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MARKETING SMALL BUSINESS OFFLINE – Page 4 – Articles, Information, Resources, Tips & Tutorials for Marketing Your Small Business Offline

Internet Marketers – Offline Businesses Need Your Help

"Internet Marketers – Offline Businesses Need Your Help "
Is it too late to tap all the profit potential of consulting to offline businesses? It seems that all your local businesses have started putting up their own websites. But if you scroll through your local business listings and see a lot of the entries have websites, that doesn’t mean they don’t need you. Offline marketers are in demand more than ever as local brick and mortar stores and small services businesses try to increase their online marketing.

Here are a few of the services that you can offer, even if the offline business has their own website already.

Website redesign

Some businesses have either created their websites themselves or had a friend do it, with less than professional results. Review the look and feel of local websites and see where you can help improve it. That might be through a more beautiful design, better navigation, better sales copy, or many other ways that could impact their customers’ experience.

On-page SEO and traffic

Chances are, if they did not have an experienced professional do their site, the local businesses on-page SEO may not be up to your high standards. They may not have analyzed their traffic and rankings at all, so the owners may not realize this. In fact, most local business owners have no idea what the term SEO stands for. You can help educate them on how to optimize their site and offer your services in doing keyword research and on-page optimization for those keywords.

Off-page SEO

There are a multitude of SEO services out there inundating business websites’ email inboxes every day. A large portion of these solicitations sound like spam or shady characters that a local business owner wouldn’t trust. As an offline marketer, you have a huge opportunity to help businesses increase their search engine rankings. By forming a more personal, face-to-face relationship you’ll have an edge over those impersonal emails from faceless marketers.

Social media management

Helping an offline business build their reputation and presence online through social media is a specialty all on its own. The world of social media is getting more overwhelming to navigate every day. And that’s just from an internet marketer’s point of view! Imagine how the local business owner feels trying to figure out how to benefit from all that social networking. They need someone who can chart the waters for them, advise them on where to be active, and manage the metrics to see how they’re benefiting.

Fresh website content

An offline business owner needs to focus their time on managing and marketing their business. Adding content to their website or blog is an extra bit of pressure that they rarely have time for. You can help relieve that stress and boost their online presence at the same time by providing content-writing and publishing services. And it’s even something you can outsource yourself so you can spend time helping other local businesses at the same time!

It’s unlikely that any business website has maximized their potential to the point that they can’t use the services of an expert internet marketer. You can capitalize on the ever-present need by identifying your own strengths. Then look at the local business websites in your area to see who you can help.

 

Jumpstarting your Small Business in a Slow Economy

"Jumpstarting your Small Business in a Slow Economy"
Q. What can someone do when the economy is slow to “jumpstart” their small business again if you see there is a negative impact on the business?

A. Here are three ideas I have tried that have worked for my retail business:

Sampling ~ restaurants do it all the time. Give your product away to get customers. Be sure you are targeting an audience that would buy from you in the first place. While giving away may cost in the short run, in the long run it can lead to small business profitability in loyalty, word of mouth and new sales.

Create a preferred customer event and showcase your products. A local gift basket company has a gift basket open house each year and showcases her latest lines to prospects and clients. She invites local chambers of commerce members, as well as members of other professional groups to which she belongs.  She has a thriving business and only works around the peak holidays. She makes enough to take off 5 months out of the year. Preferred customer events can lead to small business profitability as they work in your offline marketing efforts.

Try classified ads – they are cheaper than graphic ads and can in-fact generate more traffic. People are looking for opportunities in classified ad now more than ever. eBay Classifieds and Craigslists are good examples of how successful classified advertising can be for large and small business marketing..  If you have what someone needs your phone will ring.  In fact, I have a list of classified ad media on WE Magazine for Women website.  It is listed under the 100 resources category.  You an grab a copy here:  Getting Classified: 100+ Places to Promote Your Business (including the classifieds in WE Magazine).

Be sure and read:

5 Tips to Get the most from Online Classifieds – http://wecai.org/8820/5-tips-to-get-the-most-from-online-classifieds

Mail Order Selling – Six Tips for Success https://marketingsmallbizoffline.com/mail-order-selling-six-tips-for-success/

Mail Order Selling – Six tips for Success

"Mail Order Selling - Six tips for Success"
People still use catalogs to purchase gift items – except now they do it differently.

While direct mail catalogs are still one of the oldest forms of offline marketing for small and big businesses alike and some say they have seen a significant downturn, some people still like to buy from catatogs or at least use them to generate ideas and then go online to make their purchases. In fact, people like to get catalogs so they can see the latest and greatest without spending hours searching online. However a smart direct marketer knows their are things that need to be done in order to insure a successful outcome (making the sale) from mailing a catalog or offer especially considering the costs involved in producing and mailing.

Here are some of the are pros and cons of mail order selling. 

PROS

a. Generally speaking product can be less expensive (but not always) to buy

b. Easy to order via mail or online

c. Customer never have to leave home to purchase produce

d. Direct Mail/Mail Order selling (such as catalogs) drive the consumer to your website. Another excellent reason to use mail order selling in your offline marketing strategies

CONS

a. Customers have to wait for their product to arrive via post

b. If a customer wants to return a  product they have to mail it  back and wait for the credit whereas with a local store purchase they can simply return to the store and get their money back or a credit on the spot.

c. Direct mail can be very costly to create, produce and deliver.

Having said that, once you decide that Mail Order Selling is right for you/your company you will need to understand a few things. For instance:

The best way to learn HOW & WHERE to advertise is to go to your newsstand and check through all the magazines carrying large numbers of classified and space ads. Magazines like Popular Science, Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, The National Enquirer,  The Wall Street Journal, and any magazine that appeals to a specific market.

Wherever competitive advertising appears on a regular basis, that’s where your best advertising will be. The next step is to find out the Mail Order Classified & Display Rate Cards to the magazines. trade journals and newspapers (you can either find their addresses online or via a media outlet such as Gebbie Press or Bacon’s) in the publications you are interested in placing an ad with.

Here are six  tips for success with mail order selling:

1. Remember your direct mail piece represents your product, it needs to sell it for you. Having a good list also helps. The best lists are often those we gather ourselves or those of competitors or markets that share the same audience.

2. Have a landing page ready for specific promotions you advertise.  Make it easy for your target audience to find out more information and to order.

3. Offer follow-up products that enhance or complement the product you are selling. Once you make a sale it is up to six times easier to sell to the same person again than it is to find a new customer to sell.

4. Specialize or die! A vast majority of successful mail order retailers/wholesalers specialize in one item or one genre of products. Check out Lands End, Victoria’s Secret and Harry and David  for some ideas.

5. Study the pros. Associate with people who know the business well, and learn from  their experience. Look at lots of mail order pieces, catalogs and direct mail letters to see what hits your hot button.  Look through newspapers and magazines, get on mailing lists of other companies and keep track of what they send you. Pay attention to television commercials.  Study the competition.

6. Know the legalities of the industry including postal  and government regulations.  Or hire someone who does.

Check Your Back-to-School Clothes – Small Biz Success

"Check Your Back-to-School Clothes - Small Biz Success"
Who doesn’t recall that annual excursion to the department or shoe store, searching for the perfect outfit or pair of kicks to start off the school year? And then, on the first day of school, wearing that outfit or shoes put you in the mindset of opening a new chapter in your life. Anything was possible with a new pair of Keds or a brand-spanking-new Le Tigre polo shirt!

When you work from home, you can think that your wardrobe no longer matters. After all, who sees you, sitting behind your keyboard? It might be true that the only person who sees you is your cat and the UPS man, but there are still a number of reasons to upgrade your wardrobe – or at least make sure your shirt is Spaghettio-free:

1. Clothes Make the Man (or Woman). Tom Gunn knows the truth: If you look better, you feel better. It’s kind of like taking the time to set a nice table, even if you’re dining solo. Putting in the effort to wear clean, flattering clothes, even if you’re the only one who will see them, will make you feel better about yourself. And when you feel more confident, you act more confident. That feeling will come across in your emails, your voice, and your decisions.

2. You Never Know… You might think that you won’t run into anyone worth meeting at Starbucks or while out picking up a bag of dog food. But potential contacts, clients, and referrers are everywhere – even behind you in line at Petco. It’s better to be prepared than to be sorry. You’ll be a tad hesitant to approach someone, or respond to their overtures, if you’re dressed in a stained 49rs t-shirt and a pair of too-tight jeans.

3. Put Yourself Out There. If you aren’t on YouTube, you should be! And while you don’t need movie star good looks, you should at least get out of your pajamas before filming a video to put forth for the world to view.

4. There Are Times… Every once in a while, you will need to enter the public eye – at an industry event, a networking get-together, or a trade show. The time to find yourself a few attractive, comfortable outfits is not the day before you get on a plane. There’s an unwritten law that the more desperately you need a new pair of pants, the less likely you are to find them.

This isn’t to say you need to go out and spend thousands on a closetful of clothes. But you can head to a reasonably priced department store and find a few separates that you can deem your new work wardrobe. You’ll feel the impact immediately on your productivity and your self-confidence.

Back to School Business Lessons: Clean Out Your Desk

“A Clean Desk Is the Sign of a Sick Mind.” plaque seen in gift store

"Back to School Business Lessons: Clean Out Your Desk"
No matter what pithy plaques say to the contrary, every good teacher knows that effective learning starts with a clean slate, a clean desk, and a clean page – and the same is true for business people. According to experts, Americans waste almost 30 minutes a day – 180 hours a year – looking for misplaced items. If your hourly wage is $20, that’s $3600 a year! I would wager that there are many things you could do with an extra $3600 or 180 hours this year. Staggering information for any small business owner…

One of the first steps to getting organized in business is eliminating the clutter, and one of the first places you should tackle is your desk. Here’s a six-step approach to streamlining your workspace:

1. Set aside some time. The scenario you want to avoid: getting elbow-deep in the organizing process, only to have to dump it all back in the drawers and boxes because you have to stop to finish a report, host a webinar, or pick your kids up from school. While how much time you need will depend on the size of your space (and your mess), a good rule of thumb is an hour for a desk, bookshelf, or file drawer.

2. Pull it all out. Even though it will make a gosh-awful mess, the quickest and easiest way to start your organizing process is to clear out the drawer, shelf, or desktop. Strip it down to the studs and wipe the surface free of dirt, dust, and stray paperclips. Then you’ll have a fresh surface to work from.

3. Sort. Sort the items you pulled out into categories, such as paper, writing implements, books, manuals, etc. As you are sorting, toss any obvious offenders, such as scraps of paper, broken items, outdated receipts, etc.

4. Decide. Choose how many of each item you need – pens, blank notebooks, etc. – and then toss, recycle, or give away the rest. Trying to decide what you need to keep? Think about what you have space for, as well as what you’re likely to use in a reasonable amount of time. You might have room for seventeen replacement cartridges for your printer, but will you use it all before you upgrade to a new printer?

5. Organize. Replace the items in a logical manner – printing supplies near the printer, business books on a single shelf, computer manuals near the computer, etc. Also think about keeping the most frequently used items in the most accessible place, and less-frequently used items in more remote locales.

6. Maintain. Unfortunately, organizing is not a one-time event; you must set aside regular times to file paperwork, clear the counters, and take out the trash. Even just five minutes at the end of the day is sufficient to keep a handle on pile build-up. Your small business will thrive because of it.

Organizing your small business is a great way to start your fall. It will help you get a grip on any new needs you have, as well as remind you of tasks and projects awaiting your attention. You’ll be ready to tackle whatever comes your way with a clean desk, and a clean mind. It will help your mind and your bottom line – for increased small business profitability. And it will help you in your marketing small business efforts.