The 4 Basic Pillars of a Successful Online Local Marketing Plan

I recently wrote about the many challenges small and medium sized business owners face while constructing and implementing a successful internet marketing plan. The often insurmountable challenges we pointed out were ‘time’ and ‘money’. Small business owners are consumed with what they do best; operating their business and making sure their customers are satisfied. In addition, many owner/operators also manage the marketing direction for their companies and do not have substantial budgets for advertising and outside marketing services.There are still local businesses that have virtually no online presence, but most have tried at least a few forms of online marketing. For example many businesses have a website, built by a neighbor’s son or the local web design company and may have even set up a Facebook page. Perhaps they even have one of the large PPC (Pay-Per-Click) firms running a Google campaign for their company. Most small business owners have put together their online marketing strategy over a period of months or even years and have purchased a few services along the way from outside marketing companies. As any good business person would do, they try to keep the parts that are working and get rid of the parts that are not yielding results.The inherent problem with this type of “hit or miss” strategy is that the success or failure of an individual online marketing strategy is often interdependent on the strengths or weakness of other parts of your online presence. Let’s discuss the four main components of a local online marketing plan.The Four Pillars of Success: Marketing Plans for Local BusinessPillar One: Targeted Web TrafficHaving a business website posted on the web is not going to create traffic from prospective customers all by itself. Websites need to be marketed in order to generate a steady flow of traffic for your business. Many business owners have the common misconception that having the prettiest website is somehow going to translate into a successful website. If I had to choose between a gorgeous website not positioned to gather traffic versus a simple, perhaps even ‘ugly’ website, that is positioned properly to gather significant local web traffic, I would choose the latter.What is Targeted Web Traffic?Local business websites can receive targeted web traffic from a variety of sources and methods. Let’s first discuss what the term targeted traffic means. In the most basic sense, targeted web traffic could be defined as a web user who visits your site that possesses at least one criteria or characteristic that you believe would fit within your definition of a potential customer. An example could be as simple as their location. If your business sells pizza or dental services, you might be interested in any consumers that live within 5-10 miles of your business, but you would not be interested in consumers that live 1,000 miles from your business location. Another example of a targeted web user is someone that is specifically searching for your product or service or has previously expressed an interest. The point we are making is that your goal as a local business marketer, is to position your website to receive traffic from local consumers that have (or are likely to have) interest in your products or services.Paid versus Free Web TrafficLocal web traffic comes from a variety of sources and all of them should play a role in driving targeted traffic to your business. There are some sources that you need to pay for on a per click basis or per impression basis and others that can be free, provided that you do the necessary legwork to position your website to take advantage. Developing an efficient mix of web traffic for your business will take time but this is the first part of a local marketing plan. The purpose of this article is not to delve too deep into the benefits or pitfalls associated with any specific source of targeted web traffic but rather to demonstrate that traffic is only one part of an overall marketing plan. Web traffic is only valuable to your business if your website has the ability to effectively engage with visitors and provide a mutually beneficial experience. If your web visitors reach your site and leave within 5 seconds, there isn’t much benefit to either party.Pillar Two: Websites that Engage and Convert Your CustomersThe manner in which your website presents your business to web visitors has a profound effect on how efficiently your site will help potential customers take the next step in engaging with your business. Website visitors will typically decide in a manner of seconds if they are on a page or site that can satisfy their needs. Most websites will fail this first test and lose potentially valuable traffic before ‘the game’ even begins. This is often referred to as ‘relevancy’. Simple, if your site doesn’t instantly appear to provide the information, services, products etc. that the web user is interested in, they will move on to a site that does. The second and equally important requirement for a successful local business website is ‘engagement’. Visitors must be enticed to take the ‘next steps’ with your business. This can be accomplished with a variety of simple techniques and is also a topic that will not be covered in great depth in this article. The point we are stressing is that the quality of your website design, from a marketing perspective, plays a significant role in the success a local business will have in converting web traffic into new customers.Pillar Three: Tracking, Analytics and TweakingInternet marketing is part science and part art, but the results are pure math. Your business pays real money to engage in internet and offline marketing efforts and you are expecting new customers that pay you real money as a result. The entire marketing process needs to be measured, tracked and periodically studied. This is the only way to make adjustments to your marketing plan in order to make as cost effective as possible. A few basic procedures can be implemented on your website and in your business workflow to give business owners the tools to monitor how well marketing efforts are performing and where change can and should be made. Tools can be used to help determine how well your traffic is performing, how well your website is performing and even how well your staff is performing. When you spot a weak part, you at least know where to make some tweaks. In addition, if you are using an outside marketing professional, they should be able to provide assistance with this, as opposed to just selling you one piece of the puzzle. The cost of a click or an impression may not mean that much to your business, but the value of web lead, a customer phone call or a store visit that results in new business is meaningful. The bottom line is you must have some concrete method to measure your marketing outcomes in order to determine if you are spending your money wisely.Pillar Four: Customer CommunicationThe internet has made inexpensive and free tools available for even the smallest local business owner to engage in an ongoing conversation with potential and existing customers. Businesses that are not taking advantage of these tools are leaving too much money on the table and certainly not maximizing the benefit (e.g. new business) they can extract from web visitors. Direct response may be your businesses primary goal, but not every potential customer you engage with is ready to make a buying decision immediately; but they may be ready in the near future. You will want to make sure your business is on “the top of their mind’ when they decide to move forward. Tools such as email, social media and even your website can be used to maintain an ongoing conversation with your prospects, so when the time comes for them to make a purchase, your business is positioned as a top choice and is easily accessible. To make this a reality, your web traffic, your website and your tracking need to be in sync with each other.Successful local marketing plans are built over time and are not about the latest “fad” or “get rich quick” scheme. Creating a winning formula for your business and one that can have staying power can be achieved by first understanding the basic components of success. This article only covers this “tips” of the four essential “icebergs” you will need to explore, but successful business plans must be laid upon solid foundations.

Retire a Young Military Millionaire

Being young and in the military has its advantages. One of the biggest rewards is a powerful force that will almost ensure that you can become a young military millionaire. There are simple steps you can take when you’re young that will help you harness the power of this force; making becoming a military millionaire a breeze.Attention young military personnel. You can turn that military paycheck into a million just by following a simple, consistent, investment plan. Just by automatically investing on a regular basis you could be on your way to an early military retirement. For example:-A $174 invested monthly starting at 18 years old could make you a young military millionaire by age 53.-A $701 invested monthly starting at 18 years old could make you a young military millionaire by age 40.Knowing how to handle your military money gives you advantages that the most people miss out on. You can afford an early military retirement just by following a simple investment strategy. Starting an investment plan young may be enough to ensure you become a young military millionaire.Because you have the power of compounding interest on your side it’s easy to become a young military millionaire when you start young. Compounding interest is defined as the interest earned from the initial money you personally invested from your military money plus the interest earned from the amount your investments have already returned. To clarify, the money that you already made from your investments starts to earn you money. That means that every year you are making money off money your investments have already paid you.


By investing your military paycheck at a young age you are able to fully harness the power of compounding interest. This is due to the fact that your investments are earning you a return on the money already paid to you from the investment. The younger you start the faster and larger your investment account may grow. That’s why investing while you’re young and earning a steady military paycheck gives you a huge advantage.1) Save Money. The first step on the road to becoming a young military millionaire is to set up a simple savings plan. Pay yourself first by setting money aside into an investment before you start spending your military money. The habit of paying yourself first will benefit you throughout your life and will help you retire young.2) Invest Young. You may not of been taught how to invest in high school but don’t let that hold you back. There are simple investments available to the beginner investors that will get allow you to invest your military money young.The stock market offers some investment vehicles that are perfect for the new military investor. There are lower-risk investments that offer the potential for long-term gains that may help you to put your military money to work.One type of investment, known as broad based market index investments, may offer you a simple way to get your military money working for you. ‘Broad market index investments’ are simply investments in the overall market like the NASDQ 100 and S&P 500. To illustrate, one S&P 500 index traded fund will allow you to own a portion of all 500 stocks in that index. The S&P 500 index is one way for the new military investor to profit from the stock market without having to have a lot of experience.3) Consistent Investments. There is a basic military investment technique called ‘dollar cost averaging’. A dollar cost averaging plan is simply buying a fixed dollar amount of your broad market index investment at the same time each month. Your bank and brokerage firm can be set-up so it automatically invests the amount you want at the same time each month. Once this structure is set up you can sit back and just review your monthly statements. With a consistent military investment plan you could reap huge profits over a long-term.The basic investment method discussed will get your military money working for you. If you’re looking to become a military millionaire young there are other ways you can increase your returns. The investment vehicles discussed below take more effort however you will be able to reach your military millionaire status sooner.5. Real estate. Real estate investing can be credited with making the majority of young millionaires. It gives you the power of leverage so you are making money of money the bank loaned you. When done right you could expect to double your investment each year! Just by purchasing real estate while you’re young could easily make you a young military millionaire.


The military offers many benefits that will allow you to become a homeowner. VA loans allow you to borrow 100% of the purchase price which means you won’t need money for a down payment in most cases. Combine that with BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) for civilian housing and you can have your mortgage payments paid for.This is a huge benefit because you purchase a $100,000 home your property could be valued at over $570,000 in 30 years. The best part is using BAH you could of not even made a payment with your own money.6. Entrepreneurship. Being in the military you can start a part-time business that earns you an extra few hundred a month or one that surpasses your military paycheck. Either way it can help you to become a young military millionaire or just added another income so you can invest more. There are also tax benefits available to business owners that will keep more of your military paycheck money in your pocket.Becoming an entrepreneur can help you become a young military millionaire and give you the luxury of being able to retire young.The sooner you start investing the sooner you can become a young military millionaire. Start now and the take steps to become a young military millionaire today!

Sexual Roleplaying – What it is and the Best Way to Do It

Roleplaying is simply when participants adopt and act out characters that are not themselves. Sexual roleplaying therefore is when couples act out characters with an erotic motivation as part of a sexual fantasy. It can range from being serious with costumes, accents, props, etc. to just being something that is imagined, like being stuck on a deserted island. Practically any role could be involved in sexual roleplaying as long as both people involved are interested. Pretending to be someone you are not can be fun and exciting when done correctly.Roleplaying can also be good for a marriage as it may be an opportunity for a spouse to ask for something she has always wanted done to her or done for her, but never felt comfortable asking for. For example, in a roleplay where the wife is the dominant person (boss) she might feel more open about telling her husband (employee) that she wants to have her body rubbed in a certain way that she had never asked for before. The reduction of inhibitions can be great for a marriage as inhibitions are a killer of sexual enjoyment.Some roleplaying scenarios are:* Animal-related where one is treated as a non-human animal such as a dog or pony
* Hospital fantasies involving doctors, nurses and patients
* Stranger-related one or both spouse pretend to “meet” for the first time
* School related – Headmistress and Student or Teacher and Naughty Schoolgirl
* Photographer and Model
* Stripper and Client
* Business related – Boss and Employee, Boss and SecretaryIf this is your first time thinking about roleplaying, start with something simple, like Photographer and Model and then move on to ones where the acting requirement is a little higher.Roleplaying is a lot of fun and is easy, but there are a few important requirements:1. It requires open communication
2. It requires a willingness to participate
3. It requires honesty
4. It requires not taking yourself too seriously
5. It requires establishing rulesLet’s examine these requirements in a little more depth.1. Roleplaying requires open communication – Roleplaying can involve actions that when taken too far, might be uncomfortable for one or both partners. Let’s say a couple pretends to be strangers who meet in a bar. They pretend to have different pasts and even different names. As the night continues, the husband begins to feel uncomfortable being called a different name. As soon as he realizes this, he needs to be able to communicate with his wife that he wants to end the fantasy or just be called his real name and continue, or another option he feels comfortable with. Whichever he chooses, being able to discuss that with his wife, even in the middle of the roleplaying, is vitally important.2. Roleplaying requires a willingness to participate – Perhaps a husband wants to be the boss and have his wife pretend to be his secretary with a German accent. His wife should not worry about whether that makes sense, if she knows what a secretary does all day, or if she has any idea what a German accent sounds like. She should give it her best try and of course, have fun!3. Roleplaying requires honesty – The husband finds his new doctor very attractive so he gets his wife to pretend to be a doctor and tries to make the fantasy about his new doctor. This is NOT a situation in which roleplaying should be used, nor is it the purpose of roleplaying. The husband needs to be honest with himself about his motivations for the roleplaying. He may not need to tell his wife he is attracted to his doctor, but he definitely should not start a roleplaying session with the goal of thinking about anyone other than his wife. All sexual fantasy, including roleplaying, is just a tool that helps married couples increase their sexual pleasure with each other.4. Roleplaying requires not taking yourself too seriously – In a roleplaying session, the husband might pretend to be an airline pilot while the wife pretends to be a stewardess. Since neither of them have real airline clothing, they make do with what they have. His outfit leaves him looking more like a butler than an airline pilot which could lead him to cutting short the session out of embarrassment. Instead if he is able to play around and ignore the idea that he looks silly, he will probably end up having a great time.5. Roleplaying requires establishing rules – Similar to open communication, rules are important should something need to change or stop during a roleplaying session. This might be as simple as “no” means “no” or could be something that has been pre-arranged as in a certain stopping time for a specific situation. A couple should always stay where they are both comfortable even if a fantasy heads in an unplanned direction. Also, setting and timing need to be right (as with any sexual encounter). Perhaps a roleplaying scenario was planned for today and a wife comes home from a horrible day at work. A postponing may be in order. Again, the ultimate point of roleplaying is to have fun and enjoy each other.

Rep V. Direct: How to Best Organize a Sales Team

Sales executives are constantly searching for the ideal structure of the sales team. Should the team be composed only of direct sales people? Should the team be composed only of manufacturers’ representatives? Experience shows that a hybrid sales organization, composed of a blend of direct and indirect sales employees (manufacturers’ representatives), combines optimal performance, cost effectiveness and flexibility.If one observes several sales organizations over an extended period, she’s able to see that relatively often, sales executives make sweeping changes to those organizations, from all direct to all rep, and from all rep to all direct. Invariably, the observer is able to note that sales management ultimately reverses many of those sweeping changes. Sometimes sales executives benefit from observing changes made by others. Unfortunately, too many sales executives develop the understanding of the benefits of a hybrid organization by making one or more poor decisions and then repairing the organization after problems surface. The most durable of sales organizations are those that use a hybrid technique, employing a mix of both direct sales staff and manufacturers’ representatives. Sales teams composed entirely of all direct people or entirely of manufacturers’ representatives are generally not ideal.Why “Direct Only” Teams Are Not IdealMany CEOs and executive teams believe that the best way to build relationships with customers is with a sales team composed only of direct employees. In this example, sales staff cannot be distracted with unrelated business and other product lines. No one can blame the inexperienced CEO and executive team for thinking this way. A salesperson is able to devote 100 percent of this time to the company. A direct sales team suffers from far fewer distractions than a rep sales team. However, experienced CEOs and executive teams understand that they must thoroughly look at a direct sales team before converting to it. Direct sales teams are quite expensive to train and support. The company must support offices in all major markets. Those offices bring along with them assorted costs: rent, administrative support, office equipment, utilities, etc. A competent manager who can work well and represent the company without direct supervision must manage the office. The company must train and occasionally upgrade each office manager.When sales are growing, the office manager must hire and train new sales staff. The company must train the manager in hiring and training techniques. The company must also train the office manager in firing techniques, in hopes of avoiding legal problems.As sales grow, the office must expand to meet growing demands upon the sales office. Cost of sales rises as sales grow. Sales, however, do not grow forever. Ultimately, sales flatten and roll over. Sales usually roll over earlier and more abruptly than hiring plans. Sales may dip at anytime during the year, but hiring plans are usually set at the beginning of each calendar or fiscal year. As a result, hiring is sometimes still underway when industry and office sales are falling. Such dynamics create an environment whereby cost of sales, (as measured by the total cost of running the sales office, divided by the total revenue that the office generates, expressed as a share of sales) rises rapidly.


When a sales office has healthy sales, the company can manage its cost of sales and support them at a predetermined level. If sales grow for a long period, the company can manage the office to cut cost of sales. The sales office can benefit from economies of scale. A sales office supporting 20 salesmen doesn’t need more copiers, fax machines and conference rooms than an office supporting only 10 salesmen. Unfortunately, sales ultimately roll over. It is difficult to cut costs immediately. The office manager must usually see several months or quarters of declining sales before realizing that he must cut costs, including headcount. During this time, cost of sales rises, sometimes well above tolerated levels. The sales office manager and the company cannot cut costs quickly. Which is a chief reason that totally direct sales teams are undesirable.Why “Rep Only” Teams Don’t Yield Peak PerformanceRep only sales organizations afford a number of benefits to the sales executive. The sales teams are already in place. Hiring and firing of salesmen is not the direct responsibility of the sales executive or his regional sales managers. Manufacturers’ representatives generally hire and fire as sales move up and down. The cost of running a rep only sales organization rise and fall directly with the level of sales. A significant benefit of the rep only sales organization is that cost drops immediately when sales drop. It’s possible to accurately forecast cost of sales as a share of total revenue. Cost can never get out of control by hiring too many salesmen, buying too many computers, or leasing too large an office; not infrequent problems for direct sales organizations.Manufacturers’ representatives are not always the panacea for companies looking to hire or expand a sales organization. Large customers often demand direct sales staff; not indirect staff from a manufacturers’ representative. Large customers view their largest suppliers as strategic partners, and like the ability to communicate directly with those suppliers. Communications is sometimes slower and less clear when a customer must communicate with a manufacturers’ representative, who in turn communicates with the supplier. Customers may set the style with which they deal with suppliers as part of their purchasing strategy. For example, they may decide to deal with no more than two or three suppliers on any commodity and to deal with those suppliers directly. This disallows conducting business through manufacturers’ representatives. A supplier must recognize and honor such a strategy, or be ready to suffer undesirable consequences. A supplier must never turn a tin ear to a request from a customer demanding direct sales representation.Large suppliers view their largest customers as strategic partners, and like the ability to communicate directly with those customers. They view the delay when communicating through a manufacturers’ representative as an unnecessary burden. When large suppliers invest management time with strategic customers, they do not want to dilute that investment by sharing management time with manufacturers’ representatives. The incapacity to offer direct coverage to strategic customers is the primary reason that a sales team composed only of manufacturers’ representatives is unattractive.First and Foremost: Do No HarmRecognizing that something is wrong, many sales executives make bold, sweeping structural changes to their sales teams. Fire all reps and hire a direct sales team. Fire all direct salesmen and hire a network of manufacturers’ representatives. Either approach will certainly repair some problems. More than likely, however, extreme changes are very prone to creating new problems of equal or greater scale.Why do so many companies replace one poor-performing sales organization with another that destined to yield performance that is no better than the original? The two most common reasons are inexperience and weakness of the sales executive compared to the rest of the management team. Perhaps the inexperienced sales executive has risen through a single company with an all-direct or all-rep sales force. Now, managing the global sales organization, he opts for sweeping change from all-direct to all-rep, or from all-rep to all-direct sales without benefit of understanding thoroughly the benefits and problems with either a pure-rep or pure-direct organization. Alternatively, the inexperienced sales executive may have developed his management skill at a company employing an all-direct sales organization. He may not feel comfortable managing if hired into an all-rep company. No one can fault a sales manager if he sees massive problems and concludes that he must make sweeping change to an all-direct sales organization. Only inexperience allows him to make a major, highly disruptive change.Another reason companies make dramatic changes in the structure of a sales organization is that the sales executive is weak. If cost-of-sales, expressed as a share revenue is too high, the CEO, the rest of the executive team, or both can apply pressure on the sales executive to affect change and cut cost. If the sales executive lacks the strength to defend his team or the structure of the sales organization, he merely becomes the messenger, not the manager.


The message to the sales executive feeling pressure to make sweeping change in a sales organization is to adhere to the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. Any sweeping change imposed upon the structure of a sales team will initially be disruptive. Make sure to justify the disruption and be very sure that the change, once implemented, is most likely irreversible. Sweeping change brings disruption, higher cost of sales and lower productivity. All of this might be worthwhile. However, if a sales manager imposes sweeping change and then reverses course within a year or two, disruption from the reversal is much greater and more costly. A reversal of an organization change brings with it disruption, higher cost of sales and lower productivity just like the original change. However, an organizational reversal can erode the sales team’s enthusiasm. A company can handle disruption, higher cost of sales and lower productivity if repaired relatively quickly. Repair of an unmotivated sales team takes much more time.”Hybrid Sales Teams” Work BestA supplier always looks to optimize its sales organization. If a company continuously focuses on cost of the sales organization, use of manufacturers’ representatives is mandatory. The benefits of manufacturers’ representatives are too great to ignore. However, manufacturers’ representatives may not satisfy the requirements for some customers. Strategic customers demand direct interface, excluding the use of reps. The best alternative then, is to merge some of the best features of both a rep and a direct sales organization. Implement a direct sales team to cover the sales to all strategic customers, while simultaneously bringing about a sales team of manufacturers’ representatives to cover all other customers.A hybrid sales team benefits from the cost effectiveness of manufacturers’ representatives. The same team can deal directly with strategic customers. The sales executive may take advantage of the non-disruptive flexibility when adding or deleting customers on strategic customer list. A secondary benefit of a hybrid sales organization is bench strength. Well-seasoned, top-performing direct sales personnel represent a talent pool from which from which to draw regional sales managers.ConclusionExperience shows that a hybrid sales organization, composed of a blend of direct and manufacturers’ representatives combines optimal performance, cost effectiveness and flexibility. The most durable sales organization is one that uses a hybrid technique. Sales teams composed entirely of all direct staff or entirely of manufacturers’ representatives too often underperform.