Top 5 Things Offline Business’s Can Teach You About Running An Online Business

So for those of you who don’t already know, I run a window cleaning business here in the UK as well as all of this online stuff.

At the time of this post, I’ve been running it for a little under a year now and honestly and shockingly to everyone else I absolutely love it.

Plus the ONLY reason it’s successful is because I have taken every single bit of knowledge that I’ve gained online and applied it to the offline business (the amount of times people ask if I’m a national company or compliment me on the branding and professionalism is amazing).

BUT it has taught me a lot and likewise, the knowledge I’ve learned from a direct result of running the offline business can be transferred over to running an online business too…

1). The Golden Rule Of 7 Still Applies7

“The rule of seven simply says that the prospective buyer should hear or see the marketing message at least seven times before they buy it from you.”

As part of my window cleaning business I also run a leaflet distribution business too, we deliver to between 2,500 and 5,000 homes a month with our leaflets (and other businesses too). What’s most shocking is even after I know someone has had a leaflet through their door every month for the past 10 months, they still eventually get in touch and say “I’ve just had a leaflet through the door” or “I haven’t seen you around before, are you a new company?”.

BUT at the same time, I try and hit people in every single possible place with my marketing so that they see my company as MUCH as possible and then the time it takes for them to finally get in touch is massively reduced (i.e. they see it 7 times as fast as possible).

So I use…
– Leaflets (both through the door and on notice boards etc)
– Canvassing/Door Knocking
– Sign written Van
– Facebook Advertising (groups and paid ads)
– SEO (+ listed in every single directory)
– Adwords
– Referrals

Online things are much the same and there has been many a product launch that both myself and other marketers also use the same rules and implement a simple re-targeting campaign either just with Facebook ads or also with AdWords (contextual ads) etc.

Basically, all this means is everyone who visits your website (and possibly doesn’t purchase or signup) then gets hit with an advert for your website in as many different places as possible, which ultimately ends up bringing you more sales, happier affiliates if you have them and actually makes complete sense to use re-targeting.

2). Word Of Mouth / Referrals Are Powerful

Online this mostly comes down to having an affiliate program, but what I see a lot of people (normally the ones doing product launch after product launch) doing is not taking advantage of their customers.

Yep the ones who have actually purchased your product, often want to make more money online and often have actually gone through your product and LOVE it!

Why more people don’t encourage their own customers to be affiliates for them and actually promote their own products for them (after all that trust is already there and they already love the product) is beyond me.

It shouldn’t matter if overall it’s only every 1 in 10 who try and promote and only make 1 more sale as a result… it’s the compound effect of that! Every sale counts!

Offline I do a similar thing because I KNOW it’s easier for a customer to refer another customer. I’ve even had occasions where people have got in touch, had their quote and then only come on board as a new customer after speaking to their neighbors or friends who already use me.

Referrals are powerful both online and offline!

3). 10 Seconds To Build Trust

trustAs part of the offline business I do a LOT of canvassing/door to door sales as it’s the easiest way to build up the business and likewise means you then end up with very compact work and more profit as a result for your time.

This in itself was a massive challenge and something that I really did fear doing, I hated people knocking on my door or cold calling my phone number, so thought everyone else would be the same.

However, I was totally wrong. In the past year I’ve only ever had 2 people be rude to me and shut the door in my face (however both I did keep at the door for about a minute, which is extremely hard to do). The rest of them are all very polite, often thank me for my time and the fact I’ve knocked on their door and disturbed them to try and sell them something they really don’t want or feel they need.

Now I can happily go out of an evening or weekend and earn more in bookings than I could do working any 9 to 5 job, a small % will cancel or be time wasters but my “script” has changed over time to minimize this happening too.

It didn’t always start like this though, It’s something I had to learn by trying and testing different methods, scripts and tweaking things to make sure I was a). Getting good customers and b). Getting them to signup there and then too.

…I’m going a little off track here though.

The first 10 seconds are critical!

I need to establish trust, professionalism and likewise tell them who I am and how I can help them so that they don’t feel like I’m invading their personal space, have other intentions (stealing) and will do a good job (without actually doing anything). In 10 seconds that’s extremely hard!

The same goes online though, people will form an opinion about you, your website or any of your marketing within the first 10 seconds (just take a look at your bounce rate for your websites if you have them already).

Online is even harder than in person as there is no personal connection but you need to keep in mind that everything you have out there or do will leave an impression on people, once that first impression has been made it’s a lot harder to change it from a negative to a positive.

– Use photo’s/images that work for your business, don’t just use the default avatars on forums that you use to drive traffic or likewise on Facebook.

– Use your real name or your company name, people connect to people and brands, don’t just use “Spaceship1972” because that’s the username that you have used everywhere.

– Remember everything you put out there needs to reflect your brand, your image and the kind of customers you want.

4). There Are Bad Customers Everywhere

Customer-Service-imageUnfortunately, they exist both in every online and offline business and there isn’t much you can do in the way of staying away from them completely.

Online you have serial refunders who think it’s acceptable just to hit the refund button or falsely claim that their account was hacked or whatever else.

Offline is exactly the same, there are bad customers who refuse to pay and make up every single excuse under the sun to try and get away with not paying etc.

It is just something you have to deal with and luckily offline you just weed them out over time and then know that they will struggle to find anyone else to clean their windows in the future or likewise as the business owner you come to learn what the red flags are too bad customers before you even entertain working for them.

Online it’s a similar story, things like the JVZoo Blacklist can massively help, whereby you can automatically block serial refunders and add your serial refunders or idiot clients to the database to protect other product vendors from facing the same hassle and wasted time too.

Likewise if your business is more personal or someone submits a support ticket before buying and is asking 100’s of questions then you know that ideally you probably don’t want them as a customer as their mindset is most likely going to be that because they have paid you $7 that you HAVE to answer all of the rest of their 1000’s of questions to come.

Also once you get your business up to a certain point, you will be a lot happier to “fire a customer” either after they have become a customer and are a pain or likewise even before they become a customer you can refuse to work with them too. There are more than enough customers in any business to be able to do that.

5). It’s Hard Work!

hardworkThis is probably the most important part of this whole blog post as honestly it really does take hard work to make money both online and with an offline business.

For those of you reading this who currently have a normal job where you clock in and clock out and then get paid for your time or likewise who are looking at all of this online business mumble jumbo and think it looks easy, you need to understand that it is going to be HARD WORK!

Literally, you are going to have to do 10x the amount of work to get even the smallest results, you are going to be putting in 16+ hour day and having to make sacrifices left right and center if you want things to work.

You have to understand as soon as possible that money won’t just magically appear, it won’t just come to you because you read some book about the law of attraction and say to yourself every morning in the mirror “I am a money magnet, money will flow to me”. You need to hustle and grind like you never have before!

The knowledge and skills you learn along the way or from buying courses, training and whatever else will simply make that journey quicker and easier so you are putting your time and energy to things that will make you money quicker, easier and make even more of it.

In reality, though YOU are the only reason you will or won’t be successful, no one else can make you money, no one else can be held responsible for your failure either… take control of your future and now is the time to work harder than you have ever worked in your entire life.

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