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  lead generation for consultants and other independent professionals

For Independent Professionals
Fun With Lead Generation
"Laugh Your Way To More Clients"

Adapted from the "Marketing Energizer Ezine For Consultants And Other Independent Service Professionals" Issue 83

Two quotes set the stage for getting more joy and pleasure from your lead generation, amusing your prospects, and -- best of all -- attracting more clients:

"Fun is about as good a habit as there is."

Jimmy Buffett, Singer

"You can increase your brain power three to fivefold simply by laughing and having fun
before working on a problem."

Doug Hall, Author

That's how friend and subscriber Ernie Nicastro handles his lead generation. He calls on that most FUNdamental of 3-letter words: FUN.

Ernie is a copywriter and self-described "extreme marketer" at or call 614.336.9416. By email he's at

For generating leads his hot prospects are the three million to thirty million dollar companies in his region . . . the ones with money to spend.

The simple test to measure their sizzle quotient: They are hiring.

Yes, he finds them in the Sunday want ads section of his newspaper and checks out their websites or makes a phone call to get correct contact information.

Lead Generation That Attracts Attention

Next, he wants to be certain his mailings get attention. What gets him a welcome from the badgered CEO's and Vice Presidents or Marketing Directors who are his prospects?

Here's where the fun comes in with a dimensional, or lumpy, package.

Like what?

Like a squeeze water bottle with eye-catching graphics and text on the outside that says "Message in a Bottle" with Ernie's contact
information along one side. Inside is a letter from Ernie that leads off with a headline that ties into to the water bottle theme:

"Thirsty for more leads?"

Lead Generation That Doesn't Stop At One Contact

The water bottle is just the first mailing in his lead-generating sequence.

The Second Mailing is a black box with a letter, a highlighter, and, believe it or not, a self-penned rap song lyric.

The theme of this mailing and the refrain for the letter and lyric? That all important sales and marketing-related question:

"How are the numbers?"

At the top of the letter are three attention-grabbing words?

Hmmm . . .

The letter opening asks, "How are the numbers?" and invites the reader to use the highlighter to draw a line through the word that best sums up their answer.

Another block of text to the side of the 3-word headline follows through on the idea of the box with the question "Low response rates boxing in your company's growth?"

The Third Lead Generation Mailing is another box, this time with a letter wadded up inside a mini-trash can.

A post-it note on the inside flap of the box alerts his prospects to "be sure to check the trash because sometimes you find valuable stuff in it."

Sure enough, when they remove the letter there's a miniature 100 Grand candy bar at the bottom of the can.

Ernie's letter opens with a 72 point headline.

Can Do?

A subhead starts off with "In case you've been throwing my letters in the trash I wanted to do it for you this time."

Ernie has a chuckle. His prospects grin when they open his packages.

Ernie's Lead Generation Bottom Line

Is Ernie laughing his way to the bank?

The response varies between 10 percent to 30 percent each time he sends out his sequence of three mailings.

"Who doesn't like to get a package?" Ernie asked.

How much difference would it make to your business to get a 10 to 30 percent response to your lead generation campaign?

You'll find out if you test the lumpy package idea on a small scale first before going all out.

The 3-package lead-generating campaign is more expensive than the more usual letter mailing. For Ernie, his investment is about $12 total per prospect. But, in his case, his return pays off BIG every time he wins a new client.

And for his business he mails about 10 and never more than 25 in his mailing sequence.

True, it's not all play.

Lead Generation Commitment

Ernie puts in the effort week after week.

Week One is to identify "hot leads" and to send out the water bottle on Monday. Then, he follows up with a phone call on Wednesday or Thursday.

When he gets through, fine. If not, he leaves a voice message.

Yes, occasionally eager marketers call him first.

In Week Two he sends out the black box, followed up with phone calls.

Week Three is the trash can and, again, the phone calls later in the week.

In Week Four he starts the process all over again. Even when he's busy, he sets aside time for marketing.

We'll never forget the show-stopping complaint from a joint venture partner when we suggested an outside-the-box mailing. "Never. It's tacky and unprofessional."

What have you found Ernie?

Ernie answers that the lumpy mailing can be "elegant and sophisticated," too. And he points to these advantages

  • his mail gets opened,
  • it promotes interactivity and involvement, and
  • it opens the door for his phone call to get
    a hearing.

Other lead-generating ideas from Ernie for attention-grabbing mailings include coat hangers and imprinted dust pans. But he doesn't put them in envelopes or boxes. He mails them as stand-alone postcard-type mailings.

Warning: He cautions marketers to check out your lead-generating ideas at the post office before going ahead.

And to trigger ideas of your own just look around your local "Dollar" store.

From his experience he's figured out the behind-the-scenes mechanics of carrying out these mailings.

For "Marketing Energizer" subscribers, Ernie generously offered to help you find reputable and reasonable sources for water bottles, black boxes, trash cans, or your other fun ideas. Call 614.336.9416. By email he's at

As for us, as we write this in the bitter winter of 2004, it's not easy to be lighthearted when we're whipped by chilling winds and intimidated by icy roads and sidewalks. We've done our best to be cheerful and chipper for you.

May you be able to say along with Thomas Edison

"I never did a day's work in my life.
It was all fun."

For a "Client Attraction System" For Independent Professionals: Lead Generation To Build Your Practice To Overflowing

To Subscribe To "The Marketing Energizer For Consultants And Other Independent Service Professionals

Hanson Marketing Group, Inc.
Certified Professional Consultant to Management
8011 Navajo Street, Philadelphia, PA 19118
Phone: 215-753-2620 Fax: 215-753-9223

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