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What Local Businesses Want

I’d venture to say that a large percentage of local & small businesses have tried online marketing in one way or another at this point.  Whether it be through a phone book company, search engine company, newspaper or social network most small businesses have tried SOMETHING online to get them more business.  Unfortunately for them, most have failed and they’ve decided that the internet doesn’t work for their type of business.  Why do so many fail?  It’s because they always buy the sizzle and never buy the steak.

I’ve dealt with a lot of local businesses and the people running the show typically have a few traits in common:

  • Ignorant: They are typically ignorant to technology and to learning anything new.  They know all.
  • Super Type A: Don’t want to listen, just want to bark orders and think you should listen to them.
  • Cheap: Think they should get an original Picasso at Dollar Store prices.
  • Unreasonable: Have completely unreasonable expectations.

Having these traits leads to them buying into the biggest loads of crap that salespeople come in selling to them.  In their minds a fast talking, ass kissing, wheeler dealer salesperson who is promising the world, MUST be selling a superior product.  “Hey these guys are from the local newspaper they must know what their doing.”  “Wow these guys came from the phone book company, they must know the internet.” “These guys are telling me they have a special relationship with the top 750 search engines that gets them clicks at half the price, it’s a no lose situation.”

Local businesses don’t want to be educated, they don’t want to see the results….they want to be lied to!

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Published inLocal Online Advertising


  1. Papajohn56 Papajohn56

    From personal experience, very true.

  2. Papajohn56 Papajohn56

    Oh and they also want to go behind your fucking back and get “my nephew knows the internet so he did ours for free, he submitted us to the Google and Face Books, sorry we already agreed to a price and shook but this was free”

  3. Rob Rob

    Completely true, and well phrased.

  4. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    @Papajohn – that’s so true.

  5. I could not agree with you more on this one. I used to think that setting realistic expectations for local business owners was appreciated. You hit it on the head, they’re looking to be lied to…

    1) “You’ll be found on thousands of search engines”.
    2) “The phone will be ringing off the hook with leads!”

    etc. etc…

    When they start receive leads that’s when they begin scrutinizing everything and now expecting that every prospect sent to them will close to a sale.

    On the flipside, they’re perfectly fine paying 2x the price of their monthly lead spend with a guy selling smoke and mirrors. (“submissions”, lol)

    I still believe there’s money to be made in local and the mentalities of business owners will evolve in time.

  6. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    @Nicky Papers – I think there is plenty of money to be made. I just think it’s funny when you hear the businesses go “search engine marketing doesn’t work for me” or “i already did SEO and it didn’t work” or whatever and you know what’s behind those statements.

  7. Boom goes the dynamite. Well said. Imo, it’s better to find a large business with many local branches and work with them instead. Different types of hassle, but more scalable.

  8. Agreed. And what Nicky Papers said.

    Sad thing is that most businesses have been scammed, which makes them leery of even performance based lead gen deals.

    I had a guy that wanted to buy asbestos removal leads from me for $10. I told him you can hardly buy two clicks for $10, never mind leads. Its a low volume niche around here (maybe 6-10 leads/month) and I would need to get $35-$40 a lead. He balked hard at that, but spends hundreds in the phone book every month. Go figure.

  9. Small business owners love to see quantity when they have no clue about something. The more they think they are getting, the better the deal in their eyes. My guys sell 25/50K profile link packages all day long but owners balk at buying 100 quality links. Only a really good salesperson can really sell them the value. Even then, they are almost impossible.

  10. JP JP

    Oh! come on!

    I´m a sissy! I did my first encounter with a local small business! Oh! they´re so uneducated!

    So maybe now you value some more the all those sales man who go outside everyday and make a buck or two selling those same uneducated business owners.

    And the day after tomorrow you´ll try some B2C “REAL” business and come with a similar complain. “Oh my! those end customers! They don´t want reality! They want to buy a dream in a box!, they think they know it all! Please moma, explain them I´m the only one with some knowledge of real business world!”

    Fucking whiner

  11. F them all! Just google someone else in their industry maybe a National company, or one who can handle alot more volume. And find someone who isnt cheap and will be greatfull for your hardwork. Or just look for another industry Completely.
    I use craigslist and find alot of different sales companies there, where are some of the places you guys find local clients?

  12. Adam Adam

    Amen brother!

    I get a lot of the “hey, I just read something on how great XYZ is… we need more XYZ” then two weeks later it’s, “I know you’re doing XYZ, but I just read that ABC is the new thing…”

    Either that or they refuse to optimize their shitty websites. “Why did those Facebook ads you wrote for me cost me $500 and I only got 3 leads” Because you have a crappy site with a 85% bounce rate…

  13. Uptime Uptime

    I have dealt with my last request for putting a picture of Aunt Myrtles pet chihuahua on the home page because it’s cute and will be good for business. I am not making this up. Built a client website, pushed traffic, mid 4 figures a month to the client on a domain that did not exist a year ago. Now they want to put up a bug eyed rat with leash on the money page. This client must be put down.

    Few months back started shifting my local model from what I can do for customers websites to my properties. Once I outrank the local yokels for the top $ kw’s I give them a few leads for free. Then we talk about what it will take to keep them coming. Leads, ad space, or buy the website. At this point it becomes a sellers market and I can offer to multiple parties. This eliminates the petty ignorant barking of orders and unrealistic expectations.

    Just like that inbred punt dog some customers must be saved from themselves. Because I own the properties and they like the leads it totally changes the attitude and the power of the relationship. In the end I honestly think the more clueless clients will benefit more with this model.

  14. What gets me is all the people out there that are lying to them and ripping them off and doing nothing. Then you come along and can’t convince them that you are legit and can get them results.

  15. nimbledigit nimbledigit

    Best comment on this thread. I laughed so hard my head hit my desk. So, so true.

  16. Wayne Wayne

    @Uptime – C’mon now, if Aunt Myrtle’s chihuahua doesn’t cause conversions to go the roof, you must be doing something wrong. Every marketer knows that chihuahua pictures out pull Better Business Bureau and Angies list certs 🙂

  17. They feel that they know better, maybe they think they can easily get their ROI without any SEO help.

  18. First time on this blog.
    Why is everyone complaining it’s like the movie
    Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
    I want the good leads the ones you keep locked up not these crappy one they don’t want to buy anything.
    Hold up a mirror look in to it and ask this question would you buy from you on a cold call?
    Marketing is creating a stop them in their tracks headline an irresistible tangible offer and a call to action.
    can’t solve problems with out a problem figure out how you can build the relationship first.
    Businesses want help.
    Take the risk out of it and most of them are in make it work for them then their all in.

    Pissed anyone off just complain on this blog that’s what your doing anyway.

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