This may be a little more "outside the box" than expected, however, I worked on a site for my auto mechanic (he owns the repair shop). He now refers every one to me for both web design and SEO! And since he knows where his customers work and their job titles, I get extremely qualified leads from him.
This sounds like a case of having satisfied customers, which can be the best kind of advertising.....people love to give each other advice on where to shop for services
I give away "brochure" sites to non-profits, including hosting. I quit counting several years ago, but the number of printed brochures, flyers, maps, and newletters that are distributed annually with my urls on them numbers over a million. They also generate reams of free content and decent incoming links.
I've customized HomeFree so that some of the more advanced members can modify/maintain the body of their pages.
(edited by: rcjordan at 6:03 pm (gmt) on July 17, 2001)
I am an active member of my local PC user's group, doing small presentations about browser security, broadband security, etc. etc. Even did one about websites and affiliate marketing. I really don't want any clients, but people keep asking me anyway, someone's friend or uncle calls/emails every now and then.
I have also heard the local newspaper classifieds can perform well.
I dunno if you do this or not agerhart, but if you use doorway pages, have you ever considered picking a few companies and optimizing for one keword term, on one SE for them, and then calling them and asking if their sales are up? Seems to me if you could show them results like that, they could not refuse. If they do, you remove the doorway page, their sales drop to normal levels, and they call you back begging for your services.
This was just along the lines of a tactic we used to use at a Pizza place I worked in. We dropped off a single personal pizza to random offices (with our phone number), right before lunch time. The smell drove people in those offices to call and order 3-4 more, or come in for our lunch buffet. Hugely successful.
We dropped off a single personal pizza to random offices (with our phone number), right before lunch time.
That's cruel! LOL... But fiendishly clever! my BF has suggested the same thing to me, everytime I have a fit over some company's horrible website: do apartial site re-design for them, show it to them, and say "If you want it, cough up the dough..." Interesting technique to think about, especially for a freelancer/self-employed promoter/designer with some time on their hands.
Of course, (for designers) you could end up inadvertently insulting the CEO's "web-design genius" grandson, who built the site at the incredible age of 9. But for an SEO, I don't see how you could go wrong doing "free samples"...
>you could end up inadvertently insulting the CEO's "web-design genius" grandson, who built the site at the incredible age of 9.
If you're dealing in small company sites, this IS more prevalent than you would think.
One of the off-line strategies I found bringing the best results is to select a group of potential customers (local Yellow Pages + checking their online presence/performance) every 2-3 months, and invite them to a free one-day "Internet Marketing course" in our company conference hall.
We offer a buffet/coffee break, they get a paper copy and a CD of the course, and basically learn... how difficult is to properly set and manage an online marketing campaign without professional help. Well, of course they learn more, but just to be short and clarify which is the final goal of this strategy.
I have been adjusting the course program during the last 2 years and I am getting now an average 20% response(attendees becoming customers).
I dare say that personal contact + free valuable content does wonders.
>>We dropped off a single personal pizza to random offices (with our phone number), right before lunch time.
Now I'm truly inspired. Think I'll send a bottle of Southern Comfort to local AA meetings.
>>>Now I'm truly inspired. Think I'll send a bottle of Southern Comfort to local AA meetings.
(trying to stop laughing) that's horrible!
One thing that works for us is getting involved with local Chambers of Commerce and Small Business Service etc and doing seminars for them.
Surprisingly, we have found that although they would like to run more Internet focussed events, many of them dont really have many qualified speakers. Case in point: last time my boss spoke at an event, one of the other speakers was the Chambers "Search Engine expert". Talking to him afterwards, my boss discovered that he knew more than the alleged expert on many topics.
Because its goverment money, they are a bit loose with it. When we do a seminar, we charge double rate (full days top-whack pay for a half day out), and we are being PAID to do a sales pitch to a roomful of prospects that someone else has booked and qualified! Even if you dont get direct sales out of it, you often make useful contacts (new designers or partner companies, referrers, someone from another Chamber etc who want you to do the same for them)
Just dont start on my patch ;)
>>you could end up inadvertently insulting the CEO's "web-design genius" grandson, who built the site at the incredible age of 9.
>If you're dealing in small company sites, this IS more prevalent than you would think.
and often less of a problem than you might think...I got a fair amount of business that way when I was starting out...it doesn't take long before a small company realises they like having a web site, but would like it even more if it wasn't totally unusable
:) Whenever I visit a company I ask to use their restroom. Although I rarely get to see anyone of importance, I am never refused this meager request. I put my sales literature in each of the "stalls", sometimes with items circled in pen with comments such as "good - let's check them out". :)
:) I have a captured audience that, more times than not, read whatever is available within "hand's reach". In my hometown you can visit any restroom, at any time, in any stall and find either my business card or sales literature.
items circled in pen with comments such as "good - let's check them out".
Reminds me of the job hunting tip I once saw... get some of those neon circle or 'marker' stickers, and stick it to your resumé. If more than 1 person looks at incoming resumés, persons #2, 3, etc., may be tricked into thinking, "Hey, So-and-So must've thought this one was worth marking up!"
Seems like your method is less likely to be 'found out' though. :)
Have you considered sending out a press release "launching" your business? If done correctly, it can really boost your business inquiries and/or sales.
>I put my sales literature in each of the "stalls", sometimes with items circled in pen with comments >such as "good - let's check them out".
Help me understand, Nell...
You write on the bathroom walls?
A friend of mine with a computer consulting firm is using Candy with their URLs on the paperwrap.
They give each consultant a box of candy to have and makes sure that they are always filled up.
At one special occassion they sponsored a big meeting for some hundred people with cakes. All cakes had the url clearly written over it. They could see the increase in url-activity shortly afterwards.
You write on the bathroom walls?
BWA-HA-HA! ::snif:: The truly savvy marketer never goes anywhere without his/her Sharpie marker! :)
I suppose a nice, bold message on the inside of the stall door might be even more eyecatching than a regular brochure or business card sitting on the back of the toilet... maybe not the image you want to portray though. You'd really need to bring in a company logo stencil and some spray-paint to attain truly "polished" bathroom wall branding.
Oh no, not toilet humour!!!! One thing I thought of doing was making a special "Business SEO package" similar to normal SEO, just costing massive amounts of money. There's always some show off who wants to pay big money. Then one client = 25! :) Perfect!