Let's face the facts. Even if the president doesn't want to use the "R" word, we are already well into a tough economy. That means it is going to be harder for professionals like doctors, lawyers, consultants, accountants and others to attract new clients or get more business from their existing clients.

However there are a few steps professionals can take to still get business coming in the door, regardless of the economy:

  1. Create "bait" information pieces like white papers, tip sheets or other booklets that provide valuable, free information for prospective clients.

    These bait pieces are soft sell devices like, "8 Ways to Save on Property Taxes," "5 Ways to Avoid Getting Sued," or "How to Keep Your Children Well This Winter."

    But a hard sell piece like, "10 Reasons Goode, Hailey and Knight Should Be Your Accounting Firm" is not a good bait piece.

  2. Turn every advertisement into a direct response ad – even Yellow Page or directory ads.

    There are two types of advertisements, "awareness" ads and "direct response" ads. Awareness ads just tell prospects that you exist and if they have nothing better to do with their time, to give you a call.

    Direct response ads entice readers to take action, such as to call your office or visit your website in order to get your white paper or tip sheet. When you advertise this way, you can actually measure how effective the ad is and make changes along the way.

  3. Build a list. When people respond to your direct respond ads, collect these "opt in" leads to build a list. This concept is called "Permission Marketing" (based on the book by that name written by Seth Godin). This list of people who have requested your free information may become your most valuable resource, so take good care of it.

  4. Make your website a resource for people who are prospective and existing clients. Don't be afraid to give away free information, but create more white papers, tip sheets, checklists, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and case studies about some of your clients success stories.

    It may sound counter intuitive to give away free information, but you will find that it pays dividends. It gives visitors a reason to keep coming back to your site and it establishes your credibility as an expert in your field.

For those of us who sell our services and knowledge, a tough economy is a time to roll up our sleeves and work smarter. But if you do work smarter, use direct response advertising, build a list and create a website that your prospects view as a resource, you will be rewarded while your competitors tread water.

COPYRIGHT © 2008, Charles Brown


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