MARCH 15, 1999

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A Short Weekly Tip-Sheet for Small Business Web Masters
March 15, 1999 Issue #3
Mike Valentine, Editor,


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by Mike Valentine

The key to online success is specialization and niche
marketing. There, I've said it and I won't take it back!
You've heard endless advice whispered from every corner
of the web and shouted from the rooftops by every major
web marketing guru. Now I'm offering it myself in the hope
that *I* finally get it! I'm as guilty as any webmaster of
jumping at the latest affiliate program that offers "200
PERCENT PAYOUT" or leaping on the "Submit your site to SIX
MILLION SEARCH ENGINES" banner I see on every site.

Let's get real. Successful web sites are tightly focused
and highly specialized. I've seen some small business web
sites offering jewelry, toys and free web hosting service
on one page and links to their mom's home page beside an
advertisement from worldwide composting service.
When a visitor lands on pages like this they can only be
slightly amused and move on to a site that reflects THEIR
interests, not yours.

The way to catch the attention and business you are after
is to offer a clearly focused, highly specialized source of
ONE (1), that is a SINGLE, and I mean UNIQUE, not widespread
but UNRIVALED and EXCEPTIONAL subject with product to MATCH.
You can sell car parts for European cars but not 4-Wheelers.
Become the single source for whatever tightly focused idea
you want but don't mix apples and oranges in marketing or
you'll lose the customer that was interested before you
confused them with too many options.

That means that if you are selling golf equipment from
your website that you have a great opportunity to talk about
golf by providing a forum or "Chat with the Golf Pro." Post
a course map of Pebble Beach but don't discuss a Super Bowl!
Even cater to golfers with disabilities but don't sell food.
You'll sell golf cleats, golf balls, golf clubs, golf carts,
golf clothing, golf books, golf videos, golf magazines and
even golf novelty and joke items but not baseball cards!

Your goal is to be seen as with
advice, links (no pun intended), products, discussion, a
golf related e-zine, golf tours, golf tips and techniques,
golf lessons and golf course directories. If you have even
the slightest inclination to start offering phone service
because you saw a text link telling you you'll become rich
overnight then it's time to turn off the computer and get
some sleep.

Which I better do myself so I can dream of the Golf site
I'm designing this week for my friend who golfs from his
wheel chair. See you next week!

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Internet Integration
by Bob Cortez

If a business is going to benefit from a web site, the site
has to hold some sort of utility for the business. In the
case of a pharmacy, can people renew their prescriptions
online? Or if it is a video store, can people reserve tapes
before the arrive? Can people order from their favorite deli

The benefit to the customer is the point. A web site
shouldn't be created to benefit the business, it should be
created to benefit the customer.

Let's look at some examples. First a pharmacy. Provides
articles and information about new drugs, effective over the
counter treatments, warnings from manufactures, and local
health warnings and tips. Create an "Ask the Pharmacist"
discussion board.

Now the Video Store. Movie reviews, video release dates,
best picks by category, host discussion lists about videos
of different genres.

The Deli: Party planning tips, exotic foods, recipes, food
handling and storage tips.

This is part of what I refer to as "Internet Integration".
It's more than just selling your product or service online.
It's about providing information that will benefit your
customers and creating relationships via your online presence
A site that doesn't produce a single sale or new customer
should still be considered a valued asset if it provides a
benefit to your customers.

Yes, eventually you will want to be able to conduct as much
of your business online as possible, but that isn't necessary
to have a successful site. This isn't hype, this is the
future. The businesses that "get it" and get there first,
will have a market advantage over those that hesitate. Ask
yourself, "What benefit can I deliver my customer's online?".
The answer is the beginning of your web site, and *every*
business has a benefit they can deliver online.

Bob Cortez

Total Quality Marketing
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Copyright 1999 Mike Valentine

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