Follow Me As I Launch My First Project: Start To Finish

by Phil Jacobson 19 replies
First of all, I know this might get some publicity, even if it's only a few clicks or views.

Please understand.
* This is not my sole purpose. (a new business is not formed on forum posts alone)
* I'm not averse to getting publicity through the Forum as long as there is some benefit to people who read the thread which I intend to provide to the best of my ability.
* I can't guarantee that this thread will help or inspire people in their online ventures, but try I will.

I will
* Share with you what I am doing in every detail possible.
* Be open to any feedback.
* Aim to go about this thread in the spirit of the Warrior Forum.

Here Goes.

I'll try to be clear and concise without skimming over major points.

This is not something new or revolutionary.

I've teamed up with a very capable web designer to produce a package aimed at giving small business owners a web presence.


I feel that the competitive advantage I have here is

* Quality of design coupled with effective marketing.
* Price.

The package will include everything a small business needs to successfully launch their business on the web. As has been discussed before, you cannot just have a site, even if it is the prettiest, flashiest site out there. You need traffic. Targeted traffic. Furthermore it has to convert that traffic into paying customers.

What will we be offering?

* A Complete "Package Web Deal" which includes everything you need to get online, get customers and increase your profit.

TARGET MARKET
Originally, I considered targeting Internet Marketers, then both Small Business Owners, and decided upon the "Small Business Owner Market"


BEFORE I GO ON: If you haven't checked out OfflineBiz.com then do. I found this after I started work on this project. From what I can gather, it started from a thread here in WF. They are pretty much doing this kind of thing: bringing IM expertise to small business owners to help them succeed online. I'm planning to join so I can network with some people there and perhaps be outsourced..... anyway...




Pricing has not been fixed yet, however the package would include the following services. (some may be optional, not sure yet)

* Custom Designed Logo.
* Corporate Identity Kit (if they already have a logo we can do up graphics based on this)
* Custom Designed Website (no templates, multiple proofs, personalized service)
* 10 pages of content (more pages if required)
* Free hosting.
* Free domain.
* Free one-on-one consultation.
* Access to Project Manager.
* Ongoing support for things like updates and changes to content.

Marketing Aspects.
* Consultation with marketing consultant.
* Online Marketing plan
* Pay Per Click setup and management. (adwords)
* Autoresponder and opt in forms
* Blog setup
* Ongoing marketing support.

Site will be designed with marketing and SEO in mind. I guess that a lot of designers may not do this, or not do it well.

PRICE: We are looking at around the $700 mark for the whole package. I have reason to believe this is well priced and affordable for what we provide.

The designers are capable with a lot of experience, server is reliable.

OK. This is how I am thinking about Marketing it. I don't have a list. I don't have any JV partners. I don't have any experience with launching something like this. But I'm ready to step up and I'm playing to win.


The Marketing Plan

I know this is going to make a lot of marketers YAWN but I'm hoping it will at least help the super-newbie.

So I have determined

* Target Market.
* USP (unique selling position) or Competitive Advantage.
* Pricing (roughly)

I have Completed:
Registered domain name.
Designed logo.
Pre-launch squeeze page.
Sales Page copy.


Pre-Launch Squeeze Page.
Got a template and took some elements. Had it redesigned. I'm using Icontact for the Opt in forms. (if you don't know about squeeze pages, or opt in forms, you should. They are very important. ask me or look it up!)

- Added Bonuses for early birds on prelaunch squeeze page.
- Autoresponder series being developed..
- Added Video at top of page.


The Marketing Plan. (To Do List.)

Launch Date: November 2008


Joint Ventures
- Find people to JV with. Work out commission to pay.
- JV post at warrior forum.

Blog.
- Get blog going.
- Daily Updates of blog
- Research into effective blogging, rss, commenting etc.
- Consider outsourcing this as I don't know a lot about it.

Article Marketing
- Write and submit articles to multiple directories.
- Make use of keywords.
- EzineArticles.com etc

PPC
- Research into keywords. Long-tail.
- Prepare initial adwords campaign.

Ezine Marketing Strategy
- Determine budget for ezine marketing.
- Decide on exact ezines to target.
- Prepare for pre-launch ASAP.
- Use DOE (directory of ezines)

Squidoo Lens
- Prepare squidoo lens.

SEO
- Try to ensure our site has the best SEO we can manage.

Twitter
- Decide on twitter approach. ( I already have 750 followers but I don't know how to really use it for marketing yet)

Free-traffic Exchanges
- Traffic swarm.
- Others.
- Perhaps works best with Squeeze pages than long sales pages.

Video Marketing
- Using stompernet bonuses. (pity my package STILL hasn't arrived)
- 10x10x4 video marketing.

Outsourcing.
- Elance.com
- Outsourcing required for the following tasks.

1) Yahoo Answers.
Answering questions in the small business section giving relevant advice with a link to our sales page

2) Business Directories.
Approaching small-businesses directly through small business and local business directories. Requires person to seek out potential clients and send an email offering our services.


Offline Marketing
Using classified ads to blast ads into printed media.

Webrings
- Research into webrings and how they can improve SEO

Craigslist
Put ads out on craigslist, targeting local communities

Social Network Marketing
- Facebook Page
- Myspace Page

Press Releases
- Make a press release for our product.


I'm sure there are a host of other things that can be done to promote this, but this is what I have come up with so far.

We don't need a lot of sales to pull a profit. 15 - 20 clients a week at first will be all that we can handle, so I don't know how much traffic we will need to attract.

If I haven't gone into enough detail, or if anyone has any more ideas on how to promote this, please let me know.

I look forward to sharing more details with you.

Phil
#main internet marketing discussion forum #finish #follow #launch #offline business #project #roi #start
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    I'm still not sure why you felt the need to share this, but I'll ignore that for now.

    You didn't tell us your target market - it's obviously not newbies if you're after $700 on the front end for your product.

    What's your back-end?

    It's been my experience that launching a product without a back-end is like pumping the neighbours cat - it might be fun but it's not really helping things (compared to how much difference having a back-end makes).

    I'm glad to see that your proposition is not to sell another how to make money product though - at least you're different in that way.

    One thought I did have was that you seem to have put a lot of focus on social stuff and links - I'm assuming that your target audience therefore has a business already and this is just to support that, otherwise they're not really buying a business so much as a bunch of IM tactics.

    Good luck with it though.

    Andy
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    • Profile picture of the author Lance K
      Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

      is like pumping the neighbours cat - it might be fun
      Huh???
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    • Profile picture of the author Phil Jacobson
      Hi Andy,

      It's people like you who make me careful about how I write my posts. (laughing as I write here) and you were the first to reply! How ironic.

      You said "Not sure why I felt the need to share this." With all respect. Cut me some slack here mate!

      I might not be up there with all the benevolent souls of the forum posting gems of wisdom, though I would be inclined to if I had them. I don't think I have posted fluff here either.

      My post was not meant to give people such as yourself any kind of wisdom and as I said, it may only serve to make you yawn. But if you put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn't know anything about marketing or the complete newbie or someone who is planning something similar, you can't say that my post is completely unhelpful, can you?

      I know the post was long and you may have skimmed through it. But I am certainly not selling a bunch of IM tactics. I am merely going further than just giving a small business owner a site which does nothing. they need marketing right?

      As for back end, good point. I am thinking that PPC management and maintenance fees would be a start. Things like opt-in forms, blogs provided to the client could be monetized too. We are talking about a target market who is too busy to look at a computer screen and maybe doesn't even have a computer. Small business owners are IN their business all day. So , I want to come up with ideas where we can do all those things they need done.

      Andy, I always read your posts and I know you always mean well and speak the truth as you see it. cheers for the post.

      Phil
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      (Warrior Discounts)

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      • Profile picture of the author Phil Jacobson
        I am trying to market directly to small business owners and provide a service from start to finish. I suppose, when I get good at marketing to the Small Business market, and if, and only if I have a so called "blueprint" I could do something like that. But not right now.

        I'm just looking to find small biz owners who want to get online, get customers and to help them do it.

        Phil
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        www.GreenTea-Japan.com
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  • Profile picture of the author xlfutur1
    Are you marketing a $700 package to business owners directly, or is it a package and system to sell to other marketers that then have a blueprint to go after local businesses as clients? I guess its late, and had a few beers and I'm a little confused.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ken Preuss
      Phil,

      First I applaud you sharing your plan - and the fact that you have a plan at all. Most do not.

      There are several things I see missing after reviewing what you wrote.

      1) Your Target Market

      Andy already mentioned this. You need to know exactly who your target customer is. Where do they hang out? What do they want? Most importantly, what are they already BUYING?

      I can't say enough about how important that last one is. Existing customer behaviors are one of the most overlooked factors in what it takes to really succeed. It's vital that your product - as well as the WAY you market and sell it - correlates to the existing behaviors of your target customers.

      2) Specifics on your JV approach

      In my experience I can tell you JV's are KING. Not only is this where your warmest leads will come from, you could actually sell this exclusively through JV's and do incredibly well.

      Therefore I believe you will need to get very clear on who your ideal JV partners are and what your value proposition to them will be.

      3) A sales funnel - in other words how will you turn prospects into purchasers?

      This is crucial. It's one thing to build a great product - it's entirely another to get a prospect to actually pay money for that product. You really need to focus a majority of energy on this since it will ultimately determine your income - far more than the quality of your product.

      Best regards,
      Ken
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      Coming soon for all you IM junkies... The Internet Daily Show

      A Secret to Success: Making serious money online or offline is not complex unto itself - we're the ones who complicate it. Simply sell them what they are already buying.

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      • Profile picture of the author Phil Jacobson
        Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

        Phil,

        First I applaud you sharing your plan - and the fact that you have a plan at all. Most do not.

        There are several things I see missing after reviewing what you wrote.

        1) Your Target Market

        Andy already mentioned this. You need to know exactly who your target customer is. Where do they hang out? What do they want? Most importantly, what are they already BUYING?

        I can't say enough about how important that last one is. Existing customer behaviors are one of the most overlooked factors in what it takes to really succeed. It's vital that your product - as well as the WAY you market and sell it - correlates to the existing behaviors of your target customers.

        2) Specifics on your JV approach

        In my experience I can tell you JV's are KING. Not only is this where your warmest leads will come from, you could actually sell this exclusively through JV's and do incredibly well.

        Therefore I believe you will need to get very clear on who your ideal JV partners are and what your value proposition to them will be.

        3) A sales funnel - in other words how will you turn prospects into purchasers?

        This is crucial. It's one thing to build a great product - it's entirely another to get a prospect to actually pay money for that product. You really need to focus a majority of energy on this since it will ultimately determine your income - far more than the quality of your product.

        Best regards,
        Ken

        Thanks Ken. I will get more specific about it. I got a lot out of that post. I will make my marketing plan again and post it here later with some of your suggestions in mind.

        I will think about the JV aspect too. I don't know how to do payments and tracking and how that would work. say if I pay $100 per customer sent my way. I will look into it though.

        Many thanks.
        Phil
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        www.GreenTea-Japan.com
        (Warrior Discounts)

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        • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
          Originally Posted by Phil Jacobson View Post

          Thanks Ken. I will get more specific about it. I got a lot out of that post. I will make my marketing plan again and post it here later with some of your suggestions in mind.

          Many thanks.
          Phil
          So when I say you complain that I was nasty to your baby and when Ken says it, it was helpful

          You have all the slack you need (enough to hang yourself if you want). I was just making the point that on the face of it your post was a bit self-indulgent and I was expecting you to say something like "I've been telling people my plans and they've been excited to see how I get on, so I decided to combine sharing this with holding myself accountable - by posting what I'm up to here in the hopes that it will help someone else learn from my experience"

          It wasn't a dig or an attempt to remove your slack, just a question which you seemed to have skipped in your excitement.

          I would comment if I didn't care about you.

          Have fun.

          Andy
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          • Profile picture of the author Thomas Belknap
            Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

            So when I say you complain that I was nasty to your baby and when Ken says it, it was helpful

            You have all the slack you need (enough to hang yourself if you want). I was just making the point that on the face of it your post was a bit self-indulgent and I was expecting you to say something like "I've been telling people my plans and they've been excited to see how I get on, so I decided to combine sharing this with holding myself accountable - by posting what I'm up to here in the hopes that it will help someone else learn from my experience"

            It wasn't a dig or an attempt to remove your slack, just a question which you seemed to have skipped in your excitement.

            I would comment if I didn't care about you.

            Have fun.

            Andy

            Andy, I see a lot of your posts as being self indulgent as well. Like the posts that you are only here to help people which is why you don't use signatures or the post about how you travel the world and want to do something for others and so on.

            I do think that this post would be better suited in the blog section.


            I wouldn't comment on your post Andy if I didn't care. You did have me worry about the neighborhood cat. lol
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            • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
              Originally Posted by Thomas Belknap View Post

              Andy, I see a lot of your posts as being self indulgent as well. Like the posts that you are only here to help people which is why you don't use signatures or the post about how you travel the world and want to do something for others and so on.

              I do think that this post would be better suited in the blog section.


              I wouldn't comment on your post Andy if I didn't care. You did have me worry about the neighborhood cat. lol
              I didn't say being self-indulgent was a bad thing, as you said - I am very much like that myself, but I'm considering not posting anymore as there are clearly people such as yourself who find me offensive and I'd hate to think you had more crap to filter out than what's already there.
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              • Profile picture of the author Thomas Belknap
                Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

                I didn't say being self-indulgent was a bad thing, as you said - I am very much like that myself, but I'm considering not posting anymore as there are clearly people such as yourself who find me offensive and I'd hate to think you had more crap to filter out than what's already there.

                Andy, I do believe you are reading more into my comments than what was there. I don't recall saying that I was offended in anyway. Your posts never bothered me otherwise I would have said something a long time ago. I always though of you as a straight talker like I am . I find it a little strange that I spoke my mind and you came back like this.


                Come on Andy, don't be so sensitive. I will start calling you Steve Wag soon. lol No offense to Steve, just a joke buddy.


                I am positive I post more crap than you do. We can have a contest if you want.
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                • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
                  Originally Posted by Thomas Belknap View Post

                  Andy, I do believe you are reading more into my comments than what was there. I don't recall saying that I was offended in anyway. Your posts never bothered me otherwise I would have said something a long time ago. I always though of you as a straight talker like I am . I find it a little strange that I spoke my mind and you came back like this.


                  Come on Andy, don't be so sensitive. I will start calling you Steve Wag soon. lol No offense to Steve, just a joke buddy.


                  I am positive I post more crap than you do. We can have a contest if you want.
                  See - that's the problem with straight-talking, you get under the radar.

                  To be honest, I'm so used to having people bring me their IM problems so I can pick them apart and make a new map of how to move forward, I tend to go into 'what's missing' mode whenever people post their plans.

                  In reality, there are only a few basic things you need to get right and most of the details are irrelevant or change once you start anyway that when I do it here it always comes back to bite me.

                  I'm not up for a posting crap contest and I need to be warned if you're going to use your wit on me as I get so many shots from the sidelines I'm not expecting it when someone like-minded starts to play unexpectedly

                  This forum used to be full of really funny and intelligent people but many of them got scared off by the crowd a long time ago so unless I know you from previous discourse, I'm not expecting a sense of humour
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                  • Profile picture of the author Phil Jacobson
                    Andy. You've gone and hijacked my thread dude. Just jokes. At least you aim to tell us what you are really thinking and that is rare although hard to handle at times, but that's just my s**t.

                    I'm getting more laughs and insights from this than insults.

                    I'll be back later to get this back on track if anyone is interested.

                    Phil
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          • Profile picture of the author Phil Jacobson
            Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

            So when I say you complain that I was nasty to your baby and when Ken says it, it was helpful

            You have all the slack you need (enough to hang yourself if you want). I was just making the point that on the face of it your post was a bit self-indulgent and I was expecting you to say something like "I've been telling people my plans and they've been excited to see how I get on, so I decided to combine sharing this with holding myself accountable - by posting what I'm up to here in the hopes that it will help someone else learn from my experience"

            It wasn't a dig or an attempt to remove your slack, just a question which you seemed to have skipped in your excitement.

            I would comment if I didn't care about you.

            Have fun.

            Andy

            Mate, I have to read through that like 3 times to get it. Interesting that you picked up on my post that way.. I was trying to be too careful not to attract this kind of attention, but it obviously backfired. that is why I started out with so many caveats.

            I do think you got the wrong impression this time.
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            • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
              Originally Posted by Phil Jacobson View Post

              Mate, I have to read through that like 3 times to get it. Interesting that you picked up on my post that way.. I was trying to be too careful not to attract this kind of attention, but it obviously backfired. that is why I started out with so many caveats.

              I do think you got the wrong impression this time.
              Don't worry about it - if it's not helping - just ignore it.

              It's only a forum, don't let it put you off

              Sorry to sidetrack your efforts - it might be worth you running your updates in your blog or the thread will get pushed off page quickly and people might struggle to keep track.

              Also - have you considered videoing as you go so that you create a nice video product which hopefully will demonstrate a successful launch.

              Regards,

              Andy
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike Bogowski
        Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

        I'm still not sure why you felt the need to share this, but I'll ignore that for now.
        Originally Posted by Ken Preuss View Post

        Phil,
        First I applaud you sharing your plan - and the fact that you have a plan at all. Most do not.
        Andy, you gave Phil good advice and the difference in the reaction is all in the first sentence and nothing more. Ken came out praising what was good about it then gave advice whereas you came in on the negative and then gave good advice. Its hard for people to take on advice when they are automatically on the back foot.

        'How To Win Friends and Influence People' - Read it, know it, love it

        To Phil (the matter at hand),

        Thanks for sharing your plan, following all those steps will give you great results no doubt about it.

        If you'll allow me to give you some advice. Be cautious about planning overload. When I started my first few ventures I planned everything to a tea from start to finish and through my own fault nothing got done. I was so busy making everything perfect that I ended up doing nothing at all.

        Go out guns blazing, work work work even if it isn't perfect and you'll do well for sure.

        Good luck, let us know how it goes

        Mike
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  • [Ahem] Getting back on topic: you seem to be way ahead of most folks who want to help offline businesses. You have a plan, a Web designer to help you and specific goal points to hit by a certain date.

    But, hold on! Your focus seems to be on a "one and done" deal, with a bunch of free follow-up services. Consider turning that around -- offer a few freebies up front and get them with recurring payments for services like hosting, updates, SEO/SEM (as an ongoing effort), creating and maintaining backlinks, etc.

    Also, your package appears to be inflexible. Who says they need a logo, corporate identity, blog, autoresponder, etc.? Most local businesses need their PHONE NUMBER prominently placed above the fold on their landing page more than anything else! People who do local search for services and products want to get somebody on the phone to talk about what they want.

    Part of the problem with those who go from IM to local business promotion is that they guess what business owners need. It's much better to get the owner to talk about what's most important to him or her before you start offering solutions. It's deadly to offer up some kind of one-size-fits-all package that could, possibly, cause more aggravation to a business owner than any possible ROI.

    Check out localbizbuilders.com -- a free discussion forum with folks who are actually out there, doing this in their own local markets. You might find that rethinking how you approach this market will save you time, effort and disappointment. The same goes for your possible clients.

    Vince Runza
    P.S. I don't make a dime if you go over to LBB and poke around.
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  • Profile picture of the author LADWebDesign
    I think you could charge a much higher price for the services offered. That's a lot of work for $700. I second what Vince said about the recurring income stream for services offered.

    Updates to the website, blog, Twitter and Squidoo are going to eat up a lot of time. The updates are easy to do, but they need to be well written with appropriate keywords for the small business owner's industry. You are going to spend time doing research.

    You could put your plan as stated above (with revisions) on your sales page, and say that in order to hire an SEO expert, a web designer, a hosting company, a graphic artist, and a copywriter - a small business owner would be spending thousands of dollars, and you can do it all for one low price of $xxxx, with a monthly service fee of $xxx.

    Most small business owners need local customers/clients - like doctors, lawyers, plumbers, electricians, roofers, etc. You need to show them how you are going to go after the local market.

    You have a great plan. I know of web design firms that just slap up a 10-20 page website for the lowest price, and then move on the next client. I just lost out on a bid to redesign a local contractor's website. I said that I would do much of what you stated in your original post, redesign his site, and help get his site noticed on google (where he is now on page 9 in a very competitive market) and he says "yeah, but XYZ firm is only charging me $xxxx." I said that's a great price, but you're on page 9 of google, and a re-design of your site isn't going to help that. He says "well, the site is new, that's why." Sheesh.

    Convincing small business owners that your plan is valid and gets results is going to be your tough sell.

    I am also over at Localbizbuilders.com. Good site for what you are considering.

    Linda
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