I have mentioned in a few different threads some of the (non-seo) services that I offer to local businesses. After a few requests I am going to put all the info in one thread and drill down a bit deeper than I have done before.
I was going to wait until I had all the info written up and polished but the wait for that would have been long and as they say "perfect is the enemy of the good" so I will post as I have the time which will also elaborate more on what you guys and gals are interested in reading.
The main question I get a lot is why do I start out with non-seo marketing offers? There are a couple of main reasons that are somewhat related.
1. A lot of local businesses have been burned by "SEO Experts" over the last few years. This makes a lot of them twitch a bit when you mention SEO to them which of course makes for a harder sell. SEO and internet marketing is not something most of them understand at all to begin with so add in a bad experience or two and there is a huge amount of friction to say the least.
2. SEO is a slow process which is not something that sells easily to twitchy clients. In my mind the best thing to do is to start with something that has a quick visible and measurable result. Something you can easily track that takes a few weeks or a month at most. Also something that is easy (and cheap) to deliver.
SEO does not really fit the criteria of a foot in door "show them I help them" service. Keep in mind that the only thing the business owner wants to know is that you are delivering him/her more sales and profits than they are paying you. Rankings, pretty reports, Facebook friends, etc none of that stuff matters to them at all. They want to know that you are making them profitable, nothing else matters.
Now one thing to keep in mind if you are going to go after local businesses is to go after ones that are already marketing. Mainly for two reasons. First if a business does not believe in marketing there is no reason to waste time trying to convince them. Move on life is too short for that kind of selling. You want to talk to business owners that already know that marketing is worth doing. Second it allows you to offer something that makes what they are doing better. You do not have to go in and say "My stuff is better so stop doing that stuff and do mine instead" Again that makes for a harder sell. You can go in and say " I have something that will make what you are doing better and more effective" That makes for an easier sale.
What you want in the beginning is easy sales and easy fulfillment. This lets you get in cheap both in time and money.
Now on to some specific services:
Most of my initial offers are mobile/sms related and I modify them depending on the business type and what other advertising they are already doing and when possible I tie into existing marketing.
I generally start with trying to build an SMS list for the client. SMS is great for a couple of reasons. It is cheap to do and everybody still checks their texts,90+% (I forget the exact percent) of texts are opened in 15 mins. That is obviously much better than email.
If they are already doing mailers, newspaper, or other print ads we can incorporate the the sms list into what they are already doing.
For instance for restaurants that print out different specials we can change them up and make them all the same adding a QR code and text number to them. This lets the restaurant save money on printing as they can do a larger run. The customer gets added to the list when they check out the new special and it can be changed weekly or even daily which is not something they were able to do before.
For Realtors and Auto sales you can add a code to their ad so the reader can get a video walk-through of the house or car they are interested in. Not only does the potential buyer get to look at something better than a paper ad but I now have their mobile number in the system and the sales person gets a text telling them that someone is interested in the house/car and what their mobile number is. This allows the seller to call them and start the sales process before the prospect gets lost to someone else.
You can setup contests where people get added to a list.
You can run a loyalty program and use mobile coupons rather than those old punch cards.
Birthday discounts work great for restaurants. You give them a mobile coupon that they can use and they are on your birthday list so you can now market to them down the road rather than just hoping they will come back.
Well that ends day one....
Update: 29 Dec 2016
I will go with the birthday club promotion which works great with restaurants. This is a combination of mobile and Facebook marketing.
What you do is work with the owner/manager and come up with a good birthday special coupon. What we are going to do is deliver it via an sms message to people who text in from the Facebook ad we are going to run.
We setup a page in Facebook and then run ads targeting the restaurants demographic and anyone who is going to have a birthday in 7 days. Facebook has a huge amount of information (while useful it is kind of scary). You target the geographical location, the birthdate (obviously), and then drill down to the actual demographic of the restaurant by age and interests. The targeting is important as you do not want to waste money targeting the wrong people.
Then we setup a delivery sequence just like you do when you setup your emails in a sales funnel.
The first text is gong to be a confirmation text to weed out anybody who did not actually want the info, the second is the coupon itself. Then I generally do a set of reminders at 5,3,1, and then the morning of their birthday.
There are a couple of ways to work this and it depends on the business owner/manager. Some will want to only have the specials on the person's birthday and some will be OK as long as it is "around" the person's birthday. It works either way but you will get a bit more of a response if there is some flexibility.
If the business owner is OK with being flexible instead of a countdown to the birthday date you do a countdown to when the coupon expires.
Now you can do this with businesses other than restaurants but they generally get the best results. For instance I have done spas and nail salons and had them work pretty well. You just need to tweak the demographic targeting to match the business. You are not going to target men for a nail salon promotion for example.
If you have any questions on this one let me know....
Update: 5 Jan 2017
This update I will talk about one of my lead generation methods. I actually wrote it up once on Tues but then FireFox crashed on me and I lost it all and did not have time yesterday to redo it.
This particular method does two things.
First it attempts and is successful for the most part of creating a relationship between me and the potential client that is something other than a "sales" relationship. Honestly I not much of a sales guy, it is more than a bit outside my comfort zone. What I do with this and my other lead gen methods is try and create a "helping/teaching" relationship between the business owner and myself.
This does a couple of things. First off it is a much easier transition (at least for myself) from "doing magic stuff on the Internet" to selling face to face. Second a helping relationship is much less adversarial than a selling one. People tend to have their guard up when you are trying to sell them something. Now obviously I am trying to sell them something so on the surface the relationship does not seem all that much different, however from a mental/psychological point of view there is a large difference. With a helping relationship the potential client and I are on the same side of the table trying to solve a problem rather than being on opposite sites with my trying to convince him (or her) to buy something.
Second it creates a problem in the mind of potential clients that was not there before.
In this particular case the problem is the fact that the business owner does not have a good way to track most of his marketing and advertising for an accurate ROI on each of his channels.
Now the problem has always been there for business owners as this quote from over 100 years ago shows.
Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.
John Wanamaker, (attributed)
US department store merchant (1838 - 1922)
However with most business owners it is either way in the back of their mind or something they just ignore because to them it is a problem without a solution and there is really no sense in spending time on something you can not solve when there are plenty of problems to work on that you can.
Now onto the method itself:
I created a simple worksheet with the purpose of letting business owners calculate the ROI of all their marketing channels. Across the top I have the following columns ($ Cost per Month, Number of Leads, $ Cost per Lead, Number of Customers, $ Cost per Customer, and Life Time Value of Customer) and the down the side I have a list of marketing channels such as newspaper ads, Groupon, Radio, Yellow Pages, etc with space for them to add any additional ones they use.
Now on the face of it I have just handed the business owner a method to solve his problem without the need to pay me any money to help him solve it. The fact is that less than 10% have the information to even come close to filling out the worksheet. They generally have no idea of how many leads or customers they get from each channel. So rather than helping them what I have done is create a problem that is much harder for them to ignore. I bring to the front of their mind this problem that exists that was basically being ignored so for all intensive purposes I have created the problem. Then I am telling them that yes there is a solution and that they no longer have to guess about which advertising is actually bringing in the sales and which ones are not.
So they download the worksheet with instructions at the end of which I tell them that if they need any assistance to contact me. When they do I tell them exactly what they need to do to setup tracking on their different marketing channels. This does two things. It enforces the fact that yes there is a solution and earns me "friend" points by telling them exactly what needs to be done.
Now we have arrived at the point of the conversation where I offer my services but like I said earlier rather than me trying to sell them my services we are both on the same side of the table working together to solve the same problem.
Let me know if you have any questions....
Update: 11 Jan 2017 (I was originally planning on twice a week updates but it appears that it is going to be closer to once a week with the way my workload is looking)
When looking at building an sms list for a business there are a few ways to incentivize the list building. Generally when building email lists we give out a lead magnet or something free to get the info. When it comes to sms lists most of the time we use the promise of future benefits. This is usually in the form of coupons, discounts, special deals and offers, or even special events. This a bit of a change but the thinking is the same, get contact info so you can market/sell to the people on your list in the future.
Loyalty programs are a good way to build a list for restaurants and other service businesses like nail salons and hair dressers. They have been around for pretty much forever using punched cards and other methods but the ability to do them using sms via people's smart phones allows you to bring it to a whole new level.
There are two main ways to grow sales for a local ( or any for that matter) business. You can get new customers or you can get more money out of your existing customers. Loyalty and club programs attack your existing customer base. For the most part local businesses have a hard time tracking and marketing to their customers. The come in and eat or drink, get a haircut and then leave without leaving a good way to market to them, these programs change that.
You can do loyalty as in the customer gets something free or a discount every so many purchases.
You can do clubs where you send them out certain "club only" specials once a week. You can even do events, I have a bar client that has a special "for club members only" nights once a month. In addition to seeing daily/weekly specials he has one night every month for only club members where they do different beer and other booze tastings as well as try out new menu items. When we first tried it we had no idea if it would work but it has been a huge success.
Things to keep in mind.
You may need to segment your list and deals. For instance there is a good chance a restaurants lunch clients who may be traveling to that location to work are going to be different than the dinner customers who live in the area. It is a waste to market dinner specials to the lunch customers and vice versa. You will need to dig into the business a bit with the business owner/manager to make sure you have the correct targeting.
Be flexible and keep track of which offers get the best results. If something is not working be quick to cull it from the offer list.
Do not spam the hell out of the list... The same thing will happen that happens to email lists that are spammed all to hell, people unsubscribe. Make very clear upfront how often they can expect to get an offer and stick with that plan. Now this is not gong to be the same for all lists. For example a lunch club list is something you might want to do 5 days a week for the daily specials where other businesses like a nail salon would most likely be a weekly send out.
Match the offers to the needs. As another example restaurants tend to be slow on Monday and Tuesday so not only are those good days to send out your offers but you are probably going to need to make the offers deeper to get people out those days. Generally no real need to deep discount Fridays as they are going to be busy those days anyway. Target the slow times...
Well that looks good for today, if you have any questions let me know.
Update: 9 Feb 2017 Well hell it has been way too long since my last update. Sorry about that guys I never added it to my calendar and it just sort of escaped me...
Edited by _Richard, 09 February 2017 - 07:11 PM.
added new update