Small Business Networking – Create a Breakfast Club

The small business network is the single most powerful thing that you can join in order to bring our business to the next level. This group also acts as an insurance policy against disaster. Some business owners do not have time to participate in a full network. Here is an alternative method that you can use to help your business today.

It’s called a breakfast club. This is a small networking group of business owners that meets once a week, or once a month for coffee and donuts (or whatever you want to eat). These meetings are not formal, but they do serve a single purpose- to get more business for each of the owners present at the meeting.

The way these meetings work is that the meeting can only consist of members that are non-competing with each other. Perhaps you have a lawyer, a dentist, a plumber, an accountant, and a web designer. Each of these members has their own customer list, but they are not able to provide any of the other services of the other members. During that particular month of business, these business owners will try to find out additional services that their customers may need help with. This allows the business owner to be more full-service for their customers, which is an added bonus and helps keep the customers around longer.

When the owners get together, they swap customer leads with each other. They will explain the needs of each customer and then give the leads to the person that can help them. Now, the new business has a qualified lead, because the original business owner told the person that they had someone that could help them.

The new customer visits the business and is already pre-sold before they even walk in the door. All that the service provider has to do is assure them that they can solve the problem as best as possible and close the deal. There is no cold calling in this situation, because the lead is pre-qualified. This is only one of the benefits of a breakfast club. If you have the time, you can expand it to a full-blown network, capable of many other things. However, if you only have the time to meet once a month, you can still benefit greatly from this small act of lead exchanges. Just think, all you have to do is get a cup of coffee once a month and you can gain thousands of dollars worth of new business.

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.

Website For Small Businesses – How Can You Steal Leads From Your Competition?

The truth is even though we are surrounded by the Internet every day many small businesses do not have a website. If you are one of them please read on and remember it’ s never too late. For any business, no matter how small, to have a website is crucial and it’s the cheapest form of advertising. A website will give your business an unfair advantage over those businesses who are still stalling.

Waiting for your for your third cousin or your next door neighbor to build a website for you? Guess what, you will be waiting for a long time, there isn’t much in it for them so they will take their sweet time if that time will ever come.

You don’t have the money to pay for expensive web design? Well, that is understandable, not too many small business owners can afford to have a website built by a professional firm. I talked to a medium size web design firm the other day and they would not even take on a client for anything less then $10,000. Granted that included a year of internet web marketing also.

You don’t want to design your own website? You just don’t have the time or the expertise to do it. You are right down scared and confused about it. But if this is the only solution to get on the web then why not just jump into it. Did you know how to ride a bicycle all your life? No, but you got the hang of it quickly once you tried it. Also maybe that third cousin will help out once you start…

All these fears and probably more are keeping you from generating more business and establishing your business online. Meantime your competition is getting on the web and getting your leads. I think you want the opposite to happen, right?

How is your website going to help you get leads? Here are just a few things that you can do:

  • Attach it to your Yellow pages ad
  • Advertize on your local free classifieds (Craig’s list, Kijiji, etc) Make sure you re-submit your ad often
  • List it on your local directories and on your trade directories
  • Use it on all your correspondence (email signature, business cards, letterhead, etc)

Get more leads, get ahead of your competition and build a website for your small business today.

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.