When you’re starting a new business online, or making changes to your current online business, make sure you take the time to test as many aspects of your venture as possible. This includes:

  • all the navigation on your website
  • your order and payment systems
  • your e-mail system
  • your sign-up boxes
  • and anything else your customers/prospects will encounter

Submit “fake” orders. Surf your entire website. Sign up for your own newsletter. (And use e-mail addresses from several different providers to see if your messages are getting through.)

It may seem obvious. But I’ve seen too many marketers skip this step.

Over the last 20 years of doing business online, I’ve gotten into the habit of testing everything — everything — before it goes live. And it’s always paid off.

[Ed. Note: David Cross is a veteran Internet marketing expert who has worked closely with Early to Rise and Agora for many years. He is also a featured expert in ETR’s Internet Money Club.]

Although David hails from Blackpool, England – which is often referred to as the “Las Vegas of England” – he shunned a career in show business and instead followed a meandering career path overflowing with “life’s great experiences,” working or living in over 20 countries along the way. Chef, teacher of Transcendental Meditation, guest presenter on QVC, earthquake relief volunteer, CEO of a web hosting company, marketer at a radio station and all combined with years of direct marketing, PR and sales experience for clients as diverse as health food stores, small charities and right up to multinational public companies. David brought unique talent and experience to his role for six years as Senior Internet Consultant to Agora Publishing Group. Working closely with Agora’s publishers and marketers to test new ideas and marketing campaigns, Agora’s Internet revenues topped $200 million in 2007. David understands and can communicate fluently with creative “right-brain” marketers and analytical “left-brain” IT and software teams, all with equal ease. He has a proven track record for generating results and creative thinking and excels at making trouble to find new ways of making things happen! He lives on a small farm close to Mount Hood in Oregon with his wife Cinda, a veterinarian, and their four children and a menagerie of animals (no more, please!). When not marketing or brainstorming you’ll find David following a dream of self-sufficiency for food, power and water within 10 years, tending the land and caring for the farm and animals. Not surprisingly, David is an engaging and knowledgeable speaker with many amusing anecdotes from his work and travels over the years.

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