Do offline businesses need more basic advice?

by Andyhenry 47 replies
Hi Warriors,

I was doing some consulting for an offline company yesterday and found myself explaining what a CMS was vs Frontpage, what FTP was, the difference between having a domain and email vs having a website.

This was a company that have already paid a 'web guy' to do things for them.

It was an interesting session and there's a lot more to talk about with them but it left me wondering how many businesses probably also don't understand this simple stuff.

Quite often people get in to the lingo for various marketing things but never actually got to grips with the simple mechanics of how websites, urls and links work.

Do you find yourself still needing to go right back to basics for people?

Andy
#main internet marketing discussion forum #advice #basic #benefits #businesses #offline
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
    Most businesses have no idea at all about how internet marketing works.

    And the average web designer is going to charge them several thousand dollars or more to create a fancy website for them that's unlikely to make any sales or drive any traffic.

    The most basic internet marketing knowledge (knowledge nearly every Warrior Forum member has already) is invaluable to the average small business owner.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh
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    • Profile picture of the author Collette
      What Andrew said...

      My experience has been that the average business owner is astoundingly clueless about using the Internet as a marketing tool. Even the ones that have a web site.

      Especially the ones that have a web site.

      With a lot of these small to medium sized businesses, the problem I would run into was that they didn't understand the most basic stuff about how powerful Web marketing can be. And, like so many people, they had already plonked down a sizeable chunk of change for a purty web site with whistles and bells - that was completely useless to them. Of course, no one had considered the content, which would range from lame to downright awful.

      Plus, sometimes the design of their purty web site was so unusable (whistles and bells notwithstanding), it was killing any kind of conversion.

      Telling these folks they're going to have to start from scratch again is a message rarely received with unbridled joy.

      Although the problem you described is very common, I found the market, for the most part, to be completely unaware that they HAD a problem.

      Personally, I found it an uphill sell, and a LOT of work. I prefer to work with people who already understand that their web site is not supposed to sit in the wind-swept hinterlands of the Internet, in the faint hope that some lone surfer will someday stumble across it.

      But, yes, offline businesses could certainly benefit from more basic advice.
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      • Profile picture of the author jhongren
        Although the problem you described is very common, I found the market, for the most part, to be completely unaware that they HAD a problem.
        I think beside the need for them to overcome the difficulty in understanding the basics of IM, they also need to battle the enemies within themselves such as fear of failure, "i am always right" mentality and denial that the world is already ahead of them by that much.

        It is not easy to sell "Change of Mindset"

        John
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    • Profile picture of the author Nonny
      [quote=AndrewCavanagh;147828]Most businesses have no idea at all about how internet marketing works.

      And the average web designer is going to charge them several thousand dollars or more to create a fancy website for them that's unlikely to make any sales or drive any traffic./quote]
      This is a timely discussion thread for me. A friend of mine has a business where he sells a unique specialized physical product. The prospective buyers for his product are a relatively small group that tends to not have that much money, so it's a bit of a hard sell. He's been looking into having his web site updated, and the web designers he's been talking to have been telling him about the importance of SEO and keywords and the like. Of course having an optimized web site would be a good thing, but what he hasn't been told is that it's not enough to build a pretty site and assume that potential customers will find him. If no one is doing searches for the key words his site is optimized for, his site is as good as invisible.

      I suggested that he reach out to his potential customers - join related forums, comment on blogs in his niche, frequent related Myspace groups, even create his own blog or YouTube videos - but he "doesn't have time" for that kind of marketing, and his most of his advertising budget is going to the new web design. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be surprised that if a year from now the return on his investment is so poor that he'll decide that the whole internet thing doesn't work for him.

      I suspect that part of my friend's problem in grasping the importance of internet marketing is that he seems to be thinking that his web site is equivalent to a glossy magazine ad rather than a store front. What I'm having trouble explaining to him is that, just as if he had a brick and mortar store, he needs to do the online equivalent of placing ads in magazines and on billboards, handing out fliers to potential customers, and networking with other businesses.
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      • Originally Posted by Nonny View Post

        A friend of mine has a business where he sells a unique specialized physical product. The prospective buyers for his product are a relatively small group that tends to not have that much money, so it's a bit of a hard sell.
        It pains me to read this! Since I specialize in "rich niche" businesses, I know that reaching out to those who are broke is an exercise in frustration and futility.

        Now, I don't know if your friend could start targeting people with money to spend, or rethink his or her business model. I do know that most of the time, I have to help business owners look at four aspects of their business before we can talk about "Internetifying" the business:
        1. The business plan, especially the Mission Statement
        2. Which merchandise, products or services bring in the most money
        3. Any underused capacity that can be "scaled up" without much extra effort
        4. What causes (or could cause) aggravation
        If your friend is aggravated, underused, barely making a profit and doesn't have a business plan, FUHGEDDABOUDIT!:rolleyes:
        Signature
        "The will to prepare to win is more important than the will to win." -- misquoting Coach Vince Lombardi
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  • Profile picture of the author jhongren
    I realised many companies want to venture online without understanding what it is...

    "it is another herd mentality.

    I remembered while I was a coach in a local IM workshop, we spent almost one full day explaining the difference between a blog and a website.

    Most didn't get it even after the 2 days workshop.

    After coaching for 3 IM workshops, most of the time is spent on explaining the basics like FTP. blog, platforms, HTML and stuff like that. It is a pity that the trainer had prepared more exciting stuff like social bookmarking traffic, article marketing, email marketing and so on.

    I heard another interesting story of this guy who came into the workshop.

    His first question is "How do I on my laptop?"
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    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      Originally Posted by jhongren View Post

      I remembered while I was a coach in a local IM workshop, we spent almost one full day explaining the difference between a blog and a website.

      Most didn't get it even after the 2 days workshop.

      After coaching for 3 IM workshops, most of the time is spent on explaining the basics like FTP. blog, platforms, HTML and stuff like that. It is a pity that the trainer had prepared more exciting stuff like social bookmarking traffic, article marketing, email marketing and so on.

      I heard another interesting story of this guy who came into the workshop.

      His first question is "How do I turn on my laptop?"

      What's stupid is not that the business owners don't know anything...it's that people keep trying to teach them this stuff and turn them into online experts.

      Listen up guys:

      A business owner is perfectly happy to PAY YOU GOOD MONEY for you to do all this stuff for them.

      And they'll pay a whole lot more for a hands off solution that doesn't require any work or education for them.

      They have very little time and ultimately they just want to see results.

      Focus on doing everything for a business and getting them real results and you can make real money doing it.

      It really is that simple.

      Let me put it another way for you...


      If you wasted 2 days of a business owners time trying to explain the difference between a blog and a website and you've charged him for it...and you failed!!... you just made yourself a ripoff scam artist.

      I know no one on this forum wants to do that...even by accident.

      We want to give value to the people who come in contact with us.

      And the simplest way to do that is not by trying to educate people who don't want to be educated...it's by giving them the solutions...giving them the results they want.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
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      • Originally Posted by AndrewCavanagh View Post

        What's stupid is not that the business owners don't know anything...it's that people keep trying to teach them this stuff and turn them into online experts.

        Listen up guys:

        A business owner is perfectly happy to PAY YOU GOOD MONEY for you to do all this stuff for them.

        [Snip]

        If you wasted 2 days of a business owners time trying to explain the difference between a blog and a website and you've charged him for it...and you failed!!... you just made yourself a ripoff scam artist.
        Absolutely right! What's even worse is trying to help somebody who knows just enough to be dangerous, and wants you to give some tips on the cheap (or for free).

        It's been said before, but it bears repeating: don't sell features, sell BENEFITS. Never try to "sell" an autoresponder service -- sell the benefits of a hands-off way to stay in contact with a business owner's prospects and customers. Don't sell a blog -- sell the personal touch and relationships that a business owner can leverage into more (and higher-ticket) sales.

        In short, don't go giving seminars to those who don't want them. Give them help with their MARKETING (some of which is done through online means).

        HTH

        Vince Runza
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        "The will to prepare to win is more important than the will to win." -- misquoting Coach Vince Lombardi
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        • Profile picture of the author stsnelson
          I read something years ago that grabbed me by the throat and woke me up quick. I'm paraphrasing here:

          "What you take for granted may be a blessing and nuggets of wisdom for someone else."

          Little things we Warriors do everyday is a chore for those who do not know it.

          Andrew said, "A business owner is perfectly happy to PAY YOU GOOD MONEY for you to do all this stuff for them." As Keith and Vince pointed out you have to educate them and sell the benefits of your service.

          I have been quietly applying those concepts and it works like ganbusters.

          At the end of the day, I meet people where they are. If they want to learn I teach. If they want results I do it for them.

          When you do it right you will have a loyal following of people who come to you for assistance and purchase whatever service or product you offer because they trust you and you have delivered the results they desire.

          The basics of marketing online has served me well!
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          • Profile picture of the author Richard Tunnah
            Originally Posted by stsnelson View Post

            I read something years ago that grabbed me by the throat and woke me up quick. I'm paraphrasing here:

            "What you take for granted may be a blessing and nuggets of wisdom for someone else."

            Little things we Warriors do everyday is a chore for those who do not know it.

            Andrew said, "A business owner is perfectly happy to PAY YOU GOOD MONEY for you to do all this stuff for them." As Keith and Vince pointed out you have to educate them and sell the benefits of your service.

            I have been quietly applying those concepts and it works like ganbusters.

            At the end of the day, I meet people where they are. If they want to learn I teach. If they want results I do it for them.

            When you do it right you will have a loyal following of people who come to you for assistance and purchase whatever service or product you offer because they trust you and you have delivered the results they desire.

            The basics of marketing online has served me well!
            Agree Shawn. It's about selling the benefits just as you would do online. Most businesses are concerned about it 'working' for them and afterwards the costs. Although if you do the first right then many businesses will show less resistant to costs. People need to bear in mind that many local businesses are probably spending quite a bit offline on small ads anyway that give little or no ROI. In fact I spoke to a local plumber that spends over £300 ($600) a month on small ads a few times a month, £500 a year with yellow pages plus he sponsored a few local business events. So he was spending something in the region of £6000 a year on advertising.

            Rich
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    • Profile picture of the author godzillaalmighty
      Originally Posted by jhongren View Post

      I realised many companies want to venture online without understanding what it is...

      "it is another herd mentality.

      I remembered while I was a coach in a local IM workshop, we spent almost one full day explaining the difference between a blog and a website.

      Most didn't get it even after the 2 days workshop.

      After coaching for 3 IM workshops, most of the time is spent on explaining the basics like FTP. blog, platforms, HTML and stuff like that. It is a pity that the trainer had prepared more exciting stuff like social bookmarking traffic, article marketing, email marketing and so on.

      I heard another interesting story of this guy who came into the workshop.

      His first question is "How do I on my laptop?"
      That's good one!
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  • Profile picture of the author George Wright
    Andy,

    Forget the stuff you are talking about, I don't know that. LOL.

    When I deal with offline business I find that most don't know anything at all. The owners that is.

    They just haven't had time to learn because of running their businesses.

    It's amazing. I get "How do you" send an email, turn off my PC, (they turned it on but just left it on, this happened 3 different times.) listen to things (I plugged in the speakers)

    One gentleman had been getting by for years typing URLs he wanted into the search window instead of the address window. He eventually would get to where he wanted to by way of google or yahoo search etc.

    I've taught rich people how to cut and paste.

    I've taught insurance brokers who use their company's proprietary programs with ease how to use Google.

    I told a multimillion dollar company about article marketing. The next time I talked to the guy I blabed to he had been put in charge of hiring a bunch college students to write articles in house.

    On and on there is no end to this.

    Seriously, if anyone has the savvy to navigate to the Warrior Forum and make a post is in need of money there is a goldmine in his back yard just waiting to be mined.

    George Wright
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  • Profile picture of the author Nicholas Ho
    This is something that I am confused of.
    If we want to build a site for our clients, what kind of sites we should be?
    A normal designed site with a blog to drive traffic or else?

    Any case studies?

    Thanks.
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    • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
      Originally Posted by Nicholas Ho View Post

      This is something that I am confused of.
      If we want to build a site for our clients, what kind of sites we should be?
      A normal designed site with a blog to drive traffic or else?

      Any case studies?

      Thanks.
      Hi Nicholas,

      This depends entirely on what the purpose of the site is.

      Many businesses don't even properly consider what the purpose of their site is.

      Also, it depends what your revenue model is.

      I have no intention of spending my time being a web guy for other people - so I make my money from consulting and if they're friends I might build them the site, but then I remove myself from the equation.

      You could run a very lucrative business from doing this but maintaining the hosting for their sites and charging for hosting. If you have a reseller hosting account this will cost you nothing and you can do it for 100 people and make a full-time income.

      Sometimes I build sites from scratch, sometimes I pay someone like Karl Warren to make some nice graphics and I use a CMS or a template, other times I just outsource the whole thing.

      For me it's a matter of time. I value my time and I don't like to spend it doing manual things that make other people money if someone else could do it just as well.

      I use every type of site there is depending on the purpose, the budget and timescale involved.

      I'm not trying to build an income from doing this, so it's not something I give a lot of time to.

      Andy
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      nothing to see here.

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  • Profile picture of the author Richard Tunnah
    Andy,
    In the few months I've been doing offline consulting I've found many companies still struggle with the basics. Many do indeed have 'web guys' that in some cases are making a fortune off them by screwing them over for lack of knowledge. The biggest challenge I've found is that many local businesses believe having a web site is all that is needed to make the most of the web. In fact I recently spoke to a local association of elecrictians who all paid £500 ($1000) a year for a guy to bang up a template with a phone number on.
    It gets easy as they see I can offer something that works and actually brings them business. Obviously you have to work hard to get those first few customers.

    Rich
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    • Profile picture of the author Keith Boisvert
      There is a point of no return here. In my experiences, in order to sell what it is you do, there must be some education involved.

      Unless you strictly sell "Web design", there needs to be an explanation of WHY a biz owner should choose you. No, you don't have to spend "Days" explaining things, but you certainly have to be able to talk to an owner in a language they understand, so they can see the value.

      They don't need to know HOW to set up an autoresponder, but they certainly need to now HOW it works and HOW it can benefit their business.

      They don't need to know HOW to do SEO, but they need to know HOW it will increase visibility to their site.

      They don't need to know HOW to write great sales copy, but they do need to know HOW it can help sales and conversions.

      Most biz owners I speak to have no real idea of the potential of the internet. Nor do they really care about the nuts and bolts. But as stated, most don't know what they are missing out on...and that is where you come in. No need to spend countless hours educating them, but there is a need for the basics. The main point here is to focus on the benefits, not the boring details.

      Business owners have little time and even less patience, and want RESULTS. If you focus on providing results, then you will have no problem selling your service.

      Some owners don't "get it", and chances have it, no amount of time and energy you put forth will be worth it.

      The more you do it the more you will be able to identify those who "get it" and those who don't.

      Remember, as Andrew stated, YOU are the expert. That's why you are in business...so they pay YOU to do this. You need to work on your presentation and how to convey benefits. Trust me, there are plenty of businesses who need and WANT what you have, the others either will struggle along allowing their ignorance of the subject to limit their business, or come around at some point and call you.

      Either way, keep on moving and find those that need and want you, all the while working on your "presentation".

      Keith
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    • Originally Posted by richt1971 View Post

      In fact I recently spoke to a local association of elecrictians who all paid £500 ($1000) a year for a guy to bang up a template with a phone number on.
      I think many businesses are numbed to a "marketing budget" with no trackable results. How much does that yellow pages ad bring in? The radio campaign? The doorhanger coupon campaign? How about the full page newspaper ad?

      Many businesses are spending like its going out of style on all kinds of marketing, but they have no idea what that money does for them.

      If you can bring a tracking component into their marketing - or even bring this up in the conversation - they'll love you to death.

      I think this goes in very well with that Cash Cow thread that is currently raging... http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...-its-free.html
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  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post


    Do you find yourself still needing to go right back to basics for people?

    Andy
    It depends. If you are offering a total solution package such as Andrew Cavanaugh does, then you sell the prospect on letting you do it for them and increase their bottom lines.

    If you are offering simple web page work, you may or may not have to do some education, and TIME is the one thing that all small business owners lack.

    And what BASICS you teach are subject to their needs. For some, they don't even know how to "click and drag" or what keyboard shortcuts mean. Some are lucky they can even log onto the Internet.

    So, it is best to keep the LINGO to a minimum, and speak in benefits, and part of your offer could be a BASICS (to match their needs) seminar for 90 minutes on site to bring their key people up to speed.

    Look, it could take years to learn the "Basics" of Internet Marketing, let alone computer use, so keep it simple and the lingo to a minimum.

    gjabiz
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  • Profile picture of the author Kenton Newby
    Great post.

    I know I'm sorta' preaching to the converted in this group, but what's even scarier (in keeping with the upcoming Halloween season) is that most business owners have no clue, and I mean NO CLUE about basic marketing. I'm talking about direct response marketing in particular.

    They think "marketing" is paying the Yellow Page guy, Val Pak guy, or PennySaver guy to place an ad. Possibly. But if the ad is horrible and doesn't generate customers that lead to sales, so what? And don't even get me started on the whole issue of actually TRACKING those results. Sheesh!

    This is why most people think they can just have a website online and that should be good enough. No call to action, no idea about what they actually want people to DO when (or if) they get to the site. Nope, they just want to "get their name out there".

    What's hilarious to me is that lots of businesses engage in this sort of untargeted, expensive branding and then sell their stuff based on the Wal-Mart method of doing business. Expensive advertising that compels people to shop with you because of your cheap price seems like a bad deal to me and I refuse to play ball that way.

    So not only is there an education piece when it comes to "internet marketing", but you'll most likely need to educate people on "marketing" in general.

    I'm actually about to test doing some lead generation using a few special reports I wrote up. I'm hoping that this will help me separate those that "get it" from those that are going to be a pain in the neck to teach (the same group that will likely decide based only on price.)

    Gee, sorry if that sounded like a mini-rant.

    Kenton
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  • Profile picture of the author ibringjoy
    Everyone says to sell the benefits and the results they will get. But what results, exactly? Are you selling these contracts by simply saying they will make more sales? Or are you putting in actual numbers that they can expect? It seems it would be easier to make the sale by using real numbers and expectations, but then what if they don't start getting more customers right away? What if they don't get the numbers you said, or led them to believe?

    Kathryn
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    • Profile picture of the author Rachel Goodchild
      Originally Posted by ibringjoy View Post

      Everyone says to sell the benefits and the results they will get. But what results, exactly? Are you selling these contracts by simply saying they will make more sales? Or are you putting in actual numbers that they can expect? It seems it would be easier to make the sale by using real numbers and expectations, but then what if they don't start getting more customers right away? What if they don't get the numbers you said, or led them to believe?

      Kathryn
      You can measure it easily
      One of my clinets is measuring the increase of traffic to her website
      A blog can get alot of hits
      And you cna show how many times an article is viewed
      In fact you have better stats than many large print companies doo- because you cna show them they looked at that part specifically,as opposed to viewing a tiny add in the back of a mag, that may have cost as much to run as keeping you on for a month to advise and assist them
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    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      Originally Posted by ibringjoy View Post

      Everyone says to sell the benefits and the results they will get. But what results, exactly? Are you selling these contracts by simply saying they will make more sales? Or are you putting in actual numbers that they can expect? It seems it would be easier to make the sale by using real numbers and expectations, but then what if they don't start getting more customers right away? What if they don't get the numbers you said, or led them to believe?
      The key to helping a business owner see the potential is to get them to give you numbers.

      eg.
      "If we started capturing the email addresses of everyone who comes into your business how many new people do you think we'd get in a week?"

      "So if we waited a month and then emailed all those xxx emails with a special offer how many do you think might come in?"

      "And if you had that many people come in how many sales do you think you'd make?"

      "What would your approximate profit be on those sales?"

      That way your prospect has come up with his own figures (and he's taking ownership of the whole idea.

      Then you might point out that you can automate sending out the emails and that he could be sending email offers every week and his email list and potential sales and profits could be growing every week.

      That's just one example. There are many ways of doing this.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author stsnelson
    Kathryn,

    You give them what they want not what you want. If they want more customers then you show them how you can position them in front of their target audience or how you can get them the traffic they want into their store (without giving all the details).

    All you're really doing is talking with the business owners to get a feel for their business, target market and what's important to them. Then you determine, with their feedback and approval, what's the best course of action to take.

    It would not be wise to mention specific numbers regarding what they can get as that will get you into trouble. If the owner can track your efforts then it makes it easier (i.e., discount coupon, special code, etc.)

    Now what I do is show my numbers for my sites and sites that I have worked on. I have testimonies from happy clients that they can call. That helps because many of them have been with me for at least a year and a few for over two years.

    This is just my opinion but I do not like coming to the table empty handed. I like having results to get them to see what's possible over time.
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    • Profile picture of the author Doug McIsaac
      I work with offline businesses and couldn't agree more strongly with Andrew and Keith. Most offline businesses simply want you to do it for them and maybe for you to show them that it is working. They are so used to just pouring their advertising dollars down a hole.

      In fact, in my experience less than 10% of small business owners have any idea about marketing much less about online marketing. The majority of small business owners go to work every morning and punch the clock. They are busy working in their business and believe they do not have the time to work on their business.

      Most of them base their advertising decision far more on how much money they have in the bank and/or what the latest sale is when the advertising sales guy/gal of the day walks into their office then whether it makes sense strategically for them to invest in that media. It's sad, but true.

      So while I do believe that we need to educate our clients, we need to understand that most of them really do not want to know. It's just our job to deliver results to them and they will happily pay us to do so.

      Doug
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  • Profile picture of the author ibringjoy
    Thanks, Shawn. I mulled over your post a few times, and now I understand the strategy of how you could make the sale without expectations of specific numbers. Just took me a while...

    Kathryn
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  • Profile picture of the author Jermaine Tabor
    Good information everyone!
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    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      Originally Posted by Doug McIsaac View Post

      In fact, in my experience less than 10% of small business owners have any idea about marketing much less about online marketing.

      That is very true. Most business owners have very little idea of marketing and that is an enormous opportunity for you.

      If you share the most basic marketing knowledge with a business owner he's likely to think you're a marketing genius.

      (In fact I have clients and business friends who call me that even though all I've told them is something really simple like using an autoresponder or teaching their staff to upsell a low price high net profit product on the cash register.

      If a business owner sees you as a marketing genius the chance he's going to hire you to help him goes up significantly.


      Originally Posted by Nonny View Post

      what he hasn't been told is that it's not enough to build a pretty site and assume that potential customers will find him. If no one is doing searches for the key words his site is optimized for, his site is as good as invisible.

      I suggested that he reach out to his potential customers - join related forums, comment on blogs in his niche, frequent related Myspace groups, even create his own blog or YouTube videos - but he "doesn't have time" for that kind of marketing, and his most of his advertising budget is going to the new web design.

      I don't really know of any small business owner who has the time to learn how to do this let alone the time to be posting on forums, Myspace groups and blogs and posting YouTube videos.

      What might be a whole lot smarter is to offer to do it for him for a fee.

      Or if you're starting out and you're not making money online yourself you could offer to do it in exchange for a fee if he makes some sales.

      You'll get ripped off of course and you'll be unlikely to get paid any significant amount of money but after the first client you'll have some experience and confidence and you can charge the next client upfront.

      The key here is not to try to sell myspace posting or blog posting or creating YouTube videos but to sell the potential sales and profits these activities can create for a specific business.

      Then offer to do it for the business owner at a fee that's significantly less than the potential profits.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author Tsnyder
    Andy...

    Here's a semi-humorous story about just how little some
    B&M business owners actually know about online marketing...

    I called on this fellow... owns a small used car operation... to
    offer him a page in my new local online business directory. I was
    referred to him by a mutual friend who's also a dealer.

    I figure it's a slam dunk sale... being a mutual friend in the same business.

    So... we get to talking about what he's doing online. He actually spends
    quite a bit of money monthly on his own site as well as a couple of those
    online car locater type sites.... $2000 all tolled.

    I ask if he's happy with the results... is he getting a good number of
    real buyers from his efforts?

    He says he thinks he is but doesn't really track it like he should.

    Then he says...

    I rank #1 in google. Well... I know he doesn't because a client of
    mine ranks #1 for the most commonly used keyword for this market.

    So... I ask him what keyword is producing that #1 ranking. He gets a
    puzzled look on his face and asks me... what's a keyword?

    I tell him that's the word or phrase people are typing into the google
    search field that causes his site to come up #1.

    He replies... with a big smile... as if he's sharing a little known secret...

    wait for it...

    you're gonna love this...

    THE NAME OF HIS DEALERSHIP!

    I manage to suppress the urge to laugh out loud and ask him who
    he thinks should come up #1 when his name is entered... lol

    I then ask him if the short phrase my client ranks for would make sense
    as something people would type in if they were looking for used cars in this
    market. He agrees that it would so I ask him to go to google and type it in.

    He does... and... he... of course... is nowhere to be found in the results.

    Imagine that!

    He tells me he needs to think about my proposal... I follow up with him
    3 more times until he finally tells me he's happy with what he's doing and
    has decided to pass on my directory.

    Imagine my surprise... lol

    Tsnyder
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    If you knew what I know you'd be doing what I do...
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    Great info coming out from people so far. Thanks to everyone for the responses so far.
    Signature

    nothing to see here.

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    • Profile picture of the author zenmn
      I have not really earned the right to be dispensing advice just yet but; here is my experience.....

      With a mostly mail-order and mortar background (now getting into IM) I agree with most of what has been said here.

      But....

      Do not forget that a website is just part of a successful business.

      Of course (for some) it will be a bigger part.

      I took an IDM approach "Integrated Direct Marketing" and feel, at the very least, a business should have a web presence or brochure site (many do not) .

      A simple well designed brochure site can be very powerful and should have 3 basic things:

      1. Who you are
      2. What you do
      3. Action benefit
      4. How to get a hold of you

      All on one page.

      I know what you are thinking....."DUH!"

      But sometimes we need to get back to basics and build out from there?

      I found that many of my biggest sales came from tradeshows/business cards/articles/brochures where my website and email were prominently displayed. Thus, customers had a place to find me.

      I also found that many customers remembered and were specifically looking for my product and/or service from the above marketing efforts and wanted a phone number.

      Yes....a phone number!

      With all this fancy online ordering technology there is still a huge segment of the market that does not trust ordering online and want to do it over the phone.

      We moved a 1-800 number to the top of everything we printed (order now) and also put it on the label of everything we sold. This increased sales dramatically.

      Oh, and being a former business owner, I totally agree....I do not have the time to know, build and maintain all the IM bells and whistles. Do it for me me and make sure it's measurable!

      PS; But I can wrap my mind around a simple brochure site to anchor the rest of my marketing efforts

      -zenmn
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      • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
        That pretty much sums up the very first conversation I usually have with businesses. The times when it gets interesting are when they already have preconceptions about how the search engine side of things work (they're almost always not properly aware of this and have crazy ideas and expectations).

        I never get on to all the really cool stuff you can do using IM for businesses until I'm clear that they understand the basics and have considered WHY they need a website and that they actually have the business ready to take to the next level (sometimes it's easy to see offline ways to massively increase their business before even considering the online elements).

        Andy


        Originally Posted by zenmn View Post

        I have not really earned the right to be dispensing advice just yet but; here is my experience.....

        With a mostly mail-order and mortar background (now getting into IM) I agree with most of what has been said here.

        But....

        Do not forget that a website is just part of a successful business.

        Of course (for some) it will be a bigger part.

        I took an IDM approach "Integrated Direct Marketing" and feel, at the very least, a business should have a web presence or brochure site (many do not) .

        A simple well designed brochure site can be very powerful and should have 3 basic things:

        1. Who you are
        2. What you do
        3. Action benefit
        4. How to get a hold of you

        All on one page.

        I know what you are thinking....."DUH!"

        But sometimes we need to get back to basics and build out from there?

        I found that many of my biggest sales came from tradeshows/business cards/articles/brochures where my website and email were prominently displayed. Thus, customers had a place to find me.

        I also found that many customers remembered and were specifically looking for my product and/or service from the above marketing efforts and wanted a phone number.

        Yes....a phone number!

        With all this fancy online ordering technology there is still a huge segment of the market that does not trust ordering online and want to do it over the phone.

        We moved a 1-800 number to the top of everything we printed (order now) and also put it on the label of everything we sold. This increased sales dramatically.

        Oh, and being a former business owner, I totally agree....I do not have the time to know, build and maintain all the IM bells and whistles. Do it for me me and make sure it's measurable!

        PS; But I can wrap my mind around a simple brochure site to anchor the rest of my marketing efforts

        -zenmn
        Signature

        nothing to see here.

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        • Profile picture of the author naruq
          I find myself having to go back to basics for myself.
          Signature

          Please do not use affiliate links in signatures

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  • Profile picture of the author James Schramko
    Business owners are after a result.

    You do not need to know how an engine works to drive.

    It is the RESULT you are selling.

    Business owners want more LEADS, more CONVERSIONS, more MONEY, more FAME, more TIME

    and less STRESS.

    If you can deliver that (via your solution) then they will pay you and feel great about it. They probably do not care about FTP etc....
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  • Oh, Yeah, the phone number! If you're doing local SEO, PPC or any other model to promote a business make sure the phone number is "above the fold" in big bold numbers:

    1-800-555-1212

    Customers doing online searches want to speak to a person!
    Signature
    "The will to prepare to win is more important than the will to win." -- misquoting Coach Vince Lombardi
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    • Profile picture of the author ShayB
      Hmmmmmmm....this post really has gotten me thinking.

      My background is in retail management. I could really put that experience to use with the ideas in this thread.

      My head is spinning right now with the possibilities....
      Signature
      "Fate protects fools, little children, and ships called Enterprise." ~Commander Riker
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  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    Hey Andy,

    Most people don't have a clue on how to do their marketing online, let alone make money.

    The basics are very important but you also need to know what is the most important aspect of your website.

    If you are in online marketing and are selling affiliate programs, do you know what is the MOST important thing that you site really needs?

    It is the "LIST". You have got to give your visitors the option to subscribe to your newsletter.

    If it wasn't for email marketing and following up with my subscribers, I don't think that I would be as successful as I am today.

    So having a opt in email list is CRUCIAL to online business success.

    Tal
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    • Profile picture of the author Nonny
      Originally Posted by Vince Runza Online View Post

      It pains me to read this! Since I specialize in "rich niche" businesses, I know that reaching out to those who are broke is an exercise in frustration and futility.

      Now, I don't know if your friend could start targeting people with money to spend, or rethink his or her business model.
      I think he could get a lot more sales by reaching out to his customers and demonstrating why his product is a worthwhile investment. He could also sell to hobbyists in his niche who likely have more spare cash than the underpaid professionals. But as a professional in the niche himself, he's reluctant to do this, since the hobbyists don't "need" what he's selling. Ultimately to be successful, I think he has to get someone on his team with marketing experience to take care of the selling.
      Originally Posted by Vince Runza Online View Post

      Oh, Yeah, the phone number! If you're doing local SEO, PPC or any other model to promote a business make sure the phone number is "above the fold" in big bold numbers:
      And if it's a brick-and-mortar store, make it easy to find your address and business hours. I've come across sites where I can't even figure out what state the business is located in.
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      • Originally Posted by Nonny View Post

        I think he could get a lot more sales by reaching out to his customers and demonstrating why his product is a worthwhile investment. He could also sell to hobbyists in his niche who likely have more spare cash than the underpaid professionals. But as a professional in the niche himself, he's reluctant to do this, since the hobbyists don't "need" what he's selling. Ultimately to be successful, I think he has to get someone on his team with marketing experience to take care of the selling.
        The #1 rule of business is to make a profit! However, you may not be able to get an idealist to see things this way...

        And if it's a brick-and-mortar store, make it easy to find your address and business hours. I've come across sites where I can't even figure out what state the business is located in.
        I feel your pain! When I promote a local business, I give their street address and even the GPS coordinates to their parking lot! As for the business hours, the surfer who finds the listing I have for them can either call for that info or go to the client's website.

        The phone number is paramount!
        Signature
        "The will to prepare to win is more important than the will to win." -- misquoting Coach Vince Lombardi
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  • Profile picture of the author Kyle Tully
    Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

    Do you find yourself still needing to go right back to basics for people?

    Andy
    Depends on the client.

    In nearly all cases they have no idea about anything to do with the Internet... BUT -- and this is the key -- most of them don't want to know.

    So in most cases the only thing I need to explain to them is the results.

    Sure, some want to know how everything works, but they're few and far between. The majority just want to hand everything off to me, sit back and wait for the results.
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  • Profile picture of the author hochelaga
    The number of offline businesses who want a greater/more efficient online presence is huge. A buddy of mine and I went to an IM seminar in New Zealand and a when they were doing the general Q&A session to see who was making money online with their web sites only 3 hands went up, two of those being ours.

    As soon as the break started, people bombarded us with questions about SEO and basic web design. We'd never considered helping offline biz's with the IM knowledge we've gathered over the last few years (perhaps because we're selfish like that), but before long we were organizing our own mini seminars and doing one on one consulting work for people who already had web sites.

    This is a killer niche, it paid for my wedding and three months holidaying after just two weeks of work.

    Awesome comments from everyone btw.
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    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      I remember several years ago speaking to a group of yoga teacher training students about marketing themselves when they started their own yoga practice.

      I mentioned a whole pile of marketing strategies...over 20 from memory.

      1 of them was about using the internet to market yourself more effectively.

      Guess what everyone asked about after the seminar...

      That's right...how do I use the internet?

      How do I send out emails automatically?

      What's the quickest way to set up a website?

      Will it cost me more than $10,000 because that's all I have to spend...

      etc etc.


      Look the average business owner still sees the internet as a magical, potential source of huge revenue.

      If you start talking about real proven strategies customized to help their business make more sales and profits you are going to get hired by a lot of these business owners.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author rosetrees
    I've just started doing websites for clients. Two of the three so far had existing sites designed by others. Both had no idea who hosted their sites or which registrar handled their domain name renewal. All had been registered in the name of the original designer.

    I make sure that the hosting and domain registration is done in my client's name and all the log in details etc are handed to them. One had fallen out with their original designer and we were on the verge of registering a new domain name.

    One was being charged so much per month for "maintenance" of a site I was, literally, speechless and didn't know what to say. The site was a free, online template, and contained old photos and other info that was 3 years old.

    And so far, none of them had a clue about domain email. One had "free hosting" and would have had to £20 (UK) per year to set up and use an email address! Another was paying £50 per year to upgrade their "free" hosting to allow an 8 page very basic website (the unmaintained one).
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  • Profile picture of the author obiswill
    The more you work with offline companies, the more you will see how little they know, and how much you can make. What you discovered is the very reason why in 1999 I saw it was far more lucrative to do offline consulting than online consulting. I hope you continue to reap the benefits of your knowledge.
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    The Future Is Now
    www.fromhopetovictory.com

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  • Profile picture of the author Lashley
    Have you found any trend among certain types of off-line businesses that are in greater need for help? For example, companies of a certain revenue or employee size, companies of a certain industry?
    This particular problem they have is only going to magnify in the wake of continuing economic struggles. They'll move online faster to help compensate for lagging off-line sales. It would be good to know how to identify the low-hanging fruit.
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    • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
      Originally Posted by Lashley View Post

      Have you found any trend among certain types of off-line businesses that are in greater need for help? For example, companies of a certain revenue or employee size, companies of a certain industry?
      This particular problem they have is only going to magnify in the wake of continuing economic struggles. They'll move online faster to help compensate for lagging off-line sales. It would be good to know how to identify the low-hanging fruit.

      You're more likely to get hired based on 2 factors:

      # 1: Your understanding of that particular business. If you've run or worked in a restaurant you'll probably find it easier to talk to the owner of a restaurant.

      # 2: Your ability to build rapport with the owner.


      Number 2 is random although you could start by talking to the business owners you're already friends with (duh).

      Number 1 is not that much of an obstacle if you're willing to ask intelligent questions an listen.

      You get paid more by businesses for providing a customized solution in any case and that will depend on you asking a ton of questions and really listening to the answers.


      The quickest way to find out where the low hanging fruit is for YOU is to talk to a few business owners.

      After half a dozen the chances are very high that someone will be offering to hire you.

      Kindest regards,
      Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author dave stahly
    I think businesses that would benefit the most would be those that have more foot traffic than other businesses. Example:
    more: restaurants, gift shops, video stores, salons, etc.
    less: car dealerships, dentists, etc.
    Though car dealerships could market their after market biz, oil changes, (coupons)etc. Really if you think about it, even Church's, clubs, schools, I think the list could be endless with a little effort.

    dave
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  • I just signed up for Angela's list =).
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