I thought it may be helpful to some if I posted a detailed explanation of a client-getting method I wish I had used when I first start offline consulting.
If I were to do it all over again:
I would not spend my time sending emails, mailers, pitching my services on the go, or even cold calling (at least not in the way I was doing it). I even tried giving away free websites, Facebook pages, and more. Lastly, I tried ranking sites for low-competition stuff and renting them out for $50-$300 / month. It all worked a little... but man was it hard work. All of the above meant some very long hours, lack of sleep and ultimately burn out.
I would set myself up as a local blogger that liked to write about local businesses. I would take lots of pictures, lots of videos and share them over my website, G+, FB, Twitter and YouTube. If I didn't like to write, I would hire a writer on the WF to polish up my blog posts.
Within a month, I would have a massive portfolio and network, it would be easy to pitch my services and ask for referrals.
So here's what I'd start with:
website = www.YourNameinYourCity.com
Google + Page
Foursquare (personal account)
later on you'll tie them all together so that tweets are shared on FB, FB is shared on Twitter, YouTube is shared on FB... you get the idea.
I would set my smart phone up with YouTube mobile and have any videos I take with my cell immediately uploadable to my YouTube channel (be sure to use Wifi... this may kill your data plan LOL)
Get a Fiverr guy or WF guy to install a simple WP theme and configure things the way you want it. You'll need the following:
-Main page with your blog posts.
-Links to your Social accounts.
-Social sharing plugin.
-Decent header graphic (Fiverr or WF)
-Decent personal picture of you. You should use this on all properties. Get something photoshopped by a pro if you're not happy with a pic.
- Use this pic on your G+ page and link it to your website
IMPORTANT --- for the following steps. Do NOT use your personal Google account. You want to create something you can outsource 100% eventually, so keep your personal accounts away from this:
Hire someone to create your YouTube channel and ask them to use your graphic to make it look nice.
Hire someone to setup your Facebook Fan Page and ask them to use your graphic / picture to make it look nice.
Hire someone to setup your Twitter account... use picture... blah blah blah.
Hire someone to setup your G+ Page. I'd probably use a business page here, too, since I like to separate business and personal life.
Create Foursquare account. Here is where I'd create a personal account. You want to be interacting with businesses on a personal level here, so you need a personal account for this.
Finally... go back to your WordPress person and ask them to setup your RSS feed and connect site with all social stuffs you did above.
Now to build a presence online:
I'd start with restaurants, coffee shops and other stores that I like and go to often. Obviously, you want to avoid the big chains... go for the small local shop owners.
- coffee shop
- restaurant / pub / diner
- clothing shop
- go carting / mini putt
- hair dresser
- yoga studio / health club
- ice cream place / bubble tea
1. Start by visiting the place, shooting a 30-60 second video about the place and uploading it to YouTube via your mobile upload function. Try to offer a tip about the place. If you're with friends at a restaurant, get each friend to quickly talk about their favorite dish. Something fun. Make sure they don't mind you sharing this video on the internet!
2. Next, check in with Foursquare while you're there and share the video URL in Foursquare as a TIP. Be sure to put some text in there, too. Something like "Thought I'd share a video TIP with everyone."
3. Next, take some pictures of yourself outside the place, see if you can get some fun pictures of you and your friends together. Be authentic and have fun. These pictures and videos are not meant to be professional-grade productions.
4. Be sure to grab the email address for the business. You can usually find it on their website (if they have one) or on business cards. If you can't find something, ask an employee if they have a site that you can share with friends.
Don't mention your website until you have more content on there. If you already have several posts about businesses from all over the city, mention this and ask for the best way to share the post with the owner.
Do this as often as you can. Start to fill up you site. Be on the lookout for fun events around town and go. Go there and take pictures of local businesses in that area. Often businesses will setup fun stalls and presentations whenever there's a fair or event going on. These are perfect times to grab 30 seconds of the business owners' time to do a quick video interview. Mention you'd like to share it with your friends and social followers. Most business owners would be thrilled for the chance to plug their business.
Ask fun questions about their business...what makes them unique? What is the one thing they wish everyone knew about them? stuff like that. Again, business owners LOVE to talk about their business.
After you're done, ask for their contact details so you can share the video / blog post with them when you're done. Connect with these people on Facebook, Linkedin, wherever you find them.
Not only are you building relationships... you're building a portfolio.
While you're doing this, be sure to do a few other things:
- Hop on YouTube and Like / Subscribe / Comment on local videos and channels. Do the same on Facebook, G+, and Twitter. Interact as much as possible by sharing your videos, sharing your experiences with various local businesses and be an advocate for everything local.
Do this consistently and you will start to build a fairly large network and presence online that you can show your prospective clients. They will be impressed and will want to listen when you talk about helping them get more business.
I'll leave it there as how you turn these relationships into cash depends on what you do:
1. Mobile sites
4. Google Plus Local
5. Social Media
7. Rep Management (keep an eye on video and Foursquare comments, etc.)
As long as you're not the stay-at-home type... you can get a very full website done within a couple of weeks. You can even back date some of your blog posts so it looks like you've had it a while LOL Just be sure not to date something in the Winter when your pictures clearly show it's summer.
Some other ideas:
- invite visitors / journalism students / amateur writers to write something for your site
- invite photographers in the city to share some work samples on your site
- invite shop owners to share upcoming specials with you or just share what you find on the local discount / deal sites like Groupon and Living Social.
Eventually you can outsource a lot of this:
- Fiverr for video sharing, posting and optimization. (I recommend training a few of the VAs that as for work there.)
- Fiverr VAs for tracking down daily deals that meet your criteria. Ask them to put them in an easy spreadsheet for you. You can get a weekly feed for $5-$10 from the VA you hire.
- Post classified ads asking those people looking for writing work to submit writing for your blog. You can even offer to pay those chosen. It will add to their resume, get their name out there. Your offer will be even more attractive if you have a lot of social activity. You can even offer to serve as a reference for them if you develop a good relationship.
- Eventually... you can stop writing altogether and only publish works done by other locals - writing / videos and images. Setup a system whereby these people can submit their work and you pay them for selected works or offer the exposure in exchange for the material.
I have no doubt that you'd find plenty of aspiring writers, photographers and videographers willing to give you material for the site.
Once you build the network, there is really very little you cannot do with it.
Please contribute your own ideas so we can help the most people get a start in this great business.