Build SomethingWritten by ian
The following post is actually a copy of the “Build Something” PDF that went out to my newsletter list earlier today.….I know a lot of people who stop by and occassionally check out these posts on my blog are NOT signed up for the mailing list….and I thought this was important enough, or hopefully…..HELPFUL enough to reprint here!
So if it sounds a bit disjointed or hard to follow in places, my apologies….as those who received it via email are already a bit more familiar with the process, and got an explanatory email message to go with it!
You can download the entire PDF here as well…:-)
The Business Blueprint For Bloggers, Brand Builders Aspiring Entrepreneurs and Online Agencies
Quick Note -
If this is totally new to you, or this is the first PDF in this you are getting in this series, please feel free to download the many short reports available in the TOP navigational bar – or reviewing the many blog posts outlining this idea, and approach - in far greater detail..:-) Thanks!
This is the proactive model, where rather than soliciting clients through traditional means, we will be approaching them with EXISTING assets, (a website, blog or online community preferably local to where they live) that is already live, turn key and has been developed generically…….but can be modified quickly to be specific service to their service or solution – e.g. – personalized for their business)
Here are the basic steps:
THE PROACTIVE MODEL
IDENTIFY A COMPETITIVE NICHE IN YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY WITH A HIGH TRANSACTIONAL VALUE (e.g. – real estate, finance, credit, legal services, etc – do local searches to identify good niches and candidates) The more poorly the profession is represented online, the better the opportunity.
- REGISTER A DOMAIN NAME (8-12 BUCKS AT GO DADDY – ALWAYS USE THE .COM FOR LOCAL)
- HOST IT AT GODADDY FOR EASE OF TRANSFER LATER (get “developers” hosting account for as low as 7 bucks a month)
- INSTALL BLOG ON ROOT (USE GO DADDY’S SCRIPT – USUALLY TAKES 5 MINUTES FROM INSTALLATION TO BLOG BEING COMPLETE)
FIND A THEME: PREMIUM THEME BUSINESS THEME IS BEST, SOMETHING WITH A NON BLOGGY FRONT PAGE POTENTIAL PREFERABLE – RESPONSIVE OR ADAPTIVE DESIGN OPTIMAL FOR VALUE ENHANCEMENT (Buddy Press Compatible a big plus, too….although options are limited)
- ADD 7-10 GENERIC POSTS ABOUT THE GENERAL SERVICE – THE AREA – AND THE NICHE - MAKE THEM COMPELLING (USE THE 9 CONTENT TYPES)
- ADD COMPLIMENTARY SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT LIKE TWITTER/TUMBLR AND OTHER “TRANSFERABLE” PROPERTIES (adds value and brand building consistency between your content – your community and extends “ownership” to offsite media)
ADD FREE Q AND A PLUGIN FROM WPMU (OPTIONAL BUT HIGHLY RECOMMENDED AS THIS STARTS THE “CONTENT COMMUNITY CONTINUUM PROCESS -
*YOU CAN USE THIS FOR ASKING (AND ANSWERING) HYPER RELEVANT QUESTIONS THAT ARE OPTIMAL FOR BOTH LOCAL SEARCH AND THE VALUABLE LONGER TAIL PHRASES FOR THE NICHE ITSELF – I.E. – “WHAT IS THE BEST NEIGHBORHOOD IN WEST PALM BEACH” – OR – “WHERE ARE REAL ESTATE TAXES LOWEST IN PINELLAS COUNTY?” – ETC) *
- BUY OR ADD A FEW MORE .COM’S OR .INFO FOR MORE VALUE (optional but low cost to acquire, high perceived value when presenting to client as a package for purchase)
-INSTALL A NAME CAPTURE FORM (Aweber) ON THE BLOG (RECOMMENDED FOR PERCEIVED VALUE AND FOR HAVING A NATURAL, HIGH END BACK END SERVICE TO OFFER – LIST BUILDING HELP AND EMAIL MARKETING – VERY EASY TO ETHICALLY UPSELL TO NEW OWNER)
- BUILD IT! - 3 DAYS MAX ON “CORNERSTONE CONTENT” – 7-10 POSTS IS FINE (don’t obsess, get it done, you can always add or improve later)
CURATE CONTENT THAT IS HYPER LOCAL – RELATED TO BOTH THE NICHE AND THE COMMUNITY…… COMPETITOR CONTENT IS IDEAL (WILL DRAW ATTENTION TO YOUR BLOG) – AND WILL HELP MAKE YOUR BLOG A LOCAL AUTHORITY SITE FOR NICHE AND NEWS
SELLING YOUR SITE
- ADVERTISE THE SITE ON CLASSIFIEDS (Craigslist is great for small sales, Backpage.Com can be very effective too – look for smaller online trade publications related to the niche, or the geographical community as well)
- USE OFFSITE CLASSIFIED
- USE DIRECT MAIL ( A LETTER TO 10 LOCAL DRY CLEANERS/FINANCE COMPANIES/DOCTORS/DENTISTS/ETC)
- CALL! (THE PHONE IS YOUR FRIEND..:-)
- MAKE A LIST OF 7 PROFESSIONALS IN THE NICHE THAT HAVE A SUB PAR PRESENCE RIGHT NOW
EMAIL THEM USING THE CONTACT FORM ON THEIR SITE WITH AN OUTRAGEOUSLY APPEALING OFFER (The *Free Site* approach) OR USE WHOIS SERVICES TO IDENTIFY OWNERSHIP
BE RESOURCEFUL! IDENTIFY YOUR IDEAL AUDIENCE AND THEN COME UP WITH CREATIVE WAYS TO FIND THEM -
*(START A MEETUP, MAKE A PHONE CALL, DO A GUEST POST, WRITE A PRESS RELEASE, RUN A LOCAL PPC AD, CREATE A FACEBOOK PAGE – BE ASSERTIVE, AMBITIOUS AND OPPORTUNISTIC.
IF YOU ARE CREATING VALUE…….AFTER THE FIRST FEW, YOUR CLIENTS WILL COME TO YOU!)
Remember – you sell the site to sell your services. Your REAL profits and growth potential come through the back end services you can stack into the sale, and how you deepen the rapport, and relationship with each new customer and client.
You are NOT trying to oversell the actual site.
You want to stand out, and use this approach as a unique way to demonstrate expertise, deliver value and create a win/win transaction that works for you…..AND impresses, inspires and excites your ideal audience.
Rinse, Wash and Repeat……….
BUILD Something Bigger, Better and BOLDER..:-)
(If you are getting this PDF by email as part of my general list – the extra section on the following few pages will give you some extra ideas and ways to apply the above that I hope you try!)
Here are some additional thoughts that I hope add some clarity to the above…especially if this is your first time reading some of this material.
Can you do this as a coach?
Absolutely. This is one of the best profit streams for coaches, consultants, teachers trainers, mentors, marketers and passion professionals.
How many life coaches “coach” people who WANT to become a coach themselves?
How many weight loss coaches, or spirituality coaches, or relationship coaches have clients who would love to take what they’ve learned and turn their passion into a profitable business?
Many of them. By offering turnkey marketing solutions, you are positioning yourself as an expert, authority and provider of opportunity to those that need you most. (and would otherwise have to look elsewhere to have their needs served)
As an example…..MY ideal clients are often other entrepreneurs who are signing up to learn things they want to teach others.
- My ideal client isn’t someone who is clueless about list building, or blog building or email marketing -
- My ideal client is actually someone who is SELLING those services him (or her) self already….
I recently got involved with a unique coaching community …..that teaches a very unique set of negotiating skills that I’m interested in exploring.
My ulterior motive for participating?
I noticed that the #1 thing the other people in the class were struggling with was marketing themselves, building their business and applying what they learned in a way that could cultivate clients, build their communities, and create content that converted into cash.
They have passion and lots of knowledge about helping others master this specific set of life skills……
But don’t know how to market their message to the masses who need them
I want to share with you a few additional, and practical reasons why I love this business model – why it’s 100% “non – google – or guru dependent” – and why it’s truly something that’s IDEAL for those of you who are struggling to earn anything at all online.
Here is a quick story about when I was just starting in this business years ago….having ZERO success, feeling like a big fat failure and being dangerously close to giving up.
I read a blog post by Steve Pavalina (who I’ve since decided is a total raving loon, and probably clinically insane – by the way) on creating value.
But loonliness aside – the basic message of the blog post he wrote was great and really impacted me - his daily mantra – everyday, was – “as long as I create value – the rest will follow”.
And it literally hit me like a ton of bricks.
Not because it’s not super obvious advice.
Because it is.
But he was churning out copious amounts of content on a daily basis that was bringing insight, inspiration and illumination to hundreds of thousands of people – and whether or not I thought his wacky words were adding to a growing body of evidence that he probably should be locked in a windowless room with soft white styro foam padding for walls, my opinion was clearly in the minority.
And he was (and I’m sure still is) making a killing creating a community of people who share a passion for personal growth – while offering those people an enviornment to interact with his ideas…….
And I, on the other hand…….was trying to sell clickbank ebooks on picking up blondes in bars and teaching your petulant pet to sit, stay and roll over on command.
I was so focused on my finances……….that I was flailing, flailing and falling all over myself with frustration.
So loony or not – that PAVALINA post kicked me in the pants, and I knew it was time to try something new.
So my breakthrough moment was – a big YES to value.
I was super psyched and ready to start.
My next problem was I didn’t know what kind of value to create.
After all – what is really valuable anyway?
it’s a subjective thing, right?
Like beauty – and porn – and a good sense of humor - value if often is hard to define in words - yet, you know it when you see it and how it makes you feel inside when you’re home alone.
It becomes an easy and ambiguous word to toss around……….because it sounds good when offering advice on a blog – but really, simultaneously – says nothing SPECIFIC you can really use.
Which is why so many bloggers, and PDF’s like this one – talk about adding value.:-)
So not knowing exactly what I wanted to offer – I simplified my mantra.
Not sell something.
Not learn something.
Not buy something.
And build I did.
The first thing I “built” was a cosmetic dentistry blog for the hyper competitive, Beverly Hills marketplace.
Other than having a really friendly smile myself, I knew nothing about the niche.
I knew the Google adsense ads paid very well at the time – and that it was super competitive niche with high transactional values – and that the doctors were paying lots of money to advertise (as the per click payouts were super high as above) – and everyone knows having nice white teeth is important if you want to get to heaven.
So I spent a weekend building the site.
I used a premium template. (Semiologic – which at the time was the best, and most expensive WordPress theme on the market)
It looked atrociously bad anyway.
I advertised the site on a bunch of online classified sites, wrote a few articles and even promoted it with a free press release.
Every day I’d “curate” a little bit more content than the day before. (this was a bit before “content curation” was even a term I’d ever heard)
After about a week of advertising on Craigslist – the gods began to smile (no pun intended …..and I started to get random emails asking how much I wanted for it.
I really wasn’t sure.
I said 2k.
One dentist called me – negotiated what sort of follow up services I’d be willing to offer for that sort of cash (which at the time, I would have said yes to anything) – agreed to the price – pay-paled me a thousand bucks as a deposit and agreed to the other 50% in 30 days.
I couldn’t believe it.
Thank you Steve Pavalina you crazy eyed, loony, probably a little bit dangerous…….Genius!
It wasn’t all peaches and rainbows thereafter………
The dentist turned out to be a nightmare of a client.
After about a week, he’d call me at all times of the day and night, asking in broken English – “When I be #1 on Google? Why I no #1 on Google now?”
I occasionally fantasized about flying to Los Angeles and stealing his phone, or his family.
But I had learned something so incredibly simple – so incredibly powerful – and thanks to Steve the bodcacious blogger, and Mohammed the dysfunctional dentist – something I remind myself today whenever my focus, my thoughts and my ideas take me elsewhere and I find myself flailing and failing all over again.
When you’re lost, frustrated and feel like you’re spinning your wheels…….
And Build something.
Create value for others. Because that’s the secret for enduring success.
And the opportunities to do it are everywhere.
One more quick thought that I hope gives you a bit of an idea as to how easy the actual opportunities out there are to spot….once you start looking for them.
About a week ago I walked outside to see that there was a little door hanger thingy on my front door.
It was for a cleaning service.
Ordinarily, I’d find that sort of annoying and probably mention it to my court ordered anger management therapist who I see on Tuesdays.
But – as luck would have it – being a surprisingly big slob for my age – and getting ready to head back up to NJ for the summer…….I desperately need someone to clean my rental house, especially because a good friend owns it, who would be mortified to see how much much my house hygiene has suffered since we’d hung out together last.
So I called the number and scheduled an appointment with Andre – the foriegn accent on the other side of the phone – to come by and give me an estimate – which he promptly did an hour later.
We met briefly – agreed on his hourly rate and he returned yesterday to do the work.
As we started to talk, I learned that Andre is from the Ukraine – probably about 23 or 24 or so, and he told me that starting a business is impossible in his country due to the corruption and organized crime…even for something like providing a house cleaning service, so he’s really excited to be working in the US (and of course, in Key West of all places……doesn’t suck either…:-)
He told me he was doing well…….and that after only a few months, he was able to do 1 or two houses per day in season, more when he had help – but that he had no idea how to market himself and attract newer clients, especially during the slower, steamier hurricane summer season. (e.g. – right NOW..:-)
As a matter of fact, other than the door hangers and car flyers, he had no real marketing plan at all….and wasn’t even sure what was (or wasn’t) working.
1. He didn’t know if his door hangers were working or annoying people.
2. He didn’t know if his flyers were generating business or not.
3. He didn’t know if his phone was ringing because of referrals, or not. (he said – American’s don’t tell you where they hear about you, they just call
So I started to give him some suggestions.
- Start tracking everything
- Offer a 50% off “coupon” for every satisfied client who refers you to 3 friends at the end of a service.
- Start aggressively posting on Craigslist and Backpage.com every day. (rather than once per week as he had been doing)
- Write an editorial in the local paper on some of the dangers of dust/pollen/ or the other household contaminants (something he wasn’t shy about telling me was in every corner of my house)
- Offer a free report on how a deep cleaning before summer can dramatically diminish your pest extermination costs ( a big issue here due to the tropical climate, as many people leave for the hot hurricane season and come back in the fall with a houseful of hidden critters and creatures)
- Build a blog and tell your personal story….
- Try an inexpensive direct mail and/or postcard creative campaign that builds on the above
And rather than looking at ALL of this as a chore -
Create a bit of a character in the community with your signage, statement and sales message, enjoy yourself, and make your content creative, entertaining, informative and most importantly – FUN!
At a certain point….he got up and got a pen and paper and started writing down my gibberish which made me feel like I was being of help……even though they were super simple, super rudimentary suggestions.
And then – when I asked him about his local online presence – he said sheepishly- “very little. I really need a website.”
I agreed – we laughed a little bit….and a few minutes later, as he was packing up and I asked him how much I owed him – he said, “I’m going to take you up on your advice and give you a discount and hope you’ll refer me to your friends.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him I have very few friends, and I only leave the house when absolutely necessary – preferably under the cloak of darkness.
After he left – knowing I would be sending the outline of this PDF to my coaching list today – I kept on thinking of how many people tell me they have been working online for xyz amount of weeks, months or even YEARS….and have never made ANY money at all.
A few months ago, when I asked a portion of my list for their biggest “challenge”…..MANY people admitted to spending quite literally, YEARS online…..without really having made any money at all.
Smart people who mean well, work hard and quite often, have had at least some success in the “real” world already.
It’s really NOT your fault.
It’s not your brain that’s broken – it’s the “marketing map” we’re all force fed and follow that has no real clear destination in mind.
This weird, perverse idea that “controlling the masses” or “push button profits” or “set it and forget it” is a legitimate business model that really works.
I challenge you to build something instead.
The truth is – if you are trying to sell ebooks and affiliate products, the deck is perpetually stacked against you.
If you are trying gimmicks, or listening to “gurus” who quite honestly, in my personal working experience……CAN’T make a single solitary cent OUTSIDE of the “teach others how to succeed” marketplace…….the deck is stacked against you.
But BUILD something and the deck is back in your favor.
If Andre was willing to “give” me 40 bucks or so as a discount for 15 minutes of caffeinated conversation – what would a “done for you” blog, a landing page, an opt in form, some creative content, and a growing group of fans, friends and followers in our local community all spreading the word about his blog and business be worth to him?
If you were Andre, what would it be worth to you?
The funny thing is, in the online “guru” landscape in 2012, the “new” trend is teaching people how to become local business consultants for the ever growing group of folks who need to migrate their offline marketing, ONLINE. (or to accentuate and integrate their existing efforts into a more symbiotic strategy)
And usually – while most of that crowds recommendations are silly, self serving and ultimately doomed to disappoint, and while you certainly shouldn’t buy a home study course to do it……it’s an idea I wholeheartedly recommend.
And let that which you build, sell itself instead.
Here is a short list (there are MANY more possible permutations and combinations you can create) of 13 simple service oriented offers that will all pay you handsomely for your time and effort.
1. Email Marketing (creating follow up messages)
2. List building (building a newsletter list)
3. Video Marketing
4. Direct mail/offline advertising
5. SEO (the most popular with professionals and super simple to sell)
6. Article Marketing (writing articles like this one for OFF-SITE syndication)
7. Content Marketing (info-graphics, PDF’s, free reports and more)
8. Blog Building (updating blogs for clients)
9. Content Curation (clipping, snipping and collecting related resources in a niche or industry)
10. Social Media Management (brand building and social awareness campaigns)
11. Facebook Pages (super simple and VERY lucrative)
12. Web design (an old standby that every business needs)
13. Straight Strategy Consulting (strategy/structure/sequence)
The truth is, obviously lots of these can be combined, put together and turned into a whole marketing menu or suite of services you can offer in your local community to build fans, friends and followers who will help spread the word about YOU… and your business. If you have ever wanted to be a real GURU and passion professional who people really turn to in the evolving online landscape, the profitable path above is one you really ought to pursue.
Remember, you can literally BUILD something, give it away for free…..and simply build in the back end services above into the actual offer, turning what may have paid you $400 for a simple “site sale” - into something that could earn you $4000 in residual services and continuity – and quite often, marketing money that your clients are already investing in other places for substandard returns.
Lastly – I have spent the last few months investing a good amount of money buying up tons and tons of hyper local domain names in hyper competitive markets that I KNOW there are practicing PROFITABLE professionals who will bid on what I’ve built.
We are creating community sites, local news sites, political sites, authority sites, buddy press & social sites…..all designed to be “flipped” or transfered – turn key - to passion professionals who already practicing in those places and want a competitive edge….OR to augment what they already have – OR a first mover advantage of their closest competition who has nothing now. (or a combination of some or all of the above)
Lawyers, doctors, realtors, lenders, credit counselors, web designers, SEO professionals and marketing mavens…..it doesn’t make a difference.
As search moves progressively LOCAL and a premium is placed on being SOCIAL and creating content that is community focused, interactive and engaging……… the sky is the limit, and creative people of PASSION who want to make a difference in the their local communities will truly be the online gurus of the next generation. (and hopefully set a much better example than those who came before them:-)
By the way………
I share all of this with you NOT because I want you to be my competition.
I want you to become my clients.
And the more you have to sell, the greater the number of opportunities, options and ideas open up to you – the more inspired you become – and the more confidence you cultivate in your ability to create value and build for others in a way that honors and shines a bright light on your greatest gifts – the more i hope you consider what I have to offer to help you get there.
Empowering People Through Service, Information & Opportunity
For those of you who are building your own local consulting service and need help servicing your clients……...Tons of “Done for You” style services being added for July of 2012 - content creation and curation, blog and list building, email marketing support, product creation coaching and lots more……… even full OUTSOURCED support – you get the clients - we do the work – YOU get the credit, the kudos….and the cash! ..:-)
Drop us a note at – firstname.lastname@example.org for more – or say hi on Facebook HERE!