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  1. #26
    SitePoint Enthusiast toddstep's Avatar
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    Hey... I didn't say I was going to do it. In fact I am still undecided. If you'll look at my last post I said:

    If I do this...
    That sounds like I am undecided. And yes. I DO need to ask other people. It is always wise to seek counsel on things you are unsure of. I don't keep arguing this to change minds, I just want to get everyone's opinion.

    You keep saying that I will ruin my reputation and brand, and if that is the case, I don't want to do that, bu I am also hearing from people that they think it is a good idea.

    So who am I to believe? I don't know yet. Obviously, there are two VERY distinctive camps here. Nobody (except me) seems to be undecided on the issue.

    Also, some of you seem to be missing the point I made in my very first post - Limited budget. Part of that is my fault. I should have made it clear that I have NO budget. I am not in a position that I can even spend the $200 that it would take to get listed at Yahoo! So things like direct mail, stickers, flyers, print advertising and the such are DEFINATELY out of the question - not because they are not grand ideas, but because I can't seem to get that kind of stuff on my good looks alone.

    So, what's a webmaster with a good idea to do?? Some have suggested that I contact several sites a day to start promoting my site. Ok... if I contact 50 sites per day (difficult in and of itself) and I have 6000 sites to contact, it will take me 120 days to reach all of them. With this in mind, it will be a "trickle in" effect.

    I have read (on this board) that it takes a mass of people to accomplish what I am trying to do - Build a community. A Community that auctually posts messages and responds to one another. I can not see the "trickle in" effect working... Can anyone?

    What I am really going for is a "Launch" effect. One big blast that could be accomplished with some advertisign in print, commercials, or other big $ media. But since I don't have that big $, I am trying to come up with the next best alternative.

    Again, I'm not bringing all of this up for the sake of arguement. I'm honestly trying to get the opinions of people in the industry.

    Is there anyone reading this that has tried this and has either fallen on thier face or succeeded? I'd love to hear either side from first hand expierence!
    Todd Stephens
    www.Todd-Stephens.com

  2. #27
    SitePoint Addict dpickup's Avatar
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    Hi Todd, I appreciate the conundrum you're wrestling with. Several years ago (back when spam wasn't quite so bad as it is now) I sent out some mass mails to promote a site I was developing. I got some returns from it, but not that much. I then started sending out those personalized emails I've been going on about and got a much better result. At the time I was building a search engine, not a community, but I think you'll find similar results. In fact with spam as bad as it is nowadays, I imagine you'll probably have worse results.

    One thing you have to consider, is that communities grow exponentially. Sure only a few might trickle in at first. But then you get to know this select few very well. Make them forum moderators and ask them to try and recruit more people (with targeted emails, phone calls, etc) and bring in their friends (they are sure to know other local innkeepers). From there, you can begin offering contests that are tied into referrals (there are free scripts available that allow you to do this) - give 'tickets' for every referral someone makes and then reward a monthly prize (doesn't need to be a lot, just send them a online gift certificate).

    Most of the successful online communities that I know of have grown slowly and smoothly - there is no instant key to success where they are concerned. Communities by their nature are networks of human relationships - and it takes time for these to develop. I think you have a good design and a solid niche to target, but you'll be better off taking the slow and steady approach.

  3. #28
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    1. Barter with the niche magazines for small space.

    2. Get the suppliers to sponsor and help promote (and dedicate message board sections to sponsors).

    3. Get a bounty for subscription sales to the niche magazines.

    4. Establish a B&B medallion program

    5. Establish a B&B award competition

    6. Announce every little thing to the niche publications - call to get their editors' e-mail addresses.
    _____/\/\arty \/\/inston

  4. #29
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Todd,

    I wasn't trying to insult you - I'm sorry if that was the effect. What I was trying to do is make a point, and I think I did that.

    There are many great ways to get people to your site, I'll list a few more here:

    1)Write a press release. You can write an article from a third person standpoint that sounds more like an editorial, then submit it every trade publication both on and offline.

    2)Write articles. If you are making a website, that means you must have a wealth of information to provide as content. How about writing some articles that will help your market and submitting them to every related publication both on and offline. The best way to do this is to subscribe to every ezine that your market may read. Then you can start submitting articles.

    To find these ezines you can go to these sites:
    www.ezine-universe.com
    www.ezinehub.com
    www.newsletteraccess.com

    Those should get you started.

    You can pretty much forget about the "Grand Opening Punch" unless you have some cash on hand. Exposure costs money.

    So, just begin your own grand opening by pursuing some free methods with all your might. You can do it. And slow growth is probably best anyway. It helps you keep up with the wants and needs of your community and helps you discover the weak areas of your site before you've spent a fortune.
    Come get 5,000 Full Color - High Gloss(front and back) business cards for only $270!
    www.diamondqueue.com

  5. #30
    Skills to Pay the Bills Sparkie's Avatar
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    Every day, I get emails from other web design companies asking me to send my clients to them and to consider doing business with them. While I understand the approach behind this (outsourcing work to another company) and that there's nothing wrong with the concept itself, the fact reminds that I didn't ask to be contacted. I would be very careful if I were to send out emails to a list of people, even targeted individuals who might want what you have to offer. Chances are, if they didn't ask for it, and aren't interested, they'll be upset that you even bothered contacting them, and that might hurt your business reputation.

    Todd, if I were you, I would submit a list of targeted keywords to search engines like GoTo.com. Even though you pay-per-click, you will reach people who are interested in what you have to offer. If you haven't already, I'd suggest setting up a mailing list on your website. This way, visitors can signup and find out when you've updated the website. In addition to updates, you can use your newsletter to advertise specials at your inn, or offer discounts for a limited time. Give visitors tips on how they can improve their vacation experience and I'm sure that word will quickly spread. Also, if you want to send emails, don't just send out the same message to a large number of people. Take the time to personalize your message and really make it meaningful. That will also improve your chances of reaching out to a specific group.
    Best of luck to you and your business!
    Sherice Jacob - Web Improvement Expert
    Improve Website Conversions | eBook Covers
    Follow Me on Twitter!

  6. #31
    SitePoint Wizard iTec's Avatar
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    Okay here is my 2c worth...

    Yes no to the is it spam debate.
    Yes it is MASS unsolicitated mail, Did they ask for it? No

    as for other promotion tips..
    Go to other b&b`s that you know and offer web design and hosting to them ie:
    http://www.what-ever-your-website-is...e-company-name
    all you need to do is use a simple template, bit of text and a few pictures, next have a few business cards printed, with the above address and give them to the proprieter to leave on there reception desk....

    I agree with what others have said, consentrate on the little things, the direct things. You will build better quality traffic and have a greater chance of refferal

    Scenarios

    email from jim (who got the spam)
    hey john, how are you today? i got spamed by this site today.. www. should have a look at it... (yer right)

    or
    email from john (no spam)
    Hey jim just found this site thought you might be intersted, seems pretty good to me (bit more realistic)

  7. #32
    SitePoint Enthusiast toddstep's Avatar
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    It worked for me..... your milage may vary.

    Originally posted by atomicmunky
    ok ... i honestly don't think anyone will be changing their minds soon. everyone seems to have a strong opinion.

    i think that the only way you might be able to change our minds is if you can come back to us with some stats that show that your email idea was effective.
    So..... Here we are in the future... after the e-mail was sent and you know what?!? I think it worked!

    I'm MORE than pleased with the results I received and with the response of 99.9% of the people who took the time to respond to my e-mail that I sent out.

    Because of the e-mail I sent out:

    ** I now have almost 100 members on the forums.
    ** I received an offer to do an article in a Bed and breakfast Journal that has a subscription rate of 35,000 (Coming out this month!)
    ** Received a writeup in a U.S. B&B newsletter that has circulation of 4000+
    ** Received a writeup in a U.K. B&B newsletter that has circulation of 2000+
    ** interest in advertising from at least 5 vendors that market their products to B&B/Inn owners.

    I will not lie. I got about 7 e-mails that were NOT positive. but not all of them wer complaining about it being spam. Most of them were saying that the service I am providing is not needed. Only 1 of the negative letters I received back specifically mentioned spam.

    I received literally 100's of notes back from innkeepers that were EXCITED about our new Website.

    I might have offended a few, but it was VERY FEW..... To me it was worth it.

    -----
    Todd Stephens
    Founder - www.My-Innkeeper.com

  8. #33
    SitePoint Zealot
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    If it acts like a duck and walks like a duck...

    I would definitely avoid approaching these people in this manner. You will most likely get much more positive results if you approach several medium sized sites and off some sort of partnership in which both of you will benefit.

    I for one have never responded to spam in a positive manner - I have however been known to help out smaller sites that have approached me in a polite, personalised email that is obviously sent to only me.

    Nobody likes getting SPAM, even if it is just marginally spam.

    Kurbin
    www.amusingpics.com
    Don Lair
    GetItCheap.com - Earn cash back online.


  9. #34
    SitePoint Enthusiast toddstep's Avatar
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    Kurbin,

    I'm not sure what you're getting at. You suggest getting together with other medium sized sites and forming partnerships. What other medium sized sites in my field. There aren't any...

    Another point I think you might have missed from my previous post is that the mail has already been sent. It's done. Not only that, but it was very successful (at least in my opinion) and I provided the positive things it did for my site my last post.

    Nobody likes getting SPAM, even if it is just marginally spam.
    I'm not so sure that's as true as some would like it to be. As I said, I received an overwhelmingly positive response to the mail that I sent out.

    My posts today wer in response to atomicmunky when he said

    I think that the only way you might be able to change our minds is if you can come back to us with some stats that show that your email idea was effective.
    I was trying to show that the e-mail campagin I ran for my site was successful.

    Again, your milage may vary.

    Todd Stephens
    Founder - My-Innkeeper.com
    www.my-innkeeper.com

  10. #35
    SitePoint Enthusiast scslawin's Avatar
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    This whole spam/not spam issue gets under my skin. Just because an e-mail is unsolicited DOESN'T make it spam. Plain and simple. Email addresses on posted on Web sites so that people will send the site owners email. There is no other reason to post it there.

    Look, if you went out and sent a mass mailing to a bunch of harvested email addresses, I'd consider that spamming. But if you personally visit a Web site, have a suggestion for them, and compose an ORIGINAL EMAIL (not some formula, mail-merge message) then I feel quite strongly that you are NOT spamming the site.

    For instance: I've had unsolicited email messages from visitors to my site plenty of times. Some are obviously a mass mailing spam mail, others are quite obviously a single message from a person who has used and has an interest in my site.

    If you visit someone's site and believe that they would benefit from your site, then drop them a nice note commenting on their site and telling them briefly about yours. I've done the same tens, maybe hundreds of times and have had just ONE complainer. Literally, just ONE.

    Good luck with it!
    You're paying too much to be listed at Goto.com!
    Keep your ranking and save money with Position Guardian

  11. #36
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    I'm glad it worked out for you. Really!


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