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Business

SBLife.com Helps Local Businesses and Visitors Connect with Online Guide

Founder Harold Adams says the use of video has taken his website to new levels in promoting Santa Barbara County companies and events

The days of thumbing through a hefty book to find a local business are long gone. SBLife.com founder Harold Adams figured that out more than 13 years ago.

SBLife.com is an online visitors guide that hosts more than 120 businesses and services and 70 videos that promote various businesses and events throughout Santa Barbara County.

“Our mission since the beginning was to create an Internet portal, a destination website, with information and links to all that Santa Barbara County has to offer,” Adams said.

Adams, a UCSB graduate, was born and raised in Santa Barbara. He earned his degree in visual communication and has more than 20 years of experience in the marketing field.

Although SBLife.com, which published its first promotional video in 2003, started as a directory for only several local restaurants and hotels, its 90-second online video tours have set the site apart, Adams said.

“In spite of tough economic times, the video is a real differentiator,” he said. “A lot of people don’t have the equipment or expertise to compile a video of their business. We can provide videos that will catch people’s eye for an affordable price.”

Adams also offers integrated monthly podcasts featuring local businesses, a yearly promotional video series and various contests through Facebook, and SBLife.com plans to expand its partnerships with local media and develop an iPhone app to increase its circulation.

“There are many ways to promote your business, but SBLife.com remains a strong local choice to do some unique things with new media,” Harold said. “SBLife’s greatest strength is not in just our good search engine placement, local TV and radio advertising or promotional videos; it’s all tied into one big engine.”

Jessica Rea, director of business development for Santa Barbara Axxess, said one of the most important aspects for any business is to feature information the way the consumer wants it. Axxess is a membership-based community discount directory and online merchant portal.

“The more information you can give people the better,” Rea said. “The information needs to be organized in an easy fashion that’s accessible and how they want it.”

SBLife.com sales representative Marjorie Shields said businesses won’t survive if they let their online reputation suffer.

“If businesses aren’t doing good marketing online, they will be left behind,” she said. “People aren’t going to open a phone book even if it’s on their desk.”

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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