Commentary

Local Businesses Stay Competitive Using Local Internet Marketing Strategies

As I do every Saturday morning I go out to get my coffee at the corner Dunkin Donuts, but this time I went to the opposite corner. There is a very well know place on this side of town called LaSalle Bakery – fresh baked pastry, sandwiches and bread to name a few.

Anyway, I went in to get some pastry for the house and I saw this ad in the circular of our local news paper and I was shocked at what I read. I would have thought Stop & Shop – one of the largest supermarket chains in New England would have had a Facebook, Twitter and Pintrest account a long time ago, but apparently they didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset I didn’t get this account – even if I tried to pitch them I would get the runaround or the out right “No” we have a marketing department that handles that.

Instead, I was intrigued by what I saw because even with a company this big and a marketing department flush with cash it still comes down to knowing your client, focusing on what they would want and being able to get the message to them.

Stop & Shop was obviously having a problem getting their message to their clients and perhaps they felt that even if they were doing a good job staying engaged with their customers they just couldn’t leave out another opportunity to market to their base.

More to the point – I’m happy to use this information to show other business owners that it’s not too late to get started using social media and they are not alone when it comes to companies, big and small just now getting in the game.

However, I am surprised that the local business owner knows traditional advertising doesn’t work (radio, TV, Newspaper) because your audience, your customers are not there, but they continue to spend the bulk of their marketing dollars on that medium.

  • Radio – No because they are listing to Pandora or downloaded music
  • TV – No because they are on Facebook, Twitter or playing Angry Birds
  • Newspaper – No because you can get the same news if not more online

That is where you should be as well – online – because that is where your customers are going to see your ads so they can come into your business and buy your products, but for some reason most business owners are still in denial about internet marketing and the benefits it can bring to a local business.

As large as this supermarket chain is and for as much money as they have to use towards advertising and marketing they still don’t have the advantage – the small business owners have the advantage and they don’t even realize it.

These large companies, these large national big box stores they call them spend so much money on branding themselves nationwide they sometimes forget the call to action locally. That is where the local business owner can maximize their time, effort and money – on the local customer and using strategic local marketing techniques can help a local business acquire more customers in a very cost effective way.

Get your message out as far and wide as you can. The more listings you have on the internet the more real estate on the internet you can own. The more listings you have the more lead sources you have.

Editor’s Note:

Radio, TV and Newspapers have their place and do work when done properly, but requires constant reinforcement. The internet equation is immediate, measurable and cost effective when combined across a broad medium.

Shaw’s Supermarket is Stop & Shop’s primary competitor and in that same week they were advertising that their discount card was being discontinued because everything would ring up on sale at the register. Why – because they were losing business and now they want it to be easier and more convenient for you to save with or without the card (I have 5 suggestions they can do with that original list of Loyalty Customers).

I couldn’t help myself so I did a little research. Here is a link to an ad they are running on Facebook right now https://www.facebook.com/StopandShop/app_137656902971961

They have 375 stores throughout New England and they use Auto-Posting by Adobe Social to respond to posts (that is so impersonal).

They created their FB Pages in July of 2011 and made their first post May 2013.

I see no response from Stop & Shop to their customers answering the questions that their customers posted on Facebook but with an auto posting system there will be no response or interaction with their customers. (Note I didn’t go through them all)

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How can DCS Providence stay competitive with the national companies who are offering the same services? The simple answer is easier than you think.

My client was approached last week by a national company out of South Carolina about local online marketing services and how it can benefit her business. It’s funny because she happened to be working late and was the only one in the office to take the call so she listened with great excitement.

Then she called me to say – I get it now! She told me someone called her and she went through the 45 minute online presentation and now (listening to someone else) she understands what I wanted to do with her business listing in the first place.

She wanted me to hear the 45 minute presentation as well and you know what my first thought was – why? I know what he is going to say and I pretty much know what services he is going to offer. Why should I bother; she is not going to buy his services anyway? But you know what – I’m glad I did because it shows me two things.

First it shows me what a national company is offering and their prices and second it reinforced my conviction that I have the right business model and the right price structure in place to compete with anyone – national or local.

Their online presentation is nice and they want you in front of your computer to do a screen share. This gives them the chance to show off all of their awards, but also helps with the visualization of what they are trying to sell. I would honestly think they have a harder time selling local service because they are not local, but again I did my best not to be too impatient (thinking to myself…how much longer and what is the cost).

There were a few things they offered that we don’t have as a system, but we do have as an add-on service and they had a strange take on offering 1,000 keywords including misspelled because that’s how people type (doesn’t the browser correct the spelling).

They also included in their presentation the creation of two websites – to be used for mobile and desktop viewing and they were also talking about including PPC into the campaign. PPC is included to get things started now – because you would need about two to three months before you start to start to see the organic rankings.

They require a 90 day commitment from you so with their bronze package at around $700 a month they can get you the results you are looking for based on the initial conversation she had with this sale person.

I give you all of this information because you should know you are in a good place with DCS Providence and Dot Com Secrets Local. I did a little more research and I found out that Canada is a huge market and there are only a handful of companies with the resources we have that can handle that amount of business. To my fellow Canadian Entrepreneurs check out this video http://youtu.be/VFZFfBRgQjQ and let me know what you think.

DCS Providence is very lucky to have mentors like Chris and Brett and I think that sets us apart from the rest. They have taken the time to set up a database which allows us to communicate as a group or family sharing valuable  information (most times). We are able to leverage the power and knowledge base of Russell’s network and that allows us to eliminate a large infrastructure and a ton of over head which allows us to be very competitive with the national companies and we offer something most can’t – the ability to be local and to be hands on.

Take away this if anything:

Keep on approaching your prospects and keep on pitching them – because chances are someone else will call them as well – offering the same thing you did, but your prices are better because you have less overhead and your service is better because you are around the corner and not in another state.

Needless to say my client has decided to do what I suggested several months ago. We are going to have her look at the Local Package #6 which will give her the top 20 online business directories.

We already built her a Lead Gen Website last year and now we are going to get a little more creative with the local directories. We also built out her Google Places, Yahoo Local and Bing Business Directories which is why we are not purchasing the Local Buzz Package (no need to duplicate what we have already done). Also DCS Providence has found a way to leverage the local directories and the information and tools they provide with the local search engines driving the local directories. Stay tuned – that’s a webinar in the making.

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