If You Can Read This, You're Not My Client!

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Here’s an odd bit of advice coming from me…get offline!

Every week, my in-box is jammed with people offering:

  • Webcasts, webinars, teleseminars, simulcasts,
  • Tweet chats, facebook events, video seminars,
  • Mini-courses, ebooks, podcasts, internet radio, Blog Talk Radio,
  • Blog posts, vlog posts, ezines, lifestreams, pipe-dreams, premiums, freemiums, uStreams, iStreams, we all stream for ice-creams,
  • Electronic, exotic, erotic, exogenous, extraterrestrial, interactive, proactive, radioactive, radio-controlled, hyper-kinetic, self-actualizing, hybrid on/offline intergalactic symposia…

All in an effort to sell small business owners, private practice owners and solopreneurs some kind of product or service that’ll teach them how to market their businesses online. And, I agree, there are few, if any, businesses that won’t benefit from getting online. But, there’s a big problem…

Everyone’s trying to sell to these people using the very technologies that terrify them!

HELLLOOOOO!!! Beuhler? Beuhler?

Yes, I get the power of the online world as a source for community building and marketing. I preach that message non-stop. But, one of the reasons I wanted to write Career Renegade, “the book” is that…

The folks who’ll benefit most from getting online very often source their solutions offline.

They don’t know blogs, webcasts, social media, streaming video or PPC exist. Or, they may know these things exist, but they have no idea what they are, how they work or why they matter.

And, they’re terrified of the prospect of having to learn them!

Asking them to attend a webinar about marketing with webinars is like asking a hermit to attend a conference about getting over his fear of crowds.

I know this because I’ve not only worked with so many small business owners, but I’VE been a small business owner! I’ve launched, grown and marketed my own brick and mortar (yes, they still exist) businesses for the last dozen years. And, I’m half geek and half marketer by birth, but it still took me a long time to really understand, then tap the power of the web as a marketing tool for my neighborhood business in NYC.

So, if you’re looking to build a new renegade career that serves the needs of small business online, you need to understand this critical fact—many are massively uncomfortable with the ways of online marketing, social media and communicating any way other than face-to-face, phone and, if needed, e-mail.

Your job is to find these folks and reveal the money-getting, business-building, community growing power of your online ways.

But, you need to do this not using the medium you’re most comfortable with…but the medium they’re most comfortable with.

And, that means, more often than not, getting your hands dirty, going local, getting out from behind the keyboard, running neighborhood events instead of webinars, talking to people face to face. It means running workshops at the library, the community center, Town Hall. Or, good heavens, even the high school gym.

It means using language and examples “those people” understand. And, accepting the challenge of not only selling, but educating. Invest in them.

Bring the revolution to them, on their turf…on their terms.

Show them what’s possible, then become their faithful guide as you bridge the gap to the online world together.

Do this…and watch the magic unfold.

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8 responses

8 responses to “If You Can Read This, You're Not My Client!”

  1. Bingo. I think this article should be mandatory reading for social media marketing types. Well said.

  2. Naomi Niles says:

    “we all stream for ice-creams”, hee hee! I almost missed that one!

    I need to work on this myself. When we lived in another country and had clients in the U.S., we pretty much had to do everything virtually. But I’m trying to spread out communication to the real world little by little now that we’re here in the U.S. I’m not much of a phone person, but I’ve decided to work on that since a lot of clients prefer to talk sometimes.

    You have really good points though. It’s easy to get comfortable thinking you can just do everything online. Well, I think you can do everything online, but you miss a large portion of people that way.

  3. Patrick says:

    I once asked Seth Godin what happens if my local community is not buying what I am selling to which he replied, “The internet is your friend. You have the whole world at your finger tips.”.

    I agree that you need to get out from behind your keyboard and start to break into the community but lots of so called guru’s these days focus on finding customers online and some can do it successfully without ever leaving their home. I think a persons business matters the most. If you work with small businesses as you said most don’t spend their day online…they spend their day in front of their customers.

  4. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Chuck – No doubt, everyone who wants money from small biz should read it

    @ Naomi – yeah, change in location means reexamining marketing strategy

    @ Patrick – it’s not so much that you go on or offline…it’s that you go where you are most likely to find your perfect prospect looking for what you want to sell them.

  5. I am new to this industry I just graduated finally in 08 and then am really self teaching myself this entire social media thing.

    I have come out of my shell as of late and have had the benefits of networking come to fruition. By building face to face relationships you establish trust and with that comes the sale and it isn’t even about the sale because a soft sell shouldn’t even happen in the beginning I hate it when that happens.

    In the end you will know of someone who can benefit you just have to trust this will happen.

  6. Rebecca McBride says:

    Thank you from someone who works with small businesses in a rural mountain resort area. I have been searching for ways to introduce social media to small businesses, but realize the day to day operations for the majority is a ‘full plate’. And I love getting my hands dirty face to face, being involved in community events and have a marketing workshop at a town hall this morning!

  7. Given that my ideal client is someone who loves the written word and email, my community *is* online not offline.

    But good for you for recognizing that your community is offline. Woo hoo!

  8. Great article – simple and powerful message.

    Much of my marketing success comes from ‘old school’ offline marketing – word of mouth, even flyer drops through letterboxes.

    Problem with the internet is that it’s so crowded, it’s tough to get prospects attention online, and many people are completely turned off by so many aspects of the internet – junk email, spam, scams, identity fraud, fear of paying online.

    To be successful online takes a degree of effort that has to be far more systematic, persistent, smart, and timeconsuming than it takes to be successful offline.