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    24 Replies Latest reply on Mar 6, 2008 6:27 AM by yMladenov

    Need help getting the word out

    HandyHerman Adventurer

      All,

      My company has created a web site which allows small businesses to freely create a business profile that customers can search for. The site is www.HandyHerman.com. We released the site in January and have had pretty good luck drawing businesses by posting on forums. The feedback we have recieved from the businesses has been very helpful in updating our site. Can anyone give us suggestions on what marketing techniques we could use to get the word out about our site? We had an add running on Google AdWords but it didn't seem to be working to well (and it was pretty expensive).

      Our goal is to create a completly free, centralized online comunity for small businesses and customers to come together.

      Thanks in advance.

      Drew Arney,

      Co-Founder
        • Re: Need help getting the word out
          LUCKIEST Guide
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          • Re: Need help getting the word out
            puzzleman Tracker
            I think that you should post ads in the handyman sections of local newspapers. That is where a lot of people look for help. Another is the business card section of small papers as well. Also since you current list is kind of regionalized, put up flyers in coffee shops barber shops or where people congregate. Another idea is to put yard signs at intersections. A local company can make 100 yard signs for $150.00

            Jim
              • Re: Need help getting the word out
                2go2Marketing Wayfarer
                You will be limited to reaching one region. For $150 you can reach 3-4 regions on the internet and you can test your marketing strategy. For instance, you have to physically move the yard signs at intersections to see how your customers react to certain campaigns. With the internet, you can reach multiple countries, mulitple techniques, 24-hours a day. With your idea, you are much more limited.

                Brandon
                2 go 2 Marketing
                  • Re: Need help getting the word out
                    HandyHerman Adventurer
                    Brandon,
                    I am interested to hear what this $150 will get us. Thank you.

                    -Drew
                      • Re: Need help getting the word out
                        2go2Marketing Wayfarer
                        Herman,

                        Go to our website (http://www.2go2marketing.com) and go to the "Contact Us" area. With any business it taks money to make money but we can work with you on what your budget may be. Searcht he forum here as there amy be other people in the same businss focus as us. But if you like what we are trying to offer, let us try it out for you and see what we can do.

                        Best Regards,

                        Brandn

                        2 go 2 Marketing
                        htttp://www.2go2marketing.com
                        • Re: Need help getting the word out
                          2go2Marketing Wayfarer
                          Drew,

                          I did some thinking. Before you spend any money on paid for services. Try listing your business on Google Maps. It is free and all you have to do is put your companies info in, operating hours, phone number. The google will call you will an automated service and you will put in the code they give to you on the webpage.

                          That in my opinion would be the best case scenario for you.

                          Another thing I would try is those magnetic signs on the side of your car/van. Those reach more people than yards signs but are cheaper than paying for a strictly internet marketing campaign. I look at those signs all the time when I am parked at a stop light waiting for a green light. You can do all those yourself and won't have to pay anyone but the company that makes those magnetic signs for the side of the car.

                          Regards,

                          Brandon
                            • Re: Need help getting the word out
                              HandyHerman Adventurer
                              Brandon,
                              We are starting to see more traffic on handyherman.com. Thanks for your input. I will sign up on google maps, but what will this do? Will this just make it so that if someone searches google maps for our business, they will find our address?

                              I don't know if you can edit a post...someone should make gigantic key boards.
                                • Re: Need help getting the word out
                                  Bemore Adventurer
                                  Handy,
                                  I was just reading over this thread. Is there one area of the country that is more active than others on your site right now?

                                  I am in the process of sending out an email marketing piece to clients and am thinking about referring them to HandyHerman to leave a testimonial or rate our service. Can I see who rates me on the website?

                                  Steve
                                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                    • Re: Need help getting the word out
                                      HandyHerman Adventurer
                                      Steve,
                                      Yes, businesses can see where a customer has reviewed thier business. As an example see the reviews at www.handyherman.com/WHITEOAKTEAS . In order to preserve the integrity of customer reviews (ensure there are no anonomous negative reviews), a customer must set up a customer account. It is quick and easy and can be done by selecting "write a review" at the bottom of your profile.

                                      Hope this helps your ad campaign. If you have any other questions, feedback or suggestions feel free to let me know.

                                      -Drew
                            • Re: Need help getting the word out
                              HandyHerman Adventurer

                              Jim,
                              We attempted to post small signs without much luck. 100 yard signs for $150 is a pretty good deal. Can you please send me this business' contact information. Thank you.

                              Drew
                            • Re: Need help getting the word out
                              aallc01 Wayfarer
                              I have also found that Google Adwordsis very ineffective and costly.I would continue with that path but lower your cost per hit to about .50.
                              There are city business journals that work well for all sizes of businesses. I would advertise in the cities you want to hit on.
                              Also, this forum, I would post an add here and on citibank's small business forum.
                              Work with a direct marketing company to target your audience and get statisicalfeedback. I represent just that sort of company.
                              Call me to discuss and I will put in direct contact. My number is 856-437-6277.
                              Regards,
                              Bill
                              • Re: Need help getting the word out
                                easylube4you Newbie
                                I have a great idea that really works for several web owners I have dealt with. Business cards that only have your web address and give to everyone you come into contact with. (Black and White) Many people tell someone about a web address but by the time they get home they have forgotten the address or forgot to check. With a business card they place it in their pocket and empty their pockets at home where most people search the internet.

                                Also leave the cards anywhere you want and you will see an increase in traffic within a few months.

                                If you give this a try let me know how it seems to work for you. You can also get free or near free cards from vistaprints.com.

                                Sincerely
                                Easy Lube 4 You
                                • Re: Need help getting the word out
                                  Bemore Adventurer
                                  Handy,
                                  A technique that we have used, recommended and seems to work as well as being inexpensive for the number of impressions is a small sticker on a car or car of you customers. A good friend who's business is "Noobie" was trying to drive traffic to his website. We did "NoobieInc.com" on his vehicle windows. It has driven business to his site.

                                  A simple HandyHerman.com would create curiosity. This could be a bumper sticker or vinyl decal displayed by Handy Herman users on their vehicles or store front windows.
                                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                                  • Re: Need help getting the word out
                                    MnlyTechnlgy Adventurer
                                    Have you checked in to joining your local Chamber of Commerce? I have found that Networking is the best marketing I get for my money. Also networking groups can be useful and helpful. We placed an ad on a local radio station with no luck (twice), we also did a bulk mailing with no luck and a few advertisements here and there with no luck. What we have truly found is that word of mouth works the best and the most effective way of getting the word out is to network. Good Luck
                                      • Re: Need help getting the word out
                                        Bemore Adventurer
                                        I am active in two local chambers, Rainmakers (currently an Indiana based networking organization), past member of Business Network International plus a couple of service organizations. Networking has been my main marketing thrust and produced about 60-65% of my new business. One of the key things I have learned about attending networking events is to go knowing specificially who or what you are looking for and be sure to ASK.
                                      • Re: Need help getting the word out
                                        AppleGraphics Adventurer
                                        I signed up on your website, and I have to say that your site seems very basic. You said you have had luck posting on forums for your advertising but you do not seem to implement any real type of communication on your actual site to keep your audience coming back. that being said I also have noticed that at least at the moment your site lacks a decent base (I seem to be only one of two businesses in Illinois). I would suggests that until your site draw more of an audience allowing your users to broaden their search parameters even further. For instance give the option to search within a state rather then miles from a specific city, or be able to see a lists of all companies within a certain category rather then by location.

                                        You may want to look in to hiring somebody to redo the look of your site or at least improve upon it yourself. I think the header (where your logo and login info is) and the menu piece are good but the rest seems very flat and basically lacks information, both textually and visually. I hope you will take this for what it is, constructive criticism from someone who know a little about a lot but not a lot about much.
                                          • Re: Need help getting the word out
                                            HandyHerman Adventurer
                                            AppleGraphics,

                                            Thank you for your feedback. Yes, handyherman.com is fairly basic. If it could be any more basic and still have the same functionality then we would make it that way. Our hope is that this website will be used because it is basicand not cluttered with advertisements. Businesses can quickly set up a profile and as soon as the base is built (business are signing up rapidly) then we hope customers will keep coming back to our website to search for business in thier area. The customers will not only get contact info, but a brief description, a picture and others feedback. Much better than the yellowpages.

                                            We are discussing our options of including a list of businesses or a search a state function. The problem is that both of these may make the website more complex and a bit harder to use. In my opinion this website is useful to anyone that makes or spends money. Again, thank you for the feedback and feel free to let me know any additional questions or comments that you may have.

                                            -Drew
                                              • Re: Need help getting the word out
                                                capcitypromos Newbie
                                                Drew, I like the site's cleanness and simplicity. Basically, you're a competitor to Google, but for business only. I like the idea. I would think that if you were to buy some business email lists, asking them to sign up for free. Add a rating system if you don't have one, or maybe some sort of vetting of the businesses that sign up. Once you've built it up, it could be something that a national company like Bank of America would "partner up" with to offer the service to its customers nationwide.

                                                You could also offer vehicle signage and other promotional items as a co-op program, giving the business a great price if they put your logo somewhere on their marketing materials. That's what I do for a living. For example, if you have a business advertiser that likes to give calendars to his customers and prospects, we can set it up so that he can receive the 5,000 pc. price on as few as 250 calendars, just because they have your logo printed somewhere on them. Doesn't have to be as big as his logo, just so it's there. As an example, if you had 200 businesses each handing out as few as 250 calendars each to their customers and prospects, you've got calendars in 50,000 homes with your logo or url on them. Said calendars are likely right where you'd want them to be, too. Your advertiser wins with low pricing, you win with lots of promo items in lots of homes, and what has it cost you? $0.00 It's a great service to offer your advertisers.

                                                If you'd like to discuss this or other programs, please give a call at (877) 250-4354.
                                                Let me know if I can help.
                                                Sincerely,
                                                Ted Pendlebury
                                                  • Re: Need help getting the word out
                                                    capcitypromos Newbie
                                                    I would also make sure your mileage function is working correctly. I asked for any business within 100 miles of San Diego CA. I got 2 locations in Arizona. According to Google, it's 355 miles from San Diego to Phoenix. Something's not right there. I'm not criticizing, just think it should work well if you're hoping for a lot of usage. Folks will expect it to work.

                                                    Ted
                                              • Re: Need help getting the word out
                                                yMladenov Newbie
                                                Hi,
                                                I'd suggest that you start working on your SEO /search engine optimisation/. One of the most important tips for that are:
                                                *100% valid code on all pages
                                                *A lot of original content
                                                *Incoming links to your site
                                                *Listing on directories - Yahoo!, Google/DMOZ.org, MSN
                                                *A lot of keywords per page, relevant to your domain name, headings (h1, h2) and title of the page

                                                Misc tips on SEO:
                                                *Don't pay for it - SE (search engine) algorythms are changing so fast that the moment you pay for it you will have to pay for it again.
                                                *Don't do Hyper Optimisation - take your time, don't spend on it more than a hour or two per day. The more often the updates on your site, the better the ranking on SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
                                                *Don't rely 100% on it - good SEO can take more than a year to accomplish as you need high PR (page rank), domain popularity, relevant sites (one citing your content) and so on.
                                                *Play fair! - the so called Blackhat SEO techniques can get you banned for nothing. Never use them.

                                                By my judgment that is the real handy work a site should have for popularity. You can also do some offline advertising such as: leaving sticker with a catchy phrase and the address on walls (a classic, but might litter the area if you are pressing it too much), have the name of your site on your car, make stickers for cars and ask friends and relatives to use them, posters, billboards (much more effective than some PPC /pay per click/ advertisements.

                                                Hope this helps! Good luck.