Okay, so confession time: I've been a lurker-WSO buyer-"I need to know everybody and anything about IM before I try anything" kind of gal. It's been about 2 years..yes 2 years of information overload and no action!
So, I finally decided that this year was going to be the year. I was going to stop being afraid and just take action. The one thing that really stopped in my tracks from doing offline was that I felt like I didn't have the credibility to offer my knowledge to local businesses.
Other than knowing that I'm a genuine, honest, good-hearted person--who was I to offer advice and services to REAL businesses?!? Even though in theory, I have a business degree with a major in marketing and have worked in B2B sales/project management for some big corporate organizations--I still didn't feel I was qualified to be doing offline...ever felt that way before??
Well, I finally decided that I just needed to give this a shot. I was tired of my corporate job (although I did very well, I wanted to make my own rules) and just wanted to play a bigger game.
After making that choice, I took action and GOT RESULTS!!! Sorry for the long blurb above but it's been 2 years of keeping this all inside! LOL
Honestly, I can't believe that this stuff works BUT it does! The one catch: TAKE ACTION, TAKE ACTION, TAKE ACTION!!!
Here's what I did, I hope it helps anybody else who was in the same position I was for the last 2 years:
1. Change your mindset: marketing is a service, what you're offering is HELP to business owners who need you, you are a much needed partner to their business--without you they can potentially miss out on extra sales/clients/profits and growth--they NEED your help! Go in with this mindset, not the mindset that you are pestering them and need them--it's the other way around!
2. Hang out where your target market is: looking for easy access to business owners? LINKEDIN is what worked for me!
3. Presentation: make sure your LinkedIn profile outlines the services you provide but even more importantly, include what it is that you can help them do--"get more phone calls from clients searching on Google for their product/service..", etc., include a picture (obviously) and I would even include any previous work you've done (corporate, education, etc.). If possible, get people that you have worked in the past with (friends, coworkers, managers, people you went to school with, etc.) to leave you recommendations on your profile
4. Build your credibility and connections: I joined certain groups where I knew I could get easy access to business owners AND made a post offering a free service. Offer something that will provide value to the business owners in exchange for a testimonial. For example, perhaps give them a review of them website and offer 5 tips on how they can make their website more attraction to clients (i.e. testimonials should be on the 1st page, include a video, before/after pictures, etc. etc.)
5. You will have business owners message you! I was so overwhelmed by the amount of response that I received! I was able to get about 33 interested "warm" business owners who were interested in my services over a 3 week period--I know it sounds crazy but once you put it out there about how you are able to help THEIR business (make it about them, not about you!) I was overwhelmed with the responses that I got!
6. Deliver the goods: the easiest way that I found to provide them the free service (I offered a one week PPC campaign at no charge to them) was by shooting a quick video to show them the results/recommendations.
7. Open dialogue: once you've made a report/video, pass it over to the business owner, I would even end off the video with a "next steps" slide where I would outline exactly what needed to be done if they wanted me to "fix" their website or continue on with their PPC campaign
8. Send a "Can you endorse me?" request: once you've provided a simple, quick service, delivered the goods and provided value to the business owner, now's the time to ask for an endorsement. Many of them are happy to provide feedback and this builds up your credibility on LinkedIn and I think just general confidence in yourself that HECK YES, you are providing value in the marketplace!
9. Using the above method, I was able to generate 8 recommendations (some clients are very slow to reply with recommendations, others are super fast), this all happened over a 3 week period, so now my LinkedIn profile looks credible with solid recommendations from happy business owners (acts as social proof for any future people I plan on doing business with).
10. From there, I then got 3 clients who CALLED ME, wanting to know how they could continue on with my services (I had one lady who said my campaign got her 3 phone calls and she booked 2/3 clients valued at $2000+ over a 6 day period--I was running a PPC campaign for her)
11. I even had one guy who hasn't signed up yet for my business but he already referred me to another business owner, how crazy is that!?!?
12. Business owners will want to call you (not all but some of them), you're already in a position of authority (and an expert in their minds) and they know you so it's not a cold conversation.
13. The most important lesson: business owners need your help, you'd be surprised that many know that they need the internet to grow their business but have been burned by other bad/shady vendors or just don't know where to start nor have the time: this is where you come in! I had a call this morning with my 3rd client and we were discussing email marketing, he's been in business for 21 years and does not email his list which is HUGE! He knew he should but.."I just don't have them time to do it and run the clinic..." THEY NEED YOU!!!
14. Believe in yourself, your abilities and the fact that as long as you're providing genuine value to people, they will work with you!!!
15. Your next steps: ACTION, ACTION, ACTION! Get on LinkedIn, create your profile, build up your recommendations, connect with business owners and offer value up front so they know that you're genuinely interested in helping them out and working with them in a true partnership.
I hope this helps..I know I tend to ramble sometimes but I really wanted to give back to the WF since this is where I got the bulk of my lessons and motivation to just go out there and give it a shot (and it WORKED!!!).