“We’re up to sixteen calls today, and it’s only 2:30! We’ve never seen a response like this before—EVER!”
Sixteen calls by 2:30 may or may not seem like a lot to you, but for Dan, who answered the phone for the little sunroom company in New Jersey, sixteen might as well have been a thousand.
Prior to this, the most calls they’d received in one day was around ten… and that happened years ago.
When the sixteen leads grew into twenty-six by the end of the day—and seventy-three by the end of the first week—the sunroom company was floored.
They had never received more than twenty-five calls from a single ad in an entire MONTH.
What ridiculously simple, yet little-used, change to the same ad they’d been running for years caused this influx of leads?
Instead of only having the usual (and expected) incentive offer—which rotated between twenty percent off, a free heater, etc.—they decided to add an interesting information offer: A complimentary “Sunroom Idea Guide.”
The ad told readers to call in or go online to request the guide. The people who contacted the company supplied their contact info, and they’d get the guide. The guide would show readers the different styles of sunrooms available, photos of thirty-three sunrooms this particular company had built, and a pricing chart.
The massive improvement in reader response is easy to explain.
The incentive offers often used in contractor marketing—including YOURS, most likely!—appeal only to “now” buyers. If somebody is already in the mood to buy a sunroom, a discount or freebie might be just enough to make them call.
But the truth is that most people who see your ads are NOT ready to buy. Not yet.
They may be considering it. They may be planning for it down the road. They may even desperately want or need what you’re selling.
But for whatever reason, they’re not ready to move forward and give you a call.
And that’s where the information offer works its magic.
By creating an interesting guide that people request, you’ve essentially captured all the buyers for the next few months—or years—off the marketplace and into your database.
Sure, it’s disappointing that they don’t want to buy right now. But you now have the opportunity to continually hit them with postcards, emails, and other forms of marketing for years to come.
And you know what the sensei says to the student:
Let me break down all the pesky numbers for you, so you can see how effective the info offer technique is…
- First, determine your current marketing cost per lead deal. If you spend $250 per lead and close 33% of your leads, you’re spending $750 per closed deal. That’s a lot of money.
- Now assume you generate 100 “information offer” leads during a given month. Remember, you’re going to generate these leads IN ADDITION TO (not instead of) your normal leads. So the “cost” of these leads is essentially $0.00.
- Let’s assume you close 10% of these information leads in the next 24 months—that’s 10 deals out of the 100 leads.
- Allocate the same $750 of marketing cost per lead toward these information leads (for follow up), and you now have a budget of $7,500. Spreading that over two years comes to $312 a month.
- Let’s say you use this $312 per month on postcards, and each postcard costs $0.60 to print and mail. You can send five postcards PER MONTH to each of the leads. That’s 60 postcards per year FOR TWO YEARS.
Do you THINK you might close some of them?
The better question: How could you NOT close some of them?
Including an information offer in your ads is surprisingly simple…
Step One: Create a guide with valuable information that appeals to those who would be interested in what you sell. It could contain before and after photos, testimonials, comparisons of materials or brands, or information about how to choose the best product.
Step Two: Give the guide a good name. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Homeowner’s Guide To Replacement Windows; Everything You Need To Know About Gutter Protection; Storage Solutions Ideas & Inspiration Guide; The Metal Roofing Solution. Clear and simple titles like that.
Step Three: Make the offer stand out in your ad—put a picture of the cover of the guide in a conspicuous area, and use the word FREE liberally. Here’s an example:
Step Four: Ensure you prepare your lead handlers—everyone who will have contact with prospects needs to know that information seekers will be contacting you. This might require a culture change for your company. Don’t try to force an information seeker to set an appointment if they are clearly not ready—you risk running them off for good.
A free information offer sets you apart from your competitors because the results (i.e., sales) are not necessarily “immediate” enough for many companies. So they don’t even attempt it. But you WILL get more sales with a free information offer. Not only that, but you also effectively take information seekers off the market and hog them all for yourself.
And here’s the thing…
You don’t have to get rid of the incentives in your ads; “now” buyers will still want and appreciate your discounts and freebies. But if you want to cast a wider net to catch more prospects, and you don’t mind following up with the ones who don’t purchase right away, information offers are the easiest way to get more bang from your advertising buck.
This free information has been provided courtesy of Rich Harshaw and MYM.
P.S. We provide information guide-creation as part of our Pre-Positioning package. Visit our Pre-Positioning package page, browse our samples, and view additional details. If your marketing could benefit from this package, use the handy-dandy chat box in the lower-right corner of this website to talk to us about creating these materials for you. Thanks!