4 Free Ways To Sell Services In A Down Economy

If you’d like to know a few low cost or even free ways to market your services in a down economy, then here are four methods that I used starting around the time of the financial crisis of 2008 to build a multiple six-figure personal training business from scratch, in just a couple of years.

1. Public Speaking.

Public speaking has long been my go-to. First of all, it’s a “no-brainer” to get speaking opportunities by offering to teach something valuable to groups at no charge. I went to many local companies, community groups, and business networking meetings to present and they were almost always very receptive to the idea.

Not only that, but speaking in front of a room instantly gives you an air of authority. This is known as the “podium effect” in marketing circles. Even if you’re brand new in your industry, simply being willing to stand up and talk makes you come across as an expert and a leader. The key to making this all work for your business is to combine valuable tips with lots of stories. I always tried to give 3 or 4 tips in 30-40 minutes, and for each tip I’d walk them through a “case study” of one of my training clients.

PRO TIP: Always end every talk by offering them a valuable free gift in exchange for an email address (and possibly more contact info). A free consultation or a free report should do the trick. This will let you do the most important part of the sales process which is: follow up! More on that below.

2. Content Marketing.

Content marketing includes things like blogging, article marketing, YouTube videos, Instagram, email, podcasts, etc.  The idea is to routinely pump out great content which demonstrates your knowledge and the kind of value you provide for your clients – the more, the better.

You want to use all these formats to drive traffic back to your main website, where, hopefully, you have a way of capturing visitors’ contact info.

My advice is to focus on whatever format makes you feel most motivated. That way you’ll be more likely to stay consistent with it. If you enjoy talking and presenting, do video. If you’re more of an introvert, writing, and to a lesser extent audio (e.g. having a podcast) might be more your bag. In either case, it’s not hard to take that content and repurpose it across many channels and on all your social media (if you’re on those sites; this part in NOT required, contrary to what people will tell you).

3. Join Ventures.

At the highest level, you want to find someone who already has your clients and make a deal with them. Here’s an example. Around the time I was building my business, I had a colleague who sold in-home personal training. His stroke of genius was approaching home fitness equipment stores and adding value for them by letting them offer certain purchasers his free home training instruction.

His team would then convert a lot of those trial sessions to paying clients, and he built a sizeable business rather quickly off the backs of just two of these relationships.

Another way is to get together with other non-competitive but complementary services to cross-refer and cross-promote. As a personal trainer I was in a good position to refer to chiropractors, and over the years I’ve sent a couple of them quite a few new patients. This ideally would be a two-way street, if there’s enough trust between you.

To put this strategy on steroids, add other health providers to the mix as well. Imagine a dietician, a massage therapist, a chiropractor, and a personal trainer all cross-promoting to each other’s clients. This is standard in the direct response industry. But a lot of service providers don’t think this way. They’re costing themselves sales. Organizations like BNI are built on this principle and some of those groups are very productive. The problem is when the businesses serve different types of customers it makes mutual referrals a lot less natural.

4. Email Marketing.

Alright, here’s where it all comes together. In my way of doing things, all roads should lead to your email list. I built a list of 2,500 subscribers in a couple of years using the free methods listed above. And I’d keep in touch with tips, stories, and event invitations once per week. This is the persistent follow up I hinted at above. Don’t spurn this part!

There’s an art and a science to effective email marketing, but the idea is to combine content with promotion. Share a tip, reveal a common mistake they may be making, then link it back to how you can help them and don’t forget to include an offer for them to contact you! Keep the dialogue focused on your prospects’ problems more than the features of your service. And make it entertaining. The easiest way to do this is just to tell lots of stories.

There you have it. You don’t need a big marketing budget to make money. In fact, if anything I’ve found the leads that come to you via these methods are higher quality. There’s some leg work required with each of them, to be sure. But if you want to build a business that will provide you with freedom and feed you for years to come, get over it – and get out there!

P.S. Get your FREE copy of my book “Stealth Email Secrets: The Simplest System Ever Created For Writing High-Converting, Cash-Producing Emails On Command” and more free marketing tips by joining my email list here: http://conorkelly.com .

Naked Baby Doll’s gastronomic adventure

All of this lately reminds me of a story.

At the time of the great Northeast blackout in ’03, I was renting a basement apartment from a Russian family in Richmond Hill.  They were sweet, red-cheeked little dumplings with much love for The Muscle.

Even had a pet name for me:

Pupsik.

It’s a Russian toy shaped like a naked baby.

(Don’t ask.)

Many stores were closed due to the power outage, so they insisted I come upstairs for a bite.   The family’s Babushka (Grandmother) brought forth a large crystal plate.  From what I could tell, it contained a gelatin substance with random floating chunks of mystery meat (which I later discovered is traditionally pig’s feet, cow’s feet, or chicken feet).

[Akwardly] Ah ha ha!  Yummy…

Being the Canadian paragon of politeness that I am, I powered through.  I took spoon to splotch, and went at it like a champ.  And with my eyes watering from suppressing the gag reflex, I politely asked for more bread, hoping to relieve some of the violent siege on my senses.

During this gustatory power struggle, I noticed the oldest son downing the meat-flavored jell-o like it was chocolate cake.  “What the…?  Is he enjoying this??”  I thought, as I nodded, forced a smile with high eyebrows, and flashed a thumbs up.

That experience drove home for me how varied taste can be.

Same basic DNA shared between us…but our amigos in other cultures will gladly shovel into their mouths forkfuls of fat which we’d normally discard AND vaporize with dish cleaners powerful enough to thin paint.

What does this have to do with you?

First, it’s just an entertaining story.

And we could all use more of those right now.

Second, the most common objection I get when encouraging business owners to up the frequency of their emails is,

“But I don’t want to annoy my customers.”

Here’s the thing:

It depends WHAT you’re sending them.

If you’re serving up the equivalent of ‘Mousse au animal-foot-fetish’ to North Americans, per above…then yes, more is not better.  But consider a different example:  Imagine your favorite food is chocolate chip cookies.  And every day I show up to your house in the afternoon with one freshly baked chocolate chip cookie, just how you like it.

How quickly are you going to love seeing me and hearing from me?

The point is to send them emails they like.

Then you almost can’t send them too many.

With that in mind, if you’d like a simple system for writing emails that your subscribers love reading AND buying from, then my new book Stealth Email Secrets might just keep you teetering on the edge of your seat.

It reveals no less than seven “magic” formulas to write emails that let you make more sales (and build more customer loyalty) at the push of a button. (HINT: I’m using one right now.)

And if you buy it now and turn to page 52, I show you a little-used secret that, if you do it correctly, can make your emails almost impossible to ignore.  In fact, if you’re not currently doing this, chances are good you are losing readers every time you hit ‘send’.

Grab your copy from Amazon to read about this secret today:

Click here to get your copy of Stealth Email Secrets.

Also, I just knocked 40% off the price of the paperback (Kindle is just $9.99).

Personally, I’d always rather have a physical book in my hands.

Call me old-fashioned.

I know you might prefer that too and understand many folks are tightening their purse strings right now so figured I’d help out.  I also know that for some this could be potentially business-saving information.  You can thank me by leaving an absolutely glowing review, should you feel so inclined. 😉

However, I won’t be keeping the price this low forever.

Don’t wait, get your copy now so you don’t miss out:

Order Stealth Email Secrets from Amazon.

And if you’re ever confronted with intestinal Russian roulette like I was, remember: loads of bread and water, minimal chewing, and SMILE…you can do this!

Happy Baking,

Conor “Naked Baby Doll” Kelly

Legend of the chronic email under-communicator

“With a prospect standing before him, would you confine [a salesman] to any certain number of words?  That would be an unthinkable handicap.  So it is in advertising.  The only readers we get are people who our subject interests.  No one reads ads for amusement, long or short.  Give them enough to take action.”  — Claude Hopkins, Scientific Advertising

Let me tell you a quick story about a client I fired last year.

This was not the reason for the firing.

(There were other factors in the decision.)

Anyway, here’s the gist of it:

He was the type who, in the name of not spending a lot of time writing emails (and in his case I think some of it was signaling he’s a big shot who has better things to do), would rarely offer more than short, sometimes one-word responses.

No punctuation, of course.

Perhaps you’ve encountered such a creature?

Ultimately he was shooting himself in the foot because no one could understand what he wanted.  And besides that it usually required multiple follow up emails to get that clarity, when it easily could have been spelled out with that first touch.

Indeed, some of his worst sins of under-communication included:

*Not making clear which project he was talking about

*Responding only partially to emails with multiple questions within them

*Never saying “please” or “thank you”

*Completely not responding to emails, even when you’re unable to move forward without his direction

I remember working with some other contractors and partners of his and them going, “What’s with the cryptic emails”?

Thus, the rub:

Confused people don’t take action.

I’ve often heard this imperative from clients, “It’s good but can we make it shorter?”  The problem with catering to short attention spans is you risk some of your point getting lost in translation.   To the right prospect, your copy can’t be too long, only too boring.

As long as you’re speaking to their self-interest, and sprinkling a bit of drama and contrasting ideas throughout, and entertainment, you want as many words as necessary to make the sale.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to be said for simple and concise language; especially in their inbox where ignoring you is a simple as hitting the delete button.  But don’t let the call to brevity cut off your sales message at the knees.

If you’d like my help with striking the right balance in your sales letters or emails, good news:

I have a spot open for a new client next month.

Ride the information superhighway over here to peep my calendar and schedule a time to talk:

http://calendly.com/conorkel/emailincome

We can even keep it short.

Just not too short.

Happy Communicating-In-Full,

Conor Kelly

What an epic marketing fail looks like

Take a minute and look at the picture below.

IMG_1702

Now let me ask you a question:

If you needed teeth whitening, would you call?

Let’s pause and come back to that in a sec.

This was planted in the grass next to the road, en route to picking up my kid from school.  And each time I walked by I had to shake my head a little.  To be fair, I don’t know what kind of response this got.  But If I had to put my shekels on it, there were few, if any calls.

Ok, back to my question.

To call, or to walk on by?

What say you?

Seems a bit sketchy, don’t it?

For starters, it’s a low price from what I know of these sorts of procedures.  That in and of itself can inspire skepticism.  Something to think about when pricing yourself.  Next, it tells you nothing about WHO you are trusting with your precious pearly not-so-whites.

The fail?

Not leading with PROOF.

(a.k.a. Credibility.)

Gary Bencivenga, often referred to as The Greatest Living Copywriter says this:

“Join proof to your promise in your headline.”

In other words, give ‘em your qualifications up front.

Tooth whitening is often done in dentists’ offices.  Is this a dentist’s ad?  Who knows.  But if it is, simply adding the dentist’s name and logo would likely get a bump in response.  And while we’re on that subject, dentists, doctors, and chiropractors have got this down.  They give you their calling card before even their name.

It’s two little letters.

D and R.

Lot of marketing juice packed into that 7.6% of the alphabet.

Yet, so many businesses I encounter are guilty of skirting, hiding, or treating their best features like they belong in the fine print.

(There are reasons for that other than ignorance.  Topic for later.)

To combat this scourge, there’s a technique I use with my copywriting clients that I hardly see anyone else using.

And, to be honest, it’s a bit uncomfortable for some.

Yet this one simple “trick” (that takes less than 10 minutes) can work magic for your conversions if used correctly.

AND can prevent prospects from merely moseying on by your ad without giving it a second glance.

Unfortunately, I reserve such secrets for my clients.

And, you can’t hire me right now.

(All booked up for the next few months.)

But if you’d like, click the link below to instantly add your lovely self to The Muscle’s waiting list and be one of the first to be notified as soon as a spot opens up:

Click here to add your name to the list.

Until then…

When it comes to marketing and sales…

Remember:

Be thee not stingy with the tooting of thy own righteous horn.

Happy Proving,

Conor Kelly