Get Free Tips to Kick Ass in Business and Life

Four Online Marketing Mistakes Local Businesses Make (and How To Fix Them)

90

A reader recently asked my advice on how to market and fill an in-person workshop.

I thought it was a pretty good Q to A, so I started to poke around her website to learn more.

Upon further investigation, I discovered a much bigger problem that needed to be fixed.

In fact, I’ve seen this same online marketing problem in other local small business owners too . .

People like photographers, yoga teachers, yoga studio owners, fitness professionals, restauranteurs, interior designers, health coaches, stylists, and gift shop owners.

Anyone who holds locally based workshops or classes also falls into this category.

Look, if you’ve gone through the trouble of putting a website up for your local business, let’s make sure it’s helping you get customers.

Even if you plan to sell information products down the line, don’t ignore the power of growing your local customer base.

Watch the video to learn four common mistakes local businesses make when marketing online, and how to fix them fast.

Click here to check out the website designer I mention in this video.

Take Action

If you’ve got tips or resources to help local business market better online, add them in the comments below. Even if you don’t, but you want to tell me something – leave a comment too.

Do you know anyone who runs a local business? Please share this article and other marketing ideas with them.

Marie Forleo

Diggin' this content? Sign up for updates…It's FREE!

Read the comments or Add yours

Kat Fulton

Marie – I love my b-schooler designer Emelie at http://revellish.com, AND guess what. Because of you and Laura at Bschool, I just sold out of my first online course EVER! Thank you SO much!!! I’m soooo happy that I have been able to diversify my income with this new course offering… soon to be transformed into an information product.

And guess what, I’m buying my ticket for RHH Live right NOW. I <3 you! xoxo

Reply

Jennifer B. Bernstein

Kat-Congratulations! I like your site.

Reply

Kat Fulton

Thanks Jennifer! BSchool has upped my game like crazy.

Reply

Emelie Rota

Thanks Kat!!!! I Looooove working with you and cannot wait to see ya at RHH live. As per usual Marie is right on point here with her tips!
xoxo

Reply

Mariah

Amazing job, so happy for you! See you at RHH Live!

Reply

Kat Fulton

Beautiful site! And yes, see you in NYC!!!

Reply

Terry Crowe

Wow! Sold out your first online course ever after going to b-school. That’s awesome. Congratulations.

I need to read more of these comments to the videos. There’s some pretty cool stuff in here from your readers, Marie. There are always lots of them, but very worth while.

What a great group.

Reply

Kat Fulton

Honey, yes. I owe sooooooo much to BSchool! It was an amazing experience – networking, online course design, how to be awesome to your clients/customers. Seriously. I can’t believe how it’s changed my career already! ….and more to come =)

Reply

marie

Congrats Kat! that is awesome and yes, Emelie is another fantastic resource. I love our Bschoolers ;)

Reply

Denise Duffield-Thomas

Kat! Well done on selling out your first online course! That’s amazing news – first of many I’m sure!

Reply

Kat Fulton

Thanks Denise! Love reading all of your successes over in the Bschool FB group too! =)

Reply

Maryleena

Hi Marie

You are so right about your 4 website tips… If we dont know where you are, how could we find you…

Just wanted to offer a few more tips on how to fill a local workshop.

1) Many people totally overlook the power of off-line marketing… Yes I said off line! This is where you put up a poster in your area og an add in the local paper… you could even get cheap postcards and place them all over your local community.
2) You can’t overlook FaceBook in this. Create an FB event for the workshop. Create a Fan page and customize with FB tab manager plugin (via wordpress). You can even put an optin box, directly on your fan page. Remember to create a cheap FB add and point it to your fan page… The ad is cheaper if you point it to a FB page.
3) Create a video and post it on youtube… Get all your friends to share it on FB.

Hope this was helpfull :-)

Love
Maryleena

Reply

Tanya

Awesome Maryleena!

I want to add to this string as I am an event planner and put on local events in 4 cities for Tribal Truth.

1) Create a team of people to help you with promotion. Give them something in return for promoting. Perhaps they get exposure at your event (a shout out and mention), or they get a free ticket.

2) Create some irresistible discounts. Mark the price up and then give a two-for-one special.

3) Make sure you have catchy copy both for the title and the introduction so people get excited and have urgency to pre-buy their ticket.

4) Talk to organizers on meetup.com to help promote your event.

Love Tanya

Reply

marie

Nice Maryleena – these are all awesome tips! Thank you for adding them here.

Reply

Jenny Shih

I had good luck filling a local workshop by putting up flyers around town at coffee shops, the library, the co-op, and cafes. It’s easy to do, costs almost nothing, and targets local people.

Even if someone sees the flyer and doesn’t sign up for the workshop, they may become a client of yours through another means.

Reply

Aimee Prezzano

Agree!!! Flyers and speaking with folks at coffeeshops, businesses, etc TOTALLY works!

Another great tool is to talk to the Newspaper about doing a feature on you/your business/your cause. This draws enormous presence!

Reply

marie

Love it Jenny!

Reply

Michelle | When I Grow Up Coach

Thanks for this, Marie!

As a follow-up, what if the main bulk of your income/client work is virtual, but you offer some local in-person events? Let’s take me as an example :) I live in Brooklyn and have just started offering in-person workshops in Manhattan (which I post under Events on my site), but I also plan on offering in-person workshops as I travel (there’s one scheduled in California in January, for example). Is there anything you recommend to promote these local events to your worldwide audience/clients/readers?

You = amazeballs.

Reply

marie

Hey Michelle! Loads of ways to do this. Here are two: 1. FB ads – they allow you to drill down locally and it’s not expensive. 2. Find local partner organizations that serve your market. Could be other business owners or professional organizations. Find out what their members/customers are struggling with and create a free webinar, teleseminar or article specifically for them. Include a promo/special offer for your local event in a way that’s appropriate!

Reply

Emily DeWan

Excellent! I just went to my own site and realized I need to add more “hey! I live in NYC!” info.
thanks!

Reply

Michelle Martello

Marie –

What a fantastic surprise in my email box today!!
Thank you so much for your support ;)

What you mentioned is one of MY BIGGEST pet peeves — show your location people (in multiple locations on the site!) Nothing worse than googling a place and finding out 5 minutes later that it’s halfway across the world.

Reply

Melody

LOL, I’m guilty of hiding my location…but for good reason! I’ve been transitioning with less in-person organizing services and TONS more private phone coaching so I can keep on spreading my wings and helping more amazing women create a personal home environment that they adore! (Plus, they’ll have no excuse from being productive in their businesses. And with all the calm and peace and energy they’ll get from a clean, orderly, loving home they can enjoy the hell out of their life and keep on moving forward with their desires!!!)

Just sayin’! (So should I remove my location completely? lol)

Reply

Sukie Baxter

Hey Mel,

Just my 2 cents, I like knowing where people are located in general, even if they don’t offer in person services. Like, Marie is in NY, but she doesn’t have people over to her house for one on ones or anything. It’s still nice to give her a geographical context. But maybe you can just post your city and state, or even just your state.

Hugs,
Sukie

Reply

marie

Hey Melody! I agree with Sukie here. I like knowing where someone is too :)

Reply

Tara @ Startup Freelancer

Sukie,

I agree. For some reason it connects you to a person to find out where they’re located….even if it is half way across the world.

Reply

Kelly

OR…what’s wrong with figuring out a very high price for working with you in person as an organizing rock star? I’m sure you can be bought! ; ) Plus, the percieved value factor and then bargain factor compared to your phone/virtual options.

Reply

Karen May Dy

Excellent tips Marie! It is really important for local businesses most especially brick and mortar ones to start promoting within their area. Another tip would be to get their local business listed on directories (aside from Google Places) such as Merchant Circle, Hotfrog, Manta, etc. and on location-based social networks such as Foursquare and Yelp.

Reply

marie

GREAT tips Karen, thank you so much for sharing these. Golden!

Reply

Melissa Cassera

Hey Marie! Great video. My local clients get the most business from review sites like Yelp and other online listing sites. Second, local press can be very powerful and lots of people like to support local businesses. I see the most conversion when clients are profiled in their local newspaper or local magazine. A Daily Candy editorial also bodes well for local clients (but they only have those for select major cities). Also, if they are a salon or spa – national beauty magazines like Allure + Lucky do local round ups and reviews for major cities that can be leveraged for life. It’s very powerful to have the testimonial of an Allure editor to talk someone off the fence from using your service.

Some clients have also had success with daily deal sites like Groupon, but small business owners have to be careful that what they’re discounting is marked up enough for profit and also that the company you choose to go with to do the deal (Groupon, Living Social, Daily Candy Deals, etc) reaches their ideal customer :-)
xooxo

Reply

marie

Yes, Melissa! As always, your contribution is hugely valuable!!

Reply

Anne SamoIilov

Marie,
The tips you give are so simple and work! They work so well that I’m still
getting a steady flow of calls from people in LA who want to take pilates (I moved to Seattle AND stopped teaching regularly a year ago!). I’ve actually had to remove all mention of Los Angeles and Pilates from these places in order to STOP the flow of potential clients!

Do everything on the list Marie mentions because they work…also consider getting yourself listed on Yelp too (it’s free).

Anne:)

Reply

Mariah

Loved your tips! And I love that you are promoting B-Schoolers!

I realized that I don’t have my location anywhere on my site, and even though only part of my offerings are location based – I better get that up!

Thanks for your insight!

Reply

Lillian

Promoting Live Events – I don’t like to buy something unless I know how valuable it is so I am a big fan of free samples. I recommend offering a free preview of the main event. Just a little morsel that adds value to your people’s lives but leaves them begging for more. Be sure to collect emails at this event so that you can follow up with them. Lots of love.
Lillian
http://www.lillianevemoore.com/2011/08/23/investing-in-yourself/

Reply

Jo Lankester

Great video Marie!

I’m a UK based freelance web designer and it’s really encouraging to hear someone giving simple, practical tips to small business owners.

I see so many websites which completely miss the essentials of online marketing such as those you mentioned (while often being wildly over-designed). It’s incredibly frustrating when I know how easy it can be to produce a great site!

There are a couple of things I’d like to add to your tips:

1. Content content content! Really think about what you are putting on your website. Well written, concise and relevant content will help get you noticed – both on search engines and by potential clients.

2. Consider your users: whether you are just setting up a site, or rolling out some new features, think about your target audience. What would they find useful? Are they tech-savvy? How will they use your site and where – there’s no point having an image or feature heavy site which is slow to load if most people access your site on the move from their mobile.

Hope thats helpful anyway!

Jo

Reply

Sukie Baxterty

So true, Marie! When I pasted “Seattle” all over my website (in a non-cheesy and very design-friendly way), I started getting 2-3 people emailing me PER WEEK wanting to schedule an appointment. Contrast that with about 1 lead a month, if that, prior to featuring my location more prominently.

Reply

Rachel Anzalone

Great stuff Marie!
Another tip – there are tons of free event calendars on local newspaper, tv and radio websites and on patch.com and can link back to your site.
xoxo

Reply

marilyn

Thank you great tips ! I realised I had to do the same thing Mjfontaine http://www.mjfontaine.co.uk unconventional coaching.

Reply

Shell

That is about the best and simplest advice I’ve heard
in a while. I love that you give great advice with
your own particular flava to it, Marie.

Reply

Maryellen Smith

Great video, as always Marie. You are the best! I genuinely admire the work that you do and how you show up in the world.

I wonder what you have to say about my “geographic based” business issue?

I am a writing coach, ghostwriter and have my own publishing company. I do my work/consultations on the phone and Skype because it is efficient and I can record the sessions for my clients.

Recently, I’ve had a few clients that are in the same area as me in AZ ask if we can work in person…if i can meet them and take notes, then write based on the meeting or bring them a contract in person.

I’m not apposed to meeting in person so they get to know me initially. However, it’s inefficient and impractical for me to meet and work in person. I don’t want to turn good clients off, but on the other hand, I don’t want to change my business model to accommodate people that like to work in person one-on-one. Driving here and there meeting people takes a lot of time.

Am I being too much of a Virgo about this issue? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Reply

marie

Hey Maryellen! Great question. It all comes down to how you want to run your business and build out your revenue streams. Do you LIKE doing in person meetings? If it drains you, and you don’t need that revenue, don’t do it at all. But if you’d like them once in a while, price it so it makes sense and design it so it works for you. You travel to them/they travel to you. Start and finish times, etc. Remember – this is your business and you can design offers that work perfectly for you + your clients!

Reply

Maryellen Smith

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Marie!

That makes so much sense. Where I have been stuck is knowing that my prices are based on phone work. If I say: Here’s my price to do in person work, then they have the option to choose it.

I LOVE Q&A Tuesday!

Reply

Jessilicious

Hi Marie! :)

LOVE these tips! I will definitely pass them on and share with the local biz owners that I know. So important to have these key pieces in place! :)

xo
Jess

Reply

Kenzie (KHolistic)

Thanks for this! Very helpful when balancing online and local work!

Reply

Mindie Kniss

SO timely! I’m getting ready to move my small biz across the country. Thanks for the reminders of what I need to do to promote my new location!

Reply

Vidette Vanderweide

Seems like such a ‘duh’ moment for me but I didn’t have my location either. Although my biz is online, I am looking to be the go-to person in SoCal for my industry. Duh!

Reply

Irene Gutteridge

Super Duper Q and A Marie

I’m a locally based business (although with the help of bschool have landed some skype clients as far off as Tennessee), and realize I don’t have my location on the front page. It will go up TODAY, at least on my wwsgd piece. I promise!

Also as an aside: I am SO BLOODY inspired by the few sites from Bschoolers that I”ve checked out in the comment section above. It seems a lot of Bschool is sinking into reality this week, prices are going up, value is being added!

can’t wait for NYC in the fall! Irene xx

Reply

Christy B

Oh how the simplest advice is the most profound! I don’t know why I hadn’t ever considered this. Thank goodness for Marie’s Q & A Tuesday!

Reply

Caroline McIntosh

Just visited your recommended website designer, trained by you, and looked for her address in the header, the footer … not to be found.

I thought it was a great idea however are you saying it is JUST for local businesses? LOCAL? That is everybody in my books because one never knows where on is visiting from.

Is there a reason she is not doing what you suggested?

Reply

marie

Hi Caroline. The designer I recommended has her full location clearly on her home page (two places actually – left hand paragraph and bottom right), as well as on her “contact” tab on the side bar. It’s plain as day so you may need to check again :). Also, to be clear, the suggestion was for local based businesses. Michelle is a web designer who has clients across the country – perhaps the world. I’m not saying it’s ONLY for local businesses – you should read down the comments as there’s a few great discussions about how we all like to know where people are located!

Reply

Michelle Martello

Hi Caroline —

Thanks for visiting my site –

I do actually use the term for my local area in my content and meta tags, but to be frank, my clients are from around the world and I am focused more on attracting specific types of clients rather than just local clients (though I have done several sites for the local yoga community).

I specialize in work for the health, yoga and wellness communities (I rank on page one of google for several of my target keywords — which attracts my target audience).

Thanks!

Reply

Cassie

Nice!

My other pet peeve, along with addresses, are brick and mortar local businesses that don’t have their hours on their site! And copyrights that are three years old!

I am passing this post all over.

Reply

Tracy aka Chief Princess

There’s a very easy way to automatically have the copyright date change every year. Instead of making the date static text program it so that it pulls in the year from the server. That way on January 1st it automatically changes. Hope this tip helps.

Reply

Heather Allard

Marie,

I was waiting for you to bust out a little Doug E Fresh…6 minutes, 6 minutes, 6 minutes…lol. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDkqz5C62SM

Ashley might also consider creating an opt-in box on her website and a Facebook page so she can send invites/announcements out to her subscribers/fans when she’s hosting events she wants to fill.

Then…at the events, she can have a little sign up sheet for peeps who want to be notified by email/phone AND she can give out cards with her website/Facebook page on ‘em. :) Easy, peasy…

Dougggggggg Eeeeeeeee Freshhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! :)

Heather

Reply

Tina Pruitt

Great vlog Marie…so true about hiding our “goods” – whether that is location, events or services! Thanks for the reminder to let it shine!! Also, great tips listed in the comments too…
xo, Tina

Reply

Tina Pruitt

Great vlog Marie…so true about hiding our “goods” – whether that is location, events or services! Thanks for the reminder to let it shine!! Also, great tips listed in the comments too…
xo, Tina

Reply

DivineYoganista

Great plug for the web designer Marie! I had seen Elena’s website actually and I think it’s gorgeous.

As for the advice I had to go all over my http://yoga-a-porter.com website to add the address everywhere.

Marie; you see what we don’t see because we are too much into it. :-)

Reply

Michelle Martello

Thank you for the kind words DivineYoganista — I’ve wanted to try your yoga jeans forever!!

Reply

Rosemary Breen @ CompatibilityandLove

Even though Im not a locally based business Marie, I love the fact that I come to your Q&A Tuesday and I learn!! I learn stuff that I may not need now; may never need but one day I might or one day I might be able to help someone else.

Right on Marie.

Rosemary

Reply

Kirin

Thank you Marie! Paused your video and went to Google places. Holy cow, how come I didn’t know about that before?! Thank you. You rock my friend!

Warmly,

Kirin

Reply

timothy willan

Great job! Can’t get branded if your not founded!

Reply

Elenore Bendel Zahn

So frikkkin awesome, Marie! I love to laugh and learn at the same time<3

Reply

Shelley Belcourt

Excellent marketing tips, thanks Marie.

For those looking for cheap and good graphic designers, go to the warriors forum and fiverr. You will find someone who will be good to go for what you want to achieve.

All the best!
Shelley

Reply

Nicola

B-School’s upped my game too – in fact it’s given me an entirely new focus.

Today I’m about to interview 3 girls for a VA position! Gee whizz, what a world of difference it will make getting some support with admin etc. Thanks for showing what’s possible Marie. xxx

PS. I’m live on the Sunshine Coast, in ‘Down-under’ Australia! :)

Reply

Denise Duffield-Thomas

I’m in Newcastle Australia but I service coaching clients all around the world. I was feeling a bit worries about “disclosing” my location because of my European and American clients feeling alienated and that I’m “not for them” as soon as they see I’m waaaaay down-under.

Reply

Thea

Great tips Marie!! Thanks for the reminders. I’m definitely adding this email (along with most of the others) to my “Giiiiirl, you betta not forget this” list :-)

Reply

Nicka

Cool its a big deal that you should taking your time to show this and specially to remind with us… Thanks

Reply

Jena la Flamme

Hey Marie,
I put some of these tips into place straight away for my local business, the Jena Wellness Center in NYC (http://jenawellnesscenter.com). Thank you for the quick actionable tips.
Love to you,
Jena

Reply

Lara

Great video, Marie! I will be forwarding this to my fellow local business owners. Thanks for always lightening up the heavy business stuff with some hip hop or rap.

Reply

Brianna

Hi there,

I have a question. If you run your business out f your home, should you still post your address as you suggested?

Thanks!
Brianna

Reply

Leah Fisch

Awesome. I immediately added Manhattan to all the NYC’s on my site. Thanks, Marie! Genius as usual.

Reply

Hillary Rubin

Great advice and it’s for everyone for sure like Sukie mentioned. I found that connecting to other local buisnesses helped as well as joining your local chamber of commerce. Good luck~

Reply

Chas

Another great Q&A Vid from Marleo- I am not localcentric, but, you give a lot of good advice for those that are. I do have a large electronic footprint, though.

Reply

mary

how to be irresistible:
be more present in your life
practice true listening. it means to catch what a person is saying from their point of view.
start treating yourself like you matter. rather than rushing thru your morning routine. give yourself enough time to wash and style your hair. choose clothes that you feel really good in. if you have something that you’d be embarressed if you were seen in it, get rid of it.
Continuous learning+sharing=a lifetime of irresistibility. continue to invest in programs and books+talk to other people about it= when you take care of other people you receive much more then you give

Reply

Aarona Pichinson

Thanks Marie! Great tips, especially since I’m always working on filling retreats, events and workshops as a full time yoga teacher and curating experiences for people throughout the year. AND I am looking to flip my site. I got all the goods from this one. Yay! xoxo

Reply

Yohann

Cool, that is about the best and simplest advice I’ve heard
in a while. I love that you give great advice with
your own particular flava to it, Thanks for this information.

Reply

Shakaya Breeze

I love watching these Q and A vids, and perhaps I can chime in on this one:

I once heard Marie’s homie Sir Richard Branson say to really make a splash and do things that will get on the front page…

So when I wanted to fill a Detox event, I created WORLD DETOX DAY (every March 22 worldwide) and had the Mayor declare it, received a written and stamped proclomation, and I created a Guidebook with sample detox days, raw recipes, a detox quiz and other tips and ideas that over 1,000 people downloaded for free.

After the event, I put up a sales page for the manual and now offer on WDD the complimentary ‘Do You Need To Detox Quiz’ to get people started.

I have my eye on B-school and RHH to help me create more structures, but I do think it can often be just a matter of ‘sharing the puppy’- you know, with enthusiasm, fun and excitement and your own special flair!

Hope this helps, have fun and shine!

with wags of glee,
Shakaya

Reply

DivineYoganista

Updated a lot of my pages on my yoga-a-porter.com website and funny enough we don’t get as many calls asking us for directions to get to the boutique!
Yay!

Reply

Naware Danaus, RMT of PhoenixFlame Healing Center

I thought this was so great! While I serve globally with each of my businesses, my second one is very service-based and I aim to get most of my clients locally. (http://www.phoenixflamehealingcenter.weebly.com) And I’ve not done the first three at all! *gasp* So I’m so glad this was put out there because I know I need and want to “up the ante” with my service-based business and now I have some solid tips on how to!

Reply

ugg pas cher du tout

goodimpressive subject as well as webpages. I actually relish the, trust you can actually write increasingly, appreciate it people once again!
http://energyauditplus.com/index.php?title=ugg_bottes_pas_cher_180

Reply

ugg stivali

goodremarkable issue together with websites. I seriously really like this unique, wish it is possible to compose more and more, thanks an individual again!
http://wiki.helge.at/index.php?title=ugg_pas_cher_manger197

Reply

learn forex trading

Nice post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I am inspired!

Extremely helpful info specially the closing section :) I maintain
such information much. I used to be seeking this particular information for a very long time.

Thanks and good luck.

Reply

hotels

Hi there, I believe your web site might be having internet browser compatibility
issues. Whenever I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in
IE, it’s got some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, excellent site!

Reply

United States Government

Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know
a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.

Reply

click for how to treat strep throat

Actually no matter if someone doesn’t be aware of
then its up to other people that they will help, so here it occurs.

Reply

rodents revenge online

There is no plagues resulting from the animal
and the numbers have always been steady in normal conditions.
Electronic Mole and Goher control spikes are found in most large stores.

Did you know that there are currently over 60 varieties of mole traps on the market.

Reply

jelqing pelvic pilates pelvic floor exercises for men

Spot on with this write-up, I truly feel this website needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to
read through more, thanks for the advice!

Reply

Google

Hey Mel,
Just my 2 cents, I like knowing where people are located in typical, even if they don’t offer in personal alternatives. Like, Jessica is in NY, but she doesn’t have people over to her house for one on ones or anything. It’s still amazing to offer her a local viewpoint. But maybe you can just post your place, or even just your situation.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: