How To Promote Your Local Business on the Internet

The author and publisher, Sharon Fling and, Inc., have made their
best effort to produce a high quality, informative and helpful book. But they make no
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How to Promote Your Local Business on the Internet
В© 2002-2004, Inc.
All rights reserved worldwide.
2nd Edition
ISBN 0-9718971-0-7
No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or
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without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher.
The author and her family would very much appreciate it if you’d respect the
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Please do not copy this manual or make it available to others who have not paid for
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В©, Inc.
Missouri City, Texas, USA
Dedicated to my wonderful husband
and our three beautiful children
Isaiah, Mariah & Sierra.
Table of Contents
Finding the Locals Online ................ 47
Introduction ...................................... 6
Buy Me! ...............................................6
Gimme Some Free Stuff .......................7
The Hidden Epidemic...........................7
They Bought The Hype.........................8
You Get What You Ask For...................9
Why I Wrote This Manual...................10
Where’s the Money? .......................... 10
Who Needs This? ...............................11
How Much Should You Know? ...........11
Internet Basics .................................. 12
What We’ll Cover................................13
Email: the Killer App ....................... 15
Information overload..........................15
88% Buy Because of This.................. 16
Permission Based Marketing..............16
Let’s Get Personal ............................. 17
Spam - A Four-Letter Word................ 18
The Benefits of Email .........................19
Email Myths ...................................... 20
Writing Effective Email Messages ..... 23
What’s Next?......................................23
Relationship Marketing ................... 25
Geotargeting Basics........................... 47
Common Methods.............................. 48
Geotargeting Solutions ...................... 48
Online Resources .............................. 49
Local Online Media............................ 49
Local Portals & Biz Guides................ 51
Regional Directories & Search Engines
.......................................................... 54
Map Services & Phone Directories..... 56
Classified Ads Online........................ 57
Pay-Per-Click Search Engines ........... 58
Ad Networks...................................... 59
Geotargeted Lead Generation ........... 60
Email Marketing Products & Services 60
Internet Auctions ............................... 63
Online Coupons ................................. 65
Ezine Ads .......................................... 67
Online Networking............................. 68
Low-Cost Online Traffic Generation .. 69
Offline Targeting Techniques ........... 71
Postcard Campaign ........................... 71
Local Advertising ............................... 72
Traditional Media .............................. 72
Flyers ................................................ 72
Press Releases .................................. 72
Your URL Everywhere ....................... 73
In-store Promotions............................ 74
Community Involvement.................... 75
Local Events ...................................... 75
What Is It? .........................................26
Relationship-Oriented Website .......... 26
Consistent Use of Email .................... 28
Summary........................................... 29
Relationship Marketing Resource:..... 29
The Local Online Market.................. 78
Laying the Groundwork ................... 30
Small Business Online ...................... 82
Local Commerce Study Findings ....... 82
Local Market Heating Up................... 85
What’s Your Strategy?........................30
What’s Your USP?..............................31
Define Your Target .............................31
Website Matters .................................32
How to Get a Website........................ 34
What Should Your Site Look Like? .... 40
Collecting the Email Address ............ 43
The Local User Profile ........................ 79
Smart, Affluent, Half are Women ....... 79
Local User Profile Summary .............. 81
Targeting Tips ................................... 81
Small Town Marketing ..................... 91
So You’re Not on the Net (and don’t
want to be) ...................................... 96
On Your Mark….................................44
Flying Solo ........................................ 97
Web Coupon ...................................... 97
Coupon by Autoresponder................. 97
…Get Set ...........................................46
P. S. ................................................ 101
Next Steps for the Local Net .......... 102
Final Notes .................................... 103
What Do You Think?........................ 103
Notes............................................. 104
Online Resources........................... 105
Local Business Resources ................ 105
Small Business Resources ............... 105
Online Publications.......................... 107
Business Discussion Forums ........... 107
Internet 101 .................................. 108
What is the Internet? ....................... 109
How Information Flows Through The
Internet............................................ 110
How To Find An Internet Service
Provider ........................................... 115
Safety On The Internet .................... 116
Avoiding Viruses.............................. 118
How To Use Web Browsers .............. 119
How To Use Email ........................... 120
How To Get Free Email ................... 122
How To Search ................................ 123
How To Locate Software................... 126
What Are Newsgroups?.................... 130
How To Chat ................................... 131
Online Shopping.............................. 133
File Sharing..................................... 135
Terminology .................................... 137
"I would love to be more Web focused, but where do I go? Whom do I trust?"
– a small business owner
s a diehard Internet user, I was always amazed when someone didn’t go online
to look up a phone number or get driving directions. Whenever my husband
picked up the phone book, I would howl with laughter.
Why not go online and look up a menu or find out store hours or
whatever it is you need to know?
Of course I knew that many local businesses didn’t have websites. I’m a website
developer so I notice things like this -- like a dentist who notices everybody else’s teeth.
You could find the business name, address and phone number through Yahoo! Local
or some other city guide. Other than that, forget it.
The question was…why weren’t more local businesses taking advantage of the Internet?
I started looking for local URLs in store windows and newspaper ads. Whenever I found
one, I’d check out the website.
Buy Me!
The results of my little investigation? Of the businesses that did have
websites, almost none of them tried to make any connection with visitors.
Not unless you count trying to connect to their wallets. There was a lot of
“Click here to order” and “Check out our specials!”.
But very few asked me for my email address. And those that did ask for it didn’t give
me any reason to give it to them. Why should I? What’s In It For Me? WIIFM – that’s
everybody’s favorite station on the �Net.
So let’s review. An ad or flyer got my attention long enough to get me to the website.
After wandering around for a few minutes, I clicked away. Probably never to return.
Why? There was nothing there to interest me. No useful information. No tips about
using the kind of products they sold. No form to sign up for free coupons.
Nothing. Nada. These people don’t “get it” – the law of the web.
Gimme Some Free Stuff
The culture of the Web is built around “free stuff.” Here’s the formula: Attract visitors
to your site by giving away useful free information or services. Then try to sell them
something when they come to visit. Not the hard-sell. Just let them know what’s
available. Send them an email every now and then.
Why weren’t more local businesses using this approach? Businesses that were born
online have this strategy down pat:
h Give away free email accounts, then send them your offers.
h Give away a free service, then sell the upgrade.
h Give away free ebooks or reports, with links back to your website.
There are many variations, but the goal is the same: build credibility and trust
through repeated contact. Keep them coming back to your website. Give them free
stuff. Then sell them something. Quid pro quo. This is a proven formula.
The Hidden Epidemic
I started asking business owners about their websites and Internet experiences. That’s
when I learned how many people had been ripped off by so-called web designers.
These wannabes saw a chance for an easy buck, so they took the money and either:
h Delivered something…but not what the owner thought he was getting
h Delivered a few pages full of construction signs and disappeared
h Never delivered a thing
And then there were some lucky ones who actually got a finished fully functioning
website. The only problem – no customers.
People might wander by every now and then, look around for a few minutes...
... then surf away.
Mr. Business Owner had no idea why his website wasn’t making any money. Another
sad Internet story. It’s no wonder so many small business owners are gun-shy.
I realized that it’s not that business owners don’t want to use the Internet. Many have
tried. And while there have been some success stories, many have been disappointed
by the results.
According to a recent Dun & Bradstreet Small Business survey, nearly 40% of smallbusiness owners businesses (100 or fewer employees) now have their own
Of 647 surveyed, 56 % said having a website had made no difference in the
profitability of their business and 1% said it actually hurt their business.
Having a website helped 31% and the other 12% didn't know.
Translation: only 200 out of 647 owners felt that having a website helped
their business. That leaves 447 unhappy or ambivalent website owners out there! No
wonder they run when someone asks “gotta website?”
They Bought The Hype
Why such dismal results? Much of the disappointment was due to the mistaken belief
that it was easy to sell stuff on the Internet. People bought the hype -- just put up a
website and ... the money roll in.
Nobody told these aspiring marketers about the law of giving and selling. They didn’t
know that most Web surfers don’t go looking for something to buy, they’re usually
looking for information. When they find a good information source, they’ll probably
bookmark the site, or gladly exchange their email address for free access. (And if the
website owner is smart, the free information will provide value, but not completely
satisfy the web surfer’s needs.)
Now those same people who hoped to make a killing are saying you can’t sell anything
on the �Net. They’ve yanked down their sites and are telling everybody the Internet is a
bust – a complete waste of money.
Well, that’s like junking a car because it has a flat tire …
-- heck, just fix it!
You Get What You Ask For
Here’s the problem: a business owner asks for a website and a web designer gives him
a website. Ideally the designer would tell the owner up front that putting up a website
is only 10% -- the other 90% is marketing, building trust, and cultivating
But in the early days a lot of designers, including me, assumed the owner knew that
the marketing was up to him. Now we know better.
I learned this the hard way.
I was an in-house webmaster for a large entertainment company
for many years before I went independent. All of my sites were for
the company’s internal network, or intranet. I had a built in
audience – the entire employee population. I didn’t need to know
how to market.
The first few sites I created for small businesses on the Net had built-in audiences as
well. The owners didn’t expect me to market. So I couldn’t understand when I
delivered a fully functioning state-of-the-art e-commerce website to a customer, yet in
the end he was unhappy.
I registered that thing with search engines. I fretted over keywords. I made sure the
site loaded quickly and was user friendly. I used every trick in the webmaster’s book.
And he got lots of traffic. But there was one thing I couldn’t do –
... force people to buy something!
There was nothing to set him apart from all the other people out there selling stuff. I
told him he needed to give people a reason to come other than to shop.
I tried to explain the law of “giving and selling” .... but it was too late. He’d already
decided that the Web – and my design – “didn’t work.”
A few months later, he shut off the website in disgust due to lack of sales.
That’s how I learned to assume nothing when it comes to putting businesses on the
Web. Now, if someone asks about getting on the Web, marketing is the first thing out
of my mouth.
Why I Wrote This Manual
I decided to write this manual because I know there are a lot of business owners who
a) Have had a bad experience,
b) Are going to have a bad experience, or
c) Have a website that is just sitting out in cyberspace dead
as a doornail.
Then there are all those people who ask: “How’s the Internet gonna help me? All of my
customers are local.”
Are you kidding? Everybody’s not on the Internet yet, but plenty of your customers
are. Not to mention your competition.
If you’re not communicating with your customers, you can bet other companies are,
on a regular basis.
Where’s the Money?
I’m sure you’ve heard these stats: 75% of the visitors to a brick-andmortar store live within 50 miles. And this one: most people spend
80% of their income within 20 miles from home.
Now, we know that most small businesses aren’t making a dime from
the Net. So, nearly all of their income must come from the local folks.
Right? You do the math.
Yet, in most cases store owners have no way to reach their customers other than the
traditional (expensive) ways – yellow pages, newspaper ads and snail mail (post office).
All they can do is ....wait.
Finally somebody comes along and buys something. Does the cashier ask for email
address? Nope. If they ask for anything, it’s my phone number. Or zip code. What are
they going to do with that? Call me? Write me? Too expensive and time-consuming.
There is a better way … and it’s right at your fingertips.
Who Needs This?
If you’re a retail merchant or service provider and would like to target a local or regional
market, this book is for you. This includes businesses such as restaurants, dry
cleaners, doctors, lawyers, dentists, auto repair shops, plumbers, etc. It also includes
businesses that sell big, bulky merchandise that’s too big to ship, such as furniture,
cars, motorcycles and the like.
One thing to remember -- even “traditional” local-based businesses can
use the global reach of the Internet to build multiple streams of new
revenue. And some service-based businesses can easily market to a
world-wide audience. So don’t think you’re limited to a local market just
because you’re providing a service or selling products locally. Download
the Service Sellers Masters course for more information on how to take
any local business global.
Another, less obvious, target market for this book: online marketers who want to reach
the offline market. I didn’t think of this myself, it came from an exchange I had with
Martin Avis, publisher of Biz Ezine ( Martin's opinion was that
local marketing should be of great interest to all kinds of marketers as well as web site
designers and consultants.
"For that reason," Martin said, "I believe that you can market to any online marketer
who has an element of local business in their portfolio. And at the moment, that is any
online marketer with an ounce of common sense!"
Well. When you put it that way, Martin...
In short, no matter what business you’re in, you can use the power of the Internet to
keep the local customers you have and attract new ones.
How Much Should You Know?
You should know what a computer is, how to turn it on, and how to
connect to the Internet. If you can’t do these things yet, don’t despair.
Here are some suggestions for getting up to speed:
If you buy a new computer, see if you can have it delivered
and set up. The installer will have to turn it on to make sure
it’s working, so ask him to show you how to get started.
You probably know at least one teenager – ask him (or her) to get your
computer set up and show you the basics.
Almost any adult education program has a beginner’s Internet class. If you
take one make sure it’s hands-on.
Most public libraries have computers for public use (and hopefully someone
to show novice users how to use them).
Everybody knows somebody who’s online. Keep asking until you find
someone willing to show you the ropes.
Many cities now offer “cyber” cafes, places where you can sip cappuccino
while surfing the Net – for a fee. Try to find a friendly soul who will let you
watch while they surf, or better still help you to get started.
If all else fails, hire someone to come over to your place and get you going.
Check out your local college for students looking to make
a few extra dollars. Or look in the free weeklies or local
community papers for tutors.
This book is in English – no geek-speak. If I use an unusual word,
I’ll give a brief definition right then and there.
Internet Basics
I couldn’t decide whether to go over Internet basics – what is it, how it works, who’s on
it, to do what, etc. It seems like that stuff is everywhere so why repeat it? But … just in
case this book is someone’s first exposure to the Internet, I decided to include it as an
Appendix -- there if you need it, easy to ignore if you don’t.
I was going to write an “Intro to the Internet” from scratch…but while looking for ideas
on what and how much to include, I came across the perfect introductory guide. It has
just the right amount of information, with enough detail but not too much, written in a
great conversational style that’s easy to read.
If you ever need to create any kind of document, search the Net for some
examples. You can get some great ideas that way, and save yourself a lot
of time. Depending on the circumstances, you might try asking the owner
to let you use it in exchange for credit and a link back to their website.
At the end of each section, there are links related to that subject. Plus there’s a
glossary, links to websites where you’ll find tutorials, FAQs (Frequently Asked
Questions), and everything you could ever want to know about the Internet. I dare say,
this is the introduction to the Internet I would’ve written for you….if Scott Cottingham
hadn’t done it first!
I contacted Scott and asked if I could include it, and he agreed. This spirit of sharing
and sense of community is something you’ll find all over the Internet – people will go
out of their way to help you in so many ways. Please be sure to visit Scott’s website, selected by Yahoo! as one of the three best sites on the Internet
for beginners! Thank you Scott!
What We’ll Cover
There are lots of books, classes and people that can teach you how to build a website
and get it onto the web, but that’s not the goal of this manual. Besides, getting a
website is only 10% of the job. Promoting it and getting targeted prospects to visit is
the other 90%.
If you do need a website, I encourage you to develop it yourself. There’s
an amazing set of business tools that will let anyone – yes, even you —
develop a great website with no technical skills. “Site Build It!” is the
perfect e-tool for the small-business owner. Not only does it provide
you with everything you need in one integrated solution (the list of
features is so extensive I recommend you visit the site for a full outline),
it does so with a difference. Typical barriers to any online success –
mastering technology, traffic generation, e-marketing and so on, have
been almost totally eliminated by Site Build It!’s invisible proprietary
technology. SBI! focuses on removing all the technical mumbo-jumbo,
allowing you to focus on one thing…
… building your business. www.getsbi.comi
What this manual will give you:
h Facts about the local online market and why it’ll be a $50 billion market by
h Online resources for publicizing your business so that local prospects can
find you
h Real-world local business success stories
h Strategies for connecting and building relationships with your customers
Building relationships is what any business is about – especially on the Internet.
Focus on the customer, and you’ll never have to worry about selling. Win their loyalty
and trust, and they’ll buy from you willingly, over and over again.
Here’s where we’re going:
Chapter 2 – Email: The Killer App
This is the most important tool in your arsenal of online weapons:
email. We’ll cover the benefits of email and why it’s essential to your
Chapter 3 – Relationship Marketing
It’s all about connecting with your customer. In this chapter we discuss developing
relationships and building your mailing list.
Chapter 4 – Laying the Groundwork
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Take a few moments to define your target market,
get your website in order, and plan your campaign.
Chapter 5 – Finding the Locals Online
We’ll discuss how targeting by location works and the most common methods; using
online media to reach a local audience; getting listed with regional directories, search
engines, and city guides; and other resources.
Chapter 6 – Offline Targeting
How to use offline techniques to drive traffic to your website and brick-and-mortar
Chapter 7 – The Local Online Market
We’ll take a quick look at the local online market, including the profile of a local
user, plus how small businesses are using the Internet.
Chapter 8 – Small Town Marketing
Local business promotion in a small town is very different from marketing in a large
city. Find out why there might be a “secret online society” in every small town!
Chapter 9 – So You’re Not on the Internet (and don’t want to be)
For the die-hard computer-phobe, here are some ways you can have a limited Web
presence without having to work at it or think much about it.
Chapter 10 – Next Steps For the Local Net
Chapter 11 – Final Notes
Appendix A: Online Resources
Appendix B: Internet 101
Email: the Killer App
revolution is happening in the online marketing world. Very quietly and with
little notice, businesses are realizing that email is the key to online success.
Yes, search engines are very important for driving traffic because that’s how most
people will find you. But email is what allows you to connect with prospects and build
relationships. It is the “killer” application of the Internet. It’s the one tool that
everybody uses.
According to Messaging Online, there were around 891 million email addresses
worldwide at the beginning of 2001. That number is expected to increase to 1.2 billion
in 2005.
Now the competition is heating up. Companies are scrambling to put together email
campaigns. Email marketing services are popping up. Opt-in email has hit the big
What’s happened? Email has been around for years. Why the fuss all of a sudden?
Information overload
Consumers are bombarded with an average of 3,000 ad messages per day …
... and are tuning most of them out.
There’s only so much time and attention to go around, and too many marketers
competing for the same eyes and ears.
Consumers are tired of wading through too many emails. They’re starting to ignore
and filter out the clutter. They’re choosing which emails they will read, and who they’ll
do business with. Everyone else gets the delete key.
By the time many companies realize that permission email is the way to reach
consumers, it will be too late to catch up. Their competition will have a huge head
start in building their opt-in lists and customer relationships. Why?
88% Buy Because of This
Email works. People generally open, read and respond to their email,
especially when it comes from a company they know and do business
with. A recent study by DoubleClick Inc. showed that over 88% of
consumers have bought something because of an email message.
But consumers will allow just so many companies into their email boxes. Eventually
they’ll stop accepting invitations to join mailing lists. They’ll dump the ones that aren’t
up to snuff.
Once they feel they receive enough stuff from the companies they buy from regularly,
they’ll simply filter out the rest of the junk. This hasn’t happened yet, but the trend is
growing. The sound of mailboxes slamming shut is right around the corner.
The question is, will you have enough prospects and customers on your mailing lists
by then? By the time consumers close the doors to their email boxes, you want your
name to be one that they recognize and welcome in their mailbox.
Permission Based Marketing
You know the 80/20 rule: 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers.
Studies show that getting your customers to spend only 5% more can mean an
increase in profits of 25% to 95%. Focusing on your existing customers is often referred
to as loyalty marketing - also known as customer relationship marketing (CRM) or
database marketing.
Whatever the term, building stronger relationships with your
existing customers is simply good business. It’s a lot easier to
keep an old customer than to go out and find a new one. With
email finally being recognized as the killer app, email marketing
has exploded. It’s called Permission Based marketing.
Permission Based Marketing is simple – you send your marketing messages to
customers who’ve given you permission to send them email. This is very different from
traditional marketing, which typically interrupts the consumer to try to get their
Today we are all bombarded with marketing messages, most of them unwelcome. But
just think how you feel when you see a favorite magazine or newsletter. You can’t wait
to sit down and read it, right? Well that’s how you want your email to be – expected,
relevant and anticipated!
Permission email allows you to deliver welcome messages to your customers. What a
great deal! Using email you can build relationships with consumers. The real power of
email is in the way it connects you with people in an amazingly personal way — if you
use it properly.
Let’s Get Personal
You may be intimidated by the idea of writing a newsletter that will be read by
thousands of people. Don’t be. It’s really not as hard as you might think. In fact, it can
be a lot of fun -- you get to break the rules of grammar you learned in grade school.
That’s right, the key to writing emails that get read is this: forget about using the King’s
English. Write like you talk.
In a pleasant conversational tone, as if you were talking face-to-face. Forget about
correct sentence structure. Nobody cares online – they’re more interested in the
information than in perfect grammar.
Nobody wants to read a boring email that sounds like a Corporate memo. That stuffy
writing style may have earned you high marks in school, but real people don’t talk that
way. And if you want your emails to be read, you won’t write that way.
Writing as you speak is a powerful technique because it makes people feel like they
know you personally, and they can trust you. Plus, it’s the best and quickest way to get
your message across. No need to “translate” it into regular English. For example, which
is easier to read?
“My endeavors in the literary field had gone largely unrewarded until I acquired the skill
of inscribing in the manner that the majority of people articulate.”
“My response rate sucked until I learned to write the way I speak.”
Now, don’t make the mistake of forgetting all the rules. A casual tone of voice is fine.
Bad grammar and spelling mistakes are not.
Nobody wants to take the advice of someone who can’t write or spell. Use the spell
checker religiously. And pay careful attention to words that sound alike but have
different meanings, i.e. their/there, its/it’s, hear/here, etc.
Other tips for writing lively, interesting emails:
h Short paragraphs. Break up big blocks of text into smaller blocks. No more
than 3 sentences in any paragraph.
h Vary sentence length. Make sentences shorter rather than longer. Use one
or two word sentences. Like this.
h Eliminate useless words. I have problems with this one myself. I’m forever
going back and deleting extraneous…er, unnecessary words such as:
h Give Their Eyes A Break. Use whatever you need to give your reader’s eye a
break. Frequent use of bullets, ellipses (the three dots like this …), the dash,
CAPITAL letters, and headings will make pages more inviting to the eye. If
you’re using HTML, using bold, italics and small graphics (also called clip
art) also help to make written documents more visually appealing.
h Use Linking Words. These words help to link your thoughts together in a
way that flows nicely. �And’ , �But’ and �So’ are a few of my favorites.
Finally, get personal with your readers. Let them know there’s a real person behind
the scenes. Everybody who reads my ezine knows I have 5-year-old triplets and a
husband who travels to Japan more often than I’d like. Life is in the details, and
I’m not afraid to let people know who I am.
That’s not to say you should publish your home address and invite everyone over
for dinner. But just as you’d exchange a bit of small talk in any business meeting,
allow your readers to get to know you by sharing a little of your life with them.
Spam - A Four-Letter Word
Let’s get clear about the definition of permission email. Consumers give
their permission to receive email from you. There are several levels of
permission, and none of them involves spam, the evil twin of permission
email marketing.
Spam is the name given to email messages sent to thousands of people who didn’t ask
for and don’t want to read them. In the offline world, when consumers get junk mail
they can toss it. But unwanted emails are different. For one thing, people who send
junk mail have to pay postage, while spammers get off scot-free.
But many people pay by the minute for Internet access, meaning that they’re actually
paying to receive the spam. This really upsets people and can set off nasty replies and
complaints to the sender’s ISP (Internet Service Provider). It can get your email account
shut down and may even be illegal.
Like everyone else, you need names and e-mail addresses for your online campaign.
But you don't have to lie to get them or spam anyone. Spammers have made it bad for
all online marketers. So you shouldn't be one yourself; there are enough already out
From now on, I’ll refer to permission email marketing as simply “email marketing.” Just
so long as you know what I mean — email messages being sent to people who’ve
agreed to receive them. This is the only type of emailing you should be doing.
And don’t get duped into buying a cheap list of names thinking that they’re opt-in –
they aren’t. These email addresses are harvested -- sucked from web pages by
computer programs that crawl around the web looking for them. These people have
not given their permission to be e-mailed. So if you see an offer like “187,000 email
addresses for $99!”, don’t waste your money.
The Benefits of Email
Email is the perfect tool for any kind of advertising campaign, and
it’s easy to combine with offline advertising. Nothing else even
comes close to being cheaper or more effective than email
marketing. Here are some of the benefits:
h Fast delivery, quick response
h Drives traffic to website
h Perfect tool for relationship building, follow-up, and customer retention;
helps to develop trust through repeat contact
h Can be targeted toward particular groups
h Personal
h Measurable
h Inexpensive to implement, especially compared to
cheaper than traditional marketing (direct mail,
telemarketing); because of its low cost, emails can be
sent with the frequency needed to make an impact
h High response rates – up to 10% response rates to
promotional offers.
There is no reason for any business to miss the chance to stay in contact and build
relationships with their customers. These things are important for all businesses.
But it’s a must for small local businesses, which usually rely on repeat customers
for 70% of their income. Yet, small businesses are least likely to contact their
customers via email. Why? Could it be because of some email myths?
Email Myths
There are many myths about email marketing. Perhaps you’ve heard
some of these:
Myth #1: Email marketing is easy.
Truth: If only that were true, there wouldn’t be so much bad email landing in our
mailboxes. Now good messages are being lumped in with the bad, making email
marketing a lot harder than it used to be. Readers are tired of wading through so
much email. There are only so many emails you can read in one day.
Email is not the electronic equivalent of direct mail. It’s not collecting email addresses
and sending them your sales letters. You need to have two-way communication with
your customers. It’s not as simple as it looks, and requires planning and testing.
Myth #2: Email is best used for sending sales messages.
Truth: If all you ever send your customers are sales letters, don’t be surprised if they
reach for…
…the delete key!
Email is not about a one-way monologue, it's about encouraging a dialogue. If you
want to build a true relationship with your customers, you must get them to talk to
Get them involved by asking questions and offering incentives for their input and
suggestions. Yes, it can be a lot of work, but it’s a must if you’re going build a longterm relationship. And it’s much more fun than a one-way conversation, for you and
for your customers.
Myth #3: Email will replace traditional marketing media.
Truth: There are still too many people who’re not on the Net. So
unless you want to eliminate a large chunk of the population, email
needs to be integrated with your traditional marketing, not replace it.
Be sure your email strategy ties in with the rest of your advertising.
Some companies hire email marketing firms to run their campaigns.
That’s fine, but can result in a confused mess if communications aren’t organized and
coordinated. You don’t want your customers to get mixed or untimely messages.
Myth #4: My customers don’t want to hear from me.
Truth: Don’t be afraid to email your customers, they won’t go away because you
emailed them. They’re more likely to go away because you didn’t email them and they
forgot about you.
Nobody wants boring, rehashed info in their mailbox. But if you have valuable or
interesting information to offer, they will be happy to hear from you…
– as long as it’s not too often.
If someone responds negatively to your email and unsubscribes, be glad to be rid of
them. They never would’ve bought anything from you anyway. You want a list of
buyers, not people who enjoy your information, then go purchase from your
Myth #5: People won’t respond to my emails.
Truth: It may be hard to get people to respond at first because everyone is worried
about privacy and who will have access to their data. But if you build a relationship
and give them valuable information, they will come to trust you. Give your subscribers
a reason to contact you. Ask questions, solicit their feedback, whatever it takes to get
them to open up a dialogue with you.
Then, so others will get the idea, post reader comments in your newsletter (ask
permission before using someone’s name). Be sure to respond right away when
someone does contact you. Also, you should place a link to your privacy policy
anywhere you ask for user information.
There’s an old marketing principle called AIDA -- or Attention, Interest, Desire, and
Action. The reason it’s so old is because it works. Whether you’re selling yourself as a
potential mate or a business partner, this age-old principle is at work.
Before you can start a conversation, you have to get your customer’s…
… attention.
There are a lot of ways to do this, and many of them are listed in chapters 4 and 5. In
general, you go to where she hangs out, say something to get her attention, and hope
that she responds.
Once you get her attention, she needs to sign up for your mailing list. This is usually
done by an offer of free information, product, or service. The less you ask and the
bigger the bribe, the more likely you’ll get permission.
For most people this means name and email address. Once you have that, you can
keep in touch and build a relationship over time. This builds trust and hopefully will
lead to a sales relationship. But first you have to generate …
It’s easy enough to get subscribers, but it can be hard to keep them.
You must have a way to encourage strangers as soon as they show an
interest – “raise their hand.” You want to coax this stranger into
becoming a friend.
You can keep their interest by giving them useful information. But after
awhile you’ll need to change something – the message or the delivery – so
your readers won’t get bored. Surprise them every now and then so they’ll stay
interested. And as always, encourage them to interact with you with questions and
Each step of the way, the goal is to maintain interest and find out more about their
wants. People will tell you exactly what they will buy from you. You then can use that
information to create …
Now it’s time to apply enough focused marketing to create a customer. Through
repeated contact, you’ll build up trust. Your relationship will evolve over time, and
eventually they will want to know more about your products or services.
That’s when you offer them something that will make their lives easier, their goals
easier to reach, etc. Sooner or later, if you keep their interest and are able to decipher
their wants, you can put together an offer that will make them sit up
and take …
Yes! They finally buy something! Assuming the purchase goes well,
now it’ll be 1700% easier to get them to buy from you again than to
get a new customer.
Getting a new customer is expensive – it’s a lot cheaper to keep one you already have.
Focus on keeping customers longer and getting more money from them each time.
You’ll increase profits by selling more things to fewer customers.
There you have it – the A.I.D.A. principle as it applies to email marketing. However you
do it, you must:
h Get her email address
h Send her customer useful information, and
h Over time build your relationship to the point where she feels comfortable
buying from you.
Writing Effective Email Messages
But how do you write email that cuts through the clutter and helps you build
relationships with your customers? The most effective email messages have all of
these elements:
h Personal – always try to collect your prospect’s first name
and use it to personalize your messages; it’s a fact that
almost everyone’s favorite word is their own name.
h Relevant - target your message to the right audience; the
most hard-hitting sales letter is worthless if it's delivered to
someone who doesn't want what you’re selling.
h WIIFM – remember What’s In It For Me -- they want to know what’s in it for
them so tell �em – benefits, benefits, and more benefits
h Familiar - introduce yourself and your company right away; current
customers will recognize you, while prospects won't have to wonder if you’re
a spamming them (the smart ones never give their names).
h Short – get to the point fast; according to Jupiter Communications, more
than 51% of consumers will read only the first few sentences, then decide
whether to continue; only 15% of emails are read all the way to the end.
h Direct – don’t assume they’ll know what to do, ask them to order or click or
h Edited – proofread your work; break up run-on sentences; use simple but
creative language; run the spell checker. And if you can't write, hire someone
who can. Here’s a good source for freelancers of every type, including
writers –
What’s Next?
Okay, now that we’ve dispelled all the myths, reviewed all the benefits, and have a good
idea of how you should use it, the question remains…how are you going to use email
in your business?
That’s easy. You’re going to use email the way every successful online marketer does -to build relationships.
Now, I could start describing how to publish your own ezine, but I’m trying not to get
sidetracked. I want to hurry up and get to the good stuff – how to reach those people
you want to establish a relationship with. That’s why you’re reading this book, right?
There are tons of books and resources out there that can tell you all you ever wanted to
know about building an ezine…and then some. So rather than paraphrase all of that
stuff and make this book longer than it needs to be, I’ll just point you to some excellent
The Service Sellers Masters course is a 10-day course that guides you through setting
up your online business. On Day 9, the topic is “Build Relationships – Publish Your
Own E-zine.” This is an excellent place to get started – it helps you to develop a
subscription form and prepare the template and content for the first issue of your ezine. It’s free, so download it here:
E-Newsletters That
Why I Recommend It
The subtitle of this ebook is “The Small Business Owner's
Guide To Creating, Writing And Publishing An Effective
Electronic Newsletter”, which pretty much sums it up. If
you’re not an internet guru, don’t worry, this book was not
written for techies.
It's written in an easy-to-read format with lots of white
space, perfect for the busy small business owner who
wants to use email to communicate with prospects and
customers. It's a quick read too -- I read the whole book in
one sitting. I’ve read many, many books on marketing
using email and ezines, and this is one of the few that I
recommend for the average person. Check it out here:
Dollar Emails
“Million Dollar Emails” has some good examples of
effective emails and is definitely worth a look, especially
since it’s free! Download it here:
Relationship Marketing
“Relationship building only works if the customer feels that she benefits from it in
some way.”
Arthur Middleton Hughes
ou’ve gotten your prospect’s email address. They’ve downloaded their free report,
or gotten their discount coupon, whatever the incentive was. Now it’s time to get
started. Don’t delay. Email addresses are like fish fillets. The sooner you use
them, the better.
Getting a prospect’s email address is only the beginning. Now the real
work begins – turning that stranger into a friend … into a customer …
into a loyal customer. In other words, building a relationship.
If you’re a successful business owner, you already know that the
success of your business depends on building rich relationships with
your customers. This goes double for doing business online.
Yet there are millions of websites out there that do nothing to cultivate customer
relationships. Time after time, this is what you’ll find:
Ego -- All about the company: We have this, we did that, we said whatever,
we, we, we… The truth is nobody cares what you have, said or did. If your
visitor doesn’t see something that’s going to benefit her, she’ll be reaching for
the mouse.
Brochure – A virtual replica of the company brochure,
complete with product and service information, photos,
driving directions, and contact information. Just like
millions of other websites. Why should she pick you over
Buy Me! – There’s no shortage of websites offering a host of products and
services to buy. The problem is, most of them don’t offer anything else. No
useful information, no free trial, no coupons, no nothing. Just another
opportunity to separate the visitor from her hard-earned cash.
Just as in real-life, online relationships take time to develop. The constant barrage of
sales pitches and hype has made many web surfers hold on tightly to their wallets.
Until they get to know the person behind the website, you are tarred with the same
brush as every other greedy marketer trying to pick their pocket.
So how do you begin to develop customer relationships?
Two words: relationship marketing. Let’s take a look.
What Is It?
Relationship marketing is about having an ongoing dialog with your
customer over a period of time. It can also include gathering
customer information and analyzing their behavior, but don’t let that
scare you. You can practice relationship marketing on a small scale and get plenty of
benefits without implementing a full-blown CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
You may not have the financial resources of Office Depot or Wal-Mart, but as a small
business owner, you can do something they can’t -- have real person-to-person
relationships with your customers.
And the way to do that is with information. Remember, people don’t go online looking
for something to buy. They’re usually seeking information. So your strategy should be
to use the information your customers need to build and maintain relationships with
There are 2 critical components to making this strategy work: a relationship-oriented
website and the consistent use of email to stay in touch.
Relationship-Oriented Website
The relationship marketing process starts when a visitor arrives on your
website. If you want the relationship to progress beyond “hello”, make
sure it’s a wonderful experience. Invite her in, introduce yourself, and
offer refreshments in the form of free information or something equally
At this point you should ask for her email address so you can send more valuable
information in the future. This is crucial to your success – you must obtain the email
address on the first visit. You might not have a second chance.
Once you have the email address, point your visitor toward helpful resources. A
restaurant could offer recipes or discount coupons. A plumbing business might offer
advice on avoiding costly repairs. An auto repair shop could offer tips to avoid getting
ripped off. A small business site could offer a collection of articles. Whatever the
business, there’s some sort of information your customers would find useful.
Ideally you’d have the ability to collect information about individual customers, but not
all small businesses can afford the technology needed to track individual preferences
and provide different experiences based upon them (the way does so well.)
If you can’t, don’t worry about it. But do try to collect first name
at a minimum so you can personalize emails.
What else characterizes a relationship-oriented website?
h Free Information or Service – Give before you get, that’s the way of the
web. Give valuable information freely and don’t worry about giving too much
away. People can have an insatiable need for information on a subject – as
long as you don’t solve their problems completely, they’ll keep coming
back for more.
h FAQs - Make it easy for people to find the information they need by
providing online help files. Make a note of questions you’re asked repeatedly
and compile them into a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).
h Two-way Dialogue - You want a two-way dialogue between you and your
customer, so make it easy for customers to contact you and encourage them
to do so. And be human – life is in the details.
h Timely Response – When your customer does “raise her hand”, reward her
with a quick response! There’s nothing more de-motivating than an
unanswered email to someone who claims to want my business. More than
once I’ve purchased a product and written a follow-up email, only to have it
go unanswered. Guess who won’t get another dime of my money?
h Community – People want to feel a sense of community, which is why
discussions boards are so popular. If the community gathers on your
website, all the better. Give people a place to gather, swap tales, and build a
community. Message boards, mailing lists, polls – the more chances you give
your customers to express their likes and dislikes, the better. Give them
their voice and they’ll tell you exactly what they want (and will pay for).
Here’s a free resource where you can create your own forums, chat rooms,
and other community resources for your website:
h Ask Questions -- When in doubt, ask your customers
what they want. They’ll tell you. If you find out what your
customer wants and become a friend, you will beat most
of the competition hands down.
h Community Related Announcements -- a nice touch,
but if you’re not going to keep this section updated, don’t do it.
h Frequent Updates – If you want people to visit frequently, you must give
them a reason -- new content, a fresh look every how and then, information
updates. A website is never finished.
h Real-time Content – One way to have up-to-the-minute information on
your site is through syndicated content, such as local weather reports,
headlines, stock prices, or just about anything else your visitors might be
interested in. A small piece of code is placed on your page and Voila! You get
an always up-to-date display of information without having to do a thing. To
get an idea of what this is and how it works, visit, or (formerly
h Free Tools or Services – Another way to draw people back to your site is to
offer free tools such as a mortgage calculator, or free services such as email.
You could offer free advice about your industry, for example an “Ask Andy”
h Money-back Guarantee - If you’re selling something online, you must offer
an ironclad “no questions asked” money-back
guarantee! Then honor it.
Above all, show your customers that you’re in it for the long haul, not the quick score.
No flashing banners screaming “Buy Me!”. No pressure to hurry up and buy before
midnight. How many times have we seen that, only to come back and find the deadline
is now midnight of that day…and then the next day? Please.
Slow and steady wins the race…and builds relationships.
Consistent Use of Email
If you are emailing your local customers, sending them offers, coupons, and useful
information about your business, you are more likely to get their business than some
stranger out in cyberspace. And if you're sending out a newsletter, you’ll be light years
ahead of all of your competition, local or not!
Here are a few ways to use email to create “brand” awareness within your local
h Email your customers and prospects on a regular basis, at least
twice a month. Any less than that and they may forget you. You
can send an electronic newsletter to your customers with useful
information, news about your company, related articles, notice
of new content on your website, new product announcements,
The goal is to keep in touch so that if they or someone they know needs
your product or service, you’ll be the one they call. The more they identify
you as someone who wants to help them, and the more they know about
you, the more likely they are to contact you when the need arises.
h When customers purchase a product or service, you can use email to help
them get the most out of it. For a book or publication, it could be an email
“walkthrough” series highlighting important topics, or telling them what they
would learn if they’d only read it!
h Send a personal email note to select local customers without a strong sales
pitch. Keep it simple and friendly. It could be a Happy Anniversary note or
card if the customer has been with you for a year. If you have birthrate info,
you can send an electronic birthday card.
h Become a frequent contributor on local message boards with helpful
information. Let the community get to know you. Be sure to include your
signature line with a link to your site.
h If at all possible, you should do joint ventures with neighboring businesses.
If you do this, make sure you control the mailings, and that your brand
"introduces" other brands. Another joint venture idea is a coupon
exchange. Band together with several other (non-competing) businesses and
every week, each of you send the same email to your customer list. The mail
would contain email coupons for each business, or a link to a web page with
the coupons.
h Respond to email as soon as possible with helpful answers.
With a relationship-oriented website and the consistent use of email, you can build
lasting relationships with your customers. These are only a few ways to connect with
your customers and the community.
If you find something that works well for you, please let me know!
Relationship Marketing Resource: - Database Marketing Institute
Laying the Groundwork
ou know that email marketing is the key to online success. Maybe you have
some ideas about what freebie you’re going to offer. You’re almost ready to get
going. Almost.
But first you need to do a little planning. I know….it sounds boring.
But trust me, it will pay off.
I’ve done it both ways – upfront planning and just “diving in”, and
I’ve learned the hard way that having a plan is the way to go.
Especially when doing anything related to business or computers.
What’s Your Strategy?
The number of local people on the Net is growing, but it’s still small in comparison to
the huge potential market for national or international marketers. So… your marketing
strategy has to be a bit different from theirs.
You have to find those enlightened online residents and get them to visit either your
store or your website. Not quite as bad as the “needle in the haystack” – but not as
straight forward as putting up a killer website and driving targeted traffic to it either.
I’ll remind you again -- don't limit yourself to just local traffic -- you can
get prospects from all over, and create a second income stream by
recommending related products or services they might be interested in.
For more information on how to take any local business global, get the
Service Sellers Masters course by visiting:
You do have some advantages -- you can see your customers and get to know them
face-to-face. You live in the same community and can relate to their local interests,
because they’re yours too. That’s a bond that most Internet businesses do not share
with their customers.
Another advantage: you know your market. And perhaps the biggest advantage …
there’s not much competition right now.
What’s Your USP?
Let’s look at your business. You offer a product and/or service
to a local or regional market. But what makes you better than
your competition? Why would someone choose to do business
with you?
The average person gets hit with over 3,000 advertising messages per day. Does your
message rise above the clutter? What is your brand, your USP? What sets you apart
from every other business out there trying to sell them something?
One way is to let your customers get to know the real you. What better way to show
your difference than to show that you’re human? People don’t want to deal with
nameless faceless corporate drones. They want to do business with people that they
know. Building a brand on the Net is all about building relationships.
And as a local business, you can touch your customers in a way that most online
businesses can’t: in person. Given a choice between dealing with Joe Schmoe in
cyberspace and Super Sam down on the street, all things being equal … I’d go for Sam.
There’s a reason most people spend 80% of their money within 20 miles of home.
Define Your Target
Who is your target market? Certainly it depends on your product or
If you have a bicycle shop, you want to reach athletic people.
If you own a spa dealership, you want to reach homeowners.
A beauty supply business needs to attract hairstylists and
Describe your prospective customer in detail. You have to know who they are and
what they want. That’s the only way you can give it to them.
Ask yourself, "What websites would my audience be seeking in a search, or what pages
might they frequently visit?" You have to be able to get into the heads of your
customers. See if you can answer these questions:
h Who is your target market?
h Where does she live?
h What are her problems?
h What does she want? (Not need, but want. People buy what they want, not
what they need.)
h How are you going to give it to her?
h Why would customers want to receive email from you?
h What kind of websites does she visit regularly?
h What kind of info would attract her to your website?
h What products are they most likely to buy?
h How much info will she give you about herself?
h How much money does she make?
h Who’s your competition? What are they doing?
h How would she go about finding your product or service?
If you can get into your prospect’s head, you’ll be able to position yourself and your
business so that she finds you, makes contact, and learns to trust you. After that it’s
all gravy.
Website Matters
Once you define your customers and what you can offer them, the next big question:
how do you reach them? That’s where your website comes in.
Much of your preparations will revolve around your website:
h Creating one that will please both your customers and the search engines
h Getting it registered with search engines
h Setting up your subscription form so you can collect your visitors’ email
addresses in exchange for something of value
Perhaps you have one already, sitting in out in cyberspace. If you’re lucky, you might
get a smattering of traffic and an occasional order or two. But unless you have a way
of collecting email addresses, it’s not likely to do you much good.
Like an abandoned car on the super information highway, it sits there…
… gathering dust.
Let’s get something straight: your website has one purpose, and that’s to collect email
Sure, it can do other things – give useful information, display products, or allow
customers to order products. But those jobs are secondary.
When someone visits your website, the chances of you getting the order the first time
they land on your website are slim. But if you can get her email address, you can
follow up with her, establish a relationship, and increase your chances of converting
her into a customer.
So, if you already have one of those “ego” sites – all about you, your company and the
products you sell – you need to make some changes. People don’t care about you. They
only care about themselves.
And if they don’t see something that interests them the minute they arrive, you know
what will happen don’t you?
Don’t get me wrong – you should include that information somewhere on your website.
But it should not be the first thing they see.
The first version of this book didn’t discuss websites much other than the best
strategies for getting your prospect’s email address. I intentionally eliminated website
design and development from the scope of the book because that subject has been
beaten to death. There are so many books and articles and courses about it that it
didn't seem necessary.
But based on customer feedback, there are still lots of questions about this among
small business owners, especially those who are new to online marketing. When you
think about it, it makes perfect sense. If the local market is so different from the
national or international market, local websites must be different too. (Yes, they are.
But not in the way you might think.) So I decided to expand on this topic a bit.
Now, this is a huge topic, and it can be hard to strike the right balance between too
much and too little. So I decided to focus on the 3 most common questions of small
business owners:
1. How do I get a website?
2. What should my site look like?
3. How do I get more traffic to my site?
How to Get a Website
This is probably the biggest concern of most small business owners: how to get a
website without spending too much money or getting ripped off.
There are a lot of factors that determine how you get a web site: your level of technical
expertise, your budget, who you know, or even where you live.
With that in mind, here's a rundown of various ways of getting a website. Each has its
pros and cons. Let's take a look:
1. Employee or In-House Developer
If you have an employee who is -- or wants to be -- web
savvy, this could be a good option for you. With any
luck, you'll get someone who loves web development so
much that he’ll do a lot of learning on his own time.
Your web site will get the attention it needs and you'll
be able to focus on your business.
But be warned: maintaining a website not a one-shot deal. Regardless of
who does it, it will take time, so expect your new webmaster to be less
available for other duties.
Also, if your webmaster has a natural talent for it, next thing you know he
might hang out his shingle and start doing websites for others. That's how I
got started, so I know.
You maintain control of your site
Easy to make changes
Will take employee away from other duties
Employee could leave you in the lurch if he quits
Not likely to get a complete solution (i.e. optimized for search engines,
integrated email solution, traffic stats, etc.)
2. Auctions
You can find almost anything up for auction these days, including
web site development and hosting. I visited ebay's Computers >
Services > Web Design and saw 278 listings for various web
services. You can get a 5-page website for $99. I saw a similar deal
that included a year of hosting.
Of course, you get what you pay for. Don’t expect a web
masterpiece. I wouldn’t recommend this option unless you’re on
the thinnest of shoestring budgets.
Not likely to get a high quality site, properly optimized for search engines
Not easy to make changes, may be costly
You lose control, too dependent on the developer
Probably won’t get a complete solution, which should include search
engine optimization and submission, ezine subscription and delivery, a
web interface for making changes
3. Online Freelance Sites
These are specialized Web sites that let workers advertise their skills and bid
on projects. The best known are and, but there are
others including and
Here's how it works: you post your project, describing what you want and
any special requirements. Freelancers place their bids, and you choose a
winner. You usually get to review their portfolio and can ask questions
before deciding who is the best qualified.
There are some very talented people out there and this is great way to
connect with them. I've used Elance for press releases and other specialty
jobs and have been very pleased with the results.
You’ll have a wide variety of talent to select from
You’ll be able to see portfolio of previous jobs
Usually these people are very professional
Prices will be all over the map, as there are always people who will
underbid others just to get the job, while others will over-estimate their
worth and place high bids; it can be hard to decide who to choose
Unless you get some sort of interface to allow for making changes, you’ll
be stuck with having to go to the developer each time you want to make
the smallest change, i.e. you lose control
Probably won’t get a complete solution, which should include search
engine optimization and submission, ezine subscription and delivery, a
web interface for making changes.
If you do get a complete solution, it will be expensive
4. Friend or Relative
With so many people hanging out their web design
shingle, chances are you or somebody you know can
connect you with a web designer. Perhaps your son,
daughter or friend of a friend knows someone who can
develop your website or help you get started if you want
to do it yourself.
One disadvantage: if someone is doing you a "favor" your project may take a
back seat to anything else they're working on, and you'll have less control
than if you were paying for the job.
Also you may find out that your "designer" is still in the learning phase, and
the end result may be a tacky looking website. Still, if you're on a tight
budget, this may be worth a try.
Cheap (or maybe free)
If you’re lucky, your designer could have enough skills and know-how to
develop a very nice website for you
Even less control than if you were paying someone to do the job
Depending on the person’s skills, you may still have to do quite a bit of
work to optimize your site, register it with search engines, collect email
addresses, and follow up with prospects.
Changes to your site may take longer than usual, especially if the person
is busy with other projects.
5. Local & Online Web Designers
Wherever you are, there are local designers who would love to develop and
host a website for you. The trick is to find the ones who know what they're
doing. If you want to meet with your designer personally, check your local
paper, free weeklies, and the penny saver ads.
Also there are some truly gifted college kids out there doing amazing work at
very reasonable prices. If you live near a college, try posting a notice on the
bulletin board near a computer lab or checking the school website for
information on reaching student freelancers.
And finally, there are plenty of web design firms online. One very effective
tactic is to find a site that you like, then contact the site owner to find out
who did it. In the past, site owners allowed the designer to include a link to
their website, but that practice seems to have tapered off during the last few
If you’re lucky, your designer will be knowledgeable enough to create a
nice-looking site for you (But don’t automatically assume that he knows
about the importance of keywords and search engine optimization.)
You never know what you’re going to get; references are easy to spoof
Prices will probably vary, depending on the designer’s level of experience
Unless you get some sort of web interface to allow for making changes,
you’ll be stuck with having to go to the developer each time you want to
make the smallest change, i.e. you lose control
Probably won’t get a complete solution, which should include search
engine optimization and submission, ezine subscription and delivery, an
easy-to-use web interface for making changes
If you do get a complete solution, it will be expensive
6. Barter
If you have a product or service needed by web designers,
you might try the barter route. I've exchanged web design
services for photography, referrals, and computer
network services.
The only drawback is the tendency for the arrangement to be somewhat
casual, sort of like the friend who's doing you a favor. This means your
project may take a back seat to any of their "paying" projects, but that works
both ways. Hopefully you both will be equally motivated to get the jobs
No out-of-pocket expenses
Could have some tax consequences
If you’re not careful and very explicit in your agreement of who will do
what, misunderstandings can easily occur, possibly resulting in hard
feelings and loss of a business relationship.
Loss of control
Possibility that you’ll have to pay this person for future changes if they
don’t need more of your product or services.
Completion or changes to your site may take a backseat to “paying”
7. Templates
Pre-designed websites called templates allow you to create a professionally
designed site. Usually templates come with matching header and navigation
buttons, as well as coordinating photos and graphics. Just add text and
whatever customizations you like and you’re ready to go. Here are a few
sources: (Microsoft FrontPage
Cheap (templates can range from $15 to $100+)
Some (not all) templates are very well-designed
You maintain full control, can make changes
Only addresses the look, not the behind the scenes stuff like search
engine optimization, submission, etc.
Depending on the template, you may still need some technical expertise
or special software to use it.
Anyone can buy and use the same template for their website.
8. Site Build It!
For the average small business owner, wrestling with the technology can be
a big hassle. Most don't have the time or inclination to learn how to build a
profitable website, optimize it for the search engines, submit it, create an
opt-in mail list, send out their own ezine, monitor and analyze traffic stats
.... and those are just the basics.
By the time you start talking about pay-per-click search engines,
reciprocal link building, and e-commerce, you can forget it ….
-- their eyes have
glazed over.
For the average business owner with a few dollars and no technical skills,
this has meant putting off getting online until...well, until the technology
became a non-issue. Which brings me to Site Build It!
But after learning about Site Build It! – aka SBI! – is a system of tools that
makes it easy for small business owners to build a business online. I’d
heard about SBI! over the last couple years, but hadn’t looked at it.
I already offered website hosting for a similar product called SiteBuilder, for
which I paid a pretty penny to license. So I wasn't exactly looking for a
competing product, if you know what I mean.
But then I discovered the Service Sellers Masters Course, the step-by-step
guide to getting a service business online, and the
only publication I know of (other than this book) that
focused on the needs of local business. I contacted
Ken Evoy, the creator of the course (and SBI!), to talk
about ways we could work together to promote local
Long story short, I took a close look at SBI! -- and was
VERY impressed. It goes beyond simply building a
website, it's really an all-in-one solution to the
technology problem that has been such a barrier for
so many small businesses. It includes everything you
need to not only create a website but optimize it,
submit it to search engines, collect email addresses, send out your ezine,
monitor traffic stats, and a lot of other features I haven’t even tested yet. It
takes my vision for local business promotion to a whole new level. It's much
more than just creating a website ... it’s about building a business.
Well you can see my dilemma. Here I had a considerable amount of time and
money invested in a product that I thought would help small business
owners overcome the technology barrier. Then I find a different product that
quite frankly, is a more complete solution than mine. What to do?
I decided to find another use for the server that I use to provide hosting,
because SBI! includes hosting. I’ll forget about becoming a domain name
reseller, because SBI! includes your domain name. I know of a pretty good
ezine subscription and delivery program I could
recommend…but SBI!’s MailOut Manager has
that covered. And so on.
In the end, I had to acknowledge that SBI! is simply a better solution for the
small local business owner than the tool I was offering. As such, it’s my
responsibility to let you know about it.
Now, I’m not going to go into a long-winded description of the features and
benefits of SBI! I’ll leave that to the website: But I
will say that, in my opinion, SBI! is the best option for small business
owners because it removes the complexity of creating and maintaining your
website, so you can focus on one thing… building your business.
9. Pros:
All-in-one integrated system of tools that includes everything you need in
one place, at a ridiculously low price.
SBI! is not a quick fix – the Action Guide leads you through the process
step-by-step…but like anything else worth doing, it will take effort on
your part.
Every method of getting a website has advantages and disadvantages, but if you
have the time and inclination you should consider developing and maintaining
your own website.
Of course, there are situations that absolutely call for the services of a professional.
But if you’re just starting out, your needs should be simple. Remember, your goal
is to build relationships, not complex websites.
Almost every business owner I interviewed for the Local Business Success Series
(see Chapter 7) developed their own website. They wanted to maintain control
over their sites, and were content to start small and learn while doing. I suggest
that you do the same.
What Should Your Site Look Like?
To start writing this section, I gave myself a little quiz:
“Quick, name 5 characteristics of a successful website!”, to which I answered:
1. Easy to navigate
2. Fast loading
3. Easy to look at
(no bright neon backgrounds, no flashing or dancing
You’ll notice that’s only 3 things. When I reached #3 it became clear that the most
important thing about how your site looks is this: it must not give people a reason to
click away. People land on your page and want you to prove to them it’s worth their
time. And do it quick -- they are impatient, and it doesn’t take much to make them
reach for the mouse. For me, that thing is music.
I absolutely hate when music starts playing without my permission. That comes from
my days at Disney, when the sound of music was a dead giveaway that you were
surfing the Net instead of working. I don’t care what a page has or how badly I want
it. If I hear one note of music…
…I’m leaving!
For other people – especially those on slow modems – it’s Flash. Any hint of Flash, and
they’re outta there. Anything that requires someone to have special software or a plugin is a great way to lose visitors. There are always exceptions, but unless you know for
sure your visitors want all the bells and whistles, it’s best to stick with plain old text
and fast-loading graphics.
There are so many ways you can mess up a website that it’s more important to tell you
what not to do than what to do. One website I discovered many years ago describes
itself like this: “Where you learn good Web design by looking at bad Web design” Take a
look at (or to go straight to the sucky pages, go to: – the domain name says it all. As the
owner says, “In particular, there are an infinite number of ways to make your Web site
When someone lands on your website, you have maybe 3 seconds to capture their
attention. If they don’t see something that interests them right away, they are gone!
And even if they see something that interests them, they won’t stick around if
something annoys them.
Too hard to find what I’m looking for? Click!
Takes forever to load? Click!
Neon green background with flashing orange text? Click!
You get the idea.
So the first job of your website is to make sure it doesn’t do anything stupid.
Then…it needs to offer something enticing enough to get her attention and her
email address.
That’s what your website should look like.
How To Get All the Traffic You Can Handle
Most people pay way too much attention to what a page looks like instead of the
important thing – its content. That’s the magic bullet. The prettiest website in the
world will have zero traffic if it has nothing to offer – unless people are coming to see
the pretty pictures.
Remember, few people go on the Web looking for ways to spend money. Most folks go
to a website because they’re looking for something to help them solve a problem.
That something can be lots of things, but generally people are seeking information, also
known as content. On the Net…
… “Content is King!”
People are always asking “How do I get more traffic to my site?” As if traffic is the
answer to all their problems. Ask all of those “dot-bomb” companies that thought they
could create a business if they generated enough traffic.
There are lots of ways to get people to your website. Traffic is easy to get. The trick is to
get them to come back, or tell their friends, or sign up for your mailing list so you can
keep in touch.
Here's an example:
On one of my websites, I created a link directory with over 300 links on a certain topic.
It also has a searchable database with over 100 articles on that same topic.
That website has been virtually abandoned for at least a year. I have done nothing to
promote it or publicize it. But my server logs show that traffic is steadily increasing. I
get at least 4-5 emails a week from website owners asking to be added to the directory.
Authors send their articles for inclusion in the database. I have over 4,000 subscribers
on my mailing list. I get notes from people thanking me for such a
great resource.
Truth is, if you have good content on your website, people will beat
a path to your door. You don’t have to go out looking for them,
they’ll come find you.
And the reason they’ll flock to your site is…content. You must give them something
worth their email address, or a return visit, or a glowing recommendation. Content, or
something equally valuable, is the only way.
How do you create content? Lots of ways. Here are some examples:
h Write Articles – show you’re the expert by writing and publishing articles on
your area of expertise, then posting them on your website; if you have the
time and inclination, you can submit them to article directories. You can
also post other relevant articles on your website, which will help to increase
your search engines rankings.
h Tips – People love advice in the form of a tips list; as a matter of fact, some
publishers will send their subscribers a “tip of the day” instead of an ezine.
h Resources – create a link directory of resources related to your field, as long
as they’re not direct competitors. You can also cultivate reciprocal links
with related websites, which will help boost your link popularity with the
search engines. Finally, you can generate a second income stream by
recommending products and resources through affiliate links.
h Free Tools – Just as real estate sites offer mortgage calculators, and
financial sites offer free stock quotes, you can offer some sort of useful tool to
your visitors. If not tools, certainly there is some information you could offer
that they would find valuable. Get inside the mind of your potential
customers. What do they want to know about your product or service?
Collecting the Email Address
Assuming you have something valuable to offer, you should put a subscription form on
every page of your website. You never know how a visitor will enter your website.
Someone could surf straight into your order page for all you know. So wherever they
land, give them an opportunity to subscribe.
Next to the subscription box you’ll put the offer. Think of this as a “bribe”, and the
bigger the perk the more likely you are to get the email address. Because of spam and
privacy concerns, netizens (Internet citizens) are getting increasingly wary about giving
up any personal information. So they’re not going to give it just
because you ask for it. They will give it to you in exchange for
something of value… and your promise not to give or sell their
name to anyone.
The currency of choice these days is an ebook or free report, but it
could be anything. It could be access to a members only area on
your website. It could be a free gift. It could be a discount coupon or a chance to win a
sweepstakes. It could be free tips and advice, news alerts, newsletters or new product
Be creative, but be sure that the incentive is worth something. It should be valuable to
your customer, but low cost to you. Ideally it should be something that someone would
pay real money for. If it’s worthless junk, your business will be looked at the same way.
Online contests for cash prizes or free trips always attract lots of sign-ups. But you
should know that the jury is still out on the value of the emails you get using this
strategy. There are a lot of freebie-seekers on the Net, who’ll sign up for anything free
and never do a nickel’s worth of business with you.
Still, a free offer is a way to collect hundreds of e-mail addresses, especially if your
visitors are from your target market. It's a low-cost way to gather
names and build relationships.
Do The Two-Step
Another strategy used online is the two-step subscription process.
First, you ask for the email address. The visitor enters their email
address and hits the subscribe button. Only then do you ask for
additional info. Some well-known internet marketers do this really
One guru’s subscription form asks only for email address, then the follow-up page
asks for your name because “Your newsletter will be a little more personal that
way”. He also asks for gender, country, and whether you’re willing to complete a
demographic survey for him! But he’s been around for a long time and has a mailing
list of thousands, so he can get away with this.
Most of the time people won’t have a problem giving up first name and email address,
but if you want more than that, you should do the two-step.
Forget the Hard Sell
However you reach them, whether it’s in person, through email mail, snail mail, or
newspaper ad, forget the hard sell and go for the email address. In other words, the
first thing they see shouldn’t be a button that says “Buy me!”
I’ll say that again.
-- Don’t try to sell them anything!
Usually chances are slim that someone will buy something from you on the first visit.
Studies show that it takes an average of 7 exposures before most people will buy. If the
only choice a person has is to buy something from you or leave … they’ll click away.
Most likely, never to return.
But if you give them something of value in exchange for their
email address, you’ve done 2 things that put you ahead of your
1. Instead of trying to get something from them, you’ve given
them something of value. Give before you get – it’s the
rule of doing business on the Net.
2. Once you have the email address, you can follow up indefinitely. You can
establish a relationship through repeated, personalized contact. You have a
much better chance of making a sale this way.
On Your Mark…
Remember, the goal of any online interaction is to either get a prospect to opt-in to
your mailing list, or drive traffic to your website so you can get their email address.
Before we start driving traffic, let’s make sure your website is ready to receive visitors.
Again, creating your website is beyond the scope of this manual, but a few reminders:
h Be sure to give as much information about your business as possible:
Business name
Phone number
Business hours
Email address
Your privacy policy (how you’ll use any info you
Company Information such as background,
ownership, photos (put on an “About Us” page,
not the main page)
Customer feedback/suggestion form
Customer Testimonials (the more the better)
Links to any articles or publicity about your business
Endorsements by community leaders
Better Business Bureau logo if you’re a member
h Be sure that your city and state names (and any other names used to
identify your region, i.e. County, Metro area) appear in your website’s META
TAGS; you may also want to list names of regional attractions and popular
h Improve Your Site’s Link Popularity – most of the search engines are using
link popularity when ranking websites. The more relevant links to your
website, the higher your ranking will be.
h The first and most critical step in making sure your site can be found is to
choose the correct keywords for your site. These are the terms that your
target market will most likely use to search for you. There are tools that can
help identify your best keywords:
o -- use the free trial to help you choose the
most searched upon and profitable keywords.
Overture’s Search Term Suggestion Tool:
The Site Build It! Keyword Manager and Brainstorming Tool helps
you identify your best keywords and optimize your site for them.
h Although the focus of this manual is the local market, you could
end up with contacts from all over. When you hang out your
shingle on the Internet, your doors are open to the world and
anyone could wander in. If you only serve your local market, be
sure to state that on your website.
Also, whatever your industry, you’re in the information business. Whether you’re a
local contractor or car dealer, you have information that your prospects need.
Think about ways to leverage your knowledge beyond your local market. Perhaps you
can write an article about some problem your target market might have – with the
solution of course. That will help to build your credibility. People who publish articles
are seen as an “experts” in their field.
You’ll hear more about this when we discuss “Online Networking”, plus it’s a big part of
the Service Sellers Course, available here:
It’s all about building credibility and trust online. Once you do that, the door is open
and all things become possible. But without it, you’re just one of countless millions of
nameless faceless URLs.
…Get Set
So let’s summarize:
h Create a website with great content
h Optimize it for the search engines, then submit it
h Publicize your business and your URL in places online and offline where
local prospects are likely to visit or see your ad.
h Drive targeted traffic to your brick-and-mortar location or a website, then
offer something valuable – information, entertainment, free coupons – in
exchange for their email address
h Use your knowledge of the market and your customers to create two-way
dialogues with them through email
h Develop partnerships with non-competing merchants to provide additional
service to your customers and additional revenue streams for your business.
h Build credibility and trust through repeated contact
h Sell them something. Then sell them something else
If all of this seems overwhelming to you, don’t worry. It’s like eating an elephant – one
bite at a time.
Start small. Test. Create a mailing list of family and friends, then practice sending
notes to them.
While you’re doing that, start exploring the websites and ideas in the next 2 chapters.
Download the Service Sellers Masters Course:
Then…it’s time to GO!
Finding the Locals Online
"Local advertising is still in its infancy, but we are at a critical inflection point, given
consumers' increasing attraction to local content."
-Claudine Singer, Jupiter Communications
e know that email is the killer app and the key to marketing your business in
your local market. But before you can start sending email to your target
market, you have to do two things:
1. Find them, or help them find you
2. Get them to opt-in to your mailing list
In this chapter, we’ll focus on finding customers in your target
market online. But first, a few words about how targeting by
geography – geotargeting – is done.
Geotargeting Basics
Until about 1998, the Internet was not very useful for reaching out to local markets.
But things have changed. Today there are several very effective ways of reaching your
local market online.
One of the newest and most exciting ways of reaching local audiences is geotargeting - the ability to target consumers by geographical location, also known as localized
online advertising. It allows websites to present ads only to consumers who live in
certain geographic location.
Geotargeting is a relatively new industry, but it’s growing fast. Localized
advertising is very targeted, and can be used to quickly and cheaply
test online campaigns. Local merchants can use a combination of online
and offline advertising to drive traffic to their store and website.
Common Methods
Geotargeting has great promise, but it’s not without problems. The main issue is
accuracy. There is a big difference in the accuracy of methods used to target based on
user location.
The most common methods are:
Targeting based on I.P. address (a unique string of
numbers that identifies a computer on the Internet)
Targeting by Zip/Postal Code
I.P. Address
This method works by using the I.P. address to identify a user’s geographical
location. It can home in on a user’s city – sometimes even their postal code – within
the U.S. and internationally.
Many of the major geotargeting vendors use this method, including, a
major player in the geolocation market.
Curious about your I.P. address? Find out what it is by going to:
There are a couple of weaknesses in the I.P. method. The biggest problem: for various
reasons, not all I.P. addresses can be mapped to a geographic location.
A good example is the AOL (America Online) user population. Because of the way AOL
handles their web requests, all of their users appear to be coming from the state of
Virginia. Of course that’s not true.
Zip Code
Since all Zip Codes can be easily matched to a location, geotargeting by zip code
works fine – as long as the person is telling the truth. People lie all the time when
signing up for free services and filling out survey forms.
Still, what we have now works most of the time, and as the technology improves, so will
the results.
Geotargeting Solutions
Geotargeting is done in a number of ways, but they all fall into one or
more of the following four basic categories:
1. Localized content – This is advertising or information that applies to a local
or regional area. Some providers of localized advertising include online
versions newspaper, television, and radio; also includes city guides,
yellow pages and directories.
2. Banner advertising – Most banner ads are sold through one of the online ad
networks, and all of them provide some sort of geographic targeting and
demographic selection. Some ad networks include,, and Commission Junction (
3. Registration Data - Most sites that provide services such as email or
internet access require users to register. That process often includes zip
code, which can be used to target by city or even street.
These types of sites can also use cookies (small bits of data stored on the
user’s computer) to recognize the user each time they return by matching it
to their registration data. Examples include,,,, etc.
4. Geographic Data Providers – Providers of geographic specific data, such as
phone directories and map services, can easily serve up local ads. That’s
because to get the information they need, people have to give either zip code
or area code, which is easily mapped to location. Examples include, and
New sources for geotargeting are popping up all the time, as traditional postal list
owners such as magazines and catalog vendors realize they’re sitting on a goldmine of
customer information. As the technology gets better, you can expect geotargeting to
become even more widespread.
Online Resources
The rest of this chapter will cover various online resources for reaching consumers in
your local area, along with vendor names and/or websites where you can get more
Local Online Media
Just as in traditional advertising, the best sources for a
geographically targeted audience can be local media – the online
versions of local newspaper, radio, and television.
These folks are jumping online in a big way, and with a built in audience, can be a
great way to reach the local population.
A good source for local and major media is, where you can
access newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations around the world. At last count,
Mondo Times was covering 13,320 media outlets in 211 countries.
Online Local Newspapers
The online version of a regional or local newspaper is a natural place to advertise if
you want to reach a built-in local audience.
It’s easy enough to find the online version of a regional or local newspaper -- look in the
paper, the website address is probably on the first page. If you need help, visit and search thousands of papers worldwide. Another
source for papers worldwide is
In the US, you can visit or The Newspaper Association of
America website, The NAA also hosts another site where you can search
for the online version of any U.S. newspaper:
Online Local Radio
Local radio stations are getting into the act, hosting their own websites to inform
listeners of station news, program listings, and promote upcoming events. To find the
radio station for any area, go to -- it has links to over 10,000
radio station web sites and over 2,500 audio streams from radio stations in the U.S.
and around the world. (Here’s a website with thousands of links to radio stations that
you can listen to live online: )
Online Local Television
Have you noticed how many television programs end with the words “for more
information, visit our website at www….”? Television stations are embracing the
internet and using every opportunity to drive traffic to their websites.
Broadcast TV might not be in your budget, but cable TV is surprisingly affordable.
Cable TV is very targeted, with the ability to reach certain demographics as well as by
neighborhood or zip code. A certain number of commercials per hour are usually made
available to local businesses for a nominal fee (or even free). As for producing your
commercial, there are plenty of small production shops that can help you, and rates
are reasonable because there's lots of competition.
Here’s a resource for almost any kind of site that deals with the broadcasting industry
– TV, radio, cable and satellite networks. No matter where you are in the world, if it has
to do with broadcasting, you can probably find it at:
Local Portals & Biz Guides
Most cities of any size have at least one, if not several, city directories or local
portals. These are good places to be listed, especially if the directory owner is actively
publicizing the site.
You can find out if your city has one by searching, which has a
database of over 4000 city guides in more approximately 200 countries. Another
international resource is, but only for the world’s top 30+ cities.
You can also check with your Chamber of Commerce for URLs and other info about
city business guides and portals. Here’s a site that will help you find any Chamber of
Commerce, anywhere in the world:
In the U.S., you can also try entering “city directory yourcityname yourstate” into any
major search engine or directory. Or visit and search their City
Another great place to advertise your local business is one of the national online
networks such as or These sites have local portals for
states and cities throughout the country. - this is AOL’s Digital Cities project; it’s a large online network
that’s very focused on delivering local content such as entertainment, commerce, news,
community resources and personal interaction to residents and visitors in more than
64 cities across the U.S.A. Voted 1999 Best City Guide Company; Source: LISA (Local
Internet Service Award) Awards, The Kelsey Group. Here is a screenshot for the Windy
City – Chicago: - very comprehensive and well organized site that offers several
ways to find everything; includes white pages, yellow pages, and guides for city, travel
and relocation; receives over five million impressions per month; you can browse to
over 39,000 City Guides in, the United States, Canada, or International. - Links to the official websites for cities in USA and 8 other
countries; includes Chambers of Commerce, Convention and Visitor Bureaus, other
sanctioned Tourism sites, area, regional, and related web sites where available;
includes state information such as population, governor, and other facts, and links to
regional discussions.
52 - city guides for 50,000 cities in America; lots of
resources for small businesses, including premium yellow page listings,
banner advertisements, local website directory and coupons. - city guides for major metropolitan areas, movie and
entertainment guides for some smaller metro areas, and some international city guides;
contains over 12 million local business listings.
The original Microsoft site,, is now part of CitySearch. To see a
major city’s website, enter: i.e. Here is a screenshot of the Miami, Florida - According to Media Metrix, directory provider InfoSpace is the
top-ranked "local content aggregator". The company is aggressively integrating ecommerce into its revenue model. - offers advertisers access to active seekers in over 15 major product
purchase categories and over 100 leading service categories; “Find It Locally On the
World Wide Web” (US only). -- A network of about 4,500 web guides online for thousands of
topics of interest and cities. Each guide is branded with the number 4 and is followed
by a topic of interest or city, such as or Recognizing
that users are increasingly turning to the web to find localized information, has developed the capability to integrate the user's topic of interest with
information in their local communities.
Regional Directories & Search Engines
Directories are website listings that are created and maintained by hand. The good
thing about directories is that a live person reviews every site and decides whether to
include it in the directory, which helps keep out the junk.
This can work against you if the person reviewing your site doesn’t think it’s good
enough to be included. Yahoo! ( is notorious for this
– they’re very picky about sites they’ll list in their directory.
Search engines are programs that crawl the web indexing websites.
In the early days, search engines were the most important factor in
getting traffic to your website. They’re still important, but now there
are many other ways of getting visitors.
Advertising for most of the larger directories are handled through the ad networks
(coming up later in this chapter), but you can go directly to each website to get your
business listed in your regional area. You can also buy keywords (words used to look
up information on a subject) and when someone searches on those keywords, your ad
will be displayed.
Here are some of the directories and search engines that have regional or local
versions. These are good places to list your local business. Some are free, some not.
54 is the most important search engine on the Internet. Self-described as the
world's largest and most comprehensive search engine, Google provides direct access to
3 billion web documents. It also feeds search results to other search engines.
And as further proof of the growing importance and potential of local search, Google
recently introduced Google Local, which allows you to search by city, state or zip code. To submit your site go to:
Google also has an “adwords” program, which allows you to purchase targeted traffic
based on the words people search by, also known as keywords. For more information
on Google’s adwords program, go to: - There’s no doubt about
it, when it comes to online directories, you gotta
Yahoo! This is the most important directory in terms of driving traffic to your website.
It’s a lot harder to get a listing than it used to be, but well worth the effort. It’s easier to
get listed for a regional directory than the main directory, plus being in one of their
other directories seems to help you get listed in the main directory. To find the Yahoo!
for your country, go to and scroll down to Local Yahoo!s.
In March 2004, Yahoo! launched SmartView, which is integrated with Yahoo! Maps
and provides information on nearby businesses such as restaurants, hotels, discount
stores. - The Open Directory project is the largest, most
comprehensive directory on the Web, maintained by volunteers all over
the world. It supplies directory services to the Web's largest and most
popular search engines and portals, including Google, Netscape Search, AOL Search,
Lycos, HotBot, DirectHit, and hundreds of others.
To get listed by region, go to, choose your country, then
state. Then experiment with selecting your county, locality, metro area or region, until
you locate your city or town. When you find the spot you want to be listed, click on the
“Add URL” link at the top of the page and follow the directions. - this is a directory of regional search engines – each
entry is a directory or city guide for a large region or metropolitan area; don’t submit
your site directly to TopDirectories; instead find the directory for your area and submit
your site to it. & - Dogpile and IXQUICK
are “meta” search engines, a service that searches all major
search engines, throws out the duplicates, and summarizes the results. Dogpile offers
city guides, a local search option, and links for submitting to many of the major search
engines. Even though you can’t submit your site to Dogpile or Ixquick directly, they’re
good for quickly checking to see where you’re listed. - Official state, city, and county sites and some community
guides; also includes media listings for each state (newspaper, news media and
news sources) and links to major news sources all over the U.S.
55 - 14 million unique visitors per month; wide range of targeted
advertising programs; target your campaign to local audiences on Excite or to the
entire Excite audience
For more search engines, especially for non-US regions or countries, here are some
international resources: - every kind of search engine imaginable - very comprehensive directory of
international search engines and subject indexes
Map Services & Phone Directories
Providers of geographic specific data, such as phone directories and map services, can
easily serve up local ads because a person has to give either zip code, postal code or
something similar to get the information they need. Examples include,, and - Complete index of online phone books, with over 400 links
to Yellow Pages, White Pages, Business Directories, Email Addresses and Fax Listings
from over 170 countries all around the world. The audience is weighted towards
business users within the US and Europe, but includes users from nearly all
countries. – Southwestern Bell’s yellow pages; includes city guides for
major cities, driving directions and directory assistance - QuestDex is the print and online directory publishing and
advertising arm of U S WEST Inc. Yellow and White Pages listings for U S WEST’s 14state service area. Also provides local banner advertising with geotargeting, targeted to
small- and medium-sized businesses. - Mapquest delivers maps and driving
directions to more than 5 million visitors a month. They have an
advertising section specifically dedicated to small businesses. You can design your own
banner ad right from their site and get a campaign running for less than $3,000.
Includes U.S.A., the U.K., France and Germany. - popular Internet directory and local merchant network;
recently started offering “Nearbuy”, an integrated suite of Switchboard products and
services promoting local business across a full range of Internet and wireless
platforms; display ads can targeted to reach a local, regional or national audience;
listings and ads appear in searches conducted within 10 miles of your location in your
selected categories; monthly advertising from $4.95 to $34.95 per month. Switchboard
is building an Internet-powered directory of local businesses information and
syndicating that information to portals, specialty websites, and mobile devices. - Verizon’s U.S. yellow pages with residential & business
listings, consumer guides, and city pages; offers geotargeting by city, county, metro
area, state, nationwide; also
and - It’s very easy for to serve messages based on
geography. Because visitors must input their zip code to find out the weather, offers businesses a turnkey method of advertising in their local area for
Real Media to serve and
measure ad impressions and click-throughs. - travel-focused site that offers maps, driving directions, weather info - world maps and atlases, most of which
have extensive country and regional maps. -- get driving directions anywhere in the world;
Atlases of the world, maps of America, Canada and more; local information and
attractions - AT&T’s AnyWho with phone numbers, addresses, maps &
directions for Business and People in the U.S; utilizes as its
advertising agency to serve ads on the site; Yellow Page text listings are provided by
InfoSpace. - great U.S. & International directory with lots of business
resources. - a collection of phone directories from around the
world. - International White and Yellow Pages
Classified Ads Online
According to a new study by Jupiter Media Metrix, online classifieds might not be
the most glamorous segment of Internet advertising, but it’s poised to be one of the
high-growth areas in a rebounding market (CyberAtlas, May 1, 2002). Story Press
Just as they are in print, classified ads are big business on the Net, and a great way to
get your message in front of a local audience. Classified ad sites allow consumers to
search for products and services by type, price and location.
Your local online newspaper probably has classified ads. You can also use the local
portals provided by the national online networks (,, etc.)
to search for the classified ads in your local area.
Other popular online classified sites include: - with 55 Million visitors, AOL Classified Plus is one of the best ad
bargains on the Internet - Excite Classifieds & Auctions - e-Classifieds Worldwide supports
internationalization and localization features such as
the ability to translate into the language of your
choice, support for multiple currencies, and
customization of categories to suit your local
market. or - InfoSpace Classifieds - NBCi/Snap Classifieds - online classifieds, plus index of newspaper classifieds for
U.S. and Canada. - Disney’s Go Network Classifieds - Newspaper Association of America’s classified marketplace for
its 100 member papers; allows advertisers a central place for buying ads in papers
across the country, online and off.
Pay-Per-Click Search Engines
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) search engines allow website advertisers to “bid” on listing
positions for keywords and phrases (known as “search terms”) for which they want to
appear in the search results.
Pay-Per-Click Search engines are powerful weapons for quickly
generating highly targeted traffic to your website. One of your free
bonuses is “Pay Per Click Commando”, which explains all about PPCs
and gives strategies for getting the most out of them.
PPC bid
management is another reason to take a look at Site Build It!
When a visitor clicks on your link, your bid amount for that click is automatically
deducted from your PPC account. PPCs are a great way to get quick, targeted traffic to
any website. You can bid on multiple words, including your city’s name and any
keywords that describe your business.
The top PPCs are:
For a complete list of PPCs, including reviews, articles and tools, visit
Ad Networks
Ad networks are companies that sell advertising for websites such as search engines,
magazines, and newspapers. This benefits advertisers by giving them a single source
for placement of their ads across multiple sites.
Most ad networks are now offering the option to target by geography. Major players
such as and Real Media sell advertising on hundreds of regional
websites, including some of the top search engines and directories. Real Media
specializes in national sales for local sites.
A list of ad networks include:
Ad Network
AdDynamix Pennyweb
Amazing Media
B2B On Target
Commission Junction
Premium Network
Shoxygen Sports Network
Geotargeted Lead Generation
In addition to the geotargeted leads provided by ad networks, you can get local or
regional leads are offered by some companies, including: - a pay-per-lead service that matches homeowners with prescreened service professionals - sales intelligence, sales leads and customized lead generation
programs ( - a request-driven
lead generation solution provider that matches businesses with
purchase-ready buyers; delivers solutions to thousands of
businesses, directories, portals, associations, and other
aggregators, including Verizon, InfoSpace,, and The
Cobalt Group; recently introduced Special Offers, a value-added
service that extends the company's suite of lead generation solutions; Special Offers
gives small and medium-size businesses (SMEs) the ability to quickly and easily create
promotional offers to entice potential buyers to make a purchase.
Email Marketing Products & Services
There are tons of companies marketing email products and
services on the Internet, but not all of them provide geotargeting
services. Below is a partial list of vendors that do.
This is not a complete list. Companies go in and out of business
so quickly on the Net that any list would be out of date the
moment it was printed. So don’t be surprised if some of these folks aren’t home if
you stop by to visit.
As always, you should check the companies out yourself before using their services.
h - DoubleClick Local lets
local advertisers reach Web users from their own
communities on sites that DoubleClick represents.
These include: AltaVista, the Dilbert Zone, the Food Network, Automobile
magazine, Modern Bride magazine, Travelocity, and U.S. News & World
Report; available in 14 Western states and sold through US West's Yellow
Pages unit (see Map Services & Phone Directories)
h Yahoo! Delivers – These are Yahoo members who’ve agreed to receive email
about topics they’re interested in; Yahoo signed a deal with Akamai
Technologies that will allow them to deliver geographically
targeted, local advertising to Web surfers.
h - YesMail is a 3rd party opt-in email list
provider with over 25 million opt-in email addresses; 60% of
their members provide zip codes, so they can definitely offer
geotargeted names and emails.
h - Worldata/WebConnect List is a marketing service
bureau that offers ad placement and Customer Relationship Management
(CRM) services; they’re seeing more customer acquisition campaigns focused
on driving customers to brick and mortar stores; 90% of their campaigns are
geographically oriented, derived from self-reported zip codes.
h – LifeMinders offers 5
lifestyle categories with 15 million permissionbased members; can target by City, State, Zip, and
demographic characteristics.
h – Geobytes’ Intelepoint technology locates Internet users
in their town or city in real time with high degrees of accuracy. The
technology does not use cookies and does not require any information from
the Internet user.
h – Through its
service, NetCreations Inc. markets to more than 3,000 topical lists and 40
million opt-in email addresses; offers geotargeting and several “pinpoint”
demographic settings, such as age and area of interest.
h - tmp.worldwide’s local turnkey
media buying and placement service.
h – offers ad management and
direct marketing tools; ads can be targeted to
people who reside in specific zip code regions,
states, or countries; can do geographic,
demographic, psychographic, URL and personalized targeting.
h - advertising network helps advertisers reach over 20
million subscribers to over 850 email newsletters; targeted by age, location,
gender and personal interests.
h - offers geo-targeted email marketing
so that “retailers will be able to conduct geo-targeted email
campaigns that help drive people to their local brick and
mortar stores”.
h - direct marketing services provider
with over 16 million members; MyPoints members fill out
detailed profiles including address, interests, and online
buying habits.
h - a national advertising network that provides
geographically and demographically-targeted advertising on hundreds of cobranded newspaper web sites in the Zwire! Network; advertising
opportunities range from traditional banner ads to sponsorship, ecommerce, coupons and highly targeted opt-in email
programs that reach tens of thousands of local, hometown,
consumers daily.
h - designs Internet Marketing Campaigns that combine
Geotargeted Banners, Opt-in Email, and their CRM system
h - suite of Web-based software tools that make it fast
and easy for you to create, personalize, send and measure email marketing
campaigns — including newsletters and promotions
Using Third Party Lists
If you purchase or rent a list of email addresses, you should be
honest about it. We’re talking about marketing lists from reputable
vendors, where consumers have given their consent to receive
commercial mail. Not the many lists of names that are collected from
websites without permission. If you buy those lists and use them,
you’ll be guilty of spamming.
But even with legitimate sources, you could still end up being accused of spamming.
People often forget that they signed up for a list, and you’ll find that most of them didn’t
read the fine print where they agreed to receive mailings from others. If you use
purchased lists, be sure you tell customers how you got their information.
Realize that using 3rd party lists can be useful in getting your message in front of
people you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach. But these names are not as
good as those that sign up specifically to get mail from you. They just aren’t. So
concentrate on growing your own list. It will be worth its weight in gold.
Appending Email to Snail Mail Addresses
This is a variation of purchasing geotargeted emails. Instead of purchasing random
email addresses in your local market, you provide a list of street addresses
(presumably your customers) and an outside service attempts to match them against
an opt-in email addresses.
The match rates average between 25% and 35% on the low end, if you are matching
against a large enough external source for those email addresses. The service provider
merges your list with its list (the big companies have over 100
million records from compiled sources).
When a name and address from your list matches a name and
address on the provider’s list that also has an email address, that
email address is appended to your file. These are folks who have
agreed to receive promotions and offers via email.
An introductory message is sent to the customer to opt her into your list. Depending on
how the mailing is set up, she either doesn’t opt out or must opt-in. This gives you
permission to use that email address in the future. At the end of the cycle, you are
given a list with all the opted-in names and newly appended email addresses.
As always, the response rate will be directly related to how well you know your
customer and, how strong your offer is.
These are your customers, and you know why they’ve bought from you in the past.
Remind them of your previous relationship and offer a free trial or other incentive. In
other words, give them something valuable.
Email appending is bound to be a controversial subject, but it is a legitimate way of
getting email addresses. If you try it, make sure the vendors are
reputable. You don’t want to buy a bad list and end up being
accused of sending the dreaded ...
Some email appending resources:
Acquire Solutions
E2 Communications
Internet Auctions
Here’s a little-used but highly effective way of reaching potential
customers, even in your local market: online auctions. A growing
number of businesses are using auctions to attract a steady
stream of customers. There are many auction sites, but the
granddaddy of them all is ebay.
Millions of people buy and sell on ebay - in fact the site gets about one-and-a-half
BILLION hits a month! The small listing fees are a small price to pay for the kind of
exposure you get. By listing on ebay, your business can be exposed to an audience of
22 million people in over 100 countries. But more importantly, it can reach the people
next door.
There’s an article on about how thousands of
businesses are using ebay to market their products. Read the article
“Sold on ebay!”:
(if the link has moved, search the bCentral site for “auction” or “ebay”)
There are small businesses that get 80% or more of their sales from ebay. And not all
of the sales happen on ebay – you can use your “About Me” page to drive traffic back
to your website. Then you can get their email address and sell to them directly, saving
yourself some listings fees and commissions. And with ebay’s
feedback system, potential customers can get bona-fide
firsthand testimonials from your previous customers.
If you want to sell multiple items, you can set up a Dutch
auction. To make sure you earn a profit, you can set a minimum price, known as a
reserve price. You can also set a “Buy It Now” price, which allows someone to buy
the item immediately without waiting for the auction to end. And
finally, you can set up your own ebay store for as little as
There are many tips and tricks to ebay auctions – so many that
there are a slew of books and services and software programs just
for helping people to manage their bidding and selling activities.
I’ve read quite a few books on how to use ebay to make money, and the
best of them is a little book by Jim Cockrum titled “The Silent Sales
Machine Hiding on Ebay.” This is a very clever book! His ideas are
revolutionary, but at the same time so simple that even a complete
novice can quickly jump in and get started. Check it out -- it's ebay with a
twist you won't soon forget.
As far as reaching your local market, major cities are set up as regions on ebay.
Consumers can easily search by region and category at “ebay Local Trading” - This is where people will go if they want to
buy something locally, such as furniture or something expensive.
A recent development has made it even easier for your local customers to find you.
AltaVista -- one of the major search engines – announced a deal to feature listings from
its shopping-comparison guide on ebay. According to AltaVista’s senior director of
global product marketing Gannon Giguiere, "We can now allow consumers to compare
Web, localized brick-and-mortar stores and auction listings with a single glance."
I buy lots of stuff on ebay. Not long ago I went looking for sheepskin slippers and saw a
lovely pair up for auction. I could tell that this was a business, so I contacted the
seller directly. I knew from past experience that we might be able to work out
something and sure enough, we made a deal for 2 pairs of
sheepskin slippers.
Let’s review this seller’s transaction:
She got a sale and a proven customer for her 30
cent listing fee on the original pair of slippers
(which she sold later on, gaining another customer)
She paid no listing fees or commissions on the 2
pair of slippers she sold to me
She can add me to her mailing list; if I’m happy with the slippers, maybe
I’ll buy another pair in the future as a gift or whatever. (p.s. I bought 2 more
pairs later)
I would’ve never found that business if those slippers hadn’t been listed on
ebay. Her sheepskin business doesn’t show up in the first few pages of
search engine results, which is as far as most people will look.
Do you see the power of ebay? I also bought my Palm Pilot and a new computer from
local vendors that I found on ebay. Plus I’ve bought lots of computer programs and
educational toys from auctions by business owners. As a frequent ebay buyer and
seller, I can tell you now, if you’re not on ebay, you’re leaving money on the table.
There are other auction sites out there – Yahoo, BidBay, – but none of them
comes close to ebay in terms of volume. About 1.4 million items are up for sale every
day, in every imaginable category, including services, cars, houses. Somebody even
tried to auction off a kidney once, but ebay caught them and put an end to it.
Keep in mind that people who go to auction sites are looking for deals, so don’t expect
to get full retail. You may even have a sell a few items at cost. But when you think
about all the money you can spend on ads in the local paper and
get NO results, it’s a small price to pay to get the email addresses of
proven customers. The ebay feedback system works both ways –
you can check and see what kind of customer they’ve been in the
All in all, online auctions are goldmines. If you’re selling anything
at all, especially consumer products, you should definitely check
out ebay.
Online Coupons
Coupons are a classic way to pull in new customers. People love
getting deals, and the great thing about coupons is that the customer
usually has to buy something to get whatever goodies the coupon
offers. The prospect that was already thinking of buying will be especially motivated by
your coupon.
According to a recent study by Valentine Radford (, 55% of online
shoppers prefer to receive coupons via e-mail. Compare that to the 29% that prefer
newspaper coupons and just 16% prefer receiving coupons through the mail.
Another study by the National Retail Federation and BizRate shows how valuable
online shoppers are. It found that consumers who visited a retailer's Web site first,
then bought from the bricks-and-mortar store spent an average of 33% more
compared with the store's other customers.
Coupons can be used in several ways: offer a discount, a freebie, or additional products
for the same price. And virtually any kind of advertising can act as a coupon.
h Clip a coupon to your fliers
h Attach a pad of coupons to your small sign
h Make a display ad look like a coupon
h “Tell us you how you found us and get 20% off.”
All kinds of businesses are using coupons. Most pizza places use them, and even
some doctors and dentists are offering discount coupons for the first office visit.
If you normally don’t use coupons in your business, you should give it a try and see
what happens. You can bet your customers know about coupons, so why not offer
one? The discount should be at least 15%, if not more.
Naturally there are companies on the Net that will help you with your coupons and
shopping incentives:
h - allows consumers to make custom coupons for local
retail stores based on how much they are planning to spend
h - targeted coupon service
broadcast local, regional and national savings
information directly to the desktops of consumers.
h - comprehensive localized national Sales database
h - formerly SalesHound, Inc; offers several
services: SmartCircular, StorePoint and BroadReach, to present targeted instore promotions to online shoppers via and other 3rd
party sites.
h - collects detailed personal information from 16
million registered members, including demographics and category interests
h – offers a suite of services for marketing and promotion,
including: email marketing, local coupons, customer connect, partnerships,
affiliate programs
h - direct marketing services provider with over 16 million
members; MyPoints members fill out detailed profiles including address,
interests, and online buying habits
h - collection of manufacturer sponsored offers (coupons,
recipes, etc.) good on leading brands, distributed throughout the Web.
h, started in 1996 as a
coupon, freebie, and great deal Newsletter; DirectCouponsв„ў Weekly is sent
to over 1,000,000 subscribers every Tuesday evening.
h - consumers can print local coupons and find savings by
zip code
h - the association for retailers online; close to 70 percent of the
e-tailers who belong to said that customer feedback provided them
with major web-site changes and developments.
h - drives traffic and sales to your "Brick
and Mortar" business or web site by specific market (local to
national) via targeted online coupons and banner
advertising; has online ad "Studio" that allows individual
businesses to create and manage their own targeted online
ads; introductory rate of six months for $200.
When I lived in California, I received an email every week with coupons from local
businesses. This email went out to over 64,000 consumers in the San Fernando
Valley. I think the cost was $100/month for each business I saw the same ads
week after week. So it must have been working. Try contacting the local online biz
guides – maybe someone will know if this type of service is available in your area.
Ezine Ads
Advertising in e-mail newsletters (aka ezines) is probably the
quickest and most effective way of advertising on the Net. Ideally
you would find ezines that are read by people in your target
market, then place some ads.
In a local market, this may be harder to pull off. Most ezines are targeted by subject,
not by location. So finding an ezine that targets both your location and the people
interested in your business might be difficult – but not impossible. Here are some
resources I’ve found for locating regional or local ezines:
If you can find a local ezine, place an ad offering a free report or some sort of useful
information. Be sure to include an email link for them to click on, so that when they
click the link, it will send an email to your autoresponder. The autoresponder collects
their email address and sends them the free report or link to the free ebook.
Here’s another possibility: if you can find any local community sites, contact the
webmasters. Maybe they’ll know of local mailing lists you can join. The more local
people you can find online, the better your chances of finding a local online
Online Networking
This is a very broad term for what amounts to schmoozing online. It can be very
effective, but be warned – it’s very time-consuming. It involves going out and becoming
known in the community.
In this case, you need to find and get involved with local discussion boards, mailing
lists, and community websites. Just as in real life, it’s often not what you know but
who you know that gets you the business. Some common ways of getting known
h Mailing Lists – email messages sent to the list are sent to every person on
the list. More resources:
Yahoo! Groups at provides free e-mail lists and a
searchable directory of lists.
Liszt at has a searchable list of 90,000+ mailing
lists; includes a searchable directory of newsgroups
Discussion Boards – websites where people with common interests
exchange tips and information by posting messages. Some message boards
for small business owners include:
Finally, here is a comprehensive list of links to discussion boards, mailing lists,
and moderated newsgroups:
h Signature Files – A few lines about you and your business that acts as your
“signature” on email notes; useful for letting people know what you do
without blatantly advertising (which is usually forbidden on mailing lists and
discussion boards).
Low-Cost Online Traffic Generation
As we discussed earlier, the easiest way to get a flood of traffic to your site is content.
Really, if you have useful information and other valuable resources on your site, traffic
will find you. Having said that, here are some no-cost/low-cost strategies you can use
to help generate traffic.
Joint Venture Endorsed Mailings - Joint venturing is one of the most
important ways of doing business, especially online. Here’s an example:
Joe has a great product but no mailing list, so he approaches Chris, who
has a list of 7,845 subscribers. Chris sends an email recommending the
product to his subscribers, 523 people buy the $37 product, Joe and Chris
split the profits. After subtracting expenses, each nets about $9,000, money
neither would’ve gotten if they hadn’t done the deal – a true win/win
An important note: you should only recommend products you truly believe
in and think will help your subscribers. Otherwise it will backfire on you and
you’ll lose your subscribers’ trust. When somebody recommends every
product under the sun, it’s easy to figure out they’re just doing it for the
h Reciprocal Links – Search engine rankings are becoming increasingly
dependent on link popularity, or the number of quality websites linking to
yours. Also the more links to your website, the better your chances
of being found. For these reasons, you should trade links with
websites that your target audience might visit. The trick is to find
websites that don’t compete with your business. A good example
might be local wedding vendors who trade links and share leads.
An important note: do not place any links to other vendors on your main
page, unless you want your visitors to click away the moment they get to
your site. Create a “Recommended Links” page and put them there.
h Write & Distribute Articles – A great way of enhancing your reputation and
promoting your business is to write and submit articles to ezines and local
publications. Writing isn’t hard as long as you write about what you know –
industry happenings, training tips, how-to pieces, etc. Write as if you’re
having a conversation with a friend, and don’t be afraid to let your
personality shine through. Be sure to include your resource box, a brief
description of your business, your contact information and a link to your
h Associate programs - Also known as affiliate, commission, or reseller
programs, associate programs are revenue sharing arrangements companies
use to pay commissions to others for sending them customers, traffic, or
leads. Depending on the arrangement, the affiliate gets paid for connecting
you with a prospect, and you get broader exposure and hopefully more sales.
Depending on your product or service, you can offer incentives to others for
sending traffic to your website.
For example, a dry cleaning business could offer a free coupon worth up to
$25 when an existing customer refers 3 new customers. The business gets 3
new customers they wouldn’t otherwise have and the customer gets $25
worth of services. Again, win/win for everybody. The most comprehensive
source of information on associate programs on the Internet is:
These are some of the best low-cost generation methods. Don’t waste your time with
Free-For-All (FFA) sites and link farms. All they will do is get you a mailbox full of spam
and possibly a lower search engine ranking. That’s because some search engines will
actually penalize you for having a low quality site link to yours!
Offline Targeting Techniques
he goal of any offline form of advertisement – ad, flyer, radio commercial – should
be to drive traffic to either your website or your “brick and mortar” business.
And when people visit either of those places, a system has
to be in place to capture their email address. Have you added a
subscription form to your website yet?
Put up a display right by the cash register, offering exclusive
promotions or coupons that are only available by mail. If you
have employees, get them in on it too. You can give incentives for collecting email
Collect email addresses wherever and however you can. Get
people to join your mailing list from your website. More
importantly, collect names and email addresses right in your
place of business or any time you interact with your customers.
Postcard Campaign
Create an eye-catching postcard, something that will stand out from the daily deluge
of junk mail. Announce the opening of your new website and offer a valuable free gift
to celebrate the occasion, some information or service that costs you little or nothing.
If you have mailing addresses for your customers, send them the postcard invitation.
You can also send the postcard to a purchased mailing list. Depending on your source,
the list can be sorted by local zip code(s) and any other identifier for your target
There are many sources for targeted consumer mailing lists. For
example, sells lists sorted in many ways:
neighborhood selection (1-150 miles from your U.S. location), zip
code, credit, etc. You can also exclude by geography, P.O. Boxes,
rural addresses, etc.
Invite your prospects and customers to visit your website to pick up the free gift, at
which time you request their email address so you can send them coupons and
promotions. Or ask them to bring the postcard to the store to exchange it for a free
item, at which time you get their email address.
Either way, when someone collects their free gift, ask for their email address so you
can send discount coupons and notify them of special promotions. It doesn’t matter
how you do it, as long as you get their email address.
Postcards are also great for dropping into bags along with customer purchases or
handing out at fairs and local events.
Local Advertising
Email is not a replacement for traditional marketing because there are too many
people that aren’t online yet. Whatever your current marketing strategy, add email to it
so that the two work together to funnel people into your mailing list.
Any of the traditional means of advertisement can be used to drive
traffic to your website. The big difference is, you’ll be adding your
URL to everything.
Traditional Media
If you normally run newspaper ads, start adding your URL. Invite
readers to the website to claim a free gift. The same goes for any media – radio, TV,
bench ads, or skywriting. Get them to your website and get that email address.
Depending on your business and location, handing out flyers and other outdoor
advertising can be effective. Print up flyers on brightly colored paper and put them in
places where your target audience might see them: public bulletin boards in grocery
stores, colleges & universities, health clubs, libraries, community centers, etc. Also
street pole ads, window posters, bulletin boards. Make your flyer copy eye-catching
and intriguing. At the bottom, make little tear strips with your URL so that interested
readers can take it with them and look you up when they get home.
Press Releases
What could be better than free publicity for your business? If you can
find a public interest or news angle to tie into your business, you should
write a press release. Of course include your website and email address
so people could get more information.
There are lots of free resources for creating press releases. has a
section Get FREE Publicity for your business at, which includes a
Directory of Local Daily and Weekly Newspapers: and an article “How to
Write an Effective Press Release.”
You can also find contact information for local editors and journalists from
Other resources for creating and distributing press releases:
h - Media Magnet Pro is a
great automated program that allows you to create and
send out your press release in 4 easy steps. Select your
target market from over 28,000 media contacts, or
input your own contacts. This is not a service, but a software program that
you can use as often as you like.
h - free press announcement builder
h - not free
h - free online press release distribution since 1997
h - great list of resources
h - only announce new Web sites, sent by Email “several
thousand” subscribers, all site reviewers or journalists
h - internet press release resource
h - $149 News Release Distribution
Your URL Everywhere
Including your website address:
h On your business stationery
h On your sign
h In all print advertising
h On all flyers
h In your phonebook listing
h On your car with I.D.-IT plates
h On your car with decals
h Advertising space on local restaurant placemats
h Make sure that you mention your site in phone conversations with
customers and prospects
h Make sure that your voice mail ends with an invitation for the caller to visit
your site for valuable information or a free gift.
If you have a window that’s visible to the public, put your URL on it. Put your URL on
everything, including your license plate frame and promotional items for your
customers: t-shirts, pens, cups, mouse pads, cups, bumper stickers, etc.
A lot of this depends on how much you want to spend, but the key is to have your URL
imprinted on it any item that may come in contact with a customer. Letterhead,
envelopes, business cards, invoices, delivery or company vehicles, paper and plastic
bags, receipts – any and everything that leaves your store and that customers or
prospects may see. For ideas visit
In-store Promotions
Your place of business is an excellent place to gather customer email addresses. Here
are some ideas to get you started:
h Fishing for Customers – Here’s an easy way of finding out
who your customers are: offer a business card drawing
when they visit your store. Put a spiffy-looking fishbowl on
your counter and anyone who comes into your place of
business can drop in their business card for a chance to
win a prize. Ask for their email address so you can notify
the winner by email.
h Coupons – Give out coupons for discounts or free merchandise – in
exchange for their email address; you should also utilize coupons in your
online campaign. A recent survey (March 2001) showed that 55% of
consumers prefer coupon delivery via e-mails, versus only 29% that prefer
to receive newspaper coupons.
h Contests – Remember those contests where customers have to guess how
many marbles are in a jar? People love those. Whatever your line of
business, there’s got to be a contest you can come up with featuring one of
your items. Or you could have a drawing where people have to give their
name and email address to enter. Everyone is notified by email of the
results, and maybe given an extra discount on their next purchase.
h Computer Demo – Set up a computer in your store with
your website displayed on the screen. Invite customers
to click around, and offer a prize or discount on their
next purchase if they input their email address.
h Giveaways – Give away free samples or promotional items with your
business info inscribed, including URL and email address. These can range
from a few cents each to several dollars each, depending on your budget. Tshirts & caps work great, as well as pens calendars, playing cards, and CD
holders. Visit for ideas and recommended
h Demonstrations – this is a way to attract people to your place
of business and show them how to use your products, as well
as establish your credibility; for example, cooking shows,
painting demos and art exhibits can all work well, and are good
opportunities to collect email addresses in exchange for
discount coupons.
h Window Display – Put your URL in your window or somewhere so it’s visible
from the outside. You can use that static cling stuff.
h Ask – When someone buys from you, ask for their email address at a cash
register so that you can send them discount coupons and notify them of
special promotions and sales
h Voice mail/answering machine message - Always include your URL at the
end of any answering machine or voice mail message, directing customers to
the website for information, including store hours, directions, your catalog,
etc. When ending a conversation with customers, remind them to check the
website for the latest specials and coupons.
Community Involvement
One way to create buzz about your website is by tying it to local events and
organizations. What can be better than to give back to your community while
getting more exposure for your business? Here are a few ideas.
Local Events
Local events are great opportunities for generating publicity.
Sponsor a local event. Rent a booth, distribute flyers and
giveaways. Try to tie a local happening into your business
and post it on the website.
Put information about local events on your website, but only
if you update the site on a regular basis. There’s nothing
worse than seeing an announcement of an event that happened 6 months ago.
Another idea is to include a message board where people can exchange ideas and
information. People want to feel a sense of community, and if that happens on your
website, all the better. Here’s a great free resource where you can create your own
forums, chat rooms, and
Local Organizations
Become active with your local Chamber of Commerce. Advertise on their site, or ask for
a link to your website. Also look for a community portal, a website that has links to local
information and resources in the community.
You may be able to find local niche audiences via newsgroups, mailing
lists, discussion boards, etc. For example, to find websites for nonprofit and community service related organizations in Cleveland, I went
to and searched by “cleveland nonprofit organizations”. I
clicked on a few links and found: -- The best links to Cleveland Resources by subject area -- a search engine just for Cleveland
And don’t forget to search these portals for your city: (U.S.,
Canada, Australia) (U.S. only), and (U.S.,
Canada, and International)
Here’s another way to find community resources: the Google Directory: Click on Regional, then navigate to your country. Let’s
go to Canada this time. Choose North America, then Canada. Now you can search all of
Canada or narrow it down to a certain province, territory, region or locality.
You can also search by category at any level. If I search for “community portal” in
Canada, I get 153 results. If I click on Ontario, then search for community portal, I get
55. From here I can check out various community portals in Ontario, or narrow it
down even further to a specific city.
Of course, if I’m in Canada, I can use the Canadian version
of Google at, but this is an example of how
anyone can use the main Google site at to
zoom in on any city in the world.
Charities and Non-Profits
If you have the time, you may want to offer your services to
charities or non-profit organizations, especially if it attracts your target audience.
Getting involved with the community is always a good idea – it’s a way to give back,
and you’ll make contacts that could lead to more business. Obviously this is more
time-consuming, and not as simple as attending a local event. But in the long run, it
can be very rewarding.
For example, if the organization doesn’t have a website, perhaps you can donate a free
webpage on your server account, with a link back to your main site. Or you can write a
series of how-to articles for their website or newsletter.
Of course it depends on your area of expertise and the type of organization you’re
dealing with, but there’s always a way to tie two things together if you think hard
The Local Online Market
here’s been so much talk about the Internet being a global marketplace that a lot
of people have lost sight of something: we don’t live in cyberspace. Most of us
live in a city or town planted firmly on planet Earth (except in California – all
those earthquakes).
Forget the global economy.... the future of the Internet is local. That’s where people live
– in towns and cities, with everyday concerns that are primarily local.
While global information is great, people need to know what’s happening where they
live. Their day-to-day lives are local. If the Internet is to be useful
for everybody, it must be too.
Thankfully the local online market has finally started to take off. As
more local information becomes available online, people are
starting to look at the Internet as something useful instead of a
passing fad.
And where people go, advertisers are sure to follow. The amount of money spent on
local online advertising has steadily increased in the last few years. According to
Jupiter Communications, it will soon exceed the amount spent on national advertising.
Geocommerce, or local advertising revenues, are expected to reach about $50 billion
by 2006.
Here’s another reason the local online market is heating up: technology. The ability to
target online users by geography has improved, and it’s a lot cheaper now. Local
advertisers can now be sure that only local eyeballs will see their ad.
All of these facts add up to a soon to be booming local market. There are groups of
people who do nothing but study local commerce – how consumers look for and use
local information, and how small local businesses are using the Internet. Let’s take a
look at some of the results of their research.
The Local User Profile
Who is the local user? According to Cyber Dialogue (, the
typical local user is smart, affluent, and most likely female. This is a big change from
the previous survey, where the average user was a 37 year-old male. As in the offline
world, women are becoming the group you want to target in online ads.
Smart, Affluent, Half are Women
Use Local
39 Yrs
Median Age
College Graduate
Kids Present
Median Income
39 Yrs
38 Yrs
Many Young
What is she looking for when she goes online? For the 40-48 million adults who’ve
used local online content, weather forecasts and local headlines were reported to be
the most useful.
"Most Useful" Local Content
28% 27%
Local Headlines
11% 11%
Local Business Info
Not surprisingly, the longer she’s been online, the more likely she is to use local
content. She’s also more likely to register with sites and personalize the content.
Now here’s the interesting part. The following graph shows that only 34% of the
population uses local content frequently. But this group accounts for more than half
of all online spending – an average of $500 a year.
Disproportionate Value of Local Users
All Online
Order Online
Share of Online
Spend $500+
Relative Share of Population
Local Content Users
These folks make good money, and like shopping online. They are more likely to make
purchases than non-users, either online or offline. This is the market you want to
reach! The graph below shows the most common online purchases – books, travel, &
Online Purchases
Consumer Electronics
Health & Beauty
Use Local Content
Don't Use
Median Spending
Use Local = $500/Yr
Don't Use = $300/Yr
Note: Products may have been purchased from local or non-local online merchants
One last item worth mentioning: community information is like a magnet, it draws
locals online. People care about their communities, and want to know what’s going on
around them. The following graph shows the growing number of adults going online for
local content. Online banking is also on the rise.
Local User Profile Summary
h Critical Mass of Local Users in Top Markets
Half women
60% of Intensive Users
h Empowered Users
More likely to bookmark, personalize, register
Most brand influence able in Airlines, Banking, Healthcare &
h Disproportionately Valuable
50% of online spending from this segment
More likely to purchase -- both online and offline
Targeting Tips
h View Local Online as Part of Total Marketing Mix
One more “way to do business”
h Mix Business and Pleasure
Users of both business & personal content are sweet spot
Enrich user experience by adding entertainment value
h Develop Analytical CRM
Identify and measure most valuable customers
Use dynamic content and email campaigns to acquire, retain and
upsell customers
Small Business Online
Up until 1998, local businesses had almost no chance to reach
their local market using the Internet. Thankfully that’s changed.
The technology for geographically targeting online users has
improved a lot since then. It’s also become more affordable for
small businesses.
But how do local business owners feel about the Internet and its usefulness in
marketing their business? How are they using technology in their day-to-day
operations? If an owner’s business only services a local market, is it even worth having
a website?
Local Commerce Study Findings
Since mid-1999, The Kelsey Group ( and Constat, Inc
(, have jointly conducted proprietary research with the goal “to
better understand the attitudes and behaviors of small, local serving businesses
as they relate to the intersection of advertising and technology.” Some info about
their research:
All data is collected by telephone survey
Only the individual who is directly or ultimately
responsible for making advertising decisions in
local media is interviewed
Only businesses with less than 100 employees
More than 5,000 interviews
These studies have uncovered some facts about small business and the local market
that may surprise you. Following are some findings from Wave VI of the Local
Commerce Monitor, prepared for the Directory Driven Commerce Conference, July
21-23, 2003, Denver Marriott Tech Center.
What Advertisers Need. . .
• Assistance in driving potential customers to Web site
• Create and sell promotions that drive more customers to
your Web Site
• Assistance in getting qualified leads from portals
and online YP
• Enable you to create and send e-mail marketing
messages such as newsletters and promotions
• Assist with search engine advertising/placement in
search results
No Surprise – advertisers want more customers
Nice to Have, But . . .
June �03
(Percent “Very/Somewhat Interested")
• Assistance in designing/improving Web Site
• Assist in developing the ability to purchase goods and
services over your Web Site
• Place banner ads for your company on other company’s
Web Sites
• Host your company’s Web Site on their equipment
• Sell banner ad space on your Web Site to other companies
No Surprise – advertisers don’t care too much about
services, they want customers.
(Base: Small Business Advertisers)
Conclusions - Internet
9 Market is increasingly comfortable with Internet-related technology;
real business apps have replaced hype.
9 The line between Media and Technology is becoming increasingly
9 A clear movement toward broadband Internet access – driven by
Telco’s and cable companies on the supply side and financial
institutions on the demand side.
9 “Broadband” advertisers are clearly different than dial-up and nonInternet counterparts; their advertising needs and behavior vary
9 Believe that Internet will help them compete more effectively in their
“local” market.
No dramatic shift among media in terms of share
Budget allocation suggests the relevant market for local
media is around $35B
Beginning to see some business life-cycle connection to
media use
Younger businesses are more connected and rely less
upon traditional YP media
Older businesses still loyal
Some clear implications suggested by budget intentions
Conclusions – Media
No dramatic shift among media in terms of share
Budget allocation suggests the relevant market for
local media is around $35B
Beginning to see some business life-cycle connection to
media use
Younger businesses are more connected and rely less
upon traditional YP media
Older businesses still loyal
Some clear implications suggested by budget intentions
A special thanks to The Kelsey Group and Constat, Inc.
Local Market Heating Up
So there you have it. An increasingly tech-savvy population that’s turns to the Internet
for everything, including information on products and services in their local area.
Small business is becoming more comfortable with the Internet
and are beginning to realize its effectiveness in promoting their
The giant search engines and directories recognize the “local”
trend and have provided new products to facilitate local search.
National companies see how lucrative the local market is, so
they’re jumping in with the slick city guides and portals serving
up local content. That draws even more people online, enough for the ad agencies to
sell advertising by region or city.
As the local market heats up, we can expect even more advertisers and service
providers to join the fray. Everybody will be fighting to get a piece of the local pie.
Now it’s time for local business to get into the act before it’s too late. Today, not that
many local businesses are using the Net interactively. Most of the sites are nothing
more than online brochures. But that’s changing….quickly.
As you saw in Chapter 2, the competition is also heating up. If you don’t connect with
your customers now, you’ll be paying through the nose to connect with them later.
Small Town Marketing
Gary and Mary Cooley are webmasters in a community “Deep in the Ozark Forest on
Lake Norfork”. When it comes to marketing local businesses in a small town, Gary has
the experience and here’s how he puts it:
Regarding a traffic drive of locals to local business I'll be glad to share my two cents on
it. In my situation we market very heavily to the "outside world" to come here, tourism
and relocation mostly. We also have a firm that has done a great deal of work on a
directory of several hundred local businesses, like an online yellow pages. Between the
two efforts we have learned a great deal as far as what works for
In a nutshell the tourism efforts pay off very well, to the tune
of millions in annual sales off the Web. A big success story.
Local stuff is the exact opposite. Big flop. Why?
From what we have seen the local businesses cannot do what
the resorts do - which is run static sites. The resorts go for several years (my wife and
I are now starting our 8th year of making a living at this) without changing their sites
except rates, etc. We have 103 customers, few have changed their web sites over the
years. One of them has a site I produced seven years ago and it really sucks. I hate it.
But it produces over $1.5 million in annual sales for the customer.
BUT! The local restaurants, retail shops, and service sector can't get away with this.
Based on our experience if the restaurants do not change their site once a week, if they
don't change the daily special, if they don't say who the band is tonight…
…forget it! People just phone in and ask.
The furniture stores we work with have found out what many other
shops have discovered. You have to promote the site URL in
everything. Radio, print, newspapers, etc. All of us in this group
knows that, as does any other Webmaster. But unless that URL also
offers a real reason to look it up, like a Web-only offer, which must
be a GREAT offer, then it does little good.
If the local Web site offers something that cannot be had anywhere else in town, like
the radio, town paper, etc., and if that something is in demand, people will come. But
as soon as you get that something special, then the paper and the radio, and the local
chambers all start something similar, then try to convince the area that they were the
"first" to do it. So you really have to push it hard when it first comes out if you want to
be known for it.
Hardware stores are in very intense competition with each other. So are the food
stores, gas stations, and the beauty salons. But most of the owners just don't seem to
get the message. If they really want to take their competition to the mat, the Web is
the place to do it. We have done it, and it was fun. Really fun. It was
clean, fast, and very aggressive.
You can't drive the local traffic unless the merchants understand, and
are motivated to take on the Web. Search engines, free content,
calendars, all that stuff is fun, but boring as a six hour speech in mid
I work with a major chain hotel which also runs a fine dining restaurant. They whine
about not getting this kind of business, or that kind of business. They are not happy
with their Web site at all. I didn’t do it, they came to me after the fact.
They have the classic small town snooze site. We have this, we have that, it is the best,
you will really love it, blah blah blah. If I’m on the Web, and I want to go out for a night
on the town, I want a deal. I want a free beer, a free steak, a free movie. And I want it
tonight. I don't want to have to carry a frequent eater card either.
I get on the Web. I look for that deal. When I find it, that’s where I go. After all, there
are only 20 places to choose from. They all serve prime rib, they all serve beer and
wine, they are all priced about the same. Give me a free drink, or a piece of pie
TONIGHT!! And make that available ONLY on the Web. Don't offer it to the guy at the
next table who does not know the difference between an email address and a URL.
Same with gas. I gotta buy gas. I don't give a hoot if it is 2 cent more a gallon down at
Ted's and Martha's place. If Jim and Sally will give me a free pepsi at their place
TODAY, then great, that is where I go. And since Sally runs an
opt-in list that I get each morning by 6 a.m., I know what she's
offering today. Sam does the same.
I need some light bulbs. I can get them anywhere. Wal-Mart, True
Value, John and Judy's Country Store, I don't care. Give me a deal
TODAY. How about a half-pound of free nails just for buying
anything? But today only. And ONLY if I bring in the Web coupon.
Don't you dare give Mike the man next to me in line any nails without that coupon!
You get the idea. Unless the deals, specials, and other reasons change every day, or at
least every few days, I'm not coming back to the local sites because why should I?
Who cares that Dave has got a new shipment of fine Toshiba TV's in this week? Good
for Dave! God Bless his TV buying skills. But Joe has got some great buys on Sony's
and he installs free IF you show him his Web coupon.
If all the merchants who hang out at the Chamber and brainstorm on how to get more
people in the doors would all agree that they would all offer something every few days
that was a good deal – and I don't mean just 10% off – and if they made it clear to the
community that ONLY on the Web will they find these deals, now you'll get plenty of
traffic. “But”, they whine, “we won't make any money. Our markup is too low.”
What do I say to that? ---
--- Bull! And lots of it.
Get on ebay, and learn to BUY RIGHT. Get 200 of something for pennies on a dollar,
and GIVE it away.
As we all know, in a small town the word gets around fast. You have to create a "secret
online society" of deal makers. Get it going, and the word gets around. Keep it
controversial by making it a Web only thing. In the old days people would tune in the
radio. Why? Where else could they go for what they heard? Same thing with the Web
A radio spot with a trail saying " . . . and check out our Web site for more great savings"
snores me off into the next guy's shop. But if I hear " . . . today only you'll find on our
Web site the key to saving $50 on any of the 15 Widgets that came in this week".
Local traffic comes from local people who have a good reason to ignore the telephone,
the radio, the local newspaper, and their own buying habits. They get phone solicits all
week long, they see the stupid local TV ads. They listen to the radio ads recorded by
some screaming DJ who, lacking any other creative ability, believes people are
motivated to go shopping by his desperate attempts at vocal
motivation… and they see the local paper with all its same old same
old display ads. As we all know, they tune out in a hurry.
Now you think they will actually make the effort to sit down, log on,
and key in a local site for more of the same? If that were true, more
people in this group would actually be making a living at selling
Web ads.
It takes considerable aggression, creativity, and pure determination to blast the
cement out of most local merchants marketing brains. After all, they see sales people
all week who have the next best plan for boosting sales through the roof. So who are
you? Yeah, you are the guy with the dynamite. “Prove it” they all say.
Jokes, articles, news, weather, calendars. They’re the free key
chains, coffee mugs, hats, tee-shirts, and matches of the internet.
You can use only so many.
So get your merchants involved past a static site. Make a deal
with them where you do the Web work for a month free if they
come up with some really good Web specials. Take the risk with
Get ten of them lined up before you start, and get all of them to commit to at least 10
specials in a month. (If they can't do that it will take more dynamite than it is worth.)
Take your 100 specials and schedule them out over 30 days. Get your site all
produced, polished and shiny.
Then get all of those merchants to promote it at their store or whatever. Get a printer to
turn out those little cheap pads of notepaper with the URL and the come on for the 100
specials. Take two sentences to tell what readers will find at your new super site.
All the employees at all ten places will need to pass these out. The merchants need to
expect to lose a little money the first run. You lose right along with them. Tell them
this is a big ball and it takes a …
…hell of a shove to get it moving, let alone keep it moving. Forget
the newspaper, the radio, etc. They are the competition.
Be sure to offer an opt-in email deal sheet. The deal sheet contains five or six
categories - restaurant, gas, food, whatever. Each has a click back to the site where
this item of interest is for the reader. Once there he gets the info, the print 'n bring
coupon, or whatever.
Forget the eye candy. Keep it mean, lean, and fast. Information baby, and only info at
top speed! Give them a time limit on each offer. One or two days tops. You don't move
on it today, it’s gone.
When readers show up at the brick and mortar after getting the
Web special information, the employees have got to make a really
big thing over it. "You saw us on the Web? Wow! You must be
really cool! Thanks for coming in. Let's go get your item! Did you
see what Tom down the street had on his site?"
Such an approach is miles away from such futile efforts as search engine optimization,
banner ads, flash trash, or what happened last night down at the firehouse supper and
craps shoot. That's all fine if you want to serve tea and crumpets in
the park with the local bird watchers at 3 p.m..
But if you want to make a living, get way past anything that does not
involve making your merchant accounts an instant, highly visible,
profitable traffic through THEIR front door.
If you really have the nerve, there's nothing like controversy to drive traffic. Accuse
the local mayor of buying tires for his car on the City Budget. (That worked well here,
he was really doing it.) Boldly go where the local paper does not. Take thy digital
camera in dark places. Why? Because otherwise you are a re-run. The local rag will
clean you up.
My whole point here is that this is not for the meek - if you expect to make money. If
all you want to do is have a hobby, then that is a different story. But me, I need to
make a living. And I need to keep my customers. Because it takes too much work to
keep coming up with new ones all the time.
Think I'm radical? I am. I have to be. We have a great deal of competition. Big agencies.
Three of them. Agencies that have nice things like a staff of artists, programmers,
secretaries that answer the phone, and of course lots of nice computers. Yeah, all that
overhead! It makes them real hungry.
But we out-produce them. That is why we stay ahead, us radicals! In my small town
people either love me or hate me. They either think I'm some sort of computer guru or a
total idiot. But few ignore what we do.
Gary Cooley
Ozark Mountains Website, Deep in the Ozark Forest on Lake Norfork, Arkansas, USA
A special thanks to Gary Cooley.
So You’re Not on the Net (and
don’t want to be)
n spite of all of the benefits of doing business on the Net, I know there are
people who will never get online no matter what. You
don’t have a computer and don’t want one. Even if there
is a computer in your house, you wouldn’t be caught
dead sitting in front of it.
That’s fine. A few years ago I gave a presentation to a group of
wedding vendors. After the demo, a guy starting talking to me
about his business and told me that he had a website for his
business, but … he’d never seen it.
That’s right. He didn’t own a computer and had no intention of buying one. But he did
see the potential of the web, so he hung out his shingle in cyberspace.
At the time I thought that was strange, but now I see it as just another way of using
the Internet. Everyone has to find what works for them. Perhaps this approach can
work for you.
Now, I realize that if you don’t have a computer, you’re not likely to send emails to your
customers. After preaching about the necessity of email and interacting with your
customer, how can I say having only a website is fine? Am I talking
out of both sides of my mouth?
Well, yes and no.
Sure, it’d be much better if all business owners were to suddenly
wake up and realize that the Internet is the great equalizer. That it
levels the playing field. That if you want to stomp your
competition, you won’t find a better place to do it than the Net.
But that has as much chance of happening as me having a second set of triplets – it’s
never gonna happen!
But you have to start somewhere. You have to meet people where they are. Having just
a website is better than nothing. And in all reality, it will put you on equal footing
with most of the other small businesses out there with websites because they aren’t
emailing their customers either.
So here are a few ways that the Internet can work for you.
Flying Solo
You know that Yellow Page ad you pay for every year? How
often do you look at it?
Whatever your answer is, it doesn’t matter – what matters is
that it helps to drive business in your direction.
And that’s how a website can help you – it’s another way for people to find out you
exist, and get more info on your products and services.
Get somebody to build a website for you – or build it yourself. It’s not that hard with
the tools that exist today. Make it simple to start – 1 or 2 pages is fine. You can always
add more later. That’s the beauty of a website – it can be changed anytime, and should
be. Which is why you should do it yourself – otherwise you’ll be writing a lot of checks
to your website designer.
Okay, you have your website. From there you can try a few things, each of which gives
you a little more interaction with people who visit your website.
This isn’t free of course – your initial setup fees will increase a bit
because each option requires a bit more work for the person setting
it up.
Web Coupon
On the first page of your website, along with your business name
and contact info, put up a big coupon for 25% off. Visitors have to print out the
coupon and bring it in or mention it on the phone to get the discount. There should be
a link to the coupon from each of the other pages on the site.
Something this simple shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred dollars for initial site
setup and web design fees (or, like I’ve said before several times, you can do it yourself).
Mind you, this “mute website” approach won’t result in a flood of new business for
you. But it’s better than nothing, and could result in a few sales
from the coupons.
Coupon by Autoresponder
Instead of having a coupon on the main page, you can send an
offer by autoresponder, a program that automatically responds
to an email with some sort of information.
For example, on one of my websites, you’re invited to click a link to join my mailing list.
If you click, several things will happen immediately:
1. The system adds your email address to my list
2. It sends you a welcome email
3. The email gives you the link to the free ebooks I offered as the
incentive to get you to click
Yours would work the same way, except that the return email could send a coupon for
40% or even 50% off the price of something. Or maybe something free. This will give
them the incentive to give you their email address, which they have to do if they want
to get the discount or freebie.
Even better, you could load up the autoresponder with several offers, spaced out over a
period of several weeks. Sending customers only sales letters is not something you’d
normally want to do, but if you make them really good offers, they probably won’t
mind receiving them.
The time involved in setting up an autoresponder is minimal, your
web designer should be able to do it pretty quickly. Many hosting
companies offer free autoresponders to customers.
There are also websites that offer free autoresponders in exchange for
placing a small ad in each email note that you send. You really
shouldn’t use these – most people won’t take you seriously if you’re
using one of those free services. Besides, they can be unreliable, and I always wonder
about the security of the data.
The advantage of having the autoresponder send the offer is simple – it will collect
email addresses, which hopefully you will use somewhere down the line if you decide
to take it to the next level. If you collect enough addresses, you should definitely find a
way to start sending email to your list, even if you have to pay someone to send out
mailings for you.
Ezine in a Box
The ezine in a box is a series of email newsletters that are pre-loaded into the
autoresponder. Many autoresponders can be programmed for up to a year. Have your
website designer set up an autoresponder series for 12 letters – one per month. Each
letter will send a coupon or promotion, along with some sort of
information that your prospect would find interesting.
This can be a little tricky – you can’t send out any time-sensitive offers.
It needs to be some product that you always carry or a service you
always offer. Also, the information could get a little stale, depending on
your industry and the type of information you’re sending prospects.
With this option, your customers will still receive email from you, and you still don’t
have to be involved in the process. The monthly hosting fees shouldn’t change, unless
you’re being charged for the autoresponder. But the initial setup will be higher because
of the time involved in setting up the autoresponder (and creating the emails for you if
needed). But once it’s done, it’ll run unattended.
Of course, after a year the customer will stop receiving emails from you. At that point,
you’ll have to decide whether the return on investment is worth the trouble of keeping
it up.
If you’ve gotten good results, you might want to swap out the old letters for some new
ones, and have your web designer spruce up your website a bit.
Think of your site as a garden …
… that needs watering, weeding, and occasional
replacement plants.
One thing to keep in mind here: if your company is emailing prospects, there needs to
be some way for them to contact you through email (unsubscribes should be handled
automatically). One solution is to use a service that allows you to receive email via
voicemail or fax. You could also have your hosting company relay any messages to you
(for a fee).
Budget-wise, this is the most costly of the 3 options because of the amount of time
involved in writing the emails. How much depends on the web designer’s skills,
especially at writing web copy and emails. And how many emails you want preprogrammed.
This is about as far as you can go without either:
a) Getting more involved yourself, or
b) Hiring someone to tend and promote your website for you.
There are lots of companies that specialize in Customer Relationship
Management (CRM or eCRM), but they are pricey. And no one will
ever care as much about your business and customers as you do. But
any of these options can work indefinitely.
Local Biz Guides
Almost every town of any size has some sort of city guide or local portal. You can get
listed in the guide, often for free. Then if you want a page of your own, you pay a small
fee. That page could have your business name, address, and contact info. Store hours,
credit cards accepted. And of course, a great big discount coupon.
Something like this would cost a max of $175 a year, and that’s on the high side. I’ve
seen something like this for as cheap as $50/year. It all depends on how established
the guide is and how desperate the owner is to get listings. Nobody wants to buy a
listing in an empty guide!
To find city guides in your area, see the chapter “Finding the Locals Online” or contact
your local Chamber of Commerce ( Your Chamber may
have a website where you can get listed for free or a small fee. Then you can piggyback
off any marketing the Chamber does – all without having a computer of your own.
Joint Venture
In the unlikely event that there’s no local guide for you to join,
perhaps you can get some other business owners together and
create your own. Think of all the merchants around you that are
in the same boat – no web presence, no time to look into getting
one done, and not a lot of money to spend on it. Why not band together with some of
them, pool resources and create a website together?
This is a great way to test the waters without everyone having to shell out a few
hundred dollars upfront and $20-$30 a month. Create a group site, a cyber version of
the “mini-mall.” Each merchant can have their own page with business name, contact
info, and any combination of items such as:
Testimonials, endorsements, awards, etc.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Photo, audio, video
Offer for free consultation
Services offered
And of course…. the discount coupon
Even if a merchant already has a website, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for them to join in
as well. The more places a URL appears, the better the chances that someone will click
on it.
You may be able to find a web designer that will go in on it with your group, just for the
exposure and the chance to sell his services to individual business owners later. He
could help promote the website in exchange for referrals or the right to sell ads on the
site later.
Here’s another idea: have the webmaster set up the site so it collects email addresses
from every merchant’s page. Then every week send out an email with coupons from all
the merchants. The key here is that no business in the group is in direct
competition with another. Also at least one person in the group has to be
Internet savvy, or know enough so that you don’t get ripped off or taken
advantage of by the web designer.
No matter what, it will still cost everybody less if the website design and
hosting fees are split among several businesses. Each merchant pays a
little to have some sort of presence on the Internet. If you get enough of
those coupons coming into your store, maybe you’ll think twice about not
getting on the Net.
P. S.
Maybe you think all this computer stuff is not for you. It’s too much work, I’m too old,
it’s too hard, I hate computers … I’ve heard them all. You want to mind your business
and not be bothered with all this newfangled technology.
From every major publication in the world, the consensus is that without a doubt the
Internet will be the largest economic phenomenon in the history of civilization. In other
words, like it or not, it’s here to stay. And if you don’t go to it, sooner or later…
it will come to you.
Every day more ordinary activities are moving to the Net – banking, shopping, movie
listings, sports results – you name it, it’s there. Or will be soon.
No matter what kind of business you have or what you think of computers, you have to
come to terms with this beast called the Internet. The future of your business may
depend on it.
Yes, it can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to
computers. But once you see what the Internet can do for
your business, you’ll wonder what took you so long.
Next Steps for the Local Net
Although a lot of progress has been made in bringing the Net to the local market, it still
has a long way to go. Some things that might help:
h Availability of more affordable products and services such as Site Build It!,
the all-in-one system of tools that allows business owners to build their
online business without worrying about HTML, FTP, or any of the other
technical details. These tools should focus on the needs of local advertisers
and address their “real world” problems – lack of time, focus and money.
h More evidence for small business owners that using the Internet will drive
paying customers into brick-and-mortar stores; more success stories,
preferably about people in the same industry and income range.
h More joint ventures between small business owners, i.e. advertising, website
sharing, affiliate programs.
h Yellow Pages and newspapers need to step up to the plate and develop their
web businesses to serve the local business operator; people who have
established rapport with business owners will make the difference; the local
barber is more likely to listen to offers of expanded services from a trusted
Yellow Pages ad rep than from some pushy salesperson from a city guide.
h Teach small business owners how to stretch the benefits of small print ads
and short commercials, i.e. use traditional media to get prospects’ attention,
then direct them the website.
h Packaging and selling to local advertisers packages that combine on-air and
online promotion; this will allow them to spend less for more reach; also
allow local advertisers to share television spots so they can lower their costs.
h Point and click e-commerce solutions are a start, but small businesses need
technologies to analyze customer activity on the site, gauge the effectiveness
of advertisements, personalize the site for each visitor, build incentive
programs, offer coupons and instant discounts, confirm orders and returns
and automate e-mail responses. Oh, and it needs to be easy to learn and
Final Notes
ongratulations – you made it to the end!
Now please, don’t put this book on a shelf and forget about it. Time is of the
essence. Get busy and find those customers before it’s too late.
Remember to visit the GeoLocal website at -- it’s updated frequently
with lots of articles, resources, and related links.
What Do You Think?
I wrote this book to help you…did I? I really want to know.
If you think it was great in some areas, I’d love to hear about it. If it was lacking in
other areas, I want to hear about that too. Don’t hold anything back. I can take it.
I wish you much success, both online and offline.
All the Best,
Sharon Fling
(281) 778-6207
[email protected]
В©, Inc.
Online Resources
Note: In addition to the following resources, please be sure to visit, which takes up
where this book leaves off. It includes articles, case studies, resources, and product/site reviews.
Local Business Resources
The ultimate resource for
promoting small local business
using the Internet
Network of City Business
Local & Regional Small Business
Local business journals
Small Business Resources
The Web's largest source of key
information about doing business on the
Net -- hundreds of articles, thousands of
links to resources on e-commerce and
Web marketing.
Users can customize their ChamberBiz
Trading Network options to control the
geographical area that they are targeting
to either buy-from and/or sell-to.
Buyers can also select individual
suppliers or groups of suppliers as they
see fit.
Legal and regulatory info for America’s
small businesses; Learn about the laws that
apply where you do business; includes
Strictly Business, Strictly Local
Small Business Knowledge Base
Smart Business Network Online
Tim Berry, president of Palo Alto
Software and creator of Business Plan
Pro software, has filled this site with
templates, Q&As, sample plans, and
other tools to help small business
owners develop complete (and useful)
business plans.’s
Business @home
SmallbizNet Features an electronic
bookshelf and a bulletin board where
entrepreneurs can trade tips.
Small Biz Search Engine
The Yahoo! small business portal is
filled with resources to help you start
and grow a business, promote it, and
sell products and services online.
Small and home-based business resources
Features templates, sample contracts,
checklists, and commonly used
government forms.
Nolo Online legal services
National Business Association
By Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs
Entre World – resources for entrepreneurs
Online Publications
Business 2.0
Fortune Small Business
Fast Company
Business Week
Entrepreneur Magazine
Business Discussion Forums is a knowledge-sharing
community that helps small businesses make
better decisions through the free exchange of
advice on a wide range of issues and products.
Internet 101
The material for this Appendix is from the website, selected by Yahoo!
as one of the three best sites on the Internet for beginners! Be sure to check the Internet
101 website for any updates. В© 1997-2004 Scott Cottingham
Note: Since this Appendix came from a website, the navigation is based on links, which are not necessarily spelled out. For example you
can click on this link but you can’t tell where it’s going until you click it. I went through and added the URLs to some of them so that you
can use this information offline, but not all of them. So you’ll need to be online to
use many of the hyperlinks in this section.
Come and discover how the Internet works. Find out where you can get great software.
Learn the secrets of search engines. Have your questions answered and problems
Internet 101 was created for those who want to know just the basics. This guide will
provide you with enough knowledge to have fun on the Internet, yet will not bore you
with too many details.
Think of this as a set of instructions...for people who don't like to read instructions!
What is the Internet?
Sometime in the mid 1960's, during the Cold War, it became apparent that there was a
need for a bombproof communications system. A concept was devised to link
computers together throughout the country. With such a system in place large sections
of the country could be nuked and messages could still get through.
In the beginning, only government "think tanks" and a few universities were linked.
Basically the Internet was an emergency military communications system operated by
the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA). The whole
operation was referred to as ARPANET.
In time, ARPANET computers were installed at every university in the United States
that had defense related funding. Gradually, the Internet had gone from a military
pipeline to a communications tool for scientists. As more scholars came online, the
administration of the system transferred from ARPA to the National Science
Years later, businesses began using the Internet and the administrative responsibilities
were once again transferred.
At this time no one party "operates" the Internet, there are several entities that
"oversee" the system and the protocols that are involved.
The speed of the Internet has changed the way people receive information. It combines
the immediacy of broadcast with the in-depth coverage of newspapers...making it a
perfect source for news and weather information.
Internet usage is at an all time high. Almost 100 million U.S. adults are now going
online every month, according to New York-based Mediamark Research. That's half of
American adults and a 27 percent increase over 1999 in the number who surf the Web.
There also appears to be a continuing gender shift in the number of American adults
going online. In early 2000, Mediamark reported the milestone that women for the first
time ever accounted for half of the online adult population. Now 51 percent of U.S.
surfers - some 50.6 million - are women.
There are several ways to access the Internet. You will learn about the options that are
available to you in “Getting Started”.
But first, let’s look at how information moves through the Internet.
How Information Flows Through The Internet
For the purpose of this example let's say that you want to send a file to a friend who
lives on the opposite side of the country. You select the file that you friend wants and
you send it to him via email. Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol
(TCP/IP) prepares the data to be sent and received. TCP/IP ensures that a Macintosh
network can exchange data with a Windows, or a Unix network, and vice-versa.
The file that you are sending does not travel to your friends computer directly, or even
in a single continuous stream. The file you are sending gets broken up into separate
data packets. The Internet Protocol side of TCP/IP labels each packet with the unique
Internet address, or IP address of your friends computer. Since these packets will travel
separate routes, some arriving sooner than others, the Transmission Control Protocol
side of TCP/IP assigns a sequence number to each of packets. These sequence
numbers will tell the TCP/IP in your friends computer how to reassemble the packets
once he receives them. Amazingly, the complicated process of TCP/IP takes place in a
matter of milliseconds.
The packets are then sent from one "router" to the next. Each router reads the IP
address of the packet and decides which path will be the fastest. Since the traffic on
these paths is constantly changing each packet may be sent a different way.
It is possible to discover the paths between routers using a utility known as Traceroute.
Using your favorite search engine, type in "traceroute" to find different Web sites
hosting it.
Also, check out the Internet Traffic Report at to find out
how much global Internet traffic there is at this moment...and where the "bottlenecks"
are. This information may not useful to you...but it's interesting!
What Is The World Wide Web?
Think of the web as the illustrated version of the Internet. It began in the late 1980's
when physicist Dr. Berners-Lee wrote a small computer program for his own personal
use. This program allowed pages, within his computer, to be linked together using
keywords. It soon became possible to link documents in different computers, as long as
they were connected to the Internet. The document formatting language used to link
documents is called HTML (Hypertext Markup Language.)
The Web remained primarily text based until 1992. Two events occurred that year that
would forever change the way the Web looked. Marc Andreesen developed a new
computer program called the NCSA Mosaic (National Center for Supercomputing
Applications at the University of Illinois) and gave it away! The NCSA Mosaic was the
first Web browser. The browser made it easier to access the different Web sites that
had started to appear. Soon Web sites contained more than just text, they also had
sound and video files.
The pages on, written in the hyper-text markup language, have
"links" that allow the user to quickly move from one document to another...even when
the documents are stored in different computers.
Web browsers "read" the html text and convert it into a page of formatted text.
Each web site has an address, or Uniform Resource Locator (URL). The URL contains
a set of instructions that are read by the browser.
The beginning of the URL contains the protocol. This is usually "http" (Hypertext
Transfer Protocol) or "ftp" (File Transfer Protocol). The second section of the URL
reveals the domain. Directories follow the domain. Lastly is the name of the
document. (If no document is named the browser will automatically open any
document in the directory named "default" or "index."
What Is A Portal?
A portal is a gateway to the World Wide Web. Any page with a link to another Web site
can technically be considered a portal. However, a good portal will provide you with
links to all the information that is important to you on a daily basis.
For example, the portal should provide links to recent news stories, current weather
reports and forecasts, stock quotes, sport scores, and any other timely information.
There are several Web sites that can provide you with this information. Most of them
can be customized to provide you with the information you need.
Several of these portals are an extension of a search engine. In order for these to be
useful, however, the portal needs to be more than just a search engine.
Most Web browsers have a preset startup page. Usually it is set to the homepage of the
Web browser (Netscape's home page or Microsoft's home page) or the home page of
your Internet Service provider.
We suggest that you change the default setting of your startup page to one of these
Our Favorite Portals
Excite at
You customize the page to include news, weather, sports, stock quotes,
and movie listings. This site also features free-email, chat and a customized
news-search tool.
My Yahoo! at
You can customize the page to include news, weather, sports, stock quotes,
and movie listings. This site also features free-email and chat.
My Snap at
You can customize the page to include news from MSNBC, sports from
ESPN, weather, and stock quotes. This site also features free-email.
My Netscape at
You can customize the page to include news, sports, weather, and stock
quotes. This site also features free-email.
Lycos Personal Guide at
You can customize the page to include news, stock quotes, sport scores,
lottery results, "Top 5% Web Site Reviews," weather information and
My News at
From America Online. You can customize the page to include news, sports,
weather, and stock quotes.
Registration is required to use these Web sites since they are customized to each users
particular needs. You will be asked to submit a "screen name" (username) and a
password. There is no charge to use these portals...they receive their revenue from
Getting Started
If you are accessing the Internet with America OnLine at, Compuserve at, MSN at, Prodigy at, or WebTV
at, your service has bundled everything that you need into the
software you are currently using.
They say that if the Internet were a bicycle, using America OnLine, or a similar "online
service", is like having a bike with the training wheels on.
It's not such a bad thing if you are a beginner. In fact we recommend it! AOL, WebTV,
MSN, Prodigy and Compuserve are easy to use (relatively).
Once you get some Internet experience you may decide to "go it on your own" and hook
up with an Internet Service Provider (ISP). You may find that the service is just as good
or better and the monthly fee is just as much or less.
In the next section you’ll get suggestions on finding your own ISP.
If you take the training wheels off and use an ISP you may need to stock up on some
tools. Before you cancel your membership with your online service ask the ISP which
software they provide and which software you will need to obtain yourself. This way
you will be able to download whatever you need while you're still connected to an
online service.
For the basic, no hassle, Internet experience all you really need is a Web browser. Web
browsers "read" the html text and convert it into a page of formatted text.
Currently there are many Web browsers available. The Netscape Navigator at and the Microsoft
Internet Explorer at are the
most popular. Critics frequently disagree over which browser is superior. Most people
prefer whichever browser they used first.
There are a couple of new-comers to the scene, Opera at and NeoPlanet
at Opera is renowned for being the world's fastest browser (read review
at Opera is much smaller than other
major browsers. In its standard configuration, it almost fits on a floppy disk yet it is all
you need to surf the web. The NeoPlanet browser is very stylish looking. With over 500
stylish skins the NeoPlanet can look, feel, and sound the way you want it to.
These browsers can be obtained over the Internet. Feel free to download whichever one
you are currently not using and take it for a test drive. There is no charge for them.
Click on the icon to download the browser of your choice.
Not enough choices? Go to to visit an archive featuring dozens
of browsers, both old and new.
Even though these web browsers have everything necessary for you to explore and
enjoy the Internet, you may wish to add some "specialized" software to make your
Internet experience even more rewarding.
You may decide that you want to add "plugins" to your browser. These are necessary if
you wish to hear sounds and see some advanced animations and videos.
Even though browsers have the capability for email and newsgroups you may wish to
install separate software for these applications.
Chatting is possible without subscribing to an online service, however you may need
separate software.
Check out Internet 101's Software page for a list of Web sites to visit for your software
Viewz offers interviews, helpful hints, game reviews, CD-ROM listings, web pointers and
opinions that will help make the most of the personal computing and Internet
How To Find An Internet Service Provider
You may have tried one of the traditional online services such as America OnLine, MSN,
Prodigy, Compuserve or WebTV. They do a good job at making your first Internet
experience as easy as possible.
There may come a time, however, when you wish to "go it on your own" and sign up
with an Internet Service Provider (ISP).
The online services connect you to the Internet, so do ISPs. The big difference between
the two is "content." The online services provide proprietary content...and lots of it.
Most ISPs provide very little original content, you must venture out yourself (onto the
Web, Usenet, ect...) and find it.
You will probably discover that an ISP can provide you with just as good of service, or
better, at the same price or less.
Not all ISPs are created equally. Some are very good, some are very bad. Here are some
questions that you should ask of any potential ISP before you sign on the bottom line:
What's the cost? This may not be the most important factor but it's a good
place to start. Most ISPs charge around $20 a month. If you shop around
you may find one for $14 a month.
Do they offer discounts if you prepay the entire year upfront? (This is a good
option, providing that it fits into your budget, if you choose a good ISP. It's a
bad option if the ISP turns out to be less than desirable.)
Do they offer a free trial? Try-before-you-buy is always a good thing.
What modem speed do they support? A good ISP will support 56K. You may
not have 56K modem yourself but this will provide some indication of the
commitment that this ISP is willing to make.
What's the ratio of modems to users? 6 to 8 users per modem is quite
acceptable. Find out what number you would dial in on...and try it a few
times. Does your call through or do you receive busy signals?
What software does the ISP supply? What software will you need? Is there an
extra charge if the ISP supplies the software? (Most of the software that you
need can be obtained via the Internet.)
How good is the customer support? Some will provide customer support 24
hours a day, 7 days a week...with a "800" number. Most aren't quite that
good. Call their customer support number a few times before you decide to
sign up. Take it as a bad sign if you frequently get a busy signal.
Do they charge a "setup" fee? Some do...most don't. If you live in a city with
many ISPs find one that doesn't charge you for the privilege of bring your
business to them.
There are a few of ways to find Internet Service Providers in your area. We recommend
Find An ISP at They list Internet Service Providers by city.
You may also wish to check out The List at They have a large listing
of ISPs broken down by area code.
You can also check your local phone book.
Safety On The Internet
The Internet is full of wonderful places and can create many positive experiences. Vast
amounts of information is available at the click of a mouse. "Cyberspace", however, is
part of "real life" and there is good reason to be cautious here. The same dangers that
exist in "real life" exist on the Internet. We all learn what part of town is the "bad part of
town" and avoid it if we want to. The same holds true with the Internet.
Just as we encounter good and bad
people on the street, we will encounter
good and bad people online. Adults
usually exercise common sense, children
need guidance and protection.
There are two schools of thought regarding the guidance and protection of our young
people. One camp believes that the Internet should be regulated much the same way
television is. The second camp views this as censorship and feels that there is a
technology available to protect children without limiting the Internet for everyone.
The Internet is an exciting medium because it allows, and encourages, the exchange of
ideas. Some of these ideas may be of an adult nature and . Rather than eliminate these
areas of the Internet they can be "blocked" from your computer using software.
Here's where you can go to read about and download the software that is available:
Our Favorite Web Sites
CYBERsitter at
Blocks - content and graphic file downloads. It also filters offensive terms
and phrases.
Cyber Patrol at
This has a customizable dictionary for each member of the family. It can
also limit the amount of time spent online.
Cyber Snoop at
It has a customizable list of Web sites that are forbidden. Log entries allow
parents to see where the child has been.
KidDesk Family Edition at
Prevents children from accessing CD-ROMs and online services not
approved by the parents. Allows for password protection of programs.
Net Nanny at
This has a customizable filter list. It will check incoming and outgoing text
against a dictionary of words that the parents create.
SurfWatch at
Blocks Web sites, newsgroups, FTP, Gopher sites, IRC channels, based
upon information that the parent provides.
We recommend that you establish a set of rules with your child that governs their
conduct while they are online:
I will not give out my address, telephone number, school name or location, credit card
information, or my parents work name, address or telephone number without my
parents permission.
I will not respond to a message that is mean or makes me feel uncomfortable. I will tell
my parents (or, in their absence, another adult who is present) right way if I get a
message like that.
I will never agree to meet an online acquaintance in person without first discussing it
with my parents. If my parents agree to the meeting, I will bring my mother or father
with me and make sure it is in a public place.
I will help my parents set up rules for when and how long I can be online and will not
break those rules without their permission.
For more information about keeping children safe on the Internet, check out these Web
The New York Public Library provides a parent's guide to Internet Safety issues at
The Platform for Internet Content Selection at is a
rating system for Web sites. SafeSurf at explains the use of
voluntary site identification codes to rate the Web site content.
Many schools already have an Acceptable Use Policy for classroom computer use. Their
site has many hyperlinks to various sites with information for K-12
Avoiding Viruses
A computer virus is a program that invades your computer system, hides there, and
makes copies of (replicates) itself. Viruses spread when you launch an infected
application or start up your computer from a disk that has infected system files.
Viruses behave in different ways. Some viruses stay active in memory until you turn off
your computer. Other viruses stay active only as long as the infected applications is
running. Turning off your computer or exiting the application removes the virus from
memory, but does not remove the virus from the infected file or disk.
Some viruses are programmed specifically to damage the data on your computer by
corrupting programs, deleting files, or erasing your entire hard disk.
All computer viruses are manmade. A simple virus that can make a copy of itself over
and over again is relatively easy to produce. Even such a simple virus is dangerous
because it will quickly use all available memory and bring the system to a halt.
Trojan horses are not viruses; however, they are often thought of as viruses. A trojan
horse is a program that appears to serve some useful purpose or provide
entertainment, which encourages you to run it. But, like the Trojan horse of old, it also
serves a covert purpose which may be to damage files or perhaps plant a virus on your
Many computer viruses turn out to be hoaxes or myths. Hoaxes are false alerts about
viruses that don't exist. Another good site to visit is Computer Virus Myths at
We highly recommend that you have Virus Protection installed in your
computer before you consider downloading anything.
Our Favorite Web Sites
Dr. Solomon's Virus Solutions at
This site will assist you fight the virus war with software, an encyclopedia,
primers, alerts and research.
McAfee's Virus Info Library at
This Web site includes a virus alert calendar, glossary and virus list by year
of discovery.
Symantec AntiVirus Research Center (SARC)
Information designed to prevent the spread of computer viruses and
Virus Encyclopedia at
This site lets you search for viruses by name or search through the virus
universe alphabetically.
How To Use Web Browsers
A Web browser is a software application that is used to view Web pages. Most browsers
can also be used to send and receive email, connect to Web based free email services
and read newsgroups.
Web pages include text, graphics, sound and video.
These pages, written in the hyper-text markup language, have "links" that allow the
user to quickly move from one document to another...even when the documents are
stored in different computers.
Web browsers "read" the html text and convert it into a page like the one you are now
looking at.
Currently there are many Web browsers available. The Netscape Navigator and the
Microsoft Internet Explorer are the most popular. Critics frequently disagree over which
browser is superior. Most people prefer whichever browser they used first.
There are a couple of new-comers to the scene, Opera and NeoPlanet. Opera is
renowned for being the world's fastest browser. Opera is much smaller than other major
browsers. In its standard configuration, it almost fits on a floppy disk yet it is all you
need to surf the web. The NeoPlanet browser is very stylish looking. With over 500
stylish skins the NeoPlanet can look, feel, and sound the way you want it to.
These browsers can be obtained over the Internet. Feel free to download whichever one
you are currently not using and take it for a test drive. There is no charge for them.
Click on the icon to download the browser of your choice.
Not enough choices? Go to to visit an archive featuring
dozens of browsers, both old and new.
Web browsers are fully customizable. You have the option of changing the size of the
text and style of font that is displayed.
You also have the option of changing the "home" or "startup" page that appears when
the browser is started. We suggest that you set your "home" to whichever portal you
usually visit.
How To Use Email
Even with the multimedia excitement of the Web, Electronic Mail (email) is the most
frequently used application of the Internet. Many people who have access to the
Internet at school, home, and work, use the Internet for no other purpose than to send
and receive email.
According to International Data Corporation (IDC), on an average day in the year 2000,
5.1 billion emails are sent in the US and 8.2 billion worldwide. By 2005, 11.5 billion
emails will be sent each day on average in the US and 26.1 billion worldwide. (This
includes emails sent by individuals for business and personal purposes, but not mass
emails sent to large lists.)
It's all very easy. You create the message, log onto the Internet, and send it. The
message first goes to your Internet Service Provider's mail server, which in turn sends
it to the recipient's mail server. On the way your message may go through several
servers, each reading the domain name in order to route it to the appropriate server.
The message then remains in the recipient's mail server until he requests it by
"checking his mail."
Each email address you send is made up of certain components that help route it to
the proper recipient:
The benefits of email are obvious...mostly it's quick. Also, many people feel that the
rules for regular mail don't apply to email*, making it less formal, which in turn makes
email easier to compose and send.
It's not just friends and coworkers that are receiving email. Wherever you look, the Web
is providing email addresses. This has made communication between strangers easier
than ever. When you visit a Web site, click on the Web masters email address to let
them know what you think. You can read an interesting article online and immediately
send the author an email.
There are several search engines that will assist you in finding email addresses.
Our Favorite Web Sites
Free lifetime e-mail service and email/postal address search engine. Email Search
Brought to you by and powered by
ClassMates Online
Find old friends using this e-mail directory of high school alumni. There are
registrants from over 30,000 high schools in North America.
Search engine for finding and changing old email addresses.
Comprehensive directory service for phone, fax, email yellow and white
pages and more. Includes listing of local businesses and services nearest
your town.
Internet Address Finder
A quick way to locate an email address for that elusive friend or colleague.
Search Engine will locate email addresses and phone numbers for
individuals and business.
Yahoo! People Search
Find peoples email addresses and telephone numbers.
Email, in the form of mailing lists, is also a great way to stay informed or to be
entertained. (This is like having a free electronic newsletter delivered directly to your
There are more than 10,000 mailing lists. Click here to find out if there is currently a
mailing list for your topic of interest. (This link will open an email link. In the first line of
the email type LIST GLOBAL.) You will then receive a list with the names of the
10,000+ mailing lists. Subscribing to a mailing list is easy. Usually all you have to do is
type SUBSCRIBE in the body of the message that is sent to the author of the mailing
There are also a few Web sites that index the current mailing lists: List of Lists, ListServe
Database, and Martin Bohnet's Mail List List.
Email is one of the services offered by your Internet Service Provider...a service that you
are paying for every month. If you are connected to the Internet for the sole purpose of
sending and receiving email you may wish to check out an alternative. Click here for
more information on totally free email.
How To Get Free Email
There are several "Web" based service that offer free email addresses. They allow you
to check your email from any computer that has an Internet connection. They allow
you to keep your email address forever, even if you change Internet Service Providers or
Our Favorite Web Sites
AltaVista Email
Co-branded iName site offers web-based email. Choose between a
branded [email protected] address or a personalized one.
Free lifetime e-mail service and email/postal address search engine.
Free Web-based electronic mail.
Get free, private email at the same address for life. Offers detailed sign-up
advice for new users.
Yahoo! Mail
Get an e-mail account that is free and accessible from anywhere with web
Other Web Sites
Totally free email accessible from any computer in the world via the Web.
Powered by Who Where?
Free, web-based email aimed at teenage girls. Includes worldwide access,
attachments sent directly from the user, and address blocking.
Free, private, web-based email. Allows you to consolidate all your accounts
in one place, or forward all of your CONK!Mail to another address.
Free email using a separate client application, or pay monthly fee for their
premium service.
LookSmart Email
Get your very own fast, free, and private email account from LookSmart.
Simply enter your name and you're on your way.
Lycos Email
iName-powered service allows users to read email on the web, forward
messages anywhere, or read email through a favorite email program.
Provides free web-based email service that includes personalized
addresses. Offers premium services to members via subscription.
[email protected]
Free web-based lifetime e-mail address that works independently of your
Internet Service Provider. Address will be of the form [email protected]
ZDNet Onebox
ZDNet's free email service integrates voicemail, email, and faxes,
accessible by computer or phone.
How To Search
Looking for something, or someone? The Internet can be the quickest, and least
expensive way to find long as you know how to use the search engines
Remember, the purpose is finding, not searching. Here are a few tips for successful
Read the "hints" and "help" for each search engine. This will explain exactly how the
search tool operates. For your convenience we've included links to these sections.
Experiment with different search engines. Even though they are all similar, they all
have important differences. A search engine that is quick, but returns 40,000 pages
may not be as effective as one that may be slower but returns only 30 pages. Find the
search engine that is best suited for your needs.
Here's a list of search engines:
Web Search Engines
Web and Usenet News searcher, indexing over 100 million pages.
Categories are: simple, people, business, subject, and advanced searches.
Click here for special tips.
Ask Jeeves!
Features a question-answering system allowing anyone to ask a question in
plain, simple English without having to use keywords or Boolean search
Click here for special tips.
Use this well-known service to search by keywords or text strings, or
browse the categories of reviewed sites.
Click here for special tips.
Google uses sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are
both important and relevant to your search.
Click here for special tips.
Wired magazine's search engine, powered by Inktomi, allows you to search
within particular geographic or cyber areas.
Click here for special tips.
Search the Web, email addresses, newsgroups or a company directory by
keyword, name or full questions. Or browse the reviews.
Click here for special tips.
Internet Sleuth
Find what you're after by choosing from over 3,000 searchable databases.
Narrow the search down by selecting from over 20 subject listings.
Organizes the Web for you like no other directory. It is three powerful
Internet tools in one: LooksmartExplore, LookSmart Search, and LookSmart
Click here for special tips.
Customizable search engine allows you to enter a search string or browse
the Web by subject. With a newcomers' section.
Click here for special tips.
Natural language searching using plain English words. Designed for novice
users, but includes some advanced features.
Click here for special tips.
WWW Virtual Library
The VL is the oldest catalog of the web, started by Tim Berners-Lee, the
creator of the web itself. Unlike commercial catalogs, it is run by a loose
confederation of volunteers.
Original search engine and directory of the Web. Search the entire
database at once, or comb through the categories.
Click here for special tips.
Search For Newsgroups/Mailing Lists
Enter a word or phrase to search the largest mailing list directory. Over
71,000 entries, including 148 computer-related lists.
Click here for special tips.
Deja News
Allows you to search newsgroups for messages matching your keywords.
You can then reply or post your own message.
Click here for special tips.
Free service allows you to find a mailing list or newsgroup by keyword. Also
allows keyword searches of archived postings.
Click here for special tips.
Search for Groups
Searches newsgroup by title, description, or moderator name. Search FAQs
by subject, author or summary.
Search For People
One of the most accurate global email and white pages on the Net, with
over 100 million listings and door-to-door mapping.
Email & Homepage Addresses
Collection of information, links and resources useful for tracking down an
Four11 Directory Services
Longest established of the directories, this one lets you search for email,
phone or NetPhone, and government contacts.
Extensive look-up service for email, postal, telephone and homepage
addresses. Available in English, French and Spanish.
Yahoo! People Search
Search for email addresses by first name, last name, or domain name.
SmartName function allows for abbreviations
Search For Software
CNET's offers access to the most popular picks in the
shareware world.
Access to over 250,000 Windows, Mac, Unix, and DOS shareware
applications at FTP sites worldwide.
Shareware Junkies
Loads of practical and not-so-practical shareware and freeware for
Windows, Mac, DOS, and OS/2.
CNET's guide to shareware on the Net.
Email, multimedia, HTML, and networking tools along with connectivity
apps, anti-virus, games, and accessories.
ZDNet Software Library
Games, utilities, development tools, and graphics, business, home, and
education software.
How To Locate Software
The Internet may be the best place to obtain software. After all, what store allows you
to "take the product out for a spin" before you buy it? Where else can you obtain "free
updates" for the software that you already purchased? How many
computer stores are open 24 hours day, 365 day a year?
Freeware is software that you can download and use without ever paying a dime. This
software is sometimes developed by kind hearted souls who create software for the
simple joy of creating it. Other times it's created by large companies who want you to
test the software and find any bugs before they sell it to the general public (beta
Shareware is basically "try it before you buy it." You can download it and try it out. If
you decide that you want to keep it you should pay the developer the "shareware fee."
This fee is usually minimal. Sometimes all the developer asks in return for the software
is an email from you proclaiming how much you've enjoyed using it.
Most commercial software goes through a series of improvements, or Updates. Version
4.0 is released and shortly afterwards updated to 4.1, then 4.2, and so forth. Most of
these updates are free to download from the developers home page. It's a good idea to
periodically check and see if your software has been updated.
Our Favorite Web Sites
CNET's offers access to the most popular picks in the
shareware world.
Access to over 250,000 Windows, Mac, Unix, and DOS shareware
applications at FTP sites worldwide.
Shareware Junkies
Loads of practical and not-so-practical shareware and freeware for
Windows, Mac, DOS, and OS/2.
CNET's guide to shareware on the Net.
Email, multimedia, HTML, and networking tools along with connectivity
apps, anti-virus, games, and accessories.
ZDNet Software Library
Games, utilities, development tools, and graphics, business, home, and
education software.
Additional Web Sites
5 Star Shareware
Internet applications for Windows 95 & 98.
Albert's Ambry
Search for shareware by keyword or browse categories.
Association of Shareware Professionals
Membership details and info on ASP's mission.
A directory to beta versions of software from companies both large and
Cap'n Fishy's Internet Software Pages
Useful shareware and freeware from the Capn's Treasure Chest.
Dan World
A download zone with favorites and news.
Data Village
Specializing in database products for the home and small business.
Popular demos and trial versions of commercial PC games.
Download Warehouse
Browsable archive of business, graphics, and Internet shareware.
Father of Shareware
Get past the annoying music and ads, and you'll find shareware, freeware,
and the history of it all.
File Mine
Games, demos, screensavers, and education and multimedia software.
Over one million free software, game, and image files.
From anti-virus to video, along with editor picks and a file of the day, from
PC World Online.
Free Software Store
Freeware and trialwares -- the best of which is downloadable from the site.
Freeware Central
Lots of links and legal info regarding freeware.
Freeware Home
Collection of freeware, including desktop themes, fonts, wallpaper, and
screen savers.
Freeware Now
Freeware for Windows, including drivers, demos, and tips on how to turn off
or do away with some of Win95's annoying "features".
Happy Puppy
The latest game demos, news, and prizes.
Internet Magazine Online Software Toolkit
Windows and Macintosh software and shareware.
Lawrence Goetz's Shareware
Collection of children's shareware programs for Windows.
My Shareware Page
Get all the shareware you will ever need.
Pass The Shareware
Quality shareware and freeware. Links to other super shareware sites.
PC Win Resource Center
Windows 95/NT shareware, freeware, and demos.
Rocket Download
Quick downloads and demos.
Windows based shareware archive including ActiveX and games software.
Shareware 95
Windows users can find shareware, news and information.
CNET's offers access to the most popular picks in the
shareware world.
Shareware Connection
Offers CATDISK, a total solution to managing, identifying and finding your
files in your disk collection.
Shareware Resources
SoloTech's Collection of Shareware.
Shareware Shop
Large download section supplemented with shareware, want ads, and
Shareware Stockpile
Load up your computer with the latest shareware.
Center for shareware and freeware downloads.
Software Site
Windows games are available for download.
Star Shareware
Download programs, upload your own, and find general shareware news
and info.
Superior Shareware
From Windows Magazine's Shareware Library.
Ziff Davis Shareware Awards
High-tech publisher's shareware of the year -- available for download.
We highly recommend that you have Virus Protection installed in your
computer before you consider downloading anything.
What Are Newsgroups?
Contrary to the name, there is actually very little "news" in the newsgroups.
Newsgroups are basically an electronic bulletin board. Items are posted and can be
responded to via email. Depending upon your online-service or Internet Service Provider
(ISP), you should have access to about 12,000 newsgroups (currently there are nearly
26,000). With this many newsgroups there is probably at least one out there for
USENET, the international newsgroup network, is much like the Internet
single agency is in charge. The system connects computers from around the world. The
system administrators decide which newsgroups to supply. Very few systems supply all
of the newsgroups.
There are a couple of methods for finding the newsgroups that will be of interest to you.
If you are using the Netscape Navigator (in the news window) go to options and select
Show All Newsgroups. The newsreader will then display all the newsgroups that are
available from your service provider. Be aware, this may take a few minutes to
complete. A list of all newsgroups will then appear on the left side of the screen. Simply
click on the title of the newsgroups to obtain all of the messages. (The options menu
will give you several choices for the sorting of these messages.)
Another method for finding newsgroups is searching by subject. There are a few Web
sites that can assist you with the search. We recommend the following:
Our Favorite Web Sites
Enter a word or phrase to search the largest newsgroups directory. Over
71,000 entries, including 148 computer-related lists.
Deja News
Allows you to search newsgroups for messages matching your keywords.
You can then reply or post your own message.
Free service allows you to find a mailing list or newsgroup by keyword. Also
allows keyword searches of archived postings.
Find Newsgroups
Discover Usenet newsgroups of interest. Just type in a word and a menu of
newsgroups matching the word will be listed.
Usenet Info Center Launch Pad
Information on Usenet and its newsgroups. Includes functions for browsing
and searching for specific newsgroups.
Search for Groups
Searches newsgroup by title, description, or moderator name. Search FAQs
by subject, author or summary.
Both the Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer have a very competent newsreaders
integrated into their browsers.
Newsgroups are arranged in subgroups which makes them easier to list. A newsgroup
name starts with a subgroup header followed by one or more descriptive words,
separated by "."
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) are an important part of USENET culture. These
list and answer the kinds of questions that beginner's ask, and provide a good
introduction to each group. They are often an excellent source of information on the
subject matter of the group.
It is highly recommended that you read the groups FAQ before posting a
Click here for a list of FAQs for almost every newsgroup available
How To Chat
For reasons known only to those who frequent "chat rooms", chatting is one of the
most popular activities on the Internet. It is indeed one of the big selling features of the
online services. In fact at one time the online services were the only place most people
could go for Real Time Chat.
"Chatting" is done using "user names" or "nicknames." No real names are used. Be
advised that with any anonymous encounter the risk of being deceived is high. Our
advice is: Be yourself, have fun, and in the words of X-Files' Chris Carter..."trust no
Chatrooms and IRC Channels may seem a little intimidating at first. It is suggested
that one listens (or "reads" as the case may be) before speaking (or "typing). If it seems
like the participants are speaking a foreign language it's because they are! Check out
"Chatter's Jargon Dictionary" for the latest chat definitions, abbreviations and code.
Also, check out "Chat Etiquette" if you are in doubt about how one is expected to behave
while chatting.
If your are currently subscribing to an online service such as America Online you can
go directly to a chat room and begin chatting. If you are accessing the Internet through
an ISP you may need to obtain special software.
The most popular software is AOL's Instant Messenger. You do not need to be a AOL
subscsriber to use the software and it's free! Instant messaging allows you to quickly
exchange messages with your online friends. Unlike email, instant messages appear as
soon as they're sent.
Several other "messengers" are also available. Among them are the Yahoo! Messenger,
Excite Messenger, Lycos Instant Messenger and the MSN Messenger Service.
Several Web sites are now hosting Java enabled chat. A version 3.0 Netscape Navigator
or 3.0 Internet Explorer is needed.
Yet another option to try is IRC. You can get software at "The Ultimate IRC Toaster." For
more detailed information about IRC go to "The Zone's Guide to IRC."
Now you have the software for chatting but don't know where to go? Check out The
Ultimate Chat Room Index, or visit these recommended Web sites.
Our Favorite Web Sites
Chatrooms allow you to chat in real time with other people from all over the
Chat Planet
Vast Java chat network.
Excite Talk!
Virtual Places and Java chat from Excite.
Topic-based chat rooms including sports and computers.
Java-based chat network.
Talk City
Chat network with live events and lots of rooms to choose from.
Additional Web Sites
Alamak Internet Chat
Popular Web-based chat with multiple servers and membership levels.
Amanda's Table
Popular chat hub
Impressive role-playing chat city.
Chat Central
Friendly chatters populate a variety of rooms. Nice features.
A lively international chat hub.
Open chat rooms.
Popular ichat network.
Frames based chat for all comers.
A web chat network.
CruzWeb Chat
Several colorful rooms with an ultra-slick Java interface.
Web-based chat network.
The Globe Chat
Very popular community with slick interface and cool rooms.
Hotel Chat
Virtual jet-setters rub elbows in a luxury hotel setting.
HyperChat U.K.
Hundreds of chat rooms. Limited without membership.
The Park Live Chat
Chat, personals, online games, and shopping.
[email protected] Online Community
Collegiate online community.
Music, Seinfeld, Simpsons, Games, and general chats.
Women's Wire Chat
One of the original communities for women on the net.
World Village Chat
"The Family-Safe Place to Chat"
Music, culture, and web chat with a Southern drawl.
Online Shopping
Do you feel comfortable buying products over the Internet? Should you? Probably.
If you feel comfortable tossing your credit card to a waiter in a restaurant (he could
copy down your number)...or giving out your credit card number over the phone
(people with a scanner can intercept your analog calls), you should be comfortable
making purchases over the Internet.
Every year, more and more people are using the Internet to shop. That's because every
year more and more people are discovering that shopping on the Internet is fast, easy
and safe.
Unlike most stores, the Internet is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. You can
shop at your convenience, from your home or office.
Purchases made over the Internet are usually cheaper, even when you factor in the
cost of shipping. (The online stores have a much lower overhead and businesses want
to create incentives for new Internet consumers.)
Shipping is day delivery is usually available. Immediate delivery is available
for software...just download your purchase directly into your computer.
Most online businesses have the same "return policies" as regular stores.
We have made several purchases over the Internet...hassle-free each time. We have
bought movies, music, books, and software. We have even sent flowers. The list of what
you can buy over the Internet is endless.
Typically the experience goes something like this:
You go to the Web site where you plan on making the purchase. You browse,
just as if you were in a store, then you find what you are looking for.
You click on a "link" indicating that you wish to purchase the product.
You are then transferred to a "secure server." All the information that is
transmitted, from this point on, is encrypted (scrambled).
You will be asked for your name and address...and the address you wish the
purchase to be shipped (this could be a gift for someone else!)
You will be asked for your credit card number.
You will be given several different shipping options.
You will be given an opportunity to cancel your order...or proceed with it.
It's just that easy! The company will notify you by email when the product was shipped
and when you should expect to receive it.
We suggest that you take the following precautions before you by
anything over the Internet:
Shop with companies you are already familiar with.
Make sure the companies Web site includes a real street address and phone number.
Credit card information should only be transmitted on "secure servers."
Our Favorite Web Sites
Buy just about anything under the sun. Books, music, computers...
Internet auction site. Lots of fun and plenty of items to bid on.
Best Buy
Great products, great service, great prices and great selection.
Circuit City
Purchase on-line and pick up at a local Circuit City near you.
Office Depot
The world’s largest seller of office products and an industry leader in every
distribution channel, including stores, direct mail, contract delivery, the
Internet and business-to-business electronic commerce.
Features a great selection and high-quality merchandise.
File Sharing
File Sharing is one of the fasted growing and most talked about applications of the
Internet. File sharing can occur when two computers are connected together via the
internet or a network. Files may come in the form of documents, images, music and
Until recently, the biggest challenge for those who wanted to share files was finding
others who also wanted to share files.
Along came Napster. In 1999, Shawn Fanning, a Northeastern University
undergraduate, wrote this small MP3-sharing application. This software allowed users
to connect to a central server. The server stored information about the shared files on
the computers that were connected to it which allowed Napster to facilitate searching
for files by name. (Typically each computer will control which files will be "shared" with
others and which shares will remain unreachable.)
Napster became the target of the Record Industry Association of America as they
became aware that copyrighted material was being shared online. Napster is in the
process of converting to a fee-based program.
The demise of Napster has created a multitude of other programs which allow for files
sharing...without the need for a central server. These applications connect users to the
Gnutella Network.
Gnutella was originally developed in 2000 by Justin Frankel. The software is available
for anyone to copy and other developers have gone on to create many Gnutellacompatible programs.
Here's a list of what is currently available:
Gnutella-Compatible Programs
Aimster allows you to Find New Buddies and Share With Buddies.
Aimster is safe and private. With Aimster you can add people to
your Buddy List, and share files in a protected environment.
Click here for special tips.
Audiogalaxy is a community of music fans and artists. Fans visit
Audiogalaxy to read reviews and sample new music, discover upand-coming artists and explore new genres and styles.
Click here for special tips.
BearShare provides a simple, easy to use interface combined with
a powerful connection and search engine that puts thousands of
different files in easy reach!
Click here for special tips.
Hotline Connect enables you to easily create a personal interactive
Internet community on your own terms. Interact live with real
time chat, conferencing, messaging, data warehousing, file
transfer and streaming capabilities - all on your personal
computer using Hotline Connect software.
Click here for special tips.
KaZaA Media Desktop is a full featured peer-to-peer file sharing
application. You can search, download, organise and play your
media files - audio, video, images and documents with it. It has a
powerful search engine where you can search on 'meta data' such
as categories, artist etc. Search results are grouped together, so
the same file will only be displayed once.
Click here for special tips.
LimeWire is a software package which enables individuals to
search for and share computer files with anyone on the internet.
It's compatible with the Gnutella file-sharing protocol and can
connect with anyone else running Gnutella-compatible software.
Click here for special tips.
The Morpheus application allows users to search and find almost
any type of digital file through a secure peer-to-peer network
unlike any other. SmartStreamв„ў automatically resumes broken
content streams by finding another source for the same content
and monitoring the network until the requested content stream
becomes available.
Click here for special tips.
Visit ZeroPaid for news and information about these and other
file sharing applications.
At one time you had to be a rocket scientist to use the Internet but now almost anyone
with a computer, or Internet appliance, has access to it. The difficulty associated with
connecting may have changed but the difficulty of understanding the language hasn't.
Here are some of the basic terms that you will encounter when discussing the Internet.
Access Number
The telephone number dialed by the modem that lets a computer
communicate with an online service or Internet Service Provider.
One Format of Mac Sound Files.
Anonymous FTP
A service available at some Internet sites that gives any user access to data
files and applications using FTP. With anonymous FTP, users don't need a
special password to retrieve files. They are available to the public.
Anti-Virus Program
Software that monitors a computer for viruses and eliminates them before
damage occurs.
Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Considered the forefather of
the Internet. A worldwide network created in the 1960's that was maintained
by the U.S. Department of Defense to facilitate communications between
research facilities and universities.
American Standard Code for Information Interchange. This code maps letters
and other symbols, like periods and commas, to numbers that your computer
can understand.
A measurement of how much information can be transmitted at a given time
over the Internet.
Bulletin Board System. A dial-in service that usually provides information,
software, and technical support on a focused topic.
Binary Digit. The smallest unit of data a computer can handle. Each "bit" has
a value of 1 or 0 that the computer interprets as "on" or "off" respectively.
A way of storing pointers to favorite Web sites in your browser.
A common system of logic that operators such as AND, OR, NOR, and NOT.
Commonly used by search engines.
Bits Per Second. Measurement of the speed at which data can be transmitted
over a telephone or network line.
An application that displays a Web page. Also known as a Web browser.
Equal to either 7 or 8 bits, depending on whether it requires an extra bit,
called a parity bit, for error correction. A byte stores a single character of
information such as the letter A.
Live communication over the Internet Relay Chat service or an online service.
As one person enters text it appears on the other person's screen in "real
time", or almost instantly.
A relationship between programs running on separate machine in a computer
network. The server is the provider of services, while the client is the
consumer of the services.
Data Encryption
A process that transforms information into random streams of bits to create a
secret code for data security.
Domain Name
Denotes the name of a specific Internet area controlled by a company, school,
or organization.
Electronic Mail. Text messages sent through a network to specified individual
or group. Email messages can also carry attached files.
Frequently Asked Questions. A FAQ is generally a list of questions and
answers about a specific subject. Most news groups have FAQ's, which
should be read before you post any message to them.
File Transfer Protocol. The Internet protocol that allow the viewing,
downloading, and uploading of files on remote computers.
Software or hardware that limits certain kinds of access to a computer from a
network or other outside source.
An argumentative Newsgroups posting or email message in response to
another posting or message.
Graphic Interchange Format. A bit-mapped color graphics file format that is
the preferred one to use if you want to put a graphic (as opposed to a photo)
on a Web page.
Approximately one billion bytes, or one thousand megabytes.abyte
A browsing and searching protocol that lets you find and retrieve text and
Helper App
Add-on applications that support sound, image, and other formats that your
browser can't support by itself.
Hypertext Markup Language. The standard for adding tags to a text file, so
that the file is able to be interpreted by a Web browser.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The Internet protocol that the Web uses to send
information to the client, so the client browser can view Web pages.
A small abstract graphic representation of an object or idea.
Image Map
A graphic image that's used on a Web site as a navigational tool. It's made up
of two elements: The graphic that you see on the page through your browser,
and a text file that contains the link information.
Interlaced GIF
A GIF that is written so that when it is downloaded, it looks like it is out of
focus and then gradually comes into focus.
IP Address
The number that identifies your machine as unique on the Internet. Without it,
you can not use any Internet protocols.
Internet Relay Chat. The Internet's version of a CB radio, IRC lets you join a
channel and converse in real-time with other people who are on the same
channel, through text-based typing.
Integrated Services Digital Network. Digital telephony scheme that allows two
simultaneous connections over the same wire; can include audio and data.
Internet Service Provider. A company that provides direct access to the
An object-oriented, cross-platform programming language, similar to C++, that
is designed for building applications for the Internet.
Joint Photographic Expert Group. A file format using a compression technique
to reduce the size of a graphics file by as much as 96 percent. JPEG is the
preferred file format to use if you want to put a photograph on a Web page.
Local-Area Network. A group of computers, usually in one building, that are
physically connected in a way that lets them communicate and interact with
each other.
A word or phrase emphasized in a hypertext document that acts as a pointer
to related information. Links in a Web browser are usually underlined and are
a different color than the rest of the text.
Reading online messages or chat room conversations without taking part in
the discussion. Users are encouraged to lurk in the Newsgroups or chat
rooms until they have some idea what the discussion is about an the style is
Mailing List
Discussion groups over the Internet that link a group of people together with
common interests. If you belong to a mailing list, you receive every message
posted to that list via email.
Mail Server
A computer that holds email messages for clients on a network.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface. A standard that lets electronic musical
devices communicate with each other. Music stored in MIDI format contains
instructions for playing the music, rather than the digitized audio signal itself.
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. MIME types are extensions to files that
tell your computer what kind of program to use to view the file.
A devise that translates computer signals to analog signals suitable for send
across phone lines.
Slang for the unwritten rules of Internet courtesy.
An area on the Internet reserved for discussion of a certain topic. Messages
are posted in the Newsgroups and replies are encouraged.
News Server
A remote computer that controls access to a Newsgroups in a group of
interconnected computers.
A block of data that can be transmitted from one computer to another on a
network like the Internet. A packet contains data to be transmitted, data to
guide the packet, and data that corrects errors along the way.
Portable Document Format. A standard used by Adobe Acrobat to display any
sort of document on any computer. The Adobe Acrobat Reader can be
downloaded as freeware.
The default graphics format on Macintoshes.
A fancy name for the "start-up" page of a Web browser. This is the entry point
of the Web.
Point-to-Point Protocol. A communications protocol that lets users connect
their computers directly to the Internet through phone lines.
A helper app that allows you to download sound files over Web pages in realtime. The player can be downloaded as freeware.
A specialized machine that runs various protocols to direct network packets
from one segment to another.
Search Engine
A utility that locates resources via searches for keywords and phrases. Click
here for a large list of search engines.
Software distributed via the honor system. You download shareware from the
Internet, try it out, and if you keep it, are expected to pay a shareware fee.
Shell Account
When you log into this kind of account, the computer you log into is connected
to the Internet, but your computer isn't.
Slip/PPP Account
When you log into this kind of account, your computer is actually connected to
the Internet, and so is fully capable of all the TCP/IP services available.
Unsolicited email messages or Newsgroups postings, usually advertising a
A type of data connection able to transmit a digital signal at 1.544 megabits
per second.
Transport Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. The protocol suite that make
Telnet, FTP, email, and other services possible among computers that aren't
on the same local area network.
The Protocol for remote terminal connection service. It lets someone at one
site interact with a remote computer as if that user's terminal were directly
connected to the remote site.
Transparent GIF
A GIF that has one of its colors set to be transparent. When displayed against
a background tile or color, the image will appear to float above it.
An operating system invented in 1969 at AT&T Bell Laboratories that was
made available to researchers and students in 1973. It was used to develop
the Internet's communication protocols.
Uniform Resource Locator. Describes the location and access method of a
resource on the Internet. This is also known as the "Web site address."
Usenet Newsgroups
Subject-specific discussion forums stored on remote computers.
Virtual Reality Modeling Language. An emerging standard that will let you
model and move around in 3-D environments on the Internet.
World Wide Web
A collection of electronic documents loosely knit by a concept called
"hypertext." Documents connect to each other by clickable "hyperlinks." You
need to run a browser program to access the Web.
Ozark Mountains Website ....................................95
Pay-Per-Click Search Engines .............................. 58
Permission Based Marketing ................................16
Portal................................................................... 112
PPC ..................... See Pay-Per-Click Search Engines
QUICK TIP ........................11, 12, 13, 30, 48, 59, 64
Reciprocal Links ................................................ 69
Scott Cottingham, Internet 101 ............................ 12
Signature Files ...................................................69
Site Build It! ............................................... 13, 59
Site Build It!, ..................................................... 102
spam ............................................................. 18, 43
target market ...................................................... 31
The Kelsey Group.................................................82
two-step subscription process .............................43
URL ................................................................... 112
USP ..................................................................... 31
Web browser ..................................................... 114
website building tool ........................................... 13
What’s In It For Me................................. See WIIFM
WIIFM ...................................................................7
Writing Effective...................................................23 ................................................ 57 ....................................................... 58 ......................................................... 49 58 ......................................... 57 ................................................... 56 ................................................ 57 71 ................................................. 50 ............................................. 56 58 57 ......................................... 57 ................................................ 57 ............................................ 56
Yahoo! Local.........................................................6
Ad networks.........................................................59
AIDA ....................................................................21
AltaVista ..............................................................65
ARPANET ...........................................................109
author’s background ..............................................9
ChamberBiz Trading Network .............................105
Charities and Non-Profits .....................................76
Constat, Inc .........................................................82
consumer spending habits ...................................10
Cyber Diaglogue ...................................................79
data packets .....................................................110
Dun & Bradstreet...................................................8
Email ...................................................................19
Appending ............................................................................. 63
Myths..................................................................................... 20
Writing Effective Messages .................................................. 23
email marketing products and services.................60
ezines .................................................................67
Fishing for Customers ..........................................74
Free Publicity .......................................................72
free stuff ...............................................................7
geotargeting .................................................47, 48
by zip code ............................................................................ 48
Solutions................................................................................ 48
giving and selling, the law of................................8 ...................................56
I.P. Address..........................................................48
In-store Promotions ...............................................74
Internet Auctions .................................................64
Internet Service Provider ....................................115
Internet Traffic Report.......................................111
Local Events..........................................................75
Local Online Media...............................................49
meta tags .............................................................45
META TAGS ........................................................45
Online Coupons ...................................................66
Overview ..............................................................13
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