Milanese
by Mark Milanese
October 29th, 2013

Can My Ads Get More Leads?

Replacement door and window companies could expect 10 leads or more from a $2,500 advertisement just 10 years ago. An average lead might cost about $200. Many of us are finding the return on the same $2,500 advertising investment has dropped to less than two leads at a cost of more than $1,250 per lead. Rewording ads, better offers, different photos and no interest financing may not be the way to make traditional advertisements generate more new leads. In fact, “How can I make my ads generate more leads?” may be the wrong question. Here is what changed.

Replacement door and window leads come from property owners who find a problem with their existing doors and windows. They find doors or windows that are hard to operate, need paint, are drafty or leak water.  Back in the “good old days” they might go to the yellow pages or know someone to call and act immediately, but more typically they might think, “I’m going to need new doors and windows sometime soon,” and put that problem in the back of their mind.

Then, sometime later, after months or years of this problem nagging the back of their mind, they see an advertisement for a solution to their problem and they react. The pump was already primed for the door and window replacement company to make a sale. All that was needed was an advertisement with a compelling call to action that was well-timed and well-placed.

A door and window replacement company could just go where the offer would be seen by the potential client—the newspaper or magazine its core customer read, the radio stations they liked, the television shows they watched or into their mailboxes where ads were mixed in with letters and bills. Afterwards, qualified leads would provide a return on investment.

There are two problems with that equation today.

First of all, newspapers, mailboxes, magazines and television are where we found our clients in the past, but our clients aren’t there anymore.

Subscriptions to consumer-focused newspapers and magazines have declined. AM and FM radio stations have fewer listeners. Pandora, iTunes and XM let our clients listen to anything they want, instead of what a radio disc jockey chooses and without commercials. OnDemand and Netflix on the big screen TV in the family room practically eliminate commercials and DVR lets us fast forward through television advertisements.

The consumer is entertained by music and videos, gets news, reads mail and magazine articles (including this one) mainly on a desktop, laptop, phone and tablet.

So, if you are still looking for your door and window customer on television and radio or in the newspaper, magazines and mailboxes, don’t expect to find them there. Your customer is on the Internet.

Customers are talking, texting, sharing photos with friends, getting their most important mail, having fun, playing games, watching television and listening to music on the Internet.

The second part of the equation that changes the lead-generation game is the fact that more people are going to the Internet to find immediate solutions for everyday problems and answers to big and small questions. They are using the World Wide Web from a phone or tablet to instantaneously find out how to spell a word, get directions, find the score of the game, a celebrity’s age and order pizza. That’s where they can access the Internet anywhere and anytime to find anything.

The masses have all of the information in the world and the ability to purchase virtually every product made or service provided at their fingertips, with Internet access to the World Wide Web in the palm of their hands.

If you think about it, at no time in history have the masses had so much information and power so freely and conveniently available to them. They have learned to purchase any product, find answers to every question and solutions to every problem—as soon as they get the urge to purchase, the question or the problem pops up. As a result, the consumer is much more likely to immediately find solutions to their problems on a phone or tablet instead of waiting for months or years to act.

They immediately find addresses, directions, phone numbers and how-to instructions on their phones.  They quickly buy everything from vacations to electronics, clothes, songs and movie tickets on their phones. Every question from “How old is Mick Jagger?” to “How do I cook a lobster?” is being found at any moment on a phone. And you should bet the consumer will search and find “Who replaces doors and windows?” on a phone and tablet, too.

“Can I get my ads to generate more leads?” becomes the wrong question.

“How can I get my potential client to find my website when they are searching for my products and services on the Internet?” may be the correct first question for smart businesses.

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  1. Hello Mr. Milanese,

    Thank you for this very insightful post on advertising ROI. As usual, your posts are poignant, and force me to reconsider the ways that I manage my business.

    It wasn’t long ago when it was stated that the average person supposedly saw about 5,000 advertising impressions a day. Some estimates put today’s rate as high as 20,000 impressions daily. – Amazing, considering the fact that there are only about 84,000 seconds in a day! I agree completely, that given this fast paced digital world where even refrigerators are being manufactured with WiFi built in, we have precious little time to capture and retain our target customer’s attention. We need to educate them and hopefully bias them to our product, company or service in those precious seconds we have.

    As a manufacturer of a highly specialized waterproof retractable fabric structure wildly successful in Europe, yet relatively unknown in the US, I have found that one of my biggest challenges has been building first and foremost awareness, then the value of my product. I have found that having a website with content aimed at providing solutions to my customer’s challenges has been instrumental in educating them about the ability of my product to solve their needs. Its that need for education which drives our customers to the internet, which they now use as their primary tool for research. No one cares per say about me or my product, they care about whats in it for them. As a wise, young salesman once told me, “sell the sizzle, not the steak”.

    “How can I get my potential client to find my website when they are searching for my products and services on the Internet?” Well, before we can answer that, I think we first need to understand what they think they are searching for. OUR interpretation of those terms, keywords and phrases used in our sites and ads may not necessarily be the same verbiage our customers use. That’s why I think that a good, analytical webmaster should be anyone’s first stop on the smart business path to success.

    By the way, this post reminds me that I need to invest in a mobile version of my website…

    Thanks again Mr. Milanese

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