Loko (25 August, 2009)
Help Local Businesses Get (Better) Online
A New Plan for Using Your Internet Marketing Skills: Go Local
Okay, you've made some money online and know the basics of the business. Here's a thought: take your skills and help local businesses market their most profitable merchandise, products or services. You can also help them scale up any underused capacity that they want to promote. Best of all, you can plan it so they give you monthly, recurring payments!
Most brick-and-mortar local businesses know their business, but don't know how to market their business effectively. Sure, they do what their competition is doing, but they don't think outside the box. You, as an experienced marketer, can help them in ways they may never even imagine.
First, you have to realize that what local businesses need is not an education in IM. They need someone to look at what they're doing with fresh eyes and a willingness to listen to them. The worst thing you can do is walk into a small business with a "business in a box" solution. You need to know what the problem is before you offer any solutions.
Avoid making the same mistake that many new Direct Response Internet Marketing hopefuls make: build a product or service, then check to see if anybody is already buying something like it. Do your market research first. Locate the hungry buyers for advertising and promotion.
Find out who is paying a lot of advertising money in your local area. Approach these businesses first, before you think about helping smaller, less profitable businesses. One easy way to start your market research is to look at Yellow Pages books and business directories. Concentrate on those businesses that have big display ads.
Full-page (or large) display ads cost a lot of money. In fact, the amount is usually so much that they are paid for on a monthly basis. All you have to do is call or write to these resources and find out the monthly fees for advertising in their publications
You may be in for a shock! Small and medium-sized businesses that do this kind of advertising pay thousands of dollars every month in advertising fees. All you have to do is stand in front of that flood of money.
Now you have an idea of which local businesses in your area are already "hungry buyers" for what you can offer them. You'll be able to approach them with confidence. Your marketing skills, applied to their business and marketing plan, can really boost their revenue.
Avoid using IM "jargon" when speaking to these businesses. Remember, they know their business. They don't know about autoresponders, split testing, affiliate links, analytics for Web pages, etc. You'll just make what you do seem foreign to them.
Instead, find out what their business and marketing plans are. Help them target their most profitable merchandise, products or services. Find ways to help them improve the marketing of any underused capacity or products they have.
Think of their needs first, before you offer any solution. You'll be more likely to get a new client and get more money every month for helping that client.
Loko (25 August, 2009)
Great post! I agree this is one area today where there are a lot of opportunities. So many small to medium local businesses have a non existent to poor web presence and you as a web marketer can help them out.
Looking at local keywords for example (at least for the place I am staying); SEO wise many niches are barely touched. Flower shops, fitness clubs, plumbers are easy to rank for, even for a noob marketer.