Curbing Your Enthusiasm About Offline Business Marketing

May 2, 2010 , 5 Comments

If you’re on any Internet marketing mailing lists, then you’ve almost certainly received at least one offer for an “Offline Gold” type of product. It seems that everyone’s promoting one of those, lately. The premise of these products can be summarized as follows: Find small to medium local businesses with crappy websites and offer them your services for doing some SEO, website optimization, setting up forms for lead-capture etc. In other words: Bring your online marketing skills offline and charge a premium fee for it.

Sounds like a great plan, right? I made a video in which I’m being a total spoil-sport talking about some of the real-life implications of starting a web design and optimization service like this. I also offer some useful advice for anyone who wants to give this method a try.


What are your thoughts on this? What do you think about the local-business marketing fad? I’d love to hear your opinion, so feel free to leave a cooment below!


About ​Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • The whole thing is a joke created by the same people who a few years ago were selling products to help you make money online so you don’t “trade hours for dollars” – now it suits them I guess they are not blowing that trumpet anymore.

    These local businesses are real people like you say and they deserver better than someone who turns up and is learning as they go along!

    “Burn your to do list” is a great place for outsourcing and it really is important that people have a complete system in place to manage it all.

    Local business marketing definitely isn’t a fad – it has been around for a while and now that Google has taken notice it will be around for a lot longer! What it is, is a market that internet marketers have grabbed hold of and goodness knows what will come of it now.

    At the end of the day those of us running a business and not after a quick buck will be able to stay the distance.

    Thanks for the video – hope the hangover is better now :D



    • Hi Diane,

      That’s actually a really good point, and I hadn’t even thought of that. Before, affiliate marketing was all about not having to work 9-5 and creating passive income etc. Now, everyone’s suddenly selling what is clearly a 9-5 type job: webdesign for small businesses. Kinda silly, really.

      But as you say, no matter what the business model, those after a quick buck will generally not get very far and those looking to create a real business will find some way to make it work.



  • Shane,

    Thanks for these points!

    Offline business is still the major part of all business – some 90 % I would guess – and it will probably be the major for a long time to come.

    So there is potential and I quite agree with you as such. I have been working in help desks and managing them and it is a good way to get crazy.

    However, why not go the other way around about it.

    Let’s use the dog training again just to keep the tradition going.

    You construct a dog training site with a local touch and get it to rank really well for local searches. Either you do it yourself or hire some to do it or a combination (which is probably the best – “slow” outsourcing so to speak).

    Then when you are up and running you go to local dog daycare places, dog clubs or something similar and offer them a space on website for x dollar a month. You can even set up a 800 number and track leads coming in and charge Y dollars per lead. There are several ways to this rather cheaply.

    Okay, when you are done in one city you go to the next city and do the same.

    You can offer exclusive rights if someone is willing to pay to be the only local dog daycare or whatever your niche is and so on.

    Apart from that you can sell non-competing “international” dog training products to your heart’s content. Or teach the local business affiliate marketing and sell your own dog training products and so on.

    How about that?

    Best wishes



    • Hi Rolf,

      Thanks for your comment. Of course, I’m not against marketing locally and/or to small businesses. What I found absurd was the trend that was going on, where the premise was often: “Have you never been able to make money online? Here’s an easy solution: Sell marketing services to small businesses!”

      The attitude that small business owners are clueless and you can fleece them because of that is not something I would want to build a business on.

      What you describe is quite different and looks like a very reasonable approach. :)


  • What happened to the video? Would have liked to have watched this as I own a local marketing offline business, and whilst limited in its long term scalability, as I am building online income it offers a very healthy instant income which pays the bills very nicely!


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