The Ten Reasons Why 99% Of Local Business
Websites Are A Total Waste Of Time And Money

How to take full advantage of the business-building
power of the Internet and not get left behind as
consumers swarm online to find local businesses

By Allen Oelschlaeger

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If Palm Beach is like most, your prospects are now using the Internet to find local businesses. In most communities over 85% of searches for local businesses are occurring online.

In fact, advertising experts expect that it won’t be long before the paper Yellow Pages are dead, having been completely displaced by Local Internet Search. In addition, with over one billion people now using Facebook, social media has become the new word-of-mouth.

In the following pages I’ll show you exactly how to take advantage of this trend to help grow your business in Palm Beach, Florida using local business online marketing.

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For local business owners, the Internet represents
either a huge opportunity or a pending disaster

Our research has consistently shown that 99% of all local businesses are throwing their money away on poorly designed and ineffective websites.

That means only 1% of local businesses have websites that are effective in bringing in new customers.

What are the 1% doing?

Well, for one, they are making a lot of money, each and every month by making the Internet an integral part of their business and getting new customers every month, with little extra effort.

In other words, the Internet represents a huge opportunity for local businesses.

It is a great lead-generation tool, but more importantly, with only 1% of business owners doing the right things, it is possible to effectively own the Internet for your local business niche within the Palm Beach area.

However, due to how the Internet works, it could be a pending disaster for many business owners.

Here is why.

In other words, if local business owners don’t act soon with a comprehensive local business online marketing strategy, they may be left out in the cold.

During the age of Yellow Pages, if there were more advertisers in the Palm Beach area, they just add pages. But, with the Internet, once spaces on the first page for a given Internet search phrase are gone, they may be gone forever – or only available at a ridiculously high price.

Bottom line, you can’t afford to NOT be one of the 1% – because the upside opportunity for your business is so large and the downside risk of being locked out is so great.

My name is Allen Oelschlaeger and I’ve been involved in helping local businesses take advantage of the business-building power of the Internet for the last 10 years (and since 2007, via a company I founded called eInnov8 Marketing).

During that time, I’ve worked with local business owners from throughout the U.S. and Canada to improve how they use the Internet to give them a very real and sustainable edge over their competition. As you’ll see, the local businesses I’ve worked with have experienced tremendous success.

Why? Because I know what it takes to be part of the 1% – where a business:

In these pages I’m going to disclose the secrets for accomplishing this for your business in Palm Beach, Florida.

To get started, let me share the ten reasons why 99% of local-business websites are a total waste of time and money.

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Reason #1 – Not having a local website

This one is pretty obvious. It’s darn tough to get new customers from the Internet if you don’t have a website.

What’s surprising is how many local business owners are making this costly mistake.

They don’t have a website despite the fact that over 85% of all North Americans are using the Internet to find local businesses and social media has become the new word-of-mouth.

Not having a local business website is just plain crazy. These businesses are missing out on a big opportunity to get new customers with almost no extra effort, but, more importantly they are taking the risk of giving up the prime Internet real estate to their competitors – potentially forever.

Why are so many local businesses missing this opportunity?

Our research tells us there are four primary reasons:

  1. Confusion as to what to do (being effective at Internet marketing can be extremely complicated)
  2. Bad experiences in previously trying to develop a website (some of the stories I’ve heard would curdle your blood)
  3. Lack of time and/or interest to hassle with “this Internet stuff” (local business owners have plenty to do beyond fussing around on the Internet)
  4. For local businesses that are part of a national organization (central ownership or franchise), the mistaken belief that a directory on a national website is a better online strategy than having each franchisee have their own local website.

Later, I’ll offer up a solution on how to deal with each of these issues. But, for right now – don’t be the proverbial “deer in the headlights” to your competition. If you are a local business owner and don’t already have a website or, if you are a national organization and each of your locations doesn’t have their own local website, you need to act quickly.

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Reason #2 – Not having Traffic and Conversions as the top priorities

To get new customers from a website, there are ONLY two things that matter: Traffic (prospects finding and visiting our website) and Conversions (visitors deciding to contact you or make a purchase). You want lots of prospects to visit your site and you want a high percentage of them to contact you.

Let me state this again because it’s critical to success on the Internet.

Traffic + Conversions = New Customers

What is so disappointing is how few website developers understand this fundamental principle. Instead of concentrating on what is important, they focus on such trivial issues as:

We call the resulting sites “brochure-ware” – because, just like fancy four-color glossy brochures, they are very expensive to develop (sometimes ridiculously expensive) and they do almost nothing to help grow a business.

In fact, much of the “brochure-ware” work actually detracts from what should be the two goals for any website – traffic and conversions (I’ll give you some examples of this problem later in this report).

You have to ask yourself why this happens.

If the equation – Traffic + Conversions = New Customers – is so fundamental to success on the Internet, why do so many web developers get this so wrong?

If you want to have a website to generate new leads for your Palm Beach business, you must protect yourself from these barriers to developing an online system that prioritizes Traffic and Conversions – the two essential factors for the success of any Internet strategy.

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Reason #3 – Building a website that is invisible to the search engines

There are only four ways for someone to find your website:

If you know anything at all about the Internet, you understand that the first one is critically important. Most people who are looking for a local business just go to Google or Bing and enter keywords they think will get them to what they are looking for.

Sadly, many local business websites are built in such a way that they are completely invisible to the search engines. In other words, these websites will NEVER show up in the search results – no matter what keywords are entered.

What a travesty!

You have paid good money to have a website developed, due to mistakes made, no one will EVER find it via an Internet search.

There isn’t room here to explain all the ways a web developer can make a website – for all practical purposes – invisible to the search engines. But, trust me, there are a bunch of them.

Here are just a few:

Whatever you do, to be effective with local business online marketing, make sure your website is visible to the search engines.

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Reason #4 – Thinking you can hire a search marketing expert to get traffic to your site

With well over 45 billion web pages on the Internet, getting your website found isn’t easy – and requires some effort.

Business owners faced with this problem often hire search marketing experts (known as SEO or search engine optimization experts) – individuals or companies who charge hundreds to thousands of dollars a month to fiddle with a company’s websites in an effort to increase their search engine ranking.

There are four problems with these supposed “experts”

1.  As Perry Marshall, a world-renown Internet guru says, “70-80% of SEO guys are incompetent and 5-10% are Con Men.” Here are just a few of the cons these guys get away with:

2.  Even if you find a search marketing expert that isn’t incompetent or a Con Man, they will likely know little about Local Internet Search.

See, the goal of traditional search marketing is to get traffic from all parts of the world. As you can probably imagine, this is a completely different challenge than getting traffic from interested prospects who live within a few to several miles of a local business.

For example, to be effective with Local Internet Search, here are just a few of the search categories that need to be understood:

Knowing how to work with these search categories is a completely different animal than knowing the ins and outs of national/global Internet search.

That’s the problem most national organizations make. They implement national search marketing strategies to try to get local traffic to location pages on a national website – a losing proposition.

3.  Even if you learn of an individual who claims to be a local search marketing expert (you probably get calls from these folks every week), their “expertise” likely comes from taking a $1,000 to $2,000 Internet course about local online marketing and working with a few local clients. I personally know of five outfits that offer such courses and they’re quite successful – meaning there are tens of thousands of these minimally-trained “experts” competing with each other for local clients. More than likely there is or more in Palm Beach, Florida — and they are calling you.

4.  No matter who you use, it’s going to cost a ton of money. Local Internet Search is such a hot area right now that these experts – whether real or not – have extremely high rates. The true experts charge a few hundred dollars per hour and the individuals signing up for the local online marketing courses are being told they’ll be able to charge $2,000 to $5,000 per month – per client! – for their services.

This is crazy – but that’s the kind of money they’re trying to get from local clients who don’t know any better.

So, for a local business, hiring a true website traffic expert who can help a local business at a reasonable cost is almost impossible. I’m sure you get plenty of calls from companies in the Palm Beach area who say they can help, but they all have at least one of these problems:

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Reason #5 – Not doing anything about “off-site” traffic generation

Remember in Reason #3 I said there were only four ways for someone to find your website:

Well, search engine optimization targets the first way by optimizing a site for selected keywords and phrases. This is called “on-site” SEO.

But, as I said above, “off-site” search marketing (the other three items above) can account for 80% of the difference in search results but it’s often ignored because it is too much work.

Off-site search marketing includes such tasks as:

The other significant “off-site” source of website traffic is “offline” promotions (direct mail, advertising, flyers, business cards). For most national businesses, few visitors come from non-Internet efforts. But, local businesses often find a great deal of their traffic comes from their offline work.

These off-site search marketing (“offline to online”) tasks are absolutely critical to get all of the traffic available to a local business.

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Reason #6 – Not designing a website with clear priorities as to what you want visitors to do once they get there

Think for a moment… after someone has visited your website, what would you most like them to do?

Frankly, it seems that local businesses who spend a lot of money on their website, expect their visitors to call and say, “Loved your website… it’s gorgeous… please sign me up.”

How many times do think that happens? Not often – if ever – but many local businesses have websites where that’s the only possible outcome. And, even then, sometimes it’s almost impossible to find a phone number to call!

Instead, an effective lead-generation website needs to consider four realities:

1.  Visitors need a very compelling reason to respond (visit, call, complete an online form). Having a nice-looking website will never be enough.

2.  Visitors need multiple reasons to respond. What might be compelling to one visitor might be a big bore for someone else. The goal should be convert as many visitors as possible, so you need multiple offers.

3.  Visitors need ways to respond that require various levels of commitment. For example, calling is a pretty big commitment for some people and, if that’s their only option, you will likely never hear from them. But that same person might be willing to request a coupon or a special report on a topic of interest.

4.  Not all visitors are ready to take action the day they visit a website. However, they may be willing to sign up for a newsletter so you can stay in touch with them on a regular basis until they are ready to make a purchase.

It is critical that a website is designed with these four realities in mind and with a crystal-clear understanding of what you want visitors to do once they make it to the site. For example, most businesses would want the following to happen, in this priority order:

  1. Visit your business or make an online purchase
  2. Call your business
  3. Get a special-offer coupon via a request form
  4. Get a compelling free report via a request form
  5. Sign up for a weekly newsletter via a subscription form

In other words, a website should have a range of offers to pique the interest of as many visitors as possible and cause them to identify themselves so they can be followed up with.

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Reason #7 – Relying on a website developer to write the content for a site or for the local-business owner to write it by themselves

I hope it is obvious from reading Reading #6 that the content of a website is critically important to its success.

You absolutely must have compelling reasons for visitors to respond and provide their contact information – and those reasons generally come in the form of written content (website text, coupon copy, reports, newsletters).

But, writing this content is a very specialized skill. For a local business website, it requires:

Reasons #1 through #6 may not apply to your business and you can still end up with a worthless website if this mistake is made. Writing good website content – using all of the specialized skills listed above – is that important.

Hardly any website developers have these skills and I’m guessing that you don’t either.

That’s one of the reasons why the “template websites” are of almost no value. These widely-promoted websites make all of the mistakes – in spades. But they also have the additional problem of requiring the business owner to write their own content.

Sure, some of these companies provide some boiler plate copy to use and/or a collection of links to other websites of interest. But this content is generally of little interest to prospects, the content isn’t search-engine optimized for your business and the external links just suck away hard-earned traffic.

Bottom line – you must involve a professional, website copywriter who has a in-depth knowledge of Search Engine Optimization to help develop the content for your website.

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Reason #8 – Not considering the long-term management and maintenance of a site in the initial decisions prior to starting development

Here is the most common complaint I hear from business owners about their website (besides the complaint that their website rarely, if ever, generates any new business).

Every time they want to make a change or addition to their site, they need to go back to their web developer to have the work done. This creates three problems:

The most common result is that the website ends up almost never getting changed. It is just too untimely, too expensive, and too inconvenient to make it worth the effort. This creates issues on multiple fronts:

The good news is that it is now possible to develop a website using a Content Management System. Such systems make it possible for a business owner or staff person to make changes and additions to their site without the need for any technical expertise.

This eliminates the ongoing hassle/cost of working with a web developer, but more importantly, it enables the tight integration of offline and online marketing initiatives. For example, a good CMS will allow the business owner to easily create an unlimited number of “landing pages” that can be tied to print advertising campaigns.

Such changes only require a few minutes (or, often, just several seconds) so it’s possible to fully manage your site without having to use a web developer ever again.

But, not all of these systems are created equal. Some are so complicated they can take hours or days to learn. Others allow you to make simple changes but doing more complicate tasks like adding images, creating links, or adding videos (the future of the Internet) still must be done by a developer – all which can cost lots of money.

But, whatever system you select, using a Content Management System for your website is almost ALWAYS a better decision than developing a traditional website using HTML.

In addition, there are now systems that allow content authors to submit video, audio, images and text to their online properties from a single page on their website without even having to know anything about Internet marketing.

If you are a national organization, you have a different problem. For you, the issue is control. You have a brand to protect and letting your local managers/owners compromise that brand with hugely variable websites makes no sense.

Instead, you want to be able to manage your Internet presence from a central location. From my experience, that’s the primary reason why national organizations opt to have pages for each location on a central site, rather than having a separate website for each location (the highly preferred approach to maximize local Internet search traffic). They don’t want to lose control of their brand and they can’t imagine dealing with the cost and hassle of having tens or hundreds of websites to manage.

But, that’s another technology development that has happened very recently. It is now possible to manage hundreds to thousands of individual websites with less work and expense than managing one large, traditionally-constructed website.

The technologies that makes this possible are called Multi-Site Management and Content Syndication. These technologies enable software upgrades and “pushing” content to all or a subgroup of sites from a central dashboard.

For national organizations, the combination of a Content Management System, Multi-Site Management and Content Syndication creates the ideal environment to maximize the business-building power of the Internet. With these three technologies, national firms get all the benefits of having a local website for each individual location without giving up any control over their Internet presence and with none of the management costs and hassles.

Another factor to consider relative to the long-term maintenance of your website is how to address the technical issues, such as:

Here you need a technical team to help out – so it is important to have access to a good one. Bottom line, you must consider the long-term management and maintenance of a site prior to starting development.

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Reason #9 – Not taking advantage of the power of the Internet to build customer loyalty and transform business operations

If you are like most local business owners, you are inundated with ideas on how to retain customers and better your business operations – how to improve your customer service, how to add value to your programs so you can raise prices, how to be more efficient so you can devote more time to higher-priority tasks, and on and on.

Here are the problems with these ideas:

Large companies faced these problems years ago but then they discovered the power of the Internet – to improve customer service, add value to their products and services, enhance their marketing and increase their efficiency. At the time, the cost of the technology was enormous (often in the millions of dollars) but the results almost always produced a positive return on investment.

The mistake local business owners make today is thinking this business-transformation technology is still out of their reach.

It’s not.

Due to rapid advancements in technology, it is now possible to take advantage of the power of the Internet to transform business operations – to improve marketing, customer retention and business efficiency.

Here are some of the components of such technology:

While these technologies are quite complex at their core, they can all be set up in such a way that almost anyone can manage them.

The problem is that most technologists don’t have clue how to do this (see Reasons #2 and #8). They view systems that are impossible for most people to understand as “simple” – so they end up blaming the user instead of the system when they hear usability complaints.

In order to take advantage of the power of the Internet to build customer loyalty and transform business operations, you need to know what technology to use and how to set up it up – but it’s now possible to compete with large companies who have millions of dollars to spend.

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Reason #10 – Not having a comprehensive online system that goes far beyond just a website

None of the reasons above might apply to your business in Palm Beach, Florida — and you still may not be successful online.

Now, that didn’t used to be true. Up until about 2011, just having a website (although one that didn’t make the mistakes discussed above) was sufficient. What’s happened in recent years is that the Internet has become hopelessly complex.

First, the search engine algorithms have become much more sophisticated. It used to be that, if you just had well done title and meta tags targeting your niche in the Palm Beach area, your site would be ranked high by the search engines.

Well, no longer. Now you need more advanced on-site search engine optimization, placement in local search directories, lots of back links and a plan to add more over time, active social media accounts, regular addition of multi-media content to a blog, a mobile version of your website, accounts at article and video repository accounts, aggressive use of video and audio marketing and more.

And, you need to take into account that the search engines now know your customers are located in the Palm Beach area when they are searching online – so they are much better at presenting results for businesses in your area.

Second, the Internet is now far more than just a collection of websites. Now there are blogs, business directories, online review sites, social media accounts, article repositories, podcasts, Web TV, local deal sites and much much more.

Third, there is a major trend with the use of video on websites, blogs and social media accounts.

YouTube has made it simple to put a video online, but if you want to use video in your marketing there are all sorts of challenges. You need to record the video, move it to your computer, get it transcoded to the right format and file size for the web, deal with file-storage issues and then, the hardest of all, get it placed correctly on your online properties.

Fourth, most online systems are set up where all of these various elements are implemented in a piecemeal fashion. So, if you can even remember where everything is, you need to login to multiple accounts with different user interfaces in order to manage your online presence.

What’s needed is a fully-integrated online system that includes all of the above elements. However, it must be manageable with little time commitment and without the need for any technical ability.

In other words, an effective local business online marketing system needs to require just a few simple tasks to do on a regular basis, with everything else getting taken care of automatically.

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My dilemma – do I do what my client
asks or what I think is right?

Now that you know the ten reasons why 99% of local-business websites are a total waste of time and money, let me tell you a brief story abut a dilemma I faced in late 2007.

One of my clients was organizing a national conference for local business owners. The focus of the conference was on business growth, so he had decided to include a two-hour session on how to develop and maintain an Internet website.

He and I had worked together for several years and I had helped him expand his business pretty dramatically. Part of this work included developing and maintaining his website, so he was aware that I knew a thing or two about the Internet.

As a result, I was his first choice to give the Internet presentation at his conference.

After we had done so much work together, you can imagine his surprise when I told him I wouldn’t do it.

See, I had been in this situation before. I had given plenty of presentations about developing and maintaining a website and the results had always been the same.

Do you know what these results were? Let me give you a bit more detail about my experiences with these presentations and I bet you’ll be able to make a pretty good guess.

Here is an outline of the normal course of events:

What do you think happened from there? Here’s what you would hope these business owners would do:

So, what do you think? Did all of the business owners go home and take these steps?

Do you think any of them did?

If you are a local business owner or franchisor, you know the answer. No small business owner on the planet has the time, interest or energy do any of this stuff.

Therefore, what were the results of all the hassle and hard work?

Nothing!

Sure, there might have been a few who realized they absolutely MUST have a website (given the explosion of Internet search). And these few might have found some web developer and try to communicate to this person what they had learned from me.

However, I’m sure their experience went something like this:

The end result – another website that is a total waste of time and money.

So, given these previous experiences, I had a BIG dilemma. Did I just do what my client asked or did I reject his request?

Well, at the end of the day, I just couldn’t get myself to accept my client’s invitation to present at his conference. I knew it would be a big waste of my time and the conference attendee’s time. In addition, I was worried that my presentation might just create a lot of frustration – where the local business owners knew they HAD to so something but didn’t have the time, interest, or energy to do it.

Given that he was such a good client, I felt an obligation to search for another option.

Here is what I found — a technology that could be used to create a world-class online system for my client and then duplicated for other businesses in my client’s niche in other geographic locations.

So, my client and my company used this technology to do just that. It required thousands of dollars of investment and well as hiring some very specialized talent, but the results were worth it.

I could now go to the conference and offer something with real value rather than just a bunch of empty words. And, the conference attendees saw that value — 19 of 20 purchased the online system we had developed.

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If you are a local business owner
or franchisor, what should you do?

If you have gotten to this point, I’m sure you are feeling a bit overwhelmed.

You know you need a fully-integrated online presence targeting the Palm Beach area and you now know why 99% of websites are a total waste of time and money — but what do you do now?

In my opinion, you have two options:

1.  Use your new-found knowledge to either:

However, before you let either group start, be sure they read through this information.

2.  Find a company that has developed a world-class online system for your business niche in another geographic location and ask them if they can duplicate that system for you. However, realize this may be a challenge due to federal copyright laws. Unless the web development firm developed all the content themselves, using it on another site won’t be possible.

What you DON’T want to do is develop something piecemeal with separate individuals or groups handling the different elements of an effective online presence, such as:

And, if you need them:

Instead, you want to find one group who can develop and manage all of your local business online marketing efforts and, ideally, do even more (e.g., podcasts, Web TV, local deal sites).

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Will the Internet be a huge opportunity for
your local business or a pending disaster?

As I said at the beginning, you can’t afford to NOT be part of the 1% who are making the Internet an integral part of their business in and, as a result, making lots of money and getting new customers every month, with little extra effort.

The Internet is going to become more and more important media for the marketing of any local business. However, unlike the Yellow Pages of the past, it’s possible for your competitors in the Palm Beach area to lock you out of the top search engine rankings potentially forever.

Instead, what should be happening is that it’s you who are locking them out.

I hope the information presented on these pages allows you do that and be part of the 1%.

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About The Author

I mentioned above that I’ve been running a company called eInnov8 Marketing since 2007 — a technology company focused on “taking the complexity out of Internet Marketing.”

Prior to that my background includes getting an MBA from Wharton and over 20 years of experience as a corporate executive for such companies as Eli Lilly and Company, and Marquette Electronics. In 2000, I left the corporate world to develop business ventures and, since then, have founded several companies.

In addition, for three years, I was part of the marketing faculty at the University of Wisconsin – teaching Principles of Marketing and Entrepreneurial Marketing – and have done a lot of speaking at large and small conferences. If you want to discuss booking me for a conference, please call 888-529-9298.

I formed eInnov8 Marketing due to my frustration, within my own businesses, with Internet marketing. I can genuinely say that I made all the mistakes discussed above over and over again because I didn’t know any better and neither did the teams I was working with.

Once I started working with clients beyond my own businesses, I quickly learned the ten reasons listed above were prevalent in almost all local businesses and, as a result, they were getting almost no value from their online efforts.

Now, sadly – at the time of this writing – this is as true as ever. Local business owners are still making big mistakes, but the Internet has become even more important as a marketing medium and there is now real competition online – so businesses are falling further and further and further behind.

In response to this situation, eInnov8 Marketing has been working to address this problem. The technology we originally used to develop the online system for my client in 2007 (and then duplicate for other geographic locations) is no longer available so we had to develop our own. This internally-developed technology is now in its third generation.

Our latest system went into beta trial in March of 2011 with hundreds of fully integrated local online systems and was officially launched at a national conference in November of 2012 put on by GKIC.

GKIC (http://www.dankennedy.com) and many other companies have selected eInnov8 Marketing as their online-system partner for these reasons:

eInnov8 Marketing primarily works with franchisors and niche information marketers who want to partner to develop an online system consisting of a network of local sites that can be controlled and that can receive syndicated content from a central location.

However, we also offer a unique “done with you” solution for local businesses where we use our proprietary technology to develop fully-integrated online systems during a three-day hands-on session with one-to-two person teams from about 10 businesses. These sessions are held several times per year.

If you’d like to learn more about our eInnov8 Marketing and our local business online marketing services, please contact us by calling 888-529-9298, sending an email to sales@einnov8.com or visiting our website at http://www.einnov8.com.

To download a PDF of this report and get a free copy of “Become A Big Shot In Your Local Market” go to http://www.einnov8.com/10-mistakes-pdf/.