The Flathead Guide’s Value Proposition
Should the Flathead Guide charge more for a business listing?
Now there is a question that no business will ever ask their customers, “Hi George, Would you like me to charge you more money for the services I provide to you?”
From a purely fundamental ‘benefit to cost’ ratio, the fact is that I am charging far less than I should for a listing in the Flathead Valley Business Directory. And believe it or not, that is also the biggest hurdle I must overcome in attracting new businesses.
Relax, we’re not raising prices.
Although it varies with every business, customer acquisition costs can be a significant piece of the operations budget. We all know how expensive is can be to advertise in conventional media and we have all spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a campaign that produced little or no results. Thus, when we hear about a marketing opportunity that costs only $4 per month, the natural reaction is to be skeptical or ignore it altogether. We instinctively think that, “nothing this cheap could be worth my time.”
To compound this sales objection, low cost is often perceived as ‘low value’ and that is my foremost challenge to overcome when people are first introduced to the Flathead Guide. Would I be better served to sell listings in the Flathead Guide comparably priced to other similar websites? There are other services, which are comparable to the Flathead Guide in many ways, but most charge anywhere from $15 to $50+ per month and more. A few of these websites have a local relevance and some are nationwide. However, NONE offer the same value as the Flathead Guide regardless of their cost. Why do I say that, and how can we define ‘value’?
The Flathead Guide is hyper-Local to the Flathead Valley
Unlike every other competitor, the Flathead Guide is hyper-Local to the Flathead; we don’t list companies from Missoula, Billings or anywhere outside the extended Flathead valley. We focus on companies located here and doing business here in the Flathead. Our efforts to promote those businesses through our social activity on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, etc. are all targeted locally. We have achieved significant milestones with traffic generating ‘social” sites:
- YouTube Channel with over 430,000 video views
- Pinterest Followers 1,200+ (one of the largest NW Montana Pinterest boards)
- Facebook Fans 1,000+ (and counting more every day)
- Twitter over 500+ (mostly local) followers
The Flathead Guide is Optimized for Smartphones
The challenges of doing business in NW Montana are unique. We can expect to see more than two million visitors to northwest Montana in 2014. Those vacationers leave behind millions of dollars in the local economy that affects thousands of Flathead businesses. Today, our visitors carry smartphones and Tablet PCs – they leave their laptops at home. This means that they will be searching on their mobile devices for everything from auto repair services, bars and bicycles to campgrounds, chiropractors and restaurants.
The Flathead Guide is mobile-friendly (geeks call it a responsive platform) this means that our website adapts to the device on which is being viewed. In other words, your company presentation looks great on a desktop monitor, a Tablet PC or a smartphone. In addition, search engines now display different results on mobile devices than desktops.
The Flathead Guide is Search Engine Optimized (SEO)
In fact, every listing is optimized for search individually. As a 20-year Internet marketing specialist and an SEO pro, I personally optimize every new listing to help improve its search ranking. This means that every listing functions like a stand-alone ‘mini website’ with an unlimited text description, photo slideshow, links to their website and all major social sites - with the functionality of a smartphone.
The Flathead Guide’s Value Proposition
The value of having your business listed in the Flathead Guide means that more people will discover your business - and potentially become a customer.
Our value proposition to our customers is all-encompassing. You will pay less and get more exposure 7x24x365. The link from the Flathead Guide pointing to your primary website can actually help your site rank higher in search results, and that is another HUGE benefit. “A rising tide lifts all ships” and as traffic to the Flathead Guide increase (which it has done month over month), businesses automatically get an increase in their exposure.
Grooming your business to leverage “search marketing” is a critical factor in doing business today. Advertising for brand awareness is fine, but to capture ready-to-buy customers, you must be optimizing your marketing for online search, and a listing in the Flathead Guide helps you accomplish this.
My goal is to list as many Flathead Valley businesses as possible and I did not want the price to be a consideration for any business – no matter how small. And that is why it costs only $4 per month to have a listing in the official Flathead Valley Business Directory.