How to Use Small Business Web Solutions to Help Generate More Profits For Your Local Business

There are many small business web solutions available today to help a local business owner take massive action to generate more profits. Unfortunately, many small, local business owners are not taking advantage of the largely untapped local marketing source called the Internet.

Small business web solutions like Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a fairly new, and unfamiliar, discipline for many local businesses. Think about it, SEO has really only been around for a decade or so and many businesses have not tapped in to this powerful marketing tool. Instead, they are stuck in their old habits of using the Yellow Pages, newspaper ads, or direct mail. While these methods still work, they are expensive and hard to track.

The Internet on the other hand offers small businesses the ability to use inexpensive, many times even free, advertising methods to generate traffic to their website, phone calls to their office, or more customers into their stores. Once a business owner welcomes this new advertising media with open arms, they will be able to take full advantage of the small business web solutions available to them.

As a business owner, your goals when advertising on the internet are some of the following:

  • Generate targeted leads to your sales staff
  • Generate phone calls to your office from potential customers
  • Generate direct sales from your website
  • Increase traffic to your store (or place of business)
  • To build an email list you can advertise to directly

You do not simply want to have a website brochure out there that is not generating targeted traffic and generating leads for your business. This is just one of the mistakes many small business make when spending valuable resources on website design.

Your website can be, and should be, a tool to generate unlimited leads and new paying customers for your business. Don’t make the mistake of getting a fancy, high-tech website created only to have it sit online never to be found by your potential clients.

Here are some of the free tools available for small business owners to increase their web presence:

1. Google Places – free business listing on Google. This tool integrates your website ranking and your Google Places listing to help “local” customers find your business.

2. Citation Listings – there are many local listing services out their just waiting to help your customers find your business. Some examples are Yelp.com, InsiderPages.com, and SuperPages.com. Simply register or verify your business listing and your chances of being found are increased greatly.

3. Local Directories – like the citation services, there are many local business directories that have high rankings in the search engines so when some searches for your type of business, you can be found.

There are many other services available to help small businesses get found online. Tap in to this market and you can expect a prosperous future.

Using Joint Ventures In Your Small Business

Small Business owners are constantly trying to come up with new ways to generate qualified leads and get more clients. Quite often we come up with some pretty amazing ideas and concepts, however quite often we overlook the real simple and inexpensive strategies. One of the most basic ways to get qualified leads and referrals is through joint venture partnerships. So what is a JV?

Well a JV or Joint Venture is where you partner up with another person to pass business to one another. There are some great natural fits for JV’s such as personal trainers with chiropractors or massage therapists or accountants with financial planners, however really any joint venture will work if you have the same sorts of people at both your businesses.

Joint ventures have loads of benefits, but probably the most important one of all is that they are a very qualified lead. They already trust one business and it is that business that is recommending them to you. Automatically you are being edified and promoted as a trustworthy person and business to use.

There are a couple of ways you can use joint venture partners. You could have a simple, I’ll pass you referrals and you pass them back to me or you can pay them a $$ amount or % of the fee for passing you the referral. The 2nd option is a sure way to get referrals passed as the passer is making some money also on the deal. This concept is great as the $$ or % that you are giving them is what you would have spent on advertising and marketing anyway. The difference is that this lead always comes with a better chance of using your products or services has they trust the person who has passed them onto you.

Joint Venture partners do not need to be businesses with close fits to your business. Getting joint venture partners with large databases that could provide a quick hit of orders or clients instantly is the perfect catch. Make a list of all the different business or people you could partner up with. If you had 10 – 20 people who were passing referrals onto you, then you would certainly always have enough prospects to talk to.

Joint ventures are great and really should be explored more by small business owners; however the right mindset is also extremely important to have. This is not all about you and your business. There is a great philosophy used in one networking circle of ‘Givers Gain’ and this really holds true in forming JV’s. You must be willing to help other businesses out, to form relationships with them and promote them more than what you expect to be promoted.

I know every day I will pass on close to 15 referrals to other businesses I know, whether I have a partnership with them or not, because that is my mindset in helping other people out. This mindset allows us to form brilliant relationships with other business owners and also our prospects and clients as we can help them out more and in different ways. There are joint venture partners everywhere all you need to do is ask.

Start with the big fish the ones you really want, the ones that could turn your business into an instant success. What’s the worst that could happen, they say no? That’s not too bad, move onto the next.

All the best in getting your 10-20 JV partners this week.

Transform Your Small Business Marketing

I regularly interview small and solo business owners who call my coaching company looking for help. After getting a sense of what their business is all about, what their biggest goals are, and what lifestyle they are trying to create, I ask them what their biggest challenges are.

Nine times out of ten, it’s getting more clients and the problem is marketing. Most work very hard at trying to get one client at a time. They try many different small business marketing methods that they’ve heard about or which they’ve seen their competitors use. In other words, a little of this and a little of that. The results are inevitably mediocre. It’s easy to get discouraged when you know you have a great skill or talent to offer the world and yet no one is listening to what you have to say.

The mistake made by the majority of early stage small or solo businesses, and even some who have been around for years, is to do what I call “shot in the dark marketing”. This is like playing darts with a blindfold on and being convinced that you’ll hit the bull’s eye. You may occasionally do so, but you’ll do it rarely. The same is true if you are an entrepreneur who has not mastered marketing.

I bet you’re great at what you do. But, are you also great at building and running a business? These are two separate and distinct skill sets and both are crucial to your success. When it comes to small business marketing, the real truth is that people who are marketing masters can make money even with mediocre products, yet many people with excellent products and services fail because they haven’t mastered marketing. If no one knows you exist how can you expect to get lots of clients and make a great income?

Here are some tips on what you need to think about in order to begin to master marketing:

Do Research

It’s a mistake to decide what you want to sell, create a product and then try to find some people who need it and are willing to pay you for it. Instead use the Internet to find out what people are searching for within your area of expertise and to research what and how your top competitors are selling. Also figure out where your prospects congregate online or offline so you know where you can reach them with your marketing.

Create a Marketing Design

This is a detailed plan that locks in what marketing activities you’ll pursue and how you’ll measure and track the results to know if those activities are working. Make a list of all the different ways you could generate leads both online and offline. Then pick only those that will focus on your target market. For example, join social media groups that attract your target market, mail marketing materials, postcards and brochures only to your target market. The same applies to print ads and sales calls. Don’t waste time on broad groups of people, but on the type of person who you know would buy your type of product or service.

Then pick three activities from the list and get started. You most definitely need at least one of them to include online marketing, either. That’s why I teach my online lead generation system. You can use a variety of methods such as article marketing, video marketing, blogging and social media to organically generate traffic. You can also use search engine optimization and pay per click advertising to generate search leads.

Follow Your Plan

Stick to your plan and see what works. Give it a bit of time, then focus tightly on what works and get rid of the rest. Don’t waste time, for example, going to networking meetings just because you like the people when you’re not connecting with potential clients or referral sources. Your time is limited so use it wisely.

Outsource

Why do $15 an hour tasks when you can outsource them and spend your time being the strategist and servicing clients? As soon as you outsource rote marketing tasks, you’ll find they get done more quickly and consistently and you’ll start generating a steady, reliable stream of qualified leads.

Follow Up

Once someone is on your mailing list or has called your company, have a follow up system ready to go into action so you don’t miss out on closing sales with people who are ready and willing to work with you!

Transform your small business marketing from lackluster to powerful!

How to Turn Your Small Business Website Into a Sales Generator

It’s unfortunate that so many small business owners end up with a website that isn’t much more than a glorified online brochure that attracts little traffic. If you’re in that situation I’m positive that wasn’t your intention when you shelled out the money and spent the time creating your website. At first you may have simply created a website because you knew you needed one, but other than to have information about your company on the Internet, you may not have had a specific goal for how it would create sales for your business.

Some of the fault for this problem lies with web designers who can design great looking websites, but who don’t explain to their clients that looking great and attracting traffic and sales are two different things. However, I don’t want to get started on that! Let me focus on some changes you can make that will begin to make your website work for you.

There are two kinds of websites, what I call a “rubber” site, where visitors bounce in and bounce out, and “sticky” sites where visitors stay a while and explore and/ or they take action by adding their name to your mailing list or making a purchase. Of course you want a sticky site. Here are some elements of your website that you need to fix to create a sticky site.

1) Navigation bar – make sure that the most important types of information that a visitor might be interested in are easily accessible from your navigation buttons. Limit your navigation buttons to the most general areas. Too many choices can create confusion.

2) Opt-in form on all key web pages. – it’s amazing how many small business owners don’t take advantage of the opportunity to get visitors to sign up for their mailing list. Your mailing list is your lead list. People that come to your website are targeted, pre-qualified leads who are looking for your specific type of information. Companies pay a lot to buy lists of qualified leads and here they are arriving at your website for free! Take advantage of this by offering them a downloadable gift that has value and they will willingly fill out that form. Make sure your opt-in box is at the TOP of your key web pages.

3) Ask yourself these key questions:
* What information do my visitors really want?
* How much can I give away to create value without giving away too much?
* How can I give away enough that people want more, and then show how they can get more by buying your product or service
* What resource will be compelling enough to keep them coming back again and again?

4) Make sure your website is regularly updated to include sticky elements that will keep people engaged and coming back. Here are a few ideas:

* Discussion forum
* Twitter update feed form to show all your latest tweets on your website.
* Regularly updated blog with easy RSS feed subscription sign up so they are notified by e-mail each time there’s a new blog post.
* Free tools or downloads
* Fresh audios, videos, or articles. Ask people to opt-in to get access to these.
* Any resource that they need to check or access regularly – like links or industry news updates.
* Free give-away on pre-determined dates
* E-mails that link them back to different pages on your site
* Serial business “soap opera”. They must come back the next week for the next part in the series and you e-mail them when the answer is available, with the link.

5) Try putting a video on all your key pages. Video gives you an unprecedented opportunity to talk to your website visitors when they’ve never met you. Begin the relationship with the video. Tell them you understand their problems and you’d like to start them on finding a solution by giving them a gift if they opt-in. This is very powerful.

6) Your sales page content: Write customer and benefit focuses sales copy on your web sales pages and include video and strong testimonials. If you are getting traffic to your sales pages but still not generating sales then the problem is one of these:
* the headline needs some changes
* the content doesn’t create perceived value
* the pricing is wrong
* there is a trust issue-which can be improved with great testimonials and a strong, iron-clad guarantee.
Simple changes can increase response.

With a bit of planning and a few weeks of work you can start to get a much better response to your website. I’ve seen small tweaks to the home page of our website increase our opt-in rate by as much as 25% to 30%. Those new subscribers can then be converted into buyers. Your website can dramatically increase your sales if you give it regular attention.

Finally, although your website can generate tons of leads you need to do more to close the sale.