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Old 23rd July 2009, 08:09 AM   #1
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Default Small Business Owners Internet Marketing Frustrations?

I have a question for all you fellow small business owners out there:

What is your number one frustration when trying to market your small business online?

In particular, I am thinking of traditional bricks & mortar type businesses, rather than purely internet businesses. I work with many businesses of this type to help them improve their online presence and find, initially, 9 times out of 10 that their websites are nowhere to be seen on the internet. Usually, this is because the owner did not fully appreciate that you actually have to do some 'marketing' to get traffic - it still amazes me that people publish a website and still expect the traffic to just flow to it!

The reason for my question is that I have put together a video coaching course to allow business owners to learn how to market their businesses online. I want to be sure that I have covered all the important 'how to's'.

I would be interested to hear everyone's thoughts.

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Old 23rd July 2009, 07:39 PM   #2

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It can certainly be a never-ending task, making your presence known online. That being said, doing just a few things can help immensely. And you're so right: most brick & mortars think of a website like a newspaper ad - put it up and forget it. Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple.

However, the fact that at least some ongoing promotion is necessary can be very scary to small businesses. They feel overwhelmed as it is. So my advice for your video is to make it sound as easy as possible. Let them know that if they want to get into it seriously, they can hire assistance.

Very generous and creative of you to produce this coaching course! Wishing you very good luck with it.

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Old 9th August 2009, 05:20 AM   #3
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Default Marketing a Restaurant's Website - SEO

Hi there,

Just wanted to share a few points about a website I designed, developed and am managing the SEO for: http://www.timessquareaz.com.

One great thing about this restaurant is that they had been in business since 2004, and had already had many, many local reviews written about them, and were already listed (just the address and phone #) on a lot of those local sites.
When I contacted them, they had nothing - old, tattered menus, no photography, no logo (at least not one that was used consistently), etc.

So when I created their site, I optimized it well, adding good keyword-rich content, and then went and updated all of the listings I could possibly find on Google w/ their current web address. They were indexed in about 5 days, and they get a fair amount of traffic from all of the local review sites, and they're getting some traffic from their keywords, too.

Another way I'm building their traffic is by updating their sign out front. We're taking down their phone number, and adding their new logo and website address - that's it!

We're using fishbowls to collect business cards, then doing a drawing for a free lunch once a week and doing some e-marketing (where we're including a twitter/facebook link) to drive some traffic to the site.

PR is also a great way to drive traffic. Is there some interesting news, event (can you plan an event?) that you can get some free local press for? Direct mail is an option, making sure all packaging, vehicles, etc. have the website address clearly listed is also a good way to get some exposure.

There are many methods - these are just a few I'm using for the restaurant. Their business has increased because of the site, let alone all of the branding we did for them. The photography alone (and their new menu design) has worked wonders for selling some of the higher-priced seafood dishes.

Anyway - good luck - hope this helps somebody.


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Old 11th August 2009, 09:58 PM   #4
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Hi Dom, thanks for sharing all of those methods you implemented for your client. Really helpful, especially as it applies to a local business.

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Old 12th August 2009, 02:35 PM   #5

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Cheers to the great input!

What is your number one frustration when trying to market your small business online?
To be very specific, not having an easy to setup and use tool that can accurately track roi of various marketing campaigns (both online and offline).

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Old 12th August 2009, 06:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ChristineG View Post
Hi Dom, thanks for sharing all of those methods you implemented for your client. Really helpful, especially as it applies to a local business.
My pleasure!

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Old 21st August 2009, 07:25 PM   #7

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Default Utilize free online sources.

Hi everyone,

I'd like to throw my $.02 in the pile. A good product, an untouchable drive to succeed, an iron gut and a golden heart are all the right base ingredients for a successful business.

However, in an age where consumers can choose the convenience of chains and larger conglomerates, smart entrepreneurs know that this is no longer enough . Small business owners and entrepreneurs must simultaneously show clients that they are tech-savvy through a clean, well-developed, and searchable website, yet also generate a consistently solid product.

Because internet marketing can be free and relatively doable, your clients will wonder why you don't have a website or have a poor website.

Guerrilla online marketing shows that if you understand the nature of online marketing, then you are in touch with today's client. Use html Meta tags for your web page titles, link up your web pages to other businesses that you network with, use free online marketing resources, brand yourself!

Do you sleep, eat and drink your business 24/7? Then get it out through blogging and Twitter. There are a lot of widgets out there that will update your blog and Twitter entries on your website as well.

Also, linking up to your business to business review sites with high traffic such as Yelp and City Search can garner online presence. Visa has just released a free online resource for small business owners at visabusinessnetwork.com. Visa's website for small business can be one more tool to make your business searchable and branded (by you! Not your reviewers). All of these websites take only a moment to register and market your business locally and beyond. Also, Visa is giving away $100 free Facebook ad credit to anyone who registers today.

Gone are the days where small business relied on newspapers, radio and T.V. commercials. Business owners need to find free, or cost effective ways to market their business. I wish everyone the best of luck in finding joy and success in their labor of love.

Alexandria Sten
Visa Business Network Launch Team

Last edited by VBN411; 21st August 2009 at 07:31 PM. Reason: Left out some information, and title
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Old 25th August 2009, 03:45 PM   #8

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I would think that small business are usually local businesses. So you have to think about how a potential customer is going to find you on the internet while doing a search. This means be specifc about your location and service and get ranked for those keyword combos.

This has to be a very specific keyword combination. So make as many webpages as necessary to get indexed.

So for example in the above restaurant site, I would think that a person looking to eat out might type: family restaurant phoenix or family restaurant north phoenix. My search in Google didn't turn up that site listed in the first page though for those keywords.

What I did find was alot of reviewer websites, so the next thing to do would to make sure you get listed in these sorts of sites.

So my tip would basically be get ranked highest as possible for keyword combo of: service + location

Location being variable depending on how large the market is so it could be town, county, city, or city district etc.

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Old 27th August 2009, 07:24 PM   #9

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I think the biggest challenge is finding the time to do everything necessary to market your business. I deal with online marketing on a daily basis, both for my own business and for clients, and I still find it very time consuming to stay on top of it. It's especially hard to keep the marketing going during very busy times. Does anyone else have this problem?

If you're creating a video to help business owners, I think it would be helpful to include a method or system that helps them to optimize the time spent on marketing. I know I would find it valuable for my own business.

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Old 28th September 2009, 06:40 AM   #10
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My frustration, I failed to learn video marketing. Video is almost the rule on websites and squeeze pages these days.

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