What’s A Better Advertising Option Than AdWords or Facebook?
Lately, I’ve been running across a more than usual number of people in need of advertising to help generate leads and/or customers for their business.
After 10+ years running AdWords PPC campaigns for clients spending anywhere from $100/month to $100K/month (and similar numbers in Facebook ads since 2012 or ’13, whenever they became available), the most common issue I see is people who want more clients but can’t afford to spend enough moolah to get them.
For example, the other day I met with a mortgage broker who wants more leads, but his ad budget was only $1000/month (on a good month). Given the avg home loan keyword can cost up to $50 per click (!), I had to explain that $1K of $50 clicks would only get him 20 clicks, and his chances of getting a sale from 20 clicks was almost non-existent.
If he had a decent website, good sales funnel and above average copywriting in place AND was good at selling them once he spoke to them, the chances of him still nailing 1 in 20 as a conversion rate from visitor to sale was very small.
I knew, from 2 yrs JUST running PPC ads for loans on Google & Facebook, he was more likely to close 1 in 100, which meant he’d need 100 clicks (@ $50/click = $5000 in PPC spend) to get 1 sale.
Over time, with some solid split testing & optimisation, he might get that down to $1K – $2K in ad spend, maybe even under $1K, but certainly not $10 or $100.
So, what’s a business person to do when their ad budget is too small to use Facebook or Google properly?
Well, my recommendation is – and always has been – DIRECT MAIL.
You remember, those ancient things called letters (in envelopes with stamps)?
I don’t know what it costs to send a letter where you live, but here in Australia, you can probably print a multi-page sales letter, stick it in an envelope and put a stamp on it for roughly $1. Maybe more if it’s a big thick multi-page letter.
Then you post the dang thing to the prospect and keep your fingers crossed. 🙂
Now, of course, the chances of getting a sale from 1 letter to a cold list is VERY small, so don’t expect any miracles. However, there IS a way to make Direct Mail work, and here it is.
Almost all advertising relies on 4 things to make it work:
1) The right audience. Who are you showing the ad to?
2) The right offer. Is the offer compelling enough to get them to buy?
3) The copy. Do the words you use sell?
4) The look of the ad. Images, layout, fonts, etc.
Now, in order of importance (according to John Counsel from The Profit Clinic), the factors that most influence your advertising success are as follows:
1) Audience: up to 2,500% higher results when you get it right.
2) Offer: up to 2,000% higher results when you get it right.
3) Copy: up to 250% higher results when you get it right.
4) Layout: up to 50% higher results when you get it right.
The interesting thing is that most people focus on #4 – Layout – as being the most important, when in fact it is the least important.
You can send a killer offer to the perfect audience with great copy on a coffee stained napkin and it will convert WAY better than average everything on a ‘work of art’ ad!
Now, back to direct mail.
At approx $1 a letter, you can send a 1-2-3-5-10 (whatever) page sales letter to a highly targeted person, telling them everything they need to know about your offer, without having to worry about google slaps, facebook ads terms of service, $50/click keywords and a whole pile of other annoying complications that come with PPC.
And more importantly, you can send that person a letter as often as you want, without having to worry about him reporting your autoresponder for spamming, blocking your ads, etc.
If it takes 10 letters to get a sale, it will often still work out to be cheaper than using PPC (and this is coming from a guy who has made a 10+ year career out of PPC).
My mortgage broker could send 50 letters to a prospect for the same cost as 1 click on AdWords and as long as we follow John’s guidelines above, I can 99.9999% guarantee he will get a much better result over time than trying to come up with a $10K – $50K monthly budget to play in the ad space against the major banks/lenders in his market.
So, taking it 1 step further, how could you implement this advice for your own business?
I think it was Frank Kern who described “The Ideal 1000”? Essentially, he said put together a list of the 1000 MOST desirable people you want as customers for your business. And, you focus all your efforts on marketing only to that 1000 individuals (very 80/20).
This is where choosing the right audience is so vital. They have to be people that best suit YOUR offering, can afford to buy it and have the need/desire for it. Don’t just pick any random Joe or Joanna – pick people you feel would be the absolute best choice for your offering.
Then, design a killer offer (actually, design 5 or 10 of them to test over time) that you feel would be REALLY attractive to them. If you don’t know what they want, survey your prospective market to come up with a list of the things most important to them.
Then, write up that offer in some form of sales letter. If you’re not a great copywriter, then think about hiring one, or learn to become better at it yourself. That will take time, but it’s not impossible.
Lastly, print it up nicely (but don’t waste too much time on getting that perfect, cos remember it is the least important component of the formula) and post it to your prospects.
Plan on sending them something in the mail for at least 6-12 months, on a regular basis (monthly/fortnightly/weekly – whatever works for you) so that they get to know, like and trust you.
As long as you do a half-way decent job of this, I can almost guarantee you will start getting your first few sales in 3-6 months, and after 12 months, you should be doing very nicely, thanks very much!
BTW, since you are most likely sending this to a cold list, you probably need to warm them up first before pitching them anything, so I would essentially be writing your letters as a regular newsletter rather than just a straight out sales letter/pitch.
Give them time to get to know, like and trust you by keeping them informed and educated about what problems you solve for people just like them.
For example, if you are a marketer like me, you would talk a lot about different lead generation strategies (case studies, tips, strategies, etc) you have used for clients.
If you were a fitness coach, you might talk about the latest research and scientific evidence coming out of the health and fitness industry, as well as sharing stories of client successes, plus recipe ideas for keeping healthy, etc.
Whatever you write, make it interesting, educational and even fun, if possible. Make it something they WANT to receive and read each time it shows up in the post box.
Being boring is the biggest sin here. You can be contrarian, even obnoxious – like Donald Trump 😉 – but just don’t be boring.
Over time, you can start to slip in an offer for something you sell. Even a small test offer for a lead magnet or trip wire info product – just to give them the opportunity to see what you’re like at delivering on your promise before they consider going big with your high ticket offer/s.
For inspiration, go read some newsletters from top marketers. All these guys & gals are great writers/copywriters and know how to keep people entertained, educated and involved with their newsletters.
In particular, you might want to check out the Gary Halbert Letter which is available free online. Sadly, Gary passed away in 2007, but is considered to be one of the best copywriters in the world (alive or deceased). Each issue of his newsletter educates, entertains and informs (in Gary’s own inimitable style) and is a great place to start.
If your budget is tight, start with the top 100 and just send them a letter each month. That’s only $100/month (or ~$3.33/day) which almost everyone can afford. Just commit to doing it for 12 months though. 1 letter sent is unlikely to work. Your probably need to have sent 6-12 before things start to warm up, and with some prospective clients, it might take 10-20 or more.
Take the profit from each sale and invest it back into sending more letters to more people, until you can afford to send out to your top 1000 every month.
If you follow this formula and don’t succeed, I will be most surprised. But understand you have to get all the factors right.
Don’t send home delivery of beef steaks to hard core vegetarians, or 5 day exercise boot camp offers to couch potatoes who have no interest in getting fit.
The audience HAS to be right, THEN the offer has to be killer, followed by good copy and last of all, the right layout.
If you’re not good at any of these things, outsource them pronto and get moving OR learn how to get good at them.
All the best and if you have any questions, ask away in the comments below.