Four Secrets that Cause People to Buy Advertising
By Mark Smalley
1) Understand the advertiser's user
We need to know the advertiser's buyer or user better than they
If you publish an email newsletter on horse breeding the first
thing you'll need to do is identify the top "A" advertising
An "A" prospect would be any company that's already advertising
in other similar email newsletters or publications.
These "A" prospects might include prestigious breeding farms,
horse brokers or auctioneers. "A" prospects may also include
horse training facilities, horse tracks or even stables.
These prospective advertisers need to reach buyers.
A horse-breeding farm may be looking for new horse buyers or
investors. A horse broker may be looking for horse buyers. A
racetrack syndicate may be looking for new partners, publicity
or even high-end gamblers.
So when you approach these companies to purchase advertising you
need to know that YOUR READERS are the people who want their
That's what the structured sales approach to advertising is all
about! Know the market!
2) Understand the advertiser's competition
It's hard to sell advertising if we don't understand the
One of the ways to locate top competitors for Fortune 2000 type
companies is with Hoovers.com.
When you search for a company in their database it'll display 4
or 5 of the company's top competitors.
What's more, Google (www.google.com) is another great
source for locating competitors. Enter the company name and the
word "competitors" next to it, or the name of two companies that
are competitors. You'll be amazed how well this works at
locating their competition.
If you've already established a relationship with a company you
could ask them who their competition is. They'll usually tell
We need to know why the competition keeps the marketing guys up
at night and then use this to our advantage.
3) Assume the risk and guarantee results
Most advertising is a joke. I mean this from an advertiser's
point of view. How many publications are willing to assume the
risk of an ad and guarantee results?
But things are changing at the speed of light. Publishers may
dislike CPA deals but they better guarantee response rates or
they'll be out of business.
After the recent dot com slaughter thousands of companies went
to a CPA (cost per action or acquisition model).
Most of the time these dying companies assigned young business
development directors with the task of obtaining "lots of
customers and affiliates" without cost.
The business development guys would say, "We only do CPA deals."
I could tell that most of these companies had only a few months
of life left before they hit bottom because they relied too
heavily on CPA type deals.
An irate business development guy once told me, "We're a
multi-million dollar company with no debt and enough cash for
The reason he said this is because that is what the CEO told
everyone to say. Well, this particular company went bankrupt.
Amazingly, most of the cash went into the CEO's pocket. There
are numerous legal proceedings against the company.
There is another side of the CPA deal though. We need to be
willing to assume part of the risk for the advertiser and
If an advertiser is willing to assume part of the risk by
sending a check that clears I'll bend over backwards for him.
On top of that, I'll always guarantee a minimum response from
our subscribers. If we fail to meet the minimum response rate
we'll continue to run their promotion until it's achieved.
This approach has been wildly successful with advertisers.
4) Become an expert on your reader's needs
What does a small business owner really need?
What are IT Project Directors really looking for?
What does an Internet marketer really want?
What would a Java programmer like to have?
We need to become experts on our readers. We can do that by
asking our readers questions and by reading the same
publications they do.
Print publishers of the 20th century would ask subscribers to
fill out a "bingo card." The notion was by answering these
questions (usually 50 or so) the publisher would really get to
know their readers.
Years ago when I was selling advertising for a high tech print
publication I got a hold of the names and telephone numbers of
about 20 subscribers. I called everyone on the list.
Much to my surprise (and the publisher's when I showed him my
findings) I learned that only three people out of twenty ever
heard of the publication! On top of that, of the three people
that did recognize the name of the magazine only one liked it!
The "bingo cards" are a sham!
What's more, if you ask someone to tell you how much they make
each year and you give them multiple choices ranging from
$45,000 to $120,000. How many do you think are going to say
they make $45,000?
The answer is none.
So the best way to get to know your readers is to send them a
personal email from the publisher. If you send just 1 of these
personal emails (not autoresponders!) you'll begin to be an
expert on your readers.
Increase Your Sales With Personalized Messages
Start personalizing your communications to prospects and
customers. It will substantially increase the response you
get - without increasing your costs.
What to Include in Your Marketing Plan Write-Up
For those new to marketing planning, the thought of
completing a plan from start to finish may feel daunting. It
need not. The level of detail you choose to include in your
marketing plan will depend on your resources and situation.
Clone Your Best Customers
The general principle: Discover the characteristics of your
current customers and use that knowledge to reach more
shoppers just like them.