If you’re a regular reader here at One Spoon you know that I run a How To Play Bass website. What you probably don’t know is that I have an offline business as well.
That offline business is called Carte Blanche. Carte Blanche was my main revenue source from the mid 90s through to September 2008 – as well as a business, it’s a band. And how to band generates revenue is by playing at weddings, corporate parties, charity balls, that kind of thing. (Believe it or not we were even asked to play at a funeral once!)
If you want to know a little more about the band so you understand this post fully, then watch this video – it’s only 3 minutes long:
And this business used to be a great revenue source – however if you’re at all savvy you’ll understand why I wrote September 2008 above.
What Happened In September 2008
On September 15th Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.
On that day the phone stopped ringing – literally – and didn’t ring again for 10 months. With hindsight it became painfully obvious that Carte Blanche’s main client base had moved from being people getting married to corporate companies. And mostly companies with a connection to the City of London.
All of those companies were savaged by the ensuing recession. Our client list reads like a who-who of companies that were either liquidated or bailed out (e.g. Lehman Brothers, Royal Bank Of Scotland, Lloyds, HBOS, Goldman Sachs etc.)
And that work still hasn’t come back. The projected turnover for Carte Blanche in 2011 is around 35% of the turnover in our best year 2007!
When the recession bit I stopped working on Carte Blanche and put my head down and ploughed my energies into my bass guitar website. But Carte Blanche has been soldiering on in the background – and in the last three years I’ve learned a truckload of things about marketing online, and I’ve been thinking for a while of applying that knowledge to Carte Blanche to generate increased revenue.
The kinds of things I’ve been thinking of include content marketing (using both written and video articles), using effective testimonials, pre-qualifying prospects with an effective ‘opt-in’ style bonus and more.
The reason I’ve not done anything up to now is that I didn’t have a system to follow to apply this material.
Enter Duct Tape Marketing
If you’ve not heard of Duct Tape Marketing – it’s a book (and a system) written by a very smart guy called John Jantsch. (You’ll find John online at www.ducttapemarketing.com).
And I’m always reading business books and whitepapers and stuff to increase my knowledge – and this has been on my radar for a while. I bought it a couple of weeks ago and when I started reading it the light bulbs started popping.
Duct Tape Marketing will give me the framework to apply what I know to my offline business and see if I can re-invigorate it.
So Why Am I Writing About This?
The reasons I’m writing about this are threefold:
- 1) It makes me publicly accountable.
- 2) The tasks that I’ll be doing will make good ‘Case Study’ type articles that will be of interest to people with online businesses as well as offline businesses. (Plus a couple of people locally want to know how to market their offline businesses using the old Interwebz. Instead of them taking me to the pub and buying me loads of Guinness they can just read here!)
- 3) I believe in the intelligence of the group – posting the steps I’m taking and what I’m doing will generate comments. Some of those comments will undoubtedly lead me to tweak my approach and make it better
The Preliminary Step
There’s a preliminary step I need to take before I can start working on the first steps in Duct Marketing. That step is to update the existing website. Here’s our existing website:
This website is a ‘static’ HTML type website – what I plan to do over the weekend is to recreate this layout in WordPress, add a ‘blog’ tab, and then replace the ‘static’ HTML layout.
This will give me a more flexible content management system to use – plus it will make updating content easier. And Google will like those updates better.
Once this task is done I can then move onto the first proper step in the Duct Tape Marketing book– which is to identify my target markets.
In line with what I wrote above about accountability, here are my goals with this project:
- 1) To double the turnover of Carte Blanche in 2012 compared to 2011
- 2) To make the new website a site that doesn’t just generate leads, but pre-qualifies them too!
- 3) To document the process so that any other small businesses that want to take similar steps can follow along.
- 4) To do all this using ‘free’ methods – mainly Content or Inbound Marketing.
A Note About Duct Tape Marketing
If you’re going to buy Duct Tape Marketing – and you should, it’s a great book – wait until September 27th. That’s when the second, extended and updated edition is released. And head over to John’s website and subscribe to his mailing list:
Although his focus is ‘small businesses,’ nearly all of his wisdom and insights are equally applicable to your online businesses or blogs.
If you’ve been over to the Carte Blanche website and have any thoughts – or just want to comment on the process that I’ve outlined above, then please leave your comments below.