#FAIL: Display Ads and Direct Mail (How to move beyond old school marketing)

Display advertising and direct mail don't work like they used to. We understand. One of our clients used to get 70 leads per month from ads in the OC Register. Those same ads (they've tried everything) now generate 2 leads per month. It's pitiful.


We built them a customized lead generation plan like the one below to increase leads, conversions and closed business. They're a large remodeling company in Southern California (watch out if you compete with them). The plan works for all kinds of businesses, though. We've implemented the same strategy at media companies, medical practices, dental offices, manufacturers, software development firms, technology start-ups, and many others.

The 3-phase plan below is a simple 3-6 month strategy for building sales with marketing campaigns that can be measured (unlike conventional advertising).


  • Use updated tools and processes to increase leads
  • Transition to a biz dev strategy (instead of head-down working only)
  • Primary: Make the phones ring. Secondary: Get leads to opt-in to other communication channels like email lists, lead funnel, report/guide downloads, social media channels and similar
  • Connect with and leverage “complementary” businesses, like realtors and maintenance professionals (window washers, pool cleaners, landscapers, etc. *this was for the remodeling co*) – via direct response and social media

Phase 1 – Direct Response/Lead-Generation

  • Targeted lead generation campaign (coordinated via MarketSharp - *this is the tool they use - we can use whatever tools you're comfortable with*): Come up with three creative concepts that can be tested immediately. Ring the phone and/or capture email for future contact, drip marketing efforts (download report, send follow up email, answer a design question, etc.)
  • Direct mail campaigns coordinated with jobs: “We’re in your neighborhood. A neighbor just bought. A neighbor just finished.” Test small batches with MarketSharp system then move to larger print runs once we see what’s working best.
  • Make sure every direct response touch we make has a measurable back-up mechanism in place so we can find out what’s really working. This could be a download, a sign-up, a contest entry or simple impressions on a page (at least). Use unique phone numbers, QR codes, custom URLs or “text to” opt-in mechanisms. Aim for 5 minute response times on all touches (automated and personal). The goal is to quickly eliminate 1) no traffic results, 2) low traffic/low conversion, 3) high traffic/low conversion and find some high conversion vehicles (online or off).

Instead of hoping that a campaign works, we’ll split test 3 different approaches to learn concrete details about what’s working.  Variations include different subject lines, leads and offers.

Phase 2 – Organic Content and Site SEO

Blogging (or article production) is the safest way to improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google keeps the SEO community honest by penalizing "black hat" SEO practices. Those practices try to game the search engine giant into ranking their sites higher with fancy link farm and baiting tactics. It's a game you don't want to play. JC Penney and dozens of other high-traffic sites recently got blasted out of page 1 by the famed "Google Panda Update." Even more companies got "Google Slapped" by the recent Penguin and Hummingbird updates. The best way to ensure optimal SEO is to create high-quality, education-based,  keyword-rich, consistently updated original content. That kind of strategy has never been penalized and will never be. Google loves it when you produce useful information about your business and helpful tips for your customers.

  • Initial strategy: Write one post per month (we can increase frequency as we progress and see ROI, lead capture, social exposure and so forth)
  • Optimize pages with rotated conversions
  • Measure on-page conversions
  • Seed and promote articles on popular social media channels
  • Follow/Friend people and companies in complementary industries (RE, home repair/maintenance, etc.)
  • Measure and report on sharing and social exposure

Phase 3 – Maintenance and Expansion

  • Keep up with tools and automate processes
  • Set up profiles on important industry sites (*this client wanted to put up a profile in Houzz, which is a big one for that industry*)
  • Industry newsletter – Package up and schedule summary info about recent posts, links to resources, customer successes, testimonials, promotions, contests etc.
  • Establish Pinterest presence
  • Make sure Google Places profile is complete
  • Manage PPC/SEM campaigns
  • Consider a “Chat with Matt”-style lead generation mechanism
  • Plenty more ideas available . .

Call today to start building your business and improving your lead generation tactics.  949-891-2569You'd be amazed at how just a few improvements change everything. Stop wasting money on expensive print advertising, and start measuring your lead flow process.