What Works by Rich

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Despite the constant hype of *NEW* and *BETTER*, there are tried and true marketing methods. Actions and tools that WORK.

People will always invent new ones. Some of what them will be great. Most will, no matter how good they sound, be a bust.

Sturgeon’s Law says “90% of everything is crap” (Science Fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon, 1951). Actually, Rudyard Kipling in 1890 had it as 80% (he didn’t use the word “crap”). Things must be getting worse because I’d say it is now more like 97%. Hence all the articles I write about chasing “Fool’s Gold” and the like.

Before you go off chasing the newest promised pot of gold and its associated rainbow, make sure you are using the top three marketing tools. They are force multipliers – raising the effectiveness of whatever you are doing. Net result: You get the word out and generate more business.

This is confirmed by a new survey. These three methods are more than twice as popular as any other.  They are used weekly by over 80% of those surveyed. No other reaches even 40%.


“Everyone knows” this. Just in case there was any doubt about it, it remains number one. People are constantly doing online searches. If you can be found, you’re golden. If not? You are out of luck.

There are at least four ways you can show up in a search:

  1. Organic search, meaning, your earned position on Google.
  2. Paid listings (Google Ads).
  3. Local listings (Google My Business also known as Google Maps).
  4. Other websites showing you up in search – such as Facebook, Yelp, YouTube and many more, including other reviews websites.

Given the importance, you should pursue all four of them. Especially because some of these may be easier or harder for particular searches or locations.

Also, realize that all of them take time. Even Google Ads – though your ads start showing immediately. It can take weeks to months to get Ads operating well.

So work on all four of these, and keep working them.


I know what you’re thinking. I’m in the business of websites, so OF COURSE I’d say that.   GUILTY AS CHARGED.

Because it just happens to be irrefutably true. We first measured this in 2004. A client almost doubled new business with a new website. It wasn’t people finding the website through searches. Their business came from referrals and print advertising.

People, no matter how they hear about you, are going to check out your website. And if it doesn’t impress? Guess what.

The commercial internet has been around for about 24 years. AOL and other email services, and the first web browsers date from that time.

Around the same time, commercial use of the internet became unrestricted and the internet gold rush was on. In the San Francisco Gold Rush of 1849, almost the only people that made money were the outfitters. Like Levi’s, the original blue jeans.

In the early days of the commercial internet, the only people who made money off it were the people building websites. Well that has sure changed (see: Amazon stock price).

A company’s website, more often than not, is the hub of their marketing effort. If you don’t have a good website, you are probably wasting a large portion of your efforts to generate new business – NO MATTER WHAT THOSE EFFORTS ARE.

A good website can even BE your marketing program. 90% of our business comes from people finding us through search, seeing our Google Reviews and our website, and calling us or filling out a contact form. The website does most of the heavy lifting. It’s taken a lot of work, and we continue to work on it regularly. But that’s been the case for us for more than 11 years now. Not bad.

Fair warning: You aren’t going to get a good website with great search rankings for $999, from some guy working out of his house with no employees. I bet his own website is awful. If he’s so good at marketing….


Speaking of reviews. Many businesses get almost all of their new business by referral. Why? Surveys show over and over that third-party endorsements – such as referrals, word-of-mouth, reviews and testimonials – are BY FAR the most trusted information on who to turn to for quality products and services as well as great customer service.

Referrals and word-of-mouth are limited. Sure, you can use various methods (commonly offering some kind of reward) to encourage them. But it still depends on the existing customers and who they know. So at some point, you have to advertise.

Independent review sites, in contrast, have unlimited potential. If they find out about you, and check out your online reputation, then you get the call – not your competition.

Google My Business (Google Maps) is the king of independent review sites. Yelp, Facebook and other sites are valuable. There are also industry specific sites such as Avvo for attorneys.

You need to take positive action to get happy customers to do reviews and testimonials. There are many ways to encourage happy customers to give you a five-star review, and it makes all the difference in the quantity of reviews.

It is the only realistic way to deal with bad reviews. Bury them is a tsunami of good reviews.

A caution: Google terms of service prohibit paying people to do reviews for you.

By the way, sure, someone could make up reviews, but it’s not easy to make them sound authentic, and Google Reviews makes you work at it to upload fake reviews. Better just to work on getting real ones.

Make sure you have the most and best reviews. It’s one of the surest (and often easiest) ways to get more new business.


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