Offline Marketing Sucks Shit

For the first 18 years of my business, I did everything in the offline world.

I got up and showered and shaved and put on a tie and picked up an attache case and pounded the pavement talking to small and medium business owners anywhere and everywhere I could. Because that was what you did.

And don’t get me wrong, I liked this. It was a good routine. I enjoyed the whole morning ritual of getting ready and going out so I could find the next client. To this day, I actually like wearing a dress shirt and tie, and ironing my trousers in the morning is a comfortable and relaxing part of my day. Because in some ways, that’s who I am – and who I always will be. You can’t spend most of your adult life doing something and not become that.

But then the switch got thrown, and everything started to be online. I met clients online. I found contractors online. I did work online. It was no longer necessary to find someone in the local area; the wide availability of broadband meant I could hire people in Kansas, Vermont, and Louisiana, then put them on a project for a client in Michigan.

And the quality of my clients and contractors and projects went wayyyyyyyy up.

See, here’s the problem with offline marketing: you can only physically go so many miles. If you go to a particular office park, there are twenty or thirty business owners there and only so many of them want what you provide in the first place.

It’s like a mailing list; you get about forty percent of them willing to listen to you (open rate), twenty percent of those interested enough in your service to get a quote (click thru rate), and ten percent of those actually willing to hire you (conversion). Which among 25 business owners is ten pitches, two presentations, and odds are five to one against actually getting a client.

So you’re going to hit up about five of those office parks per client, and just how many of them do you have around you anyway?

Which leads me to the point.

Some people think I don’t do 0ffline products because I disapprove of offline business. This is not the case. I believe that offline business is a perfectly good way to do business; I like it, I enjoy it, and I’d never suggest that it shouldn’t be done.

But the principles of online business are the same fundamental principles of offline business, and they’re cheaper and easier to apply online. Testing a new pitch on fifty new business owners takes a whole damn wek offline, but you can do it in a couple hours online.

Once you know what you’re doing, by all means, take it offline. Go to people’s doors. Look them in the eye and shake their hand and say things out loud. To, you know, another human being. But that takes a lot more time and a lot more energy and it’s a lot more risky.

Personally, I wouldn’t bother.

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