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The Lost Art Of The Information Offer

The Sunroom Idea Guide Offer Generated More Leads In A Day Than They’d Ever Received In A Month…

The Sunroom Idea Guide Offer Generated More Home Improvement Leads In A Day Than They’d Ever Received In A Month…

What If You Could Buy A Mailing List Of Everyone Who Was Going To Buy What You Sell In The Next Two Years?

(You Can. Sort Of.)

By Rich Harshaw

“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 million. The most they’d ever received in a single day, it turns out, was about ten, and that was years ago. The fact is they had never received more than twenty-five calls from a single ad in an entire MONTH. When the sixteen leads grew into twenty-six by the end of the day—and seventy-three by the end of the first week—they were shocked with disbelief.

The difference? They simply added a second offer to the same ad they had been running for years. Instead of only including the usual (and expected) incentive offer—which rotated between 20% off, a free heat/cool unit, a $2,500 discount, a free cruise, etc.—this time they added an interesting information offer: A free “Sunroom Idea Guide.” Readers were instructed to call in or go online to request the guide that would show them the various styles of sunrooms available, photos of thirty-three different sunrooms this particular company had built, and a pricing guide.

The profound difference in response is actually very easy to explain. The incentive offers normally used in most contractor marketing—including, probably, YOURS!—only appeal to now buyers. If somebody is already in the mood to buy a sunroom, the free cruise or 20% discount might just be enough to push them over the edge to call today.

But the fact is 95% or more of the people who see and read your ads ARE NOT ready to buy right now. They might be thinking about it. They might be planning on it later on. They may even desperately want or need what you’re selling. But they’re not ready—for whatever reason—to actually pull the trigger and engage with a salesperson yet.

Adding an information offer into your advertising is easy:

  • First, create a guide with valuable information that appeals to anyone 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.
  • Second, give the guide a good name. Here are a few 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. Like that.
  • Third, make the offer conspicuous in your advertising—put a picture of the cover of the guide in a prominent place and use the word FREE liberally. Here’s an example:


  • Fourth, make sure your lead handlers are prepared—everyone who will have contact with prospects needs to know that information seekers will be calling. This might require a huge culture change for your company… and you might not be ready/able to do this right now. If you try to hammer an information seeker to set an appointment (and they’re clearly not ready to do so), you risk alienating them for life. Proceed with caution.

There’s no need to throw your incentive offers out; now buyers will still want and appreciate your 20% discount or free shutters with siding purchase offers. But if you want to capture the largest possible swatch of 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.

Now here’s the really important part—and the cool part: You have in essence just captured all the buyers for the next few months—or years—out of the marketplace and into your database. Yes, it’s disappointing that they don’t want to buy right now. But you are now in the driver’s seat to hook them and reel them in. You should set up a series of email and postcards to continue to gently POUND on them for the next five to ten years. Yes, five to ten years. Read it again, I said five to ten years. Who knows how long it will take that prospect to “ripen up?”

But before you give up, first do the math:

  • First calculate your current MARKETING COST PER CLOSED DEAL. If you spend $250 per lead and close 33% of your leads, that means you are spending $750 per closed deal. That’s a lot of money.
  • Now assume that 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 home improvement leads is essentially free.
  • Let’s assume it’s reasonable to close 10% of these information leads in the next twenty-four months—that’s ten 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… spread over two years (twenty-four months), that’s $312 per month.
  • Let’s say you spend that $312 per month on postcards, and each postcard costs $0.60 to print and mail; that means you can send five postcards PER MONTH to each of the leads. That’s sixty postcards per year. For two solid years.
  • Do you THINK you might close some of them?

This is out-of-the-box thinking… and it’s too tedious for most people to even attempt. But you’re not only getting more sales, you’re effectively taking those prospects completely off the market and hogging them all up for yourself.

And that my friends, is how you Monopolize Your Marketplace.

Happy Marketing!


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© 2015 – 2016, Rich Harshaw. All rights reserved.

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