Inbound Marketing A through Z: Beginning a Marketing Consultancy Part II
In yesterday’s article I discussed my inbound marketing consultancy, The Ultimate Internet Image, and also discussed the Offline Gold Rush, the race to inbound marketing consulting riches and those individuals exploiting this trend with hype and irresponsible claims:
“Step right up and make $5,000 to $10,000 per month with your eyes closed! Oh yeah, while standing on your head…Yeah, that’s the ticket!”
I think I mentioned something about prime oceanfront property in Arizona while I was at it?
And PT Barnum?
Well, once again:
”Step right up!”
Additionally, I discussed the awareness, empathy, and experience required to effectively advise and assist traditional offline businesses. The aforementioned awareness is an absolute necessity whether you are working with brick and mortar businesses (retail), professional practices, service-oriented businesses, and/or specialty shops.
Hopefully, I put the seriousness of the commitment we all make when we take on a new client in perspective? The relationship you have with an inbound marketing client, with any client, should indeed be viewed as a marriage!
Finally, the online and offline worlds were discussed as they relate to an overall marketing strategy, a marketing strategy that includes both inbound marketing and targeted, quantifiable outbound marketing under a single umbrella, and umbrella I refer to as a synergy of the two, hybrid marketing.
In this article I will discuss how The Ultimate Internet Image prepares for a comprehensive, inbound marketing consultation and competitive analysis. Interestingly, at The Ultimate Internet Image we focus first on an inbound marketing consultation, helping the prospective client understand new media marketing, and then, once the client is on board, work towards integrating the best outbound techniques into a hybrid marketing model tailored to the precise needs of the client.
In many instances, preparation for a marketing consultation and competitive analysis begins long before we receive the call from a business or professional practice (another kind of business) for an appointment. The preparation begins with targeting an audience, a target market we feel will be receptive to our message.
Significantly, the same methods we use to acquire clients, a hyrid approach to marketing, are often used to acquire clients for our clients. If it works for us, it will generally work for our clients, with a few variations and tweaks of course. So, we are aware of how many of the businesses and practices operate, at least generally, before we ever receive the call.
Once the call is made or email sent, an appointment is set. The initial marketing consultation is usually set a few days out. Interestingly, I grew up in the school that advocated the opposite, striking while the iron is hot, “porcupines in heat” and all of that (I will explain later).
However, we have found that a little extra time accomplishes a number of things:
- It eliminates the tire kickers. Remember, this is a long term relationship and we only want clients who take a long and broad view. If someone is in that big of a hurry to meet, while we will certainly do all in our power to accommodate them, warning bells begin to sound. Slow and easy wins the inbound marketing race, not pressure and hype, from either end.
- It allows for qualified appointments, appointments that allow the prospective client to do a little poking around. If they do, they invariably find out that we are the real deal and can do what we say we will do.
- It allows us to do all the research we need to do in order to understand their business inside and out.
- It allows us to crawl inside the niche and understand who the players are and how we are going to attack them. Yes, attack!
- It allows us to put all the data we collect into a binder so when we present our findings to our new client. As a result, they know we are serious and we do our homework. We do NOT use a canned presentation or “pitch book!” Every clients is unique, if we do our homework without a commitment and without being paid, how much more will we do for them once we are on board?
- It allows us to get beyond credentials, references, and business cards and on to how we can serve them as a marketing expert.
- It eliminates money as the deciding factor in almost every instance…or at least moves it way down on the list of objections and obstacles.
- It allows us to answer most objections before they ever come up!
Once we do our homework, homework that includes a myriad of factors, we meet with the prospective client. The inbound marketing consultation and competitive analysis, as stated in Part I, takes between and hour and a half and two hours on average and is the first of at least two meetings.
UII never closes on the first visit, there is too much in stake on both sides of the table.
In the inbound marketing consultation and competitive analysis we discuss the following:
- How the owner got into business or profession they are in, including where they went to school and where they live now.
- Did they grow up in the area?
- How long have they been in business?
- What is the biggest challenge they are currently facing?
- What is the issue they are currently and consistently grappling with that concerns them most?
- What have they tried to do about it?
- What marketing strategies are they currently employing?
- Are they online?
- Do they have a website?
- Do they understand SEO?
- Do they use social media?
- Who writes their copy?
- Are they using PPC (pay-per-click)?
- What is their monthly ad spend?
- Are they tracking the results?
- If so, what are the metrics?
- Do they use video?
- If they use video, how?
- Who produces their video for them?
- Do they use audio?
- Do they have a blog?
- Do they have an online shopping cart?
- How big is their email list?
- Do they have an email list?
- How often do they contact their clients, past and present?
- Do they have an active referral system?
- Do they know how they rank with Alexa?
- How do they rank with Quantcast?
- Do they use analytics?
- Do they show up and page one of the various search engines?
- For what keyword phrases?
And so on!
Interestingly, by the time we meet with a prospective client, by the time the questions above and many more like it are asked, we already know the answers.
The Ultimate Internet Image does a comprehensive analysis of not only the prospective client’s business or practice, their Internet Image, their online presence and effectiveness, we also do a complete analysis of the top ten competitors in the niche.
Significantly, with the tools at our disposal, we are almost always right on the money.
Using the resources we either own or have memberships to, we will know what a prospective client’s PR is (Google’s Page Rank), how they rank with Alexa and Quantcast, what keywords they are paying for and how much they are spending per click, per day, and per month.
UII will also know what keywords a competitor is buying and which ones overlap with the ones our prospective client is focusing on. The Ultimate Internet Image will also know which keywords are competed for organically and how vulnerable the prospective client and their competitors are to being bumped down and/or off of page one.
We also have a complete list of the keywords and their frequency, every keyword phrase used, on the client’s site. All the data is assessed and quantified. We then do the same for each of the competitors.
Links and Longevity
Links and longevity are two of the most important factors in achieving a page one ranking for the various keywords of interest on the various search engine results pages (SERPS). The number of pages a website has will have a profound impact on its rank, provided the pages, as well as the website as a whole, are put together properly and have the proper focus (i.e., keywords, keyword density, overall construction, etc.).
Significantly, UII will also know how many pages our prospective client’s site has indexed with the various search engines. The Ultimate Internet Image will also know how many pages each of the competitors’ sites have. In other words, every page indexed with Google, Yahoo, and Bing will be accounted for and compared. We will also know how many incoming links each site has and where they originate.
This is, of course, the tip of the iceberg. However, it provides a window into just how complete an analysis is required if you are to understand a prospective client and their competitive niche.
This takes more than a $97 e-course or a $997 e-course, it takes everything mentioned in Part I, and above:
- And so much more!
Ultimately, the decision of whether to create an inbound marketing consultancy is your’s. However, whether you are considering the creation of a comprehensive hybrid marketing firm or one that is more specialized, a consultancy dealing solely with inbound marketing, social media management, video marketing, or one of the many other niches within marketing, you must become a student of your craft, a student of not only one aspect of marketing but of the businesses you intend to serve.
Success in inbound marketing, in any aspect of marketing, is a Herculean task and one not to be taken lightly.
The Siren’s Call?
The $5,000 to $10,000 per month?
It is do-able!
However, you must over-deliver and you must become a student of marketing. Forget about The 4 Hour Workweek and that business about working 2-3 hours a day. If you are going to serve your clients to the best of your ability, you will have to put in the time…and the money!
As stated in Part I, when you take on a client you are taking on a trust, you are entering a long-term business relationship not unlike a marriage. So, once again, become a student of your business, inbound marketing, social media, whatever; and, their business. If you do so, you will serve your clients well and have a good shot of making it long-term; and, you will make a lot more than the amount advertised by the Internet marketing “gurus” attempting to cash in on the latest Gold Rush, the Offline Business Gold Rush.
Finally, Michael Gerber stated, in The E Myth Revisted, that 80% of all businesses fail in the first 5 years. He goes on to note that 80% of the remainging 20% fail in the second 5 years.
A sobering statistic!
You have the opportunity to help others make it through the transtitional periods, including the marketing shift currently underway; and, in the process become not only a lasting business in your own right but earn life-long clients, as well.
In Part III of Inbound Marketing A through Z: Beginning a Marketing Consultancy we will address many of the strategies we use at The Ultimate Internet Image to take clients from a 0 PR, often stuck there for years, and absent from page one of the various SERPS, and create for them a powerful and lasting online presence…The Ultimate Internet Image.
Contact us anytime for a comprehensive inbound marketing consultation and competitive analysis.
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107