What I’m about to describe to you is an actual example of the creativity and ingenuity of a small business owner.
I am changing the names of both the owner and his/her niche because I am quite sure the owner wouldn’t want me divulging this information about his/her business.
Nevertheless, this is a true story and one that you may or may not want to use as the basis of your own similar effort to get your business known and to drive more traffic to your web site.
Who wouldn’t want to follow this example if it helped to promote your own small business?
I’m sure there are some that might feel that what this entrepreneur did was wrong. That it stretched the ethical boundaries of honest business practice. That it mislead business prospects and skewed the results of “the survey.” Of that claim, you will have to be the judge.
Here are the details:
Let’s call the owner Frank. Frank writes a business blog about coin collecting – U.S. coins.
He also deals in selling and trading coins and has written several ebooks and reports that he sells on how to locate, value, protect and profit from selling and trading vintage coins.
Frank has a solo business – no employees – and it is conducted and executed exclusively online. He blogs about relevant coin collecting, trading, and investing tips and topics.
He has struggled to gain credibility in his niche and he gets a very small amount of daily traffic to his blog and his business.
Frank reasoned that if he could get his business site listed with the top and best coin sites online, he could dramatically increase his audience and eventually begin converting many of them into customers of his own business.
But Frank had trouble getting listed in the online directories in his niche. No one knew who he was, and no one had ever dealt with his business so he wasn’t going to get any publicity or notoriety being so new in the field. Frank just couldn’t see to break into the establishment within the niche – especially since the long time “heavyweights” in the business all had a physical presence – a brick and mortar business that customers could visit in person.
Frank knew he needed to do something drastic if he wanted his business to survive so he took matters into his own hands and decided to start his own U.S. coin business directory.
He set up a web site that was not associated with his own business site (rightfully knowing that people would suspect his directory was biased if he were the owner of it as well as a business owner that was also listed in the directory.)
Frank did some research and came up with a list of about 15 well known coin companies who were his immediate competitors.
Most were listed high in the search engine results (like Google, Bing, MSN, etc.) for his top keywords in this niche.
Frank then set up a rating service for the companies listed in the directory with some special software. He wanted to find which businesses were highly rated by customers in the niche and he wanted to position his business among them.
Then he asked (at his blog and business web site) for his readers to go to this directory site and vote for his business – he asked them to give his business a very positive recommendation if they felt he deserved it and if they liked his business.
Obviously, there were not a lot of customers to do this at first. Frank didn’t really have much of a following.
Frank did some pay per click advertising of the directory site and soon began getting more and more traffic and a good number of ratings for many of the sites in the directory.
He asked his viewers to also suggest any other sites worthy of mention to be included in the directory.
After a few months, Frank began listing the results of his directory’s rating system; of course, his name was never associated with the directory other than the fact that his business was one of the directory listings.
As it turned out, Frank’s coin business ended up as the 6th highest rated business on the Internet in that niche. Frank didn’t fudge the results; that was his actual placement in the directory listing.
Over the coming year and half his business grew and grew and eventually became the full time operation he had hoped for. He credited most of his success due to the publicity gained from his directory ranking.
Obviously, Frank benefited from being on this “objective” directory of top Internet sites in his niche. He benefited by being listed among the other top niche sites.
He placed his business in that position. It wasn’t until he implemented this idea that his business began to get the credibility and notice (traffic) that he wanted. Frank’s business benefited by the principle of association with other business authorities in the niche.
So let me ask you? Would you try this same strategy? Do you feel Frank was dishonest in his method of promoting his own business?
Frank would tell you that he never did lie to anyone – that the directory rankings were based on the actual results of visitor voting. He would also say that every business owner listed in the directory had the same opportunity to send friends and customers to the site to vote.
Frank’s new business needed a boost, help getting traction in the beginning. He needed credibility and legitimacy and that came by being associated with other niche businesses at his directory site.
What do you think?
To your online business success!