This is a guest post by Ben from iBlogPlanet.com.
I’ve been internet marketing for many years, and in the last few months have hopped into the offline market.
Now, what offline market, you may ask. I’m talking about helping businesses increase their visibility through SEO, social media marketing, and so forth.
It’s a very lucrative market, and one I strongly recommend if you feel you have enough experience to offer your skills to businesses. It’s a win-win for all.
Alright, let’s get into more detail.
The start-up cost of getting my own SEO firm going was very low.
I’ll outline the costs you should expect. Some are optional, some mandatory, as I’ll point out as well:
Domain (Needed) – $7.99
WordPress Theme (Optional) – $35.00
- I ended up using one of the best-selling themes from Theme Forest – “Striking Premium Theme”. It’s extremely easy to customize, and has a very simple, yet professional look. I’ve had a lot of compliments on the website, which I’ll show you guys later in the post. Keep in mind, you can use a free theme, which is way I noted this as optional.
250 Business Cards (Needed) – $40.00
- I purchased my business cards from Vista Print – they are reasonably priced, and have great service. 250 business cards should be enough to start. You don’t want to spend too much money before you’re making any 😉
Registering a Business – Depends on the state you reside in
- This will vary depending on the State/country you reside in. If you need help finding the costs to register a business where you live, get in touch with me and I’ll try my best to help you out. If you’re serious about your business, you should definitely register it officially in the first few months. I’m in the process of doing so currently
Okay, so with the estimate above, you’re looking at a $85.00, in addition to the cost of registering as a business. Not too bad if you ask me, as you can easily make that back with just one client.
Why Is This Market So Lucrative?
Well, let’s look at it like this. Business owners have money. They are also constantly trying to increase their profit. For example, you approach a local plumber in Los Angeles, and tell him 2600 people are searching for “Los Angeles Plumber” every month on Google.
You also tell him that his website is not in the top 10 for these keywords, thus he is losing out on MANY potential clients. Though this may surprise you, many business owners simply are unaware of SEO and its benefits, which is why they are nowhere to be found in the search engines. If you explain to them, in “non internet marketing” language, they may very well be interested.
Let’s say he pays you $600 a month, and as a result he gets 20 new clients a month.
He’s DEFINITELY made his money back.
How Do You Approach Business Owners?
I don’t. I know a number of business owners, and they often get cold calls from SEO companies, and they tell me nothing is more annoying. The reason is, these people calling haven’t built a personal relationship with the business owner, and I cannot stress how IMPORTANT it is to do that.
You should not approach people and simply say “Hey, I run a SEO firm, are you interested?”. The key is networking, and in time, you will have potential clients coming to you; no work needed on your part. People want to work with someone they trust.
If you frequent a local restaurant, get to know the owner over time, he is far more likely to want to work with you, than if you were to walk in once, give him your business card, and leave. You have to build that personal relationship with them.
What Sort of Services Can You Offer?
Well, you should only offer services that you can deliver. Some of the services I offer include:
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Never promise them the #1 position; you can’t. We all know very well that you’d be making them a false promise. Be realistic with them.
Social Media Marketing
- This includes Facebook and Twitter mainly. Facebook is the big one; you can make their business a fan page, and begin populating it with locals.
- There is big money here, but it is also difficult. So let’s say, when the business name is typed into Google, tons of negative reviews fill the first page. Your job here would be to replace these negative reviews with the positive ones. I’m not saying go out and write fake reviews. I am saying to find the GOOD reviews for the business, and push them up on Google, ahead of the bad ones (through SEO).
Google Local Listing
- Many businesses do not have a Google Local Listing page, and it is definitely a great way to attract business.
At the moment, these are the main services I offer, but will definitely be adding various services in the near future. The sky is the limit here; chances are, if you think it can help grow their business, they will be interested.
What Do I Do Once I Have A Potential Client?
Chances are, the potential client will want to meet up. If you don’t have an office, I find coffee shops a great place to meet; Starbucks is my favorite. You’re going to want to be presentable, punctual, and prepared. It’ll make all the difference in the World; trust me. The other two are fairly obvious, but as far as being prepared, I will explain what I mean.
Prior to meeting up with them, you’ve already spoke to them (either through email or phone). You have an idea of what their business is, and where it is.
Let’s say it’s a Hair Salon in New York. You will want to do all the keyword research in advance for variations of “New York Hair Salon”, analyze the competition and such, so you have a good idea of what to tell them during the meeting.
Now, I’ve had clients who were extremely…well, let’s just say they weren’t computer savvy. The key here is, if they are looking to hire someone for SEO and such, they probably don’t know much about this stuff. You have to explain it in very basic terms. I’d even avoid using the word SEO too much, as it will confuse the heck out of them.
In basic terms, you want to tell them you can increase their websites visibility on Google. The higher their website is in Google, the more business they will have.
You don’t want to appear desperate either, and you don’t want to undervalue yourself. I’ve had a few clients who tried to really low ball me, and I simply told them that I would be available if they decide they are okay with my rates. You are offering them a service in an area where not many people are skilled at; price your skills accordingly.
If anybody has any questions, please feel free to comment below and I will do my best to answer them. You can also contact me through my blog. Good luck everyone! Get out there and start building your empire!
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