How to Generate Leads for Local Businesses Using Blogs – Case Study

 date September 16, 2012    comments  1 Comment   postedby 

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On 18/7/2012 (Wednesday), I have decided to do an online experiment – an experiment to help business owner to leverage on the internet and to collect local leads using blogs.

Business owners include plumbers, piano teachers, violin teachers, tutors, interior designers, carpenters, furniture shop owners, doctors, chiropractors and so on. The list goes on and on.

One of the major obstacles they face is getting new leads. Without new leads, there won’t be any new customers to sell to and their businesses will die a slow (sometimes painful) death. Most small business owners are very busy managing their daily business affair. So most do not have a proper marketing system to help them get new leads.

In Singapore where I am staying, the common online marketing strategies that business owners use are listing on coupon sites such as Groupon, listing on online classified ads and directories, using Google Adwords and Facebook Ads.

These strategies will ONLY work if you have a proper product funnel. Most just signed up for these programmes and hope they get LOTS OF Customers and LOTS OF $$$. But it seldom works this way. Let me share with you why. Listing on coupon sites like Groupon is bad for small businesses and most owners are going to lose money. Listing on online directories is not ideal too as their ad is competing against thousands of other ads. Most have underperforming ads. Using Google Adwords and Facebook Ads is going to burn a BIG hole in their pocket as too as most use them blindly by not optimising the ads, the squeeze pages and lowering the cost per click.

So possibly, using blogs to reach out to customers may still be one of the most cost-effective (I didn’t say free) methods to educate your customers, to get them to buy from you and to build a strong following.

So what is this online specifically about?

Even though I have started this experiment about 2 months ago and it is still ongoing, I really want to share with you what I did, the challenges I face, the results I gotten (small, big or none) and the steps I took to solve some of the problems I face. I am also sharing what I had been doing due to the good response I had gotten for the 3-parts Niche Tutorials.

When I first started, I have no idea if everything is going to be ok:

Honestly then, I have no idea if it would have worked or not. There were many factors to consider such as category of your niche, competition of keywords, type of customers, spending per customer, whether they will buy online and even if they buy online, what kind of products/ services they really want and how much they are willing to spend.

Looking through all these unknowns had given me a BIG headache and I was scared too – scared to have created an experiment which had a negative outcome and to hear my readers booing at me.

I was hesistant then but my buddy, David from “Learn Niche Marketing” encouraged me to start this experiment so as to prove that lead generation using blogs REALLY works. So now, I decided to create this case study and share it with you.

Well, since this is just an experiment and whatever happens, it will be for the fun of it, right?
Plus by sharing what I did, perhaps you will be able to tweak my methods and develope your personal strategies to help your local business.

 

Choosing my niche:

So I have decided to go into a niche which I really love – Math Niche. Having background in children’s education psychology, my strength (beside coaching and internet marketing) is teaching students and helping them to drastically improve their academic results within a very short time frame.

As the Math niche is very wide, ranging from pre-school Math to University Math, I must narrow it down further to Primary school Math. I chose this niche because I already know parents are spending a lot of money in this niche plus I have over 10 years of working experience with parents whose kids are in this age group (9 to 13). According to this article – Asia spending billions on tutors: study, Singapore spent US$680 million in 2008! Imagine how much more parents are spending NOW? Perhaps 1 billion dollars solely in Singapore? Who knows? :p

After doing more research and observing the local tuition trends, here is the demographic of my customers:
- Parents with children who are in Primary 5 and 6
- Parents’ age falls between 30 to 50
- Living in Singapore
- English speaking
- Internet savvy
- Already spending money on their kids by signing them up for tuition, buying Math assessment books, registering for motivational workshops. (monthly expenses per parent is estimated to be at least $100 per month and it can go up to over S$5000/ month considering the fees paid for more premium tuition services and other enrichment programmes.)

So the niche has been selected and I am going to set up my blog – my online vehicle for collection of local leads.

There will be a 3 key components:
- Free content as blog posts
- Subscribed content (Reader needs to opt in to get my free e-book)
- Paid content (Reader needs to pay to get it)

Now, let’s go!

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polo ralph lauren trainers

 date June 17, 2015    comments  Leave a Comment   postedby 

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 date June 17, 2015    comments  Leave a Comment   postedby 

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Niche Blogs Tutorial 3 – On-Page and Off-Page SEO

 date September 5, 2012    comments  Leave a Comment   postedby 

Welcome to Tutorial 3! We hope that by now, you have read and applied what you have learnt from Niche Blogs Tutorial 2. (If you have yet to, please go back to Tutorial 1 and start from there.)

For those of you who have started creating your blogs, it is time to look into the on-page and off-page seo strategies of your niche sites.

This phase is really important because the amount of traffic going to your site is dependant on how well your site is ranked for the keyword or keywords. More traffic means more visitors and it means more $$$.

In the SEO world, there are 1001 techniques to get your website ranked well in the search engine. Some work well for others but may not have worked well for us. There are other techniques which have worked well for us but are ineffective for others. We hope that by sharing what work well for us can give you some clues on how you can start.

While I was planning to write this post, I have initially wanted to explain what on-page and off-page SEO is. However, I realised my intention of creating this tutorial series is to share our exact strategies of building niche blogs and NOT teach what SEO is. So I have decided to just share other people’s webpages which explained what on-page and off-page SEO are.

So are you ready? Let’s go!

Here is our on-page and off-page SEO strategies. (Do note that you can use these for all your blogs.)

On-page SEO:

For blog home page:
1. Install All-in-one-SEO-Pack plugin
2. Fill in the Home Title, Home Description and Home keywords.

*Check out these resources on how to write proper Home Title and Home Description.
- Meta Description (seomoz)
- The Netsetter: SEO Writing Tip #2: Optimize Your Meta Description Tag

 

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How to Create an Authority Site And Start Making Money – 8 Steps

 date August 29, 2012    comments  Leave a Comment   postedby 

Passion gas fuels an authority site. Nothing else can do an equally good job as passion gas.

An authority site grows from your desire to share your passion with the world. An authority site grows with you.

For instance, if you love dogs the way Cesar Milan loves dogs, you have an authority site.

Recently, I started another site about Maths. I love Maths and have coached numerous students in this subject.

I had my very own special way of engaging the children and getting them to grasp “hard” Maths concepts within minutes. Something that most parents are not able to do. I have BIG dreams of holding my Maths workshops for parents and children too.

So, a month ago, after a discussion with my friend, David who runs iPhotoCourse Digital Photography, I have decided to embark on another journey to build another authority site.  (My other authority site is a wedding planning blog)

The result: A month later (today), my site has started making money.

Here is the process to start earning your first dollar:

1. Deciding your niche

As mentioned, this niche must be a niche which you love alot. If you love it alot, most likely you know alot about it too and this will help you to have a great start because you know what your readers want. For instance, if you love cooking, start a cooking blog. As a stay at home dad, I have started to pick up cooking recently. This is a great recipe site I love to visit – MunchMinistry.com and they hold cooking classes for its community. Thus, charging for cooking classes is their way of making money by blogging about food.

2. Getting a brandable domain name

For niche blogging, we are always on the lookout for low competition keywords which are easy to rank. However, since I am building an authority site, the domain name must be brandable. It means it should not be something like “studyingprimaryschoolmaths.com” No one will want to type such a long name. A better name might be “MathsExcel.com”

3. Keyword research

Now, this keyword research is for finding suitable keywords to rank the pages in your website. For example, if “how to excel in Maths” is a suitable keyword, you can record it down and use it as one of the titles for your blog post/ article. After your keyword research, you should have a list of 10 to 15 keywords. Choose a keyword for each article title.

4. Blog set up

Here are the rules I follow:

- WordPress platform

- Clean white background

- 2 columns with right sidebar

- Basic pages to have: contact, about me and two more pages which matter to your readers

- Product/ service page (your money page which differs and is dependant on the niche you are in.)

- Opt in form/ page (for building your list) (I recommend GetResponse)

5. On-page and off-page Seo

Make sure you optimised all your pages and your entire site. One plugin which you must use is “All in one SEO” plugin. You can do manual backlinking by finding other sites/ blogs in the same niche. Do not miss out the social bookmarking too. In addition, you can choose to engage Warriors who provide reliable SEO services in Warrior Forum.

6. Content Creation

There is only one rule to follow: provide quality content. An authority site is very different from niche site. It is not set-and-forget blog. One of your goals should be to build a community around your site. So you must meet the needs of your readers. Build your site for your readers. If you don’t, someone else will.

One way of churning out quality content is to write yourself. The other way is to outsource some of the writing to good writers. You can train and guide your writers to write in the way you want.

7. Direct your content to pre-sell your product/ service

Your blog content should serve some purpose and one of them should be to provide great value to your readers and to show them how good you are. You must provide an impression that since your free content is good, your paid content is even better. So this will turn some of your readers into paying customers.

8. Choosing a payment processor

You can use PayPal.com. If you have an affiliate program which can get others to sell for you, you can use e-junkie

Problems (with solutions):

Niche research - Though the steps seemed simple, finding the right niche is the hardest step. When I asked my students in my coaching program what do they love, most gave me a blank look. Others need more time to think about what they are passionate about. So give yourself time to think about your niche.

Keyword research - This part can be difficult for most people. As this is an authority site, it is ok to find bigger keywords which have more competition.

Content creation - I know some of you do not love to write or prefer to outsource this part. Yes, you can do it. The next challenging part is to find good writers who you can trust and who can write in the style you like. So you may need to go through some firing and hiring of writers before finding the right one. Expect that even good writers won’t stay long as they have other commitments too. So always be on the look out for better writers.

Too overwhelming for newbies - Though there are only 8 steps, the learning curve for newbies can be very steep. So give yourself ample time to fully understand every step and execute it so that you can learn what works or does not work for you.

How do you find this process? Do you prefer building authority site or smaller niche site? I love to hear your thoughts.

 

Niche Blogs Tutorial 2 – Site Set Up & Content Creation

 date August 28, 2012    comments  Leave a Comment   postedby 

Thank you for your great feedback on our first tutorial – Niche Blogs Tutorial 1 – Choosing the Right Keywords I am glad that you find the step-by-step tutorial is very simple to follow and implement.

Just like mastering any other skill, you need to commit to 3 to 4 hours everyday to sharpen your keyword research skill. Researching keywords can be very frustrating but it gets easier with more practice. The reward is big once you find a low competition and high CPC keyword. =)

In this second tutorial, we are going to talk about how to set up a system for setting up your sites and creating your content. Remember, you are a business owner now. In order to make more money and work less, you need to work smarter.

The only way to achieve this is to set up a system which can even run without you and your only role is to manage it.

If you are planning to churn out a minumom of 100 blogs per month, I DO NOT recommend that you do everything by yourself. Even if you are new to blogging, you should try to set up a maximum of two to three blogs to have a feel how to go about doing it. This is to facilitate your training of your Virtual Assistants – your staff who are going to hire to do your work and you just manage them while oiling your system at times.

 

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First, you need to know where to find your virtual assistants. They need to be reliable, efficient and honest.

I use Odesk.com to find my virtual staff. According to Wikipedia, oDesk is a company with a global job marketplace and a series of tools targeted at businesses that intend to hire and manage remote workers.

Another great resource site is VirtualStaffFinder.com

For written content, I use iWriter.com The writers provide fast and good service. You can choose not to accept articles which do not fit your criteria.

 

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Niche Blogs Tutorial 1 – Choosing the Right Keywords

 date August 21, 2012    comments  Leave a Comment   postedby 

Hi, sorry for the delay in creating this step-by-step tutorial for creating niche blogs. Many things (both good and bad) have happened in my family these few weeks. First, my second daughter was born 6 weeks ago. Then she had high fever and was admitted to hospital last week.

Today she looks much better.

Next, one of my favorite uncles peacefully passed on in his sleep three days ago. He suffered heart attack. It was VERY shocking to me because he was still well last week and he drove us to the hospital last week. So right now, we were really busy at the funeral.

Even though I was very busy, I had an hour of resting time before helping out again and I decided to create this tutorial now, as promised.

As you know, we have been actively creating our network of niche blogs. Now we have hundreds of them. We work as a team and we had developed a more efficient system (after encountering many challenges, failures and difficulties.)

Though to set up the system is very hard, it is quite easy to manage it once it has been set up. I will do my best to explain as clearly as possible. If you have any question, feel free to post in the comment section at the bottom of this post.

In short, there are 5 steps to this system.

1. Niche research – done by me and my partner

2. Site set up and content creation – done by my virtual assistants

3. On-page and off-page seo – done by my virtual assistants

4. Maintenance and tracking of keywords performance – done by me and my partner

5. Selling earning blogs to our customers - done by me and my partner

Now, to start off explaning “Niche research”, here are the 7 steps which we have followed closely to generate hundreds of niche blogs so that we can flip them after they are earning revenue.

 

In fact, the list of top selling products (known as best sellers) is already available in a big online library. Check out Amazon.com, one of the largest online market places. Search for 10 popular products ideas from Amazon Best Sellers.

You can research on anything that interest you. There are many niches (as shown on the left sidebar) that you can choose from. If you are a cycling enthusiast, you can consider bicycle niche. Or if you love computers, you can explore “Computers & Accessories” niche. Do spend an hour or two to check out some of these niches. You may be surprised by what will interest you.

Click on the links on the left side to explore more.

 

For this tutorial, let’s work on the cat’s niche. I love cats, so do my 2 year old daughter. I have specially selected this kitty camper based on two criterias. Firstly, I know cat lovers will invest in getting comfortable cat beds for their cats. Secondly, there are over 46 reviews shown and there is a rating of 4.5 given. So this is a pretty popular niche and people are buying them (and reviewing them too.)

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