The Search Light Newsletter
The Search Light Newsletter
  Guiding your site to the top of the search engines... 30 Apr 2003 - Vol 3 Issue #4  

In this issue...

Close The Sale With Proposal Kit

Google Invests in the Semantic Web

Yahoo Unveils New Streamlined Search

Overture Shares Fall 27 Percent

Web Rank Small Business Special

Google and Amazon Shake Hands

Ask "Jeeves" and You Shall Receive

Close The Sale With Proposal Kit

By Kalena Jordan of Web Rank Ltd

I never read banner ads. That's why I was surprised to find myself clicking on a banner the other day. The ad intrigued me because it offered to fulfill a pressing need I had.
Over the years, I had developed what I thought was a fairly slick proposal template for my search engine optimization business. But still the document lacked an edge. I knew I had lost a couple of recent pitches to my competitors and I wondered if there was something about their proposals that I was missing in mine.
You know that a good proposal can make or break a sale. This is particularly the case when your only communication with potential clients is via the Internet. But how do you know you've covered all the important aspects of your services? How can you be sure you've accurately estimated all project costs? What if you need to include some legal contract information in your document but you can't afford to hire a lawyer? How do you make your proposal stand out from your competitors if you don't have any graphic design skills? Are you forgetting an important section in your proposal that your potential client was expecting? I found myself asking all these questions when preparing quotations for potential clients.
The banner ad from Proposal Kit offered a solution to my problem. It advertised "Turn-key contract, estimating and proposal kits for today's Internet professional". That's exactly what I was looking for, so I clicked on the banner ad, fully expecting to find some ultra-hyped, over-rated, disappointing backyard software. Boy was I wrong!

What I found was probably the most cost-effective and useful tool for online business that I have EVER come across. Seriously!
Proposal Kit takes the guesswork out of drafting a proposal or contract. It automates the chore of putting together a complex business proposal. Basically, Proposal Kit provides a comprehensive range of templates to suit any business requirement and helps you build a framework for your proposal to match virtually any product or service offering. You then flesh out the templates with your own data and contact details. Templates are particularly suited to online businesses and include documents for the initial sales pitch, the planning stage, estimating, contracting, project timelines, analysis and even invoicing.
Want to include a Cost/Benefits analysis in your proposal? How about a Production Schedule or a Web Site Design Storyboard? With Proposal Kit, you have a huge range of professional documents available within instant reach to make up your perfect Proposal, tailored specifically for each client. You can even choose a colour scheme or graphic design theme to match your corporate image or that of your client. There are almost 30 different styles available.
But Proposal Kit is not just about creating "knock 'em dead" proposals. Purchase the supporting Contract Pack and you have access to legal binding contracts, sign off forms, copyright agreements and more. Find a web site stealing your content? Use Contract Pack's "Cease and Desist" letter template to draft your response. Want to provide users of your software with a easy way to report bugs? Use Contract Pack's Bug Report Template.
Once I read the Quick Start Guide, it took me less than 5 minutes using Proposal Kit Wizard to set up a sophisticated Master Proposal framework to suit my business, incorporating 31 different templates from the recommended list. Here's a summary of the different products Proposal Kit offers:

Proposal Kit Pro and Proposal Kit Standard
These are bundles of several products, including the most commonly used packages. Each collection (proposal, contact, estimate, planning, samples) can be purchased separately, or together in a bundle at a lower cost. These are designed specifically for web, CD- ROM, multimedia and tech professionals. Current retail price for Proposal Kit Pro is USD 197 (a stripped down starter kit is available for USD 97).
Proposal Packs
Proposal Packs contain hundreds of templates designed for general business use (both tech and non-tech) by any company selling a product and/or service to another company. Use Proposal Packs by themselves or as add-on graphic styles with Proposal Kit. Current retail price of each Proposal Pack is USD 57. Foreign language versions in Spanish, French, German and Italian are also available.
Sample Proposal Collections
The Collections include examples of finished proposals. Samples illustrate how proposals have been created using various Proposal Pack styles. Sample Proposal Collection Volume 1 and Volume 2 are already included in every Proposal Pack and Proposal Kit and are also sold separately. Pricing ranges from USD 27 to USD 87 per pack.
Contract Pack
Contract Pack is a large collection of contract and agreement documents for web, CD-ROM, software, computer, multimedia and other computer software and hardware related work. Contract Pack is available in a stripped down "starter" version (Standard) and a complete version (Pro). Contract Packs are included in the Proposal Kit bundles. Pricing ranges from USD 47 (Contract Pack Standard) to USD 97 (Contract Pack Pro).
Proposal Kit Wizard
The Wizard is an optional add-on software interface for use with Proposal Kit templates. Proposal Pack Wizard must be used with a Proposal Kit and/or one or more Proposal Packs. Proposal Kit Wizard works as a Word Macro, automating common tasks that are usually performed manually using the proposal templates. Drag and drop your chosen templates into your Proposal Master document or simply merge them from multiple PDF docs to create your final Proposal, ready to send. Use the Mail Merge feature to integrate your client's details.


   Dear Reader,

What an interesting month it's been. Seems everybody was playing "catch up" to Google in the search engine space this month. Yahoo launched a new streamlined version of their search technology and Ask Jeeves quickly followed suit. Both search portals shifted their focus back to basics, no doubt as a result of witnessing Google's trail-blazing success with the same formula.
But will these changes be enough to woo users away from Google? Doubtful. Yahoo is seen by many as "search for dummies" while Jeeve's conservative British butler definitely lacks the cool factor.
Google surprised everyone this month (especially Overture) by purchasing Overture's key advertising partner Applied Semantics. The news hit Overture stocks hard, with shares sliding 27 percent. Are they starting to lose their grip on pay-per-click market share? Will Google be able to use their current advantage to position AdWords to dominate the cut- throat PPC industry? Stay tuned!
But the past month wasn't all about work. Friends and I took the opportunity last weekend to visit Mt Sunday, near Methven, the magnificent location for the city of Edoras from Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers. One advantage of living in New Zealand is the ability to explore its breathtaking scenery, little by little.
I'll be doing that again early next month, spending 10 days with my husband and our dear neighbours visiting all the wineries and potteries we can find in Blenheim and Nelson - my first vacation in 18 months. I just hope we can fit in the car with all the wine and pottery I plan on bringing home!
April was also the month I discovered Proposal Kit (read our feature) and hired a Virtual Assistant. What's that? A V.A. is a Personal Assistant that works for you virtually, via the Internet. There are many, many advantages of using a V.A. and I plan on writing an article about the concept in a future issue. You can read more about hiring or becoming a V.A. at AssistU.
Meanwhile, enjoy this issue and remember to visit our daily Search Engine News Blog for the latest industry news and gossip.

Till next time - wishing you high rankings...

  • Google Invests in the Semantic Web
  Google has increased their commitment to content- targeted advertising with the purchase this month of Applied Semantics, a Santa Monica-based producer of software applications for the online advertising, domain name and enterprise information management markets.

Applied Semantics' products are based on its patented CIRCA technology, which understands, organizes, and extracts knowledge from websites and information repositories in a way that mimics human thought and enables more effective information retrieval. A key application of the CIRCA technology is Applied Semantics' AdSense product that enables web publishers to understand the key themes on web pages to deliver highly relevant and targeted advertisements.

Full Story...

  • Yahoo Unveils New Streamlined Search
  •   Yahoo has unveiled streamlined new search functionality this month, in an apparent bid to win back searchers from rival and business partner Google.

    With a tag line of "Faster, Easier, Smarter", the new Yahoo! Search even looks like Google, with an uncluttered interface, a tab menu for various searching modes, cached search results and a new image search tool. They've even created a downloadable Yahoo Search Toolbar.

    Full Story...

  • Overture Shares Fall 27 Percent
  •   As a combined result of announcing lower than expected revenues and Google purchasing their partner Applied Semantics this month (see story above), Overture shares fell more than 27 percent last week.

    Full Story...

  • Web Rank Small Business Special
  •   Not achieving the ranking you want in the search listings? Need step-by-step help to make your site more search engine friendly? Got a small budget?

    Sounds like you need our Search Engine Compatibility Report. For a limited time, Web Rank is offering SECR's for just USD 175. That's right - $175!

    Tell Me More...

  • Google and Amazon Shake Hands
  •   The world's most popular search site and the most popular online retailer have shaken hands this month on a multi-year deal that will see Google search results and paid listings appear on the Amazon site.

    In what has got to be one of the biggest search deals of the year, Google will provide its popular web search technology and paid advertising services to, providing the retailer with a key opportunity to share in the growing revenue stream of online search.

    Full Story...

  • Ask "Jeeves" and You Shall Receive
  •   After a year long behind-the-scenes makeover, Ask Jeeves has launched a new version of their search engine in a bid to catch rival Google in the functionality stakes.
    The new "Jeeves" boasts some impressive new features, including:
    - Cleaner Design: The cleaner site design is brighter, easier to use and provides helpful suggestions and options.
    - Faster Load Time: Ask Jeeves now loads 50 percent faster than before, meaning people can get to their information much more quickly.
    - Intuitive Picture and News Search: You can now search for pictures and news directly from the homepage. Just specify that you are looking for an "image", "picture", "photos" or "news".

    Full Story...

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