Local Businesses-Local Clientele-Win-win on Competitors

Last week I began a short mini-series on how various "Small Local Businesses "sectors ("SSBs") can get the most from SBI!. In my opening preamble, I noted...

While every *kind* of SSB uses Site Build It!, they are not all using it perfectly. Everyone "gets" the Action Guide. And the Action Guide provides great strategies and ideas for affiliates, and for people selling services - two very big market sectors for us.

However, SBI!'s extensive range of features provides so much value that we are consequently seeing more and more folks from all kinds of SSB categories coming on board...

Not all have adapted SBI! for *optimal* results for their particular category. And it's important (for you and us) that SBI! delivers *all* the success that it is fully capable of, when utilized effectively.

We highlighted Network Marketing. If you missed it, don't worry. It's now available in the Tips 'N Techniques HQ at Site Central (link to it from the TNT home page under the title, "Big Picture Approach for Major Local Businesses Sectors").

Today we continue with another important and unique sector...

Local Businesses Opportunity With Local Clientele

At first glance, you might think that the Net can offer few opportunities for a business that has its clientele restricted to a small geographic area (i.e., *local deal* and local businesses with *local* clientele). After all, the Net is known as the "global medium."

So let me ask you this question to get the ball rolling. How much information about your business can you *afford* to insert in a Yellow Pages ad?

Exactly - minimal. For most local and small business owners, it's the bare minimum as each additional word adds to the expense. Advertising is something you accept as a costly but necessary fact of life. Or I should say... that *used* to be the thinking. Some local businesses are bucking the trend by using the Net to their advantage.

A Web Site Offers Local Businesses a Very Cheap And Effective Way To...

  • advertise 24/7 without the high costs of print ads (and to update information as the need arises not when your ad contract is up)

  • get the "jump" on local competitors who are stuck in the offline advertising world

  • build new local deal

  • encourage regular repeat purchases/contracts

  • nurture, encourage and develop the relationship you already maintain with current customers/clients

  • cement customer/client lifetime loyalty

That is... *if* you do it properly.

So Let's Start Looking at How a Web Site can be *Working* For Local Businesses.

The strategies to leverage locals presence are slightly different from those local businesses who want global exposure. For the most part, your online efforts go hand-in-hand with your offline promotions. One needs to enhance/complement the other.

Just a quick aside...

Some local businesses prefer a combo approach. They also want to generate a secondary affiliate income by recommending related products/services to a world-wide audience.

For example, a chimney cleaning and fireplace installation business refers global visitors to his Web site to "Do-It-Yourself" books and manuals.

Short term, this may not be on your radar. But keep it in mind for future directions.

We'll begin with the most fundamental...

Strategy #1 - Provide High-value Content On Your Web Site

Content is what *credentializes* your business. Even in local businesses environment, not everyone will be familiar with the quality of the product or service that you offer (or, for that matter, that you even exist!).

A Web site gives you the chance to clearly show visitors what benefits/solutions you are offering and what makes you the best choice. Unlike an ad, there are no space restrictions due to cost concerns.

Add local businesses flavor to your content - make an emotional connection. This reinforces you as a "neighborhood" business belonging to the same community or region as your target audience - a feeling of being "from the same neck of the woods."

Quality relevant content reflects quality local businesses. It's as simple as that.

Strategy #2 - Optimize Your Web Pages Using Your Geographic Area As One Of Your Keywords

More and more people are choosing the computer over the Yellow Pages when it comes to selecting the local businesses and people with whom they do business. So optimize your pages according. For example (if you are a service seller)...

"the service(s) you provide" + "geographic area you serve"

You may recall (from a previous issue) that that's how we found a bagpiper who lived only a few miles away to play at a curling bonspiel. Our bagpiper gained a new customer plus we've referred him to others... an additional "word-of-mouth" bonus for him.

Make sure that you do not optimize your pages for the "name of your business," unless your business name contains the keywords for which you wish to be found. For example...

Optimizing your pages for...

"D.J. Smith & Sons" + "Kingston, Ontario"

... is not as good as...

"D.J. Smith & Sons Bulldozer and Excavator Services" + "Kingston, Ontario"

... since the people who are unaware of your existence will only search on "bulldozers" + "excavator" + the name of your local area.

Simple, right?

Strategy #3 - Promote Your Site Wherever And Whenever

People have an inherent interest in their local businesses community, and in what's going on directly around them. They will visit a local Web site, *if* you make sure they know about it. And once they are there, it's your business they see, not your competitor's.

Train your staff to promote your SBI! site to all your current offline customers. Your Web site URL should be in prominent places throughout your place of business, as well as on...

  • business cards

  • receipts

  • invoices

  • business vehicles

  • menus

  • basically, every place that your URL can be stamped.

The key is to be creative about how you get eyeballs to your URL. One fast and easy method is to staple or paper clip your business card to every receipt you print off, every credit card slip you return.

Don't hesitate to ask your customers directly for their e-mail addresses and let them know that you will be sending them news about your local deal periodically. You can then manually enter their addresses to your mailing list. In this case, the path to your site is through your e-zine. (An opt-in e-zine, as you will see next, warrants a strategy of its own.)

OK, with those basics covered, your focus and efforts need to turn to...

  • Catering to your existing clients, and maintaining regular contact with them

  • Encouraging regular, repeat visits to your Web site

  • Encouraging the spread of viral "word of mouth" buzz about local businesses

  • Enticing your competitor's customers to do business with you rather than with them.

And how will you do all this?

It's on to... :-)

Strategy #4 - Publish a Local Businesses Opt-in E-zine

An e-zine is not optional for local businesses owners. Regularly scheduled communication...

  • keeps you in the forefront of your customer's mind

  • builds credibility and a trusting familiar relationship

  • encourages additional repeat purchases

  • helps you to efficiently manage your local businesses.

My local deal landscaper, for instance, could use his e-zine to remind me when it's time for spring cleaning... and for aerating/fertilizing the lawn, too! Because of his prompting, I book an appointment for both services. His April schedule begins to take shape easily, quickly and ahead of time.

Always be guided by the "*give* before you take" principle when your are developing your e-zine. No matter what your business, there is always something of value you can provide your visitors. My landscaper (to continue with the same example) could provide a section on seasonal tips - the best spring bulbs for the local climatic zone or the opportune time to plant new shrubs.

Your readers (present or future customers) *will* appreciate it. And they'll show it by re-ordering. They'll also tell others about your business, and how cleverly you are using the Net to grow! And with that, the buzz begins to build.

I can't over-emphasize how integral and essential an e-zine is for local businesses. It truly *is* a lifeline that you can use to run your business better, as well as encourage some real local businesses "buzz" or excitement.

Best of all, SBI!'s comprehensive e-zine building process makes building attractive, riveting newsletters a snap!

Special Tip: As mentioned earlier.... get your customer's e-mail address. Sure, offer a subscription page on your site. But how about asking them to sign up for your zine right in your shop... in your garage... on the special form by the cash? Don't just leave it there for them to fill out - ask them. Tell them about the specials they'll receive, the relevant news updates, whatever it is that you deliver. Now, even if they don't visit your site (at first), *you* can visit *them* by e-mail!

Strategy #5 - Offer Special "Web-only" Local Businesses Discounts

Give people a reason to go to your site often. Present it in such a way that it's the *only* place they can access particularly inviting discounts on a continuous basis.

This "carrot" encourages viral word-of-mouth buzz, *and* regular repeat visits "to see what's being offered this week."

Most local businesses Web site owners make the serious mistake of throwing up another "About Us" Web site. This simply serves as a Yellow Page ad lost in cyberspace. Yes, perhaps your clients may visit once out of curiosity, but they'll never visit again.

After all, why bother?

Without a valid reason to re-visit, people simply won't. An inviting and enticing Web presence worth visiting again and again requires regular updating to keep it fresh and attractive. It means being proactive - staying ahead of the local game.

This restaurant owner is certainly on the wrong track with content like this...

"Welcome to the Bear's Den Inn Online. The Bear's Den was opened in 1979 by chef Joe Smith. Featuring the best in regional cuisine, its main room seats 100, with a banquet room with space for an additional 100, blah, blah, blah..."

Yawn. Bye-bye. Your clients already know who you are, where you are, and what you do. (After all, that's why they are your clients, right?)

Instead, create a powerful incentive for your local deal visitors like this...

  • This weekend only!
    Print off our online coupon
    for the on-the-house entree
    when you order a full meal
    from our extensive, mouth-
    watering menu.

  • Or one of these...

  • With your online coupon valid
    this weekend only,
    your first drink is on us!

See how this focuses on "what's in it for me?"

So update the specials, your entertainment, and your offers on a weekly basis. If your clients are thinking about visiting your establishment, and login to your site to check out the week's specials, they will not be impressed to see that the site hasn't been updated for a month. A serious loss of credibility that is preventable.

Or here's another angle...

Have your updates reflect the season (if applicable). Are you a car mechanic? Rev up your own site so that it's in sync with all the major seasonal tune-ups and maintenance that you do and recommend for your client's vehicles.

If you have local deal business (or know someone who does), the single best publication on this topic is Sharon Fling's e-book...

"How to Promote Local Businesses on the Internet"

If you're familiar with SiteSell.com, you'll know we don't make recommendations often, nor lightly. And we never promote.

But I am a big believer in the importance of the Net to local businesses. And I hear Sharon's voice as one of the first in this wilderness. Her voice is clear, sharp and original.


And, of course, Sharon won't mind if you prefer to buy it at full price, which you may do so by clicking to her order page! ;-)

Either way, "How to Promote Your Local Business on the Internet" is a fantastic must-read publication for anyone wishing to use the Net to expand local businesses.

Highly recommended!...

No matter how you slice it, your main goals as local businesses owner (after you build your site around the core concepts outlined in the Action Guide) are...

  1. Start publishing a stellar newsletter

  2. Develop ingenious ways to inspire repeat visits and local word-of-mouth buzz.

Do it now, though. The Net is a far more powerful business-builder than an offline Yellow Pages ad, or any other single promotional tool at your disposal. Actually, your site works well *with every other marketing method* you use (including your Yellow Pages ad).

Follow the above SBI! strategies - you'll grow like mad.

But it's only a matter of time before your local deals competitor does it as well. So get the most out of SBI! now. Go step by step through the Action Guide. Use and expand upon the specific local businesses oriented strategies that were outlined in this issue.

Be proactive. Stay on top in your neighbourhood and/or region!

Building Offline Local Businesses Buzz

The Buzz is building! We can hear it from here!

All SBI!'ers can earn 25% commission fees...

AND a 25% rebate...

AND (for SBI'ers ONLY) a $50 EXTRA ***BUZZ BONUS***.


Just buzz. Spread the word on Site Build It! OFFline! Who better to benefit from SBI! by spreading the word than YOU, who knows the amazing power and ease of SBI! best!

Read more about local BUZZ in the TNT HQ...

....... and build the buzz! :-)

Written by Ken Evoy, M.D.,
President, SiteSell.com
(c) copyright 2003 SiteSell.com

"How Can The WORLD Wide Web Help Local Businesses Which Has LOCAL Clients?"

An 1-2-3 Step-by-Step Strategy For Selling SBI! Offline

Here is the first of two different strategies that I’ve used selling SBI! offline with great success: Time Required: 45 minutes (+ or -), depending on people’s response. I start off by mentioning my own success with SBI!. (I keep this very short – maybe 2 sentences. It’s not about me; it’s about them.) I’m not doing this to boast. I want to give people an idea of how successful they could be in a relatively short period of time. I mention that my main reason for having the info session is to share with them this amazing system that I wish someone had told me about years ago. I do not want people to think that I am "desperate to sell". I mention that they are under no obligation to buy this product. Many of them are my friends and local businesses associates and I see them on a daily basis. I don’t want any "bad vibes", etc. My attitude is "It has worked for me – it can also work for you".

I then address the following main points:
  • What SBI! Is Not
  • What SBI! Is
  • Who Should Not Buy SBI!?
  • Who Should Buy SBI!?
  • How Does SBI! Work? (This answers the other question: "How does a website make money if it is not selling anything?")

What SBI! Is Not

  • SBI! is not a pyramid scheme
  • SBI! is not a GRQ (get rich quick) scheme
  • SBI! is not MLM (multi level marketing – effectively a pyramid scheme)

What SBI! Is

  • One of the most effective ways of building successful "bricks and mortar" local businesses is to buy franchises. This provides the blueprint/recipe for step-by-step building successful businesses. The franchisor (if he’s any good!) will also be providing support/tips/encouragement, etc. to ensure the success of the franchisee. SBI! is the online version of a "bricks and mortar" franchise.
  • SBI! provides the blueprint/recipe/step-by-step strategies for building online businesses.
  • SBI! also provides all the tools to build successful online local businesses.

Who Should Not Buy SBI!?

  • If you have a "teenager mentality" (i.e., someone who gets very excited about an idea, runs with it for a week or two and then loses all interest), SBI! will not work for you.
  • If you desperately need money within a short period of time (a month or two), SBI! is not for you.
  • If your nature is to seek instant gratification, SBI! will never work for you.
  • If you need to see results immediately to stay motivated and to keep going, SBI! is not for you.
  • If you are a "collector" of info products and tools and you never go further than buying and maybe reading a few chapters of the manual, please don’t buy SBI!

  • If you buy SBI!, you’ll have to put in the time, energy and effort to implement at least 80% of the strategies. This should take anywhere from 6 to 12 to 18 months or more, depending on how much time you have available.

Who Should Buy SBI!?

  • Only highly motivated, mature and thinking individuals should buy SBI!. They need to have the discipline to work continually, putting in a few hours (read minimum 8 to 10 hours!) a week for at least 6 to 8 months before they’re likely to see results.
  • People who want to have a whole new world opened up to them, one that they had no idea existed, should buy SBI!
  • People who want to go on the journey of a lifetime and be stimulated, fulfilled, challenged and rewarded like they’ve most probably never been before, should buy SBI!
  • People who want to build a business, a business that will take on a life of its own and eventually be a “golden goose”, an asset that their kids can inherit or they could sell, should buy SBI!
  • People who want to meet other highly motivated, focused, sharp minded, successful, helpful and friendly humans should buy SBI!

How Does SBI! Work?

How does a website make money if it is not selling anything? Most people have a problem getting their minds around this question!
I only discuss 2 ways of monetizing a website – Google AdSense and Affiliate Commissions. I stress the fact that all monetizing strategies rely on visitors. More visitors = more money.
  1. Google AdSense
    I explain the relationship between Google AdWords and Google AdSense.
  2. I explain the concept of contextual advertising. (Google supplies a piece of Javascript, the publisher places it on each web page and the ads will match the web pages’ content.)
  3. I explain how Google shares the revenue earned from a click on an ad displayed on your website.
  4. I mention that there are many strategies for placing Google ads to increase the CTR. By implementing these strategies one can easily increase the CTR above 20%.
  5. I explain that it is a number’s game and if the traffic to a website is significant, the revenue earned via Google AdSense can be a substantial a substantial amount. A successful website can easily be earning $2 000 per month and more.
  6. I also mention the fact that Google will terminate an account if there are fraudulent clicks. I stress the fact that they are welcome to look at my website to see how all of this is implemented but that they must avoid clicking on the ads.

Affiliate Programs

  1. I explain the concept of an "affiliate" as most people have never heard of it.
  2. I briefly explain how to effectively implement it using a live link in a sentence.
  3. I also mention the benefits of promoting products paying recurring commission. Work once and get paid over and over.
  4. At this point, people have the opportunity to ask questions.
  5. I ask for a contact email address and a mobile number. I volunteer to send them more information. (This can also be done at the start while we are waiting for everyone.) Although all this info is included on the CD that I hand out just before they leave, I need an excuse to get people’s email addresses. This enables me to follow up and finally close the deal.
  6. I also explain to people that I’m an SBI! affiliate and that if they do decide to buy, it would be much appreciated if they would buy via me as I’ll be getting the commission. Most people have no problem with this.
    I volunteer additional support to everyone buying via me. (This can be a dangerous one!)
  7. I prefer to use the “Remote Order Entry” form to take the orders myself as this ensures that I get the commission. Some people are hesitant to do an online purchase using their credit card. I give them my banking details, they transfer the funds electronically and I process their order using my credit card.

For information about the Remote Order Entry Program, see… https://secure.sitesell.com/prot-bin/affiliatescripts/affiliateClubMoreInfo.pl?affsbiorderpage
You will need your username and password to log into the 5 Pillar Club.

It’s Worth Your Time To Use The Remote Order Entry Form

I've lost the commission on a sale that I processed from my own notebook because I thought I would be credited with it as long as I processed the order from my own link (my unique affiliate RR URL). But my machine obviously is cookied and someone else got the sale.
I don’t want you to do all that hard work to close the deal and then not get credited with the sale. The Remote Order Entry form is the best way to process sales offline.

Everyone Appreciates a Freebie.

I then hand out CD’s which includes all the free SBI! material I can find. You can even customize their free pdf books with your RR URL.
I also include a Word document with a list of the different Sitesell landing pages. All of this has my affiliate code in the links ;-)

People Are Then Free To Leave

For those who indicate that they are ready to purchase, I’ll process their order on the spot.
Most people, however, prefer to do more research. Many would like to discuss this with their spouse. Many send their spouse to the next info session and then they buy. I share my mobile phone number and encourage them to contact me if they have any questions or would like to discuss anything further.
Many ask me whether I think they or their wife/mother in law etc. will manage this. This is a difficult one as it depends on the individual’s brains and motivation – the BAM. Most of the time I’m confident that they’ll manage as everyone I invite are actually already "screened".

Once Everyone Has Left

I send out an email to all of them with the links to the Sitesell website. Most people contact me within a day or so. The ones I don’t hear from I’ll phone and ask if they got my email and whether they’ve managed to follow the links to get more information.
If they don’t show any further interest, I leave it there and never discuss SBI! with them again unless they initiate the conversation. In one case, this has taken about six months before the individual was ready to buy.

Using this approach, I’ve had a very high conversion rate.

This is the "short" sales pitch! If this is of value, please let me know in the "Offline Techniques" Forum, at the following thread...
I will write about my second longer strategy. This session typically carries on for nearly 2 hours. It has had a 98% conversion rate.

Kind regards

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