Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Internet Marketing for Local Businesses


Internet Marketing for Local Businesses

If you have any experience with Internet marketing, you probably know a lot more than the average local business owner. In many cases, local businesses do not have websites; and do not actively market their businesses via the Internet.

Local Restaurants

You should take advantage of the knowledge and experience you have to sell Internet marketing services to local businesses. In particular, one good place to start is by selling your services to local restaurants. One thing you might do for local restaurants is offer to get them connected with Internet-based ordering services.


In   many   places   in   the   U.S.,   sites   like   www.Foodler.com   and www.Grubhub.com allow visitors to order from sites online; however, many local restaurants do not use these sites and many not even know about them. By joining these sites, local businesses have the opportunity to significantly improve the amount of orders they receive; and also to streamline the process by receiving them via the Internet, rather than over the phone.

Your role in this process would be to assist the restaurants in this process. You  can  do  this by offering  to  setup  Foodler.com  and Grubhub.com accounts for nominal fee. This would entail collecting information about the restaurant’s menu, hours,  etc.—and then submitting it to these sites.

After you complete  this process, you  can offer to  market these businesses  in  other  ways.  For  instance,  if  they  do  not  have  a website, you can offer to create and maintain one for a small fee
(perhaps for $200 for the startup, but then $50 per month thereafter). Since these sites are likely to require little maintenance, you can accumulate a large portfolio of sites.

Now, if you’re not familiar with web  design, do not worry. Without knowing any HTML, you can create a website using a what-you-see- is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) editor. If you own a Mac, you can use iWeb. If have a PC, you might choose to do this with FrontPage or DreamWeaver. Alternatively, you can do this using a free program, such as http://kompozer.net/  or http://www.w3.org/Amaya/ .

Whatever you do, make sure that you spend enough time working with the WYSIWYG editor before you try to do any work for your clients. If you do a very poor job on a site, you can expect your client to be very angry and dissatisfied, since this will be his/her only web presence.

Other Local Businesses

In general, most companies can benefit from a web presence, even if it doesn’t gain them any additional new customers. This is why it is a good idea to contact small, local businesses (who have  Yellow Pages listings, but not web sites) to offer to help them setup a site.

Of course, you should always prepare in advance before you contact any company. If your sales pitch is weak or ill-informed, there’s a good chance  you’ll  be  rejected  fast.  So,  start  by  writing  out  a standard pitch. In your pitch, make sure you communicate clearly that having a web presence will allow  existing customers to gain more  information  about  the   company   online,  which  has  the potential to  increase sales,  even if the customer base does not increase.

Finally, consider starting a single site for a given town. On this site, create an index of all businesses that are willing to pay a small fee (perhaps $50/year, initially); and then optimize the site for search engine traffic. On each business’s  page, place pertinent information about what they do, where they are located, and what they sell.

If you really want to make an impact on the business owner, create a page for their business in advance and put it on your site. When
you make the pitch, you can call the owner, ask him to look at the site, and then get back to you about whether he would like to pay the fee to keep his business’s listing on your site.

Remember, you can do this with many cities and many businesses.

Summary

Frequently, Internet marketers overlook an important group of buyers:  local  businesses  that  do  not  have  any  web  presence. Without  even  employing  cutting-edge  techniques,  you  can  help these businesses to gain a web presence while earning a handsome reward in the process.

1 comment:

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