As internet marketers, we get so wrapped up in the day-to-day activities involved in running websites that we forget thereâ€™s a whole world out there full of people who can benefit from our experiences and expertise.
For example, think about the small, locally-owned dentist office that youâ€™ve been going to since you were five years old. Yes, they might have an existing website, but what are the odds that theyâ€™re using it to its full potential? In fact, take a look at most small business websites and youâ€™ll see the classic â€śbillboardâ€ť format of static HTML sites that display the businessâ€™s hours and address, but not much else.
Can you imagine how much that business could grow if they optimized the site with a Google Places listing? Or how many more customers theyâ€™d attract if they implemented online scheduling or became more active with social networking? Welcome to the world of offline internet marketing â€“ the practice of helping local businesses implement SEO, social networking and other web marketing techniques.
Working as an offline internet marketer can be both rewarding and lucrative. If youâ€™re interested in exploring this avenue, the key to finding offline internet marketing clients is to identify business owners who are receptive to making improvements to their sites. Having an enhanced web presence doesnâ€™t make sense for every business, and youâ€™ll find that some industries (including restaurants, law offices, accounting firms and other service workers, in particular) are more open to your offerings than others.
There are a number of different ways you can find these clients â€“ including cold calling businesses in your area, attending local networking events or participating in business referral groups like BNI â€“ but in general, the best way to find offline marketing work is simply to talk to local business owners. If there are stores or offices that you frequent, take a minute to chat with the owner about his or her web needs. You might be surprised how many contracts youâ€™ll pick up through these informal conversations alone!
Of course, before you begin initiating these conversations, itâ€™s a good idea to have some idea of what youâ€™ll charge and what services youâ€™ll offer (hereâ€™s a hint â€“ donâ€™t promise things you canâ€™t reasonably guarantee!). If you want to be really professional, having pre-written contracts and business cards can be helpful as well â€“ though they certainly arenâ€™t required when youâ€™re first starting out. At this point in your offline marketing career, itâ€™s most important that you start getting out and making contacts.
If the thought of putting packages together and drafting contracts sounds overwhelming, donâ€™t worry â€“ there are tons of people who have gone ahead of you and shared their results online. A simple search for â€śoffline marketing ratesâ€ť or â€śweb development contractsâ€ť should turn up enough resources to get you started, though youâ€™ll need to adjust your rates and services to the general cost of living in your area.
Once youâ€™ve set up your first contract, the most important thing you can do is to overdeliver. Local business owners can be a tightly-knit group, and youâ€™ll likely find that one successful contract turns into several more based on referrals from one satisfied business owner. As a freelance offline internet marketer, this can be particularly lucrative, as retainer contracts set up for ongoing site maintenance for multiple clients can help balance out the uneven nature of internet business income.
Have you ever pursued offline marketing work? Or thought about doing so after helping friends or family members get their websites up and running? Share your questions or advice in the comments below!