This week we're starting a new series with Josh Williams, the founder of GeneseeSun.com in Geneseo, NY. Josh is a former photographer for the New York Post, later moving upstate to launch his site.
Originally a print publication, Josh quickly pivoted to an online-only format. He's pioneering a local video portal at TV.GeneseeSun.com as well. His strategy revolves around "throwing the kitchen sink" at his competition, an effort to rise far above the standard ad sales techniques in his space.
Josh: I have been working on my latest client for two years — yes that's correct, two years.
Sweet Arts Bakery opened up about the same time I started my business, and of course the local Pennysaver and print publication swarmed in to gobble up their revenue, and they did. I worked on building a relationship instead of trying to sell. With a sound relationship the sale will take care of itself.
I would stop in for cake pops and other tasty treats — while learning about her business I would make Facebook marketing suggestions to her.
Recently, I built out a prototype site, TV.GeneseeSun.com, a local, live video portal, and my pitch to her came via this avenue. I asked her if she would be interested in live-streaming a baking show every other week on my cooking channel. She became really excited and nervous, but loved the idea. Now, I don't charge a fee to run these shows, but to operate it does cost me revenue.
My pitch to her came as a suggestion that connects to her show. So I proposed the question: After we run the show, how about taking a picture of the product, posting it on your Facebook page and then it updates live into your ad that is running on GeneseeSun.com, via Editable Ads?
Bingo — 1 year contract
My philosophy is that you can't just sell billboards in the online arena. You have to offer more then an ad spot. There has to be a long term benefit.
A point that I like to use: If we get 10 people to 'like' your Facebook page via an ad that runs on my site, then you have ten potential clients you will be able to reach for a very long time. How many people can your print ad attract 1 week after its run date?
Online advertising for a small business is a challenging sell. Small businesses are guarding their revenue just like us independent publishers are. If you are going to get them to spend their hard-earned money, you had better bring more then a billboard spot on your website. I like to use visuals in my mind, and I love the visual of "throwing the kitchen sink," and that’s what I am doing to my competition. I am providing innovative ways for a small business to market themselves that others can't touch.
So good luck and enjoy "throwing the kitchen sink!"