Yup, I'm still alive. I am now a certified Google trusted photographer which is a glorified title (or not so glorified). Previously I was a full time offline marketer selling mainly cheap websites and adwords testing. The only thing that has changed is my initial (lost leader) product and the price of my services and level of client. So here are ten things I learned in this two month process.
- Google is king. Anything you can do to align yourself with Google is going to make you a fortune. When I walk into a store with a Google Shirt on, where I used to get sneers when I asked to leave a flyer for the owner, I get VERY pleasant conversations and more important, the gatekeepers hand my flyer to a decision maker and MOST important, I get a call from the owner looking to setup my service (1 to 3 out of 20 flyers). Bad conversations are few and far between. I have a very tested 30 second elevator speech that works extremely well and hits all the important values fast. Had a client tell me later that I used the exact keywords he needed to hear to trigger a buying response.
- Do not oversell your services. You have a VERY valuable service (at least in the owners mind) if they are calling you. They are pretty well already sold when I walk in. I place a contract and pen down and answer any of their concerns and get them to sign on the line that is dotted. No work without it. I walk out with a cheque as well.
- EVERY client that I have photographed their store wants to sign up for further marketing services, the most important being Google Places optimization (now Google + Local). This is key because here I am in front of them, certified by Google and the complete Expert in their minds and most likely to help them because no one out there can offer what I am offering. This is very key and is what has changed my business 180 degrees. I guess you can call it piggybacking on the credibility of another service.
- If someone is willing to pay you $100 for a valuable service, there is someone that will pay you five to ten times that and tell you THAT is a deal. Some of the value you are adding to bigger companies, they are used to paying BIG money for and why not be the one they pay. I took one photograph that they were used to paying $1000 for and they were happy as anything to pay $500. Took me minutes. The lesson is, know what your customer values and how much they usually pay and offer it at a discount. You are still making a killing at charging half the going rate.
- The press adds instant credibility. One short story in the newspaper and people then believe your 30 second speech.
- Scarcity works. I tested this VERY thoroughly. If someone thinks they only have till the end of the week to save $100 off a $600 site or in my case I tell them I am only in their area for a short time, your phone will ring off the hook on Friday.
- Any flyer will do. I actually had a better response with a grayscale 5 cent flyer than a colorful flyer. Any information you provide someone the better. Owners want information and they want to be able to research that information easily and see it is legit.
- Owners are DESPERATELY in need of your offline skills. If they are saying they are not, it usually means they cant afford you or your credibility is not high enough yet. Work on that credibility however you can.
- There is an ideal customer you are looking for. I know mine extremely well and have directed all my marketing to finding that ideal customer fast. I do not waste time on the ones I am 80% sure will not give a cr_p about my service. This was hard at first and I had to really change my “bomb everyone” mentality.
- Google has big plans. To go against the grain is not going to work. I see a lot of marketers directing their efforts away from Google products and methods and trying to trick Google. If they spent as much time making their customers more relevant and showing them how to make use of Google's need to push local businesses, they would be busy for the rest of their lives.
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