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About to start web development/internet marketing firm. Need advice

Discussion in 'Offline Marketing' started by kigguhholic, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. kigguhholic

    kigguhholic Newbie

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    Hello,

    I'm a 20 year old student living in Bay Area, California. I've been freelancing web development for the last year and a half (as a full-time student - although I never mentioned that I was to my clients). It's worked out pretty well, earning me about 8-12k per month, taking on about 1-2 projects at a time. I'm a pretty good designer, but I'm an expert programmer. Therefore, I've been able to tackle on large projects that require a lot more planning and coding than a simple 10 page business info site. I began from a referral from a friend of mine and that referral sparked a chain of referrals for a year and a half... until now. I haven't had a problem finding clients because they always came to me. But now I'm stuck in a situation where my referrals are depleted. The last contract I had ended three months ago for $15k for an energy property auction site. I'm down to my last $20k to live and support myself. I don't have parents who support me for my university tuition (35k a year) or my living expenses (3k a month. the rent here alone is 2k). So I thought investing half of the remainder of my money (roughly $10k) in starting a web development firm would be a good idea since I'm already experienced in this field.

    I have a few ideas on where to begin, but I can't make up my mind and I don't want to invest my money and time into the wrong or "less profitable" methods. So I'm here asking my fellow BHW members for advice. I'd greatly appreciate it if someone with experience in this field would give some pointers.

    So far, I've developed a website, branded it, filled it with some content, but no seo. I wasn't sure if investing time into seo for the site was a good idea since the competition is so high... You guys can check out the website for yourselves. I can't post links because I'm new here, but you can google Melt++. It should be the first search that says Melt++ | Digital Marketing | Internet Engineering. It looks as if it's already an established professional agency, but really it's far from it. Just goes to show you the power of appearance I guess.

    I've made 0 sales since the day I started marketing this firm (which was about 4 weeks ago), and I'm starting to get worried. I've started by researching and gathering local business information via yellowpages but mostly yelp. I've found businesses without websites and this is how the two weeks after that went by:

    Week 1: Tried to cold call businesses. Picked out different niches for each day. I probably made about 80-100 calls per day following a lot of tips that was given in this forum and also warriorsforum. I got A LOT of "the owner isn't here right now" and also "sorry we're not interested." The whole week went by like that and I made 0 sales and 0 people called back.
    Week 2: Manned up and literally walked into businesses during their open hours. Tried to go during the times when I knew businesses would be slower. It was scary as hell, but I did it, hoping for at least one sale. I told myself "if I can get at least one sale, it'll be all worth it even if I have to visit 100 businesses." Well, that week, I've visited 100 businesses: dentists, hair salons, restaurants, and etc with professional flyers, business card, tablet presentation and the whole bit. I got 0 sales and 0 calls back. Most walk-ins ended with a "we'll give you a call if we're interested" or "oh sorry, come back when the owner's here" or "sorry, we already get enough visitors from just referrals." This was so depressing. I didn't want to admit I'm a horrible salesman, so I just blamed the fact that business owners here are stingy because most of them are Asian.

    Seriously, that was just so depressing, I just said screw it for the last two weeks and just been partying all night and all day.

    Now I'm done being sad and motivated to work again. I've done some more digging and found out that I can outsource my marketing on Odesk. Is this a good idea? Is there any other better way? I need a good marketing idea to target local businesses that generate a pretty good amount of revenue already. Please help and thanks in advance
     
  2. necro

    necro Regular Member

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    Hey,

    before i start critizising, i think it's great that you had the courage to man up and walk in to buisness and also did cold calling. That's your first step.

    I see you as a typical programmer, who does a hell of a job at programming, but lacks the salesmanship, which most who work in IT do, including myself.

    Now to the critic (constructive of course)

    1.You did that many websites, why dont you call some of the buisness up and sell them your seo skills, they already have a positive expirence with you and you're trusted.

    2. Seems like you went to the firms, offered them your skills and got no sale.
    This one is a little harder to solve than the first one, because there are two ways for you to change this process: "outsource or modify".

    Outsource:
    Get some one you know to make sales for you, there are members where who have real problems with odesk. Rather than outsource it like that, find a partner in which you can trust or offer an affiliate status for people. Some guy here wrote a thread about it, in this section.

    Modify:
    If you can't make any sales, there seems to be a problem with your process.
    What i see most is this:
    1. Boring Email with all service i offer.
    2. Spammy Emails
    I would like refer to 7878's method about how to aquire some leads, which works great for me.

    Greetz and best of luck to you

    Necro
     
  3. dog-tag

    dog-tag Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Full-Time Internet Marketer + Business Consultant
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    Thailand
    You got some good advice there from Necro... 7878 shared a nice method you should definitely read.

    I also find cold calling extremely difficult, but now I have a partner who enjoys it and we're doing some offline stuff now. Maybe you could partner your weaknesses to someone with those strengths?
     
  4. necro

    necro Regular Member

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    Hey,

    thanks :).

    I can give the advice because that were my and my coworkers biggest errors.

    Greetz
     
  5. Uppa839

    Uppa839 Junior Member

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    I am not a huge fan of cold calling. But just for future references walking into a business in the middle of the day is not a good way to get sales. I say this from being on the other side, you are specifically told to take their name number and whatever they are handing out. Then usually as soon as they are out the door it goes into the bin. Especially if you are not dressed. I have soon job applications thrown in the bin because a guy looked sloppy.

    Just think about it form the business owners point of view. You have a busy day ahead of you and you are trying to sell enough to at least pay your bills or get a liveable wage. Anything that does not help you is a distraction and must be dealt with quickly and quietly. You may say "My service can help improve your business". I say show proof but whether I believe you or not comes down to if I trust you. If you are doing a rehearsed speech it shows (in their minds) a lack of adaptability and just makes you another salesman, in other words an annoyance.

    The best way to sell your service is to get the business owners to trust you plain and simple. As long as they think you are on their side you can do whatever you want (well as long as you show proof). What's the best way to get people to trust you? hmmm hard to say as it differs form people to people but the key ways i have found has been one thing:

    Look and act professional but always be social

    Talk the walk and walk the walk but always be sociable, go to networking opportunities, talk about your family so they talk about theirs, find a common interest and exploit the hell out of it. By doing this it gets people to like you and trust you that little bit more. When others see you be sociable they are immediately attracted to you and they listen to you. I remember the first chamber of commerce meeting I ever went to. I walked in their with a good haircut, glasses cleaned a pretty girl on my arm and I took position close to the bathroom doors as it guarantees constant traffic. before long I was laughing with a large group of people around me. It wasn't until later on in the night that I made my rounds and booked about 2 weeks worth of appointments in that one night.

    That's my piece said. For those of you too lazy to read the whole thing just read the bold and underlined sentence. Always remember that before you are a business owner you are a person and so are they.
     
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  6. necro

    necro Regular Member

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    Hey mate,

    nice to see someone from the other part of the border.

    :) also nice view you gave us :D

     
  7. Uppa839

    Uppa839 Junior Member

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    Lol well keyword there is "was". But we often get so caught up in the jargon words and how to increase conversions that we often forget about their perspective.
     
  8. Lithin

    Lithin Regular Member

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    It seems, like uppa839, said - You lack some "umpf" in your sales speech. You gotta fit the speech to whatever business you are targetting.

    Also make sure that you sell them your service. They wanna know what increases ROI and are most likely not interested in what you are doing as long as you are providing more value than you cost.
    Twist your speech and make sure you can read them. I made a guide on walking into a business. You can find it in this section.

    Good luck. You got the balls to walk into a store and sell your product. Not many does that.
     
  9. rcgoodguy

    rcgoodguy Newbie

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    Hey man, since you live in bay area, I suggest you use craigslist and its free. I have someone posted there for me once for my website designing firm and boom. I got 4 clients already on that day. I am lucky with craigslist because I have continuous referral now. Craigslist is very powerful not just in textbooks or wso but its based on my experience. I earn 8k$ a month from craigslist alone on my website services not on the referrals.

    You should the OQC and Blind Payments WSO. This is mainly for website service provider. Its very effective method. Its only and only for website service provider.

    Also, stay away from seo, its a long term process, not worth a try if you are having problems with cash. Go with craigslist, then go to fiverr to rank your local company keyword. I suggest read Lead Generation Blueprint or Lead Generation ***** if im not mistaken. Its both WSO. You will see the resources there on how to rank local keywords easily. Cheap and effective.

    That's all I can give. Just read and read WSO that is related to offline marketing. You will have stream of income in no time.
     
  10. gritts

    gritts Junior Member

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    I saw your website, looks legit for sure.

    However, at the same time I think it looks a little too legit for a random guy who were to walk into my business especially if I'm a small business as your site looks more like something that would be suitable if I was running a corporation versus a decent sized restaurant for example IMO.

    Also as someone else suggested, you should touch base with your former clients, they may be in need of some minor work and have simply been busy and have not had a chance to contact you. I sometimes get some work like that as I'll just casually contact a former client (just ask about your previous work, like how is the website working for you etc.) and if they're doing well but are BUSY will usually say something like "Hey good to hear from you again, I actually have XYZ that needs to get done, are you interested as I've been wanting to contact you but kept putting it off due to other things". Usually it's not a huge task as they put it off for a reason but at the same time, it's something that needs to get done so that's where you come in.