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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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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
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.