Guest Post by Elmer Boutin
While I was in Las Vegas to attend the PubCon Web Marketing Conference, I had an opportunity to meet up with my friend Chance before the conference kicked off. Although we keep in touch, we hadn’t seen each other in a long time.
After the usual small talk, we got around to chatting about what we’re up to these days. When I mentioned to Chance I was in town for a web marketing conference, his eyes lit up. He asked something like, “How would a guy like me promote my business on line – other than just with a web site?” Good question, and one I was happy to answer.
Chance, in a nutshell, trains nightclub bouncers (or, more accurately, security personnel). His business is truly a “small business.” It’s just him. The training is not exactly what you might think, either. He doesn’t just train big, tough guys to bust heads. Use of force is actually a very small part of what he teaches. Most of the course actually involves helping his students understand applicable laws, learning how to write proper reports which will stand up in court, and, most importantly, giving customer service when dealing with, well, customers.
He told me that the vast majority of his business is through client referrals, which is great. What usually happens is a club manager will get word from his insurance company that the security staff needs training in order to continue liability coverage. The club manager contacts other managers and get a referral. They call Chance who comes in to do the training.
Usually, the manager or owner just looking for something to “pencil whip,” but Chance’s training is actually very informative and thorough. He says that on most occasions he teaches his class, during the first break many of the students, and the club managers who are paying the bill, stop and tell him the class wasn’t what they expected and they were very pleasantly surprised.
A Demonstration, Please
My advice to him was to demonstrate his expertise before he even starts the class. Why not take some of the surprise out of the first hour or so of training by demonstrating what he knows via web channels? That way, the people hiring him will know they are going to get great training before he evens shows up. He’s a very smart guy and has lots of great information. I suggested as part of his current web site redesign, that he add a blog to the site and write up some articles where he can show his chops.
At that, his eyes glazed over a little. “Where am I going to get stuff to write about?” As we talked over the next couple of hours, he would relate a story to us about some of his experiences. “There you go. That’s a blog post,” I’d say.
He recommended to us that we not leave drinks unattended at clubs lest we fall victim to a criminal using “rufies” or GHB to spike our drinks and rob us. “That’s a blog post.”
That’s a Blog Post
He told us in is classes he teaches his trainees not to resort to getting physical when, often enough, you can verbally persuade an obnoxious drunk to leave the premises. “That’s a blog post.”
Even his story about how he got into the business in the first place would be a great story to put on the blog. The idea is that he relate information to show he knows what he’s talking about.
As we wrapped up our time together, I could see he was starting to get it. I added the recommendation that if he didn’t have time to write the blog (remember, he’s a one-man shop), he might consider dictating the content and paying someone to ghost write it for him. That would certainly save a lot of his very limited time. I also suggested he might want to have someone record some video of one of his training classes, from which he could edit out some good highlights and post on YouTube to help promote his training classes.
I gave him a link to my post on The Crossing of Marketing and IT called “Be That Expert” which discusses how the two brothers running Gun Dog Supply took their business through the roof by showing they were experts at what they did. Chance might not sell tangible items, but the concept is the same. The same idea can be applied to any business – even yours.
Elmer Boutin has been working in web marketing since 1997. He is currently Webmaster at Wilsonart International. You can catch more of his writing at http://www.crossingmarketingandit.com.
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[…] look when I tell them they can do it, too. I wrote two other versions of that story, one for small businesses and one for non-profits. In each case, how best to make themselves out to be the expert in their […]