I’ve often said that if I had my back against the wall and desperately needed to make a living other than the way I currently do, or if I needed to make quick money, the method I’m going to talk to you about today is what I’d choose.
Offline marketing in general is providing services that you’re comfortable with to local area businesses who need those services and either don’t know how to do themselves, or they have better things to do with their time. Usually both of those situations apply, and when they do you have an obvious and potentially popular and very profitable service on your hands.
What I would offer first would be email services to local businesses.
Actually, this goes back to when I myself ran a small local business, before I became proficient with online marketing… even before there was a world wide web as we know it today.
I remember many a day when I wished that I could magically cause customers to visit my store. I tried lots of things… newspaper ads, the phone book’s Yellow pages, giving away promotional items, a customer loyalty program that rewarded customers with free merchandise when they spent a certain amount of money in the store over time, game nights, and lots more.
I didn’t do radio or television advertising, but I knew competitors who did, and I know they didn’t do well at all.
I soon realized that it was both easier and less expensive to get existing customers to visit more often than it was to get new customers to come in for the first time.
So I started sending out direct mail newsletters occasionally to the customers who had signed up for my loyalty program.
Typically I had a 4-page flyer with some information that would be interesting to people who shopped in my store, along with coupons that they could redeem when they stopped by again, with expiration dates.
These worked fairly well, but the cost, oh my goodness.
I did my best to go through my mailing list to weed out the duplicate customers. For example a family might have multiple card holders (father or mother and maybe 2 kids with their own account), and I didn’t want to spend money on 3 direct mail pieces, so I combined them into one addressee.
Typically I’d send out around 1000 flyers. That involved photocopying each page that many times. It would be a front and back format, so 2 sheets of paper would end up as a 4-page newsletter. I’d have these printed at the local Staples on colored paper so it would stand out when it arrived in the mail.
After the copying was done, then it would be assembled and stapled shut. My wife would typically do that. Then I’d have to print out laser labels of the names on the list, affix them to the flyers, and lick and paste postage stamps on each one.
It typically cost me around a dollar per flyer between the postage and printing and labels.
Once mailed, customers would start coming in to redeem their coupons within 2 days, typically.
If someone would have walked through my door and told me that all that could be done for almost nothing, and there would be no limit to how many names I could mail to, I would have kissed that person’s feet because of the money savings, and the ease of doing mailings more often.
Unfortunately email services weren’t available back then, but they are today.
So what I would do today is explain to local business owners the fact that I could help them get more of their current customers, who already know, like and trust them, to visit more often.
Who wouldn’t be interested in that deal, right?
It would be current customers that I’d go after, not new ones, but current customers often bring in new ones through word of mouth.
Now keep in mind that local business owners are good at what they do, whether that’s making pizzas, treating patients (doctors, dentists, chiropractors, etc.), landscaping services, auto servicing, plumbing, or whatever.
They aren’t good at setting up computer systems to keep in touch with their customer base. Nor are they good at designing forms to capture those names at a point of purchase. Nor are they good at setting up autoresponder sequences that will offer the people on their list a discount if they visit within the next 7 days.
These kinds of things are something you could do for them, couldn’t you?
You could also design a squeeze page for them and a very simple basic website for them, which would serve to capture names of potential new customers as well, while you’re at it.
You could also write broadcast emails for the business whenever they have special events or special holiday discount periods, and broadcast the information to the entire list.
So what you would be doing would sort of involve being their trusted service provider for email marketing, and perhaps so much more.
Keep in mind, businesses advertise to get more business. They might be spending hundreds or thousands of dollars monthly on display ads in the Yellow Pages, that is becoming less effective each year. They might be throwing their money away with coupons on the backs of supermarket register tapes, or on paper placemats at local diners (I tried that… once). They might be sending out coupons in the mail along with other local businesses… again, I tried that and it didn’t work for me.
The point is, they’re accustomed to spending money with a goal to bring people into their establishment, and you’ll be helping them.
Depending on the business, your service could and should be the most cost effective for them, and give them the biggest return on investment of any of the other options.
So an initial setup fee (to cover the cost of designing the squeeze page, the flyer that’s kept by the register to explain the fact that the business has an email list and the benefits of joining, and the setting up of the initial autoresponder service) could easily earn you $500, $1000, or more.
And after the initial setup, your ongoing service and assistance in regular broadcasts to that list, including setting up maybe 2 broadcasts a month informing the list of special sales and discount offers, could earn you an extra two to three hundred dollars a month.
You could also host their email list on your account… in fact this is one way I would start out. I would give them a 14 day or 30 day trial where you would help them set everything up, no charge until after the trial period, and show them at the end of the trial how many customers signed up. These customers would be visiting the business with their special coupons redeeming the offers, and would prove the benefits of your service.
If they decided not to become your client after the trial, you would delete the names on the list.
So if you’re hosting their email list, you would obviously charge for that based on the size of the list (much like Aweber and GetResponse have prices based on tiers of number of subscribers).
Doing that would lock them into a profitable monthly maintenance fee for you. Or if they wanted to take over the list on their own account, you would set them up with the email provider, using your affiliate link of course.
What business would want to stop your service once a bunch of customers signed up, right?
So there you go. Find one new customer for your service each week and the setup fee would net you typically $1,000, plus monthly maintenance fees of typically $250. Once you’ve been doing this for 6 months to a year, you’ll have a very nice recurring income, and if you have trouble doing all the servicing, you can outsource some of the tasks, or hire an employee or two as you grow and expand.
If you weren’t doing all the cold calling or door to door canvassing yourself, you could close a lot more than one new account a month, I’m sure.
Remember, I was a small businessman myself, before I had the computer and online skills that I have now, and I would have loved to have someone like you make me an offer like this. The potential clients are out there, now go out and find them.
And then, once you’ve gotten a client, and once they’re happy with all the extra business that’s coming in their doors, as I’m sure they will be, you now have clients that will look to you and trust you to recommend other services you offer…
Perhaps a redesign, or initial design, of their web site, or of their blog.
Perhaps writing the regular blog posts for them, including getting them optimized for SEO purposes. After all you know more about getting them to the top of the search engines than they do.
Perhaps SEO services for their existing blog or web site, to help them reach more new customers.
Perhaps social marketing where you set up or improve upon their Facebook fan page so they can keep in touch with those people more than just a couple times a month (you can post on their page for them regularly, for a fee of course).
Perhaps a pay per click advertising campaign on Facebook or Google or Yahoo/Bing or elsewhere to get new leads.
Perhaps designing a short report or even ghostwriting a book for professionals or service providers of some type, so they can publish under their name and gain greater respect and authority in your community.
Perhaps sending out press releases to announce special events held by the business.
The possibilities are endless, and if you’re not comfortable doing all those various services, either you can decide not offer them, or you can find someone to outsource to. You’ll become the center of attention. Done right, the business owner will be happy to recommend you to his friends in the community as well, and the cycle begins again.
The whole point is, you have these skills, and they don’t. They have skills as doctors and accountants and restaurant chefs and hairdressers and plumbers and owners of bars and so much more. They’ll be thrilled to outsource to you and pay you well for what you can do for them, which is to bring more customers in the door.
Most businesses appreciate that a customer is a customer, not caring so much whether it’s a new one or an existing one. You’ll help them keep in touch and maximize the revenue from existing customers, and you’ll do that well.
Good luck, and let me know how you do with this method.