Is There a Good Way to Ask for a Referral?

Is There a Good Way to Ask for a Referral?

Asking clients for referrals can be uncomfortable.  Are you concerned seeking referrals will make you sound like you are begging for business?   Will it turn your clients off or hurt your current relationship with them?  You wouldn’t want that.  But asking for referrals can be a pretty simple and cheap way to try and get more business.  It depends on how and when you do it.

Here are a few suggestions.

Approach the clients who you are in contact with regularly.  A good time to ask is when your client is telling you how they appreciate all you have done for them or after they have posted a raving testimonial or sent you an appreciation email or note.   Thank your client for the positive words and say something like this, “Are there one or two people you think I should meet who may benefit from  our services?    I’d be happy to call them and introduce myself.”   Most customers who are happy with the experience and solution you provided them will be willing to give a referral especially if you remind them of the value your service provided them.  Do a great job, be professional, reliable and create credibility and clients will tell others and you won’t have to ask.

If you do have to ask it will take confidence and practice.  You can’t worry about people saying no.   Not everyone will need your service or product but if you don’t ask you may miss an opportunity for a new client.  Remember it never hurts to ask, but make sure you ask the right way.

Lastly, remember to thank the person who gave you a referral.  Give them a call, send them a note or show your appreciation in some way.   That will leave a good impression.

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Marketing Goals for 2013

We rang in the New Year, sang Auld Lang Syne.  Will your business see growth in 2013?  If you haven’t already done so you should be working on some of these marketing goals for 2013.

Google’s Panda Update in 2012 hit a lot of websites hard and a lot of businesses are still trying to recover.  Some may not recover without a lot of work.  In my reading, I came across these SEO strategies to incorporate for 2013.

1.  Social Media and Mobile Marketing- This will not be going away.  Expect to see an increased emphasis on mobile marketing during 2013.  Every business should consider a mobile website as the majority of people are using smart phones.  Being able to reach consumers on the go is a huge advantage.

2.  Content- Focus on original and frequently updated valuable content so returning visitors can find something new to  enjoy and learn from.  This will keep your audience coming back.  Infographics,  (information presented in text and graphics) are popular.  When people like these graphics they will share them and we all know sharing is good.  Updated content can keep you a step ahead of the competition.  Do not give your visitors a reason to doze with stale content.  They will stop paying attention and so will the search engines.

3.  When writing articles don’t add extra words to your articles to make them longer.  A long  article doesn’t make you a better expert especially if it is full of extra words that  really aren’t  needed.

4.  When helping visitors with a question or problem show solutions in as many ways as possible.  Video tutorials are very good for keeping the attention of your visitors. Graphics, infographics (mentioned above) and pictures also help.

5.  Focus on high quality natural links for your website but don’t “buy” links or go overboard with reciprocal links.  That can backfire.

6.  If you have a blog keep it updated.  Like your website, “stale” doesn’t look  good in the eyes of search engines.  So make an effort to write on a regular basis.

Set monthly goals and monitor your progress.  See what’s working and what isn’t and make any necessary adjustments.  Your marketing strategy should not only focus on sales but on you your entire business.


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Connection Speed

Internet Connection Speed

Sometimes I think my internet connection is fast as a rabbit being chased by a leopard, and other times it seems as slow as snails robbing a turtle.  I like to check my connection speed at this link:  www.speedtest.netSpeedTestThis morning I tested at 0.74 mbps download speed, then later in the day it tested at 5.12 mbps.  As you can see, the fluctuations can be staggering.

By the way, when the detectives asked the turtle for further details about being robbed by the snails, he replied, “I am not sure, it all happened so fast.”

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SEO Uncategorized

Why Do I Need SEO?

SEOSEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization.  Every website needs this as it is the proven way to help get your business found online in organic searches.  It is just not enough to have a nice looking website and have it live on the internet.  With SEO you get more visibility, which means more visitors and more prospects.  If your competitors are spending time and money on SEO and you are not, you are going to get lost in the crowd.

If you ask different people what is the most important part of SEO you will get many different opinions.  There is On page optimization which  includes keywords, meta tags,  page title,  content, including text, video, and images.  Off page optimization may include  link building, press releases, directory submissions, forums and blogs.  To make your site search engine friendly both of these techniques should be used.  One thing is for certain. SEO along with social media will give you the best chance of  increasing your exposure.

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Junk Email and Phone Calls

Junk Email and Phone Calls: How to Handle them and Stay Safe!

I received this in an email, I am not sure who the author is, but the information looks good.

Advice from snopes.Com VERY IMPORTANT!!

1) Any time you see an email that says “forward this on to ’10’ (or however many) of your friends”, “sign this petition”, or “you’ll get bad luck” or “you’ll get good luck” or “you’ll see something funny on your screen after you send it” or whatever — it almost always has an email tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and emails of those folks you forward to. The host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of ‘active’ email addresses to use in SPAM emails or sell to other Spammers. Even when you get emails that demand you send the email on if you’re not ashamed of God/Jesus — that is email tracking, and they are playing on our conscience. These people don’t care how they get your email addresses – just as long as they get them. Also, emails that talk about a missing child or a child with an incurable disease “how would you feel if that was your child” — email tracking. Ignore them and don’t participate!

2) Almost all emails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all any of this type of email is, is a way to get names and ‘cookie’ tracking information for telemarketers and Spammers — to validate active email accounts for their own profitable purposes.

You can do your Friends and Family members a GREAT favor by sending this information to them. You will be providing a service to your friends. And you will be rewarded by not getting thousands of spam emails in the future!
Do yourself a favor and STOP adding your name(S) to those types of listing regardless how inviting they might sound! Or make you feel guilty if you don’t! It’s all about getting email addresses and nothing more.

You may think you are supporting a GREAT cause, but you are NOT!

Instead, you will be getting tons of junk mail later and very possibly a virus attached! Plus, we are helping the Spammers get rich! Let’s not make it easy for them!

ALSO: Email petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress of any other organization – I.e. Social security, etc. To be acceptable, petitions must have a “signed signature” and full address of the person signing the petition, so this is a waste of time and you are just helping the email trackers.

Handling Robo Calls

T ips for Handling Telemarketers

Three Little Words That Work!!
(1)The three little words are: ‘Hold On, Please…’

Saying this, while putting down your phone and walking off (instead of hanging-up immediately) would make each telemarketing call so much more time-consuming that boiler room sales would grind to a halt.

Then when you eventually hear the phone company’s ‘beep-beep-beep’ tone, you know it’s time to go back and hang up your handset, which has efficiently completed its task.

These three little words will help eliminate telephone soliciting..

(2) Do you ever get those annoying phone calls with no one on the other end?

This is a telemarketing technique where a machine makes phone calls and records the time of day when a person answers the phone.

This technique is used to determine the best time of day for a ‘real’ sales person to call back and get someone at home.
What you can do after answering, if you notice there is no one there, is to immediately start hitting your # button on the phone, 6 or 7 times as quickly as possible. This confuses the machine that dialed the call, and it kicks your number out of their system.. Gosh, what a shame not to have your name in their system any longer!!!

We hope this helps you handle your junk email and phone calls and gives you some practical ideas on what to do and not to do.

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Cost of Website Development

Cost of Website Development

What does a website cost?

By Nancy Herbert, Super Cool Sites, Inc.

We often get the question of “How much does a website cost?”,  I decided to do a little research around the country sampling various website design companies to come up with a current cost estimate.  Based on my research, the following information is current as of December 2012.  If you have any comments please let me know, I would love to get your input.

Every business needs a website. It doesn’t matter if you are a national corporation or a small local business. Just like different businesses, different websites can serve various purposes and can vary in cost and quality depending on design and functional complexity.

With so many website design companies out there, a lot of design variety and skill diversity is available. With this comes a variety of pricing structures.  Here are my findings:

Basic Website – $1,000-$2,000

A basic design website acts as an online brochure. It is not advised to go for less, or the quality will suffer. It will usually be a template site and will have the same look as many other sites on the web. This type of site will showcase your business. It will work for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will answer potential customer’s questions, and offer information about the company’s products and services. A basic website doesn’t allow you to interact via social networking or blogs, carry out business transactions on your site, or allow you to change or update your site pages without hiring a professional to do it for you. Search engine optimization (SEO) will be included for ranking success, and web analytics is provided for tracking web success.

Custom Website – $2,500-$7,000

A custom website is beautifully designed to meet your marketing needs. Design elements are created and designed specifically for your company and site. You will usually not find features of audience interactivity, ecommerce or content management. There will be an increase in cost due to the amount of hours needed to create a one-of-a-kind design. This type of site will take more time to build because it will include CSS and XHTML coding in order for the website to look the same on every computer or interface. It will also be search engine optimized (SEO) for ranking better in keyword searches, and web analytics will be included to track and insure web success.

Content Management  System (CMS) Website – $3,000-$8,500

The average cost of a CMS website is $5,700, depending on the needs and customization. These websites have fantastic custom design and functionality, including the ability to manage and update content, photos and text within site pages. They are designed to be “user friendly.” Instead of paying someone else to make these basic changes, a CMS system allows you to do so without coding or web design knowledge. This type of site also can include the ability to become “social” through blogging.  Some ecommerce sites can be created in this dollar range as well. This price range also includes CSS and XHTML coding, search engine optimization for better ranking, and web analytics tracking.

Additional Custom Website – $15,000-$100,000

These are highly customized, complex, functionally advanced sites. They include social networking, advanced blogging, ecommerce and leading design features. There are a limited number of web design companies that can accomplish this type of website and they will charge premium fees. These sites are coded from scratch and require months of analysis, research, consulting, database design, and implementation and site testing. Sites like and are good examples.

Website design truly is a service in which “you get what you pay for,” and it is not an area in which you can afford to cut corners. The decision to hire a web design company should not be a price focused one, but return on investment focused.

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SEO Link Building

Link building is getting other websites to have a link to your website.  This is a very important strategy in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and applies to a website or blog.  It isn’t enough to get your website up live and hope someone finds you.  You have to work to get traffic to your site.  SEO  link  building can help do this for you.  A lot of links on your site tells Google your website is a quality website with good content and helps with your page rank.  The links however must be good quality links.  A smaller amount of good quality links is better than a ton of low quality links.

Link building takes time and patience.  There are many things you can do yourself to build links.  Looking for something free to help you with link building?  Jon Cooper an SEO consultant spent over 15 hours creating a very large, complete list of 200 link building strategies.  He even categorized the strategies, gave them a time frame and a link value from low, to moderate, to high.  For anyone who wants to try doing their own link building this is a valuable and free resource.  Some strategies take a lot of time and others not so much.  Using this resource to get good links and more traffic to your website means more money for you.

If this takes more time than you have or want to spend on the task, you can always pay someone to do it for you.  Whichever way you chose this strategy should not be ignored.

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How Super Cool Sites was started

How Super Cool Sites was Started

How I got into the Website Design and Internet Marketing Service.

This business came upon me in a time of crisis.  My insurance brokerage company had taken major battering from the top Health Insurance Companies in the state.  I had 9 agents selling health insurance for individuals, families and small groups.  We advertised via Yellow pages, Radio and TV.  We represented over 50 insurance companies, and would do anything in order to get our clients the best possible coverage at the lowest possible price.

I thought this would be a great formula for success.  I didn’t take into consideration that the insurance companies were actually holding all the cards.  Yes, I had contracts that stated our agency commissions, but these were changed.  It didn’t affect everything immediately, but as each case renewed for the year, the commissions were cut by up to 80%.

It didn’t take long for the agents to realize they couldn’t continue on this path.  We went from one of the largest health producing agencies in the state to a single person operation in the matter of 3 years.

Starting Fresh

Although I had spent over 30 years in the insurance business, I wanted to find something different.  I wanted something that was totally in my control and not some large company.

I always had loved computers.  I got the first Atari computer with a 5 ¼ inch floppy disk.  I kept stepping up as they came out.  Next was the Commodore 64, then the 128.  I bought the first personal IBM with a hard drive, a whopping 20 megabyte disk.

The reason I loved computers so much was that they never forget anything.  It’s like an extension of your brain with perfect memory.  Anything I wanted to remember, just put it in the computer, then I didn’t have to think about it anymore.

Looking for something with more certainty

So when I started searching for something to do that I controlled, computers and the internet were at the top of my list.  I contacted a company called WSI.  They had the “bestselling” franchise available for website design.  This was in 2003.  After looking into this extensively, I partnered up with a person in my area that had already paid for the franchise, but had not sold any websites.  He knew the technical side of the business, but needed help in selling the product.  Since he already paid the $50,000 franchise fee, I thought this would be a good opportunity to see how I like the operation.  He agreed to partner with me and split profits 50/50.  This worked pretty well for the first year.  But once I learned a lot about the business I realized we didn’t need WSI for anything.  They were charging much more than was necessary and adding a lot of franchise fees.  My partner didn’t want to quit with WSI, so we decided to part ways.

The Birth of Super Cool Sites!

Thus, Super Cool Sites, Inc. was born.  We started with flash templates, and WOW did they look GOOD.  They were blowing away everything else on the web for looks and animation.  Who didn’t want one of these to represent their company on the Internet?

But it didn’t take long to realize, there is a lot more involved in building a successful website than having a cool looking design.  You have to get people to your website, through the hundreds of different ways possible, and then you had to get them to interact with the website by contacting the website owner or buying their products or services on-line.  That sounds simple enough, but when you are competing against thousands or even millions of people, it can be a daunting task.  You need an expert for every step of the process.  This is how Super Cool Sites, Inc. was started and is flourishing today.

Randy Kauffman
President, SCS

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