how to do it online and offline
I have a small web design business that I want to advertise. I know there are a lot of us out there but I was curious what would be the most effective method of off-line and on-line advertising.
Through site design and reciprocal links I have done ok so far in getting some visibility in the SEs, but......I am willing to spend some money on it.
Where do small businesses go to look for a web designer?
Any ideas/advice would be appreciated.
>Where do small businesses go to look for a web designer?
Mostly word-of-mouth from other businesses in their hometown or region. Next, IMO, would be contacts through the chamber of commerce. Their trade associations, if applicable, also provide some contacts.
Chamber of Commerce's contacts bring me 75% of my business each year. I join 1 or 2 additional Chambers every year.
The referal rate is great and I also have found some of the best local resources for my own business.
Not to mention the fun I have volunteering/participating in Chamber sponsored events.
It should be on the must do list for any new business.
I have started looking into the Chamber of Commerce. What about the Better Business Bureau? They have a on-line version, on-line database and logo I can use.
I am not sure what it is like where you guys are but it is $300+ a year to join either of these two where I am at.
I'd go with the CoC over the BBB for trying to make initial contacts. If they have "Business After Hours" (usually an evening ribbon-cutting here) go to those for the networking. Also, consider putting an insert flyer in their newsletter if they do that where you are.
I would go with the Chamber of Commerce. I have found by participating (going to every business after hours meeting possible) I get a lot of business.
When first starting, I asked a number of my clients (local small business's) who were with the BBB is it made sense to join. None of them thought that they had any return on their investment!
I've been selling web design etc for a little over 2 years now, so I've had some opportunity to watch the market mature. I would agree that networking in its various forms is probably the best way to go, be that CoC events, referrals from your existing clients, social contacts who know someone who is looking for a good designer, whatever.
You can get success with mailshots, but its difficult. Once again CoC mailings can be good, as they lend you credibility by association. Targetted shots to businesses very close to you can produce results, as many small businesses like the feeling of having someone local do the work, as it is easier to arrange meetings etc, and they feel it gives them the option of going to knock on a door if something goes wrong.
Some of our biggest clients have come from the response to a mass mailing. If you're going to do it, keep it to 1 page, and bear in mind that you have about 3 seconds to get them to read it properly, so a big FREE somewhere in the middle of the page might attract attention.
Telemarketing can work, and work well, but there is a lot of time overhead, and it seems to generate long-lead time prospects
As a former CoC executive director, I applaud your use of the CoC for marketing. The key is VISIBILITY. Not just ads in their newsletters, and directories, but yes - going to the Afterhours, and being on committees. (Phone solicitations for membership drives and fundraisers esepecially, you get to "fly in" under the chamber banner, and casually drop company info. Plenty of chance to follow up, also.)
I have found that a lot of people have much less hesitance to calling on behalf of the chamber, than making cold sales calls.
Discount services to chamber members can go a long way, as chambers are ALWAYS looking for free "value added" services to members - and will sometimes promote this in their literature. Donation of services to auctions,raffles and door prizes is also good. Be sure to collect attendee names either directly or if the chamber maintains a list of attendees <we did this, only avaiable to people who attended>
Some chambers will sell you a list of members for maildrops, others will even sell a disk. DO NOT overuse this privelege.
Chambers can also be a "hub" for contact with other commuinity organizations - Rotary, Lions,Kiwanis, rec departments, etc.
Each chamber has different services, talk to the exec and focus on marketing opps. They are happy to "sell" you services.