As a small business owner you have a lot of choices to make. So we pulled out marketing ideas that are relevant to small businesses and put them in the context of small business with a focus on offline and local marketing.

Mastering B2C Door-to-Door Sales

If door-to-door B2C prospecting makes your knees start knocking, you’re not alone. It’s like a telephone cold call on steroids. Everything is somehow bigger: your fear of rejection and the reaction at the door alike. As you stand at the door, your fear battles with a need to keep the lights on. You can make all of this go away, however, if you have a daily plan.

Monday: Case the Place

You should have a good idea of the types of neighborhoods that represent the income bracket you’re most likely to be successful with. If you’re not sure, find the sales superstar in your department and ask. Next, choose a neighborhood to work.

Your first day of work is going to be very easy. This is a day for getting organized. Walk the neighborhood with a notebook. Write down each address until you’ve got a full list. Now, go back to the office and do a search for those addresses in the company records. Anyone on your list who has bought from your company within the past year gets eliminated. The house could have a new occupant, but with that kind of time frame it’s less likely. You do this because knocking the door of an existing customer is embarrassing. Why add unnecessary discomfort to the process?

Once you’ve finished your research, you’re done for the day. Tomorrow you’re going to go back out there, armed with your list, your day planner, your sales kit, and your pen.

Tuesday: Set Appointments

Most people are not going to want your sales pitch right away. That’s okay. Today is prospecting day, not selling day. Commit to working your entire list today, staying out as long as it takes. Focus your efforts on the times when people are most likely to be there. 11:00 am to 1:00 pm is good because you catch people coming home from lunch. 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm is good because everyone’s home from work.

You’ll drive between blocks of six to eight houses, parking your car each time. Once you’re done with that block, move your car up a bit. You want your car nearby because your sales kit stays in your car. That way, you’re ready if someone actually invites you in on the spot, but you are neither stomping around with a heavy sales kit nor intimidating customers with it. Remember: they’re more afraid of you than you are of them.

Knock on each door. Deliver a very short what’s-in-it-for-them speech. Lead off with an apology to diffuse any irritation or fear the prospect may have because you’ve knocked on their door.

“I apologize for disturbing you. I’m _____ with ____. I’m in your neighborhood today to let people know how they can get a free DVR with our satellite company. Do you have DVR right now?”

You can swap out the benefit in that speech with whatever is applicable to your company. If you’re selling alarm systems then you can offer a security consultation. If you’re selling water softeners then you can offer a free water test. Whatever you do today, don’t sell unless you are invited in! Just set appointments.

Don’t let the existence of a competitor’s service stop you. You can ask a few questions to determine how happy the prospect is with their service and then point out where your company is doing better if you can do it in two sentences or less. Then you launch right into the second part of the speech.

“I’d be happy to set an appointment with you. Do you prefer Wednesday or Thursday, and is morning or afternoon better?”

You have four appointment days, but choose only two when you’re setting appointments. Don’t overwhelm your prospect with choices. If Saturday is a better day, the prospect will say so. Record all of the appointment information in your planner: name, address, and phone number.

You should be aware of how many appointments the most successful representative in your company sets every week. Ten one hour appointments a week is usually pretty reasonable. Of those ten appointments, one or two are always going to be no-shows. That leaves you eight people to try to close, people who will actually be expecting you and are ready to listen. Even if you have a relatively weak closing ratio of 50%, you’re still making four sales a week. Hopefully your closing ratio is even better than that, but many people can easily meet their quotas on four sales weekly. Adjust your goals if your quota is higher or your appointment times are lower.

When you’re done at a door, stop and mark up your notebook. You can simply write “SA” for “set appointment,” NI for “not interested,” NH for “not home,” and V for “vacant.” If you want to be able to see the neighborhood at a glance, pick four highlighter colors and use those instead.

Try to keep Tuesday free of appointments wherever possible. Sometimes it’s unavoidable –Tuesday is the day the prospect has off and that’s that – and if that happens just prospect around your Tuesday appointment.

Wednesday through Saturday: Run Appointments

The next three or four days are appointment days. Walk in with the confidence that you’ve been invited and deliver your very best sales presentation! Be sure to mark the results of each appointment in your notebook: sale, no sale, or no show.

Between appointments, check for cars in the driveways of anyone who wasn’t home on Tuesday. Knock those doors and set more appointments. You can also call your no shows in a single attempt to re-set the missed appointment, just in case the prospect was merely forgetful. Don’t waste your time doing that more than once, however: if they miss two appointments mark them off as “not interested” and forget about them.

By the end of the week you’ll have been to the neighborhood at a variety of times. If someone has been consistently “not home” the whole week, don’t worry about them. Start again with a new neighborhood next week.

Last Day of the Month: Make a Return Visit

At the end of each month, make it a point to drive around each of the four neighborhoods you’ve visited. If it looks like someone has finally moved into one of those vacant properties, go ahead and knock the door to set the appointment. Service-based door-to-door salespeople (those selling alarms, television service, or phone service) will gain a real advantage if they can catch someone shortly after a move-in, because typically the new residents haven’t turned these services on yet and might well sign up simply because you were the first person to see them.

The Danger of Door Hangers

Door hangers with an ad, a phone number, and your business card are dangerous. They are dangerous because it is all too tempting to walk around putting hangers on doors, instead of prospecting. They’re good tools, but only if they don’t become a distraction. Bring your door hangers on Saturday, and tag all of the people who haven’t been home all week. Do this only after you have run your very last appointment of the day. You might get a phone call and an additional appointment out of it, but it’s nothing you should focus on. Leave the hangers at the office for the rest of the week. If you tag a house, make sure to mark it in your notebook.

The Final Word

Organization like this keeps you disciplined and focused. It keeps you in practice, week after week, until you are confident and thick-skinned if you happen to run into someone who is nastier than usual. You will be making the best use of your time and you will have mastered the numbers game to the point where you can predict your end of the month numbers with eerie precision, simply based on the number of appointments you’ve managed to set.

Diversify and Die – Your Website Focus Crucial to Success

A while back, I told you that Google’s index will double by the year 2011 every 11 hours… The amount of pages in its database will double ever 11 hours.  That’s staggering.  It tells us two things — 1) people who position themselves now and base their revenue off search traffic will explode their businesses, and 2) people who wait will be crushed by the competition.  Gone are the low competition days of the Early Internet, but this is still the Wild West in terms of competition — especially where things are going.  The fatal flaw I see most businesses make when they are coming online is lack of planning.  You have to have a plan; you must know your outcome before you set out or you will never arrive.  Without a plan, you will throw thousands of dollars at bad ideas and poor execution and only start the process all over again with another web design firm, and another after that…

So, what is the plan?  How is your business going to take your existing website and actually make money with it?  If you don’t have a website, how are you going to develop it so you can be assured of success…?  If you’re thinking that you’ll simply build it and you’ll get traffic — because naturally, there will be so MUCH traffic that someone is bound to run into you… Well, that is not going to work.  In fact, I’ll tell you bluntly that it’s naive.  It would be like opening up a storefront on the busiest street in town, but not hanging a sign, not unlocking your door, and painting black on the windows…  People will have no idea you’re there or what you do.  You have to be open for business, and on the Internet, that means marketing your website.

Before you start marketing, you have to look at your site.  Think about it as another business, because unless you’re already in the direct marketing business, it’s a completely different thought process from where you are right now.  I’ll do my best in the pages of this site to inform and advise, but really, consider hiring a reputable, experienced professional, someone who has navigated this course before and can advise you based on their experiences.  Find someone who will advise you honestly on the best course of action for your particular business, which will not necessarily be the cheapest option for you.  Find a firm that specializes in taking real world brick & mortar businesses from offline to online.

There are different ways to approach your company’s website.  Think in terms of what you currently offer your community.  Do you see your website as being a business card for your existing product or service, or would you like to conduct sales on the website?  Do you have information you could share with others that would benefit them?  If so, you have the opportunity to package that information and sell it as a book, course or coaching program (among many other ideas).  Your local business can remain a local business online, or be focused on much bigger markets — it really all depends on what you want to do.  The good news is, you can do anything you want on the Internet.  That’s the bad news as well.  A myriad of choices and possibilities, but one of the most crucial things you can do online is decide who you are, decide who is your market, and be that one thing to that one market.  Diversification is death on the Internet.  Niche is success.

Here’s one clever strategy a recent client has decided to implement — consider all the different niches that are within their existing business and create separate web properties for each of them.  Buy up the domain real estate for about $7/year and then take the time to methodically develop those websites fully within the niches they serve.  There is a definitive strategy on what to name your website — the XYZ in your

Keep it tight, keep it focused.  Be patient.  You will reap the rewards with your online business(es).

If you simply build your website, they will NOT come!

I just received an e-mail from a business owner who feels he has done all the right things in the last six months — he started a WordPress blog, assigned one of his employees to post to it a few times a week, optimized the site for SEO, created an opt-in box to capture e-mail leads, etc., but he’s not seen any traffic to speak of… a few visitors a day, no opt-in’s, no extra business, and nothing but expenses and bills to show for his efforts… and needless to say he’s frustrated, discouraged and at the point of giving up.  His results are actually very typical, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Millions of websites are earning revenue for their businesses by following a few key strategies.

A few years ago, you could create an SEO-friendly website and the mere fact that it was optimized would attract traffic to your website, but that’s not enough anymore.  You must advertise or market the site.

Before we move forward, I’ll state unequivocally that if your site is not optimized, you will suffer search engine rankings.  It’s part of building a professional website, and simply a matter of course that you need to pay attention to proper optimization of each page.  It would be like showing up at the opera in a dirty t-shirt and cut-off’s; it simply isn’t done if you want to be taken seriously.  Pay attention to the title of your page, as well as the description, keywords and especially the content.  Tag your images with relevant keywords.  Do all those things — especially if your keyword competes with less than 50,000 – 60,000 other web pages in Google’s index.  We commonly see the lack of optimization on home-made websites (made in a free editor), Flash sites (pretty but not very smart) and old websites (technically obsolete).  If you have a home-made, Flash or old website, it’s entirely possible to have a well optimized site, but you may have to work harder to get here than the guy with the WordPress blog.  WordPress sites are about as good as it gets for good SEO, and should be your model to emulate in your own web property.

More than simply optimizing your site for search engines, you must tell the world about your website.  There are simply too many pages on the Internet about your topic — too much noise for a page to simply “exist” and get any attention at all.  Time and again, you have heard me talk about “the conversation,” and that’s an image I’ll return to again here.  Think about a cocktail party.  If you are in the street outside the house, you could be the most relevant contributor in the world to the conversation; but unless you walk into the house and actually join the conversation, you’re not relevant.  You’re not even on the radar.  People don’t know you exist.  You are a mere murmur in a world that is shouting.

The Internet — and by extension, search engines — filter out pages for a number of reasons.  Spam content that contributes nothing gets thrown to the side of the road.  Good content with no volume is not found, and that is a true shame.  There are many ways to join the conversation.  If you have something to say — especially if you have something of substance to contribute — you have a responsibility to make yourself heard.  So get out there!  It’s time to be heard.

Me Marketing at the Expense of You

Does your advertising answer the “So what?” question?

One of the most common marketing mistakes is not focusing your business on the needs of your prospects and customers.  Take an honest look at your website, your Yellow Pages advertising, magazine ads, etc.  Do you talk about your business or your customer?  As a basic rule, if more than three-quarters of your ad relates to benefits for your Customer or Client, your execution is good.  If most of your advertising concerns your business, your services, your features, your information (location, hours, etc.), then you are failing to be relevant to your Customer.

Some of the greatest copywriters in the last 70 years have said this in many different ways, but it’s the same basic idea — focus on the sizzle and not the steak.  Focus on benefits, not features.

People really want to know what’s the upside for them, especially when they are online searching for a solution to their problem.  Do your business a great service and focus on your Customer.  It will help your marketing tremendously.

If it’s too “close to home” to dissect your own marketing efforts, take a look through your Yellow Pages.  Are most of the ads describing the companies (location, hours, honors & accolades, their products or services), etc.?  I think you will find that nearly 100% of the ads you read are focused on the business and not on what the business can do for you, the potential customer.

It has been said that Internet marketing is a lot like direct marketing; it is “me to you” communication.  This is true whether your website is focused on a B2B (business-to-business) model, B2C (business-to-consumer) model, or strictly informational with no commercial agenda.  It is very direct, personal communication.  Therefore, think in terms of your prospective customer or client; in everything you create, imagine you are them.  What would you want to know?

Now think in terms of your own copy (the content in your website or advertising).  After every line of copy, ask, “So what?” as it relates to your customer.  If you can pass the “so what” test at every line, you have something relevant to say to that prospect.

Free Marketing Ideas

You can market your business for free, but the investment is time. In starting a new business this may be essential. In growing an already profitable business look at the dollar cost of the free marketing ideas in terms of what it costs you in time.

Free Offline Marketing Ideas

  1. Ask your family and friends to help market your business.You already have group of people that want to see you succeed in your friends and family. Make them part of your marketing team, tell them about your business and how they can help you.
  2. Build a business referral network.Find other business professionals that work with or target the same market you do and work to send one another referrals. This is one of the top free marketing ideas, done correctly it can generate very loyal customers with no cost other than time.
  3. Attend meetings, events and trade shows to meet other business professionals and connect with new customers.
  4. Speak at an event.With the number of events taking place every day there are always groups looking for speakers that will interest their attendees. Don’t look only at event opportunities in your own industry, but in industries that can benefit from your knowledge.
  5. Volunteer and offer free services.Volunteering in a local charity or volunteering to be on the board of a local trade organization can generate customers, build your business referral network and associate your business with a positive image.
  6. Get in the newsWrite a press release or an editorial about your business or a charity that you are involved with or do something news worthy.

Free Internet Marketing Ideas

  1. Setup afree blog.
  2. Get involved with internet forums.Internet forums are a place where people gather to ask questions and give answers. Blatant advertisement is frowned upon, but you can usually place a link to your website in what is called a signature line. If you are willing to spend time on a regular basis answering questions you will build trust in that community as well as be found by people searching for the question you answered.

    If your business is location specific then look for forums aimed at your community otherwise look for forums with the customer group you are most interested in reaching.

  3. Start building a mailing list.This can be as simple as placing a paper in your store where people can add their email to receive coupons and sale announcements or adding a sign-up form to your website. Sending out a regular email newsletter with coupons, new products and useful information keeps your business at the front of your customers mind.
  4. Comment on blogs relevant to your industry or your target market.

Who Are You? What Are You?

When one thinks in terms of marketing ANYTHING, you consider what your product does and who might it serve.  In the online world, this is absolutely crucial.  Determining your “niche” is the single most important decision you will make.  It’s so important that it’s page one on Google for a business that gets it right, and crash & burn for the business that gets it wrong.

I have seen clients try to create one website — usually because they are on a budget — and intend for that one website to be an umbrella for anyone who might stop by.  The marketing strategy here seems to be, “shove ’em under the umbrella.”  You really can’t market to “anyone.”  As customers, do any of us want to be considered “anyone”?  Perhaps it’s telling that even umbrellas are not needed all the time; you would find an easier time to sell someone an umbrella when it’s raining than on a sunny day.  A cautionary note — any time you market online to “anyone,” you will surely fail, unless you have the budget of Google… in which case you would be, um, GOOGLE.

Sometimes, even things that appear related are vastly unrelated in Online Eyes…  For example, let’s say you’re an electrician and you want to advertise your electrical service.  But you also want to post tips on do-it-yourself electrical repair.  And sell an e-book about electrical home DIY projects.  And do some e-commerce on some parts you have in the warehouse that are gathering dust, but you figure SOMEONE would probably want to buy them…  And so on.  Can you see how terribly confusing this site is, not to mention it will probably sabotage and even cannibalize this company’s offline efforts…?

This company would be better served to have several websites.  It’s possible that a few of their customers from each site would be interested in their other “products,” but not likely.  They would be better served to establish a separate customer base in each “niche.”  The added benefit of this strategy is that it creates multiple (healthy) income streams for a business that previously only had one.

If the business could not afford to do that, then they might consider prioritizizing the different project ideas on the basis of which could generate cashflow most rapidly, and add in new sites as their investment pays off.

These are one of the many strategies we advise our clients on, so their marketing expenses not only make sense, but make MONEY.  We believe websites should look good and earn revenue, not exist as an expense item on your balance sheet.

If You Advertise Your Business with the Yellow Pages, Read This

You own a small business, just like me. You own a brick & mortar business. I have over a decade of personal, hands-on experience with that; I have paid rent, payroll, payroll taxes, sales tax, worried about inventory and sell-through… I get it. Your margins are getting thinner and sales are getting smaller. You have been looking at every expense item in your business and you have probably run out of things to cut. The next thing to cut will be you, or the business itself. What you need are more customers. More customers will solve your problem, won’t it?

I’d like to ask you to think about advertising your business in the Yellow Pages. I’m not suggesting you think about it as a viable means of advertising — I’m asking you, consider the advertising that you’re doing, whether it be the Yellow Pages or any of the other “old school” methods for advertising your business. Consider how that ad works for you. Consider how that ad MUST work for you in order for it to do its job of bringing more customers into your store or restaurant, or getting more prospects to call you. Someone needs to get the idea to open the phone book, page to your category, peruse the ads, find YOU, see something in your display ad to make them take action and call. NO ONE works that hard anymore to seek you out. That advertising costs thousands of dollars a year. How many of your new customers came from the Yellow Pages last year? Do you even have any metrics (data) to know where your new business came from? Humbly, I suggest the best thing you can do is eliminate that display ad; create a regular, simple listing and pay for an extra line for your website address.

Now please consider your website. I’m going to be very direct and honest with you — if you are running your website like most small business owners, it’s failing to add anything to your business. Many small business owners operate their website as though it were a Yellow Pages ad; it’s there. Your customers won’t randomly find you on the Internet. They won’t just happen to think about your business and type it in. Even if your potential customers go to a search engine and type in your TYPE of business, they probably won’t find you unless you have 1) optimized your pages properly and 2) created specific methods to increase the presence and visibility of your website to the search engines. You see, not only your customers need to know who you are, but Google, Yahoo and MSN does as well. If they don’t know you exist, they can’t deliver your site to people who need your product or service.

Done properly, a website can be a VERY effective method of adding customers to your business. It can be modified very quickly to adapt to trends. Through your website, you can feature sales, talk to your customers and find new clients. A website can be any size you want it to be. You can even sell some of your products on your website and reach beyond your local market.

Consider your website name. If your business is about plumbing, and you don’t have “plumbing” in your .com name, does Google know what your site is about? Do the pages of your site talk about the various aspects of your business? Oftentimes, you’ll see a local business have a three-page site — a Contact page, About Us, and then a HUGE page about everything it is they do. Why? Because they “got a deal” from a web designer for a three-page site that was cheap and easy to implement. This is a terrible strategy in terms of search engines. Segment your pages into one topic per page. Make sure the metatags on each page match the topic. You can Google a discussion about metatags, but essentially, metatags are the code Google looks at for clues on what the page is about. YOU determine what the metatags are. Oftentimes, web designers don’t put anything in the metatags because you have paid for “web design” not “SEO.” That’s one reason why you got such a “deal” on the price. 😉

Metatags are easy to find. Just go to your website, and then in your browser, go to “View Source.” Search for the TITLE and DESCRIPTION tags. If you don’t have anything there, or you can’t even find those words in your code, then your page is not optimized for search engines in the most basic way.

Metatags are the simplest way to optimize a website for search engines, but really, it goes to the very structure of the site. Think in terms of an outline with 1) 2) 3) and sub-sections of a) b) and c) — search engines think the same way. They like to see orderly, planned websites that function logically. Your site should be the same way.

We hope this has been helpful to your business.

3 Immediate Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses

Large-scale marketing campaigns require months of planning, working and reworking until each little detail is carefully hammered out. But what if you don’t have the budget – or the time – to launch a massive marketing campaign?

There are 3 simple marketing ideas you can unveil today to bring in fresh business and encourage former clients to come back for more. With minimal preparation on your part, these marketing ideas can boost your business within weeks.

1. Create a no-nonsense (but understated) referral program.

After each transaction with a client or customer, send them an unassuming questionnaire that reads something like this:

“Thank you for letting us serve you; we appreciate your business and are constantly striving to improve our products and services. Please take a moment to complete and return this short questionnaire to help us enhance your next experience.

What did you like most about working with us?

Are there areas you’d like us to improve?

Please list friends or colleagues who might benefit from our service.”

The benefits of your referral program are twofold: you gain valuable insight into what your customers are thinking and get new leads through peer recommendation.

2. Give something away for free.

This tactic has long been a favorite of professional marketers because it works every time. Select one of your products or services many clients find valuable but doesn’t cost you a large amount of money and set a date for the random winner to be chosen.

The conditions for your giveaway are simple: people must interact with you to be entered. You may choose to have them comment on your blog, post a link to your website on theirs or fill out an entry form they can only find on your site.

Promote your giveaway through press releases, emails, blogs and your website. Word of mouth will spread the news and you have a potentially viral marketing campaign on your hands.

3. Reach out to an untapped audience.

Your clients and customers may find you online when they’re specifically looking for your products and services – but what about the prospects who don’t know they need you yet?

Think about businesses that provide products and services to your clients but aren’t in competition with you. Do your clients drop clothes off at the dry cleaner, get haircuts and stop at locally-owned restaurants? Of course they do – and offering to reciprocate advertising with those small businesses can open doors you didn’t even know existed.

Stop by a local print shop and speak with the owner about leaving your brochures, business cards or other marketing materials on the counter in exchange for embedding a link to his website from yours. Talk to a restaurant owner about putting a poster ad in the window while blogging about how your family always enjoys a great meal in his facility.

These interactions can also get your foot in the door as a service or product provider for other businesses, so it can be beneficial for all parties.

Each of these tried and true tactics work for small businesses because they require minimal effort and investment. After you’ve initiated one, move on to the next – before long, you’ll be wondering how you ever got by without using these 3 simple marketing techniques.

Door-to-Door Sales

It’s not for every business, not for every person. But for those that market through door-to-door sales we just got in an interesting take on the subject. You’ll find the new article complete with a daily schedule and mini marketing plan in our small business marketing ideas guide. Or you could just click on the link.

Why Inbound Marketing Will Out-Perform Outbound Marketing Every Day

February 18th, 2011 by Kinetics Web Pro | Posted in Small Business Blog
Back in the Stone Age when I was a kid, we had television and radio.  That’s all we had.  Imagine (or remember?) a world pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter, pre-cell phones…  It was a very peaceful time. LOL  The messaging that we’re bombarded with almost constantly has created a noise in the marketplace that we tend to shut out or ignore.  If we’re shutting it out, you can imagine that your prospects and customers are doing the same.  A broadcast message from a source like television or radio is an obsolete and ineffective method for communicating with your audience more than ever.

If you’re a brick & mortar business, that argument might seem counter-intuitive.  After all, you run one ad and can reach thousands or millions, right?  You might be broadcasting to thousands or millions, but I can guarantee you’re not reaching them.  Advertisers love to use metrics like the size of their audience to entice you into thinking you are actually connecting with those prospects.  We see this in broadcast media as well as other sources like newspapers and the Yellow Pages.  Recent headlines this past year about all the failing newspapers worldwide should cause you to re-consider that advertising model; clearly, many other small businesses and Fortune 500 companies before you have realized their marketing dollars are not being well spent in traditional media and have pulled out, leaving those newspapers filing bankruptcy.  Even at the local level, we have seen Yellow Page advertising reps dropping their rates to a fraction of previous years just to retain any kind of business from their clients who are leaving in droves.  It’s not just a tough economy that is driving those ad costs down; it is the vacancy of savvy business owners who have realized their advertising and marketing budget is better spent elsewhere.

Is this merely a shift in ad revenues, or part of something bigger and much more fundamental?  Consider the process of a Google search (or Yahoo, Bing or your favorite search engine) for a moment.  What is taking place there is an inbound process.  A potential client needs information, searches for it, and then clicks on the website to deliver on that.  They’re not responding to anything but their own drive and self-perceived need.  They are driving the request for contact.  That’s fundamentally different from an ad on a radio or television that’s causing someone to pick up the phone or visit a showroom.

Advertising by definition is an outbound process, a process which has become so crowded and noisy that rarely are those ads being heard.  It’s a process that’s fundamentally flawed; the only way you know if your ad is successful is if you sell more widgets.  You will go through a fiscal quarter of ad spend before you know if your ad is working.  Does that make sense on any level?  Especially in today’s marketplace, where marketing campaigns can spread virally to millions practically overnight, you can’t afford to wait three months (or more) to find out if you’re connecting with your audience.  Advertising starts with a product and then tries to find the buyer, when really your process needs to be finding the hungry audience and crafting your product or service per their needs.

New Marketing (as I like to call it) is fundamentally an inbound process.  You contemplate your customer.  You create products or services that meet their needs and you create an opportunity for them to find those products when they perceive the need.  Part of your success will be in crafting the product or service, and partly in your ability to control the perception of “need.”  Perceived need in the traditional advertising model occurred by bombarding the prospect with repeated messages until they perceived a need for the product; now that those messages are being ignored, your messages need to become more interactive.  Your product or service must adapt as you receive feedback from your customers and prospects.

SEO Web Design

November 11th, 2010 by Kinetics Web Pro | Posted in Small Business Blog
There are a lot of web designers out there, and a lot of firms advertising the “best web design” available.  We are of the school of thought that an effective web design is one that brings traffic to your website and revenue to your business.  For that reason, you won’t see us recommending Flash, you won’t see us recommending HTML templates, and you won’t see us recommending a design without SEO.

For a web design to be effective, you must have SEO.  A thumbnail explanation of SEO is that the site speaks to the search engines in their language.  It is optimized for the search engines.  Why is that so crucial?  Because the number of pages on the Internet is increasing at an exponential rate, and the competition for page 1 in Google, Yahoo or Bing will grow in intensity.  It will be more & more difficult to rank on page one.  In the more competitive niches, it is already impossible to rank on page one without good SEO; that will become the case for every niche in the very near future.

Good SEO can mean many different things; in terms of SEO web design, “good SEO” means on-page factors.  Yes, you will also need to market your site to insure top placement in the search engines; on-age SEO factors are not enough in most cases (unless you are in an extremely tiny, non-competitive niche or hyper-niche) to insure top placement in Google, Yahoo and Bing.

The two go hand in hand.

The old school way of doing things was to create a website and then go hire a separate SEO expert to optimize it, oftentimes completely changing what the designer did because it was actually harmful for your search engine rankings.

Before you hire a web designer find out what their experience is with SEO and make sure that they can build SEO into the design of the site.

Local Marketing: Is that really needed?

April 18th, 2010 by Kinetics Web Pro | Posted in Small Business Blog
My usual bottom line is the bottom line; if we’re doing something that isn’t helping our business, then we shouldn’t be doing it.  This is sort of a digression from the way I live my life, in that if I’m doing something that isn’t helping my walk with God, then I shouldn’t be doing it.  But let’s not digress…

There are many reasons for a website.

Perhaps you want to use it as a reference; maybe you’re a local event planner and you promote in-person at events, gatherings, etc., and do direct mailings to businesses and private parties interested in your services.  You need a place to refer those prospects for more information, pictures of your work, pricing, etc.  And a phone number.  You don’t need e-commerce, you don’t need a 5,000 page website pulling in content from the world about “event planning.”  Your focus is your backyard and frontyard, and how your community impacts you — and vice versa.  A simple website will do, along with a linking campaign to insure top search engine placement for your local keywords.

Perhaps you are a local giftshop who is tired of netting five cents on the dollar with high rent, payroll expenses, taxes, etc., and you want to expand your market beyond your local borders.  You WILL want to increase the size of your website.  In this case, I recommend narrowing your niche if you’re going to expand your reach.  You can’t punch the side of a barn.  Focus, focus.  Do some research on your keywords to see about your competition on a national level, and that will inform you as to how many links you’ll need to create to compete successfully.  Page count is a factor; hundreds if not thousands of pages related to affiliate products, products you are actively selling, and information about those products, is recommended.  Do NOT post fake reviews on products you have never seen or used.  It’s not only unethical, but lame!

All Marketers Are Liars, and other Half-Truths

April 14th, 2010 by Kinetics Web Pro | Posted in Small Business Blog
You should consider yourself lucky to do what you do for a living, assuming it is anything other than Internet Marketing.  Being an honest internet marketer is like working as an undercover cop in a gang.  You see a lot of ugly going down and you do your best to right the wrongs, hold the line and live to fight tomorrow.

The perception is that marketers are like politicians or novelists; we are professional liars.  I can understand how that came to be.  Some of the business owners I work with decry the lack of honesty in marketing, then want me to push the truth in marketing their brand.  I really don’t do that.  I don’t bend the truth to make a buck.  You either have a legitimate product/service or you don’t.

Consider actually making a better product. Not only will your list of benefit be what you want them to be, but your product really will market itself.