Leading eCommerce Consultant Admits You Should Only Listen to One Real Expert! (And it’s not him)

Let me share with you a secret that most marketing experts and consultants don’t want you to know… (many of them don’t even understand this secret themselves.)

The secret is… There is only one true expert who can show you how to drastically improve the effectiveness of your website and your marketing. With dozens of so-called guru’s, consultants and experts ready and willing to give you (or charge you for) their advice, there is actually only one person you should listen to on a regular basis. Only one! And his name is Eric Graham… No, no… just kidding…

The only “experts” that you should listen to and trust are your visitors. The visitors that come to your website or view your ads are the only true experts. They will share their expert opinions with you by the actions they take while on your website.

Not sure what headline to use at the top of your page… You have a couple of options:
Pay an “expert” consultant like me to look it over for you and give you copywriting recommendations, for a few hundred dollars an hour.


“Ask” your visitors which one is best, by split testing each element of your headlines and letting your visitors vote with their credit cards… The one that converts to sales best wins!

Trying to figure out how much to charge for you new ebook? You can hire an expert… I can talk to you all day about advanced pricing theory and explain to you how prices with a “7” in them (such as $17, $97, $777) usually convert better. I can walk you through an analysis of the price points of competing/similar products…


Simply test 3 or 4 different prices to see which one is most profitable. Often the greater perceived value of a higher price actually converts better than a lower price. But you won’t know if that’s true for your product and your visitors until you test it. Again your visitors will teach you more about pricing than any consultant ever could. You just need to “ask” these experts by testing.

If done properly, the questions you can get your “visitor experts” to answer about your website by simply testing, is endless.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you should never hire a consultant or expert — after all my clients happily pay me a lot of money to help them improve their conversion rates. And I am worth every penny! 😉

But what you need to understand here is that the best experts, became experts by studying and testing, testing and testing different elements over and over until they developed a set of “best practices”. So, by hiring someone who has been in the trenches you can save time and money in the long run.

However, every website, business, product and visitor demographic is different. Just because something works at one website, doesn’t automatically mean it will work at yours. The best consultants will tell you that you still need to test everything. So in the end it’s still your visitor who’s the true expert.

Just imagine the results you could achieve over the next year, if you took the time to test only one new element every week. Even if half of the tests were failures and didn’t produce improvements in your conversion rates, you would still discover 26 ways to improve your sales. Even if each improvement only boosts your conversion rate by 1/10th of 1%, you would have improved your conversion rate by over 2.6% (and probably much more!)

Look over your current sales statistics, and ask yourself, “How much more profit would I be making if my conversion rate jumped by 2.6%?”

With most sites currently converting at an appalling 1% to 2%, a 2.6% improvement could triple your sales…

Let me ask you a question: Imagine you have a website selling information on how to learn to play the guitar, getting 1,000 visitors per day. And I came to you and showed you how I can change a few things about your page, improve your search engine positioning and triple your traffic? Would you be excited? Sure.

Then, why not get equally excited about optimizing your website for maximum conversion rates?

Many online businesses will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars optimizing their sites for the search engines. But then they waste 99 out of every 100 visitors that they spent so much time and effort getting, simply because they failed to invest in “asking the experts” (their visitors) first. Had they taken the time to optimize their site for conversion rate, before driving the traffic their results would be 10x more profitable.

The great news for you is, so few online businesses are currently testing anything! This means that you are in a position to absolutely dominate your competition by simply listening to the true experts… Your visitors!

Copyright 2004 Eric Graham

The 10 Steps to Building a Successful Ecommerce Website

10 tiny steps to building a successful e-commerce website – A true “dummy’s guide” that guarantees online success.

Shannon runs a successful pizza joint on Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn. He specializes in exotic varieties of Kosher Pizza and after repeated requests from office goers for a website through which they could place orders, Shannon finally relented and got a beautiful ecommerce website. He also installed a computer at the cash counter. Each morning, Shannon would just login at the site and keep the admin page open. The moment a pizza order was placed, the details of the order and address would be flashed on the screen. Shannon would hit the print button, prepare the pizza and stick the printed order on top of the pizza box. Today, Shannon also owns the adjoining shop, has installed more pizza baking units there, and has eight delivery boys working for him.

So how did he do it? I love the Pizza but have no idea how he makes them. But, as his friend who helped him build the website and online business marketing plan, I can tell you about the ten steps he took to build a successful ecommerce web site solutions. I’ll leave out the name of the pizza joint lest you think I’m advertising for Shannon.

1. Know thy name

Shannon paid $9.99 and booked a domain name selecting the same name as the existing pizza joint. This makes name recollection really easy and is one of the important steps in building an online store or online presence.

2. Know what you want

He visited a few existing ecommerce store management websites that take orders for pizza. This gave him a good idea of what was possible. It also gave him some ideas on how he wanted his website to look like.

3. Take the right foot forward and be careful where you place it

After seeing a few advertisements that promised instant online nirvana, Shannon paid $72 and opted for one that promised to “instantly build ecommerce site by reputed web development Richmond Company at the click of a button”. In Shannon’s own words, “the result was identical to my first attempt at making pizza when I was 6 years old – a total disaster”.

After much thinking and reading various white papers on how to build an ecommerce web site, Shannon visited a few websites which provides ecommerce web development services and freelancing web experts. He finally decided to work with elance.com because of the sheer professionalism displayed there. He posted his request for a website mentioning his requirements and invited freelancing web designers and web masters to bid on building an ecommerce site.

4. Select your ecommerce consulting services partner with care

After carefully scrutinizing the various bids he received, he opted for one bidder who had several years of experience in building ecommerce websites as well as a good feedback from previous customers.

5. Heed sound, professional advice

Shannon heeded the advice of the freelancer, and purchased hosting space from the recommended web hosting provider. It cost him $99/year. It had loads of space, guaranteed 99.99% uptime, high speed connection to the internet and every resource (such as database support and other things) that the webmaster required.

6. Attention to detail

As the website was being developed, Shannon would visit his website and observe the development as it happened. He could do so because the webmaster would upload the completed sections each evening. If Shannon thought some part of his website or webpage did not look right, he would inform the webmaster who would quickly carry out the changes. Shannon supplied the webmaster with all the content that was required. Which basically meant a list of kosher pizzas, toppings, photographs, prices, seasonal offers, other discounts, time required for delivery, delivery area and so on.

7. Take it for a spin

Once the site was ready, Shannon, I and two other friends tested the website. We would select a pizza, toppings etc. and once in the shopping cart, make changes to the order, remove it altogether, add another selection and so on. You could say we “stress tested” the website. On the third and final day of testing, we went the whole nine yards and paid for the pizzas that we had ordered. This way we also ensured the payment procedure worked smoothly. Shannon, would login at the admin panel of his website and check to make sure the order details were correctly displayed. Shannon’s ecommerce website was now ready.

8. Let the people know

On inaugural day, Shannon displayed a few large posters on the sidewalk as well as in the pizza joint. He also inserted a few ads in the local editions of various newspapers, magazines and made dozens of calls to clients who he knew would be interested. The first day he received a grand total of 5 orders from his website. Even that delighted him no end. He was as happy as a little child with a candy bar.

9. Let the World know

The next day Shannon remembered the $49 Google AdWords gift voucher he saw in his web hosting account. Not knowing how to use it, “Googled” for details, got the gist of what was involved and once again visited elance.com. This time he put up a project for ecommerce internet marketing his ecommerce website on Google.com using Google AdWords. This was February 2009. Between then and today, Shannon says he spent about $1,500 or so on Google Ads. Today he receives in excess of 300 orders per day from the website alone.

10. Keep it ticking

Shannon has hired the webmasters that initially designed and developed his site to also maintain his site. Maintenance usually meant changing various offers and schemes or adding new varieties of Pizza and toppings.

Whether it’s Pizza, cabbages, EPABX, auto accessories or online consulting, it makes no difference to the procedure. Shannon’s success is proof that the 10 steps he followed were the correct ones. The path has been revealed. Whether you choose to follow the successful one or not is up to you. Use it to your advantage when you build your ecommerce store solution or online office. Shannon and I would be delighted with your success.

ECommerce Marketing Today – Big Three and Others

Ecommerce companies all over the world use a variety of methods and solutions for search engine optimization and web promotion. In fact the range of options for making the choice is really vast in nature. Usually the main objective of ecommerce marketing is to offer solutions for gaining visibility on the ranking pages of leading search engines.

Some of the major search engines and web directories like Google, Yahoo, MSN, ASK, and Bing, allows higher page ranking on their result pages with paid inclusions as well as contextual ads.

Without doubt the three major search engine marketing companies on the web are the Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and the Microsoft adCenter. It is however possible for the entrepreneurs and webmasters avoiding direct deals with these major companies and instead going for ecommerce marketing companies or ecommerce consultants those would manage the campaign for them. Reason for such choice is that while the big three focus on the contextual advertising mainly, these alternative companies would focus on a variety of issues to make the marketing campaign successful.

There is quite fierce competition for the hold on the market among the big three. Google has been constantly upgrading AdWords to remain ahead of others. Ads floated on AdWords will appear on the Google network, in their search listings as well as on all the affiliated websites and blogs plus in the RSS feeds.

Usually the quality ecommerce marketing companies use a number of tools that includes keywords, suggestions on identifying target keywords and key phrases, testing as well as reporting, tutorials and also the conversion tracking. On the other hand Yahoo search marketing is basically pay-per-click process. Ecommerce companies normally create text that would divert the potential customers to the ecommerce sites or the sales pages. Microsoft adCenter also follows the system of pay-per-click for ads on the Bing network. Despite being new in the fray it is growing at rates faster than both Google and Yahoo. However it is still at the number three position following Google and Yahoo.

While most of the features of ecommerce marketing conducted by the top three are common, one difference is the manner in which the ads appear and the location where they appear.