Top 5 local marketing mistakes (and how to avoid them) offered

Jan. 25, 2008
Tips prepared by

The goal of small business owner is to drive new business. So how can small businesses such as dental practices avoid the common local marketing pitfalls that claim so many would-be marketers?, the online local lead generator, outlines the top five most common local marketing mistakes--and tips for avoiding them:

Mistake #5: Trying to build your own Web site
Enticing a Web site visitor to call your business is quite literally a science-- something easily done incorrectly. A few common Web site design pitfalls to avoid:

Not making it clear what you want the visitor to do (ie make an appointment)

Not using Web friendly copy--(ie too much information/brochure style)

Not satisfying varying visitor groups (i.e., age, need, etc)

How do you avoid this?

Resist the urge to use ready-made site templates or your tech-savvy nephew to build your company's Web site! Be sure to use an online marketing service provider to ensure you're guiding as many people as possible toward calling your business.

Mistake #4: Creating a site no one visits
A common misconception is that people will magically show up to your newly created Web site. Unlike a storefront--where you can receive walk-in traffic--more than 100 million other Web sites are competing for site visitors. After all, the time and money you spent on creating the Web site, you now have to make sure that it gets seen.

How do you avoid this?

Fortunately, online marketing professionals have begun offering unique services to dentists like you.

Some encouraging numbers:

* More than 74 percent of people use search engines to find local business

* 54 percent use search engines in place of a phone book

* Only 3 percent of local marketing budgets are spent on online

Mistake #3: Not Knowing if Your Marketing is Really Working
Maybe you advertise in the yellow pages, hand out brochures, or sponsor a local event. But do you know how many people visit your site or call or email your business as a direct result of these marketing tactics?

Your local marketing efforts can easily be wasted when you don't know the number of leads and customers your advertising is generating.

How do you avoid this?

A great thing about online marketing is that everything is measurable. Professionals have developed techniques to measure exactly how many clicks, calls and emails are generated from a single advertisement. This gives you the confidence to continue your online efforts if they are successful or the information to know that you should change your approach if they are not.

Mistake #2: Using Directory Services
Directory services are a popular and seemingly effortless way to drive in new business; however, most directories offer their "Comparison Services." This means you are still competing for a customer even after the service gives a referral. What that means is that the directory service ends up with 5-plus payments in return for providing 1 referral!

You still have to pay for a referral even if you can't take the job. If you don't respond quickly enough, you have low odds of winning the business.

How do you avoid this?

Get to the source! Take control by using a system that promotes your services directly to prospective local customers, directing them straight to your own website. Industry experts can help turn visits into calls and customers.

Mistake #1: Not Turning Calls Into Sales Effectively
Generating interest in your business will get you close to success, but you and your employees need to take it that last mile and close the sale.

Pick up the phone! One missed call is a missed opportunity for you and often a new opportunity for a competitor. Studies show that small businesses only answer 36% of their incoming phone calls.

How do you avoid this?

Upgrade your systems and control how your potential customers are contacting you. Level the playing field by investing in a system that can be your single source for sales effectiveness: advertise online, set up your business's Web site, and manage your leads all at once.