Providing Online Services to Local Businesses
This is where we take some of the tasks we discussed in the freelancing article, and instead of offering them in a work-for-hire deal through the agency platforms…
You offer those same services directly to your own customers through your own digital marketing agency.
There is a HUGE demand from Local Business Owners for these kinds of online business & marketing services. These are the small businesses you’ll find EVERYWHERE… tradesmen, home services, professionals… anyone who wants to be found by their local customers.
They all need various online marketing jobs done, but they haven’t got a clue how to do it… even if they had the time.
They would all much prefer to focus on doing the stuff that makes them money.
They all have a very specific skill set that supports their business, so they’re very used to the idea of paying other people to do all the other things their business requires.
So if you offer to do the online work for them, they will thank you!
Here’s just a short list of one-off tasks that local businesses pay hundreds of dollars to get done…
- Claiming a Google Business page and setting it up.
- Setting up local business directory listings, Yelp, Yellow pages etc.
- Creating a Facebook Page for a business.
- Setting up other Social Media accounts.
- Setting up simple blogs and websites.
- Optimizing websites for local search.
- Creating all kinds of marketing videos.
- Setting up Google Analytics
- Creating Facebook Custom Audiences
- Setting up Email Marketing campaigns
- Setting up Text Marketing campaigns
- Creating social media graphics
Even better is if you can offer ongoing services so the same clients pay you again, every month…
- Writing blog and social posts
- Regular tweets & new followers
- Regular directory submissions
- Reputation management services
- Generating likes and shares
- Setting up paid ads on Facebook
- Setting up Google Adwords campaigns
- Wordpress site management… updates and backups.
- Website security scans
The thing is, you will find step-by-step guides to ANY of these processes online… and hundreds more…
So if you’re thinking you don’t know all this stuff, you can literally learn on the job…
Because I’ll guarantee you this…
If you’re here reading this then you already know a
whole lot more than your potential clients!
So How Do You Get Started?
All you really need to start is a website and a telephone book!
I’d suggest a simple WordPress site like we discussed in the Blogging article. Find a slick, professional ‘agency‘ style theme… you’ll find there are hundreds of free themes that have been specifically designed for this kind of thing.
Make sure you implement all the kind of things you want to do for your own Clients… mostly you’ll be able to do very easily it with WordPress Plugins…
- Google Maps & My Business Listing
- Local Business Optimisations
- Multiple Social Media Connections
- Auto-Posting to Your Social Accounts
- Great Looking Blog & Social Graphics
- Great Looking Sample Videos
- Lots of Case-Study Blog Posts
Just start small, offer a few simple services, then gradually expand your offerings as you gain experience and confidence. Every time you complete a job, ask for a testimonial and publish that with a link to the Client’s website.
Anytime you can, also ask for a link back from your Clients sites… it will get you lots of leads and help with SEO.
When the Client reports some positive results, do a mini-interview with them and write it up as a Case Study to help convince other similar businesses to try you out.
Then When You’re Ready To Really Step It Up…
Remember all those freelancer sites we talked about?
Once you’re established, you can use those to get a lot of this work done… and to handle other more complicated jobs you can’t do yourself just yet.
This can work for any task any Client ever asks you to do, so there is no excuse for turning down work… or limiting your offerings.
Whatever it is, just give it to a freelancer.
You’ll still need to check it over and make sure it meets your standards, but your Client is paying, so you just add your own profit margin and farm it out.
This is especially handy with the tedious jobs… the directory submissions and back-linking work… that are essential but a poor use of your time. Just farm them out.
- Not a confident writer, farm it out.
- Not a graphic designer, hire one as required.
- Need some coding done, outsource it.
- Need a video created, give it to an expert.
But How Do You Find Clients?
One good place to start is with all the small business owners you already know?
Tell them what you’re up to and ask if they need anything done?
You could even offer a friends-and-family discount in return for them giving you a testimonial when you’re done.
You could extend on that and reach out to any small businesses you’ve used in the past… you’ve send business their way before, so no one will mind you asking and some are sure to return the favour.
By the time you do that, you’ll be a lot more comfortable calling on people so you can literally grab a local phone book and start dialing.
If you want to be a bit more systematic about it…
- Pick a niche group… ie dentists, plumbers, accountants… in your area.
- Assess how well each of the businesses in that niche are marketing themselves online
- Check out their websites, social media, local directories…
- And contact the one who is doing the worst job!
The chances are really high that they’ll know they’ve dropped the ball and are in need of some help.
So if you call or email with a few ideas to address the shortfalls… and get them more leads and sales… they will want to hear what you’ve got to say!
Get then sorted, grab a testimonial, then rinse and repeat!
So Where Do I Start?
First thing first, you need a website… you can grab our Blogging Cheatsheet here that will give you a good starting point.
Setting Up Your First Blog or Website
When it comes time to choose a domain, make sure you include your city or town name and stick with a .com if you can.
Take your time finding the perfect Agency theme and setting up your Local Business plugins.
You should demonstrate any service you’re trying to sell and it should look totally professional.
Study some other local marketers websites, even if they’re operating in other areas, so you can see the kinds of services they’re offering and the prices they’re charging.
Then just work out what packages you are ready to offer yourself and add enticing descriptions of those to your website. Use lots of bullet points and a strong cover graphic for each package.
Most important of all, make sure there’s a clear and simple call to action…
Phone Now For A Free Consult
Click Here to Order This Package
Don’t leave it to them to work out what to do… be very specific. You’re asking them to trust you with their marketing so lead by example.
Once your website is ready, you just start prospecting for Clients.
If you keep publishing good content to you blog, especially linked Case Studies, you will eventually get a lot of leads that way… but for now, you really need to be proactive and find your Clients the old fashioned way…
Telephone, Email, Letterbox Drop, Postcards, Knock on Doors.
Whatever it takes!
If you’re prepared to do that legwork, you can grow your own thriving local business services agency really fast!
So can you see the potential here to grow a serious, sustainable & lucrative business?
This is definitely one of my favourites that I go back to all the time.
These days I have restricted my own offerings to a few high-value packages… services that I mostly farm out as required… but it’s good to know that I can always bring in some fast cash any time I need it…
- Research a few prospects
- Send some emails or make a few calls
- Sign a Client and take a deposit…
I actually did this and picked up two website projects in three days when the coronavirus started to hit the news. This gave me a bit of extra cash coming in and something to keep me busy during the shutdown!
So even if you don’t think this is something you want to do full-time, it is definitely worth considering making it a part of your overall online business plan.
Because most strong businesses will have a mix of revenue streams for added security and stability.
With that in mind there’s a slightly different Local Business Service that I actually like even better….