Getting Off the Advertising and Sales Rollercoaster
By: Charlie Cook
Seeing the results of advertising your business can be like watching a roller coaster. The day you run your ad you see a flurry of activity; your ph0ne starts ringing, your web site traffic increases and/ or potential clients visit your store. Your hopes soar. sales go up. Two or three days pass and the response goes down. You look at the bill for the advertising and your jaw drops. Your hopes descend.
Nancy called me from Portland, Oregon with just this problem. Every time one of her ads appears in a local publication, customers start walking in the door of her home furnishing store. A few days later the number of prospects and sales goes down. Her advertising gets results, but the thousands of dollars she is paying each month is killing her profits. What can she do?
Whether you advertise your consulting business in The Harvard Business Review or your interior decorating service in the Penny Saver, your ad will cost significant dollars.
How can you make your advertising pay for itself?
How can you use advertising to create a STEADY stream of business?
Write Your Ad to Sell and To Generate Leads
Of all the people who could benefit from your products and services, what percentage is likely to buy today? Hopefully a few, but the majority are more likely to need your services tomorrow, next week or next month.
Write your ad to prompt people to buy and if they're not interested in making a purchase, to contact you. When you write your ad:
1. Sell your products or services by selling your solution.
2. Prompt prospects to buy. Include a call to action.
3. Motivate prospects to give you their contact information.
For each person who responds to your ad and makes a purchase today, you should be able to get ten qualified prospects to contact you. Once you have their contact information, you can send them a regular email or postcard for far less than it would cost to run your ad on a weekly basis.
Follow Up On Your Advertising
An ad can be the first step in marketing your products and services but unless you follow up, it may be the last. Its what you do after your ad runs that determines whether you're able to make it pay for itself in the days and months to come.
Let's say your ad works in getting people to visit your web site, call you or come into your store. What's the next step? How can you follow up to increase your sales?
1. Make sure you get their contact information so you can follow up.
2. Whether people stopped by your web site, left a phone message, emailed you or visited your store – follow up promptly. Get back to them within the day, if not sooner. A prospect is most likely to buy or start a profitable relationship when he/she is looking for a solution. Let your leads linger and they'll go stale. If you wait prospects may contact other service providers or stores, and you've given them time to make their purchase through someone else.
3. Respond immediately. Use a ph0ne call or an email to let them know you understand the problem they want solved and that you can help them. Even a personalized autoresponder message will do the job.
4. Market to your in-house list of contacts. If you want people to remember you when they have a need and are ready to make a decision to buy, make sure they think of you as the solution provider. The best way to do this is to regularly provide ideas, tips and information that your prospects want.
5. Create opportunities for personal contact, whether through your print mailings, ezine or web site, you want to prompt prospects to contact you to discuss their needs and / or place their order. Ask them what they want, what they are looking for. When they send you an email, follow up with a call. Tell them how to contact you, how to schedule a personal conversation and then follow up with a call.
Advertising is an expensive ticket to marketing your products and services. Use these strategies to make sure you get your money's worth and you'll find your advertising paying for itself over and over. Instead of getting your thrills from watching your business go up and down, you'll find yourself enjoying the excitement of watching your profits steadily move up.
2004 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
The author, Charlie Cook, helps service professionals and small business owners attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up for the FrŽe Marketing Plan eBook, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business' at http://www.marketingforsuccess.com