The Local Influencer Method: Jumpstart Your Agency Into a Self-Funding Machine (Without Paid Ads)

Hi, my name is Nick Ponte.

I help run several six-figure businesses out of Kihei, Hawaii, including this one, Offline Sharks. I started it with my business partner Tom a while back.

Most of what we do in our day-to-day revolves around helping other businesses succeed. I love to see local businesses complete their goals, and I love to teach people all over the world how to do the exact same thing. When the local businesses in your area win, everyone wins.

The first thing I teach people, even though it sounds counterintuitive, is to GO OFFLINE. This makes sense, since we’re called Offline Sharks and all. But it may sound strange to someone just learning how to succeed in digital marketing and online business.

What do we mean by going offline? We mean seeking out your local businesses with little-to-no web presence, helping them boost their revenue… and maybe even move parts of their business online. 

We do this through methods most people think are old and obsolete (but aren’t) like mass-mailers and door-to-door sales. Since nobody else is doing it, Offline Sharks thrives. We hunt in a blue ocean, not a red one. With everyone else moving online and fighting over the scraps, Offline Sharks finds all the business they can handle right outside their front door.

This is also why, if you look at any of our live streams, we often wear T-Shirts that say “Local Business Rescue Squad.”

We believe there’s nothing nobler in business than helping the people next door survive and thrive. This is more important than ever with the challenges of a global pandemic. In my state of Hawaii, most businesses saw their revenue drop by 50% when the lockdowns started, and almost everyone had to lay off at least one employee. This had a ripple effect into the community.

That’s why I love to wake up every day and help the brick-and-mortar shops in my backyard make more money… so they can keep people employed and see the whole community prosper.

The best part of this offline method? It doesn’t require you to fork over a ton of money for paid ads. Your best clients are just a stone’s throw away, and it takes no initial funding to reach them. Money’s tight when you start up, and too many would-be marketers find themselves up the creek without a paddle when they blow all their seed money on an ineffective ad campaign.

Read Also: 4 Types of Powerful Lead Magnets

0047 Offline SharksI Used The Local Influencer Method To Go From ZERO Regular Clients to A Seven-Figure Business

In 2020, my marketing agency (Nick Ponte Marketing) made $400,000 in revenue. This helped us push past the $1 million mark and claim our 2 Comma Club Awards from Clickfunnels.

This income enables me to live an active lifestyle on Maui filled with adventure. I love to enjoy the natural beauty of my area, and go hiking, surfing, and mountain biking as much as possible. I also get to travel and teach my methods around the United States.

I can do all of this while helping the people in my community survive and thrive in their businesses… and teaching people like you how to do the same thing in your area.

I did it all through what I call The Local Influencer Method. It’s how I got my own business off the ground, and helped local shops like Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread weather the storm of the pandemic and start converting on sales at a higher rate than ever before.

Also Read: How to Dominate Your Industry In Your Area

How To Become A Local Influencer and Gain Happy Clients:

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Offer Something Valuable to Local Businesses In Your Community

Everyone reading this has different skills when it comes to online business and marketing. Additionally, the businesses in each area have unique strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. For example, a huge threat to business in Hawaii was the 80% drop in domestic tourism and 99% drop in international tourism we experienced in 2020. For your town, it could be completely different.

The goal is to combine your skill with your community’s biggest pain points and develop something helpful for them. It could be a free guide on SEO. It could be a seminar about starting an e-commerce platform. It could be a free website template businesses can use to begin establishing their web presence. Those ideas are just to name a few.

The best offerings will be geared toward tackling the rising digital marketplace and thriving amid COVID-19 realities. Make sure that what you come up with is truly helpful, because the following steps rely on it.

  • Offer It For Free

No, that’s not a typo. When you come up with your offering, give it away for absolutely free, no strings attached. You may be tempted to add a price tag to it, especially after all your hard work, but don’t.

Free means that more businesses will accept it. Any price will add a barrier to businesses being receptive to your offering. They’re also more likely to spread the word to people in their network when they know it’s free.

Free also means you build more goodwill with the businesses in your area. They’ll know you as the person who came along and started helping out, without asking for anything in return. This is where you transform from “friendly outsider” to “local influencer.”

When I started, I offered free guides on SEO and web design, because that was my niche. Since so many businesses in my area relied on pre-pandemic foot traffic instead of the internet, they were eager to get their hands on material that helped them make the transition.

  • As You Go, Make a List of Possible Leads

As you offer your free resources, keep track of who you influence. Which people consistently attend your seminars? Who uses your web design template? Who is opening your emails?

As you build your local influence, create a list of possible people to contact about your services down the road. Keep an eye out for cool stories and testimonials that arise from people using your material.

Over time, you’ll have a coveted list of “warm leads.” These are people who know you, have benefitted from your expertise before, and are willing to hear your offer to take things to the next level. Of course, some will say “no” if you offer paid services, but more will say yes.

Don’t reach out to anyone until you’re a few months into the process. Always offer value and overdeliver on the front end. If they see what you can do for them for free, it’ll build faith in what you can do for them in a paid relationship.

  • Don’t Say No if Someone Asks For Paid Services

Special note: If someone wants to take your relationship to the next level, don’t decline. Don’t say, “No, I need to wait three months before that.”

Just don’t be the one who starts the conversation. If your offering is really helpful, you will have people asking about your services organically. Only, make sure to reach out to the ones who didn’t when the time comes.

After you follow these steps, you’ll be viewed by businesses in your area as a local influencer. The businesses you help early on will become your go-to list of prospects, and develop into happy clients as you continue to deliver!

And all of this happens without you needing to pay for a single advertisement.

Further Reading: Client Acquisition Methods to Launch Your Business


Nick Ponte

Nick Ponte

Born and raised on Maui, Nick was employed as an automobile mechanic before founding his own local marketing agency. Nick naturally wrestled with the change from tradesman to marketer (not an easy transition) but, like Tom, he wouldn't give up. Through years of commitment, Nick has grown to be a highly skilled web developer and marketing expert with a specialized skill-sets in a variety of fields. He has developed many high-traffic, high-quality websites that incorporate the best practices for today's digital marketing. Today, Nick eagerly shares his experience and knowledge by helping others in cultivating their business.

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