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Business cards are a very important tool for this type of business. You’ll want to have a business card on hand with your name, phone number, URL, and a very brief message about what you do every time you meet a business owner.
Local marketing consultants have met business owners in unbelievable places. Some have met clients in the waiting room at the doctor. Others have made huge deals while walking their dog. You never know when you could meet your next client, so it pays to be prepared!
Chamber of Commerce Meetings
Most areas have a Chamber of Commerce or other similar business organization. You’ll want to go to every meeting you can possibly make it to. These meetings are full of business owners looking for ways to increase their business. Networking for business purposes is the major reason people attend these meetings.
Don’t forget to take a large stack of business cards with you. If possible, take a laptop computer with mobile internet access. This will allow you to show potential clients some samples of your work on the spot.
Make sure you don’t go for a hard sell at these meetings. Ask people what they do and listen to them when they talk about their businesses. Wait until they ask about you before you give them your card. Keep things casual. This will boost your credibility.
Craigslist is a great place to find clients. Just post an ad in your local area. Don’t forget to pay attention to ads placed by others, because sometimes businesses post that they are looking for a website designer or a marketing consultant.
If there is no Craigslist for your area, you could post in a large metropolitan area and seek work via the internet, however it’s much more effective if you can visit the businesses in person. It’s easier to sell a company on your skills when you’re face to face with the owner.
You can also try placing an ad in your local newspaper. If your local paper is read by a lot of business owners, this could work.
When you visit companies, there are a few things you can do to increase sales. Remember, not every company will agree to hire you. Some companies will have excuses, and others will just deny you completely. You have to learn to face rejection and realize it’s probably not personal. Rejection is a part of the sales process. But if you are prepared, you can minimize the likelihood of rejection.
Not Just Websites
First, be sure in all of your printed material and in your sales pitch that you do NOT just “build websites”. There are too many companies that slap together websites for local businesses and charge outrageous sums of money, leaving the company with an ugly and ineffective website that no one ever visits.
Don’t advertise your services as website creation. Many companies already have a website, or they’ve heard of other companies that had one and never saw any business from it.
Instead, sell your services as marketing. Let business owners know you’re offering a lot more than just a website. Sure, you can offer them a website if they don’t have one, or you could improve an existing site, but your services will be much more than that!
You will be offering SEO, placement in Google Local, social marketing services, and so much more! You can offer complete marketing packages for less than most companies charge for a single website! The service will practically sell itself.
Don’t Bother with Chains
Never bother with companies that are part of a chain unless the chain is small and locally owned. Franchises may be interested in local marketing, but most will have their marketing handled by the parent company.
Instead, stick with small, locally owned businesses. They will be much more receptive to this type of offer, and they won’t have the kind of marketing power a chain store will have.
Target the Right Companies
Not every company is a good target for this type of service. A local manufacturing company may not be as eager for a website as a restaurant or locally owned clothing store, for example. Try to focus most of your efforts on companies that could truly benefit from this type of service.