Friday, July 10, 2009

The old ways of marketing aren't working today

As a Small Business Marketing Coach, many business people tell me that the advertising methods that they have always relied on in the past, are simply not producing the results that they used to.

They are dropping their high-priced phone book ads, stopping their expensive newspaper ads and wondering; What's left that works?

You understand that if you ignore your marketing, you will pay the price, right? And yet, there's no way to justify spending more money on something if it's not producing positive results.

Where to turn

If you have a cell phone, near you, even if it's a plain one like mine, take it out right now, and experience this first-hand for yourself. Press the menu button and scroll down to where you see something that is described with "web" in the title. It may show an icon of a globe.

Select it and what you will see next is what I refer to as the "new phone book." You'll likely see a familiar name on your screen; "Google." And, there will be a box to enter what you're searching for.

What's interesting is that you don't have to already know what kind of store sells what you want, or what it's called specifically. You can search for a solution to your problem and Google will provide you with some options. Possibly some you would not have even thought of yourself!

Try this ...

If you are not familiar with this, it may be a little cumbersome to do this next part, so be persistent, OK? Key in what you sell and the city you're in, or the city you're wanting to draw customers from. For example, if you sell bicycles and you are in Modesto, simply put bicycles modesto in the search box and select "search".

You'll see the search results in a moment, with 10 listings per page. If you see your website listed on the first page, congratulations, you're doing better than average. If it's nowhere to be found ... you could use some serious help. In other words, it IS broke and you DO need to fix it.

What if you don't have a website

If you don't have a website, you may see your business listed in some online directories. These listings will usually have your business name, address and phone number. Sometimes though, there are errors.

They may have your business' name, with a competitor's address and phone. That's not something you want to ignore, is it? They might list your business' name with a competitor's website. You, or your online marketing specialist will want to claim these listings and make sure that they are accurate.

When you do get your website going, you can add it to these existing directory listings to help get more people visiting your website.

This is the new way

You've just experienced the new phone book! It's easy to see why it's become so popular. Almost everyone has one, it's small and it's convenient. Plus, it's easier to find what you are looking for because you don't have to know what it's classified under or what kind of store sells it.

When you think about what your experience has been, with what happens to a business that's not "listed" yet, I'm sure it involved struggling and rough times. Not the kind of thing you would knowingly bring upon yourself, is it?

If you feel like it's time to bring your marketing into the 21st Century, take advantage of my FREE 15 minute consultation.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Why have a website for your local small business?

"Why would I want a website for my local business?"

That's how I used to view having a website. Maybe you've felt the same way. In this post I'm going to open your eyes to some things that you may not have considered before now.

Marketing and today's shopper

Technology has given us a smaller package for our phone book. They have shrunk it all the way down to about the size of a deck of cards. And they call it -- a cell phone. In fact it's even easier to use than the original phone book! Here's why ...

When you use a phone book, the only way you can find what you want, is to know what it is called, or what kind of business would carry it. There are no listings for problems. A simple example would be that you locked your keys in your car. You would have to know that you need a locksmith in order to get any help from the phone book.

By comparison, cell phones today have what they call a 'web browser' built into the phone. To get your car unlocked, you could simply search for "keys locked in car" and it would show you possible solutions. Everything from suggestions on how to get them out yourself, to calling a locksmith.

Why is this significant to your business?

How many people today, carry a phone book in their pocket? And finding a phone booth, conveniently close by, with a usable phone book is very rare these days. Yet, tons of people now carry a cell phone almost everywhere they go.

Today's cell phones are web enabled, which allows you to access the internet directly from your handset. Even grandparents are learning how to send text messages and search on the internet.

That means that when someone looks for a solution to their problem 'online' and you aren't there, then you don't exist for that customer. How can someone buy from you, when they don't know you even exist?

How you can benefit from a website today

  • Buyers can find you from their cell phone
  • You can list all your products so buyers will know what you offer
  • You can list services you offer, including details
  • You can build a contact list that allows you to instantly communicate with them
  • You can be easily found by buyers in surrounding communities
  • You can promote your business by the solutions you offer
  • You can find out what really works in promoting your business

Is setting up a website too expensive for a small business?

You might be wondering if setting up your own website is expensive. The answer is no and yes.

Let's say that you think spinning graphics and alternating images on a black background with gold colored text is the best way to present your business on a website. Then you might be inclined to spend a lot of money on graphic design.

The problem is, your opinion doesn't count!

A smarter idea, is to build your website so that it impresses the people who come to visit. That way they might stay long enough to find what they are looking for.

When someone is on the hunt for a solution to their problem, they may be impatient. They are likely to be more impressed with a site that loads onto their computer (or cell phone) screen fast, is easy to read, easy to navigate, and helps them find what they want. In other words, they may not wait around for slow loading graphics.

When they find what they are looking for or believe that you can help them, then they will take action. The plan is to give them enough reasons to call, come down, get on your list or make a purchase while they are on your website. That's why it's best to design your website to please those who will find it.

If they don't stay on your site long enough to find a solution they can use, then they will not be calling you. Make sense?

Could you make your own website and save some money?

Yes you can. Here are the primary steps you will need to take;
  1. Register a domain name
  2. Sign up with a hosting service
  3. Get an HTML code editor
  4. Decide on your website's purpose
  5. Put it all together

Giving your website a name

You will need to register a domain name for your website. A website address is designated by a series of four numbers separated by periods. Registering a domain name to your website allows it to be found with a descriptive name. Your domain name may indicate what your website is about or reflect the name of your business. Plus it is easier to remember a name, than a string of numbers and this makes it easier for your customers to tell a friend.

Getting your website on the internet

Next, you will need to set up an account with a hosting service. This will allow your website to be viewed by many people at the same time. Hosting services have a faster (and more expensive) connection to the internet than is needed for personal use. And they run 24/7.

Designing your Website

You will need to acquire an HTML Editor. This is a program to create and edit HTML code for your website. This code is what tells the internet browser programs what to do with the text and images on your webpages. HTML editors can range from free to hundreds of dollars.

Research will pay big dividends

Your next step is to do some keyword research. You need to find out what terms your potential buyers are typing into the search engines when they are looking to find your products and services. Part of how you will get your site to show up on people's computer screens, is by incorporating these search terms into your website design.

Decide what you want people to do

Having a good feel for what search terms will lead people to your website, you will need to decide what the primary purpose of your site will be. Is it going to help you build a list of subscribers? Is it going to convince people to call you? Or, are you going to sell something to your website visitors?

The construction details

Once you have decided on your objective, your search terms and figured out how to use your editor, you'll need to design your webpages for three distinct audiences.
  1. the search engines – you need to show that your website content is relevant to the search terms
  2. people looking for information – they don't yet know the solution to their problem(s) so you'll need to educate them to get them to the next step
  3. people who are looking to buy now – they just need to know why they should buy from you

About Search Terms

Some of your search terms will go on the page that people see. Some of the search terms will go in the code that is not displayed. Some of the content of your website may be in reports that visitors can download. Those reports should show them why they should work with you and give them easy ways to contact you for more information.

Finally, testing and tracking

With your website published to the World Wide Web and visitors coming to it, you'll be able to test all aspects of your website. You'll want try to increase the number of visitors coming to your site. And more importantly, you will want to try to increase the number of visitors who take action once they are there.

With some fine tuning, your website can be like a magnet that attracts people from all around the area. Once at your website, they'll receive reasons to call you, email you or get onto your list.

Your list could provide ongoing tips and information like a newsletter or maybe an early notification of special offers. You will need to give people good reasons to get on your list.

The bottom line is that your results will determine what works best, not guesswork. Through testing and tracking you can improve your conversion rate (visitors to prospects to customers) and the amount of visitors your website receives per month.

If you have questions please leave a comment so I can help you.

Resource Links

Hosting service: Host Gator

Code Editors: Coffee Cup, NVU (availble from and Trellian from

Research: Keyword Search Tool from

Sunday, October 26, 2008

What every local business needs in today's economy...

It's no secret. Every local business owner today, needs to eliminate unnecessary spending, and increase sales. Wouldn't you like to do that in your business?

What you have now...

One place buyers can find local businesses, is in the local phone book. It's good, but it has limitations. They can find you by name but only if they already know the name of your business. Or they can find you by guessing which category you're listed under.

Phone book ads are expensive, plus unchangeable. And, you may get listed on the same page with all your biggest competitors. (Even some of the out of town ones!)

What you could have

Would you be able to attract more buyers, if you could give them more potent ways to find you? Answer: YES! When they do find your listing, wouldn't you prefer to be the only business on the page? Of course you would!

You can have even more...

What if you could have a listing for every brand that you sell? And a listing for every type of product you sell? And while we're at it, let's include all the services you offer. You'd want that too, if it's all the same price, wouldn't you?

For the same price?

Yes, it's all the same price! So, why not go ahead and make your listing bigger and broader, so that it attracts even more potential buyers!

Let's include a listing for all the problems that your products and services solve. Sometimes people don't already know exactly what product they're looking for.

Your expanded listing will allow them to find you, by simply searching for solutions to their problem.

It gets even better...

There's more! Your listing can be set up so that anyone within a two hour's drive, can find you just as easily as local buyers can.

A more effective marketing approach

This type of business listing goes way beyond a phone book listing or ad. When people find your listing, you'll be able to give them tons of reasons to call you.

In fact, you'll be able to convince them that contacting you is the best thing for them to do.

It does take more work to put together a comprehensive sales-generating listing, than to do a simple business card style listing. But it will definitely be worth the effort!

With your new business listing, doing all of these things doesn't cost you any more than doing just some of them.

So, since it's all the same price, wouldn't you want to do all you can to get your phone and your cash register ringing?

Are you a little interested yet? Want to discuss this in more detail? Give me a call, email me or just leave a comment here by clicking the "comment" link below. We can set up a time to meet. You tell me what you want to accomplish, and I'll show you how I can help you.

Wishing you continued success,

Jack Q
Small Business Marketing Coach

P.S. Your expanded business listing will help buyers from a larger area find you more easily and conveniently. Plus the people that find your listing will be better prospects for what you sell, because they will have found you while looking for a solution to their problem!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Simpleology Blogging

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.