Hey guys, This is one if my first major posts on here so forgive my noobness and just ignore anything stupid I might say (which sadly enough might be a lot lol). I am posting this in the offline section because that is the main point of our business to land clients and set up a recurring contract. But this also comes in with the website. The point of this is simple. I am going to be posting a journal of a business venture I am undergoing with a couple of other uni students. As of right now it is mostly focusing on off line lead generation, or rather just trying to land clients. This venture is specifically focused on providing a certain kind of service to businesses which could potentially bring in thousands for us but there are a couple of catches. Problems so far: We are starting with next to no capital, I blame the "boss" for this one because he is just like every other person with an idea. He just thinks that as long as you are out there people will come and use your service/product. I have spent the last couple of months drilling it into his head that is not the way to do business. Everything comes back to branding and in the early stages it is imperative that we put our best foot forward. It's a largely untapped market that could pay large dividends in the future but then again it is an untapped market which can indicate that it is simply unprofitable. Our location is a huge disadvantage. For those of you who don't know I am Australian on the Gold coast (QLD). The idea for our business would be more suitable for somewhere like Brisbane or Sydney. Big corporation types that we can pitch to. Just to make it clear our services actually have nothing to do with IM though I may try and sneak a client or two from businesses we approach. I don't really want to say what the business is as it will only make my job harder. My main job is the IM and landing clients. I have had a look at the competition and they are mostly weak with a few .govs and flash websites. However that being said I have read and study a lot in the past few years but my practical experience is next to nothing besides monitoring and uploading. Fake it until you make it! Website plan: My initial plan is too slowly build an authority site (following the Xfactor ebook) that can bring in revenue with adsense (though I may have to sneak in a few affliate products in their but I don't think there are any for my niche...oh well Amazon is alwasy a thing). On top of that I want to eventually be able to sell info products-branded ebooks that specifically focus on helping other businesses with the service we are selling. For this I plan to use the dragon naturally speaking software found in the download section (though I haven't got a mic for that yet). The website as it is now is useless. It has 4 backlinks form the same webpage which has Pr0 so again useless. It's got some nice graphics and is ranked for it's exact domain but other than that not much going for it. Someone suggested to just create the entire new site on a sub domain and then wipe the old one clean, then re upload the new one but I am worried it may have an effect on the SEO. Our first major hurdle though is the lack of funding. While I want to start right away on possibly the one thing which can bring in the big dollars my other two partners want to have positive cash flow going through the business. Honestly I can understand that, Cashflow is king after all, but to get cash flowing we have to create and target another market completely separate to our main one. It will be mostly a group exercise session for middle aged women and I suppose we could do some networking through them but still it feels like we are taken the beaten old dusty path instead of the high right next to it. Anyways before we even think of approaching any businesses I have to do work on the website. I have tried to outsource the work but either the concepts or niche are to obscure that writings can't put it into a good SEO optimized article or I have just hired lazy writers who basically want everything written down for them. I have also tried outsourcing on here but I was unhappy with the results, for all the work I did getting the keywords and outlining what the article should be about I was better off writing it myself. So my main plan for the website: Start off targeting businesses problems-three or four specific niches ( I say that because the niches do kinda overlap into each other). Create at least 30 or so well optimized articles Switch the website to a wordpress site format (will also need plug-ins to go with that. Does anyone have any good suggestions? And where to find them preferably on the cheap) Also build a social media aspect such as facebook and twitter but I have no experience what so ever in these areas. Need to go to download section and find some good guides/methods. I will hopefully be following this list I found in one of the forums: We will need to do On page optimization as follows - Meta title, meta keywords, meta description update H1, H2 tag insertion Content optimization (Updating fresh contents in the targeted web pages) Image alt tag Canonical issue fixing sitemap.xml file creation and update robots.txt file creation and update Google webmaster tool creation and monitoring Google analytics code insertion and monitoring After that we will go for Off page optimization which is as follows - Mannual search engine submission DMOZ submission Article submission Directory submission Social bookmarking Blog creation Classified submission Document submission Blog commenting Forum commenting Forum thread creation Link wheel creation Social networking Blog promotion Video marketing) Squidoo lens creation and optimization Rss feed submission Press release creation Google map creation Paid link advertisement Although I am not 100% certain in what order we will be doing this. The other problem I have with this is am I going to use tools or outsource? Like I said before we are having cash problems so anything that's just and effective is awesome. I will be using dragon naturally and maybe Traffic traverse to just check on the competition. I am also thinking of using google places but the same thing is we don't even have an office yet so it would look unprofessional to just have the bosses garage listed as the head office. Offline: Now to the Offline bit. This is probably the most difficult part of it as right now we are trying to brand as much of our business as possible and anyone marketer, or even business owner, knows that first impressions are always important. The trouble is getting a client. I have thought of a method or two that will hopefully work out. The main plan is to first phone the business and try to get to the decision maker. If I do run into some "buffers" I will hopefully get around them by simply asking for verification of an email address of the decision maker. If I manage to get it then I will send them an email with a link to our website and a free report valued at 49.99 for their time. Then I plan on phoning the business to speak to the decision maker and try to gauge their views on the service we are offering. If they are positive or on the fence I will ask for a face to face meeting (with a free session for simply meeting and talking with us). Preferably in their office or out at lunch. However if they have a negative I will try and redirect the conversation and make it about their business to build some good reputation ( by just showing that you know about their businesses and their success it is a mark of respect for you, and just a little note here I am very specific with the businesses I choose. I always do research on the business before I even phone them so I know what kind of culture or people to expect for the up coming sell. Plus it just makes it that much easier to flatter, or stoke their ego a bit.). Hey if worse comes to worse then I can get some IM on the side What I want to offer in the off line pitch: Credible reports that shows how our service improves their business: The problem with this is that we don't have any data besides the ones form studies and reports done about 2 years ago, I am slightly worried that the business owner will expect what was said in the reports and yet we deliever lesser results. I know the first thing you do is always cover your ass, always promise less than expected that way if you do better you clearly over delivered and they feel like it was more value for money. A nice presentable folder that we can leave after our first initial meeting. During the face to face meeting I will of course be pointing out the key points but I also think it makes us look more credible. Just viewing from the business owners point of view imagine if you came to the meeting with a nice lovely printed out folder with all the key points about your service and don't leave it with the. I would feel jipped....(sorry just a bit of slang there, ripped off is probably a better way to put it. Packages: I want to offer a range of packages. The only problem with that is that our "boss" has these programs he is sorting through but he has no clue about price. He charges basically at the margin with little to no profit. Good reputation and referrals: Do I need to expand on this? Once the meeting is over, good or bad, I will also offer a 10% pay on getting us a referral. Basically "If you get us an interview with another business and they buy one of our packages in that interview then you get 10% of whatever they buy. Some of our packages go up to $10 000 so imagine getting 1000 free just for recommending us to your friends." So if you took the time to read all of that, thank you. If anyone wants to Pm me to discuss or justs wants to chat please do. I know I have asked a fair amount of questions above so here is a quick summary: Questions: What wordpress plugin's to use for an authority site What tools or services are best to use for promoting a website (I know it's easy to go to the buy and sell section and just sort by views or whatever but I would like personal experiences...referrals sell no matter what kind of job lol) Is the rough outline of the off line method going to be somewhat effective (honestly at best I might get 2 or 3 businesses out of 10 that may be interested.) Okay that's all done for my first major post. I can't say that I will update this at a specific time in fact in about 2 or 3 months when uni starts getting hard again I may have to stop. But I will always try and give some sort of little update.