It is hard to imagine any businesses in Hastings that will not be affected by the 4 1/2 month long bridge closure. Many businesses in Warkworth and Norwood and the Trent Hills area generally will also feel a pinch. And not just from the locals who will be taking their business elsewhere. You all know what will face pass-through motorists coming from either the north or the south. Great big detour signs saying that the Hastings bridge across the Trent River is closed and directing them along alternate routes before they even get into town. Anyone wanting to get from the north side to the south side by car (or vice versa) will face a 33-35 kilometer detour. Businesses can kiss the “drive though” traffic business goodbye. So it’s not just customers from the opposite side of town that will be MIA. The flow of business from casual traffic will disappear as well.
The pedestrian bridge will allow walking and those electric scooters to cross, and I have heard many people say that they will be making the effort to cross the river to support the town’s businesses; but if the weather is bad, or you expect to be carrying a load of groceries etc. it is easy to imagine people simply driving to Norwood or Campbellford or Warkworth, instead of walking across the bridge.
Online Marketing Can Help Small Businesses
This is a situation where businesses have little leeway in what they can do, but they can do something. Online marketing provides a zero cost way to make sure potential customers know about you. But it’s not just the name of a business that has to get out there. People have to learn what services or products a business has and what they do.
According to Google there is no catering in Hastings, but when I called up three restaurants, they all said they would do catering. Google says that there is no “truck repair” in Hastings, but Doug Irvine and Jamie McIlmoyle would be surprised to learn that. Google doesn’t know that there is a “real estate lawyer” in Hastings Ontario. Google doesn’t know that there are RV parts and water filters at Home Hardware etc. etc.
If you are a business, you need to stop thinking about simply giving your name some prominence, and start thinking in terms of “what problems can I solve” for consumers. When people have problems, they go to Google looking for answers. The answers you provide need to be findable online, or Google can’t serve them up as search results. If you aren’t making your solutions available online, your online marketing efforts need a boost.
I will be presenting a two hour training session on how to use the internet to improve your online presence, and increase the chances of you getting found by people when they do a search online for products or services. We will cover how to find out what keywords people are actually using when they look for answers to their problems online. And then we will cover how to create an optimized and free Google Plus listing for your business, so you have an online presence. There are numerous other places online where your business should show up, but doesn’t, just as in the examples above for “truck repair” and “catering.” I will be covering the most important of these, and showing you what your profile needs to look like and how you can make sure people can find you when they are trying to solve their problems.
The effect of this material will be to ensure that your business shows up online. Maybe a business has great word of mouth advertising going on, but people new to the area aren’t talking to folks that have been here a long time…at least not initially. They don’t know anyone. When they want something, they look for it online. Make sure they can find you.
The online marketing training is going to happen in January, probably at the Hastings Civic Center. The cost will be $50.00 and all money goes to the Hastings Historical Society. Everyone attending gets a free family membership to the Hastings Historical Society and can apply some or all of the $50.00 towards additional training sessions that I will be holding in the new year. And all attendees will leave the training session with access to workbooks and videos demonstrating all the material covered, as well as a step-by-step list of actions to take, so that there can be no confusion about what a business needs to do.
Call to register: Paul Stevens at 705-931-2223
More information and an outline of the training is available at http://bootstraplocalmarketing.com/
Here are a few testimonials to the full day workshop that this two hour session will be extracted from:
…Paul uses simple to understand language, a slide show indicating where to find what you need to use, as well as videos and guidebooks of the program to confidently continue the workshop on your own. BEST value for understanding and implementing a proven successful strategy to increase business.
Natasa Djordjevic – The seminar that I attended was programmed for local businesses, and I could not find more appropriate presentation for my needs and wants. The lecture saved me weeks of my own research how to plan the marketing strategy. Now I have all basics and overall system and directions on which I will build up the future marketing of my company.
Renee Duckworth – Paul was excellent today giving out important and easy to understand tips on marketing my business. He is very easy to talk to a has a vast knowledge of HOW THINGS WORK