Cliff Michaels says he has always wanted to help people become more successful. A successful mortgage banker himself, he developed an idea for a Web site that he thought would be an instant hit selling books, tapes and CD-ROMs over the Internet.
There was only problem how to separate his Web site from the sea of other mail-order catalogs on the Internet and in print. Michaels has apparently found the way; the Web site for his Agoura Hills-based company, The Knowledge Cafe, was recently selected by The Ultimate Exposure 200 for “Top 25 Web sites of the World.”
Michaels, who specializes in business, self-help and sports titles, was interviewed by Los Angeles Business Journal staff reporter Julie Sable.
I jumped right into my first Internet business with both feet. At the time, I thought there was no need to test the waters. I spent time, money and energy to learn about this new business opportunity and ended up landing on my world wide wallet.
But I wasn’t alone. Mega-corporations were also pumping marketing dollars into the World Wide Web with little or no results. One big clue don’t build it and think they will come, for they won’t.
I believe that you should measure success by the number of times you fail. Had I not failed, I never would have learned the secrets to success.
I developed seven factors that I feel are critical to business success on the Internet and followed them faithfully, the second time around.
Get help from the experts talk to Internet marketing and public relations pros and Web site developers. Read the Internet magazines. Surf the Web to see what your competitors are doing and most importantly, read and ask questions.
You may have a split second to keep the attention of Web surfers on-line, so use first rate graphic artists and professional Web site developers to design a site that looks and feels like success. The key is to keep the Web site simple and easy to navigate.
Determine how a customer can benefit from buying your product over the Internet. I offered free membership on-line and a newsletter with reviews and announcements on specials. I invited the customers to browse, just like in a store.
Make the Web site fast and easy for the customer. Use a high-speed server and user-friendly shopping cart to allow customers to shop with ease.
Generate traffic by promoting your business using an Internet public relations firm to send out press releases and place your Web site in the top 100 search engines. Public relations firms can be retained for a few hundred dollars. Also, set up cooperative links from other Web sites.
In order to keep the customers coming back for more, offer free information. And don’t forget the power of follow-up. Make sure you have successful E-mail services in place to correspond with customers. I give answers to E-mail within minutes, not days, without wasting any time because without service to our customers, we would be just another Web site.