Hey there,

Have you heard how popular is working with offline clients getting for Internet Marketers lately?

I think the main reason for this, is because the online market has been getting over saturated with more and more information about the same exact topics.

Like many others, I also had the same excuses for not doing it:

  • It’s not going to suit the internet lifestyle
  • Not enough time to deal with offline clients
  • Can’t be hunting down for clients/prospects
  • Don’t want to deal with government tax regulations

The justifications for not jumping on the offline local businesses industry can be endless but the rewards can be huge if you figure this out.

Real Offline Clients Scenario

I tell you I can put up some sort of a YouTube “box” so your visitors can click on it and instantly get subscribed to your YT channel right from your website.

If you’re a blogger, you would be yawning already from that and could easily answer with:

“So? I bet there’s a plugin for that or maybe even a script ready to go from YouTube itself”.

But… if you have zero knowledge on blogging, websites, development, WordPress, etc, the answer could be:

“Really? OMG that’s so freaking cool! How much is that going to cost me?”

See the HUGE difference?

Landing The First Offline Customer

This was inbound marketing at its best.

I do have an online website where I offer my services along with a business partner of mine. (it’ll remain a secret for you but not for long)

However my client was not sold on that site.

I was asked for a quick interview to review the initial requirements, I said yes and at the end I gave out a card with my website’s URL on it and made a strong call to action on checking out the portfolio’s section.

Next Monday I already had the 50% money paid upfront and off I started working on the site.

Working On First Offline Customer’s Website

The site is about a local politician’s campaign.

I knew I had to register the domain name with a company that was going to update its DNS’s FAST and that company is NameCheap hands down.

For the Content Management System (CMS) I went with WordPress.

At first, I was tempted to use Thesis as the main framework but then I decided to go with the Genesis framework and the Prose Child Theme instead.

I’m more interested in teaching my business partner how the Genesis platform works because we are focusing on that for building sites for offline local businesses for now.

After registering the new domain, I created a new account on our HostGator reseller’s server with our own specification rules and linked the domain and server in under one hour.

Installed WordPress, did the initial configurations and then I started customizing the new website.

Developing Time

The full site was done in one day.

It could have been done in just a few hours but I had to research on stuff that was new to me like adding:

  • a twitter box
  • a facebook like box
  • a youtube subscribe box

Then I had to find out how to center the navigation bar and tweaked a little bit the CSS here and there for final touches.

The Problems…

Unfortunately, I can’t say it all went without bumps.

First of all, we have a list of set costs online.

This is to ensure we don’t end up working for free, which happened to me when I did my first solo site a few years ago.

We charged for a basic package and got paid the 50% in advance to start working but we received information for a bigger site that requires a more expensive package.

I’m highly flexible so instead of whining about the situation, I went to work on the site and then called them to tell them about their ‘mistake’.

They agreed to pay more but then they asked me to ask for the extra money directly to the client.

Bad Outsourcer

The problem here, is that I’m being outsourced so I’m being paid for a person who is providing my service to another entity.

I have zero problems with that but when my outsourcer tells me to charge HIS customer directly when I got the initial payment from my outsourcer, I’m not cool with that.

Particularly when I already have published costs and my outsourcer is asking me to charge more, so prices are not matching at all.

I can’t (and won’t) jeopardize my business like that so I chose not to charge at all and wait until I can meet my outsourcer again and get clear once and for all.

Bad Communication

This is a big issue right now.

I was working with the graphic designer, he sent me a site mock-up first and I created the site to those specifications.

Then I got a header and took me about an hour to find out I could just choose Save For Web from inside Photoshop and export the graphic properly (did I mention I’m not a graphic designer before?)

I even took the initiative to look out for this guy’s social media profiles online (I found two, twitter and youtube) and I just needed facebook.

Then I e-mailed the graphic designer guy to ask for the facebook fan page URL and got the reply “I already sent you the new header”.

I sent EXACT instructions on what I needed about the Facebook URL and I have the impression that my e-mail wasn’t even read…

If You’re Not Interested, Then I’m Not Interested Either

I was willing to provide the work as soon as possible and I even did work that I did not charge for.

In return, I am not getting any feedback, the site is still empty because I haven’t received (yet) the information that goes into each section and this was supposed to be a “create the site as soon as possible” kind of job.

I really hate when I have to work with people that are not really interested in a good outcome from our work together.

I have seen this in many companies but never when I deal with the main interested person, in other words, the person paying for the service/work.

New Experiment

I have seen a lot of local opportunities but not about working with offline local clients directly but about creating listing sites (medical, education, entertainment, etc) that are managed on automated mode.

They sign up, pay for the service and create a listing and if they want to maintain that listing online, they need to cover a monthly recurring fee otherwise, they lose the listing and that’s it.

I am planning to start on a few niches as an experiment and if it works as I’m expecting… boy, this is going to get seriously big.

If it doesn’t, then back to the lab, I don’t mind.

Conclusion

Working with offline clients can give you some money FAST.

It can also lead to lose some personal time and make you feel frustrated when they seem to skip your rules somehow but there is always workarounds for that.

This is obviously not for everyone but even if you don’t have the resources to start your offline company on developing sites, you can always start with a neighbor’s site, a relative’s site or even a friend of yours and do it for a really low starting fee.

You can monetize the hosting if you show them how to use a coupon code that will save them some initial payment money and their e-mail marketing if they are planning to monetize their visitors too.

One hour private consultations can be really expensive, tell them you’re going to show them how to update and maintain their sites for a lot less and offer a slow fee for a monthly consulting if needed.

It all comes down to the relation you have with that specific first client of yours, just remember that your time is valuable so be very strict to decide to whom you’re offering it for free or for low fees.

Your Turn

Do you have any experience working with offline clients and doing website work?

I don’t care if you had to use WordPress or even did a lousy work with HTML/CSS, the important thing is that you’re not scared of building a site for someone else, so have you done it?

Even better, have you charged for it?

Let me know in the comments down below!


Sergio Felix
Sergio Felix

Hi, I'm Sergio Felix, founder of Marketing With Sergio. I work full time as a digital marketing expert for the retail industry managing a team of experts in departments of SEO, SEM, front-end web development and conversion rate optimisation and in my spare time I love conducting offline digital marketing workshops and teaching other entrepreneurs how to build and maintain business oriented websites with WordPress. I'm highly passionate about blogging, writing, music, jogging, entrepreneurship and personal development.