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Friday, July 31, 2009

An accidental discovery

A screen shot of Adam Hudson's "squeeze page". The free offers are worthwhile.

Sometimes in business you find really interesting things by accident. Yesterday evening, I uncovered some really great resources (and lessons for my own marketing library) from Adam Hudson, including two well-written free papers, "Double Your Yellow Pages Leads" and "51 Can't Miss Contractor Marketing Tips". He also offers a bi-weekly newsletter.

In reading through these materials, I felt somewhat humbled because they are both well written and easy-to-implement.

For example, consider his concluding points (48-51): "Top Smartest Marketing Moves for the Year."
  1. Design Yellow Pages ads for lead generation. Hudson says "this is most contractors (77%) number one expense. Either cut the expense or increase its lead-pulling ability with an exceptional ad."
  2. "Identify every lead source". Hudson advocates you "simply ask and note for each call: 'And how did you find about us?' or 'Did you see our ad in the ."
  3. He says you should construct a simple marketing plan. "Start marketing costs per sales and choose your marketing 'type'," he writes. "Moderates 4 - 6 per cent. Conservatives two to four er cent. Less than 2 per cent is asking for stagnancy or decline." (These numbers are interesting to me as I've asserted in a previous posting that if you are spending less than five per cent on marketing, you will be in trouble, and the top range is 25 per cent. The discrepancy can be explained in my including sales with marketing -- pure external marketing expenses might more accurately fit within Hudson's criteria.)
  4. Hudson also says you should start a customer retention program. "This is the costliest oversight for contractors," he writes. Start one and you'll stand out from your competition, who'll be forced to 'copy'. Copiers are never leaders. Be a leader. Use a newsletter that is full of customer benefits . . . " he writes.
In his paper, "Double Your Yellow Pages Leads" Hudson accurately notes the declining influence of this traditional media,with a critical observation that an increasing number of phone users only have mobile phones, and don't receive the book. The more important issue, of course, is that the Internet search has replaced the phone book for new business searches -- and your best lead source now is not the Yellow Pages, but truly effective rankings on the search engines.

Hudson's challenge: I noted that I found his useful materials by accident, and this important fact may shape your perceptions about the rapidly changing directions in marketing. I'll share these observations tomorrow. Some consultants, such as Michael Stone, advocate drastically reducing or totally ending your Yellow Pages allocations, and most start-up contracting businesses, I think, will do far better with Internet rather than Yellow Pages marketing initiatives.

In the meantime, I recommend you get over your fear of responding to his (in my opinion) unsubtle marketing "squeeze page' and sign up for his newsletter to receive the free reports. They are certainly worth reading.

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