Local Small Businesses can tap into the power of the internet - this article will show you how...

Do you have a small business that is largely offline? Are your clientele mostly local or live within a few kilometres of your Business? Have you ever thought about marketing on the internet, but didn't know where to start? For example...if you run -

  • a landscaping company -- you can use a web presence to get the jump on competitors by offering free gardening tips and ideas on how people can use your products or services to improve the look of their properties, along with special discount offers available only online

  • a specialty retailer -- use email marketing to promote 'Newsletter Subscriber Only' specials and discounts to build a devoted clientele and offer coupons and information about your products on your website

  • a themed restaurant -- you can offer subscribers to you Newsletter a "specials of the week" discount or 2 for 1 deal when they bring in the coupon from your email Newsletter or website

  • a local manufacturer -- you could attract and support customers with tips and techniques to help them use your products for maximum productivity or effect. Offer discounts for orders placed online and feature special promotions in your Newsletter

These are just a few examples of why you do need a Web site. Think of a Web site as a super-Yellow Pages ad... with 100 times the results... at a fraction of the price. People are searching less and less by offline methods and more by the online...

This is an important concept. More and more, your potential clients are forsaking those heavy Yellow Pages paper books for Google and other engines. It's easy and fast to do a search for "bagpiper Gympie" -- and if you don't find a bagpiper in the town of Gympie, widen the search to "bagpiper Queensland" -- try widening your search with Yellow Pages!

If your small, local business does not use a Net presence to promote itself, keep in touch with its customers, extends its reach, and take your competitors' customers, your competitors will do it to you, and soon. Yes...

"Local businesses" are coming online. It's time -- develop a solid Web presence, generate some targeted traffic, and build loyalty through a newsletter for customers. Small businesses are using the Net to...

  • raise their local profile above that of competitors

  • promote locally and take customers from competitors

  • deepen relationships with customers through an e-zine or online Newsletter (and build sales, too -- example, "It's spring, which means it's time for aerating and fertilising your lawn.")

  • build targeted traffic to find new customers, even grow new income streams via affiliate programs and referrals

  • leverage their local expertise and knowledge for global clients, selling their goods online, even through online auctions

Here's an example to get you thinking. As you read this story, think to yourself, how can I use this? There certainly is a way you can copy what these Business owners are doing to increase your customers and profits...

John runs a Nursery in a small town with very little competition. In fact, when he bought the Business, it was one of only two in the area. There were a couple of small stores that sold a few of his products, but nothing he couldn't handle. Sales and profits were good and he was making a good living selling to the local community.

People came to know and trust him and his product recommendations. He set up joint venture agreements with other local suppliers - for example, he referred his customers to Jack's Car Parts by giving them a 20% discount coupon on new parts, Logan's Drycleaners for special 2 for 1 deals with a discount voucher he supplied and Happy Sun Chinese Restaurant who offered Lunch time Freebees and special promotions.

These Businesses returned the favour by giving their customers vouchers for free and discounted products and services at John's Nursery.

All of these local Businesses co-operated and sent their customers to each other to keep them buying in the local area.

And they all offered these customers vouchers and coupons that gave discounts in each others stores when they shopped with them.

Then came one of those big multi-national chain stores. They sold every product imaginable, in every price category you can think of - they even had a restaurant!

The local Businesses were desperate!

They knew they couldn't compete on price, and besides, why would they? Price wars are not the way intelligent Business people survive and prosper. No, they had to get smart...they're financial lives were on the line here.

How were they going to keep their existing customers loyal and stay in Business in the face of this new threat?

John had an idea..."Let's use the Internet to leverage our Businesses across the world, as well as build better relationships with our local customers."

They knew they wouldn't be able to keep all of their existing clients - many people are purely price shoppers, and would naturally go to the new multi-national store. But they knew that if they could offer something of value to people, something the big chain store couldn't, many would continue to shop in their stores.

But where do we start? None of them knew the first thing about the Internet, web design or anything related to online marketing. A couple had never searched the web for anything and didn't even have an email address...

John had probably the most to lose - the Nursery section of the new store was HUGE. He volunteered to research different ways of building a web presence and report back to the group.

Four weeks later, they all met a John's house to discuss what he had learnt about the Internet and becoming a part of it.

John had indeed done many hours of research, and after weighing up all the data, he recommended a package called Solo Build It! They could all then simply build a site of their own.

They all looked at him and wondered if the threat of this new competitor had rattled his brain. They knew that he didn't even use email yet - how was he going to get online and build a website?

He assured them that he would indeed be able to pull it off.

He had read the Manual that came as a download with the package called 'Make Your Content Pre-sell' and was confident he had what it would take to build and manage website that would bring targeted customers to his business, as well as retain a large percentage of his existing clientele.

(If you would like to download this powerful instruction manual Free, so you can see the straight forward process involved in building a profitable website for yourself, even if you don't decide to use Solo Build It!, click here and scroll down to select the download for "Make Your Content Pre-sell")

He explained that the Manual was like a Guru guiding you in the right direction. He had sat down and read it all the way through once, as it advised him to do, so he could see the 'Big Picture'.

Then he had gone back to the start and followed the action steps one at a time - and he had an announcement - he had already built a website!

His fellow Business owners were amazed. Already? John had followed the Manual's advice and built a theme based content site in less than four weeks and just working on it a couple of hours a day. "What's a theme based content site?" I hear you ask.

A theme based content site is a website that is constructed around a theme or single idea or concept - whatever it is that you want to talk about with your audience. By building around a theme, your website will rank highly with the search engines - and search engines are how 80% of the online population find anything they are looking for on the internet.

Many websites consist of lots of graphics and whiz-bang technology...but search engines aren't looking for that, and neither are your visitors. They are looking for information; information they can use to solve a problem they have RIGHT NOW.

John had simply followed the instructions in the manual and built a simple 10 page site showcasing his knowledge and how visitors could use some of his products.

"So, let's have a look at it then", they all asked.

John opened up his web browser and typed in the address of his website. It loaded quickly, even on his dial-up connection, and his visitors were impressed with what they saw.

John had build a professional looking site that anyone could be proud of.

But it wasn't just ads. He had written several articles that used practical examples to show how other people had used his products in applications around their homes. He wrote stories about local customers trying out his services and then telling their friends about their experiences.

He did impartial product reviews and recommended the best ones to his visitors, while pointing out their limitations.

He was ADDING VALUE to people lives by showing them how to solve their problems quickly.

The other Business owners were impressed.

It looked nothing like they had imagined...no spinning graphics or Banner Ads flashing and blinking obtrusively. Just good, solid content - content designed to impart John's knowledge onto his visitors and show them that he was indeed the local expert. Content that would rank highly with the search engines.

He offered tips on the best time to plant various types of trees and other plants, advice on mulching and pruning, garden ornaments and features, waterfalls and statues.

He had coupons for discounts available only to website visitors, and he had a page where visitors could subscribe to his fortnightly Newsletter - The Green Thumb - where they would receive additional discount offers and gardening and landscaping tips from John on a regular basis.

And he also had written short articles about each of the other Businesses in their little group.

His visitors were excited! So was John.

He had already received his first order - a book he sold for $50 from a gentleman in Sydney - in another state...

This web visitor had found John's site through a Google search on a topic that was one of John's keywords - cactus propagation (the 'brainstorming' function in the SBI! Manager found that this was a high profitability keyword - lots of search engine enquires for it but not too many sites that mentioned the term - and purchased the book over the Internet using his credit card for payment, after reading one of John's informative articles.

Wow! they thought when John told them about this, Internet marketing works! They all decided to give it a go.

John helped each one of his colleagues build a theme based content site around their Business, although they didn't need a lot of assistance. The manual showed them how to use the Brainstorm function to find the highest profitability keywords for their individual niches.

It showed them how to create web pages and write editorial copy that pre-sold visitors on why they should call them instead of the opposition.

It told them to use local place names in their keywords and body copy so that when someone searched for gardening+supplies+cleveland the results would include their website (if your Business sells gardening supplies in Cleveland, of course).

It showed them how to create web pages that rank highly with the search engines because of the way the are built and optimised.

The SBI! program automatically submits your pages to the engines as you build them in a manner that complies with the search engine's rules, so they aren't banned from submission. And re-submits them if they are dropped from the listings.

All the Business people offered free or discounted products or services to their website visitors that weren't available to offline customers, and did online joint ventures with each other, just like they did offline.

They promoted their websites online and offline and started to build their own email lists of dedicated subscribers, who received articles and offers every couple of weeks in a Newsletter format.

This ability to have continuous contact with customers forever, for free, is what makes the Internet so powerful. The cost of direct mail has become prohibitive and the Yellow Pages are so full of competition, it's very hard to get yourself noticed.

But building an email list of people who are interested in your area of expertise is one of the most high leverage, low cost ways of staying in contact with your customers that allows you to sell your products or services to them over and over again.

Jay Abraham said, "The goal of all Businesses should be to find more customers, to persuade those customers to buy more initially, and to encourage those customers buy more frequently."

Most Businesses only try the first part, and they don't do that very well, because they aren't any good at marketing - then they forget about the second two methods of building Business - and all the profits for a Business are in the second two, the back-end.

The number one cause for Business failure is often quoted as 'Inadequate Capitalisation'. Robert Allen, famous Author of Books such as Multiple Streams of Income and Nothing Down, says that this is absolutely false.

He believes that the major reason most Businesses fail is because they poured all their money into marketing that didn't work. And they continued to do that until they went broke...

You simply must start to get the names and email addresses of every customer or prospect who comes into your store or calls you on the phone, and get their permission to put them on your email database. Then you can keep in touch with them for as long as they stay on your list, which could be years...

The easiest way for you to do this is to direct people to your website with a free offer and get them to give you their email address right there and then in exchange for your freebee.

This avoids errors that can occur when manually placing email addresses into a database, and the address has to be correct for your visitors to receive their free gift.

Building a website that pre-sells your visitors and customers on the benefits of dealing with you rather than your competitors effectively has the potential to supercharge your profits quicker than any other form of marketing.



Once you have your own list of email addresses and are providing regular, quality information through your Newsletter, you can send out a regular email to this entire list with a time limited discount offer, and guarantee that many of your subscribes will act immediately, come into your store or call you for an appointment.

And your cost to send this email? Nothing in actual money - maybe a few minutes to write the message. And you can offer a discount for prompt response because you have no marketing costs!

How's that for leverage?

Even if it doesn't attract any customers - the offer was FREE to send out!

Compare that to running an ad in the local Newspaper or the Yellow Pages. You incur an expense without knowing if you will get any response. If your marketing message isn't all that interesting to the local community, no-one will come in or call you. You send your message to thousands of people who couldn't care less about your offer. You pay up-front for this wasted effort.

But by sending an email note with a limited time offer to your targeted list of subscribers who know and trust you, many of them will respond, some of them immediately. And it costs you...nothing!

As Robert Allen says, on the Internet, "You can fail fast for Free."

What he means of course is that you get an almost instant response to your marketing message, and if no-one responds, it hasn't cost you anything except a few minutes of your time.

If your messages mix good quality information in with marketing material, you will be able to build a high quality list of customers and prospects that you can communicate with again and again for years and a percentage of these customers will buy from you every time you contact them.

It's always a different 1% - 5% who respond, depending on the offer, but some of them will buy whatever it is you offer them each time you send them an email.

Send out surveys asking your customers what they want, then sell it to them. How easy it that?

This should be the goal of every Business - build an ongoing relationship with your customers, ask them what they want, then offer it to them in a way that doesn't look like you are selling them anything. Your Newsletter provides valuable information, then recommendations on what customers should buy to achieve the outcomes they want.

And of course, they will buy from you - the acknowledged expert that helps them make informed decisions about whatever it is that you sell.

When they think about whatever your product or service is, they think of you - because you have taken the time to develop a relationship with them.

The big multinational is all about making a profit and faceless staff just doing a job - but you, your the local guy who gives a damn and helps out when they have a problem. Some folks will still shop at the big store, but they will also come to you if you give them a reason...

If this article has got you thinking, and you would like some more ideas on how you can use the Internet to promote your Business, then Click Here will give you additional ideas on building multiple streams of income via the Internet.

Or if you would like to discuss your unique situation with someone who has experience with the Solo Build It! program, then please either email me by using the Contact Form. Alternatively, phone me on 07 55432004 or mobile 0418 788482. If I don't answer straight away, please leave a message and I will get right back to you.

I will be happy to discuss your website ideas with you and let you know if Solo Build It! can assist you with your website and online marketing efforts.

So, to get started, download these two books, Make Your Content Pre Sell, and The Service Sellers Masters Course, read them both and you will be on your way to increasing your profits through a profitable Internet presence.

Take care, and best wishes,

Former SBI Certified Webmaster

P.S. If you have any questions about how to get your business on the web, or how to improve your existing website's performance, I'd love to hear from you. Just use the Contact Form Here to send me an email and I'll get right back to you.

Do you have any SBI questions? Click Here and we'll be glad to answer them


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