Questions? Feedback? powered by Olark live chat software

Google In the Print Ad Biz

This should scare the heck out of some traditional print advertsing sales folks.

Google is auctioning print ad space in a group of major print magazines. Current titles fall into three categories: Automotive (Car and Driver), Lifestyle (Entrepreneur) and Technology (PC World).

This should get interesting. I bid on several ads. I’ll let you know if I win.

From the Google test page:

” As you may know, as part of Google’s ongoing effort to develop new opportunities for our advertisers, we’ve been running tests of ads in a limited number of print publications. Now, we’re excited to test an auction of ad space in select magazines.

In this test, the control is in your hands: you choose the ad size, set your price, and decide how you’d like to use the space. There’s no risk to you – you pay only if you win the auction. “

So How Do You Find the Perfect Mailing List?

Yesterday I posted the idea of selecting a small number of suspects and concentrating a great deal of effort upon them. Wisely, one of my readers asked how someone might go about finding this perfect list of “hot suspects.”

No Need to Click Here – I’m just claiming my feed at Feedster feedster:162178481a2354e773de27a90c61d4d5

The perfect mailing list, as I call it, is generally made up by merging two lists. The first list is demographic in nature, the second is a list that holds the key to some purchasing behavior. But, the act of creating this perfect list is merely a nice guessing game if you can’t identify and create a crystal clear picture of who or what is an ideal client for your business.

So, your ideal client profile is the what, your perfect list building strategy is the how.

For example: My ideal client is a successful business owner with 10-50 employees who has discovered how to acquire business but wants to take the business to the next level (in fact, these are the exact words many of my clients have uttered). This client values professional service providers and consultants and has come to realize that they cannot continue to push marketing ahead without external help. They are book readers and students of business. They often have purchased one or more training programs and employ the services of accountants, attorneys, financial planners and executive coaches. They typically belong to professional trade or industry groups and take leadership positions in those organizations.

Now, I know that was a mouthful, but can you picture this person? Do you personally know someone that fits that description?

With that description in hand I can go out to a company like InfoUSA or GoLeads and order up a mailing list that fits this description for any geographic select I wish.

But, to really make this list a “hot suspect” list, I add another list with my purchasing variables. Above I mentioned that my ideal clients are readers, students of business and have purchased training courses. Birds of feather, flock together and buyers of similar products and services are birds of a feather. Crack the “buying behavior” code and you will have a list that is pure gold. In other words, it’s hard to convince someone who has no history of buying something similar to what you offer that they should buy your product or service. However, if you can locate suspects that have a track record of purchasing goods and services like yours, your marketing job will be much easier.

So, in my case, I head on over to the SRDS (a list of over 10,000 catalog and in-house mailing lists) and find a very large list of fairly expensive business training program buyers and merge it with my list of ideal business owners to produce the Perfect Mailing List.

This approach increases the cost of your mailing list but reduces the overall size of your mailing list and allows you to focus only on those that have proven they value this type of service

How Many Prospect Do You Really Need?

The customer ocean can be a pretty big place to go fishing. So, why not fish in the pond out back instead?

Here’s what I mean.

Most small businesses make the mistake of trying to attract that attention of members of the entire universe of potential customers. Not only is this a tough way to market, it’s terribly inefficient as well. If you only need a handful of clients, why not concentrate on marketing to a handful of prospects.

My suggestion is that you determine how many new customers you need next year to grow your business as you’ve planned (I know, you don’t have a plan, but how many do you need to keep paying the bills and make some money?)

From that number, take a stab at how many really qualified prospects you would need to get your message in front of to acquire the customers you need. For example, if you need or want 10 new customers a month, you may only need to generate 50 really qualified appointments to get that.

So, here’s the point. What if, instead of trying to get your 50 appointments from the sea of prospects, you identified 500 very qualified suspects (BTW: A suspect is someone that you suspect may need what you do – they only become a prospect when they raise their hand and ask for more information about what you do.) and made an all out push to educate them on why you are the obvious choice for them?

When you work with a smaller, more reasonable number of suspects you can afford to spend the necessary time and resources to get their attention and communicate how you are different. With a defined group of suspects you can create a budget that allows you to contact every member of this list once a month, including calling every single one of them to follow-up on a mailing. Your marketing efforts to this chosen group will be far more effective and far more focused.

One of key elements to the success of this approach, of course, is that you work with a list of suspects that actually meet your ideal target client profile. If you don’t know that piece of the puzzle you may end up fishing on the wrong side of the pond.

My experience is that when you can get your arms around this very qualified suspect list they become more real, more manageable. When you can start to put names and addresses to your potential clients you can actually begin to see them as clients. You can identify others who could refer you to members of this list. You can afford to start building marketing profiles on each to better personalize your marketing efforts.

Cast your line out into this pond and you may find that even the big fish are biting.

Duct Tape Marketing t-shirt design contest – win a nano!

I know this isn’t the most original idea on the planet, but I just felt it was time to create some Duct Tape Marketing t-shirts. I know that I have lots of very talented designer types that read this blog and my newsletter, so I thought, let’s hold a contest.

The whole Duct Tape thing offers lots of opportunity for creative designs. I’m looking for clever sayings (Got Duct Tape?) or witty designs that capture the entrepreneurial spirit (Carpe Duct Tape!) of the Duct Tape Marketing brand and the typical small business owner.

I am using my recently announced group of Duct Tape Marketing Authorized Coaches to pick three winners. On top of the fame that each will receive the grand prize winner will also receive a 4GB iPod nano. Two runners up will receive a copy of the wonderful book The Zen of CSS Design : Visual Enlightenment for the Web by Dave Shea, Molly E. Holzschlag.

Visit the t-shirt contest page to get the details and ground rules. Pass the word to any designer types you know by clicking on the email this post to a friend link at the bottom of the post.

What’s Your Blue Light Special?

Remember the K-Mart blue light special? It was created in 1965 by a store manager looking to move slow merchandise and quickly became part of the American lexicon.

Years ago I recall tooling around K-Mart with my mom, shopping for back to school clothes, when all of a sudden an announcer would blurt out those now famous words, “Attention K-Mart shoppers, there’s a blue light special on . . .”

Every time it happened, women would wheel their carts around and head for the special blue light price on cookware awaiting them in aisle 7. Even as a 10 year old it was obvious the power this marketing surprise possessed.

People love surprises and they get them much anymore. (Even K-Mart has dropped the blue light special)

Build surprises into your marketing efforts; literally, make some sort of a surprise part of your client fulfillment system and transact them without warning.

You can surprise:

  • The first time someone orders from you, throw in something extra.
  • When someone refers business to you, send them a cake.
  • Partner with other businesses, create and send a gift certificate pack good for other products and services
  • Toss in a t-shirt, send them a book you like, be creative and you will remind them what a good decision they made hiring you in the first place.

The thing about surprises is they create word of mouth. People will go on and on about getting something extra, something they didn’t expect.

Proof of the Power of the Hand Written Note

About a week ago I wrote a post that explained the renewed marketing power of the hand written note. One of my readers, David Lorenzo, actually thought I was serious and he took my advice and ran with it.

Below is David’s post about his very positive experience using this little strategy. I don’t always get to draw this kind of straight line to proof that this stuff works, so I thought I would reprint David’s post here to help reaffirm this powerful marketing strategy.

From David’s Blog:
“Duct Tape Marketing had a post last week that got me thinking. In the post John Jantsch discussed the power of penning a hand written note to friends, clients or prospects. I have used this tactic before – mostly to express thanks or to welcome someone to the team.

I decided to try a little experiment. I went through a couple of weeks of local periodicals and I picked out people that were featured in articles and I send them each a handwritten congratulations note. I said something to the effect – “I saw the article on your business in XYZ Magazine. Congratulations on your success. I’d love to speak with you some time to hear the story of how you got to where you are.” I sent twenty of these notes.

I was astonished to receive seven e-mails, two letters and a phone call in return. Half of the people I sent the note to wanted to take me up on my offer to meet and tell their story!

This is not only going to be a great learning experience for me, but it will also be a networking opportunity. The moral of the story is: If you want to connect with people in your local business community showing a genuine interest in them and their business is the way to do it. A handwritten note is a great way to start.”

Here’s the link to my original post
And the link to David’s post

Can You Inspire Action With Air?

Anybody selling a service (air) knows that getting a reader of an ad or sales letter to act can be pretty tough. So, they send out letters that end with demotivators like – I will call you about this next week. Oh, good, then I don’t need to do anything now but wait around.

Your sales message should inspire your reader to act by telling them to take the next step. But, you must give them one darn good motivation for doing it. Don’t just say call for your free, no obligation consultation. Sell the meeting, tell them what they get and make it a benefit. “When you call we will thoroughly review your current tax management strategy and offer suggestions that will reduce your tax bill by 15% or more.” Now, I’m getting inspired here!

But, don’t stop there. Offer something more. In addition, when you call you’ll receive our booklet of “little know tax tips” just for business owners.

The potential response to your ad just doubled. Now, business owners who need to talk today will call and those who want to think about it a bit, maybe get to know you through your free report first, will call as well.

Is Fax Blast Marketing History or Not?

On June 30, 2005, new federal regulations were scheduled to take effect which prohibit companies (including tax-exempt associations) from sending faxes with commercial content to recipients unless the company first obtained the written consent of the recipient. Although this deadline was originally scheduled to occur in the fall of 2003, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has now delayed the effective date three times: first until January 1, 2005; then until June 30, 2005, and now until January 9, 2006.

I’ve never been a fan of this type of marketing but I think it’s intersting that Congress can’t pull the trigger on the Junk Fax Act.