Archive for June, 2008

Decide how to build your site.

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Your First Decision: How to Build Your Site

 The first decision you’ll have to make in getting on the web is deciding how you are going to build your website.How do you create your web pages and get them up on the web?

There are a number of options. Let’s briefly look at three ways of doing this, so you can get an overview. Then I’ll give my recommendation for you as the owner of small business and/or MFR practice.

HTML Editing Software:An HTML editor is web page creation software that you load into your computer: Microsoft Front Page, Macromedia DreamWeaver, and Adobe GoLive are the big three. These are full-featured (oftentimes another word for complicated) programs.Out of these three, FrontPage is by far the easiest for novices. Unfortunately, it does have some proprietary technology that can be a drawback. For example, not all web hosts support what are known as FrontPage extensions (a kind of code that allows you to use the pages properly.) But even this piece of software has a steep learning curve. Personally I prefer and use Dreamweaver. Be prepared to buy guidebooks or instructional CDs and spend a lot of time learning how to use it. There are hundreds of other web page editors on the market. Many are WYSIWYG (pronounced “wizzy wig”) editors. That stands for “what you see is what you get”. They call it this because you actually see what your page looks like rather than simply seeing lines of programming code. These types of editors work much like word processing software, like Microsoft Word. You can do a search online or check out your local business supply store or computer software store to see what’s available. (Be forewarned: The number of choices can be overwhelming.)   The benefits of buying and using software like this, is that you are fully in control and it’s a one-time purchase. The downside is that as simple as these programs claim to be, it really never is that simple. There are always glitches in creating your site and unless you know HTML coding, you’ll get bruises from hitting your head against the wall. In addition, as with all software, there’s a learning curve. It takes a lot of time and practice to learn how exactly everything works. Your time is probably better spent working in your business and making money.  If you have a problem with any aspect of creating your site, you are on your own. Support is very limited unless you want to pay for it. And this is where most small business owners who try to create their own site with software get hung up. They hit a snag with formatting a page or getting a particular function to work and they get so frustrated that they just give up. Once you create your site with your editing software, you still have to go through a process to get your site online for the world to see. The HTML editing software creates web pages, but that’s about all it does. 

Hire a Webmaster (or mistress) Another option is simply creating your content and then passing it onto a web designer – affectionately known as a Webmaster. Your Webmaster can create your pages and can also add special functions, suggest a host, upload your pages and register your domain name and point that name to your host for you.Web design has become more and more affordable. Expect to pay at least $200 for your home page, and $100 for each page thereafter. The more Flash and complexities, the higher the cost. Total may be $3,000 to $5,000 for a well-done small business site of up to ten pages. The pricing will depend on the size of your site, the level of complexity, and how much you provide your webmaster. If you add complex functionality in addition to the web pages, you’ll be paying significantly more. You’ll never have to learn a thing about technology, but you still have to develop the site concept and content. One drawback is that you don’t really have much control over your content. This can be a problem if you need to update your site frequently. You have to send the changes to your webmaster and he’ll update the HTML and upload it to your server. Of course, you’ll have to pay every time you need to make changes. The other issue is the initial upfront cost. While it’s certainly a worthwhile investment, it is a significant upfront cost and you still have to pay monthly website hosting fees which can range from $10 to $30 for a reliable host. 

Client Generator, Website Builder and similar services

They may be difficult to find, but there are some vendors who focus on a niche area and will do websites specifically for your market. The sites are usually somewhat templated, but they often have a great deal of industry specific functionality programmed right into the site. The cost and the level of control you have over content varies from vendor to vendor.  An example of this kind of site is the Website Builder which we used to do www.mfrsuccess.com, through our host 1and1.  To develop a website with that level of functionality from scratch, as we said, would probably cost $3,000 or more. You write the website copy in our case, but there are others who will do it for you!   

So now you have to make the decision over which method you are going to use to build your site. We’ve looked at pros and cons of the three ways to do that. My recommendation is to use a server side website builder.

 Then come back here and I’ll outline the four simple steps to creating your website.Believe it or not, you’ll have a fully functional site for the world to see within five minutes. 

Why should you even bother to have a website?!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

It’s a Necessity! 

Given trends in the marketplace and consumer behavior, if you don’t have a web presence, not only are you going to miss out on a tremendous opportunity to grow your business,  you’re going to be left in the dust of the competition.

This is not hype. This is based on solid statistics. Take a look at the numbers and you’ll see that the Internet is completely changing the way your customers buy. Here’s a brief run down of the facts. These are North American numbers: 

  1.  Fact #1: About 70% of the population has Internet access (2005 Pew Internet &American Life Project)
  2. Fact #2: 59% of home Internet users have high speed – always on – web access (2005 Pew Internet & American Life Project)
  3. Fact #3: Users love to search. There were 5.1 billion searches online in the month of December 2005 (Nielsen//NetRatings). That’s a dramatic 55% increase over the previous December and this dramatic growth is predicted to continue. According to a Comscore study, Americans did 9.5 billion searches in September 2007! Wow! That’s almost a 200% increase in less than two years.
  4. Fact #4: 70% of households search for local services and businesses just like yours (Kelsey Group study).
  5. Fact #5: The Internet has a dramatic influence on shopping offline. For example, 78% of people who purchased clothing offline after using Internet search reported that search influenced their store visit and purchase (2005 Yahoo study).
  6. Fact #6: Usage of the Yellow Pages is quickly being replaced by local online searches with 18% of directory searches now being performed online (2006 Yahoo study). 

If you are ignoring the Internet as a vital vehicle in promoting your practice / business, you are missing out on a hugely untapped opportunity.

Will millions flock to your site?

Probably not. But given those numbers above, you can be sure that hundreds and even thousands will likely visit your website if you do things right. And those visitors can represent thousands of patients for you. AND i fyou do things right with SEO (search engine optimisation) you can direct a lot of traffic to your site.

Convinced yet? If so, stay tuned! ………. Scott

The 5 basics of the website process.

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

5 basic steps you will need to follow to create your website:

  1. Choose a name. Should be your business name ideally. Register this name as a dot com, with a “Registrar” like Network Solutions, 1and1 etc etc. There are many. You “buy” the name for 3 years or longer usually. It is also a good idea to buy variations of the name. I wish I had WPT.com but it is not available! I do however have www.wholisticpt.com – which redirects or “forwards” to my actual site.
  2. Choose a HOST. Often the same company as #1 can host if you choose. Shop around.  I like 1and1 and their rates are great!
  3. Design, build and upload the site – the most time intensive stage
  4. Optimise the site. Called SEO = search engine optimisation.
  5. Maintain the site with updates, preferably often!

Are you excited?! Are you at stage zero? Let me hear from you!

 Scott

Getting started on your website

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

A website is one of the least expensive ways to market your business and can dramatically slash your advertising costs and bring a whole new group of customers streaming through your door. It has worked VERY well for Wholistic Physical Therapy. We get thousands upon thousands of visits a month, from all over the world, and 80% of our patients have viewed our site before calling our office.

Not only that, but it allows you to streamline your operations, allowing you to connect with customers 24 hours and day and removing the tedium of mundane tasks that can now be automated. You can spend less time fussing around with busywork and more time doing the important things, whether that’s developing your business or taking a family vacation. Today, having a website is not only an important way to build your business and streamline your operations, but consumers expect it – as much as they expect you to have a business card. In a customer’s mind, if you don’t have a website, you aren’t really a “serious” business. I have seen patients disregard a word of mouth referral to a doctor who does not have a website! This is BIG people! Are you paying attention?

 So what’s stopping you from profiting from your own business website? From a survey conducted in 2004, the three biggest obstacles were:

i) Technology issues: “It’s too complicated.”There are things like a “website builder” which make the technologypractically invisible. You no longer have to know HTML, SMTP, FTP or anyother of those complicated acronyms. If you can type – even with just two fingers – you can create a website. This is how mfrsuccess was created, using our host (1and1) website builder, in only an hour or two. Subsequently, as I have needed to make additions, it is no longer versatile enough to suite my needs and goals, so we are having it re-done by a designer for a fee…. more about that process later.

ii) High cost: “It’s too expensive.”The level of investment you need to make to take advantage of the onlineopportunities that exist is laughably small. Whereas it used to cost $3,000 to$5000 to have a designer create a professional looking site, you can now do ityourself with easy to use online website builders for $30 a month or even less.A website is, hands down, the most cost effective marketing and advertisingtool on the face of the planet and you’ll see a return on your investment very quickly.

 iii) Content Creation: “What would I write.”Now that’s a valid point! That’s why our name is MFR Success! And that’s exactly what we are going to do. We are going to show you how easy it is to create content for your site and we’ll lead you through the process step-by-step. All it takes is a few minutes each week over these next few weeks, to get a good handle on this “website thing!”. By the end of this period, if you’ve followed along, you’ll have a fully developed, traffic generating website up and running. It’s a tiny investment of your time with a huge potential payoff. That is IF you have done your part and ACTED on the suggestions given!

Interested? Then stay tuned. Monday is the day for MFRsuccess posts, so check back weekly. Or subscribe to the RSS feed.

 

Warmly,
Scott van Niekerk.

www.mfrsuccess.com

www.wholisticphysicaltherapy.com

Are you in “Competition” with anyone? NO, find out why…

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Did you miss the weekly email from MFRsuccess this week?! Congratulations! I hoped you would notice! Let me know! I had a big TV interview, so couldn’t post, sorry!

I have had a few interesting discussions recently with folks who feel that there is too much “competition” in their geographic area. This will hopefully help you if you feel similar. Try to keep an open mind and see things in a different light here… stay with me. When you compete, you limit yourself and your ability to create.

I have never felt that there is any such thing as competition, and I didn’t understand why. It has nothing to do with the fact that the therapists in my office are all outstanding, or that we provide incredible value. It REALLY doesn’t, I mean that! There are MORE than enough potential patients to go around, for everybody.

Let’s expand that concept away from just patients. This is tied into Universal Laws, a deep seated underlying belief system that you have if you are in “Competition” with anyone. It breaks down into two flawed beliefs:

  1. That your competition is an adversary, therefore someone must win and someone must lose.
  2. There is “not enough (goodness and success) to go around”

Success doesn’t happen according to chance or luck, it is a science. Winners do not compete, they create. What do you want to create? What is limiting you? Comment below, and I will try to help you with it. 

The Universal Law of Attraction states that you move towards what you focus on. If you focus on your competition, you will become more like them. There is NO limited supply. Remember that Einstein told us “Energy cannot be created or destroyed”. Have the courage to create a bigger pie.

If you think “Competition” you are thinking “Lack and Limitation”. These thoughts send out powerful vibrations of energy to create like results. How can you embrace more Abundance?

Warm regards,

Scott. www.mfrsuccess.com

5 most common mistakes to avoid for new and growing businesses

Monday, June 9th, 2008

The following 5 pitfalls seem to occur often. I have negotiated around them, some better than others, but hopefully you will be able to honestly identify if they apply to you, and then create an action plan to avoid the trap! For your success ……… Warmly, Scott

Trap number 1:

  1. Not having a clearly defined vision
    A business plan is the formal structure for this, however the most important thing is to have your goals and vision for your practice defined in your mind. Visualisation. Can you see where you are going? What, how, where, who do you want to grow your practice to become. Which leads me onto the next point…….
  2. Not thinking of your business as a business
    Start up businesses and clinical practices often need to begin from the get-go as a business. If yours didn’t, it’s not too late to change! “Go to work ON your business, not only IN your business.” I quoted Michael Gerber in the E-Myth. If you are a tiny operation, destined for bigger things, fine! But do you have a business name? – and don’t use your own name! Is it registered? Do you have a tax ID, a bank checking account, insurance, office stationary etc etc. If you are a mid size operation – do you have an Operations Manual? A website? An e-mail campaign? A payroll service, accountant, attorney etc etc If you are a well established large practice with multiple locations: do you have team meetings? Employee retreats? An organizational structure (CEO/CFO etc)  I could go on, but I don’t want to bore you!…
  3. Are you continuing to grow yourself?
    That includes continuing education: John Barnes MFR courses etc. What about your “Business mind”? Well you’re reading this so that’s good! Well done! But it’s not enough.
  4. Are you wasting Money on Ineffective Advertising
    Most small business advertising does not work. So you must be ruthless and immediately stop any Advertising that is not producing profits for you. You have to know if it is or isn’t by measuring. Always test and measure. Our YouTube video as well as this secret pdf hidden on our website describes more detail. When you’re growing a business, finances can obviously be tight. The problems caused by wasted Advertising go far beyond just losing the money. Businesses end up in a loop where they feel pressured to throw more at the advertising, that creates more financial pressure and then there’s the continued frustration that the ads are not producing customers. This cycle of Advertising despondency is very demoralising as well as being very expensive.
    If you’re Advertising is not working – Stop It!
  5. A Website that’s the World’s best kept Secret
    Moving beyond, “Do you have a website” – is it “Search engine optimized?” I’m not sure who first said “If you build it they will come” but I’m fairly sure it wasn’t a web designer.
    I’ve seen business owners spend weeks, months and in some cases years building their website. Many of them have not probably even spent 30 minutes working out how to get people to the site. Unfortunately, the quality of your website has virtually nothing to do with the number of people who will visit it. The analogy of the internet as a massive
    shopping mall is just plain wrong. Actually the opposite is true. Take all the shops in the mall, spread them out over a radius of 100 miles and make people drive to them and you have a closer analogy of what it takes to get people to your site. So how do you attract customers to your website. Here are 5 methods to focus on, all of which we can cover in the future if there is interest: Pay per Click Advertising, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Email Marketing, Online Articles, Inbound Link Campaign. Get good at one or two of these and you’ll see big increases in your online traffic.

Master all the above 5 potential pitfalls, and you will be well on your way to success! Thanks for reading. Please post comments freely. 

spam prevention tips to receive our emails

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

We send out weekly emails to help you build your business. Thanks for opting to have the mfrsuccess lessons sent to your email. If you are having trouble receiving them, but have signed up here, then……

VERY IMPORTANT…

Please follow the appropriate instructions below to make sure our email gets to your inbox:

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Place the domain heretohelpyou.com in your “Safe List”. The safe list can be accessed via the “Options” link that is located to the far right of the main menu tabs.

In Options, click “Safe and blocked senders” and then click the “Safe senders” link. Add the domain heretohelpyou.com to your list and save.

We also suggest that you add scott@mfrsuccess.com and Rachel@mfrsuccess.com to your address book or contacts list. You can do that by clicking the “Contacts” menu tab and entering our email address. AOL:

For the latest version AOL 9.0, click the “Spam Controls” link (lower right area of your inbox). When the “Mail & Spam Controls” box appears, click “Custom sender list”. Choose “allow email from” option and enter scott@mfrsuccess.com and Rachel@mfrsuccess.com. Click “Add”, then “Save”.

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You should also access the “Mail Options” and create a “Filter”. In the filter dialogue box, choose “Add”. On the “from header” line choose “contains” “scott@mfrsuccess.com and Rachel@mfrsuccess.com“. On the “Move the message to” line, choose “Inbox”. Then click the “Add filter” button at the bottom. Now all mfrsuccess messages will be automatically routed to your inbox.

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If you are reading this message in Gmail, click the little drop down arrow beside the Reply button in the top right hand corner of the message window. Choose “Add scott@mfrsuccess.com and Rachel@mfrsuccess.com to Contacts list” from the list of options.

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Choose “Actions” from the menu bar. Click “Junk Email” and then “Junk Email Options”. Click the “Safe Senders” tab. Add scott@mfrsuccess.com and Rachel@mfrsuccess.com and click OK.

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Getting FREE PR can help build your business.

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Seven Secrets to Getting Free PR Coverage 
for your Business in Newspapers, Magazines and on Radio and TV.

 

Why spend a fortune on Advertising that doesn’t work when you can get Free Advertising using great PR! 

Recently Jackie Cooper managed to get great free TV PR. Watch the video here. I have managed to do the same with radio, newspaper and magazine PR. Free is GREAT! This month I plan to get some free TV PR, going about it in the same way, as outlined below. I will post the interview next month. This works folks! Why pay expensive advertising on these mediums when you can get it for free?!


I love PR because it’s FREE and it lets you reach thousands or millions of people. Beware though, because it can also make you famous and people will start recognizing you in the supermarket! 
Here I want to share with you the seven fundamentals for getting you and your business famous using the power of PR.

  1. Most Press Releases are a disaster
    99% of Press Releases get thrown in the bin. It is a numbers game, so be in the 1% of Press Releases that lead to a story or interview have certain qualities in common. The following are a few of them.
  2. Step into the Shoes of the Journalist/Producer reading your Press Release
    The best Press Releases step into the shoes of the journalist or producer reading it and meet their needs. If there’s one secret to great PR it’s meeting the needs of the journalists. Every day, these journalists are pulling their hair out trying to fill their newspaper, magazine, radio or TV shows with useful, entertaining information. If you can show them how to do that, you’re virtually guaranteed some coverage.How do you meet their needs? Think about is like this. All of these journalists are under pressure from their editors to find stories that are of interest to the readers/listeners/viewers. So you meet the needs of the journalist by meeting the needs of their audience. If you’re targeting a woman’s health market you need to think of a story that’s of interest to their readers. If you’re targeting a late afternoon radio show you need to think of a story that’s of interest to people driving home from work, listening to the radio whom might be sitting there in pain!

  3. The Press couldn’t care less about You and your Business – but they LOVE a Good Story.
    The harsh truth is, these journalists are not particularly interested in your company, your history or your product or service. Which is why Press Releases with headlines such as:
    ‘WPT appoints a new office manager’

    go straight in the bin. They’re boring. So just get over the fact that the press don’t care about your business and come up with a story (journalists call it an ‘angle’) that is of interest. 

  4. The Headline is the most important part of your Press Release
    The first thing the journalist sees is the headline and if that doesn’t grab their attention, your Press Release is heading for the trashcan.Your headline needs to be bold and interesting – and above all it needs to stand out from all the other press releases. Your best option is to write it in the style of the headlines of the publication you’re targeting. For example, for my Nutritionist – if you were selling a new supplement to help GERD, which of these Press Releases do you think would get the best response:

    New Supplement helps Ease GERD

    or

    Why Some Foods Explode in Your Stomach! 

    The reason that newspapers use bold, attention-grabbing headlines is that they work. You can deploy the same strategy to grab the attention of the journalists you are trying to reach.

  5. Format your Press Release Correctly
    Here are my Golden Rules for formatting Press Releases.

*

Make sure the headline is big and bold

*

Aim to fit the Press Release on one page.

*

Use short paragraphs

*

Use language that will appeal to the type of media that you are targeting. You may want to write different press releases for different media, eg use different wording for targeting a radio show than you would a local newspaper

*

Insert the words ‘For Immediate Release’ in bold in the top left hand corner

*

Include a call to action at the end of the release, eg ‘Our CEO Scott van Niekerk is available for interview. He has appeared frequently on local/national media and is an excellent speaker. If If you would like to arrange an interview or require any further information, please call on etc.

  1. Follow up your Press Release with a Telephone Call
    Public Relations is just like all other forms of marketing – you have to be persistent.Journalists tend to be very busy people so the fact that they’ve missed your Press Release or not contacted you, doesn’t mean they’re not interested in what you have to offer.

    If you don’t hear from the media outlet in two or three days, give them a call. Say you’re just checking that they got the press release about XYZ. Of course, at this point it doesn’t matter whether they’ve seen the release or not. Use the conversation to sell your story. Concentrate on the benefits and what’s in it for the journalist/producer’s audience.

  2. Become a World Class Expert – Overnight!

    Most people think that the only way to get good PR is to come up with a story. But there is another way. This involves positioning yourself as an expert in your industry. Whatever your interest and professional license, there’s an area that you’re an expert in. If you’re a dentist contact the media during the next national smile week. If you’re a Physical Therapist, contact the local press during National PT month. Get the picture? PR starts to be easy – when you know how. 

 This article is also available as a pdf file HERE.