How To Build Your Offline Business With Online Local Directories

by Bonnie Jo Davis

Every offline business wants more customers. That s why you hang signs in your window and outside your door, to attract people s attention and entice them to come in.

But if you are focusing solely on the people who walk past every day, you re missing out on the huge market that constantly looks for services online. There are 300 million internet searches performed every day and a whopping 3 billion of them are performed on a monthly basis! About half of these people are looking for local businesses to buy from. The question is whether or not they can find YOU.

This is why it s worth spending some time making sure you are listed in as many online local directories as possible. Don t restrict yourself to the people who are already walking down your street. Get yourself listed online in some of these directories and you can reel in people from further afield as well. Just imagine there are people out there who are driving around trying to find a business just like yours. If you re listed online they have the ability to find you immediately. And, if you have more than one location you can list them all so they can find the one nearest to where they are.

An offline business can list all the important information quite easily online. Your business name, address, phone number and location can all be listed. If someone searches for your kind of business online, they ll find you on search engines, online directories and local directories of all kinds. You can also make it easy for them to find you on social networking sites, which means you don t even have to have a website. Simply link to your Facebook or LinkedIn profile or whatever other social network you belong to.

In this way people can find you by using their computers or even their cell phones. Once they ve got your details they can find you with their mobile or GPS navigation devices. Could you imagine how many more customers you might get as a result of listing your business in these local directories?

You won t have to worry about customers finding incorrect information if you happen to change phone numbers or locations for some reason either. Quick changes are easy to make in order to keep your listing accurate. When you consider that most of these directories are free to use as well, you d be missing a trick if you didn t use them. The only reason you would pay to use some of them is if you wanted to have an enhanced listing to gain more visibility.

The majority of offline business owners know how important advertising is to keep their business going. But you don t want to spend more than necessary to get the results you want. These directories not only reduce PPC costs, they also reduce your overall advertising costs. So not only can you increase your revenue from being more visible to more customers, you can also do it for less cash.

What kind of savings are we talking about here? Well, think about the amount you spend on your print advertising every month. Whatever that amount might be, you ll be spending a lot less getting listed in hundreds of local directories online. These listings not only bring you direct traffic, they can also provide you with a way to brand your business on a consistent basis.

Having a website isn t necessary to enjoy all these benefits. But if you do have one you can get a one-way link back to that site further strengthening your position and credibility, especially with Google, with the search engines.

The best thing about being listed in every appropriate directory is that your customers can review your business online too. Monitor the feedback and respond to it quickly, making changes for the better as you do. As you gain more feedback and reviews you ll find you get ranked more highly in Google Places as well, so you ll be found even more often.

The only question that s left is why you haven t already started listing your business with all the online local directories?

© 2010 Davis Virtual Assistance. Publication rights granted so long as article and byline are reprinted intact, with all links made live.

Bonnie Jo Davis submits and manages offline business listings to local internet directories. She is a published author, expert in article marketing, and feels comfortable working in a virtual environment. If you need help getting your business into local directories visit http://local-map-listings.com/services-2/local-directory-submission for more information.

Success Through Failure

By Julio Garreaud- Business consulting for corporations.

This year thousand of biking professionals and aficionados watched with heart ache how Lance Armstrong started losing time daily through out the Tour of France stages. Weeks before the Tour I read several articles where Armstrong positively explained the superiority of his team, the coaching staff and his personal readiness to make a new attempt for the title.

There is quite a story behind the stunning results. Armstrong was disheartened to realize to what extent the younger cyclist participating in the 2010 Tour de France were capable of. The fans, the critics and the world witnessed also the defeat of the champion. Many of them heavily criticized Lance for the foolish decision to attempt to conquer the yellow jersey one more time

Now that is all over I look back and try to put myself on Lance’s position attempting to discover the WHY he decided to do it and what I come out with is that in order to do what he did takes a lot of courage, dedication, toughness and a huge desire to reach success. I truly believe that he was not so much interested on the yellow jersey at the end but rather test his ability to fulfill the expectation to succeed.

As a biker that loves the sport I can see the evolution of the bicycle and how the industry has created the sleekest and fastest bicycles in the world. Without a champion who could provide the resources, passion, design facilities and expertise, the great biking athletes would never have realized their dream.

How to Create an Irresistible Business

Before you decide how you are going to market you business, you need to make sure your business is irresistible to people. We live in an environment where people have an attention span of 9 seconds- the same as a gold fish. They are overwhelmed and just don’t pay attention. In order for them to pay attention to your business, you need to become irresistible to your market. Here are 7 components that can turn your business into an irresistible business:
1.Give an irresistible promise.(it is not about you, it is about the end result for them)
2. Unveil your irresistible core story. (people will not stick if they don’t have a reason, a cause)
3. Find your unique voice. (How do you show the personality of your company)
4. Incorporate mystique. (add some mistery, tease your customers a little)
5. Become Uberpresent always. (this is when social media becomes crucial)
6. Define your rituals. (incorporate rituals, processes and pre-qualification rituals in your business).

7. Increase Trust.( if the other ones above are done right, the level of trust will increase naturally. Testimonials here help a lot).

You can listen to a full hour audio here: Irresistible business audio

Attraction Marketing: Small things that businesses can do

I saw this sign in a store today. It is such a clever way to tell moms to take care of their kids. It is clever because it approached a potential difficult situation with humor and incorporated some magic into it.  not hard to do and effective and a lot less annoying than signs that say: don’t do this, don’t touch that. Attracting and keeping clients is not difficult, just require people to think a little bit out of the box and try new things.  People will be attracted to your business if you can incorporate some storytelling. This store did this with a sign.

Attraction Marketing
Attraction Marketing

Online advertising versus Phone book ads

Yellow Pages vs. Online Advertising (“Let Your Fingers Do The Finding”)

• Yellow Pages are difficult to track and have limited tracking options. Online marketing offers extensive tracking options.
• Yellow Pages reach can only go so far and if you advertise in more than one directory it can get very expensive. Online marketing has an unlimited reach and is very cost effective.
• You can only change your advertising message on a yearly basis with Yellow Pages. You can change your message online at any time.
• There are over 13 billion searches on the web/month and growing. Yellow Pages receive an approximate 1 billion references/month and is losing more and more customers that advertise in the Yellow Pages every year.

Don’t forget we can help you with local marketing.

What to look for when outsourcing small business marketing

Outsourcing marketing efforts has become an essential aspect of business strategies. After all, you should focus on what you are good at and outsource the rest.

Outsourcing allows a company to put more focus on product development and overall operations. Many marketing agencies can often provide the same service as an in-house marketing department, but at half the cost.

By outsourcing you gain the following:

  • Specialized skills and expertise
  • More time- your most valuable asset
  • More implementation
  • Fast results

Every time you hear outsourcing marketing you think about how expensive marketing agencies are. Don’t forget that there are some Marketing companies that specialize in small businesses, just like BuzzBooster.  They are not in the business of selling you on expensive advertising, they focus on other strategies like internet marketing, direct response marketing and social media marketing to bring you more exposure and more results.

Here are a few  questions that should assist you in finding a marketing agency that is right for you.

  • Area of ExpertiseFind out what their expertise is in.  What do they focus on? Here are common areas of expertise:
    • Search Engine Marketing and Optimization
    • Branding
    • Positioning
    • Affiliate Marketing Development and Management
    • Marketing Strategy and Plan Development
    • Internet Marketing Strategy and Plan Development
    • Lead Generation
    • Sales and Marketing Campaign Development
    • Marketing Classes, Seminars, and Workshops

    Figure out what areas you need help in and look for consultants with expertise in those areas.

  • Training/EducationWhat type of training and/or education is important to you. I will tell you that education is important, however experience and hands-on expertise can far out weigh education when it comes down to success in marketing.Ask for case studies, referrals, and experience in the areas that you need assistance in.
  • Company AchievementsWhat are the notable achievements that the marketing consultant has achieved. What work are they most proud of?Ask them to show you examples of campaigns they run for other clients.
  • How to Outsource and Delegate in your Business

    You can only go so far in business without the help of other people. For most small business owners, there comes a time that they know they need to start getting help but don’t know how they can really afford to get help and are not clear on how to manage a worker.

    Usually, getting the first person to help is the challenging decision. Fear comes to stop you and you will need to overcome that in order to grow. You might have to give a leap of faith. After the first one, this will not be an issue anymore.

    Remember that you don’t have to hire an employee. You can start just outsourcing.

    I for one, don’t like to micro manage or to be stuck inside an office when I don’t have to. So far, we have a great team that is outsourced.

    Now, about the part where you are not clear on how to delegate tasks and how to outsource what to whom, a simple way to deal with that is to use a simple spreadsheet.

    It can be really frustrating if a virtual assistant comes to work for you and you just don’t know what tasks to do.

    First understand that you will have to delegate, even if you think only you can do it well. This is a trap that won’t allow your business to grow.

    Now, back to the spread sheet.

    Use 3 columns.

    On the first column add areas that you could use advice or help like accountant, lawyers, marketing.

    On the second column put all the things you could outsource or teach someone how to do it.

    The third column, add things that only you could do. Remember that tasks can always be outsourced, strategies not so much, so you should focus on strategies.

    For column one, you should find the expert to help you with those tasks or teach you how to do it fast. Focus on the things that you are good at and outsource the rest. For example, I am not good with numbers, so the first thing we outsourced was accounting. It also makes no sense to spend time in something that I could pay $45 an hour to someone when my time is a lot more valuable than that.

    On column 1, you have all the tasks that could be easily delegated to a freelancer, a virtual assistant or a part-time employee.

    The third column is for high-profit activities, where you should focus. These are tasks that you get paid a premium and that you enjoy doing. If you free time with the other 2 columns you will be able to increase profits, grow your business and do things you love.

    Now, here at BuzzBooster Marketing we use an open source software to manage our products and the people we outsource to. Since we have more than one business and people are not inside our office, the software helps keep things a lot more organized and we can access anytime, anywhere, even from our phones. There are many project management softwares out there, from free to very expensive for you to use.

    In order to find people to outsource to, there are also many options. Guru.com and Elance.com are two of them.

    Prices in these places tend to be very interesting but don’t forget to check the person’s portfolio and past projects.

    Mechanical Turk.com is a new option that seems to work really well. Check that one too.

    You can pay people per project or by the hour.

    Again, don’t waste time with tasks that are not worth your time or that you are not good at. Focus on becoming even better on the things that you already excel. Outsource all the rest.

    How to market a business in this new economy

    I hope you understand that things are not going back to the way they were before. So, the longer you wait, the more disappointed you will be at the end.

    Things have changed a lot, the way people buy has changed and the way we sell has changed and the sooner you understand that and change the way you have been marketing, the better. This is especially true if you are still using the same channels to market your business and see decreasing results every time. They will not go back to what used to be normal and most likely they will adapt to the new economy or they will just cease to exist.

    There is a reason why last year there were 273 magazines going out of business and you hear all the time that newspapers are dying.

    Here are a few things about the new economy and the way you should be marketing to prospects and clients:

    1. You need to focus on your prospects problems and not only on your company and products like before. Remember, people search for a solution to a problem.
    2. Define the top emotional reasons people purchase your products.
    3. Start a dialogue with prospects and clients. This is crucial today and not at all like before where you would just broadcast a message to them using TV, Radio etc.
    4. Look for quality of prospects other than the quantity. Everybody is not a prospect and some can bring a lot of headaches. Don’t forget that the gold mine lies in existing clients.
    5. Try ideas, fail fast and come back. You don’t need a business plan, you need an action plan.
    6. Master business storytelling and tell true stories that are compelling.
    7. Provide valuable information using social media tools. That is a lot more effective than spending a lot of money with advertising.
    8. The more education you provide, the more profit coming your way.
    9. Use an ethical bribe or a compelling offer to build a list of people interested in what you are talking about.
    10. Position yourself as the to-go expert.
    11. Use tools like teleseminars or online videos to get the word out and position yourself in the market.
    12. Make a sale to get a client. Don’t focus only on the first sale and create upsells.
    13. You need several products or different services. There is a lot of money in the back-end offers. Give buyers more chances to buy and they will spend more. Repeat sales can increase profits by 22%
    14. Create a continuity program
    15. Leverage technology. Stop giving excuses that you were not born in front of a computer, or you are too old and start using technology not only to attract prospects but to follow-up in an automated way. For example, using auto-responders.

    Free book on social media

    In order to celebrate the new look of our small business marketing site we’ll be giving away the download of our new book on social media “The Popcorn Effect”

    The Popcorn effect gives several tips on social media marketing for small business and is a great guide for beginners.

    Just sign up for it on any page at the right side box.