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

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

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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