Bridget Holland profile image

Bridget Holland
Top 10% Offline and Direct Marketing

Director at

Member Since March 2013

Cheltenham, NSW, 2119

SHARE

63 FOLLOWERS

Background in marketing / general management in start-up and high growth service businesses, B2B & B2C. Internationally experienced, speak French, Japanese and Chinese. Have worked in technology, publishing, online and digital, business services and entertainment.

Currently creating and implementing digital, data and content strategies to drive growth for clients.
Analytical, creative, practical and hands-on with high passion to succeed. See http://au.linkedin.com/in/bridgethollanddigital

Qualified skills

Copywriting and Content Marketing
Offline and Direct Marketing
Digital Marketing
Marketing Services & Consultants

Bridget Holland answered this question

What must I do to get my website up on Google search results?

What have you been doing which is not working? Without knowing that it's hard to give advice.I'm assuming your on-page SEO is reasonable, but on-page SEO alone won't work. A couple of simple SEO-related questions:What search terms do you want to rank for?For example, I searched on 'applicant tracking software'. All results on page one of Google have a Moz Domain Authority of 40+. Your DA is 26. Until you can build DA, you're not going to rank for this keyword.But if I search on 'Australian applicant tracking software' then some results on page one have much lower DA. (11, 19, 24). This is an option where you stand a chance of competing. There will be fewer searches (I haven't checked how many), but it's better to be on page one for a small number of searches than page 2 or 3 for a large number of searches.Have you been doing outreach and building links?Links to your site - especially from other sites with high DA - go a long way to increasing rankings. But spammy links will decrease your ranking.BTW, is ranking in Google really your top priority? If you need more business fast, a better bet might be Adwords or Facebook marketing. Both give results faster. And Adwords will help give you some ideas on potential keywords for your organic SEO.

Bridget Holland answered this question

What is wrong with this sentence?

There are two things which might be niggling you.

The first is the mismatch of singular and plural which Gill mentioned.  (As a side note in relation to Micha's comment, in the old days the masculine pronoun was inclusively to encompass female 'someones' as well, but modern sensibilities do not allow that, so the grammatical mismatch is now much more acceptable.  Even if grammatical sticklers like me don't like it.)

The other possible cause of concern is a wonderful thing called zeugma.  Using the same verb in one sentence with two different meanings.  So, handling someone who is causing you stress actually means something different from handling yourself - how you interact with someone as opposed to how you control feelings.
The classic example of this is in a song called 'Have some madeira, m'dear' by Swann and Flanders. '..he put out the the cat, the wine, his cigar and the lamps'.  Works well in comedy, less well for serious writing.  Steve, you picked it up subconsciously in your rewording.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Ling Lee
Ling Lee, at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Legal

Can I use statistics from another website or source without breaking copyright laws?

Include a list of sources at the bottom and you should be OK.
If someone posts data on a publicly visible website and you quote with reference to that website, how can it be plagiarism?

Bridget Holland answered this question

Nick Chernih
Nick Chernih, Founder at LinkBuildSEO

Digital Marketing

What does double opt in in email marketing mean?

Following up on Anne's point, the Australian Spam Act allows electronic marketing messages (ie usually email but increasingly SMS as well) to anyone who has explicitly or implicitly given you their permission.  Check out the details at http://www.acma.gov.au/Industry/Marketers/Anti-Spam/Ensuring-you-dont-spam/key-elements-of-the-spam-act-ensuring-you-dont-spam-i-acma

Double opt-in is explicit permission so leaves no doubt that you are Spam Act compliant.  However, the double opt-in process does usually result in lower sign-up rates.  The challenge is to build as big a list as possible without spamming or annoying people.  (Spamming is illegal, annoying people is bad business practice!)

Rule of thumb - if you're using external lists, go for double opt-in.  If you're communicating with actual current customers, you're probably safe without an opt-in - being a customer is a fairly strong implied permission to market to them.

The grey area comes with random email addresses you have collected at business events, over meetings and so on.  Do you have permission or not? 

If you have a backlog of these, try sending everyone an email saying 'we have your contact details from an event in the last few months.  We'd love to add you to our newsletter list as we believe our articles would be of great value to you.  You can unsubscribe at any time.  If you don't want to go on the list in the first place, please reply telling us so and we won't bother you again.'

If you have collect cards from networking on an ongoing basis, it's a good idea to process them promptly.  Send a personal email 'Great to meet you last night.  Hope to see you at the next function. In the meantime I hope you don't mind that I've added you to our mailing list so we can keep in touch.'

Bridget Holland answered this question

Ling Lee
Ling Lee, at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Market Research

How do you approach a competitor for market research?

Ling Lee, that is a really hard question to answer with no context!  But I'll give it a go.

The very first thing you have to do is decide whether you are going to be upfront about the fact that you are a (potential) competitor or whether you are simply going to pose as someone interested in the area and see what they will share.

There are cases where similar businesses are not competitors - often because they are in different locations and customers want someone local, or possibly two restaurants on the same street offering different cuisines - but more likely you will find it is not in their interest to share with a potential competitor.  So an honest approach may limit the amount of information you get.

If you want to be honest (and depending what stage your entrepreneurial friend is at), one approach is to explain that you are trying to decide between a number of niches and you'd really appreciate any information about whether this is a good niche to invest time and money into.

If you're happy not to disclose who you are, you can often get a lot of information by ringing up posing as a potential customer and just asking questions chattily to see what comes out of it.

Whatever you decide, the general rules for gathering information are a) be polite and friendly b) respect their time and if they prefer fix a time to call back which is more convenient for them c) say thank you and d) ask them what other sources (publications, associations, websites, individuals) they think might be helpful for you in your research.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Adam Bean
Adam Bean, Marketing Superintendent at

Video Production

How many of you are using video as part of your marketing strategy?

I've just started with a few clients.

Things that held me / us back:

1. perception that video is complicated, time-consuming and expensive.

2. lack of knowledge about how to do it.

3. lack of bandwidth.

I went to an absolutely brilliant seminar just before Christmas which looked at video in all its aspects (Stuart Gordon, are you out there?!?) and came away all inspired with:

1. list of options as to where we could use video effectively (start with client testimonials)

2. reinforcement of the knowledge that content is more important than the technology (eg if you interview a client on an iPhone it really doesn't matter that it looks like a home video, it simply makes it more 'real'- unless you are a video provider, of course!)

3. confidence that we could upload to YouTube then embed in our sites without having random YouTube who knows what showing up after OUR video played.

Starting gently but really think this is a great way to go!

 

Bridget Holland answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Digital Marketing

What are your views on the use of webinars?

I think there are two reasons why webinars been slower to take hold in Australia:

- most of us are congregated in a few large cities.  You can run 3 face-to-face events and reach a significant part of the market.  Compare that to the US and think how many cities you'd have to front up to!

- most international webinars are at quite horrendous times of day since we are not the primary market.  It has to be really good to get me up at 4:00am!  On the other hand, I often register knowing I won't attend and hoping a recorded version will be posted online for me to enjoy later.

I've never run a webinar, but I have attended many.  From my experience, they can work, but bear in mind the following:

* you'll need to promote to a lot of people to get any significant number of attendees.

* expect a high no-show rate even if you have people registered.  In a past life, I ran conferences people had paid thousands of dollars for, yet the no-show rate was 10% or so.  For free webinars, I wouldn't be surprised if it was 50% or more no-shows.

* make sure you record the webinar and post it online afterwards.  Also it should be premium content - behind a registration form or password-protected, so that you get the contact details of anyone who wants to see it.

* go ahead even if you've only got one attendee.  Since you're recording, you'll be creating a piece of rich content for your website anyway.

* Finally (and it should probably have been first) make sure you have good, valuable content.  Not just selling - respect people's time even if they're not with you in person!

I'd be interested to know if you go ahead, and if so how it works out.

Bridget Holland answered this question

What is the best way to get some funding (less than $100k) for a new business?

From my (limited) experience angel investment is the way to go for that level of investment.  You could try this link to start with http://aaai.net.au/

There's also something called the Australian Small Scale Offerings Board (http://assob.com.au/) where you might post you opportunity for potential investors to look at.

Good luck!

Bridget Holland answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Social Media

How important is grammar and syntax in social media?

Sorry, but I think you're asking the wrong question!

The importance of grammar and syntax is first and foremost decided by who the target market is.  Teachers are likely to care more than teenagers if your grammar is not up to scratch.

The second consideration is what you are trying to sell.  People are more likely to forgive poor grammar from a plumber or a hairdresser rather than a financial advisor or a lawyer, even when all are selling B2C.

All that aside, the simple rule is that fewer people are turned off by good grammar than by bad grammar, so err on the safe side.  Unless of course you are a punk band with a rebellious anti-establishment brand position, or something along those lines...

Bridget Holland answered this question

Which is the best CRM software for a new company?

Before you choose a CRM system (any system) I'd suggest you make sure you are clear what you mean by CRM and what you want the system to do for you.  What exactly does 'keep track of' mean in your business?  Is this going to manage all the emails you send out?  Is it going to include records of who's ordered and when?  Do you need to know who's with which company/publication because you might have a business-wide account as well as a one-off purchase?  If someone moves from one place to another do you want to keep the history of where they used to be?  What kind of reporting do you want?  What about tracking orders, invoices, payments etc?
I'd suggest drawing up a list of everything you need now, everything you want now and everything you might want in the future, then taking a look at all the CRM which have been suggested.  Preferably finding someone who's used each one who can tell you how easy / hard it was too.

 

Good luck!

Bridget Holland answered this question

Does anyone know how much TV advertising costs?

Great answers so far.  A couple more points:

1. When you get your ads done, be sure to get both a 15 sec AND a 30 sec.  Is far more cost effective to do both at once and gives you more options for showing them.  Plus if there is vacant inventory you may get some extra freebies.

2. Major stations can be terrifyingly expensive.  You will need a reasonable frequency and length of campaign to see any impact so you need to allow for that in planning.

If you want to dip your toe into TV, you can try doing some markets only.  For SavvySME you might try Sydney only for a couple of weeks.

Or you could look at Foxtel - it's a national feed so you can't do different markets and your timings will be screwed in WA, but the costs are much lower.  Also it's possible to target to specific channels for specific markets.

Also ask about anything on the new digital channels.  Much lower audience - much lower price.

Not sure where small businesses hang out but if you were going with specialist channels you might want a couple of different ads with different angles.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Michael Martion
Michael Martion, Owner at StartRight Accounting (Insignia Accounting & Consulting)

Market Research

Can you help with some research of small businesses?

Good luck and nice survey.  You are proving that at least some accountants do more than just tax and numbers. ;)

Bridget Holland answered this question

How does one transition to an online store?

A lot of good comments above, especially about business model, strategy and transitioning.  Unfortunately your friend is now a long way down the road - with no offline store left and I am guessing minimal stock.  Hopefully he at least has some cash from his stock liquidation sale.

I'm not sure from your post whether he still wants to be in the toy business via his website or not, but if he does, one good thing would be to salvage as many customers of the offline store as he can.  These people may have some kind of relationship with him already so he can pull on that - if he can reach them.

* Email everyone he has an email for.   Mail everyone he has an address for.  Advise them that due to rising costs he has had to close the store but the same great range and service are available at www.xxx.com.au.  Include a promo code for 10% off their first online order.

* Put a notice up at the front of the old store with the same offer.  Also promote it via local networks - mothers' groups, churches, schools (ours has a weekly e-newsletter you can pay to include an ad in)

* could even consider a local letterbox drop.

Use a different promo code with each channel so he can see which ones work and might be worth a repeat.
 

Not sure what his online capabilities are, but either during account setup or as a later survey (offer a $100 voucher to one lucky winner to encourage participation), he needs to get some segmentation data.  Good questions would be

age and gender of children  (birthdays if you can get them)

preferred 3-5 categories of toys

if your child is going to a party, how much do you generally spend on the present?

Now he has the data to tailor email campaigns.  Regular scheduled emails with a big image of 'the latest trending toy' and a buy now button.  Bumper edition of present ideas in late Nov / early Dec for Xmas.  Personalised edition with more high end toys a month before their children's birthday (people spend more on their own kids than other people's.)

As for 'latest trending toy', it has to be reasonably popular but it also needs to be one he can compete on price for.  Bit of internet research required here!

And finally, set up a Facebook page to promote with lots of pictures regularly updated and two-way posting allowed.  Request likes in the emails if the website won't take a button.  Encourage people to share posts by a monthly $100 voucher to a lucky winner.  This will be slow burn especially since FB doesn't show posts to all followers, but it is a way to extend geographic reach over time.  Parents have friends / siblings with similar age kids who live elsewhere.
 

Bridget Holland answered this question

John Belchamber
John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

How do you handle small bad debts in your business?

I assume you have had enough contact with them that there is no doubt this amount is neither overlooked nor disputed.  So it depends on the commercial value of the client to you:

1. This is the only invoice.  Send a letter advising legal action if not paid within 7 days.  They will either pay or not.  If they don't, write the debt off and move on.  Spending more time and money on a small, slow-paying client is just not worth it.

2. You have ongoing business for a reasonable amount with them.  Send a letter / email advising that your policy is to do no further work for clients with bills 90+ days overdue so their account has been suspended.  They need to pay within 7 days.  All future work will require a deposit in advance / be on a 7 day payment term.

3. You have no business at present but hope for some in the future.  Build it into the pricing for the future work and make sure the payment terms on that future work are cast-iron including an advance payment, and that they sign for the work before you start doing anything.

Including a clear statement of payment terms in your T&C is also a good idea.

BTW I once had a client who only ever paid on receipt of a 7 day warning letter.  Non-payment was clearly a cashflow management issue for them and the 7 day letter acted as a warning to them that it was time to stop resisting and pay up.  Once I knew the pattern I just made sure they got 7 day letters at 60 days when other clients didn't get them till 90 days.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Who knows how much do copywriters charge to write a web page?

Upfront comments:

I've seen webpages with two hundred words of copy. I've seen webpages with two thousand words of copy.

You need to distinguish between proofreading (any obvious grammatical / spelling mistakes?) and editing (reorganising what you have written and copywriting (taking what you say/ your dot points and turning it into real text - possibly even with some research / links / statistics to back up your key points as well).  Also on the web, it may be the layout as much as the copy.

Having said that, in my experience most webpages need 30 minutes to 3 hours to whip into shape.  (That's refining and finalising content, not necessarily coding -  which depends on what system you are using and what you want the site to do.)  Setting 'most' copywriters at a ballpark range of $50-$100 per hour, you'd get a range of $25 to $300 per page.

Note that I have not gone out and hired lots of copywriters and my hourly rate is based on someone in Australia rather than an Odesk or Freelancer rate.

More to the point, be sure you know whether you want proofreading or copywriting, set a target price range, then find a few suppliers in that range, talk to them to be sure you can work with them and ask for samples of their work so  you can confirm you like the end result.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Phil Joel
Phil Joel, Director at SavvySME

Web Hosting

What should I look for in a Web hosting partner?

I agree with Shane, good support is key.  But you also need to make sure you know what you want and that they can do this before you sign up.

I know of a recent case where web hosting and email hosting ended up with different companies - one couldn't provide hosted MS Exchange, one didn't have C Panel for uploading a new WordPress site, and no one realised that upfront.  Which should have been fine, but with a couple of errors in configuring DNS and REALLY poor support, it all turned into a major saga.

...the amount you spend on hosting and support is minimal compared to most other business expenses.  Or compared to the time and opportunity cost when it all falls down (and you can have either email or website but not both - until they sort it out...)

Bridget Holland answered this question

Michael Reid CA
Michael Reid CA, Do All The Things! at Michael L Reid CA

Customer Acquisition

How to generate more business for your web development agency?

Have a great website yourselves with a solid portfolio.  Any portfolio link should open a new window so your site is still there when they stop browsing the portfolio.

Don't try and be all things to all people.  Be sure what your target market is.  Information / lead generation sites versus e-commerce / transactional.  Experienced with web versus small business just starting out.  Push that strength on your website and in your portfolio.

Have a page on 'what to look for in a web development agency?' or a checklist of steps in planning a website.  Pitch this to the level of expertise you expect in your target market.  Run in conjunction with a blog / newsletter that people sign up to.

One newsletter I'm signed up to recently offered a 'free blog overhaul to increase conversions' for one lucky reader.  In exchange, they got:

* I don't know how many enquiries from their readership who are now warm prospects with an identified need / desire.

* an excellent case study for future newsletter and web post  (I think the conversion rate went up 300% or something)

* an evangelist!

Or free reviews to anyone for a limited time.  (or maybe at $10 since a nominal payment may reduce tire-kickers...)

Bridget Holland answered this question

Gino Lancaster
Gino Lancaster, Business Partner at Red Planet Design ~ Digital Marketing Company

Advertising

Is Google AdWords giving you a good return on investment?

My experience is not as wide as Jayson's, but I would agree with his basic point as I understand it - most Adwords accounts do not deliver ROI because they are not set up and managed properly.

One of my clients had Adwords set up by another agency.  The goal of their site is to generate leads.  There are 4 lead generation mechanisms on the site - only one of these had a goal set up, and it was incorrectly configured.  There was an Adwords campaign targeted specifically at mobile devices, yet the site was not optimised for mobile, and 80% plus of mobile visitors bounced right off again without clicking on anything.  I could go on but I won't...

I do not claim to be an Adwords expert but these are my 'from experience' pointers:

1. Are you offering something people would search for?  Can you make a good guess what they might enter in the search engine?  If yes, give it a go - on a small budget so you don't blow a fortune.

2. Do you have a decent page for when people click through?  Include a 'half-way house' option like a newsletter or download to get contact details if they’re not ready to jump right in.

3. Make sure you have goals set up which you can track.  Install Google Analytics.  Have a 'thank you' page when people submit a form and track the number of times that page is viewed.

4. Make sure you understand match types.  (https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2497836?hl=en-AU).  Try 2-3 word keywords on phrase match as a good starting point.  Alternatively, if the order of words might switch around ('candle making' vs 'making candles') try broad modified match.

5. Make sure you consider some basic negative match keywords - ie you don't want your ad to show when someone's search includes this term.  Common examples are here http://www.whitespark.ca/blog/post/5-must-have-negative-keywords-for-small-business-local-adwords-campaigns

6. Track your bounce rates – ie when someone clicks on your ad, looks at your site and leaves.  If it’s high, then you need to fix a) the keyword or b) the ad or c) the page people land on.

7. Take any info and advice from Google with a pinch of salt.  They make money every time someone clicks, not every time you get a lead / sale.  (Why do you think they suggest you start off with 'broad match' keywords???)

8. In Google Analytics, you get reports on what people actually typed in when they were searching, both paid and organic search.  Use these.  Look for high bounce rates – what can you add as a negative keyword?  Look for high conversion rates - is there a new keyword you should add?  Or a keyword you should give extra budget to?

Bridget Holland answered this question

Derek Logan
Derek Logan, Director at DAC Solutions Pty Ltd

Customer Retention

How much would this be worth to your business?

30,000 is a good size list.  BUT:

1. If I'm the SME you're approaching, they're not MY customers and they're not loyal to ME.

2. If I'm operating in Sydney only, then I don't care how many there are nationally, I need to know how many there are in Sydney.  Or at least NSW.  You might need to include some breakdown of the numbers.

3. What kind of 'access' are you offering?  I'm guessing you're not going to hand over their contact details for me to do with as I wish!!  Do I get a single email to them, just for me and my product?  Do I get a banner in a regular email?  Do I get an ad on the relevant website?  Do I get the chance to mail them all (which has its own costs in print and postage)?

4. Is there any exclusivity for my product / service offering?  Or are you selling this to me this month and my competitor next month?  Which is fair enough to do, but I need to know, especially when you use the word 'loyal'.

5. What have they been buying?  What are the job titles / responsibilities?  If they've been buying with you, what's the average number of transactions per contact per month or year?  The average spend?  If they haven't been buying iwth you, what quantifiable information can you provide about the size of their budgets for my product / service?

 

...you just need to provide more detail!  And determine what kind of SME you are or might be targeting.  SMEs are massively varied and there's no way to make a call on whether it's of interest without knowing more...

Bridget Holland answered this question

John Belchamber
John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Digital Marketing

How do you spend a $500 marketing budget for a new website?

My gut feel is Adwords may work better for Brian than Jo.  There is a market of people out there who are actively researching or looking to buy stools and chairs, and there are some fairly obvious keywords (especially if you add locations).  A new community or marketplace on the other hand is not something people are actively seeking out, and dependent on the niche it may be tough to get the right keywords.
I like the idea of an incentive but agree it needs promoting.

Dependent on the niche, possibly use $300 on Odesk.com to get some web research done finding contact details of buyers / sellers / community members.  (One of my clients just got 700 companies researched for around this amount, including contact names, which you may or may not need depending on market niche).  Then send targeted emails to these companies with all of the offers relevant to each company:

* tell sellers they can list for free.  The only cost to them is time to list and they might get business, so this should get a good response.

* if you have forums run a competition / incentive for the best community contributor before a specific deadline (6-8 weeks from email date).  This helps you get content on the site, which helps SEO in the longer run.  You could ask for contributions on specific topics to try and get specific keywords into the content submitted.  If you make it 'best contributor' it also encourages people to submit / post more than once.  (Hint - make sure you encourage anyone who does contribute by sending thanks and posting responses and so on!)

* give buyers an incentive to register.  Chance to win a gift pack of champagne and chocs, which you can easily do with the remaining $200.  Or a $200 voucher to RedBalloonDays, or something else which suits your target audience.  Extra entry into draw if you refer a seller who also signs up.

If your business model permits you could also incentivise with a discount off first purchase (x% up to a maximum amount per order) for a limited time.  If you can swallow this in reduced margin rather than have to take it out of your $500 budget,  you get more money for your online lead research.

***

If your buyers are consumers rather than businesses, you can't research them this way, but it still works for sellers.  One option for this is to find some sites with a demographic which overlaps your target market and offer a reward (CPA, commission on first sales etc) to promote you.  Also make it easy for any buyers who do sign up to refer you.  Social media sharing, as part of signup ask them to let others know about the site etc.

 

Bridget Holland answered this question

Creative Bar
Creative Bar, at Creative Bar Marketing Consulting Agency

Entrepreneurship

Any networking events for businesses in Melbourne or Sydney?

There is an active and friendly group on LinkedIn called Sydney Referral Network.  Alex the organiser puts on frequent events.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Can someone recommend a good password management system?

A geek friend of mine recently referred me to a terrifying article on how easy passwords are to crack, even after encryption.  "...a self-admitted newbie to password cracking, downloaded a list of more than 16,000 cryptographically hashed passcodes. Within a few hours, he deciphered almost half of them."

The basic problem is that humans create passwords with patterns.  Random passwords created by a password manager are much safer.  So I'm about to change!

There's an article here http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/06/the-secret-to-online-safety-lies-random-characters-and-a-password-manager/ which I'm using as a reference and which may be helpful to others too.

And the original scary article is here http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/05/how-crackers-make-minced-meat-out-of-your-passwords/  If you can face the level of technicality - as I said, my friend IS a geek!

 

Bridget Holland answered this question

What are some tips on building a mobile app?

Start by getting your answers to some very basic questions:

- why do you want an app?

- what is it going to achieve for you / your business?  How are you going to measure that?

- what is it doing to deliver to (potential) users?

- how are users doing that now?  Do they really need or want to change?

- how are you going to promote / distribute it?  There are so many apps already it really needs to stand out.

I'm not saying no, I'm just saying be very careful upfront about why you want an app.  My sense is that most business apps at the moment are defensive (about locking existing customers more closely into you) than offensive (gain new business) plays.  And that's because marketing the app to anyone outside your current userbase is a challenge.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Michaela Clark
Michaela Clark, Virtual Assistant at mi virtual pa

Offline and Direct Marketing

What is the best way to market to tradies?

Despite what the SEO people say, and based on gut feel rather than fact, I tend to agree with you that large parts of this market may be behind the curve in openness to 'digital' generally.  Then again, if you're trying to be a virtual assistant via online, those laggers may be quite resistant to your service offering anyway!  My online approach would be to tackle them where they are being most driven to online, so where they are competing on quote sites and where they are buying supplies online.

Some ideas would be:

1. If you're getting leads from a directory or Yellow pages or something, do a small test of email versus snail mail.  At least 100 of each though.  Then decide which, if either, work for you.

2. If you google 'tradesman quote' or something like it, you'll get a load of sites like servicecentral / 1300alltrades / find-a-plumber / etc.  Try contacting them and see if they'll give you access to their database, either directly or through them.  They might want to charge or they might be willing to do it on a cost per acquisition basis  If you can set it up so what they are sending is a 'special offer just for members of xyz site' then you can sell it to them as a benefit for their customers and building their profile.  Or maybe you can put an ad on the bottom of every 'request for quote' notification email they send out for a month or so?

3. Try the same thing any association for a specific trade.  You may find you need to have some clients in the trade to get any traction though.  Or try someone who is selling to tradespeople already and offer them a cut.  Bunnings and other hardware stores, air conditioning suppliers, white goods spare parts suppliers...

4. I'm not an expert, but I understand tradies often contract and subcontract, so should have good networks with others across various trades.  If / once you have a few clients, a referral programme could work really well (eg 'for every new customer you refer to me who signs up, I'll give you two hours free')

5. Also as soon as you can, get a couple of tradie recommendations / testimonials so they can see that others like them are using you and finding value.


 

No results found.

Bridget Holland answered this question

What must I do to get my website up on Google search results?

What have you been doing which is not working? Without knowing that it's hard to give advice.I'm assuming your on-page SEO is reasonable, but on-page SEO alone won't work. A couple of simple SEO-related questions:What search terms do you want to rank for?For example, I searched on 'applicant tracking software'. All results on page one of Google have a Moz Domain Authority of 40+. Your DA is 26. Until you can build DA, you're not going to rank for this keyword.But if I search on 'Australian applicant tracking software' then some results on page one have much lower DA. (11, 19, 24). This is an option where you stand a chance of competing. There will be fewer searches (I haven't checked how many), but it's better to be on page one for a small number of searches than page 2 or 3 for a large number of searches.Have you been doing outreach and building links?Links to your site - especially from other sites with high DA - go a long way to increasing rankings. But spammy links will decrease your ranking.BTW, is ranking in Google really your top priority? If you need more business fast, a better bet might be Adwords or Facebook marketing. Both give results faster. And Adwords will help give you some ideas on potential keywords for your organic SEO.

Bridget Holland answered this question

What is wrong with this sentence?

There are two things which might be niggling you.

The first is the mismatch of singular and plural which Gill mentioned.  (As a side note in relation to Micha's comment, in the old days the masculine pronoun was inclusively to encompass female 'someones' as well, but modern sensibilities do not allow that, so the grammatical mismatch is now much more acceptable.  Even if grammatical sticklers like me don't like it.)

The other possible cause of concern is a wonderful thing called zeugma.  Using the same verb in one sentence with two different meanings.  So, handling someone who is causing you stress actually means something different from handling yourself - how you interact with someone as opposed to how you control feelings.
The classic example of this is in a song called 'Have some madeira, m'dear' by Swann and Flanders. '..he put out the the cat, the wine, his cigar and the lamps'.  Works well in comedy, less well for serious writing.  Steve, you picked it up subconsciously in your rewording.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Ling Lee
Ling Lee, at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Legal

Can I use statistics from another website or source without breaking copyright laws?

Include a list of sources at the bottom and you should be OK.
If someone posts data on a publicly visible website and you quote with reference to that website, how can it be plagiarism?

Bridget Holland answered this question

Nick Chernih
Nick Chernih, Founder at LinkBuildSEO

Digital Marketing

What does double opt in in email marketing mean?

Following up on Anne's point, the Australian Spam Act allows electronic marketing messages (ie usually email but increasingly SMS as well) to anyone who has explicitly or implicitly given you their permission.  Check out the details at http://www.acma.gov.au/Industry/Marketers/Anti-Spam/Ensuring-you-dont-spam/key-elements-of-the-spam-act-ensuring-you-dont-spam-i-acma

Double opt-in is explicit permission so leaves no doubt that you are Spam Act compliant.  However, the double opt-in process does usually result in lower sign-up rates.  The challenge is to build as big a list as possible without spamming or annoying people.  (Spamming is illegal, annoying people is bad business practice!)

Rule of thumb - if you're using external lists, go for double opt-in.  If you're communicating with actual current customers, you're probably safe without an opt-in - being a customer is a fairly strong implied permission to market to them.

The grey area comes with random email addresses you have collected at business events, over meetings and so on.  Do you have permission or not? 

If you have a backlog of these, try sending everyone an email saying 'we have your contact details from an event in the last few months.  We'd love to add you to our newsletter list as we believe our articles would be of great value to you.  You can unsubscribe at any time.  If you don't want to go on the list in the first place, please reply telling us so and we won't bother you again.'

If you have collect cards from networking on an ongoing basis, it's a good idea to process them promptly.  Send a personal email 'Great to meet you last night.  Hope to see you at the next function. In the meantime I hope you don't mind that I've added you to our mailing list so we can keep in touch.'

Bridget Holland answered this question

Ling Lee
Ling Lee, at Digital Marketing and Personal Branding

Market Research

How do you approach a competitor for market research?

Ling Lee, that is a really hard question to answer with no context!  But I'll give it a go.

The very first thing you have to do is decide whether you are going to be upfront about the fact that you are a (potential) competitor or whether you are simply going to pose as someone interested in the area and see what they will share.

There are cases where similar businesses are not competitors - often because they are in different locations and customers want someone local, or possibly two restaurants on the same street offering different cuisines - but more likely you will find it is not in their interest to share with a potential competitor.  So an honest approach may limit the amount of information you get.

If you want to be honest (and depending what stage your entrepreneurial friend is at), one approach is to explain that you are trying to decide between a number of niches and you'd really appreciate any information about whether this is a good niche to invest time and money into.

If you're happy not to disclose who you are, you can often get a lot of information by ringing up posing as a potential customer and just asking questions chattily to see what comes out of it.

Whatever you decide, the general rules for gathering information are a) be polite and friendly b) respect their time and if they prefer fix a time to call back which is more convenient for them c) say thank you and d) ask them what other sources (publications, associations, websites, individuals) they think might be helpful for you in your research.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Adam Bean
Adam Bean, Marketing Superintendent at

Video Production

How many of you are using video as part of your marketing strategy?

I've just started with a few clients.

Things that held me / us back:

1. perception that video is complicated, time-consuming and expensive.

2. lack of knowledge about how to do it.

3. lack of bandwidth.

I went to an absolutely brilliant seminar just before Christmas which looked at video in all its aspects (Stuart Gordon, are you out there?!?) and came away all inspired with:

1. list of options as to where we could use video effectively (start with client testimonials)

2. reinforcement of the knowledge that content is more important than the technology (eg if you interview a client on an iPhone it really doesn't matter that it looks like a home video, it simply makes it more 'real'- unless you are a video provider, of course!)

3. confidence that we could upload to YouTube then embed in our sites without having random YouTube who knows what showing up after OUR video played.

Starting gently but really think this is a great way to go!

 

Bridget Holland answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Digital Marketing

What are your views on the use of webinars?

I think there are two reasons why webinars been slower to take hold in Australia:

- most of us are congregated in a few large cities.  You can run 3 face-to-face events and reach a significant part of the market.  Compare that to the US and think how many cities you'd have to front up to!

- most international webinars are at quite horrendous times of day since we are not the primary market.  It has to be really good to get me up at 4:00am!  On the other hand, I often register knowing I won't attend and hoping a recorded version will be posted online for me to enjoy later.

I've never run a webinar, but I have attended many.  From my experience, they can work, but bear in mind the following:

* you'll need to promote to a lot of people to get any significant number of attendees.

* expect a high no-show rate even if you have people registered.  In a past life, I ran conferences people had paid thousands of dollars for, yet the no-show rate was 10% or so.  For free webinars, I wouldn't be surprised if it was 50% or more no-shows.

* make sure you record the webinar and post it online afterwards.  Also it should be premium content - behind a registration form or password-protected, so that you get the contact details of anyone who wants to see it.

* go ahead even if you've only got one attendee.  Since you're recording, you'll be creating a piece of rich content for your website anyway.

* Finally (and it should probably have been first) make sure you have good, valuable content.  Not just selling - respect people's time even if they're not with you in person!

I'd be interested to know if you go ahead, and if so how it works out.

Bridget Holland answered this question

What is the best way to get some funding (less than $100k) for a new business?

From my (limited) experience angel investment is the way to go for that level of investment.  You could try this link to start with http://aaai.net.au/

There's also something called the Australian Small Scale Offerings Board (http://assob.com.au/) where you might post you opportunity for potential investors to look at.

Good luck!

Bridget Holland answered this question

Neil Steggall
Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

Social Media

How important is grammar and syntax in social media?

Sorry, but I think you're asking the wrong question!

The importance of grammar and syntax is first and foremost decided by who the target market is.  Teachers are likely to care more than teenagers if your grammar is not up to scratch.

The second consideration is what you are trying to sell.  People are more likely to forgive poor grammar from a plumber or a hairdresser rather than a financial advisor or a lawyer, even when all are selling B2C.

All that aside, the simple rule is that fewer people are turned off by good grammar than by bad grammar, so err on the safe side.  Unless of course you are a punk band with a rebellious anti-establishment brand position, or something along those lines...

Bridget Holland answered this question

Which is the best CRM software for a new company?

Before you choose a CRM system (any system) I'd suggest you make sure you are clear what you mean by CRM and what you want the system to do for you.  What exactly does 'keep track of' mean in your business?  Is this going to manage all the emails you send out?  Is it going to include records of who's ordered and when?  Do you need to know who's with which company/publication because you might have a business-wide account as well as a one-off purchase?  If someone moves from one place to another do you want to keep the history of where they used to be?  What kind of reporting do you want?  What about tracking orders, invoices, payments etc?
I'd suggest drawing up a list of everything you need now, everything you want now and everything you might want in the future, then taking a look at all the CRM which have been suggested.  Preferably finding someone who's used each one who can tell you how easy / hard it was too.

 

Good luck!

Bridget Holland answered this question

Does anyone know how much TV advertising costs?

Great answers so far.  A couple more points:

1. When you get your ads done, be sure to get both a 15 sec AND a 30 sec.  Is far more cost effective to do both at once and gives you more options for showing them.  Plus if there is vacant inventory you may get some extra freebies.

2. Major stations can be terrifyingly expensive.  You will need a reasonable frequency and length of campaign to see any impact so you need to allow for that in planning.

If you want to dip your toe into TV, you can try doing some markets only.  For SavvySME you might try Sydney only for a couple of weeks.

Or you could look at Foxtel - it's a national feed so you can't do different markets and your timings will be screwed in WA, but the costs are much lower.  Also it's possible to target to specific channels for specific markets.

Also ask about anything on the new digital channels.  Much lower audience - much lower price.

Not sure where small businesses hang out but if you were going with specialist channels you might want a couple of different ads with different angles.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Michael Martion
Michael Martion, Owner at StartRight Accounting (Insignia Accounting & Consulting)

Market Research

Can you help with some research of small businesses?

Good luck and nice survey.  You are proving that at least some accountants do more than just tax and numbers. ;)

Bridget Holland answered this question

How does one transition to an online store?

A lot of good comments above, especially about business model, strategy and transitioning.  Unfortunately your friend is now a long way down the road - with no offline store left and I am guessing minimal stock.  Hopefully he at least has some cash from his stock liquidation sale.

I'm not sure from your post whether he still wants to be in the toy business via his website or not, but if he does, one good thing would be to salvage as many customers of the offline store as he can.  These people may have some kind of relationship with him already so he can pull on that - if he can reach them.

* Email everyone he has an email for.   Mail everyone he has an address for.  Advise them that due to rising costs he has had to close the store but the same great range and service are available at www.xxx.com.au.  Include a promo code for 10% off their first online order.

* Put a notice up at the front of the old store with the same offer.  Also promote it via local networks - mothers' groups, churches, schools (ours has a weekly e-newsletter you can pay to include an ad in)

* could even consider a local letterbox drop.

Use a different promo code with each channel so he can see which ones work and might be worth a repeat.
 

Not sure what his online capabilities are, but either during account setup or as a later survey (offer a $100 voucher to one lucky winner to encourage participation), he needs to get some segmentation data.  Good questions would be

age and gender of children  (birthdays if you can get them)

preferred 3-5 categories of toys

if your child is going to a party, how much do you generally spend on the present?

Now he has the data to tailor email campaigns.  Regular scheduled emails with a big image of 'the latest trending toy' and a buy now button.  Bumper edition of present ideas in late Nov / early Dec for Xmas.  Personalised edition with more high end toys a month before their children's birthday (people spend more on their own kids than other people's.)

As for 'latest trending toy', it has to be reasonably popular but it also needs to be one he can compete on price for.  Bit of internet research required here!

And finally, set up a Facebook page to promote with lots of pictures regularly updated and two-way posting allowed.  Request likes in the emails if the website won't take a button.  Encourage people to share posts by a monthly $100 voucher to a lucky winner.  This will be slow burn especially since FB doesn't show posts to all followers, but it is a way to extend geographic reach over time.  Parents have friends / siblings with similar age kids who live elsewhere.
 

Bridget Holland answered this question

John Belchamber
John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

How do you handle small bad debts in your business?

I assume you have had enough contact with them that there is no doubt this amount is neither overlooked nor disputed.  So it depends on the commercial value of the client to you:

1. This is the only invoice.  Send a letter advising legal action if not paid within 7 days.  They will either pay or not.  If they don't, write the debt off and move on.  Spending more time and money on a small, slow-paying client is just not worth it.

2. You have ongoing business for a reasonable amount with them.  Send a letter / email advising that your policy is to do no further work for clients with bills 90+ days overdue so their account has been suspended.  They need to pay within 7 days.  All future work will require a deposit in advance / be on a 7 day payment term.

3. You have no business at present but hope for some in the future.  Build it into the pricing for the future work and make sure the payment terms on that future work are cast-iron including an advance payment, and that they sign for the work before you start doing anything.

Including a clear statement of payment terms in your T&C is also a good idea.

BTW I once had a client who only ever paid on receipt of a 7 day warning letter.  Non-payment was clearly a cashflow management issue for them and the 7 day letter acted as a warning to them that it was time to stop resisting and pay up.  Once I knew the pattern I just made sure they got 7 day letters at 60 days when other clients didn't get them till 90 days.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Who knows how much do copywriters charge to write a web page?

Upfront comments:

I've seen webpages with two hundred words of copy. I've seen webpages with two thousand words of copy.

You need to distinguish between proofreading (any obvious grammatical / spelling mistakes?) and editing (reorganising what you have written and copywriting (taking what you say/ your dot points and turning it into real text - possibly even with some research / links / statistics to back up your key points as well).  Also on the web, it may be the layout as much as the copy.

Having said that, in my experience most webpages need 30 minutes to 3 hours to whip into shape.  (That's refining and finalising content, not necessarily coding -  which depends on what system you are using and what you want the site to do.)  Setting 'most' copywriters at a ballpark range of $50-$100 per hour, you'd get a range of $25 to $300 per page.

Note that I have not gone out and hired lots of copywriters and my hourly rate is based on someone in Australia rather than an Odesk or Freelancer rate.

More to the point, be sure you know whether you want proofreading or copywriting, set a target price range, then find a few suppliers in that range, talk to them to be sure you can work with them and ask for samples of their work so  you can confirm you like the end result.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Phil Joel
Phil Joel, Director at SavvySME

Web Hosting

What should I look for in a Web hosting partner?

I agree with Shane, good support is key.  But you also need to make sure you know what you want and that they can do this before you sign up.

I know of a recent case where web hosting and email hosting ended up with different companies - one couldn't provide hosted MS Exchange, one didn't have C Panel for uploading a new WordPress site, and no one realised that upfront.  Which should have been fine, but with a couple of errors in configuring DNS and REALLY poor support, it all turned into a major saga.

...the amount you spend on hosting and support is minimal compared to most other business expenses.  Or compared to the time and opportunity cost when it all falls down (and you can have either email or website but not both - until they sort it out...)

Bridget Holland answered this question

Michael Reid CA
Michael Reid CA, Do All The Things! at Michael L Reid CA

Customer Acquisition

How to generate more business for your web development agency?

Have a great website yourselves with a solid portfolio.  Any portfolio link should open a new window so your site is still there when they stop browsing the portfolio.

Don't try and be all things to all people.  Be sure what your target market is.  Information / lead generation sites versus e-commerce / transactional.  Experienced with web versus small business just starting out.  Push that strength on your website and in your portfolio.

Have a page on 'what to look for in a web development agency?' or a checklist of steps in planning a website.  Pitch this to the level of expertise you expect in your target market.  Run in conjunction with a blog / newsletter that people sign up to.

One newsletter I'm signed up to recently offered a 'free blog overhaul to increase conversions' for one lucky reader.  In exchange, they got:

* I don't know how many enquiries from their readership who are now warm prospects with an identified need / desire.

* an excellent case study for future newsletter and web post  (I think the conversion rate went up 300% or something)

* an evangelist!

Or free reviews to anyone for a limited time.  (or maybe at $10 since a nominal payment may reduce tire-kickers...)

Bridget Holland answered this question

Gino Lancaster
Gino Lancaster, Business Partner at Red Planet Design ~ Digital Marketing Company

Advertising

Is Google AdWords giving you a good return on investment?

My experience is not as wide as Jayson's, but I would agree with his basic point as I understand it - most Adwords accounts do not deliver ROI because they are not set up and managed properly.

One of my clients had Adwords set up by another agency.  The goal of their site is to generate leads.  There are 4 lead generation mechanisms on the site - only one of these had a goal set up, and it was incorrectly configured.  There was an Adwords campaign targeted specifically at mobile devices, yet the site was not optimised for mobile, and 80% plus of mobile visitors bounced right off again without clicking on anything.  I could go on but I won't...

I do not claim to be an Adwords expert but these are my 'from experience' pointers:

1. Are you offering something people would search for?  Can you make a good guess what they might enter in the search engine?  If yes, give it a go - on a small budget so you don't blow a fortune.

2. Do you have a decent page for when people click through?  Include a 'half-way house' option like a newsletter or download to get contact details if they’re not ready to jump right in.

3. Make sure you have goals set up which you can track.  Install Google Analytics.  Have a 'thank you' page when people submit a form and track the number of times that page is viewed.

4. Make sure you understand match types.  (https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/2497836?hl=en-AU).  Try 2-3 word keywords on phrase match as a good starting point.  Alternatively, if the order of words might switch around ('candle making' vs 'making candles') try broad modified match.

5. Make sure you consider some basic negative match keywords - ie you don't want your ad to show when someone's search includes this term.  Common examples are here http://www.whitespark.ca/blog/post/5-must-have-negative-keywords-for-small-business-local-adwords-campaigns

6. Track your bounce rates – ie when someone clicks on your ad, looks at your site and leaves.  If it’s high, then you need to fix a) the keyword or b) the ad or c) the page people land on.

7. Take any info and advice from Google with a pinch of salt.  They make money every time someone clicks, not every time you get a lead / sale.  (Why do you think they suggest you start off with 'broad match' keywords???)

8. In Google Analytics, you get reports on what people actually typed in when they were searching, both paid and organic search.  Use these.  Look for high bounce rates – what can you add as a negative keyword?  Look for high conversion rates - is there a new keyword you should add?  Or a keyword you should give extra budget to?

Bridget Holland answered this question

Derek Logan
Derek Logan, Director at DAC Solutions Pty Ltd

Customer Retention

How much would this be worth to your business?

30,000 is a good size list.  BUT:

1. If I'm the SME you're approaching, they're not MY customers and they're not loyal to ME.

2. If I'm operating in Sydney only, then I don't care how many there are nationally, I need to know how many there are in Sydney.  Or at least NSW.  You might need to include some breakdown of the numbers.

3. What kind of 'access' are you offering?  I'm guessing you're not going to hand over their contact details for me to do with as I wish!!  Do I get a single email to them, just for me and my product?  Do I get a banner in a regular email?  Do I get an ad on the relevant website?  Do I get the chance to mail them all (which has its own costs in print and postage)?

4. Is there any exclusivity for my product / service offering?  Or are you selling this to me this month and my competitor next month?  Which is fair enough to do, but I need to know, especially when you use the word 'loyal'.

5. What have they been buying?  What are the job titles / responsibilities?  If they've been buying with you, what's the average number of transactions per contact per month or year?  The average spend?  If they haven't been buying iwth you, what quantifiable information can you provide about the size of their budgets for my product / service?

 

...you just need to provide more detail!  And determine what kind of SME you are or might be targeting.  SMEs are massively varied and there's no way to make a call on whether it's of interest without knowing more...

Bridget Holland answered this question

John Belchamber
John Belchamber, Owner & Senior Consultant at Invoke Results

Digital Marketing

How do you spend a $500 marketing budget for a new website?

My gut feel is Adwords may work better for Brian than Jo.  There is a market of people out there who are actively researching or looking to buy stools and chairs, and there are some fairly obvious keywords (especially if you add locations).  A new community or marketplace on the other hand is not something people are actively seeking out, and dependent on the niche it may be tough to get the right keywords.
I like the idea of an incentive but agree it needs promoting.

Dependent on the niche, possibly use $300 on Odesk.com to get some web research done finding contact details of buyers / sellers / community members.  (One of my clients just got 700 companies researched for around this amount, including contact names, which you may or may not need depending on market niche).  Then send targeted emails to these companies with all of the offers relevant to each company:

* tell sellers they can list for free.  The only cost to them is time to list and they might get business, so this should get a good response.

* if you have forums run a competition / incentive for the best community contributor before a specific deadline (6-8 weeks from email date).  This helps you get content on the site, which helps SEO in the longer run.  You could ask for contributions on specific topics to try and get specific keywords into the content submitted.  If you make it 'best contributor' it also encourages people to submit / post more than once.  (Hint - make sure you encourage anyone who does contribute by sending thanks and posting responses and so on!)

* give buyers an incentive to register.  Chance to win a gift pack of champagne and chocs, which you can easily do with the remaining $200.  Or a $200 voucher to RedBalloonDays, or something else which suits your target audience.  Extra entry into draw if you refer a seller who also signs up.

If your business model permits you could also incentivise with a discount off first purchase (x% up to a maximum amount per order) for a limited time.  If you can swallow this in reduced margin rather than have to take it out of your $500 budget,  you get more money for your online lead research.

***

If your buyers are consumers rather than businesses, you can't research them this way, but it still works for sellers.  One option for this is to find some sites with a demographic which overlaps your target market and offer a reward (CPA, commission on first sales etc) to promote you.  Also make it easy for any buyers who do sign up to refer you.  Social media sharing, as part of signup ask them to let others know about the site etc.

 

Bridget Holland answered this question

Creative Bar
Creative Bar, at Creative Bar Marketing Consulting Agency

Entrepreneurship

Any networking events for businesses in Melbourne or Sydney?

There is an active and friendly group on LinkedIn called Sydney Referral Network.  Alex the organiser puts on frequent events.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Can someone recommend a good password management system?

A geek friend of mine recently referred me to a terrifying article on how easy passwords are to crack, even after encryption.  "...a self-admitted newbie to password cracking, downloaded a list of more than 16,000 cryptographically hashed passcodes. Within a few hours, he deciphered almost half of them."

The basic problem is that humans create passwords with patterns.  Random passwords created by a password manager are much safer.  So I'm about to change!

There's an article here http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/06/the-secret-to-online-safety-lies-random-characters-and-a-password-manager/ which I'm using as a reference and which may be helpful to others too.

And the original scary article is here http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/05/how-crackers-make-minced-meat-out-of-your-passwords/  If you can face the level of technicality - as I said, my friend IS a geek!

 

Bridget Holland answered this question

What are some tips on building a mobile app?

Start by getting your answers to some very basic questions:

- why do you want an app?

- what is it going to achieve for you / your business?  How are you going to measure that?

- what is it doing to deliver to (potential) users?

- how are users doing that now?  Do they really need or want to change?

- how are you going to promote / distribute it?  There are so many apps already it really needs to stand out.

I'm not saying no, I'm just saying be very careful upfront about why you want an app.  My sense is that most business apps at the moment are defensive (about locking existing customers more closely into you) than offensive (gain new business) plays.  And that's because marketing the app to anyone outside your current userbase is a challenge.

Bridget Holland answered this question

Michaela Clark
Michaela Clark, Virtual Assistant at mi virtual pa

Offline and Direct Marketing

What is the best way to market to tradies?

Despite what the SEO people say, and based on gut feel rather than fact, I tend to agree with you that large parts of this market may be behind the curve in openness to 'digital' generally.  Then again, if you're trying to be a virtual assistant via online, those laggers may be quite resistant to your service offering anyway!  My online approach would be to tackle them where they are being most driven to online, so where they are competing on quote sites and where they are buying supplies online.

Some ideas would be:

1. If you're getting leads from a directory or Yellow pages or something, do a small test of email versus snail mail.  At least 100 of each though.  Then decide which, if either, work for you.

2. If you google 'tradesman quote' or something like it, you'll get a load of sites like servicecentral / 1300alltrades / find-a-plumber / etc.  Try contacting them and see if they'll give you access to their database, either directly or through them.  They might want to charge or they might be willing to do it on a cost per acquisition basis  If you can set it up so what they are sending is a 'special offer just for members of xyz site' then you can sell it to them as a benefit for their customers and building their profile.  Or maybe you can put an ad on the bottom of every 'request for quote' notification email they send out for a month or so?

3. Try the same thing any association for a specific trade.  You may find you need to have some clients in the trade to get any traction though.  Or try someone who is selling to tradespeople already and offer them a cut.  Bunnings and other hardware stores, air conditioning suppliers, white goods spare parts suppliers...

4. I'm not an expert, but I understand tradies often contract and subcontract, so should have good networks with others across various trades.  If / once you have a few clients, a referral programme could work really well (eg 'for every new customer you refer to me who signs up, I'll give you two hours free')

5. Also as soon as you can, get a couple of tradie recommendations / testimonials so they can see that others like them are using you and finding value.


 

TOPICS FOLLOWED

Online Business

Online Business 9337 FOLLOWERS

Sales and Marketing

Sales and Marketing 8729 FOLLOWERS

Information Technology

Information Technology 7687 FOLLOWERS

Startup

Startup 6866 FOLLOWERS

Business Management

Business Management 11130 FOLLOWERS

Ecommerce

Ecommerce 7544 FOLLOWERS

Selling Online

Selling Online 7607 FOLLOWERS

Social Media

Social Media 7688 FOLLOWERS

Web Design

Web Design 7525 FOLLOWERS

Web Development

Web Development 7572 FOLLOWERS

Web Hosting

Web Hosting 7424 FOLLOWERS

Customer Acquisition

Customer Acquisition 6942 FOLLOWERS

Graphic Design

Graphic Design 6871 FOLLOWERS

Video Production

Video Production 6853 FOLLOWERS

Advertising

Advertising 7004 FOLLOWERS

Branding

Branding 7016 FOLLOWERS

Market Research

Market Research 6910 FOLLOWERS

Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing 7067 FOLLOWERS

Public Relations (PR)

Public Relations (PR) 6906 FOLLOWERS

Website

Website 6253 FOLLOWERS

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing 6161 FOLLOWERS

App Development

App Development 6145 FOLLOWERS

Hardware and Software

Hardware and Software 6127 FOLLOWERS

IT Support

IT Support 6135 FOLLOWERS

Product Development

Product Development 6459 FOLLOWERS

Startup Branding and PR

Startup Branding and PR 6492 FOLLOWERS

First 100 Days

First 100 Days 6457 FOLLOWERS

Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping 6422 FOLLOWERS

Research and Innovation

Research and Innovation 6463 FOLLOWERS

Customer Retention

Customer Retention 7369 FOLLOWERS

Importing

Importing 7261 FOLLOWERS

Business Growth

Business Growth 7384 FOLLOWERS

Market Trend

Market Trend 7337 FOLLOWERS

Business Partnership

Business Partnership 7342 FOLLOWERS

Lifestyle and Health

Lifestyle and Health 7355 FOLLOWERS

Risk Management

Risk Management 7320 FOLLOWERS

Franchising

Franchising 7267 FOLLOWERS

Business Coaching

Business Coaching 7386 FOLLOWERS

Business Planning

Business Planning 7412 FOLLOWERS

New Business Ideas

New Business Ideas 6522 FOLLOWERS

View more

people with similar expertise

Cate Scolnik 22 FOLLOWERS

Tom Valcanis 25 FOLLOWERS

Roman Daneghyan 9 FOLLOWERS

James Norquay 992 FOLLOWERS

Erik Bigalk 4 FOLLOWERS