Saturday, June 28, 2008

How You Can Get Leads With Free Advertising

by Raleigh Pinskey
Promote Yourself!

'Without promotion, something terrible happens... NOTHING!! These are the famous words of P.T. Barnum of the side show and circus fame, indisputably the world's greatest promotion genius of all time.

Barnum spared no mercy planning the promotions he used to market his product to the masses. But utilizing promotions to get the people out to the show wasn't his main ring attraction. The promotions carried an ulterior motive. On the surface, they served to satisfy my principles of effective visibility marketing: they attracted notice to the primary product/business/talent/idea, added to and reinforced existing name recognition, expanded his networking web, contributed to a developing data base and increased revenue.

Just what was the primary reason for his infamous promotions? They were meticulously choreographed to inform the world of his shows and bring him a paying audience through free advertising. What Barnum basically did with this free advertising was use the media as his endorsement letter. The people who responded consciously or subconsciously became leads for products and other events yet to come.
By implementing promotions, garnering him hundreds of thousands of dollars of free advertising, his price per lead was extremely low, if not in some cases, in the minus column.

Picture this. Before opening night, he took the elephants on a walk through town, had clowns visit hospitalized children, and ran contests for school children so they'd beg their parents to take them to the show. He offered tours of the big top, and glimpses of the side show participants.

The media ate it up, and they eat it up now. Barnum's promotions have indelibly left a legacy. Every year when the circus opens at Madison Square Garden, the media shows up in droves to chronicle the magical elephant parade from the train yards in New Jersey, through the Holland Tunnel into the sawdust covered catacombs of Madison Square Garden.

To those who say a picture is worth a thousand words, I say only this... the picture plus words, when you can get them, is worth hundreds of thousand's of dollars in free advertising, because it leads you to more business.

Take the picture of a lovely lady demonstrating presentation skills in her free, two page trade journal article she wrote after listening to the tape on 'How To Make Yourself Media Friendly.' Her first call was not to an editor, but to the advertising department to cancel her quarter of a page ad order priced at $3,500. Multiply that by eight and see how much she saved. Now look at what the selfpromotion brought her. Her first article attracted two corporate projects at $50,000 each.

Her second article landed two retainers billed at $100,000 each.

How about that picture of the ominous looking piece of equipment situated behind the smiling owner of a transformer company, well placed above a quarter of a page in the business section of a local paper? It snared him several clients who immediately upped his revenue by 10%.

And I won dinner, because in my knowing, I encouraged his efforts, disputing his feelings that no one would be interested in what he had to offer. Couched the right way, with benefits rather than features, based on educating the public rather than self-praise, offering help and compassion for his misunderstood product rather than lashing out at the public's stupidity, the paper jumped at his request, hook line and sinker. The article, had he bought the space, would have cost $5,000. The leads he received, made him over $500,000!

One of the secrets-of-the-pros that I teach, is to then convert the article into a direct mail piece. Both of the clients have meaningfully increased their leads as well as received substantial peripheral business from those leads received through this non-invasive, third party endorsement of their product.

Several of my clients opted for the electronic media to cull their leads. They host radio and TV shows, or appear as guests. The transcript can then be used as a direct mail piece or a newsletter. A picture of them hosting a prominent member of their field, or them hosted by a prominent newscaster also makes a great promo piece. 'As Seen On TV,' or 'As Heard On The Radio,' is not a bad endorsement... wouldn't you say? Customers and clients love to be associated with a winner. And the media wouldn't lead them astray, now would it?

So, I ask you. Do you have 'an elephant' you can parade in front of the media to provide their audience with information that is life enhancing or life changing? Do you have a product, talent, idea or business that, with a little effort, you could convert into a 'media friendly' event? How about it? Can you inform, educate, entertain or provide a call to action as a result of what you do?

When planning your 'elephant,' here's the rule of thumb to follow if you want to get past the media gatekeeper. When creating your promotional event or interview, establish the raison d'etre, the reason for having it... and make sure you present it as selfless, not selfish. In other words, convert the purpose into those all important benefits... not features. Because if you present features and self-gratification, be prepared to hear the media tell you to 'TAKE AN AD!'

Wow them with 'how to' information, secrets, helpful hints, important points. Educate while you entertain. If you do this, if you tell them something they didn't know, then you'll make both you and the media heroes. And the world loves a hero.

Here is a sampling of examples from the 'Zen of Hype Viz-Ability Survival Kit,' guaranteed to make you media friendly (sm) and create leads for you. Use these examples as a catalyst for your own business. In each of these samples, notice the positioning of selfless vs. the selfish. You use your credentials and materials to tell them who you are, not the substance or content.

Many of these examples by themselves will create leads for you by nature of the event itself in their own sphere of influence. But multiply that circle by the media's circulation or listening audience and see what a savings that would be to your direct mail budget! Go for it. Find your elephant and walk it through the following paces:
" If you sell insurance, teach classes or present seminars on achieving financial independence. Create a niche by specializing in women or retired people.
" If you represent a nutritional product, do a cost-free public access TV show on health and nutrition.
" If you sell leather furniture and accessories, tape your talk into a walkman and give it to the customer.
" If you're in real estate sales, take active participation into the politics of your neighborhood.
" Hold a contest.

Then, approach the media describing how your efforts can benefit their audience. With the right hook and the right twist, the right interest can translate into interesting stories for TV and radio news segments, TV and radio talk show segments, and Metro or Lifestyle newspaper stories, all bursting with potential leads.

And don't forget to list your event or happening in the Calendar section!

How many times have you opened a paper, turned on a TV or listened to a radio talk show and asked yourself, 'How did they get on the show?' And how many times did you tell yourself you can be the one telling them something interesting about what you know? You're the one they should be talking to!

And how many times did you wish you had the money to advertise in order to bring in more leads? Next time, consider making yourself media friendly and doing free advertising to get those leads. The more frequently you present information that educates and entertains, or offer up meaningful ways to give back to those who support you, the more free advertising dollars you can earn for yourself, meaning the more potential you have for increasing your lead generation.

Be your own P.T. Barnum. Don't procrastinate any longer.

Prepare, Promote and Prosper!

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