For 17 years I have been working with offline businesses by handling their online marketing.
The online ad budgets I manage has grown into the millions.
Many of my clients have been with me for more than a decade.
I have worked pretty much every niche you can imagine.
From dentists to private investigation firms, to locksmiths...
Recently I was asked for advice by a fellow just starting to sell online marketing services.
He was concerned about how to compete against traditional marketing.
He asked how I show that my online marketing is better.
This is a summary of my answer:
I don't compete with traditional marketing.
and I do everything I can to enhance and recommend traditional marketing for my clients when it makes sense for their business.
I also go out of my way to build relationships with traditional marketing sales reps.
They view me as a friend, not an enemy.
First contrary to what some are saying: "radio is dead, TV is dead, newspaper is dead, direct mail is dead" etc..
the truth is that traditional marketing works just fine and most of my clients spend money on it and make great returns (because we do it right).
You will find many selling online marketing trying to convince business owners that online marketing is better...
they spend time saying why spend so much on X when I can run you Facebook ads for so much less with better results...
I would encourage you NOT to do that and here are the reasons why.
1. The mentality of having to choose one marketing channel over another and pushing this on your prospects may mean you are going after the wrong businesses. The best businesses to work with have budget for traditional AND online marketing, provided the returns make sense.
2. It's a fight you can't win long term. Traditional marketing channels have some persuasive sales people, why fight with them when you can join them? I don't know about you but I built my business to be as hands off and automated as possible. I do NOT spend my days driving to clients over and over again to maintain a relationship. Traditional marketing channels do! They hire some rather persuasive sales people to be constantly in touch with your clients. If you go around picking a fight with traditional marketing you are going to lose the relationship war simply based on the time investment and pressure these full time sales people will put in to convince the same guy you're trying to convince. Plus there will be half a dozen of them (newspaper, yp, radio, tv...) and only one of you.
Instead I encourage you to turn the tables. When your client says he is thinking about advertising in the local paper or radio just say "awesome! I have some great ideas how our online stuff can work with it to really crush it!"
Using this approach over the years a few things have happened.
The first is that in a true spirit of co-operation I have learned many different ways to make sure my customers profit from the critical mass of both traditional and online marketing. I have also made some great friends in traditional marketing that now actually recommend me as an add on service!
If you don't actually believe in traditional marketing then I would never suggest you back something you don't believe in BUT I can tell you from experience you should re-examine your belief.
The successful marketing of any offline business is about critical mass. Let me give you an example.
One of my clients is a granite shop.
I have build them an online lead generation system that has put two of their competitors out of business in the last 12 months. Is what I built good? Yes, but I won't take full credit...
The business owner also invested at my recommendation in what I considered the necessary ad ons to really nail it. By opting into things like Consumers Choice Award, BBB, running ads on local talk radio and local papers his brands trust factor is through the roof. That paid for image took the online lead generation from good to great! It also dramatically increased sales conversion. Leads are great but getting the check from the customer is what matters! I could argue that maybe we can drop one of those expenses but that would be foolish. Everybody is getting a piece of the pie and the client is killing it big time! It's holistic marketing.
The advantages for my business have been incredible.
Every single player was invited to join by me.
Now even when they have meetings and I am not there my name is mentioned.
The radio or newspaper reps and business owner copy me on the emails and plans to make sure that the online channel is supporting and working with their efforts.
I am frequently asked what I think? ... or how can we make this better? ...
Imagine if I had done the opposite. If I had knocked all of these other marketing initiatives trying to keep my own little piece as though there is only enough money in the world to support us online marketers?
I would have full time sales reps talking trash about me all over town and my client would not be getting the results he is getting.
Just some food for thought if you are feeling like these other channels are taking your prospects budgets and leaving you out in the cold.
It is also a much more pleasant lifestyle if you do it this way.
You can feel like you are always at war, or you can feel like you are part of a team...
It may take you a bit of time to figure out exactly how to maximize returns from what you do online and what can be done in partnership with these other channels but hec your in the learning business so get to it!