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Steve_Minshall, post: 23514 wrote:
For my busines (motor accessories retail) I learnt the following:

1) Yellow pages didn’t work. Small ads get lost behind the big ads. This cost me $8k to learn. Colour does not make a difference this cost me $12k to learn. Going big gives you more traffic but not enough to recover the $25k this took me to learn.

2) YP on-line, is ok, is pretty cheap but doesn’t light any fires.

3) The little banner ads at the top of the page on YP on-line didn’t work for me. This cost me $2-$3k to learn, Can’t remember exact figure.

4) Crude flyers printed in black and white on orange paper announcing the new shop did work to get things going.

5) Glossy flyers a few years later did not work. I don’t know if this is because they didn’t have the interest of a new shop or because people are now sick of letter box drops as the big stores have hammered this so hard for the last few years.

6) Local newspaper didn’t work for me. People tell me you need to advertise continuously for this to work but after $600 and zero responses I didn’t want to try.

What has worked is web and shop front.

I have put quite a lot of effort into learning about the web and search marketing. If you enter my most important 2 searches in Google “roof racks sydney” and “tow bars sydney” I will often appear 3 times on the visible portion of your screen on page one. In position 1 or 2 in the organic listing, somewhere prominent in the paid listings (position varies) and also in the local business map listing. This is pretty cool but my expense that has paid off has been in paying for listings and learning about search marketing.

In the last year I have also gotten into blogs. It cost nothing other than time and I usually do it while watching trash TV. An example of how this is successful is, I write a blog on fitting a tow bar to a VW Golf. If you enter VW Golf tow bar into google this will appear on page 1. I am now Australia’s expert on VW Golf tow bars because no-one else has written a blog about it. This one blog that probably took me an episode of Underbelly to create now brings in a steady stream of work and enquiries and also builds on my web presence. And this is just one vehicle.

My current strategy is just to produce as much volume of info as possible. It gives me a real buzz when I find out that either my web site or blogg is being used as a reference source in an autos or outdoor leisure forum. Also I quite often find my own images being used in googles image search results which also lets you know your search engine optimisation is working.

My web site is a funny one. Developers hate it. It is the wrong colour, it has bits of old Frontpage scattered thro it, it use old style formating, some of the borders don’t render properly in Firefox and it doesn’t do anything clever. However I get lots of good feedback from customers. It is simple to navigate, the info is clear, it gives lots of info and what gets the most praise from customers is it gives prices.

So my advise to a speciality retail business would be invest your time and dollars in a simple but expansive web presence. I am trying to grow like a rash over the internet in my field. Thro paid listing, self education in search marketing and plugging away at web site content and blog content.

Hope this helps someone

I also have found your reply very interesting, Steve – thanks!! I really must start a blog. I’ve been thinking about doing so for a while now, just need to make the time!!

For me, the hardest thing in business has been getting known out there and getting clients!! With next to no $ for advertising, I’ve relied on networking, going around to some local businesses and asking businesses I already use (such as my beautician & mechanic!!). I also went down the path of the local newspaper (both classifieds and the main part of the paper), both were a waste of $.

It is extremely hard!!