Internet Marketing Consulting

In this article you will learn some great tips on getting Started as a Local Marketing Consultant that will help you avoid the pitfalls and Traps that most local internet marketers fall into when starting out.

Why did I choose to offer services to local businesses? 

The best way to explain this is to tell yet another story.

My big “Why” was that I had a lot of experience in a variety of industries, which (I guess) made me overqualified for the work I wanted to do. In no particular order, I had been an in-house consultant for a few startup technology companies, an interim manager for a half dozen publicly held companies, taught at executive training seminars and done career counseling. For two years I was a marketing director.

local marketing consultant

And that was before going back to school to train as a chef and starting a catering business. In fact, I got interested in marketing on the internet because I needed

better and cheaper ways to find customers. Having a website meant that if people could find me online they could

access most of the information they needed to decide whether or not to book me. It also meant fewer time consuming consultations that may or may not have resulted in business.

My first marketing client was a restaurant I supplied products to. Actually, I was just talking to the owner about how my new website was helping grow my business and he asked if I could help him do the same. So I brokered a deal with my web developer and helped write write the copy. That was around 1999 and it goes to show that you don’t have to know absolutely everything to get started.

Maybe you’ve never owned a business of your own but you probably know someone who does. Think about all the businesses you patronize. Start observing what they are doing to get customers. Your first client may be right in front of you.

Starting With the End in Mind

I always encourage anyone who starting out as a local Internet marketer to think very carefully about the kind of business you want and exactly what that business looks like, because the more clear you are on your ideal business the more easily you can achieve those goals.

What I’m talking about here is for example: what type of consulting and business services your provide, how many employees or staff you have working for you or whether you have everything completely outsourced offshore for example and most importantly how much money you want your business to turn over in specific terms.

Designing your business is the key to smart rapid growth

Designing your local marketing business is crucial to quickly achieving the goals that you set out for yourself and one of the big mistakes that I see most local marketing start-ups make.rapid-growth

If you don’t design your business with clear and specific strategies, methods and goals then what you end up with is a mess in exactly the same way as if you put a whole bunch of Lego pieces together without any direction or design… Very ugly mess.

The BIG problem here is IF you don’t design the business from the ground up, you end up constantly chasing problems and plugging holes and fixing things on the fly all the time which means you can never truly remove your self from the business and work on it rather than in it.

I’m not saying that you have to get every single duck in a row and every detail down to the nth degree before you begin working the business, absolutely not. However you must be very clear about the foundations of the most crucial parts of your local marketing consulting business because this is where I see most people fail and then give up on the idea.

Foundations such as:

  • Marketing services you will provide
  • Sales systems
  • Client management systems
  • Fulfillment services
  • Escalation and growth

Why 96% of local marketers get it horribly wrong

Having been in the local Internet marketing business for over 15 years now I can honestly say it is disturbing to see how much misinformation and totally misleading teaching material, concepts, methods overwhelm-local-marketingand strategies have flooded onto the market over the past 18-36 months.

On a daily basis I talk to frustrated and sometimes frantic local marketers who are going nowhere fast, unable to grow the business, land clients and build income that they believed they would be able to.

The number one reason is most of the training and information out there on how to build a local marketing consulting business is all about tactics and the tactical approach of trying to sell services such as Google plus local, reputation management, mobile marketing websites and local Seo just to name a few.

These are all great services that can help many local businesses but focusing on these tactics and trying to sell them to local businesses is not being a TRUE local marketing consultant!

These services are all commodities and what they do is create a situation where you are just one of the crowd of thousands trying to sell businesses the services and you end up having to compete on price and charging commodity rates.

The strategy of the true local marketing consultant

Now I certainly don’t want to offend anyone here by saying most local marketers are not practicing as true consultants since you might believe strongly that you are in fact a local Internet marketing consultant.

What I’m saying is the true local marketing consultant doesn’t approach a business on the basis of selling them a tactic and commodity such as local Seo or Google places or are mobile marketing sites for example.

The local marketing consultant operates like a marketing Dr. and diagnosis the situation of the local business taking into account all the most important elements of marketing and sales to see which of the most critical areas that should be addressed first and prescribing based on that rather than trying to fit a service to a business.

For example many of the businesses that we consult with while they certainly can gain benefit from local Seo strategies and Google places optimization all reputation management; the most glaringly obvious weaknesses in their marketing and sales is for example their website design and the content on that website along with sales conversion and list building strategies.

The more you consult the less you have to sell

If you really don’t like selling then you’ll love this because I for one have never really enjoyed having to sell products and services so working on this strategy makes so much sense and take so much local marketing doctorpressure off having to make the sale all the time.

When you act as a local marketing Dr. and use the consultative sales approach of listening to clients and asking sensible strategic questions that uncover the real needs and weaknesses of the business then you completely transform your credibility and authority in the eyes of the local business owner.

People love to be listened to and the more you listen with that consultative approach the more a business owner realizes that you have their best interest in mind and not to just sell them the latest greatest product or tactic that you think will benefit them.

Keep in mind that the things I’m talking about here such as marketing funnels and list building or website content and conversion are relatively easy for you to implement in most businesses because more than 90% of them have absolutely no idea and the worst examples of online marketing that you can find anywhere, so even average Internet marketing skills are streets ahead of most local businesses.

Learning the Ropes of a Local Marketing Consultant

There’s no getting around the fact that the biggest challenge that new local Internet marketers all consultants have is trying to find out how to learn the ropes of local marketing consulting the right way in the first place rather than being sent in 100 different directions and ending up totally confused and unsuccessful.

If you just go and buy the latest WSO from the warrior forum then all I can say is best of luck with that because 99 times out of 100 most people just end up going round in circles and buying one of these latest info products after another instead of crafting out a well-designed local marketing business from the ground up.

How long did it take for you to become proficient in your former job? Years? Decades? You either had formal training or you started at the bottom and worked your way up. So it’s reasonable to assume that this new direction will require some training, baby steps, and even a bit of trial and error until you discover what works best for you.

Learning from seasoned recognized experts

We’ve put together a free training program to help people get started the right way and local Internet marketing by focusing on the most important parts of the business that will set you up for success and have the biggest impact on your growth rate.

You can get a totally free membership with no strings attached here at the local marketing success club that has been designed and put together by Chris and Andy from local oxygen who collectively have built multiple seven-figure consulting agencies and trained thousands of marketers and consultants.

Progressive and Strategic Learning is the Key to Your Success

Think of it as learning a new language. You can go the total immersion route where the instructor points to pictures and speaks to you only in that language until a few words start to make sense. If you stick with it you will start to understand complete sentences. At some point you’ll be able to speak well enough to be understood. The more proficient you become the less time it will take your brain to translate words and thoughts into words.

If you want to avoid learning the hard way, running around in circles and chasing your tail then STOP buying more stuff and let us show you the right way to do this.

Grab your FREE Local Marketing Success Club Membership before they close!

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A big difference between working for a salary and working for yourself is getting paid for your time.  Experience has taught me that the more sophisticated customers value their time as much as I do.  Large corporations can teach us a lot about time management.  I have worked for some that held all meetings standing up and others that set a 20 minute time limit.

As a home based consultant it can be easy to fall into the habit of taking unscheduled calls after business hours.   20 minutes here and there can add up to hours of un-billable time every month.  It’s hardtime management to say no if it’s your nature to be of service but if you don’t value your time your customers won’t either.

Give Freely of Your Time, But Only to a Point

We need to get better at training our customers how to work with us effectively yet efficiently.  Start setting ground rules at the beginning of every working relationship.

Living in a rural area means that very face to face meeting I schedule requires a 4 hour minimum time investment.  (60 minutes to get ready + 60 minutes total travel time + 60-90 minutes meeting time.)  That is just not cost effective for a small project.

But how do you draw the line without offending your client base?  I’d like to think that when people hire me they expect me to boss them around to an extent.  I’m not doing a very good job if I’m not in control of the situation.

If you can relate to any of the problems listed below, maybe it’s time to rethink how you spend your time and what you can do to regain some of it.

Set Boundaries

My former CPA taught me a valuable lesson about setting boundaries.  During our long relationship she had always encouraged me to call her with all tax related questions questions, and these calls would often turn into gossip sessions.  One year I called her to ask whether or not I should incorporate.  Several days later I got a bill for $120 for our little 30 minute chat.

Problem:  Multiple or lengthy meetings that don’t accomplish much

  • Set expectations up front, and put it in writing.
  • Add a section to client agreements that attaches an hourly rate for consultations.  That way, if an unscheduled call lasts past 10-15 minutes they can expect a bill.
  • Clearly spell out office hours.  The exception would be if a client is only available “off hours”.
  • Minimize face to face meetings.  Be clear that each one must have a specific purpose and an outcome.  You’re doing something wrong if you are meeting more than once about the same issue.

 Problem:  Scope Creep

  • Scope creep is when projects morph outside of the original agreement.  For example, if the scope of work is to design a website, writing a telemarketing script would have to be negotiated separately.

Problem:  Project management issues

  • Add an end date to all projects.  Some projects drag on indefinitely through no fault on our side.  When clients don’t provide the required input to facilitate timely completion, they will either incur penalties or require negotiation.
  • Send new policy statement to existing clients.  State the new rules of doing business with us.  Explain that it’s going out to everyone so they don’t feel singled out.

Problem:  Too much face time expected

  • Do a better job qualifying prospects through website and over the phone.
  • Assess who is worth my help based on their budget and level of neediness.
  • Depending on the size and value of the project, limit face time to the initial meeting.
  • Higher value clients get more personal access.
  • Keep pipeline full so I have more options.

How many hours do you spend per week on non-revenue producing work?

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When planning and reviewing your marketing efforts for your online businesses or Local Offline Marketing Clients, measuring your visitors and how they convert to sales is a major point of focus.

It’s no secret that as an internet Marketing consultant I built most of our revenues with Video Marketing services for offline companies, and would not have achieved the same success without Video!online Video

Driving visitors and traffic to your websites can be time-consuming and expensive, more so if you are not achieving good conversion rates. Having an engaging web user experience is one of the best ways of ensuring a high conversion rate for your online properties.

Unlike offline businesses, with proper use of analytics, it is possible to measure exactly what level of return you get from your online marketing campaigns, even on a daily basis, should that be required. If you are not converting your visitors it will be immediately apparent and you must take corrective actions to ensure that your online marketing tactics give a higher conversion rate. Indeed visitor conversion must be your primary focus to ensure a high return on your digital marketing investment and ROI for your clients.

Online video is one of the most powerful marketing tools which, if used properly, will guarantee significantly higher conversion rates for your websites, and happier post conversion customers. We will look at some examples of how online video can benefit your business.

Increasing Conversion Rates with Video
Videos can be used to show shoppers how products work before they buy them. Although professionally produced videos look great, they are expensive and not really necessary to achieve customer conversions (unless you are selling particularly high end products). You can use your own staff to produce product videos. Or, even better, ask some of your happy customers or your clients to do a quick video showing how they use the product you want to promote, and even some tricks they might have of their own, to get extra mileage, or how to use it for slightly different purposes.

Assuming that they are happy customers, you might be able to ask them for a recommendation or testimonial. Long used by successful businesses, on and offline, testimonials are a way of reassuring a customer that they are making the correct choice in deciding to buy from you, and in buying your product. A video testimonial from a happy customer, in person, with them speaking honestly about your products and service, is a truly powerful way of driving conversions.

Some Good Examples of Using Video for Marketing Purposes

Increasing Conversion Rates (Sales!)
Here’s how a local business used video to increase their conversions in a big way!

Equip2Clean, www.equip2clean.co.uk/ a cleaning machinery reseller. Their vzaar.com profile (http://vzaar.com/users/equip2clean) shows 35 videos uploaded, with 296045 plays across their video inventory, and also that they use videos on their eBay listings.

It is reported that Equip2Clean doubled their conversion rate from 7% to 15% using videos in this way. It is worth pointing out that Equip2Clean also make use of social networking to support their marketing efforts (twitter.com/equip2clean, www.facebook.com/pages/Equip2gardencouk)

Using Video To Reduce Return Rates

Returns of products purchased online are higher for higher ticket (priced) items. As an example,  in the online apparel market, average returns are between 30% and 50%, often due to unrealised expectations from online photographs and descriptions.

Using video can provide a more accurate description of a product than photographs and textual description. Thus, when the customer receives the product they are less likely to be surprised or disappointed, and want to return the item.

Some online jewelers, for example,  have achieved 40-60% reduction in returns by using video during presales.

In a busy market, adding video to the sales package will help with differentiating you from your competitors, maximizing conversions and minimizing returns.
Using videos of products in use can increase confidence about the suitability, and thus both increase conversions and reduce returns.

My favorite benefit of Video Online is when you provide this as a service, to local offline clients you can charge a lot more than many other Local internet Marketing Services.

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