How I made $7K my first month w/No Site or Testimonials

by 48 comments
OK, I've been reading a couple of threads by guys who've spilled the beans on how they're making money in Offline. I've been really amazed by what they were willing to share openly. I'm thinking of Bob Ross and JohnSpangler. John is a wonder and a continuing inspiration to me. So I'm adding my story as a nod to them.

This is true.

I got into Offline marketing in December of 2009. I got Maria Guidelis's Offline Challenge in November and implemented a specific campaign from it in December. And closed two deals in the first month worth $7,000. Since then, I've brought in an average four figures a month. I didn't have a website for the first 9 months. Here's what I have now - Effective Web Marketing. I only use it as a place to post testimonials so people don't ask to call my previous clients.

Here's what I did from the start:
a. Find a hungry crowd - nothing new here. I went to the yellow pages and looked for the biggest ads. I just took down that addresses of every ad that was bigger than about a 1/6th of a page. Later, I grabbed every print ad source I could find, and wrote down addresses.

b. Make a good offer - My first offer was "Free Website Repair". Again, nothing new here. You can probably search that phrase on the Forum and find ways to do this. I've done other offers since then that work well. I wrote letters until I had used every address in the yellow pages. Then I switched to email. I positioned the offer this way - If you're like most small businesses that call me your website lets you down. I spend my time turning broken sites into lead generating or money generating or client generating (whatever is appropriate for the business) machines. I thought this was hokey and frankly was afraid to say it, but I found people really receptive to it and I have closed international businesses that are sophisticated about the internet using it.

c. The follow up - I didn't chase people. I think I may have emailed people as a follow up - did you see my letter, I offered you free web repair. I don't remember my response rate on the mailing. I think it was pretty good - 5 or 10% from a list of people who are already big advertisers.

When they responded I sent them an email telling them why their website wasn't bringing in business. Later I switched to videos because I could make them much faster.

Generally, I was telling people: 1. no one can find your site, you're going after keywords that are far too general and too competitive, 2. when they come to your site, there's nothing that differentiates you and keeps people from clicking away to some other site, 3. you don't ask them to contact you, so they don't. And I offered to fix the basics - title, h1, description, keywords, etc. And yes, I fixed those for free when they asked. Few ever did.

d. I set up meetings to go over their site. Generally, once I'd gone over it they would ask what they should do. I would make lots of suggestions - you could do this, you could do that - what kind of business do you really want to bring in? Oh really, you have three kinds of business? Do they seem to show up more searching for you or roaming Facebook? Do they see a need for you when they're home or when they're out with their phone? Oh, you don't know, well that would be good for you to figure out, so you don't advertise to people who aren't looking. And then offer to do a marketing plan for them for $500. Most people jumped at it.

e. The marketing plan - I really did a good job on this - looked over keywords, looked at Facebook (can they attract an appropriate audience), looked over Google Places, do businesses like theirs need mobile. I still have testimonials saying the marketing plan I did was the most comprehensive thing a business owner ever received about his business.

f. Use the plan to sell. People trusted me pretty well when they got the plan (I turned it around in one to two weeks and scheduled the review meeting when they bought it). Most of what I sold was doing new sites or reworking them and SEO. But I also sold Google Places and etc. if they needed it.

It's a pretty straight on consulting campaign. Nothing fancy. No cold calling. I think what most people underestimate is the volume. When I was mailing to businesses that advertised in the yellow pages, I think I got 10% to send me an email, something like that. Then I would go back and forth trying to set up a meeting. And I closed 1 of 8 very consistently over months and months. My close rate in a face-to-face meeting was very high, 75 or 80%. If I got a meeting I got a close. Even people who told me they weren't going to buy or people who were actively doing business with someone else. But lots of people emailed me and then disappeared. So the ratio was something like write 100 letters, get a sale.

When I switched to email, my response rate went way down - 1.5% or something like that. So, I'd have to send 500 offers to get 7-10 responses, to get one close.

I hope that's helpful to you guys. I still have many of the accounts I started with. People have been very grateful for good service. And my experience is that it takes setting up a system and being persistent. But my experience is also that it's very possible to start making good money your first month.

To your success,
Tim
#offline marketing #$7k #made #month #site #testimonials #w or no
  • Profile picture of the author Yogini
    Tim,

    Thanks for a great post. When you said you set up meetings- now that you use e-mail and do more that is international, how do you do the meetings? Do you use skype or how do you communicate?

    For the marketing plan, you expand in much more detail than what is given in the initial meeting I assume. Also, are people overwhelmed due to not being familiar with some of the methods you are suggesting? How do you present the marketing plan and do you propose it in the initial meeting which you conduct in some way over the net (I assume it's not by e-mail at that point)? This post is in spirit of John Spangler so it's inspirational.


    Debbie
    • Profile picture of the author TimD
      Originally Posted by Yogini View Post

      When you said you set up meetings- now that you use e-mail and do more that is international, how do you do the meetings? Do you use skype or how do you communicate?

      For the marketing plan, you expand in much more detail than what is given in the initial meeting I assume. Also, are people overwhelmed due to not being familiar with some of the methods you are suggesting? How do you present the marketing plan and do you propose it in the initial meeting which you conduct in some way over the net (I assume it's not by e-mail at that point)? This post is in spirit of John Spangler so it's inspirational.
      Debbie
      Hi Debbie, I'm glad this is helpful. I don't do meetings so much anymore. I"m trying to do as much as possible by email and phone. I'm also trying to do much less in the way of web dev and doing more putting up single pages and focusing on web promotion so I have the recurring payment and I can get all the payment upfront. So I use primarily email and phone/skype now.

      For the marketing play: My first meeting is mostly asking questions - who are you trying to target, what's working for you? what's not? how do people find you? what triggers them wanting to use a product/service like yours? That usually suggest different modes of marketing. Then I suggest a marketing plan - Look, I can do SEO for you, and here's the problem, I can't tell you right now whether you're best opening is "commercial printing" or "printing business cards", do you know? That makes a huge difference because with one, you might be able to break in quickly, with another it might take me months to get you on page one. Here's what I recommend - give me two weeks, I'll go over all the search terms, I'll see what's going on in Facebook, .... That's how I sell the marketing plan.

      Then come back with specifics on the plan and give them check boxes, we can do this to get this traffic and that to catch that business, where do you want to start?
    • Profile picture of the author tycoonms
      wow thank you very much for that case study

      got my first client last week, simple $250 a month for way too many services, I just needed quick cash

      I used cold calling serial killer and power lead snatcher. scraped restarants, phone blasted them and got two meetings from 5 responses, closed 1
  • Profile picture of the author RoryF
    Love how the website is optimised to sell the results that you will bring the clients not trying to be to technical with the terminology but rather focus on what they are going to get out of it if you get me.

    Is that a word press template that has been used for the design?
    • Profile picture of the author TimD
      Thanks Rory. I don't really care if anyone looks past page one. I just want a page that a - lets them know we deliver, and b - reflects the concerns of the prospect.

      It's the infocus theme from Themeforest. When I put it up I was looking for a theme that would rotate testimonials and present web pages in a nice view. I though it was the best at the time. I think there are better now, themes that are bit more buttoned down. But it does what I want.
  • Profile picture of the author RalphManer
    Its good to see meaningful posts likes this. Thank you! I already use most of the tips and they have worked. I will try the other insights as well.
    • Profile picture of the author TimD
      Originally Posted by RalphManer View Post

      Its good to see meaningful posts likes this. Thank you! I already use most of the tips and they have worked. I will try the other insights as well.
      Thanks for the note Ralph. If you can add what you know about how to do these things or others that have worked for you, I'm sure people would be grateful.
  • Profile picture of the author stranger11
    That's awesome. You mentioned you gave suggestions and did a marketing plan and looked for keywords and their did research and such. So did you already know all the SEO and marketing stuff, or did you learn it from somewhere. Are there posts or WSOs that outline the actual technical stuff, I know you can outsource it but you do have to know what you are talking about and what they need in order to help the clients
    • Profile picture of the author TimD
      Originally Posted by stranger11 View Post

      That's awesome. You mentioned you gave suggestions and did a marketing plan and looked for keywords and their did research and such. So did you already know all the SEO and marketing stuff, or did you learn it from somewhere. Are there posts or WSOs that outline the actual technical stuff, I know you can outsource it but you do have to know what you are talking about and what they need in order to help the clients
      Hi Stranger,
      I knew a fair amount about SEO. What I saw constantly was people going after keywords that were too broad. If you look on my site, you'll see a testimonial from a fellow who says on got him on page one after two days. That was an example. That was a free website repair. He'd worked with two other big name SEO companies in the area (Seattle is a BIG town for SEO. SEOMoz is HQ'd here for example.) They had promoted him on "painting" and "painter" literally. So I said, hey, just pick "seattle painter" and "seattle painting". I rewrote his title tag and h1 and the text on the site to emphasize those. Put up the new page and bookmarked it. Bang. He was on page one for 4 terms over the weekend. He's a client now.

      Now I generally do two things. I look at competitors and put their url in Google Adwords Keyword Tool to make sure I'm getting the relevant keywords. I look them over in Traffic Travis professional to see what I think I can rank for. Then I send a note to my outsource team saying - hey, I want to rank this url for this set of keywords - how long and how much $. From their I see where I can get the client ranked fastest for the most traffic. And mark up the cost. I put together an SEO outsourcer early in the game but had a bad experience. He did a bad job for me and nearly tanked a couple of accounts. So now I have a team that's done great work for me for a year. I know I pay them more than I would my own guy but I don't have to do anymore SEO stuff myself. I can concentrate on selling. I'd rather have 2/3rds of 10 accounts than 4/5ths of 5 accounts.

      Does that answer the Q?
  • Profile picture of the author aaallday2010
    You said for the first 9 months you didnt have a website? How, then, are you marketing web services and Internet marketing and YOU yourself didnt have a website?

    I mean, if you had approached me and offered your services, I would want to know more about you and visit your website, to see your portfolio, testimonials, companies you've worked for, and other info.

    Had you told me you don't have one, I would have hung the phone up on you. Seriously.

    I'm just curious as to how you got away without a website for so long and were still able to bring people into your business.

    Thanks.
    • Profile picture of the author believemarketing
      Originally Posted by aaallday2010 View Post

      You said for the first 9 months you didnt have a website? How, then, are you marketing web services and Internet marketing and YOU yourself didnt have a website?

      I mean, if you had approached me and offered your services, I would want to know more about you and visit your website, to see your portfolio, testimonials, companies you've worked for, and other info.

      Had you told me you don't have one, I would have hung the phone up on you. Seriously.

      I'm just curious as to how you got away without a website for so long and were still able to bring people into your business.

      Thanks.
      i'm not him obviously, but to be honest, this kind of thinking is what really stops people from taking action.... fear and thinking of what if...

      for every person who would say no to you, there is always another person who will say yes... when we show up, there is a 50/50 chance whether a client will sign up with us.... make them to like you, and you are wayyyy ahead...
  • Profile picture of the author Preeti
    Sending that congrats back your way Tim, awesome share and very inspirational--love these kind of posts!!!
  • Profile picture of the author Eugene Celestine
    Snapping Google search result related to their business is a wonderful way to get the, curious and willing to use your service. Offline Businesses don't want their competitors to dominate them in any form.
    • Profile picture of the author ZenEight
      Good tip, Eugene. I may try that next time and hopefully run into a competitive business owner with a decent budget.
    • Profile picture of the author TimD
      Originally Posted by Eugene Celestine View Post

      Snapping Google search result related to their business is a wonderful way to get the, curious and willing to use your service. Offline Businesses don't want their competitors to dominate them in any form.
      There's a great WSO for this by a guy in the Northeast who does this to sell his Google Places service. He snaps images of several pages where they are not on page one for Google Places and combines that with Google Keyword research that shows the potential searches they're missing. And then sends them a lumpy pack with a specific letter and follow up that really converts for him. It's been very successful for him.
  • Profile picture of the author kateboss
    That's quite a very enlightening one from you Tim..might as well incorporate some in my marketing strategies as I do have a very limited knowledge regarding marketing..
  • Profile picture of the author Eutaw
    Great information Thanks for sharing in great detail.
  • Profile picture of the author nidhan
    Great post Tim. I really appreciate
  • Profile picture of the author jlmason
    Great post, Tim,

    I like the idea of the free website repair. Most local business owners need that desperately
    and they know it so it should be an easy sale.
    • Profile picture of the author TimD
      Originally Posted by jlmason View Post

      Great post, Tim,

      I like the idea of the free website repair. Most local business owners need that desperately
      and they know it so it should be an easy sale.
      Thanks Joanne,
      Maria Gudelis turned me on to this. I'm surprised how well it works. It got me a lot of business owners who were savvy about their business but naive about the internet. The surprising thing is that I also got a few accounts that were very sophisticated. They used my responses as kind of a litmus test to see if I knew what I was talking about. I would get my emails back with comments on every paragraph like -
      Yes,
      Yes, I agree,
      No, I don't buy this, here's what you don't know about our business,
      Yes, that's right
      OK, call me, let's discuss.
      And then I'd find out they had 5 websites, or in one case about 40 websites and they were looking for someone to optimize and promote them. I'm still doing some of that work today.
  • Profile picture of the author Lori Kelly
    Thanks so much for sharing this information and congratulations on your success!
  • Profile picture of the author Lulu Chil
    Hi Tim. I would like to thank you for taking the time to write, share and answer questions about offline marketing. I myself have wanted to do offline marketing for a while now, but keep putting it aside. I felt nice to read that you started without a website and you did fine. Most courses on offline marketing tell us to have a website to show local businesses.

    I also like the honest approach you used. I would like to use your method on approaching businesses in terms of free website repair and problem and solution type approach. I feel that is a good way to do it.

    ''When I switched to email, my response rate went way down - 1.5% or something like that. So, I'd have to send 500 offers to get 7-10 responses, to get one close." Has you conversion improved with the email approach?

    You mentioned that you do international businesses as well. How do you response when they want to meet you face to face? And how do you take payments?

    When you started how did you accept payments from local or international businesses?

    Do you do mobile sites and how do you go about approaching businesses that they need a mobile site?

    Thanks for your time in answering my questions?
    • Profile picture of the author imjw0214
      Thanks for the info. I have just started to get into the offline game and sent out some letters. Now I can get a good idea of response rates and other ideas of contacting these businesses. Thanks again.
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Clough
    Thanks Tim....great stuff. I noticed you didn't mention direct mail or videos Might be something you may want to consider.

    cheers
    Michael Clough
    • Profile picture of the author TimD
      Originally Posted by nidhan View Post

      Great post Tim. I really appreciate
      You bet, nidhan.
      Originally Posted by jlmason View Post

      Great post, Tim,

      I like the idea of the free website repair. Most local business owners need that desperately
      and they know it so it should be an easy sale.
      I think you're right. Most businesses think they should be getting clients/customers from their website. If they aren't, they think the site is broken.

      Originally Posted by Lori Kelly View Post

      Thanks so much for sharing this information and congratulations on your success!
      Thanks Lori.

      Originally Posted by Lulu Chil View Post

      Most courses on offline marketing tell us to have a website to show local businesses.

      I also like the honest approach you used. I would like to use your method on approaching businesses in terms of free website repair and problem and solution type approach. I feel that is a good way to do it.

      Has you conversion improved with the email approach?

      You mentioned that you do international businesses as well. How do you response when they want to meet you face to face? And how do you take payments?

      When you started how did you accept payments from local or international businesses?

      Do you do mobile sites and how do you go about approaching businesses that they need a mobile site?

      Thanks for your time in answering my questions?
      Hi Lulu, I think you don't need a website. Read johnspangler's jobless dad thread. He sold directory entries without having a directory site. Not saying he ripped people off. He gave them prelaunch pricing and launched the website, and put them in. Just saying he started with nothing.

      My conversion hasn't improved with email marketing, when I do the free website repair approach and others like it. I'm trying a very different approach now - the more cheese and less whiskers approach. It's a multi-step approach, I"m getting about 40% response rate on the first email, then it starts to drop off pretty significantly after that. It's much more time intensive. So I'm doing smaller batches. And I'm having most luck where I'm asking to partner with other firms.

      You asked about payments. I started with just taking checks from people. I would write up an analysis of their website and schedule a meeting to review it with them. The review usually took about an hour and a half and focused on how they do business and what they would like to happen. And I would close a marketing study and take a check there all up front. Then deliver the marketing study and take a check for half the work it created. Then review the work and take the final check. I try to do this all by paypal or check in the mail today.

      I don't do mobile sites for three reasons. First, I try only to do what I really know. I really want to do a good job for people. And I don't know mobile. Second, no one has ever asked me for mobile, or facebook, or other stuff people are always saying are HOT!! Third, I find that if there are one or two things I can say - "I don't do that. That takes a particular expertise. I can refer you to someone." - my cred goes up with the prospect. They get that I pitch what I know. I'm not trying to take every bit of business out there.

      Originally Posted by Michael Clough View Post

      Thanks Tim....great stuff. I noticed you didn't mention direct mail or videos Might be something you may want to consider.
      cheers
      Michael Clough
      Thanks Michael. I started with direct mail exclusively and it converted very well for me as long as the lists held out. I've marketed using personal videos to people. Preeti is running good thread on this now. http://www.warriorforum.com/offline-...ultations.html
      It has been a very useful tool for me as well. I did a website with one of the leading Estate Planning attorneys in Seattle. She chose me she said because of the personal video. I've also marketed by offering to make and optimize videos for people. I personally don't like that approach. It's another one of those dubious HOT markets to me. Yes, videos are easy to rank. But show me three clients who get regular business from them. Shockwave and Stranger Danger have been successful at driving business with them. But I don't know anyone else who has.
  • Profile picture of the author Cynthia A.
    Great post Tim!

    Great looking site. A great way to use testimonials to sell yourself. Just wondering, did you sell Maria's Mindmap as the marketing plan? I did her original challenge & sold her $5 mindmap for $500! Did an upsale & walked away with about $1500.

    Cynthia

    BTW, I'm a Seattle native...born & raised.
    • Profile picture of the author TimD
      Originally Posted by Cynthia A. View Post

      Great post Tim!

      Great looking site. A great way to use testimonials to sell yourself. Just wondering, did you sell Maria's Mindmap as the marketing plan? I did her original challenge & sold her $5 mindmap for $500! Did an upsale & walked away with about $1500.

      Cynthia

      BTW, I'm a Seattle native...born & raised.
      Cynthia, great to hear from you.

      Yes! When I started, I put her mind map on my laptop and I think she had a presentation too. And I would show that to prospects. Then I found the presentation got in the way of the conversation and the conversation sold the marketing plan.

      But you should be posting about how to do that. I'd love for you to include some notes about that if you have a minute. I'd love to hear how you stretched $500 into $1500!
  • Profile picture of the author mydavis3
    Thanks for sharing and Congrats on your success Tim.
    • Profile picture of the author sirblade
      I think thats a very well thought-out angle to "get your foot in the door" Tim - thanks very much for the info..

      I will be giving this a go from next week..

      Thanks mate..

      Steve
  • Profile picture of the author koenig
    Tim, Great Post! Thanks for sharing
  • Profile picture of the author alivestock
    congrats for your success .and plz keep posting such a informative posts.
  • Profile picture of the author mizcash
    This amazing when someone is willing to open and reveal the things that he is doing that are successful. You never know who you will inspire. Someone maybe on the verge of giving up and your testimonial may show them that offline marketing is truly possible. Thank you for being so open.
    • Profile picture of the author TimD
      Originally Posted by Tydowns View Post

      Tim since your first month at 7k what has your income been like?
      I've stayed in the mid 4 figures. It turns out that I care a lot about people getting a good site. And I tend to attract people who want a lot at a low price. So, I stay very involved and have not ramped up. I am in the midst of changing my business model for this reason. The model I outlined above produced a good mid-4-figure/month income. But because of my personality, I can't scale it. I've tried hiring sales people and outsources and have not had good experiences with that. So I'm going a different way.

      Originally Posted by koenig View Post

      Tim, Great Post! Thanks for sharing
      Thanks Koenig! I really hope it helps. I would really love it if it helped people support their families in these crazy times.

      Originally Posted by alivestock View Post

      congrats for your success .and plz keep posting such a informative posts.
      Thanks Alivestock!

      Originally Posted by mizcash View Post

      This amazing when someone is willing to open and reveal the things that he is doing that are successful. You never know who you will inspire. Someone maybe on the verge of giving up and your testimonial may show them that offline marketing is truly possible. Thank you for being so open.
      Boy, I hope so. The three biggest mistakes I see people making are:

      1. completely underestimating the scale of what you've got to do. People make a few calls, or send a few emails or a few letters and think it doesn't work. My experience is that I had to hundreds of anything to close a sale or two. And I think John Durham will back me up. You've got to set up a system where you can do hundreds of things a day. Find a way to make it easy, incidental to you to contact people in large scale.

      2. People want to tell prospects about themselves or about technology. I see this all the time. Hi, I'm an SEO guy, Hi, here's your analysis of... call me. All the successful people I see are saying - Hey, I can do this for you, would it be valuable to you? Here's how I think it would bring you more business. Would you like me to do it for you? Then talk to them about their business. Go into your first meeting with the idea that you are consulting for them, not selling them. Imagine your objective in your first meeting is to help them:
      a. find a hungry market
      b. contact that hungry market at a critical time in their purchase cycle
      c. make an offer or invitation that is rate and compelling, and
      d. follow up

      Put yourself in the position of doing that before they even ask for it. Talk about those things - hey who is your best prospect, how do they run across you, do you do anything to attract them, what works for you, what doesn't work for you, what's the biggest thing your prospect will miss out on if they choose the vendor down the road instead of you... That's the conversation my prospects want to have. Then, hey, did you know you can put a system together to do that on autopilot and you don't have to sell yourself to each person each time... and you're selling without selling.

      That's why my close rate was so high on sales calls. Because people could understand me and thought I was listening to them. Everyone told me stories of people pitching technology. Several people would bring me file folders of emails and direct mail they got from vendors suggesting mobile, and lead gen sites, seo compaigns, etc. We would sit down and go through them and I would say, ok, when they say they'll submit your to directories, be really wary because it's super easy to do and they want to charge you $75 a month for pushing a button, and Google is getting really dubious of it. Now when they say this other thing, that could be good. You might try doing a bit of that if you can trial it. And eventually, they'd ask me what I'd do if I were them. And then I'd do it for them. That's not everyone. But it happened more than once. And the attitude got me lots of closes.

      3. Failing to Follow up. My close rate doubled when I got really rigorous about following up my email and direct mail campaigns until I got through to someone. DemandGen released a report saying it takes 6 follow up phone calls before you give up. I was doing one or two. When I made the 6 or 8 or more, my overall close rate doubled (from 1 in 8 to 1 in 4).
  • Profile picture of the author William Maloney
    Indeed, great technique. Help them - prove them that you know what you are doing and what you are talking about, then offer them a sollution. Very clever, indeed. Congratulations for the results!

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