I just wanted to take a few minutes and share some insight on how I manage to close offline marketing clients via email. I have learned a lot from this amazing forum and now it is my turn to start giving back. One of the biggest problems I had when I first started my marketing consulting business was obtaining clients, and like most people I absolutely hated cold calling. I actually quit cold calling after just one day, it wasn't for me and I knew there had to be an easier way to get clients.
After countless hours of research, I decided that I would give email a try because a) it's free and b) I can reach a large amount of businesses in a matter of minutes without even talking to them on the phone. I was a bit hesitant at first because I read a lot of negative posts where people were saying that their emails were getting ignored and that they considered it a big waste of time. One thing I learned is that the only way to really figure out if something works is to do it yourself. Just because someone else had a bad experience doesn't mean that you're going to have one as well. Trying something out firsthand is the only way to know whether or not it really works.
Before I started my offline marketing company, I worked for a few computer repair shops and a small marketing agency. One of the duties I had when I worked for that marketing agency was to spend around an hour everyday going through client's emails and deleting anything that was considered spammy. One thing that surprised me was how badly other agencies were trying to advertise their services via email. What they would do is briefly talk about their company and then list out their services one by one with their prices. Each client would receive around 2-3 of these emails daily, and I knew that these emails were ineffective. If I wanted to seriously get the attention of business owners, I had to do something completely different that would not appear as being spammy whatsoever. I knew that just blatantly trying to sell them my services via the first initial contact email was pretty much pointless because the business owner or secretary would delete it within seconds.
Instead I decided to advertise my services in a totally different way. I not only wanted the email to appear non spammy, but I also wanted to make it seem like I was helping them out instead of trying to sell them something. I accomplished this by creating an amazing free offer. This free offer was for a featured spot in a business directory that was local to their area. I got this idea while browsing through wordpress themes, and since most business owners already know the benefits of being listed in a local business directory, I'd figured this was a good free offer to give them. The response rate exceeded my expectations and completely blew me away.
Here is a breakdown of everything I did from start to finish, as well as the results I achieved.
First step: Created a business directory with a professional wordpress directory theme. For the domain I made sure to include the name of the city so that the directory was local. I found this to work much better than using a generic domain. Making your directory look professional is key to making this work because it increases the perceived value and gives you more credibility.
Second step: Scraped 100 emails from business's websites. At first I did this manually and then moved on to using an automated tool.
Third step: Sent them each an email that included a brief introduction about myself, talked briefly about the directory, and lastly asked them if they would like to be featured on it free of charge. I said that I was doing this to help local businesses in my area reach more customers and gain more exposure. I also made sure to make it look as non spammy as possible and didn't even mention anything about selling my services.
Fourth step: Waited for their response. In around 24 hours I got around 36 replies that said they were interested in being featured in my directory and to send them more information. A few asked if this was really free, and a few others asked me to call them and gave me a phone number. At this point I was ecstatic, and knew that I was onto to something huge.
Fifth step: Sent each business the information that I needed from them in order to put them on my directory. Once they replied I put them on it and sent them a confirmation email saying that they have been successfully added and included a link so they can see it.
Six step: Now comes the fun part, selling my services. After adding the business to my directory, I would wait a day or two and then analyze their website to see if any of my services could help them. Instead of selling my services like everyone else, I decided to first find a problem with their website and then email them telling them that I found a problem that was potentially hurting their business.
At this point they would reply wanting more information and I sent them an email explaining what their problem was and if they would be interested in getting it fixed.
Common problems I found with their websites were,
- Outdated and needed a redesign
- Not mobile optimized
- Had no way of collecting customer's email addresses
- Had no social media presence
If they didn't have any of the problems listed above, I would then look at their traffic and rankings. Generally though I avoided selling them seo because when I used to work for that marketing agency, that was the hardest service to sell because most businesses have no clue what seo is.
Final step: Sent them a paypal invoice and waited. To my surprise out of those 36 businesses that were interested in my free offer, around half were interested in hearing about the problem I found, and in total 8 paid me directly via paypal. A few wanted more information before paying, and a few wanted to talk to me on the phone. Those that talked to me on the phone just had a few questions and paid me once I answered them.
I believe this method is really effective because you are giving business owners something of value and introducing your service as a solution to their problem rather than just blatantly trying to sell them. Plus they will know who you are and understand why they need your service.
You can also take this a step further and make business specific directories like one for plastic surgeons, one for lawyers etc etc. I found that the more specific and exclusive the directory is, the much higher the response rate will be.
I hope this helps you get some clients and remember that the key to making your marketing business successful is by taking massive action.
Thanks for reading.