Local Business Marketing - Is there a market?

25 replies
All of the "gurus" are saying targeting local businesses is the next big thing.

We are starting an SEO company that offers SEO and other internet marketing services to local businesses.

We did telemarketing, email, fax and direct mail, inviting local business owners to attend a seminar that would teach them how to get their business listed on the front page of Google.

The local business owners in our area were not responsive at all to this. Is anyone having any success with a similar business model?

What are you doing that is generating a positive response from the local businesses?
#business #local #market #marketing
  • Profile picture of the author werner77
    I have tested this so far in our market here in south africa. my findings where that it is not producing sufficient results to clients yet. but I do add it as a service, just can't charge much for it yet.
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
    Understanding how what you do fits into the overall marketing process of a business, and then relating that to non-technical terms that will resonate with businessowners.

    Being able to position your services in the proper place in the entire marketing food chain is paramount.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marty S
    Originally Posted by herrick View Post

    We did telemarketing, email, fax and direct mail, inviting local business owners to attend a seminar that would teach them how to get their business listed on the front page of Google.
    Having owned and managed a restaurant for 5 years before, the last thing I would consider is rushing out to a seminar after 10-12 hours of hard labor and day-to-day stress.

    You need to get right in front of the owner/manager with something that will make his mouth water AND his life easier.
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  • Profile picture of the author wiseleo
    There is a resiliency to the claim "First page of Google" and the term "SEO". You can thank the spammers for that.

    Selling the technology to the technically illiterate generally does not work. Take a note of what I am selling. I can assure you that very few people will understand the concept of "security context token injection" and how it relates to keeping them safe from cybercrime.

    I never mention the software components that comprise my solution because end users could not care less about that. I am selling security, increased user productivity, ability to rapidly recover from a total loss scenario should your office go up in flames, and immunity from data security breech lawsuits. Whichever way I accomplish that is really not something that you should care about, as long as it works.

    Don't sell SEO. Sell marketing expertise that results in increased sales and pays for itself in less than a day when fully implemented.

    Rather than trying to get them to come to a seminar as a result of a cold call, leak a preview on your site with a couple of tips and help them make the decision that it's worth their time.

    Partner up with IT consultants. Treat it like an affiliate program as same concepts apply.

    I run a few startups that address critical business problems. PM or Skype me about joining my direct affiliate programs. My products are business continuity and customer testimonials. Both are unique.

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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
    Originally Posted by herrick View Post

    We did telemarketing, email, fax and direct mail, inviting local business owners to attend a seminar that would teach them how to get their business listed on the front page of Google.

    The local business owners in our area were not responsive at all to this. Is anyone having any success with a similar business model?

    What are you doing that is generating a positive response from the local businesses?

    You have 3 main problems with your approach:

    # 1: Business owners don't see any real value in being listed on the front page of google.

    What they want is more sales and profits. You're simply not speaking their language with your approach.

    # 2: The whole "first page of google" pitch is a favorite of spammers which can't be helping your cause...lol.

    # 3: Because you're trying to SELL a predetermined service based on what you want to provide rather than on what the business owner wants and needs you're coming across as a salesperson.

    Generally speaking business owners don't like sales people. They have to deal with a flood of them every week in their business and that wears thin really fast.

    If you want to make real money in this niche you need to switch your thinking.

    Focus on getting to know business owners and their business and then suggest customized solutions to them based around the information you gather until you hit on one they get excited about. Then run with that.

    At offlinebiz we have so many people making serious incomes providing various internet marketing services to local businesses that the success stories are just too numerous to mention.

    We have testimonial pages over there but what many people don't realize is that many of the more impressive success stories are only available to paid gold members because they give away too much of the methods we're using that only paid members get access to.

    The point I'm trying to make here is yes there's a huge market that's growing and there always has been a huge market.

    There have been web designers with prosperous businesses in most cities and towns for over a decade now and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

    Internet marketers who take the time to get to know businesses and business owners and help them make real sales and profits are making serious incomes.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh
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  • Profile picture of the author Richard Tunnah
    You definitely need to de-webify for local businesses. Ok many will have sites but many still don't understand 'the web' and how it 'works'. I think a better pitch would have been to say 'we can show you how to get more potential customers than your competitors using the power of the internet'. You are then selling the benefit's...not a feature or gimmick of first page listing. Good luck.

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  • The biggest problem with local business owners is that they don't know squat about the internet in most cases. What they do know is that they want their phone to ring and new clients to come in. Focus on the benefit, not the process. The benefit is more business. The process is SEO work.
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  • Profile picture of the author Donald Truehart
    You have to sell the sizzle...not the steak
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  • Profile picture of the author styla786
    There are countless ways for a small business to use Twitter, and the trick is usually figuring which way works best for your small business and your intended audience. What works for Company A might not be so good for Company B, and vice versa.

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  • Profile picture of the author JamesM
    All good advice so far. As a formerly self-employed web developer I can attest that it's too easy to make the mistake of trying to sell the technology, rather than the benefit. Like others have said - wwhen making your pitch focus on the benefit to the customer.

    If you have trouble seperating yourself from the technical process and distilling this information out then maybe consider partnering with a commission based salesperson and let them pitch it for you. A third party is less likely to get tangled in terminology and should be well practiced at pitching the benefits.

    If this post has been helpful please click the "thanks" button ;-)

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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Peters Benn
    Branding yourself as SEO is something that is going to have less and less value as time goes on.

    You need to learn how to focus on what business owners want, not what you want to sell - and then work on building value into what you offer.

    It's a big topic - but as the market becomes more crowded it's an absolute necessity.
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  • Profile picture of the author manishrawat
    To attract your local market send regular mails to them, arrange seminars, go for offline marketing activities, arrange a workshop for the business owners giving them some insights and benefits about online marketing and seo. You may feel arranging seminars a little threat to your business, but it is not. Seo may seem to be easy but it a continuous process which need patience, time and well knitted strategy and this only professionals can do. So next time when you arrange a seminar, or haven't till now , just because of this idea only, do not hesitate. These type of activities will instill confidence of your target market in you and they will be impressed when you will show them a window to the knowledge you possess.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kelly Verge
    Stop trying to sell techniques. Sell results.

    Find out what each prospect needs by asking LOTS of questions, then show them that you can help them get more of what they need.

    Focus on the "why" long before you begin to think about the "how."
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    • Profile picture of the author Kenster
      Originally Posted by Kelly Verge View Post

      Stop trying to sell techniques. Sell results.

      Find out what each prospect needs by asking LOTS of questions, then show them that you can help them get more of what they need.

      Focus on the "why" long before you begin to think about the "how."

      Yes, businesses are interested in making investment, so approach your sales pitch like this is an investment. When speaking about investment, what things do you normally highlight? You highlight the money, the costs, the revenue, the profits.

      Make sure your presentation highlights the math of your offer. Tell them, lets throw out an example. We get you X amount of traffic per month on average and if Y converts (which is conservative) then you just made Z dollars if your profit per lead or profit per customer is P

      They want to see money, not just traffic stats or hear about how great the internet is or hear hwo professional you sound throwing out big words they dont understand
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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
    The big problem for a lot of technology-based newcomers to "offline" is that they don't fully understand the services that they provide fit into an overall marketing approach for the business... and that approach is different at various levels of business.

    I've had people on this forum argue that you should push a schmucky sales letter and the typical affiliate marketing approach to an industrial B2B company that sells their product exclusively through the RFQ process in a purchasing department. Some months ago, someone on Warrior Forum was referring to a multi-billion dollar, public corp (Timkin) as "stupid" because they didn't fit into that person's extremely narrow view of the marketing world as a whole. Stupid? I think we'd all like to be that stupid to own a multi-billion dollar corp. A hard pitch copywriting effort isn't going to make the guy in the purchasing department do your deal outside of the defined process... and if a person is getting into offline business marketing, they have to understand the level of game they're at and build their own approach around that profile of a client.

    Also, treating business owners like they're idiotic boobs because they might not be fully versed in the specific lingo of the technology tools is a huge mistake. I see a lot of negative attitude displayed towards business owners like they're these total morons that don't have a clue about this or that.

    If those total morons were really that stupid, you wouldn't be begging them to pay you for whatever it is that you're selling. He who has the gold makes the rules.
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  • Profile picture of the author Virus
    Start from low-profile businessmen, already successful clients might become difficult to convince, also offline marketing works only if you meet physically and offer them something really benificial with your past work history.
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    • Profile picture of the author DeadGuy
      Yes, local business marketing can be financially rewarding, but focusing on SEO is not the answer. Real world business owners look at business in a different light than IM's do. You will need to show the business owner EXACTLY how you plan to make or save them money, if you are expecting to have an impact.

      I should also point out that getting a local business on the first page of Google will not always generate any additional income for your potential client. Be flexible with your offerings and present those ideas that can add value to what your clients are doing... not what you "think" they need.

      You are making this work at home stuff way harder than it is. Ready for some sanity? Clear your head and start over.

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  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    I have been providing Internet Marketing to offline/retail businesses for over 2 years now. It has been amazing, the hardest part is educating them on the power of the Internet. Some get it and its an easy sale, the rest its a battle. It takes time, its not like mailing out a direct mail piece and getting instant results. (unless they pay me for Adwords)
    Good luck !!!

    Learn Digital, Internet and Social Media Marketing For Your Business
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    • Profile picture of the author MAV923
      How much time do you "offline" guys spend in front of customers pitching, showing what you have done, etc? And how much time do you spend actually working on their projects?

      Curious because I too have noticed this seems to be the next "big thing"
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  • Profile picture of the author herrick
    I want to thank everybody. I'm overwhelmed with the input I got here! I can see clearly now where we went wrong and will be taking a step back to reevaluate the approach and the message.

    I'll keep you posted and let you know how things are going. You've all given me some valuable advice!
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  • Profile picture of the author global1967
    a better way to reach or target offline business consultants is to do postcard marketing. By this i am implying that if it is possible you go around your local area and when you see a local business i.e dentist lawyer, you take a picture of their premises and stick it on the back of a postcard. On the front pick you could say "Your business looks solid in brick and mortar, and easy to find but is that the same on the internet.

    If i type in (your town dentist) will you show up on the first page of Google)? Then at the back of the post card give them a call to action such as "if you want to be found instead of your competitors ring this number ASAP. I can only work with one dentist in your area and i am sending this out to all nine of you)"

    Create 100 postcards for one hundred local businesses and watch your business grow guaranteed.

    Another method to use inbound marketing using the likes of social media, blogs and SEO. Create content and get it out there to all forms of these. Your blog and comment on other peoples. Post content to social bookmarketing sites. Create backlinks, create commercial videos of your business services and post them on youtube etc. Hope this helps. It has worked for me.

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    I've partnered with a famous marketing guru who will write top-notch ads for you. These will bring you more business once we set them live, and will re-activate old customers.."

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  • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
    If you tried that sales pitch on my dad, who is a 60 year old business owner, he'd say "not interested" and hang up. I personally have always found results and happy customers works best for gaining clients. I have done a very small amount of offline work, but always have requests for me to do more.

    My strategy wasn't really a strategy, it was just what happened naturally. As a favor to a family friend, I redesigned the whole website, started email marketing, and then intergrated his offline business with the new online arm (collecting contact information offline, for example). I did it for free, because he was a friend, and then told him what I would've charged.

    It doesn't take MUCH to achieve a positive ROI. If they just learn how to use email, they can see dramatic increases. Especially for a B to C business.

    Think about it, everyone is looking to refer things they are happy about. When I found a mechanic that was reliable and trustworthy, I sent him tons of business. When I found a local restaurant that had great service, great food, and a great price I sent tons of business there. So when you do a good job for someone in an area that everyone KNOWS they need to do a better job in, they will naturally refer more people to you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hugh
    When I was much younger, they had a term for it.


    "Never make someone a priority in your life who makes you an option in theirs." Anon.
    "Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon." -- Winston Churchill

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  • Profile picture of the author SEOArbiter
    You may want to include local chamber events and networking into your marketing mix. Most host lunch and learns where you can give a short bio about yourself, your company and pass out businesscards as well as trinkets. Great way to network, put a face to the company, and explain the benefits of your service!
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