Now that we've talked about lead generation advertising, the next step is where to advertise. And the trick to having as many pre-qualified prospects come forward is to have your ad noticed and read by such a specific group of people as much, as often, and as effectively as possible. General publications won't do that and they cost a lot of money… That's cost-per-lead money.
Specialized publications, on the other hand, have the distinction of appealing to a specific audience and thus increase the chances of it being noticed as well as read. Why? If one newspaper has a readership of 100,000 but only 25,000 fits into your demographics, where another has only 40,000 readers but all of which fits into your demographics (because the publication is specialized), which one do you think will give you the greatest response?
In other words, rather than fishing for minnows in the middle of the ocean, you'll be a catching big fish in a small pond. Think of the specialized publication as a sonar that will help you to find the kind of fish you really want.
This is due to the fact that not only the readership of a specialized publication will match your demographics but also that people who buy these types of publications have a tendency to read them from cover to cover.
Unlike a general, mass-published, large circulation newspaper that will only be skimmed through (i.e., it is bought by many but read in its entirety by few), a specialized publication will be read more intently and thoroughly (i.e., it is bought by few but read in its entirety by many).
Your per capita hit-ratio will dramatically increase than if you would have advertised in a major publication that's too general or too vague. Your little ad can easily get “lost” in such large media or get drowned in a sea of ads.
These days, specialized publications exist by the truckloads!
For example, there are occupation-specific, special-interest-specific or industry-specific publications, which can include newsletters, trade publications, ezines, journals, reports, corporate mail, magazines, specialty newspapers, catalogs and communiqués from specific organizations. There are numerous publications for specific people or with specialized topics.
For instance, if you go to your library, you will find that there are magazines for home-based businesses, newsletters exclusively written for corporate executives, magazines purely about cigars, newspapers strictly published for firemen, and even magazines geared for, of all things, gerbil breeders!
As long as the readership somehow logically fits into your target market, this is where you will get the greatest bang for your marketing buck.
An advertising agent specializing in computer-based firms can advertise an offer for a free report in computer magazines or, better yet, in magazines read particularly by computer firms (such as hi-tech or Internet magazines).
A medical consultant, whose target market consists of doctors, should advertise in medical journals, health-related magazines, medical association newsletters, or medical equipment manufacturer catalogues — anywhere that puts him in front of as many doctors as possible. Anyway, you get the drift.
By the way, having your own newsletter is also a powerful way to attract quality prospects. If you are not yet publishing one, get on it. It may be offered for free or at a nominal cost to pay for the printing and distribution, but the idea is to have the people who read it want more and come forward.
You can sell advertising space in your newsletter to, or swap ad space with, firms also catering to your unique clientele (again, it's developing strategic alliances). Conversely, you can buy space in a newsletter written by another firm that also caters to your target market. The possibilities here are endless.
However, it wouldn't be right for me to end this portion without discussing the web. With information being one the major shifts the world has experienced, the Internet can help to make your presence known in a better, quicker and cheaper way. If you're not on the ‘Net yet, you're losing out big time!
But if you are, your website and email addresses, which should appear in all your materials, should be made available to everyone with whom you come in contact, even as part of your signature on all forms of correspondence.
Email helps prospects to come forward in the privacy and convenience of their own homes or offices, and it also gives you a chance to respond to them immediately. It's truly a dynamic form of communication that, to this day, is still often overlooked. Permission-based email marketing is a goldmine!
For example, with an email announcement list, discussion list or electronic newsletter (often called “ezine”), you have the opportunity to remain in constant contact with your clients (and thus maintain top-of-mind awareness), develop credibility and build relationships with them. Also, you should invite people to subscribe to your email list at every chance you have.
If you haven't already create a homepage (or “mini-site”). Many people think that this is too expensive or technical, which for a large sophisticated website it can be. But a single web page (or a smaller, more content-driven website with just a handful of pages) ) is different than a robust site in that it's usually a part of a greater website — a chapter of a book, if you will.
These sites are usually called domains. Many Internet providers have domains on which your web page can be stored (many are free). Some non-competing strategic alliances with websites might host yours as well.
Nevertheless, while your “mini-website” may not be as large, as glitzy or as sophisticated as having your own domain, it's a good start. It's a low cost way to be on the web and it doesn't have to be slick with graphics.
The important thing is to maintain a presence. Your page can be strictly information-oriented identical to a book or newsletter. Your page can also be designed to advertise you, your company, and the products you offer.
But most important, it can be a wonderful tool for people to access your free report. If your report is written in a two-dimensional printed format, more than likely you will have it on some diskette. Therefore, by having it available via the Internet, people can access your free information and print it themselves at home or the office, without costing any money, time or postage.
However, don't make your free report available directly in your homepage. Many people who choose to use the multi-step marketing process I described earlier (which I strongly encourage) want the names and addresses of those people coming forward for future follow-up and direct mail possibilities.
In this case, they have a special section of their web page that includes their free report, but it is one to which only people who have a password can access. If you use this technique, and people have seen your site or your ad somewhere let alone your free report offer, they can write or email you to obtain their secret, free and time-sensitive password.
Once “inside,” they can read your report and do so instantaneously. They now have access to useful information and feel part of an elite group of educated members. Your newsletter can also be published on the web and made available through password protected access.
And if your newsletters carry a subscription cost, you can charge people to obtain their password and you can bill them regularly for renewal. Again, the possibilities here are endless. The web opens many doors for you.
Remember that you're not trying to advertise with the hope of stumbling onto a trickle of suspects. You want an endless stream of pre-qualified, pre-screened and pre-sold expects! In other words, you don't want to shout in order to attract prospects. You want to speak softly but carry a big stick with which you can lure better leads and “clobber 'em” (with your freebie offer, valuable information or unique expertise) when they're in “proximity.”
For example, people who visit your site and read your web page will hopefully want more and come forward to get it. But even when only a small portion do, you know in advance that they are much more qualified, which saves you time and effort than trying to “fish in a dried up desert filled with suspects.”
In addition, once you're on the web there are many more advantages that come with using this medium, such as search engines. Search engines are like electronic yellow pages that contain mostly every page and email address available on the web. (However, there are ways to use engines effectively, and we'll come back to this in Commandment #9.)
You can also link your page to other sites and get your link posted on those that also cater to your specific market. Also called “reciprocal linking,” this method is simply another way to advertise through specialized means.
Nevertheless, it's all part of developing an effective lead generation system, and you know what “system” stands for, don't you? It stands for “Save Your Self Time, Effort, and Money!” Yeah. That's the ticket!