I was recently asked by someone trying to build their business what I would suggest. It’s not everyday that you find someone helping their colleagues build their business although it is seen much more in the Search Marketing community. I rarely see others in the industry it as a threat; if I am destined to have certain clients, then I will. I can’t have them all, don’t need (or want) them all, and I am focusing more on serving a niche market in which few people compete with me successfully. So for those trying to build an Internet Marketing practice, here are my suggestions. Of course, they are business development principles that can apply to any industry.
1. Have a website from where you offer such services and spell out what you offer.
2. Make your website a resource so that people will see you as an expert. If they need help, they may ask you for it and become a client.
3. Have a blog to continue to establish yourself as an authority in the field.
4. Pick a specialty within the field. Back in the day an SEO expert did everything related to promoting a site. Today, we have people who specialize in paid search, usability, social media marketing, etc.
5. Write an ebook and offer it from your website. This is also known as viral marketing, and it works.
6. Join local business networking groups and offer to do a presentation on Web Marketing.
7. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and offer to do a presentation on Web Marketing.
8. Choose a niche market to provide Web Marketing expertise for. This will open up opportunites for writing in industry magazines or speaking at conferences for that industry.
9. Get LinkedIn to other business professionals and answer their questions about Internet Marketing.
10. Set your prices according to the market you serve. Whatever you do, don’t try and cheapen the business by prostituting it at rates that make dollar stores look more profitable. I understand if you are just starting out and need the money, but you will rarely if ever be able to raise your prices fast enough to make what you deserve (assuming you know what you are doing and aren’t doing more hard than good to your client site). My recommendation is to charge based on the location and size of the company. A small client in Idaho just may not have the $250 per hour that you are trying to convince them you are worth, but they may turn into a great client or an even better referral source.