From The Desk Of:

Justus Meyer,
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Advertising Locally

"Ways to generate leads
for Network Marketing
by advertising locally"

Why advertise locally?

When in Network Marketing, it is a good idea to keep local advertising as part of your marketing strategy. Even though I consider the Internet as a major part of the puzzle, you simply do not want to ignore those potential gems in your own back-yard. There is nothing like building a local team to surround yourself with people that have goals that are similar to yours.

There are obvious trade-offs to advertising locally, as opposed to only using the Internet - the biggest being that the potential size of your audience is quite a bit smaller, due to the costs involved. Generally speaking, using certain Internet methods to promote your Network Marketing business can be accomplished for a lot cheaper than traditional "away-from-keyboard" methods - if you have the knowledge and the patience to set them up.

However, due to the way the Internet has penetrated the lives and habits of most people, the argument could also be made that the use of local off-line advertising is becoming more effective again. People are getting too used to seeing advertising on the Internet, since everybody and their brother have jumped on the bandwagon. You win in marketing when you "zig" if everyone is "zagging" - you have to do what everyone else is not doing.

The main benefits of advertising locally, are the following:

  • The fun of building a local team, face-to-face;
  • a more geographically focused target market
  • and a relatively short learning and implementation curve - as opposed to Internet Marketing.

On the rest of this page, I will describe some of the more budget-friendly methods when it comes to advertising locally. Local advertising is not just restricted to the off-line world however - we will also cover on-line methods like Google Ads and lead-capture pages. Just remember that your mileage may vary - it all depends on how much of the implementation work you want to outsource to graphic designers and how much you have available in your marketing budget. Like all marketing, it is not an exact science; there are too many factors that could influence your conversion ratios and the only way to find out if it is worth doing in your area is to test it for at least three months at a time.

Car decals

A car decal can come in many forms - a plain message in white letters, a full-colour extravaganza that covers your whole car or anything in-between. The nice thing about it is that it is a once-off expense that works for you whenever you are out and about. Most of the leads I generated when I first started experimenting with lead generation, came through my car decal.

I found that even though plain white letters on the back-window of the car is good enough if your copy is sound, a colour decal tends to catch people's eyes - at the end of the day, a picture is worth a thousand words. However, covering the whole car is a bit over-kill in my opinion and might attract unqualified prospects. You want to give people a point to focus on when they look at the car, not give them a headache with a blur of colours.

There are two basic parts that are not optional on a car decal:

  • A head-line
  • and a way for them to contact you.

The goal for the head-line is to try and catch the attention of your target market, instead of just catching attention in general. I suggest that you register an easy-to-remember domain name that will stick in the minds of those people who are interested in your head-line. Since most people will see your decal while driving, it has to be memorable - they will only be able to have a look after they have reached their own destinations.

I personally choose not to put a phone number on the decal, since I prefer that the people I work with to balance their strategies between off-line and on-line methods. I initially did include a voice mail number, but people tend not to remember the number when they get home. I also forgot to check the voice mail so often, opting for the web page instead, that I realised it just was not worth it for me to keep it there.

If you swing the other way and insist on including a phone number, I believe you will get a better contact-rate by including your cell-phone number. That way people can give you a call while you're sitting in traffic - just remember not to have long conversations when driving...

Anyway, here is an example of some text for the back of a car - this is currently what I am using, although it does point to a different web-site:

Tired of Financial Stress?
Take a breath.
explore-financial-freedom.com

Sun-screens

Sun-screens are used to protect the inside of your car from excessive heat and direct sunlight. When your car is parked, you might as well use that time for some passive advertising. If you have a car decal as well, it might be a good idea to use a sun-screen for the front when parked - some people will walk past the front of your car and some will back past the back; you may as well cover all the bases.

What makes this method a nice addition to simply getting a decal, is that you can print a couple every month and hand it out to your family, friends and clients. The problem with a decal is that it is limited to your own car. Most people will not like the idea of you printing a decal on their cars - however, they definitely will not say no to a free sun-screen.

Classified ads

No strategy that involves advertising locally, is complete without the use of classified ads. When in Network Marketing, there are obviously two main routes you can go. The first is to lead with your products, the second to lead with your opportunity. Due to the nature of the products of the company that I represent, which are mostly financial services, I prefer to go the opportunity route. However, if you represent a company that has a health- or beauty-related product-line, I can make an educated guess that you will probably get better results leading with the product first.

Placing a product-related ad is fairly simple - as long as you have good copy and know who your target market is. An opportunity-related ad is not always so straight-forward, simply because your typical "Make more $$$" ads seem to drown out all ads that actually have something of value to offer.

There are two ways you an go about it:

  • A classified ad in the "Help wanted" section of the paper that asks people to fax their resumes to you
  • or an ad that offers people some useful, free information that then leads them to your business opportunity.

As an information-junkie, I prefer the second-approach. However, when taking the first approach, just remember to word your ad in such a way to try and minimise the amount of job-seekers that you will get - you are simply not looking for people that are "job-minded" to join your team. You have to make it clear that they will be in business with you, not for you.

Bulletin board flyers

I have had quite a bit of response from bulletin-board flyers - you know, the type of flyer that has tearable strips with your contact details printed on them. Everybody takes the time now-and-then to read flyers on a bulletin board - even if it is just to relieve their boredom while waiting for someone else to finish some business or when standing in a queue.

You might as well make sure that your flyer is one of the flyers on the board to read. Again, I prefer using a web-site to capture their details, but I have used a voice mail number and had a better response than I did with using it on the car decal. Just keep in mind that store managers tend to clean up their bulletin boards every couple of weeks, so keep on monitoring your ads so that you know when to replace them.

Post cards

Post cards have been a staple part of Network Marketing for years and in my opinion, have some very clear benefits over other forms of direct mail:

  • Where sales letters have to be opened before potentially getting thrown away, a post card does not thus increasing your response rate;
  • post cards are cheap to mail
  • and putting together a post card-based mailing campaign is less hassle than other methods.

The problem is that in order to use post cards effectively, you need a mailing list. Good and inexpensive mailing lists are sometimes hard to come by, but can be found if you do a little digging. In some instances however, thanks to your location or target market, you might have to resort to either building your own list or using the next method, drop cards, instead.

Drop cards

A drop card (some people call them "sizzle cards") can come in a couple of forms:

  • A piece of paper that looks similar to your local currency, but not exactly the same;
  • an unaddressed post-card
  • or a small business-card.

The reason I prefer calling them "drop cards" is simply, because you can drop them anywhere - in a restaurant bill, in the pockets of clothes in a clothing shop, in people's mailboxes, etc.

The one side of every drop card has a graphic and head-line to attract your target market. This could be an image related to your campaign or a clearly fake bank note you had designed (in other words, one that is clearly not usable, but might use the same colour scheme and so on). On the opposite side of the card you put a classified ad that directs people to contact you or visit your web-site.

Drop cards are very good at creating curiosity and I still use them currently - and even though they are not as effective as personally addressed post cards, they have the advantage that you can use them anywhere, anytime.

Place mats

Whenever you go to a restaurant, what is the first thing that you see on your table? Place mats are used to protect the surface of the table and to make things easier to clean if someone accidentally messes some of their food. While you are waiting for your waiter, there is a good chance you will glance down at the table, at least once - and so might one of your potential customers.

Place mats have a lot of space to work with and what you can do is to try and attract people's attention to them with a picture or a funny joke. When they notice it, they might as well look at a classified ad for your business, as well as classified ads of other advertisers that pay you to advertise there.

The best thing of all is that it is a win-win-win situation:

  • You have advertisers that pay you to advertise for local exposure,
  • you use that money to get the place mats printed,
  • you offer the restaurant free place mats in return for putting it onto their tables
  • and you essentially get free advertising for your business.

As you can see, everyone wins. A word of warning though: just make sure that the clientele of the restaurants you get involved with includes your target market and the target markets of your advertisers - do your homework first.

Business cards and stationery

A simple tactic is to make sure that you always have business cards on you to hand out when you meet someone. Even though your business card is already advertising in a way, there is absolutely no reason that you cannot put a classified ad on the back of it.

Another good idea is to send memo pads and fridge magnets that have your details printed on them to friends, family and clients. Every bit of exposure helps to add up the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Advertising locally with Google Ad words

Google has become the most popular search engine currently in existence. Their paid advertising option is a very effective and popular method of advertising - and it supports geographical targets. City-specific targeting is only available for certain cities in certain countries. The good news however, is that they also give you the option to target geographical areas using their mapping interface - this making advertising locally a reality for those of us that live in darkest Africa.

Lead capture pages

Lead capture pages are web sites, specifically design to capture the details of your prospects. To find out more, please see "InterNetwork Marketing" for more details.

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