Probably the easiest, most enjoyable way to start offline consulting

14 replies
Hi everyone,

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.

Instead:

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
Facebook Page
Google + Page
Twitter
YouTube
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)

STEP 1

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.
-Contact information.
-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:

STEP 2

Hire someone to create your YouTube channel and ask them to use your graphic to make it look nice.

STEP 3

Hire someone to setup your Facebook Fan Page and ask them to use your graphic / picture to make it look nice.

STEP 4

Hire someone to setup your Twitter account... use picture... blah blah blah.

STEP 5

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.

STEP 6

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.

STEP 7

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.

For example:

- coffee shop
- bakery
- 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
2. Websites
3. SEO
4. Google Plus Local
5. Social Media
6. Video
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.

Cheers
#advice #consulting #easy #offline #suggestions
  • Profile picture of the author sdentrepreneur
    I would suggest adding some type of reputation management in there as well. :-)

    Great list...thanks for sharing !!!
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  • Awesome suggestion! Thanks. I added it to the post.
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  • Profile picture of the author asiancasanova
    WOW! This is one detailed awesome post. I'd definitely share this one to my audiences
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  • Profile picture of the author DaveCraige
    @Kung Fu did you ever work on setting this up? How did it go?
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  • Glad you guys like it.

    Dave, I didn't even have to go so far as to actually setup the pages, etc. I had some great success without setting up the site and social profiles, but were I to start over with my offline career I would definitely go all out. I KNOW it would have saved me so much time and headache, and would have made closing deals so much easier.

    I really did waste a lot of time doing cheap websites, sending emails after scraping from Yellowpages for HOURS each night... I tried cold calling, walking into business, free demos, free consultations, snail mailers, postcards, videos... you name it, I tried it.

    By far the easiest time I had was with a lesser-version of the above method.

    Here's what I did: I just emailed the cafe, told him I was working on a local blog (didn't have it, yet) and wanted to shoot some simple videos to feature. He couldn't get me over there fast enough.

    So I went... We shot them with my cell phone, and I soon got a mobile website deal out of it. I did a post a while back on the success they had with the mobile site and offering mobile-ordering for their catering services to local companies. They've REALLY grown their business thanks to my efforts. We're talking going from nothing to dozens of lunch orders each day of the work week.

    Anyway, it was a great success and going through the above steps would have made everything even easier.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheyCallMeBE
      I am in the process of doing something similar. A few things stood out that I might implement into my system. Thanks for the info.
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  • That's great to hear. Be sure to come back to the thread and let us know how it goes!
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  • Profile picture of the author sitefurnace
    This thread has really resonated with me thanks! I have been trying to work out which direction to take with Internet marketing and have been battling with online/offline for a while now.

    On one hand offline is a lot more real and tangible and the cash is definitely there for the taking, what I don't really like is the responsibility of delivering things to clients.

    On the other hand more traditional 'online' marketing is more scalable and less personal, more hit and miss and probably a lot more difficult to make money.

    This looks like a really good mix of the two. Here's taking your idea and adding a couple of bells and whistles.

    Create a local blog with strong social focus.
    Curate content from the local town using all the methods you describe.
    Run competitions/give rewards to locals for their contributions - could be images, video, reviews of restaurants/events etc.
    Make it a collaborative experience
    Create a strong Facebook page that keeps fans updated. Make this the focus of activity.
    Use saturation marketing (flyers) and Facebook ads to build momentum on blog/ page
    Strive for interactivity on Facebook page to increase your edgerank and get good exposure. Use the page to nurture discussion and sharing.
    Build a strong COMMUNITY

    NOW I would create a free directory that sits alongside the blog and Facebook page.
    Get businesses loaded up in the directory

    Now start to run special offers/ coupons/ discounts. Get the biz in the directory to offer promotions/ discounts to your community
    Tell them about the reach your blog/Facebook page has in the local town
    Your community will love this getting all the free offers
    The biz will love this and get new business.

    Now start offering premium listings in directory
    Start charging small fee for the biz to send their offers

    Thoughts:
    I can really see this working. With all the google updates recently it is becoming clear that to rank well a site needs to be popular socially. FORGET SEO just provide GREAT content to your audience and all will look after itself - like you say HAVE FUN. Focus on the social aspect, create good viral, shareable content and your community WILL grow!

    Businesses will recognise the reach that you then have and be willing to pay for it. Your community will love the cheap deals and special offers coming their way and will share these round further increasing the impact.

    This may take a while to get going and will take a consistent effort to keep on top of the local news/events. Outsourcing/collaborating as much as possible will speed things up. It would all have to be done for free in the beginning to create the community/ collaborative feeling.

    Brilliant, solid long term plan! This could be what I've been looking for THANK YOU
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  • Profile picture of the author sloanjim
    Right...so does it actually bring in money?
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  • Profile picture of the author timmykins
    This is a greta plan, thanks for sharing it. It also goes to show that it gets alot easier to get offline clients once you have started building a relationship with them.
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  • sitefurnace,

    I like your ideas, and I'm glad everyone likes the idea.

    Does it actually bring in money? My idea alone does not, but that's not the point. This tactic does a few crucial things simultaneously:

    1) It helps you build a portfolio / online presence. People doubt who you are, tell them to just "Google" your name.

    2) It gets you talking with local business owners. You provide them with a valuable service and it's extremely cheap, or even free, for you to provide yourself.

    3) It builds trust and opens the door for all sorts of services that you can then charge for.

    Contrast the above with the tactics I had tried before - cold-emailing, giving away free sites, ranking videos to "prove my worth / skills," posting ads on local classifieds, sending out mailers to unclaimed Google Plus Local pages, cold calling.

    I'm not saying those things don't work! Cold calling, for example, absolutely works! I just found this other approach more enjoyable and productive.

    When I started with the video and my "planned" community page, I just found it an excellent way to start the relationship. The money came when I built a mobile site made a small startup cafe owner a major player in the local catering arena. That was a charge

    I just found it to be so easy, so non-threatening, and fun that I thought others could turn this into whatever they want.

    sitefurnace, for your directory idea, you may want to check out this: Directory Script - Create Directory Websites in Minutes!

    I purchased their ShopperPress theme a while back and found it quite nice.
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    G+ LOCAL SETUP ___and____ Custom WordPress - Genesis Child Themes (see portfolio here)

    SCHEMA.ORG + GEOTAGGING + KML + PUBLISHERSHIP + so much more...
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  • Profile picture of the author Jacer
    Might be ok if you have a ton of extra time on your hands. I have heard a couple people teach this method, but never really known anyone to actually do it.

    Most people who are serious about making money offline don't have the time to fool around and have the Chutzpah to go for the sale.
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    • Profile picture of the author mflorin
      Originally Posted by Jacer View Post

      Might be ok if you have a ton of extra time on your hands. I have heard a couple people teach this method, but never really known anyone to actually do it.

      Most people who are serious about making money offline don't have the time to fool around and have the Chutzpah to go for the sale.
      Fair enough. But, I think this method would be a great way for someone to break into the offline business. It would allow them to get more comfortable and confident in speaking to business owners. Once they had some success under their belt, they would find it much easier to hit the phone and get the more time efficient offline contracts you mention.
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    • Profile picture of the author mflorin
      Originally Posted by Jacer View Post

      Might be ok if you have a ton of extra time on your hands. I have heard a couple people teach this method, but never really known anyone to actually do it.

      Most people who are serious about making money offline don't have the time to fool around and have the Chutzpah to go for the sale.
      Fair enough. But, I think this method would be a great way for someone to break into the offline business. It would allow them to get more comfortable and confident in speaking to business owners. Once they had some success under their belt, they would find it much easier to hit the phone and get the more time efficient offline contracts you mention.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7156564].message }}

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