The Minimalist Guide To Offline Business Marketing

In my last post I talked about the idea of a minimum viable product for someone just starting out with offline business marketing.

And in our coaching program one of the main things we work on is simplifying your business -- figuring out the fastest path to get started, get clients, and get cash.

Fact is, most people who fail in offline business marketing do so because they're trying to do too much -- they're offering websites, SEO, PPC, social media, Google Places and mobile marketing... trying to build their own website while attending networking meetings, doing video reviews and sending a direct mail campaign... attempting to sell products and services online, in person, via the phone...

... hustling any way you can in the hopes something will work.

The problem of course is all this complexity means you never get really good at anything. You never execute at the highest level. (If you even take action after all that planning.) You become yet another "me too" marketer offering the same things to the same people in the same way.

So if you're struggling to get your consulting business up and running then it's time to simplify!

Here's just what the doctor ordered...

The Minimalist Guide To Offline Business Marketing

When you break it down there are really only four components you need to get started:

  1. Starving Crowd
  2. An Offer
  3. Lead Generation
  4. Lead Conversion

In other words, you need someone to sell to, something to sell, a strategy to get in front of them, and a way to sell it.  One of each. Not 20 different services catering to every niche market. Not 13 different lead generation strategies. One.

Quality of execution is more important than quantity of tactics.

1. Starving Crowd

Before even thinking about what you're going to offer you need to figure out who is going to buy it and how you're going to sell it.

Are you targeting a particular niche market? Location? Type of business? Size of business? A particular problem?

Where's the gap in the marketplace? What problems can you solve? Who has money and wants to spend it to solve those problems?

Start here and work backwards -- because who you target determines what you offer and how it should be presented, priced, positioned, and sold.

2. An Offer

This is where I see people making the mistake that causes the most procrastination and delays you getting critical cash flow.

They think they need a full range of service options right from day one to provide potential clients. Otherwise they'll lose out on business or simply not provide enough value to the client.

Before you know it the idea of a nice simple local consulting business is dead and buried as you're neck-deep in figuring out how to provide (or where to outsource) web development, graphic design, SEO, PPC and Google Places services... and you don't even want to think about how to sell each of these things.

When you try being everything to everyone...

Instead do this:

Pick one service offering. Could be websites, SEO, Google Places, mobile marketing, whatever. The "thing" doesn't matter. Choose the one that's the best combination of a) provides value, b) wanted by your market, c) you can systematize & outsource delivery, d) you feel most confident selling.

Then just get out there and sell it!

Now that you've simplified your business by a factor of 5x or more you'll notice a few interesting things begin to happen. You'll feel yourself becoming much clearer on who your ideal clients are. (If you still think it's "local businesses" then you need to go deeper.) Prospects start to see you stand for something... that you specialize in something... you're not promising anything to get some work but have a specific solution that solves a specific problem. Selling becomes simple.

And the funny thing is you will still have the opportunity to take on all those "other" projects, if you want to. Because once you have positioned yourself as the trusted adviser and advocate for your client you're able to lead the relationship. But it all starts with simplifying the front end of your business to get the client in the first place.

3. Lead Generation

Often half the battle here is just knowing where to start.

Where can you find your prospects? What's the best way to get their attention? How should you approach them? What do you say to get them interested in you and your services?

The good news is once you know specifically who you're selling to and what you're selling then generating leads becomes a lot simpler. If you're offering everything to everyone then there's no obvious place to begin. But if you're offering "website conversion optimization for Adwords advertisers in the fitness niche" then suddenly things become much clearer.

(In fact many of our students have found once you get this specific with your targeting you need to do little more than announce your existence to your prospects and you have their attention. You still gotta work to get them as a client, but it sure makes things easier.)

The key is to pick one lead generation strategy and go deep with it. Identify your targets. Choose your strategy. (We've had great results with direct mail, video reviews, networking, banner ads and more.) Offer a simple low-cost, low-risk means of response that lets them say "I'm interested, tell me more..."

One well executed lead generation strategy like this is worth 100 shotgun attempts at getting clients.

4. Lead Conversion

Finally you have a list of qualified leads who have raised their hand to show interest in the problems you can solve. Depending on the campaign you may have anywhere from 2 to 200 people at this stage. Don't be discouraged by the numbers. This small list is more valuable than the entire 12,000 record list you scraped from the YP 😉

The next step is to convert them into clients.

This could be as simple as following up with a phone call and conducting a consultation.

Or sending them to a salesletter on your website.

Or heading to a coffee shop for a chat.

Again the "what" isn't all that important. All these strategies work. It's the execution that matters.

Pick one lead conversion strategy and get good at it... make it work for you.

What To Do Now

Build a simple system like this.

Four components. One strategy for each.

Go out and get your first paying clients!

Then use build, measure, learn loops to refine your process and improve results.

Over time you'll want to have multiple products & services you can offer. Generate leads a dozen ways. Create a multi-step, multi-media followup campaign. Use multiple entry points into your business. And have qualification steps, surveys and other hoops to dig for the gold.

But right now speed of implementation is better than perfection.

Get one simple system that makes you money up and running.

Rinse and repeat.