Offline Businesses Need Your Help
Up until now, you may have concentrated on building your Internet marketing skills and income online.
However, you may be ignoring a valuable segment of the market for your skills – the offline businesses that need your help.
That’s right; there are plenty of mom-and-pop businesses that are struggling to make it in this recession and would love to know how to cut costs and gain wider market exposure, but they have no clue on how to do that online!
As you well know, where there’s a demand for a solution, there’s a way to make riches.
All you have to do is to understand how to educate offline business owners in what they’re missing and to create solutions that meet those needs.
They Might Not Believe You
At first, when you first approach offline business owners, the first thing out of their mouths will be, ”I already have a website.”
While that may well be true, they aren’t understanding the basic difference between owning a static website that just sits there getting stale and having a Web presence that is alive and bringing in new customers on a regular basis.
You can bet that the majority of business owners don’t understand how the Internet can work for them, other than as an advertising medium.
They think it’s like a business card or a billboard.
They don’t understand that a fully functioning Internet marketing program doesn’t just advertise; it brings in traffic and customers and should save them on their offline operating costs as well.
Don’t be surprised if you come up with a little resistance at first, but you are going to have some ready answers to help business owners understand why they need your help and why now is the best time to get a flourishing online presence for their businesses.
What Can They Do With Your Help?
The bottom line for most business owners is, what’s in it for them. What can they do with your help and why is it of benefit to them?
There’s really only two major goals in business: to increase income and to reduce expenses.
If you can show them how to save on printing costs using online coupons or increase income from identifying new customers, they will want to hear more.
Advertising is something that has changed too, and they may not know that they can reach a wider audience online with new forms of advertising and sales campaigns than they could ever hope to do offline.
Use your expertise to sell products that help offline business owners succeed, and you will have a steady stream of customers lined up at your door.
How To Sell Your Services To Offline Businesses
If you hate sales and think the idea of selling your services to brick-and-mortar stores sounds unpleasant, think again.
You don’t have to do any cold calling or even in-person sales to get this to work. You do have to implement some offline strategies to get offline attention.
It’s not the same thing as putting up a sales page and then promoting it online.
Your potential customers, after all, are all offline; that’s what causes them to be in need of your services.
It means that you might have to implement some direct sales marketing in the form of an offline sales letter, and then, depending on the service you’re selling, you can do an in-person consultation or direct them to an online area.
Selling A Package
If you’re tech-savvy and can offer a package that includes a website, some press releases, online coupons, a blog set-up, and some advertising and marketing exposure, you might be able to offer a full-service package without ever getting out of your computer chair.
You will have to spend money on advertising that package in offline areas where business owners can spot it and can find out where to order it.
That might be in trade magazines or local newspapers. In this model, it’s going to take a bit of upfront work and money to get your package noticed.
Once it starts selling, you can devote your time to other things.
If you’re selling consulting services, odds are that you will have to do some face-to-face selling.
Business owners will want to shake your hand and find out whether they can trust you.
If you are going over their business processes and advising them on how to change them so that they can cut their expenses or increase their income, they might want you to visit their place of business and spend some time there.
That’s all part of marketing an offline business with consulting services, but there’s another way to sell your expertise too.
You can coach people offline via online technology. All it takes is some knowledge of video or audio.
Create courses and online workshops that people can download from your site and can use to help them get their offline business online.
You can also set up phone coaching sessions for those who want private consultations at a higher rate.
You are selling your expertise, and there is a market for that expertise. It’s just a matter of going out and bringing that market back to your products and services.
Sell The Benefits
If you’re going to sell your expertise or a product to an offline business owner, you’ll want to sell the benefits first.
What benefits an off-line business owner? Anything that makes his/her life easier, saves him/her money, or makes him/her money.
You can also add the motivations of wanting to compete better or to expand his/her offerings. These eventually lead to making more money.
It may be tempting to promote a solution before offering the benefits, but this is a mistake.
These people aren’t tech-savvy for the most part and don’t have time to learn everything.
Many times, they just want to pay someone else to implement the solution so that they can attend to other business matters more.
Don’t Sell a Website; Sell a Way To Attract Customers
While some people love technology and are wooed by gizmos galore, the average business owner is much more practical.
They aren’t going to plunk down money on a website if they already have one.
Even if you explain that what they have is a static website, they’ll not understand the difference between that and one with dynamic content.
For that reason, you’ll have to put it into business terms.
What’s the return on investment (ROI) for that site? How many customers are they attracting? Not how many visitors, but how many customers?
Ask them if they know who is visiting.
Do they have a way to capture email addresses? Are they doing any email campaigns or relying on people to buy from an electronic cart without promotions?
There are a ton of ways that you can sell the benefits of a dynamic site: it brings in more customers and should be the start of a basic sales funnel.
Don’t Sell Online Coupons; Sell Cost Savings
Every time a business owner prints a coupon, there is an expense associated with that marketing effort.
Printing costs can eat into an advertising budget quickly and may not have a good return on the investment.
What if you told your prospective customer that you knew of a way to save him/her almost all of his/her printing costs on coupons that he/she sends out to customers and still advertises successfully?
Wouldn’t he/she be interested? Of course!
That’s because the benefit of saving money on printing costs is understandable versus buying online coupons.
He/She may not understand how implementing online coupons can work with an offline model or how that benefits him/her directly.
Thus, sell the benefit first to get him/her to understand and then show him/her how it’s done when he/she buys the package or your consulting services.
If you divulge too much about how you are helping him/her before he/she buys, odds are that he’ll/she’ll shop around for the best price for that service or try to implement it without you.
Creating Websites That Attract Customers
These sites have special tools that allow you to quickly get different types of sites up and running, including a large number of website design templates.
You’ve probably used several of these online sites to help you put up your own Internet sites.
You can do the same for others too, without actually having to tell them how you’re doing it so quickly.
Designing and building a site is just a small step towards building websites that attract customers.
You have to know what types of features on the site help to drive traffic to the website.
It can include dynamic content that is SEO-optimized, but it can also include so much more.
Once you’ve attracted enough customers, you have to make the site work to identify those visitors so that the offline business can effectively market to them.
Otherwise, they remain anonymous, and a golden opportunity to add them to your contact list disappears when they leave the site.
SEO Still Works
To attract lots of attention from search engines, you want to include strategies that get you noticed.
Putting highly searched keywords that have low competition in the content helps to drive traffic to the site.
You can either have the content outsourced, with keywords inserted, and sell that to your business owner or you can give him/her a list of keywords to include in his/her own content to help him/her get better exposure.
You will want to include features to capture email addresses of visitors who come to the site, like a double opt-in page.
You can entice visitors to sign up for a newsletter, an online coupon, or included interactive puzzles, quizzes, and games that require an email to see the results.
Once they decide to subscribe to something or to play a game, you can ask them for permission to contact them with other offers too.
With a double opt-in page, as opposed to a single opt-in page, a visitor puts in his/her email information and chooses a password, and that information is then sent to his/her email address to verify.
This way, he/she can’t be signed up by other people who may know his/her email address, and spam bots aren’t going to verify it either.
It keeps your list clean and human.
Online Couponing For Offline Savings
Another valuable feature to include on the website you develop for an off-line client is the ability include online couponing.
There are several reasons why this is so attractive to an offline business owner.
It helps to save on printing costs because you will either have the visitor print the coupon from his/her home printer or he/she will be given a code to use for online sales.
Thus, there’s no need to print out paper coupons and pass them out. After you have set up couponing on your site, any advertising material can serve as a coupon too.
All that the business owner has to do is to include the URL to the online coupon on his/her regular advertisements.
Emailing Coupons Works Too
How much money do you think people spend on coupon mailing services? Quite a lot!
They are a great way to reach local people and have worked wonders for contacting people on a regional basis.
But, the same process can be done online much more effectively.
It’s just that the business owner doesn’t understand how the Internet can be used to reach a local audience, as well as a global audience.
Sometimes, you have to educate him/her so that he/she can find ways to streamline his/her services while continuing to attract more customers.
You can have him/her join places that list his/her place of business and give discounts by way of online coupons or you can set up his/her own coupon program where he/she uses his/her mailing list to spur sales.
Or, you can use a combination of both and still probably spend less than hiring a printing company to print up all of those coupons and do a direct mailing.
Once he/she sees how much money he’ll/she’ll be saving in postage, in printing, and in advertising costs, this way of doing business is a no-brainer.
Imagine if you could spur the sales for a new promotion by giving out coupons to all of your existing customers without waiting for them to open their mail or to visit the offline store?
That’s the power of Internet marketing when used for an offline business. Coupons should be available to spur sales, not just as tokens of appreciation.
Couponing is a valuable way to get people into the mouth of your sales funnel too.
It gives them an incentive to identify themselves and motivates them to make a purchase, particularly if the coupon offer is time-limited.
You can get far more from this type of interactive site that has an opt-in page and an incentive to purchase from the very minute someone lands on it.
It can be a great way to build your business in a recession.
Moving Them To Online Directories
People are creatures of habit. If they grew up using one brand of toothpaste, it may take a major battle to get them to change to another brand.
They have to see the benefit of changing their ways because they’ve come to trust a brand so much that dropping it is unthinkable.
They just don’t see how any other brand could be more trustworthy. That’s the case with the Yellow Pages offline and business owners.
They’ve relied on this offline brand to produce tons of business leads, and it still works, but now they should also explore online directories as well.
At the point where they can start to see the actual benefits, they may decide that using only online directories is a great strategy to gain more exposure for their businesses and to save them money too.
However, it may not be easy to convince them at first.
Explain It From The Customer’s Point of View
The business owner may be laboring under the false impression that everyone is still using the telephone business pages to look up businesses.
Help them to understand that consumers in the United States, in particular, are becoming very savvy about how to look up businesses before they buy.
They will Google a business to determine what’s being said about it.
They will look up local restaurant reviews with CitySearch.com.
They will talk to their friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook to find out what others have to say about your business.
If you’re not online in a directory, you’re as good as invisible for the modern consumer, even if they have a Yellow Pages ad.
The fact is, today’s consumers look online first, not offline, even for local businesses.
Add Them To Business Directories Online
You can advise businesses on which online directories best serve their purposes for advertising. It might be the Superpages or other types of online telephone book sites.
You might want to get their website listed with the major search engines so that they can start developing PageRank and an SEO strategy.
Google isn’t the only search engine out there. Add them to Yahoo! as well!
Get Some Favorable Reviews
Add some favorable reviews for the company in places like CitySearch.com or MerchantCircle.com to entice local customers to visit.
Incorporate your listing with a coupon and watch your traffic soar.
Offline and Online Workshops
Business owners are a “can-do” lot. You may offer them a package, including your consulting services, and they may still rather do it themselves.
All they need is a little training, and many are willing to pay for it.
The nice thing about workshops offline is that even after they pay to get trained, they will start to consider the benefits of saving time by having you do the work rather than by trying to save a few tiny bucks by doing it themselves.
They will find it too complex or not worth their time, in some cases, and so you will also get consulting leads out of workshops from those who decide against the DIY route.
Offline workshops are very profitable if you line up a core group of people who agree to come before the date.
You can write up a course workbook and have it printed at Kinkos as part of your package.
Many business owners would be willing to pay several hundred dollars for a one-day workshop to tell them how to move their offline business onto a global platform while saving money too.
You can offer your workshop material in various formats, from CDs and DVDS, and sell a variety of other types of informational products during the workshop to augment your income.
It’s also a great source of publicity for your consulting services.
Always make sure to confirm that you are available for consultations, should they want to hire someone after the fact.
Online workshops are very easy to implement with today’s video and audio technology and the Internet.
Once you build a short course online, you can even promote it for free to people to get sales leads.
A few short courses that you offer for free can be a great way to entice people to buy the bigger products that go more in-depth with the material.
You can also use them with your offline workshops as a bonus gift to people who attend.
People like to feel they’ve gotten a freebie and appreciate the effort to meet their needs, above and beyond the call of duty.
What’s even nicer for you about online workshops is that you can put them in membership areas, and instead of charging for a view, charge a monthly membership access to all online courses.
This will seem like a real deal to most people, and yet, it provides a means of obtaining residual income for you as well.
That means that you will always have some money coming in on a monthly basis from your existing customers, instead of having to sell to them over and over or of finding new customers to take their place.
Consulting Your Way To Success
Consulting can be a very lucrative business, but it comes with much higher risk than some of the other strategies entailed earlier.
For one, you are personally liable for any damage that your working might cause while you are on someone else’s premises.
You can charge much higher fees for consulting, and that’s the main draw, but you will also have to devote your time to one customer and assume some more risk to get that fee.
Much More Face-to-Face Interaction
If you like meeting with people and learning what makes them tick, consulting is a fun job.
If you’re more private, then it can add tremendous stress to you, particularly for an Internet marketer who might have hidden behind the computer screen in the past.
This type of offline way to do business on Internet marketing is not for everyone, but for those where it is a good fit, it’s a very easy way to make money.
You’re The Expert
As a consultant, you’re the expert. The business owner will provide you with the resources you need to understand his/her business and get the job done.
You may have to bring your own tools and have a home office, but there are tax perks that come along with that too.
Being a business consultant is a nice way to generate a large income, and the perks of doing business from a tax perspective are generous.
Review How To Save Your Earnings
You may think that there are more expenses associated with in-house consulting, and there are; however, many are deductible at the end of the year.
You can deduct the cost of traveling to and from a job site at a standard mileage rate. You can lease a special car and deduct that cost on your taxes.
You can devote a portion of your home as a home office, and as long as it meets Federal requirements, you can deduct portions of your mortgage and your utilities from your taxes to service that space.
In a sense, you get a lot of government perks that might be harder to access and prove by doing most of your work online.
Consulting relies on your reputation and word-of-mouth to get new customers.
You will find that satisfied business owners will refer you more business from other people if they know that they can trust you.
Sweeten the pot with a referral bonus, and you’ll have tons of work!
Creating A Killer Sales Campaign Online
Business owners who do business offline rely on a few strategies to create business leads. They may have an ad in the Yellow Pages.
They may even know about CitySearch.com and MerchantCircle.com.
Yet, many have never sat down to create an active plan for a sales promotion that has a defined sales funnel, complete from the mouth of the funnel to the closing of a sale.
Instead, they rely on luck and the quality of the offerings to persuade people to buy. That’s not working for many of them right now due to the recession.
They need to be more proactive, and showing them how to generate leads online and developing a killer sales campaign is going to benefit them tremendously.
The Sales Funnel
You can develop some very nice campaigns for your offline business owner to generate traffic into his/her offline store.
You start to develop a list that categorizes his/her customers based on whether he/she is local or not.
Then, you can use that information to create a different sales promotion that will be emailed to those clients to notify them of pending in-store sales and discounts to generate more foot traffic.
Other people who are online leads can be marketed with the right products and services for that group.
Having a definable sales funnel, where the mouth is the double opt-in page, and carefully crafted promotions can be a great way to increase income for an offline business.
Once they get the hang of this, they might want to do it themselves, but odds are that if you’re knowledgeable about their products and services, you can do it for them and they will love you for it.
Promoting The Business Online
Each sales campaign is a new opportunity to promote the business online, outside of the regular audience.
You can pick out one or two products that you want to promote heavily from this offline business owner and set up backlinks in blogs, news articles, and more to promote this offering.
You can even use your own Internet marketing vehicle to increase their exposure by tweeting about it on Twitter or by adding a link to your status update on Facebook.
This is something that the average business owner cannot provide for himself/herself.
They’ve been too busy marketing their products offline to develop an online audience.
You can show them how associating with you and your company has automatically generated massive exposure due to your online connections.
Sell Online Tools
An Internet marketer wouldn’t be where he/she is at if he/she didn’t know the tools that help him/her do business online.
If you are an affiliate for some of these tools, you can make money sending your offline business owner contacts to these programs to sign up on their own.
Even if they never hire you to do any consulting, listen only to your free workshops online, and demand to try to do everything themselves, they will want to buy those tools.
If you can put affiliate links in your free videos and articles, you should do this to promote those tools too.
One service that you can promote and make money with is autoresponders. These email campaign managing services are essential to most online marketing.
Once they get a handle on how to pick good products and services to promote and how to create a sale funnel, they will want to automate the entire procedure.
That’s what an autoresponder can do for them. If you include your affiliate links within your informational products, you stand to make income in this way too.
After you explain why it’s important for offline business owners to join affiliate networks, you can offer them links to sign up to those that offer you a sign-up bonus and sub-affiliate commission.
Every merchant who wants to start selling things online will have a need for this type of information and service, so why not make some money while they’re getting set up with them?
Adding blogs to websites is a great way to keep a website dynamic. However, what business owner has time to blog every day?
You can sell the creation of a blog, but after that, someone has to keep the content fresh.
You can offer a service to sell PR or original articles to your business owners and have a variety of topics that suit their markets.
Google provides a free keyword analyzer, but it doesn’t really tell them much about how they stack up against the competition on their SEO strategies.
You can promote and sell SEO tools that let you earn affiliate commissions from sales to keep your business owner happy and to get some income too.
As can be seen, when you start to market offline businesses with online possibilities, you expand your Internet marketing efforts into a rich field that is just waiting to be developed and explored.
You may find that you even need to hire local representatives that can help promote you and your business to local businesses.
There are many unemployed people out there right now who probably have connections to local businesses.
Check them out on LinkedIn.com and see if they make a good fit for the promotion of your Internet marketing services offline.
That way, you don’t even have to develop the offline business connections; you can just hire someone who already has them.