The Biggest Mistake about Local Business Marketing That Hurts Local Businesses

the biggest local marketing mistake

What is Local Business?

First of all, let’s clearly define what type of business can be classified as local business. Business can be called local if its customer base is limited to a local area.

Local area could be a town, a county or even state (in some cases). Local business services should be available within a reasonable driving distance from its customers. Usually local businesses sell tangible goods and services rather than digital products. Generally, such services are not suitable for shipment to other areas.

While people could go online and shop worldwide for a huge variety of products and services, it doesn’t make sense to search, for example, a barber who is located father than 30 minutes drive away from your house. Other examples of local businesses:

  • Beauty salons and tattoo shops (if your wife wants to do manicure or pedicure, she usually wants it now), and you won’t fly to another state to get a tattoo too (pun intended).
  • Restaurants and bars (you have to be physically present to eat. Sure, you can order the food online, but still it should be within a short driving distance, you wouldn’t want to wait for Chinese takeout for more than 30 minutes).
  • Dentists and other doctors (need medical help? I don’t think you would be inclined to drive far away to find someone who can ease the pain.)
  • Martial art studios and yoga instructors (want to get in shape? You have to train at least several times per week, so remote location is out of the question).
  • Roofing services, handymen, electricians, plumbers, landscaping services (umm, let me picture this: you need to fix your roof or your toilet, and you’re searching online for someone thousand miles away…yeah, that’s not going to happen).
  • Auto dealerships (while you can buy car online, you won’t go in another state for an oil change or regular car maintenance services).
  • Real estate agents (unless you want to buy in another state or country, you would want someone who knows local real estate market).
  • Accountants
  • Lawyers
  • The list goes on and on.

I think you get the picture. All these products and services are important for comfortable life, but they are not easily transferrable outside of local area.

Here is the good news for local businesses: due to the very nature of local services, they have less competition. Local business owners don’t have to compete in the world market, all they have to do is stay ahead of competition in their local area. Instead of competing with millions other similar businesses they just have to outsmart a few dozen of them.

Here comes the bad news: the majority of local businesses have rather vague understanding of online marketing, and even those of them who have a website tend to promote their business using traditional methods – newspaper ads, local business listing, local business directories, yellow pages, etc.

The return on investment on this kind of advertisement shrinks every year, yet business owners are still clinging to these outdated promotional methods because it’s hard to embrace, let alone understand “the other world” – the world of digital marketing.

Of course local owners have heard about Facebook and Twitter, may be even about Linkedin or Google Plus. But hearing about these social networks is not the same as making them work.

The Biggest Mistake about Local Business Marketing

The biggest misconception that drives local businesses to the ground is that they think that they have to hire someone local to help them with their marketing problems. Unfortunately the folks in their neck of woods might not have expertise required for increasing marketing ROI (return on investment).

Here is how my initial conversation starts with more local business owner than I care to count: “Yeah, you know a lot about all this new media stuff, and probably could do something for my business, but you’re in New England, and I am in Texas/ Colorado/ North Carolina/ Arizona/ UK/Australia /Fill-in-the-blank/…, so you can’t help me”.

Dear local business owners, local business marketing does not have to be provided by someone from your town. Yes, your services are limited to your local area, but the choice of marketing consultants is not. All this online marketing and new media “stuff” is in the cloud, and it can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Your social media profiles can be created, optimized, and even managed from any city in the world. The same goes for your website, and your mobile site or app. You just need to find the right company that can take your current monthly advertising budget, and use it to steadily increase your revenue, bring more clients and customers for your business by utilizing the cutting edge online marketing strategies, tools and resources.

Speaking of the “right company”, for a limited time I offer free 15 minute marketing consultations for local businesses (local as in businesses serving location-specific customers, not in local – limited to my current location). So click the link above to reserve your spot, and bring your local business to the new level!

Posted in Branding, Internet Marketing, Main Category, Search Engine Optimization, Social Marketing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Difference Between Social Media Marketing Persona and Buyer Persona

The Difference between Social media Marketing Personas and Buyer PersonasBuyer Persona or Marketing Persona

It’s important for companies to create buyer personas in order to fine-tune marketing message, diversify and improve sales channels, and create supporting content marketing strategies. Personas can help company to boost the overall results of online marketing campaigns.

Marketing or buyer persona is a schematic profile of the specific segment of company’s buyers that share the same or similar demographic data, job responsibilities, goals and challenges, etc.

Depending on the segmentation dynamics of a particular industry it could be required to create anywhere from 3 to 5 buyer profiles which serve as a detailed representation of company’s customers. Each profile is developed to better understand needs, wants, desires, fears and values of the specific group of customers with common traits. To make personas more effective, they are often portrayed as real people with pictures, names, genders, household incomes, certain number of kids, education, etc.

Buyer personas are created to better understand buyers, personalize marketing, branding and customer service experience and ultimately increase revenue by offering products that better suits the needs of particular buyer markets.

Social Media Marketing Persona

While marketing or buyer persona concentrates exclusively on buyers, the social media marketing persona has a broader task.

The purpose of social media marketing is not only to contribute to immediate and assisted conversions, but also to increase company’s brand awareness and grow online community.

As a result social media marketing personas should include buyer personas with addition of at least two more personas related to social interactions: industry influencer persona and engager persona.

Both are crucial for the success of social media marketing campaigns. Influencers can help to quickly build brand awareness and engagers are the core of your online community.

It’s crucial to develop such personas, because they can help you to discover the venues and social networks where each group is the most active.

Social Media Marketing Personas and Social Tribes

While developing influencer and engager personas it’s helpful to also identify social tribes that these personas might belong to. Social tribes have their own highly developed hierarchy and diligent tribal  research can reveal other hidden sources of influencers and engagers that are not evident from the main stream.

The definitions are still evolving for both social tribes and social media marketing personas. Yet even now it’s obvious that the best results could be achieved by thoroughly analyzing and applying both.

Posted in Main Category, Search Engine Optimization, Social Marketing | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

ChaCha Review: Affiliate Program That Does Not Pay

Chacha Affiliate Program ScamTwitter Book and Pay Per Tweet Programs

I am writing a book on How to use Twitter to Build Your Influence and Earn Money at the same time.

The purpose of this book is to show how people can start building their influence and grow income on Twitter even if they have no technical skills or marketing knowledge and start their Twitter journey from scratch. And I only write about personally tested monetization techniques.

It’s easy to earn money on Twitter if you know how to properly develop a marketing funnel – that is, you know how to build, test and optimize landing pages, how to set up autoresponders, create effective email marketing campaigns and nurture your subscribers, how to invoke curiosity from your twitter followers, how to send them to your landing page without being too salesy, etc.

However such method hardly fits the definition “no technical skills or marketing knowledge”, so I had to think about alternative monetizing techniques that could be used virtually by anyone.
One way to generate income from your twitter account without learning extra skills is to join paid for tweet programs where people get be paid for tweeting information about products advertised by other companies.

For example, here is one pay per tweet program that works (it’s not ideal, has its short comings, but you can make money with it, I was paid hundreds times).

Chacha (in theory) is another pay per tweet affiliate programs. They provide tweets, you post them, and you get paid for clicks generated from your tweets.

Before joining I had plenty of red flags that alarmed me about Chacha’s questionable integrity.

ChaCha Guide Scam: Text the Number

Apparently before jumping into pay per tweet wagon Chacha was already running a text to number program. Essentially someone could text a question to a number provided by Chacha and some people would provide answers to those questions and (in theory) get paid a few cents for that. Those people were called “Chacha Guides”. In practice people were scammed even out of these paltry earnings.

Here are a few references from RipoffReport.com, Scam.com and CompaintsBoard.com for those who want to read more about this Chacha guide scam:

ChaCha: Work for them for years. Suddenly deactivated. Cannot receive money earned.

ChaCha Complaints & Reviews – Fraud and scam.

Cha Cha Guide – Scam? Worthwhile?

Some are saying Chacha is scam, others that is is legit, but there are more than enough bad reviews to get cautious.

Here is a feedback from the guy who tried to use Chacha affiliate program and got scammed:

ChaCha Affiliates Suspend My Account To Avoid Paying Me? What do I do?

So there were plenty of red flags but I was determined to find as many pay per tweet programs as possible to make it easier for my readers to earn money on Twitter virtually from scratch.

So I decided to give ChaCha affiliate program a try anyway.

Chacha Affiliate Program

I applied, got accepted, and logged in to see what they can offer. They had plenty of offers to publish to start earning on a pay per click bases.

ChaCha.com has a sister site SocialReactor.com and they seem to run this “operation” together.

Anyway, I began tweeting offers through multiple twitter accounts, and soon was close to their payment threshold. My main goal was to make sure that this program can be used to make money and most importantly paid promptly.

Chacha prices are lower than the prices of competing pay per tweet programs and threshold is much higher, so I decided that I would only suggest it to my readers as additional pay per tweet revenue stream.

Here comes an interesting part. A few days ago I tried to login to my ChaCha affiliate account, and was unable to do so. I haven’t received any email or notification that my account was deactivated, I just can’t login anymore. Surprise! (Not really).

I knew that it was a common practice to de-activate guide’s accounts without any explanation (or payment), but I could not believe that it happened to me.

When info is twitted on my twitter account, tweet is simultaneously re-published on many other social networks and is mass-distributed in a blogosphere.

So the links I published on twitter accounts most likely were clicked on Facebook, Tumblr, Rebelmouse, etc. I don’t know if Chacha’s TOS allows to publish only on Twitter or on other social networks as well. And quite frankly I don’t care. It’s plain stupid to think that tweet will be published on twitter and won’t get a second life on other channels.

The only valid reason for them to de-activate my account would be if I would click on my own links. And I simply don’t have time for that.

I always give people and companies a benefit of a doubt before publishing a negative feedback. The reason is quite simple. If an average person screams about company’s wrong-doing, he might be heard by a few people.

When I release new information, it gets re-tweeted and shared many times, re-published or referenced on hundreds of blogs, and may very well mean a reputation management nightmare for a company in question.

So I emailed Chacha, said it seemed my account was deactivated, and asked for explanation. Their answer? None.

So now you’re reading this article. There is a good chance it will end up on a first page of Google for keywords “chacha affiliate program review”, “chacha affiliate program scam“, “chacha affiliate program” or may be even “chacha”.

Well, they had their chance to correct the situation and they didn’t use it. Just another example of company under-estimating the power of social influence…

It seems many people suffered from Chacha scams. The amount I earned (and did not receive) is too insignificant for me to start legal actions against this company. But if a class action lawsuit will be filed, I will certainly participate.

Posted in Main Category, Social Marketing | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment