buyers will appreciate it when they’re notified ahead of time of upcoming specials, new product launches and other site related information.
  20. Add a forum. This is a great way for buyers to share information, make recommendations and complain. It’s also a great way for you to handle complaints quickly, with the resolution posted right there on the complaint thread.
  21. Provide informational content on your site. This establishes your credentials and credibility as an authority, whether you’re selling kayaks or bake ware.
  22. Learn from your competitors. Visit the sites of more-established competitors to see what they’re doing to convert. How is the homepage designed? Navigation? Checkout? You can’t copyright an idea so you might as well “borrow” from the best.
  23. Improve site stickiness. In other words, give buyers a reason to return. Some suggestions? The Sale of the Day, Tip of the Day, Your Horoscope, This Day in History, etc. This keeps your site green and visitors returning.
  24. Let buyers post product reviews. Nothing sells better than a positive review from another buyer. Of course, the converse is true, too. Nothing will kill a sale faster than a bad review. And if a product receives lots of bad reviews, drop it from your product line.
  25. Target your site’s skin to your demographic. If you’re selling collectible knives, your site should have a certain “look” and that look doesn’t include pastels and prissy type. Big, bold and manly — that’s the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re selling needlepoint patterns, a nice pastel background with little flowers works perfectly.

Search engine optimization is designed to attract search engine spiders. It’s also intended to ensure that your site is accurately and completely optimized. But, once traffic arrives on site, conversion optimization takes over.

Keep it simple. Keep it easy. Keep it honest. Not only will you see a boost in conversion ratio, you’ll also see a nice pop in return buyers. And they’re the best buyers any web site owner could ask for.

Bloopio – Crash Course

Today we had a consulting call with one of our newest Bloopio clients. The call went exceptionally well, and we wanted to share because the questions were great.

The call began with questions about picking a niche… Our client was looking to have a deal of the day site in which she caters to college students. All that she told us was that she wanted to focus on people ages 18-36 and sell all sorts of things that college aged adults like.

The problem with this is that there is not a focus. Ideally, and historically speaking, deal of the day websites work well with a niche product category. I mean take a look at Woot.com… They just sold for $110 Million bucks and its because they focus on electronics only. Woot became so successful and had upwards of 10,000 consumers, watching their daily deal, at any given time. Woot still has this crazy amount of traffic, but now Amazon can capitalize on it because they paid HUGE.

So…back to our call, I told the client that we need to narrow down the niche a lot more, because there is not a specific reason to come to her site. “Anything that college aged kids like” is not a niche and there is not a focus. As we brainstormed, we decided that tailgating is popular, most college kids like it, and it’s about that time of year. There are tons of products out there, and consumers will pay top dollar to be the coolest tailgater.

After identifying the niche, we talked to about how to get products, how to get traffic, and how to use our traffic system. Collecting leads is one thing, but you have to know what to do with them once you get them. We talked about autoresponders, shopping carts, and how to accept money with ease.

After all of these topics were discussed, we made a date to launch her site, and we also talked about how to get joint venture partners on board for the launch date. Targeting customers is good, but it’s also important to get joint venture partners who can help you promote your site with excellence.

HC Consulting group is happy to conduct a consultation for you, and apply our proven strategies to your business. Please contact our support staff at 404.939.6011 and we can set up a time to brainstorm whatever you want.

At the end of the call, our client found herself committed to a solid idea, and was over all PUMPED about that the information that she had learned. She now has a platform running, products to sell, and a day to launch it all!

Here are some more thoughts on this topic below:

9 Ways that Groupon.com is Leading the online Coupon Industry

How to Launch a New Website or Blog — Art Biz Blog

Launching a website or blog involves building content, publishing it, and telling everyone about it, in addition to needing to entice and pique the curiosity of site visitors.

Publish Date: 08/11/2010 18:00

http://www.artbizblog.com/2010/08/weblaunch.html

Soft Launch Website – oDesk

Our firm is currently looking for a firm to construct our “soft launchwebsite. Basically we shall provide the majority of the information, all we are looking for is for a firm to stitch it all together. This soft launch website will …

Publish Date: 08/12/2010 10:41

http://www.freelancer-job.com/jobs/hire/soft-launch-website-odesk/

Searchengineoptimisation.com Launch New Website | SEO Complete

(PRWEB) June 20, 2010 Searchengineoptimisation.com, a leading SEO company, have launched their brand new website.

Publish Date: 08/11/2010 12:38

http://seocompletesolution.com/seo/searchengineoptimisation-com-launch-new-website/

Bloopio Niche Markets – Broad yet Targeted

Marc and I were just discussing some niche markets to target in light of showcasing Bloopio’s one sale at a time selling power. There are so many stores and services that have inventory in need of being moved, as well as services that can easily be discounted in order to get more business. One sale at a time, or deal of the day style is fun and has become a fad way to buy cheap stuff. It seems that everyone these days is looking for a deal, and with deal of the day software like Bloopio.com it is easy for anyone to own their own online deal store.

Here are some of the niche markets that we came up with…They are based on what other deal of the day sites are already capitalizing on, as well as what sells fast … and what’s always needed!

-Spa Services
*Massages
*Nail services
*Facials
*Tanning
*Hair Cuts

-Health Services
*Personal Training
*Supplements
*Gym Memberships
*Exercise Classes
*Chiropractic Services
*Yoga Classes

-Dental Services
*Teeth Whitening
*Orthadontics
*Annual Cleaning

-Auto Services
*Oil Changes
*Car Washes
*Scheduled Maintenance
*Parts and accessories

-Local Services
*Maid Services
*Veterinarian Services
*Educational Tutors
*Taxis and Limosines
*Local Events
*Local Classes/Workshops
*Local Boutiques and shops
*ChildCare
*Pet Grooming

As you can see, there are so many ways that you can own and operate a deal of the day, online storefront in which you target a niche category and then promote great products at fantastic prices.

Take a look at what others are saying about deal of the day and sale at a time styled websites:

New ways to save: Daily deal websites hit Richmond – NBC12 News

Daily deal websites have been online in many cities across the U.S. and now river city residents can get in on the money saving action. In today’s more bang for your buck we take a look at three new websites that promise deep discounts …

Publish Date: 07/22/2010 17:10

http://www.nbc12.com/Global/story.asp?S=12854380

Vancouver Savvy • Daily Deal Websites: One deal a day delivered

Daily deal websites are appearing everywhere now, especially for Vancouver and Toronto. They are great for travellers and for people who are just trying to live and survive in an expensive city like Vancouver. …

Publish Date: 07/27/2010 1:22

http://vancouversavvy.com/home/2010/07/daily-deal-websites-one-deal-a-day-delivered-right-to-your-inbox/

Deal Us In – Deal Websites – National – SavvyMom.ca

Even the least connected of us can have easy access to the scoop on all kinds of bargains through group-buying and deal-listing websites. So here’s the deal on deals these days: Group-buying websites are all the rage. Offering daily

Publish Date: 07/27/2010 9:00

http://www.savvymom.ca/index.php/newsletter/deal_us_in/

Deal of the Day – Sell Anything

Deal of the Day style sites keep impressing me, and I find myself somewhat addicted to them. At first, deal of the day online stores where mostly selling discount physical products. Things such as: books, shoes, outdoor gear, clothes, and a wide variety of electronics are booming because frugal deal seekers are discovering niche sites that specialize in selling discounted items, around the clock. This trend has carried, and the one sale at a time websites are popping up everywhere.

Today, I noticed that a lot of service based markets are creating niche deal sites as well, and this fact really got me excited. Restaurants, spas, home improvement companies, bakeries, auto accessories, tanning, and even fire arm training can provided by deal of the day website.

My girlfriend called me today, and wanted to know if I was available to go to a gun training session that she saw on groupon.com. I was shocked to hear this, but not really, because Groupon is killing with all sorts of service based deals. They have the best deals around on restaurants and my girlfriend uses the “groupons” all the time. This little notion is a solid testimony of how cool deal of the days are. I mean, she first used the groupon site for restaurant deals, and now she is wanting me to go to gun training. Now that’s power! She is hooked and it’s only because of the hot deals. She would never, in a million years, call me and want to go shoot guns, but because groupon got her hooked, and made this type of shopping so normal for her, she is up for anything, especially if it starts with D-E-A-L!

This power is the reason that HC Consulting Group created Bloopio.com. Bloopio provides the opportunity for anyone to own a site like groupon, where they can target a niche and offer some cool “deals” of any kind.

I am actually sitting next to my lovely girlfriend now, and she is hunting for other deal sites while I type this. I am guessing that if you make a deal site, she, and many other deal hunters will come to your site and buy.

Groupon Moves Into TV Land, Does Deals With Top Chefs – Digits – WSJ

Groupon.com, a website that offers local daily deals through group coupons, is teaming up with restaurants owned by Top Chef contestants from the show on the Bravo TV network.

Publish Date: 08/04/2010 10:39

http

Friday’s Groupon Roundup

Visit Groupon and select the citites below from the dropdown list at the top of the page to find these doesn’t-matter-where-you-live deals. Each offer is.

Publish Date: 08/06/2010 7:15

http://www.mrsmoneysaver.com/2010/08/fridays-groupon-roundup/

://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/08/04/groupon-moves-into-tv-land-does-deals-with-top-chefs/

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason On Google, Clones, And Other Things That

On Friday at our Social Currency CrunchUp, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason sat down for an interview with our own Michael Arrington and Erick Schonfeld. Mason touched on Groupon’s history — including some dabbling with slippers with …

Publish Date: 08/01/2010 17:27

http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/01/groupon-ceo-andrew-mason-on-google-clones-and-other-things-that-dont-worry-him/

Deal of the Day for Any Niche – Bloopio.com

Bloopio.com has gone mainstream! Any website owner can provide a deal of the day style website and target ANY niche out there. All you need is a platform, and Bloopio is the way to go. You can provide your own domain name, and HC Consulting Group will set your site up within 48 hours.

We have been looking around, and this IS the most simple way to have a deal of the day website. Some of the leader’s of the deal trend like, woot.com, steapandcheap.com and groupon.com are obtaining so much traffic, and it’s all because they have created the perfect buying experience. Consumers will be encouraged to monitor these websites, in hopes of finding the best deal, as well as finding great products.

For more information on owning your own socialized, online store script where you can have deal of the day offers all day long, click here.

And… if you have the time, check out this great jingle about Woot selling out to Amazon… Hilarious!

Deal of the Day – Lenovo IdeaPad Z560 15.6” Core i5 Laptop for

Wednesday’s Logic Black Friday Everyday Deal is a Lenovo IdeaPad Z560. There are special savings on Model 09143EU, which has a Core i5 cpu, a 500GB hard drive, 1366 X 768 LED display, and 4GB of RAM. A $50 instant rebate.

Publish Date: 08/04/2010 7:00

http://the-gadgeteer.com/2010/08/04/deal-of-the-day-%E2%80%93-lenovo-ideapad-z560-15-6%E2%80%9D-core-i5-laptop-for-699/

Amazon.com Deal of the Day for Tuesday 8 / 3 – Transformers

Amazon.com Deal of the Day for Tuesday 8 3 Transformers Cybertron Adventures.

Publish Date: 08/03/2010 23:12

http://www.seibertron.com/transformers/news/amazon-deal-of-the-day-for-tuesday-8-3-transformers-cybertron-adventures/19454/

Selecting a Niche

Here comes that time again.It’s time to release SNE 4.0 and I am sure we are going to have many excited clients. One of the hurdles that often troubles our new customers is the big decision of selecting a niche and following through. It is difficult to pick a niche, but first you need to know some things about yourself. You need to find something that you feel confident in monetizing, something that you are knowledgeable about, and something that you have, or can gain access to.

The first step that we usually suggest to our clients, is an exercise called the SWOT Analysis. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Put yourself in the middle, as an online business owners and start to discover what makes your wheels turn… in light of the 4 categories above.

Strengths: …this self explanatory catergory contains anything that empowers you, or that your new venture can prosper from. These are immediate qualities, so let’s no confuse them with opportunities, which are more for down the road.
Examples of Strengths are: good communicator, good at graphics, good at planning, etc.

Weaknesses: These are your internal flaws and business qualms that just don’t get you anywhere.  Example might be that you are: not good at typing, bad at writing, etc.

Opportunities: As mentioned above these are the more long term strengths and circumstantial pros. Examples of  opportunities might be: There are no other businesses like this out there in my area, I can totally beat by competition in these few ways. I know a person who can help me with the marketing… etc.

Threats: Treats are anything that can hinder your progress, or push you back. These threats may come from competition, market saturation, distance, wrong target market, and anything bad about your new start up. Consider these, but do not focus on them. They are negative.

So… Once you take into account your personal SWOT analysis, you can move onto selecting a niche. You now know what you are capable of, and what will help you get to your dream. Now it is time to start thinking about what your potential customer is going to want. Always remember this. “what are you selling, and who is going to buy it??” These 2 questions are paramount for your success and it is critical to look at what your clients are going to want.

We human beings are biologically programmed with the following 8 desires:

1. Survival… enjoyment of life… life extension

2. Enjoyment of food and beverages

3. Freedom from fear, pain and danger

4. Sexual companionship

5. Comfortable living conditions

6. To be superior… winning… keeping up with the Jones’

7. Care and protection of loved ones

8. Social approval

When I say, “Hardwired,” that means they’re nearly impossible to “remove.”

But there are also “9 Secondary Wants” that are LEARNED, and also important to know:

1. To be informed

2. Curiosity

3. Cleanliness of body and surroundings

4. Efficiency

5. Convenience

6. Dependability/Quality

7. Expression of beauty and style

8. Economy/Profit

9. Bargains

Do you see how QUICK, EASY and CHEAP fall smack-dab into that second group?

Fact is, people are L-A-Z-Y. We want results NOW! So if your product or service is, in any way, QUICK and EASY, say it!

Also, if consumers are going to be influenced to buy your stuff, they are biologically going to be influenced more based on these factors of influence:

People want to gain:
Health
Popularity
Praise from others
Pride of accomplishment
Self-confidence
Time
Improved appearance
Comfort
Advancement: social-business
Money
Security in old age
Leisure
Increased enjoyment
Personal prestige

They want to save:
Time
Discomfort
Risks
Money
Worry
Embarrassment
Work
Doubts

They want to be:
Good parents
Creative
Efficient
Recognized authorities
Up-to-date
Gregarious
“First” in things
Sociable, hospitable
Proud of their possessions
Influential over others

They want to do:
Express their personalities
Satisfy their curiosity
Appreciate beauty
Win others’ affection
Resist domination by others
Emulate the admirable
Acquire or collect things
Improve themselves generally

Having said this, you now know about you and your potential customer. Once your start narrowing your niche of choice down, you need to start studying more and more about that niche’s perfect target market. Demographics such as age, race, gender, status, income level, etc. all play huge roles in being able to identify your niche. Be tedious, be careful, and take your time with each step.

Once you have done the SWOT Analysis, make a list of 10 niches that you may want to pursue. From here you are welcome to write into our support desk and ask us for some help in narrowing that list down. You are welcome to see our website at www.hcdesk.com or call our support team at 404.939.6011

See more below:

SWOT Analysis | drupal.org

SWOT Analysis. General discussion · rafiqcmnet – July 22, 2010 – 16:39. Has there been any continual and serious SWOT Analyses been performed on Drupal, amongst other objectives, as risk assessment and management to its evolution and …

Publish Date: 07/22/2010 12:39

http://drupal.org/node/861782

How to Make Money Online from Niche Ebooks

Sell your niche eBooks. This is the fastest way to generate income from your creations. You may write about topics that are extremely interesting to your potential clients and promote your niche eBooks online using the most effective …

Publish Date: 09/18/2008 3:00

http://www.submityourarticle.com/articles/James-Alexander-8139/eBooks-111826.php

Online Video Trends Forecast 2009-2014 | Niche Volumes

If you are a regular follower of our tweets and blogs, you’ll know that we have monitored and published trends of web video and massive increases are.

Publish Date: 07/30/2010 10:08

http://www.nichevolumes.com/online-video-trends-forecast-2009-2014/

Deal of the Day Site Sells for $110 Million

Amazon.com, earth’s biggest selection of books, magazines, music, DVDs, videos, electronics, computers, software, apparel & accessories, etc. purchases Woot.com for $110 Million!

Woot.com is the originator of One Day, One Deal. Every midnight (central) they launch an event: one sale that lives until it sells out, or lasts until the end of the day. Woot specializes in selling the best prices, daily, on big name consumer electronics. For an example of what Woot’s homepage looks like, take a look below:

Woot.com's Homepage - Deal of the Day

From here, you can see that there is a deal of the day, for a very reasonable cost. Woot has done a fantastic job of targeting a niche and and capitalizing HUGE. They are known for their hot deals and great prices on all sorts of brand name electronics. Consumers who are looking for deals, are now going to Woot and waiting for a deal that suits them. Woot has become the hub of this niche and deal seekers know it.

So was Amazon’s decision to pay $110 Million a good one? Of course! Think about the amount of impressions that advertisers are getting due to this site’s “sticky” nature. People keep coming back, buying more, and Woot’s list of subscribers is growing exponentially.

But enough about Woot and it’s disgusting sale price. I want to talk about the power of Deal of the Day style sites. Seriously, everyone I know is looking for the best deal; especially in these times, and so the idea of a deal at a time is very attractive.

Once you can position yourself within a niche, and become the hub of sale items, you can convert sales very efficiently. Woot and many other deal of the day sites, like SteepandCheap.com are taking this too a new level, because they add scarcity, and urgency to the equation. Check it out for yourself. Below, you can see SteepandCheap’s homepage:

Steepandcheap.com is a great example of a Deal of the Day Website

I know it’s a small picture, so go to steepandcheap.com and see for yourself. Basically I am showing you that there are some cool features that make these sites so powerful. You have a timer, that is counting down. This creates urgency to act. There is also a “units left” timer, that counts down the remaining quantity of sale items left. If you like this rock climbing shoe, you see that it’s $54, but is usually priced at $105, it is going to be hard to back out and not make a purchase. This may be a total impulse purchase, but because you know this deal ends in 13 minutes, it makes sense to grab the deal why it’s hot!

Having seen these sites, and many more like them, we decided to make the opportunity for folks to own their own deal of the day site. Bloopio is what we call it, and this name is popping up all over the place now, as the new name for deal of the day styled sites. When you use Bloopio, you get the framework for making a deal of the day styled web page. You have the online store, and all you need to do is make a header (your stores sign) and then add some products as well.

During the first round of Beta testing Bloopio, we found that our beta group love the idea of owning their own site, but when it came time to take action and sell some stuff, frankly, most of our sample was clueless. Having said this, we wanted to offer the best, full circle system for owning this kind of website, as well as offer the perfect product line to sell within Bloopio’s walls.

I mean just knowing how much ONE of these sites sold for, we like to ponder the possibilities for owning and managing multiple sites in a wide variety of e-commerce savvy niches. Take a look at this article below and see what the New York Times is saying about Deal of the Day/Bloopio styled web sites:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/technology/01woot.html

This article is impressive and I recommend taking a look at these other posts on deal of the day sites:

Seattle’s Deal-A-Day Sites, DealPop and Tippr, Challenge Groupon

There is no arguing that the Internet has made the world smaller. Because of the Internet we can now share information instantly—and virally—from Seattle to.

Publish Date: 07/16/2010 8:10

http://www.xconomy.com/seattle/2010/07/16/seattle%E2%80%99s-deal-a-day-sites-dealpop-and-tippr-seek-to-rival-groupon-and-livingsocial/

Woot’s Deal Of The Day: Woot! — Amazon Buys It. Price? $110 Million

Woot shot to popularity with their “one deal per day” idea. Similar timed deal ideas have since become very popular for sites like Gilt (for fashion) and Groupon (for food and activities). The company also has always had an interesting …

Publish Date: 06/30/2010 16:17

http://techcrunch.com/2010/06/30/woot-amazon/

What’s your best one day deal purchase? « List of all the one day

TheSniff was set up to help consumers deal with the influx of 1 day deal & sale sites throughout NZ; to save you time, give you the ability to sniff out the best deal and compare prices on the various sites. We do this by ‘sniffing’ out …

Publish Date: 07/17/2010 17:01

http://www.thesniff.co.nz/whats-your-best-one-day-deal-purchase/