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  • #981920
    Sheldon Hampton
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    • Total posts: 13
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    Hello Flying Solo,

    I am a new business owner and I am looking for anyone to give me a few pointers on advertising or spreading to word about getting customers through my door. (So to speak)

    I am looking at advertising in the local newspaper or something online.

    My question is: For an online business would it be more effective to advertise online or local?

    To give you some background I run an online app store that allows small business owners to make their own business apps (Or I make them). It allows these businesses to have mobile presence and giving their customers a way to interact with the business such as information, ordering takeaway, booking appointments or map locations just to name a few.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    #1133709
    themobilebillboardco
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    Hi Sheldon,

    I think – to some degree, you’ve made the first step or at least answered your own question by coming here, to Flying Solo?

    By that I mean – you’ve got a problem (marketing) and you’ve come here (online) for a solution.

    Think of handful of real potential customers – where you already ‘sort of’ know their business model and that your App is a perfect fit for them.

    Contact them directly – ensuring you shake the tree from the top (Talk to upper/senior decision making management).

    Give them your spiel, hopefully sell your product.

    Offer discount/incentive and get Testimonials.

    Once you’ve got testimonials, put them on your site and hang them on your wall proudly. For your type of service (App Building), believe me, other business’s will want to know you’ve worked and delivered for other business before.

    If this works – you’ve established a market and know what business accepted your proposal and what didn’t. The ones that “Did” research them and find out others like them – then advertise online directly to them.

    It’s a competitive market mate… all the best

    #1133710
    SmallBusinessDigital
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    Hi Sheldon,

    The way I look at it is the old “paid’, “earned” and “owned” model. There are great paid media opportunities in the online space (Adwords for example), but you will probably get a greater effective reach with traditional paid media (focusing on niche publications would be your best bet – like business related publications). Paid media will produce faster results (both digital and traditional).

    What online media is strong with is utilising owned channels (e.g. your website, your Facebook page etc) to generate earned media. Typically earned media is generated through SEO, content marketing and social media. This type of media takes longer to work but will be more effective over longer periods of time.

    Earned media is often referred to as “free media”, however as anyone who has made these channels work will tell you, a lot of your time and effort is required to get results.

    So the questions you need to ask yourself are:

    How much can you afford to spend on paid media?

    How quickly do you want results?

    How much time and effort can you realistically put into generating earned media in the online space?

    Hope that helps you out :)

    Steve Macfarlane
    Digital Strategist at http://dancingpeanuts.com.au

    #1133711
    Tony Pfitzner
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    • Total posts: 213
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    Hi Sheldon

    If you create apps for local business to market to local customers then you must have an understanding of this market, and that means advertising online.

    This does not stop you from promoting your business directly or through other channels, but you need a significant online presence or you will have no credibility.

    I’ll bet your local Toyota dealer doesn’t drive a horse and cart!

    Online advertising systems available now enable you to target ads to highly specific locations and platforms e.g. to Android users within 70 km of the Pizza shop. You will need to understand this as it is a key part of your strategy.

    You will need the following infrastructure:
    – self hosted WordPress website
    – Analytics and Adwords accounts and learn how to use them
    – Google + account linked to site for maps and local
    – YouTube for app demos etc
    – Facebook

    Wherever you get leads from – online or offline – you can direct people to your site to make the sale. If you use Adwords to market locally it will be low cost becuase you will have very little competition. You can also use graphic display ads to capture the attention of local business and this will be a lot cheaper and better targeted than taking ad space in the local paper.

    Regards

    Tony

    #1133712
    Sheldon Hampton
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    • Total posts: 13
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    Thanks for all of this information guys :)

    I have abit of a plan now of what I am going to do. I have a few apps out there already (11 in total) 5 of which are from friends that run their own businesses. Testimonials would be great for our new website that I am starting to get up and running. I am using Adobe Business Catalyst with Dreamweaver CS6 which I have used in the past. I haven’t used wordpress at all but I hear alot about it. What makes it different to other platforms?

    Thanks,

    #1133713
    Tony Pfitzner
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    • Total posts: 213
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    Sheldon Hampton, post: 152212 wrote:
    Thanks for all of this information guys :)

    …… I haven’t used wordpress at all but I hear alot about it. What makes it different to other platforms?

    WordPress is the most commonly used content management system. It has a pluggable technology that enables quick installation of a huge range of modules – plugins – that facilitate just about anything you want to do online such as automating posting to social media, seo, forms, backup, sitemap generation, news feeds, ecommerce, membership modules etc etc etc. As an open source project it has a huge support base and is fully ‘understood’ by Google. It is also extremely easy to keep up to date.

    Adobe design tools – Photoshop, Illustrator etc – are great, but I would stay away from proprietary products such as Adobe Business Catalyst for actually publishing your site. All you are doing is paying good money for a relatively inflexible technology that can never compete with open source.

    #1133714
    ClintS
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    • Total posts: 8
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    Hi Sheldon

    You have a few online solutions that have been presented above so I’ll focus on the human aspect for a minute.

    Networking
    Are you networking? Meetup.com has a number of meet ups for small business owners listed where you can go along and let people about what you do. There are many groups out there but take your time, do some research and target groups who have your target market attending them. Give yourself a target of attending a certain number of meet ups per week (2) for say a month then evaluate the return on investment (your time and business cards).

    Referrals
    Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals. If you currently have happy customers ask them if they know of any other business owner that could benefit from having an app? In return offer them something of value (book, video training, gift voucher etc).

    Speaking
    Position yourself as an expert in small business apps. Get infront of your target market and give them rich content that educates them on how their business can create an additional revenue stream or brand awareness through having an app. Become the leader in your field. Get in contact with Meet Up Groups or small business communities that run live events.

    Hope this has given you some food for thought. Online strategies are super important but I wanted to give you some inexpensive tools that you can start working on straight away that should deliver you business.

    Good luck!

    Clint

    Clint Salter
    Business & Events Consultant
    http://www.clintsalter.com
    [email protected]

    #1133715
    DigitalDomination
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    • Total posts: 184
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    Sheldon Hampton, post: 152032 wrote:
    My question is: For an online business would it be more effective to advertise online or local?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks,

    You should try both and test them independently. That will give you the best answer.

    I would imagine that digital will be less expensive and give you faster test results. You can geo-target using Google Adwords and send people to a landing page with some kind of special offer.

    One thing to keep in mind, many small business owners aren’t tech savvy, or don’t have time to try to be. So you could be missing a huge portion of the market by only focusing online.

    I’d consider a direct mail campaign, again, send them to a special offer page on your website (use a different URL to the one you’ll use for Adwords, even if the content is the same).

    If you’re going to use Newspapers to test, I’d recommend you get a 1300 number from Telecube and stick $50 in the account. Then use that number in your newspaper ads and again, send people to a unique URL so you can track which is performing best.

    You’ll probably find there’s a significant difference between people that will visit your site/call and those that actually purchase. The digital side might be better because they understand the significance of apps. While the offline advertising might prove ineffective because those business owners aren’t as aware.

    Either way, I’d love to hear how you go!

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