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Buying a Website is Like Buying a Car and Going Racing

Buying a Website is Like Buying a Car and Going Racing

Buying a Website is Like Buying a Car and Going Racing, well, kind of….

Many customers we speak with are looking to work with a website provider of some sort, but they really don’t know what they need. This is where the car analogy comes in. Think of your website researching and planning process like shopping for a car.

Lets say, rather than running a business, you run an auto racing team. When you first form that team, you need to select a car to race with. Sounds easy right? There is more to it. There are multiple types and levels of car racing. First we need to choose something to compete in that fits our goals and budget.

The high-school kid just starting out may take his Ford Focus, slap a wing on the back himself and roll on down to the local drag strip on Friday nights.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is your Formula One (F1) race team. This team of hardened racing professionals will select a custom built one-off race car made of carbon fiber and unobtanium. It is incredibly expensive not only to buy the car, but the cost to maintain your car and team, hire top drivers, and compete at the top world level is astronomical.

In between these two levels is a whole range of car types and racing leagues which fit almost any level of competition and budget.

In the world of e-commerce, think of the guy with no business plan starting out of his garage as the Friday Night Ford Focus. Amazon.com is the Formula One Racing Team.

Friday Night Ford Focus went online and slapped a few products on his facebook page, bought a 1.99 godaddy page, and is throwing a few bucks against the wall hoping for fame and glory. We hope it works out, and you have to start somewhere. In the world of race cars, he doesn’t stand a chance though.

The Formula One Racing team is bleeding money out of its ears. They are spending millions of dollars. They are looking for every conceivable edge. They are hiring the best and the brightest in their industry to come work for them at top pay levels. They have purchased the best available technology and continually modify it for better performance. They will probably make it onto ESPN and go down in the record books.

If you are reading this, you likely fall somewhere in between these two extremes. You either have a solid business already which you are looking to expand, or you have a business/marketing plan you spent some time putting together and you are ready to implement it. Now you just need the right ecommerce “engine” that will allow you to compete at your level and budget, so you can someday move up on the ladder. You are researching and learning as much as you can, but you still don’t know exactly what to do, and that is OK.

Everyone wants a race car. Everyone wants to be the next Amazon.com, Ebay, Best Buy, or Cabelas. They want flashy features. They want custom lightweight parts and powerful engines. But most, when presented with the price to build a custom race car, along with the accompanying costs of a pit crew, professional driver, fresh sets of tires, racing fuel, and semi truck to haul it all around in, balk at the cost. Not to mention the marketing team required to get the fans to cheer for you and make your sponsors happy. If you are getting squeamish and gripping your wallet tighter after reading this, you may have to rethink your plan of attack.

You don’t have to race at the highest level to be a winner. There is plenty of lower level cherry picking to be had for an enterprising ecommerce entrepreneur or race car driver. You can have lots of fun and great competition driving a Spec Miata race car around the track, at a price a normal human being can afford. Maybe you will win some prize money and then can afford to jump into the Corvette class, or Baha offroad trucks, or whatever.

The key to success in your “racing” is to select the vehicle you can afford to purchase or build, something you can maintain yourself or afford to pay someone to maintain, and something you can drive yourself or afford to pay someone to drive for you. If you blow your wad on the car and forget about the oil changes and tires, you aren’t going to perform very well on Sunday. You will probably go home a loser. However, if you plan properly, select the right vehicle, budget for the whole year, and spend time tuning and practicing, its more than likely you will finish at the top of the pack and just might win a championship. As they say, winning on Sunday, means selling on Monday.

A Seal’s Seven Rules

A Seal’s Seven Rules

A few weeks ago I was on a plane and struck up a conversation with the gentleman sitting next to me. He was a retired US Navy veteran who had traveled the world. After thanking him for his service we spoke about many different topics, but the one I remember the most was about an article he was reading in The American Legion Magazine. The article was originally written by a former Navy Seal, Brent Gleeson and published in Inc. Magazine. Here is the text from the article, titled which is mean to help anyone “live to be your most effective.” I am sure the following are hugely important on the battlefield, but I personally enjoyed how they are applicable to business and life in general. I wanted to share them with our team members and clients. Here they are:

Be Loyal. “Loyalty is about leading by example, providing your team unconditional support and never throwing a team member under the bus.”

Put others before yourself. “Ask yourself waht you will do to add value to your team, such as simply offering your assistance with a project. The challenge is overcoming the fear that your team member might say, ‘Yes, I really need your help with this project … tonight.'”

Be reflective. “Reflective people often spend too much time analyzing their actions. But imagine if you could harness this talent into something highly valuable.”

Be obsessively organized. “Some of us innately have this ability, often to a fault, and some have to work at it a bit more.”

Assume you don’t know enough. “Any effective team member understands that training is never complete. It’s true in the SEAL teams, and it’s true in any elite team. Those who assume they know everything should be eliminated. Those who spend time inside and outside the workplace developing their knowledge and skills will provide the momentum for their team’s forward progress.”

Be detail-oriented. “Don’t ask yourself what you are going to do today to be successful; ask how you are going to do it.”

Never get comfortable. “Always push yourself outside your comfort zone. If you do this with every task you take on, that boundary will continue to widen. This process will ensure that you are continually maximizing your potential, which will positively impact your team.”

Thank you for stopping by our booth @SHOTShow

Thank you for stopping by the Outdoor Business Network SHOT Show booth and requesting more information from our company. The show was a huge success for us, and we are looking forward to another great year serving the shooting sports industry. Hopefully you had a chance to speak with one of our representatives or partners to get a taste of what Outdoor Business Network can do for you and your company.

We will be following up with each and every person we met at the show, however please understand this will take some time. We have a low pressure sales approach, so we won’t be bugging you with lots of follow up phone calls. If you are ready to go and want to get started on your e-commerce website or marketing right away, don’t hesitate to drop us an email or phone call.

We look forward to serving you in the future. Please stay tuned as we will be updating you with more information regarding our products and services shortly.

Are you Mobile for 2014?

In today’s society people are always on the go, but having the technology at hand allows them to access the internet by their mobile device. The ability to access the internet with their mobile device has create a new platform for marketers and retail stores to accustom to. It is crucial for your retail store to have your website become mobile device friendly. Did you know that 46% of all online sales come from a mobile device? If your company is not mobile device friendly in 2014 you, could potentially be missing out on almost half of your online sales.

Customers reaching out to your website through their mobile device want to be able to access and navigate your mobile friendly site with ease. Therefore, it is important for your website to display only the necessary information that you want them to see that they can view on their mobile device. Doing this directs the customers to the products or categories that you want to sell the most. On top of having an easily navigable mobile device site, you must incorporate a simple check out system so your customers can buy their products in a minimal amount of time.

Other than making your website mobile device compatible, you must consider other areas where you solicit your company such as email and newsletters. In 2013 65% of all email and newsletters were opened through a mobile device and has been predicted to increase in 2014. Therefore when sending out company newsletters with your coupons, deals, or anything else you must consider making them mobile friendly as well. This way you can get a higher opening percent rate and potentially drive more customers to your online or into your store.

Following those simple guidelines your company could see an increase in sale during 2014.

More Marketing Thoughts

It seems that I cannot write enough about marketing for your e-commerce store or even your simple store info page. This past month I have been asked again by several clients….”How do I market my site so I can increase traffic and ultimately get more sales?” For me it is a tried and true formula based on years of experience. I know what works and I know what doesn’t. With that said I outline the things the customer can do on their own and I also outline the paid options available to them. I usually spend more time than I should on this as most people simply have not planned for this part of their business and my comments fall on deaf ears. More often than not the client says “I don’t have time to do it myself and I don’t, won’t or can’t spend money on marketing….there must be another way………” I tell them there isn’t. Even smaller companies (1 to 3 mil/year) spend easily in the 6 figure range every year on their marketing efforts and put in a ton of time doing so too. I tell the clients who don’t believe this very simple that they will fail. I ask them why did you ask me for my help? Why did you not like my response especially given the fact that I am the expert in this industry? I always say if there is another way that was more cost effective then I would advise you of that. The bottom line is this. If you come to OBN looking for answers we absolutely have them but please don’t argue with me that there must be something else that can be done because there isn’t. Time and/or money is the only way to get it done. Look at a company like Ford Motor Company. They spend millions if not billions marketing their product/company which has HUGE brand recognition. Now don’t you think if there was a way to do this “marketing” for free that they would have figured it out by now? Even if you don’t sell online digital marketing and media is absolutely here to stay and the business who truly embrace this concept will thrive and survive. The companies who don’t will slip into the darkness. The way we did business 20 years ago is completely different than what we see successful businesses do today. So if you take a lesson from all of this please do something to market and promote your business and talking with the experts like OBN is an excellent place to start.

The one thing that makes your e-commerce web-site successful

What is the number one thing an e-commerce website needs in order to be successful? The simple answer is “Traffic”. Without traffic you have nothing. You have no data to measure your success otherwise. I say this because if you have a pile of traffic you have useful data that can be used to determine the performance of your marketing efforts within your site. So you see without the traffic there in the first place you have nothing to go on. So if you want more on-line sales you absolutely must have the traffic coming to your site. Still not convinced? I took a random sampling of 12 of our clients. This sampling consisted of clients who have been on board from 7-27 months. What I found was a trend that simply cannot be denied. The chart below shows the actual numbers of this sample group. So once again traffic is the name of the game when it comes to success in e-commerce.
So of course the next question is usually this: How do I get traffic to my site in the first place? The answer to that is as broad as the question is. If you really want to know more I suggest reading our BLOG and of course calling us in the first place to answer your questions.