Ready to begin local marketing! What next?

13 replies
So, I've emotionally recovered from the breakup of an unsuccessful business partnership (offering WP packages) in the past few months. There was no money made, and lots of wasted time. Now, I'm ready to put my skills to better use with a real focus on local businesses as customers - offering services like business web presence, social media marketing, Google Apps setup, and local SEO/directory listings.

My new company is called Local Business IT, and I'm just putting the finishing touches on its website - explaining how online marketing can benefit SMBs and be an economical choice compared to traditional methods (Yellow Pages, newspaper ads, etc.).

I would very much appreciate it, if you took a minute to browse through my web site at Local Business IT {dot} **com** and give me your suggestions. Of course, there are some things I know I have to add - probably a photo of myself, links to sample websites with a hypothetical business, and a toll-free phone number (should I choose Kall8 or eVoice?).

I'm pretty much starting from zero, but I essentially have the next few months to spend on the business full-time. My past experience goes as far as setting up dozens of WP minisites for my own domains, and a few odd jobs I did on the Net. To understand more about my background and skillset, I'd recommend you read this thread I posted.

I'm don't have the prices on my website set in stone, I'm willing to negotiate to fit a clients needs (with extra services) or offer promotions to get the all-important first few customers - for portfolio and testimonial value.

Because I'll be working mainly from home, and don't always have access to a reliable vehicle, I'm going to want to target businesses worldwide (in Canada/US/UK especially) and close as many deals as possible without physical meetings. Is this a reasonable expectation?
Here's some marketing ideas I have to get clients (comments welcome, and if you think it might work for you - try it!):

- Hit up some acquaintances from doing volunteer service in my community, and dig out business cards collected from local conferences (on economics, education, charitable interests, etc.). Reconnect with them with a casual email and ask if they know anyone who runs a local business and could use my services.

- Use the free local and national newspapers (digital copy) offered by my local library - and call the businesses paying above $xxx for a classifieds ad.

-I'm already ranked #1 for my business name on Bing, and quite high on the first page for search terms like "local business online marketing", but my site is way down on Google. Anyway, I'm going to post useful tips in the "company blog" and keep enhancing the SEO, hoping some business comes in that way.

I know there are a lot of people who have found success on Warrior Forum, having offline marketing pay off even when they have their "backs against a wall", even without much prior technical skill.

Because I can do a bit of everything, and even have a good grasp of HTML + CSS that I can edit existing WP themes (amongst other IM skills), I think I'm definitely in a position to succeed if I put my mind to it.

This is the first business I'm going to really buckle down, and go all the way with - so I'm hoping that anyone who's previous been in this position can offer their advice.

Thanks!



#begin #google places #local #local marketing #marketing #ready #seo #small businesses
  • Profile picture of the author imsirigiri
    Good going Liu. I have found so much motivation and ideas from Dylan's thread http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...aking-off.html and I presume that you might have gone through it and got a ton of info as well.

    Here is what I found you could have done a little different when you are looking to help businesses.

    1. You should have invested a few bucks in getting a premium theme for your blog.
    2. Your homepage should say what you do, not blog about the advices I can find everywhere around.
    3. 'Websites' refers commonly to your portfolio, but I can not find any.
    4. If only, every page like 'Websites', 'Social Media' had a heading stating what you do in blog and red(possibly).
    5. 'Custom Email' should have been included in services section rather than an exclusive page and make it sound like an offer. If done without announcing, businesses will be joyful enough to flaunt their email address.

    I am not trying to pull you down, but just wanted to see you successful and helping out local businesses.

    Please keep this thread updated so that people can get to know what you learn.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jackie Liu
    Thanks for posting, imsirigirl.
    I've went ahead and made a few updates to my website.
    As it stands, my homepages primarily has posts about my services, including a "Welcome" post in a salesletter style format permanently "stuck" to the top of the page. I'm changed "Websites" to "CMS Websites" and considering to consolidate all the services under a "Services" parent page. I've also updated some of the headings to red to highlight my offerings better.

    The thread you mentioned is superb and that's what gave me my inspiration to get started even though my morale was declining after weeks of mucking around and not getting very far.

    Thank you again, here's to great success in your endeavors as well. =D
    Anybody else want to put their two cents into what's hopefully going to be another Warrior success story?
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  • Profile picture of the author SiteSmarty
    Hey Jackie. Good job getting the info together on your site. You've got most of what you need but it looks like you don't have a system. A lot of folks on here call it a funnel. Whatever you want to call it you have to grab a visitor as soon as they land on what ever page they land on.

    You need headlines. Then grab their e-mail address. Then send them all that info you have in an e-mail responder, little by little. This way you can take the pricing, clutter and all that info business owners won't read off your site and deliver it to them slowly over time.

    Lay your service link low in every responder (don't sell) just provide useful info. Selling services form a website is difficult. Design your own system and you'll get all the business you can handle.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jackie Liu
    Ah, SiteSmarty. I'm also looking into getting an autoresponder - but I'm holding off in the meantime because I don't think I'll have the diligence to write a newsletter to my list regularly in the beginning.

    Today, I'm pretty happy with my progress because I completed two sample websites for my Wordpress offering. One for a local florist and one for a local real estate agent.

    I would think they're comparable, well actually better than the sites offered by Yellow Pages Canada 360 solution in my country. Web Advertising & Yellow Pages 360. Plus, with the Yellow Pages, people don't actually own the websites they order - they have to keep paying I've heard around $100/mo for a typical site.

    Additional marketing ideas anyone, or comments?
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    • Profile picture of the author T.R. McCarroll
      Originally Posted by Jackie Liu View Post

      Ah, SiteSmarty. I'm also looking into getting an autoresponder - but I'm holding off in the meantime because I don't think I'll have the diligence to write a newsletter to my list regularly in the beginning.
      [/B]
      Jackie...just us one of the free WP Autoresponder plug-ins for now and set it up so your list gets a Special Report after they sign up, period. You can then send out a blast whenever you want to. I do on my sites with smaller lists and it works fine til I get to the point of going with Aweber etc.

      Just my 2 cents,

      T.R.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jackie Liu
        Originally Posted by T.R. McCarroll View Post

        Jackie...just us one of the free WP Autoresponder plug-ins for now and set it up so your list gets a Special Report after they sign up, period. You can then send out a blast whenever you want to. I do on my sites with smaller lists and it works fine til I get to the point of going with Aweber etc.

        Just my 2 cents,

        T.R.
        Can you import the list into Aweber (or similar services) when you're ready to upgrade to a hosted solution? Will they be leery of the source of the list due to anti-spam laws - you'd have no way to prove that you collected the emails with double opt-in?

        Other than that, sounds like a great solution.
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        • Profile picture of the author T.R. McCarroll
          Originally Posted by Jackie Liu View Post

          Can you import the list into Aweber (or similar services) when you're ready to upgrade to a hosted solution? Will they be leery of the source of the list due to anti-spam laws - you'd have no way to prove that you collected the emails with double opt-in?

          Other than that, sounds like a great solution.
          You can import any list to Aweber. Since they review your list I would think they also review your site it is probably a matter of web integrity. I use this plug-in for a portion of my business because it is a small subscriber set.

          Just offering a way to save a little money up front. Though $20/month may be insignificant in the over all picture it can help when first starting out.

          Watch and LISTEN to the Aweber video here to see what they are looking for
          when importing another list. If anything it is a learning experience.

          How Do I Import a List of Subscribers? :: AWeber Knowledge Base

          All The Best

          T.R.
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  • Profile picture of the author noshan
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author drlelong
      Great start! I think the most important thing now is figuring out how to find local business clients. In my experience, most are not searching online for local marketing consultants and don't know that these people even exist.

      You'll need to hang out where your potential clients are either locally or online so you can get to know them and understand their challenges. Then, you're the one they trust to provide the solution that will most help their business.

      DL
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  • Like drlelong said. I would agree you will not get a lot of business from your website, so it doesn't really matter so much as showing them some sites you have ranked already.

    The #1 thing to remember is to call, call, call. It's a numbers game so call until you get the deals.
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  • Profile picture of the author seomoney
    Get insurance.
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  • Profile picture of the author juice
    Hi Jackie,

    Way to take action and move on! I have been through similar partnerships and can relate to your pain. Taking action in another direction and moving forward is sometimes easier said than done. Congrats on pushing forward with your new venture.

    Now that you have your website, it is time to make sales. I would recommend posting a simple ad in Craigslist for a part time sales rep. with an established book of business clients that wants to be part of a new Local Social Media/ Web Company.

    I started my offline business this exact way a few years ago and it worked like a charm. Offer a commission per sale, 20% is fine and whatever you do, DO NOT make this person your business partner. This is your business and YOU are the expert, the rep is the mouthpiece promoting your biz.

    Best of luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author TopKat22
    For your own business and for anyone you work for, you need to build a list.

    Most people need to see something 7 - 10 different times and from different viewpoints to be able to decide to make a purchase, however, there are some people who will jump on things, so in your list, give someone a way to jump right in to things via a PS in the first email in the auto responder.

    Also, as for pricing, make the building of the list for the client a separate fee and I would charge more for it as a list is a very valuable asset to a company.

    And remember, be unique and point out in simple language to your prospective customers how you are different and what makes you better...it isn't always about lowest price.

    I've often gotten clients in several businesses and I was not the lowest price on purpose but I always offered something unique and different from my competition.

    Good luck.
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