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1  Who did most of the talking?

We tend to ask prospective clients a lot of questions, not because we’re nosey, but because we need to understand your business in order to properly serve your needs.

Any company that does not ask you about your business does not care about your business. They only care about their own!

The more we learn about your business, the better we can design an effectively web site strategy for you. Without the knowledge of how your company functions, we (or anyone else) would have a difficult time implementing effective strategies.

Anyone can build a web site. Not everyone can help your business. There is no single “formula” for web site success. The only way to succeed is to create a site focused on your marketing goals, your market’s information needs, and your competitors’ offerings.

We also ask you to put together a list of three sites that you really like and list what you like and what you dislike about them. From these sites we will get a good understanding of your style and how to design according to your tastes.

We will look at other sites in your industry. Not to copy them but to find out what they are doing wrong and what they are doing right. With that information we will know exactly what to do to give your customers an incredible web site experience. Looking at other industry sites will also help us understand your market’s customers and their needs.

Your logo plays a crucial role. We want to design your web site around your logo's color and theme. The reason for this is that your web site should support your brand, not confuse or weaken your brand. People who see your business cards and your web site should see the same unified message and theme. If your message is not consistent, it will be harder for people to remember and identify with your product.

Use the form below, if you want to get started now!

 

2  What kind of marketing experience has the firm had?

Before doing business over the Internet, we studied and used traditional marketing for many years. I studied under one of the nations leading direct marketing experts, someone who has generated millions of dollars worth of sales.

As a marketer, I have crafted sales letters, ran television commercials, did direct mail and ran classifieds in thousands of newspapers. OK so what does have to do with you. We know how to market offline and can use the same techniques for your web site.

Marketing skills can be taught, but they can be acquired only through personal experience! I can begin to tell you how many designers I talk to who have never run a classified ad let alone crafted a sales letter. It bothers me to know that businesses are hiring people unskilled in marketing and promotion to build their web sites.

 A designer must be able to design a site, promote a site, and develop applications for a web site.

I have done the things I preach. Last year I was testing a product. I put together a simple site and automated the order process. I then placed a classified ad in several newspapers. I generated over 40 orders per month using this simple techniques.

Another project I ran generated 10,000 leads in 30 days using a simple technique I perfected.  Keep in mind it took me about 90 minutes work to generate this many leads. 

 We will show you how to incorporate online and offline techniques to reach more customers. You will receive a complete marketing solution.

 One site we launched last year had 8000 visitors in the first 45 days - all through offline marketing.

Use the form below, if you want to get started now!

 

3  How much of the discussion involved search engines?

Search engine submission is an art form. Sometimes it is harder to craft a search engine strategy than design a web site. A failure to pay attention to search engine strategies can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in lost sales and “expert advice” down the road.

We know exactly what each search engine needs to see in a web site in order to get listed higher, and we keep abreast of ongoing changes. We have studied the top ten search engines. Keeping up with the search engines is a huge task and we spend the time to learn all the tricks. Not understanding a search engine means you will not get properly indexed.

We discuss search engine strategy at length during our initial discussions.

Most designers discuss search engines after a site is completed. That is where the problem lies. You must design a web site to be search engine friendly. Thus keywords must be added in the beginning and not the end.

We provide a free search engine submission with every web site project. We take the time to optimize your page and your Meta tags before submission. Meta tags are the code the search engines read to index a web site. Because of the nature of the engines we cannot guarantee a position with the basic submission, but we almost always get 5-7 top 30 positions with it. (Not bad for free!)

We also offer a paid submission package that guarantees results. Ask Allan Houston of the New York Knicks. We guaranteed him 30 top placements and he got 167! How is that for service?

Most designers cannot show you any sites they were able to get listed in the search engine! Here are a few examples of what we did. We can guarantee you will get better positions in the search engines.

Use the form below, if you want to get started now!

1. Hand-crafted submissions. With every web site package we offer a free basic submission. This entails submitting your home page to the major engines. There are tons of software on the market that most design companies use. We find 90% of those software will hurt your chances of getting listed. We will hand submit your site to the top 20 search engines.

Because of the nature of the search engines we cannot guarantee positions with this package. We do guarantee to optimize your home page to get the best possible position.

2. Monthly targeted submission. The best way to get good ranking is by targeting very few keywords on a page. Thus you would create multiple pages with just a few keywords on them.

We call this our targeted package. Every month we add a new page targeting one additional keyword. Each page will be hand submitted to the search engines. The pages will be highly optimized so you get more positions in the top 30.

3. Enhanced submission package. Our enhanced submission package offers our most intensive and finely-tuned search engine submission process. Not only do we optimize pages for single keywords, but we optimize the pages are optimized for each search engine.

For example, let's say one of your keywords is “green widgets.” We will create a highly optimized page targeting green widgets. Now here is where we really get down and dirty with the enhanced package.

Most design companies don't realize that each engine requires different criteria for top rankings. Some engines want your keywords toward the top of a page - others toward the bottom. Some engines want your keyword on the page five times while others say only once. Some engines say Meta tags are important and others ignore it completely.

With the enhanced package we will custom tailor each page to the specific requirements of each search engine. Because we have been doing this so long and our close relationship with the engines, we know exactly what they are looking for and want they to see. Few can offer you this level of service.

Use the form below, if you want to get started now!

 

4  Does the firm understand the psychology of selling?

A sales background is a necessity to become an effective communicator. The firm or individual you hire should have had a great deal of sales experience.

We have over ten years of sales experience, six of it in corporate sales and marketing. We will help you convey the proper messages through your web site to increase your sales. Working closely with you, we will be able to tell you whether or not your message has made its point.

Selling on the Internet is not the same as selling in retail. The process is a complete turnaround. Not understanding how they differ can mean the difference between one sale a day and one hundred sales a day!

Do you want a rookie working with you, bringing your business to the world, or do you want the experience of a seasoned veteran that has sold and managed over $10,000,000 for a fortune 100 company?

Case study: 9-fold increase in response!

I worked with a group in California on an e-mail campaign. They did a test email to an opt-in list of 25,000 subscribers. They received 16 requests. I then looked at their email piece and reworked it for them. The next test to 25,000 subscribers brought in over 150 requests. How's that for knowing how to sell.

Don't make the mistake and choose an inexperienced design firm that does not understand the psychology of selling. Pick a company that understands what it takes to make a web site sell.

We will walk you through the difference so that your web site will out-perform your competitors. We will also study your competitors, not only to see what they are doing right, but to understand what they are doing wrong and what they could be doing better. We will then apply this knowledge to your web site, giving you total competitive edge on your competition.

Use the form below, if you want to get started now!

 

5  Can the web site design firm help you market your business offline?

We started using traditional marketing.

We have helped many businesses like yours profitably market themselves through traditional means. Having a good grasp of offline marketing techniques can help you drive more visitors to your web site.

Case studies

We will show you how to incorporate online and offline techniques to reach more customers. You will receive a complete marketing solution. One site we launched had 8000 visitors in the first two months - all through traditional means of marketing.

Last year I was testing a product. I put together a simple site and automated the order process. I then placed a classified ad in several newspapers. I generated over 40 orders per month using this simple combination of online and offline techniques.

We can do the same for you.

Use the form below, if you want to get started now!

 

6  Did the firm try to educate you or just sell you?

Working together, we will develop and fine-tune a system and process that generates the most profits for you. Working with us, you will refine your knowledge of what your online customers are looking for. Everything you've heard is true. Visitors to your web site are looking for different things than visitors to a brick and mortar business. We will help you understand the differences inside and out, and take maximum advantage of your knowledge.

For example, most people on the internet are looking for information. They aren't necessarily looking to buy. I am sure you heard by now that web surfers love freebies. This does not mean that you give your products or services for free, but—instead--you must develop a strategy to turn the situation around so it becomes profitable for your business.

You can start by providing the information they are looking for. Give them as much information they can possibly need. Once you give them what they are looking for, follow up with a sales letter offering to sell them something. The process is simplistic yet brilliant. Not knowing how to execute this simple technique will cost you money.

It is our job to help you understand the Internet's full potential to help make your venture a profitable one. We will take the time through our conversations to educate you. Because of our many years experience, we not only have tried many different things, but we also have seen everything.

Our knowledge will cut your learning curve in half! We want to be your partners on the Internet.

Use the form below, if you want to get started now!

 

7  What kind of programming talents are available?

Even the smallest web sites today require programming. We are very comfortable dealing with the most common types of programming: autoresponders, databases, shopping carts, and affiliate programs.

?         Autoresponders respond to requests for requests for further information from web site visitors. The information is immediately sent as an e-mail attachment. In other cases, the e-mail instructs visitors to go to a special “unpublished” (or unlinked) page on the web site where they can download the requested information.

  An autoresponder series is a series of e-mails timed to go out at pre-determined intervals. An autoresponder series can follow-up the request for information the next day, or the next week. Other auresponders can be used for surveys or to solicit testimonials.

 Databases are used to keep track of visitor’s names and contact information. From anywhere in the world, you can query your database and locate customers and prospects in the city you’re visiting. These databases are also used to distribute your e-mail newsletters.

 E-commerce applications include shopping carts and merchant accounts. Shopping carts keep track of your visitors purchases, and capture billing and shipping information. Merchant accounts are necessary for credit card processing and verification.

 Affiliate programs permit others to sell your products and services, earning a commission from you. Affiliate programs also let you sell products and services offered by others, again, earning a commission on each sale. Affiliate program earnings are known as “passive income,.” since the programs operate, quite literally, by themselves.

There are several nationwide providers of these “back-end,” or support, services. Examples include www.1shoppingcart.com and www.clickbank.com. Unlike many designers we are very familiar with the ins and outs of working with these firms.

We can explain the pros and cons of the various service providers to you and help you make the right choice. Then, our pre-existing knowledge lets us get the job done faster for you, and at less cost, so your web site earnings can quickly build up momentum.

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Is custom programming available?

Here are some examples of custom programming we have done. These examples illustrate our ability to simplify your firm’s tasks by using as much web site automation as possible.

?         Tracking sales staff. Each sales person in the company now has their own online calendar. There is also a master calendar for the sales manager. Now when the sales people log in they see the master calendar. When they set their appointments they will be able to reference the master calendar to make sure there are no conflicts. Because the application is online they can access the calendar anywhere in the world. The sales manager also has the ability to see the calendar for each sales person. He can also make notes on any of their calendars. This gives him the ability to track what his sales people are doing.

?         Client activity reports. At the end of each quarter, After Market Specialty would prepare sales reports for their top clients. Each report consisted of taking all the products purchased by a particular client, entering them into a database, then entering the sales price. Once that was done they had to add all the numbers to get the totals. After that they had to figure out all the percentages and averages. Needless to say this process took 3 hrs for each account. I don't have to tell you, but this was not an effective way to use your sales people.

Now, all the sales rep had to do was enter the number of sales for each product then hit submit. We also gave them the ability to compare one client against another to see where they were loosing sales. This feature alone was previously impossible to do by hand because of the time commitment. Now it only took 3 seconds to generate the report.

?         Information fulfillment. Another client is Sanctuare, a resorts management company. Sanctuare receive many requests from their online forms everyday. Some were requests for more information. Others were for orders. It would usually take an assistant three hours a day to enter the information and sales requests into an offline database. Another one to two hours was spent answering questions from emails. Almost five hours a day was spent on entering data and responding to information requests.

We built an application that took all their form requests and put them into a text database that was exported every morning. Instead of entering them into Act everyday, they now could import the data. This reduced time from three hours a day to five minutes.

Then, we programmed another system that would automatically respond to information requests. If a customer wanted information on a particular resort, the information was automatically sent without anyone at Sanctuare having to do any work. The whole process was completely automated.

The point here is to open your mind and think about the possibilities. Make a wish list of things you could possibly automate. Lets discuss them and see what we could put together for you. It is more cost effective to let your web site do the work than it is to hire someone to do the same work. Your web site or custom application will do the same work perfectly every day without complain or ever call in sick. Call us at 203-848-6330

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How often did the term “tracking” come up in your discussions?

It amazes me how many clients we've spoken to who are redesigning their web sites and have no clue about their site statistics.

Now, its completely not their fault.  They obviously worked with a designer that knew nothing about tracking site statistics.

The best thing you can do for your business and your web site is to track your visitors.  How else can you know what's working and what's not.  It is through tracking, you will achieve the most success on your web site. 

When you speak to a designer, ask them about the tracking process.  Ask how they can help you track your visitor. Ask what kind of package they offer.

Feel free to call me at 203-848-6330 if you have more questions on this.  This is so important and that's why I've given you my personal number to call me on this.  Ask for Greg when you call.

Use the form below, if you want to get started now!

 

10 What is the designer’s attitude towards animation?

Most designers are artists.  They want to show their design skills as a work of art.  In other words, each new project has to be better than the last one.

One of the easiest ways to showcase your design skills is with the use of animation. I am sure you've seen sites with amazing animations and spinning graphics.  Although extremely eye catching, they can be cost prohibitive an non productive.  They are expensive to create and usually leads to less sales.

You see creativity is where most designers can add more cost to your project.  My advice to you is avoid the un-necessary if it does nothing to increase your sales.

Let me give you an example.  Let's pretend you are looking to make a purchase online. of a pretty expensive item.  You have narrowed your choice down to two companies.  Would you make your decision based on the website that had a spinning logo on the top of the page.  Would that animation help you make a buying decision. 

The answer is no.  Most designers don't understand this.  They know the flashier your site is, you'll be willing to pay more money for it. 

You see, we do things a little differently.  We design sites with the customer in mind.  After all they are the one that's going to put in your pocket right? 

When you speak to a designer, Tell them you want to add a flash animation to the site and ask them what their thoughts are.  If they tell you it the best thing you can do next to slice bread, then you know you're in trouble.  If they question why you want to add flash animation, then you're in better hands.

Use the form below, if you want to get started now!

 

11 Can you help me add sound to my site?

Many of our web sites incorporate sound, especially greetings and testimonials. We are also familiar with audio postcards. From our marketing background, we know how to get the most out of audio.

We will help you choose the right provider for recording your online soundbytes, working with firms like www.audiogenerator.com. We will then seamlessly  integrate the sound files into your web site and show you how to do it in the future on your own.

Use the form below, if you want to get started now!

 

12 Is the designer marketing or selling their own products?

This is a simple question, but the correct answer can mean a tremendous value for your business.

Most web designers are just designers and nothing else.  I know a few designers that don't even design their own web sites.  It's all out sourced.  Just look at how many freelance designers have popped up.

Most designers do not sell anything online.  Most cannot even be found in any search engine.  Think about this for a second.  If a company is selling you web design because they believe the internet is the best place for you to sell your products or services, then why is it they are not using the same medium to sell products themselves.

Does that not make you think.  You could potentially buy a product from a person who doesn't use it themselves.

The key is find a designer that also sells products online.  Not only does it show their confidence in the internet as a business tool, but it shows they know how to use it effectively and can pass valuable knowledge to you.

We test market and sell many products online that  have nothing to do with web site design.  Thus I am on the same side of the table with you.  I know what you are going through because we are going through the same thing.  I've launched my own site and had to generate traffic to it.  I had to get it into the search engine.  I had to find different ways to increase my conversion. 

I am not saying a designer who doesn't sell online is not qualified to help you, but you definitely get an advantage working with a designer who is selling online.

Use the form below, if you want to get started now!

 

13 What about web site maintenance?

We are very pleased when one of our clients takes over routine site maintenance from us, using an off-the-shelf software program like Front Page or Macromedia Dreamweaver. We’re happy because, by making frequent, appropriate changes, the web site will increase in effectiveness…to the point where the client is likely to want our help designing a second site—or creating a completely new, and larger site with additional flexibility.

There is a difference between “design” and “maintenance.” Design involves creating a “look” that can be modified without losing its essential identity. Maintenance is simply providing updated news and information on a site.

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14 What size clients has the web site design firm worked with?

We believe no project is too small or too large. Because of our many years experience we bring an enormous amount of knowledge and talent to the table.

We have completed simple one page web sites to complex database applications running a complete dynamic web site. Some of our clients include Allan Houston from the NY Nicks, Fox Television, Patio.com, Activision, Kimberly Clarke, Chicago Tribune. and The CT Tennis Foundation (home of the Pilot Pen Tournament). Although these are large organizations, we've also worked for small companies like Onsite Shredding a two man operation in Stamford, L&A Publising - a two page web site from GA, and Sophia's Bridal - a simple one page web site.

Whether you need a simple one page or a complex database application we employ the same talent and quality. Each project bears our name and reputation. For this reason, every project we do has the potential to make our top portfolio page.

Before any site leaves our doors, I personally inspect every inch of the site and give it my seal of approval. If I feel a site is not up to my standard, then we go back to the drawing board and start over at my expense.

Sometimes we have lost money on projects because of my high standards. But I would rather loose money now then loose a long term client later.

So remember, even if you don't have a huge budget, we can still help you. Let’s concentrate on developing a project around what you have, rather than worrying about what you don’t have.

Our motto is "giving the small business the same advantage as large businesses except at small business pricing."

Use the form below, if you want to get started now!

 

15 Are you comfortable with the web site designer?

Here are some additional questions you may want to consider.

  • Did the company seem interested in your business and how they could help you?

  • Is the design firm willing to give you a firm price quote?

  • Did the web site designer constantly interrupt, or appear impatient, when you were talking?

  • Did you sense any “artistic temperament” or “my way or no way” attitudes?

  • Had the firm worked with outside firms, like www.1shoppingcart.com and others that you may want to use for list maintenance or e-commerce applications?

  • How quickly did the designer come back with a detailed proposal based on your conversation?

  • Did you get the feeling that parts, or all, of his presentation was “canned” or rehearsed?

  • Did you get the feeling that the firm wanted to work with you?

  • Was there any hesitation about providing the names and contact information for past clients?
     

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16 How easy is it to get started?

After choosing a domain name, or web site address, here are some of the questions we’d like to discuss with you.

Step 2: Describe your business, your goals, your competition, and your market. Start by answering these questions:

  • Who are your most profitable clients and customers?

  • Why do they buy from you?

  • Who are your competitors? (What are their URL’s?)

  • Why do their customers buy from them?

  • What is your firm’s strongest asset, or unique selling proposition?

  • What specific results do you want from your web site?

  • What do you want your business to be like in 6 months, a year, two years?

  • How can the web help make this happen?

  • How will you measure the success of your web site?

Step 3: Tell me about yourself. We want to know about your styles and preferences.

Identify three web sites that you like and describe what you like about them. Be as specific as possible. Then, find three sites you hate. Again, describe what you don't like about those sites in as much detail as possible.

Then, tell us more about how you want your page to look like by answering questions like:

  • Do you want your navigation links across the top of the page or down the side?

  • Consider colors and how you want to use them on your site. (Just remember that black text on a white background is always easiest to read.)

  • Do you like long-copy sites or short-copy sites?

How available will you be to review progress and answer questions? What are the best times to contact you?

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17 Are there any success stories?

99 % of the people we talk to never ask about success stories.  So I must assume that is an industry standard. 

You have nothing to loose and a lot to gain by asking about past projects and the success of those projects.  Don't feel ashamed about asking.  It is your right.  Remember, it's only your money.

If a designers makes you feel uncomfortable about asking for success stories.  Run like hell.

I am not going to tell you that we are the best design firm in the world.  Listen for your self what some of our clients have to say.

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Speak with an expert who is capable of helping you launch your project and has the know how to make your website a success.

Just for requesting a quote you will receive Free 30 minute web marketing consultation.  You will learn how to get traffic to your website and proven methods to effectively target your market online.

Then you will get a Free 30 minute consultation on keyword and search engine strategies used only by top internet marketers.  I can virtually guarantee your competitors do not know these strategies. 

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1st Advantage Solutions LLC- 193 Magee Dr - Hamden -  CT - 06514
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