Hopkins County Public Records

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Winning in a Down Market

Just a few years ago I presented some new elevated concepts to some of the top advertising agencies to get their opinion. This centered around the idea of creating digital based media for mobile devices to get the word out. I knew the Michigan economic landscape was in dire straits and I wanted to create something new for the business community.

Every single one of these companies failed to see the light. But I pushed on while businesses around me continued to go down the tubes. I have had a lot of business owners in many industries challenge me on how I choose to get my messages out. Real estate professionals have long argued that putting up bandit signs was the way to get a prospect interested in what they were selling. But the problem with bandit signs is that you run the risk of getting into being fined by the county. Placing signs on somebody else’s property in hopes that they will see your home listing is a very risky idea. Although it can work in some cases I find the entire process to be a headache generating one at best.

Michigan had a very interesting challenge due to the fact that we were losing people on a weekly basis. Last year alone we had 30,000 people leave the state. The job scene here has dwindled and we have had continuous bad news on our auto industry. Still, even though we have fallen into incredible hardship I found business owners stuck with
three choices.

1. More radio spots
2. Full page news paper ads
3. Postcard advertising

Each one of these disciplines came with new problems. Radio here in Metro Detroit was very expensive to the independent business owner. It rang in to the tune of $40,000 for three months. Depending on what season you were in you could easily expect to pay extra for airtime. You had to time your product and service in such a way that people would actually hear it and take action. Even this was hard to gage due to the fact you had rush hour traffic to contend with. The real question is would people really take the time to scribble your web site information down on paper while driving on the freeway during rush hour? If you have ever navigated a car during rush hour in Detroit I think you may already know the answer to that question. My guess is that they probably would not.

Another reason why I did not like radio was because I found it to be very ineffective. I actually had a radio show in Metro Detroit and I was on for a full hour. You have to think about things like tower frequency and how much of a range your station has over the public you want to broadcast to. In a lot of ways it is a lot like gambling. Hopefully, if things go well you will get some response from the public after doing all of this for any amount of time. You will get leads, sales and new customers by doing this.

But as you can imagine the response is slow at best. It takes time to build up a brand in someone’s mind. Even then you have think about the people who will respond to your advertisements first. Are they serious minded individuals with cash in hand or are they unqualified information seekers? I see this a lot with people who wanted to buy into a cool loft development in Royal Oak, Michigan. The owner of the property complained to me that the people who called the property office wanted to know a rough cost of his units. They were not looking to buy but they heard the ad on the radio and wanted a little more information. That advertisement ran for 6 months and got very little response and to this day most of those units are unsold and empty. So, the property manager resorted back to bandit signs. When that didn’t work he hired some college students to go stand out in the street and wear body signs. These were not strong enough pulls to grab the public’s attention.

Newspaper ads are also very expensive. I used to run ads for my own businesses in newspapers and found out something very interesting. I ran an ad in a National newspaper, a Local newspaper and a national magazine and I got roughly 10 calls on each advertisement. These people were information seekers and not serious about actually buying anything. I expected some variance off of these efforts but did not see any major shifts in response.

At a recent event I was informed to drop $15,000 into a direct mail campaign. I was encouraged to do this even though the first round of postcards yielded no results. The Guru who suggested this advised us to do this an additional three more times for an end result of a 4% response rate. Please, keep in mind that the average business owner cannot afford to do this once in Michigan let alone three more times. I found this to be quite uncomfortable to do in this current economic downslide. It may be feasible to do this in another market but never in the Real Estate market of Michigan.

I would think you would need a better plan.

Digital Media To The Rescue

I found digital media to be a great resource because it was very inexpensive to create. I also found re-running a campaign I created to be great and just as effective if it worked the first time. Pre-canning all of your media clips is a great way to go. I would advise you to pre-sell your audience before you go for the hard sell.

This can be a radical departure from all of the teachings you hear from selling experts such as Zig Ziglar and Tom Hopkins. There was a time when I had to learn all of the closes and get the timing sequences just right so I could land the deal. But thanks to creating pre-selling clips all of that is a thing in the past. Now I do not have to worry about it.

I say what I want to say one time and then record it. From there I can take my audio or video and blast it out to the right people and from there it is magic time. Many great things can happen if you do this correctly. It is possible to also do this half way and still get incredible results. Just keep in mind that you cannot possibly service everyone at once. Even in economic hardship it is still possible to keep your funnel filled with prospects.

I mentioned that I had a radio show earlier. I now have roughly 6,000 listeners every week and this show only costs me $15 a month to run. It is an incredible resource and allows my new audience a chance to interact and listen to what I have to present. This is a much better communication channel for me because the people who listen to my show are seriously interested. I could not say that for my broadcast radio show. But through narrowcasting I am able to add additional information to my podcasts as I upload them. From there I blast them out all over the web in search of brand new prospects. The results for me are phenomenal. I am able to keep my funnel filled with minimal effort.

I still get letters from the Yellow Page people and invitations for radio spots from time to time. I do not have to worry about setting aside a budget for those things when I create my own digital media. And best of all I can choose who I want to listen to it at any given time. Think of this as advertising by invitation only. This cuts down my rejection time and allows my audience to really get to know me better. The results for my online marketing efforts come in at about a 30% response rate. This is a great way to go and to watch your budget. Now you can create your own type of customer and get the right kind of business.

I get to actually reject a lot of bad business and screen out people that I deem undesirable. I find this to be a huge advantage to my competitors who have to take on bad business just to stay alive. Digital media also breaks some additional rules when it comes to making money online. If I round up 100 people and introduce them to my pre-selling funnel I can count on getting anywhere from 14-30 sales. That is something that no pay per click campaign can guarantee. I know that when I put the right pieces in place we are going to be doing some business.

You have to look out for number one in a down market.

About the Author

Ted Cantu runs i-Cantu Media LTD which is a Web 2.0 Video studio located in Farmington Hills, Michigan. You can find him at,
Download his FREE, “Marketing Kit For Troubling Times.


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