A Special Report

Use the Internet to grow your local business

How to use the Internet to grow your local business -- without a website!
By Jim Daniels - Work at home site.com

Is your business local or regional?

Have you considered putting up a website but think that maybe it would be a waste of time and money?

Or maybe
you already have a website for your local business but it's not bringing in business like you thought it should?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, this tip is for you.

Today I'd like to help you grow your local or regional business using the Internet. Let's face it, there are lots of businesses that just cannot serve an international marketplace. It's just not the nature of some businesses.

Here are just a few examples of the thousands of businesses that I'm referring to...              

Limousine service
Landscaping business
Local delivery service
Local entertainment service
Restaurants and bars
Hair and beauty salons
Housekeeping services
Mom and Pop stores
Independent gas stations
Auto service centers
Local contractors
Computer repair/upgrade service

And these are just a few of the many localized businesses you'll find in every town across the world. And what most of these business owners do not realize is that every single one of them can use the Internet to grow profits -- even without a website. Here's how..

We'll use the first business on the list as an example. Let's say you offer a limo service. Either you are considering putting up a website or you already have one. But since you only serve local communities, your website is limited in its reach and sales potential. So forget about the website for a minute! Here's a BETTER way to drum up business using the Internet...

Grow a powerful customer "e-list" that includes the name and email address of every customer you ever get. And when every slow period (expected or unexpected) hits your business, spend an hour and email a personal message and a special savings coupon to these folks.

This strategy is virtually free and your customers will love you for the special attention. (And your bank account will love you even more!)

Here are the exact steps you need to take to use this Internet marketing strategy for your local business:

Step 1
Every time you gain a new customer, make sure there is a spot for their email address on the paperwork they fill out. And every day, have someone at your office enter this information into your database.

If you do not already have one,  start a customer database on your office computer today. There are lots of ways to do this. Some software solutions for small businesses include database software and contact management software, such as...

  Access: http://microsoft.com/office/access/default.htm

           GoldMine 5.0 - http://www.frontrange.com/
 Act! - http://www.act.com

If you are completely non-technical or do not have the money for a software solution or a programmer, you can start a basic customer database yourself. Simply open up Notepad on your computer. (In Windows click Start, Programs, Accessories, Notepad.)

Once Notepad has opened, type the following headings...

      Mr./Mrs.               then press the Tab key.
      First Name          then Press Tab key.
      Last Name           then press Tab key.
      Email address    then press Tab key.

What you will have is something that looks like this...

Mr./Mrs. First Name Last Name email address

Next press Enter to move your cursor down to the next line.

Now type your first client's salutation (Mr. or Mrs.) and press Tab. Next type their first name, then Tab. Then their last name then Tab. And finally their email address then Tab.

That's it, you have the start of a basic database! Save this file every time you update it. It will be a powerful tool in your business for years to come.

Step 2

You're almost set to contact your list of customers!
If you're using one of the software solutions mentioned earlier, or a similar program, you already have email merge capability built in. You can skip to step three.

If you went with the basic customer database using NotePad, the next step is to get an email merge program. Here are a couple programs that are easy to work with...

WorldMerge: http://www.bizweb2000.com/wm

Tuglet web-based solution: http://www.tugnut.com/

These programs allow you to open your tab delimited customer file and will merge any of the fields directly into your letter.

Step 3

Compose your special letter and send!

There's nothing more to do other than  create a great letter and email it. So I'll close today's tip with this final component -
 an actual letter you can use.

Sticking with the same example as above, here's a letter that is guaranteed to boost the bottom line for your limo service. Feel free to borrow this and modify it for your business. A few small changes can tailor it to ANY local business.

(The fields enclosed in brackets are database fields that your email merge program will fill in with your customer's details.)

For [[Salutation]] [[Last Name]]

"Stu's Limo" <Stu@bizweb2000.com>

Hello [[Salutation]] [[Last Name]],

Stu from Stu's Limo here. I just wanted to thank you for your past business. It was a pleasure to serve you.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to present you with a special e-coupon for 20% off your next ride!

Here it is...

Stu's E-coupon #2982
Good for 20% off any limo
ride before November 30, 200?

The next time you want to paint the town in style, tell your friends the limo is on you. (You don't have to tell them our little e-coupon secret - just print this message and slip it to the driver when he picks you up. He'll make sure you get the special rate!)

[[FirstName]], we hope to see you again soon.

And remember, if YOU cannot take advantage of this special savings, feel free to pass your coupon along to a friend!

Sincerely, Stu Barnes,
Stu's Limo


            * This work at home tip is by Jim Daniels of JDD Publishing Co., helping online businesses since 1996. Whether you own a medium sized company or you work from home, Jim can help you.
            CLICK to Visit Jim's Work-at-Home-Site for more expert advice.

(Note the clever use of web art by STU. He got help setting up his own special e-mail stationery............


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