Finally, An Exciting Way To Generate Qualified Leads... And... Get Your Prospects All Fired Up About

Last week I pointed out how John Kerry was successfully using direct-response marketing to generate qualified leads, to pick up supporters for his campaign.

As I promised, today I'm going to reveal another lead-generation selling formula, you can make a fistul of dollars with.

It's a lot of fun to use, but it's often over-looked.

Want to know what it is?

O.K., I'll tell you. It's...

Sweepstakes!

And here's how you can start using sweepstakes as a lead generation tool, to build your list of prospects:

Let's say you own a retail furniture store. Here's what you do:

You run a display ad (or even better yet, you use several press releases) that says you're going to be giving away a brand new set of living-room furniture valued at $10,000 Dollars, delivered to the person who comes into your store... registers for the contest... and comes closest to guessing how many square feet your entire furniture showroom display area is.

The person who guesses closest, gets the furniture delivered straight to the front door of their home.

You should film that entire delivery, by the way, and have that video clip playing on a television monitor over-and-over again at the front of your store, to build enthusiasm up for your next sweepstakes.

Also, if you're really clever... team up with a local interior decorator and tell people you'll be giving away a professionally designed custom layout as well, courtesy of this interior decorator.

Let your sweepstakes entrants know, the charge for the interior designer alone is worth "X" dollars.

Or, you could even team up with one of your furniture suppliers, and instead of having a "Guess how many square feet our showroom is" contest, you can have a "Tell me how many king size [insert your furniture supplier's name here] beds we have in our showroom" contest.

See which of your suppliers would be willing to share the cost of your contest with you, or maybe they'd spring for the whole shebang.

Anyway, you call your lead-generating contest:

"The $10,000 Dollar Sweepstakes!"

Then, you promote the living daylights out of it!

You do a direct mail piece promoting it (postcards may even work in this case)... use your local val-paks... run display ads... have banners announcing your sweepstakes all over your store... and you give every single interior decorator and moving company you know, brochures about it, to hand out to their clients.

This does 3 things for you:

First, it gets people interested in you.

Second, it forces people to come into your store to sign up and register to win the sweepstakes. You automatically get foot-traffic, and the names and addresses of qualified leads, you wouldn't have had without the sweepstakes.

And third, since your prospects have to guess how large your showroom is, it forces them to walk around your entire store in order to make any kind of accurate "square footage" guess, right?

And do you have any idea what each-and-every one of these qualified leads will be doing when they're browsing up and down each of your lovely furniture showroom aisles?

They'll be checking out all your furniture!

Mom's will be thinking "Oh, this would look so nice in the baby's room."

And seniors will be saying "Wow, that would look great outside on our patio."

And crooked CEO's like Ken Lay from Enron will be licking their chops, saying "Hey, I can use a bunch of my shareholder's money to buy all those brand new top-of-the-line Herman Miller chairs, for all the guys back at the office!"

Whatever.

The point is, people aren't just going to come in, see your "$10,000 Dollar Sweepstakes" sign-up booth at the front desk, fill out the form, toss their entry into the box, and then leave.

Now at first blush, you might think giving away $10,000 Dollars worth of furniture is a lot to give away for FREE.

But au contraire... let's look at the numbers here. Remember, before you ever make any kinds of marketing decisions, you must look at your numbers.

Because...

You are in the numbers business first, NOT... the marketing business!

So... here are some numbers:

Let's say, over a 90-day period, you get 1,500 people to sign up. That's an average of 17 people a day, which... between you and your interior decorator, and maybe a local moving company (who will do the delivery)... should be very do-able, especially with all the "weekend" traffic, furniture stores tend to attract.

(Oh, and by the way -- depending on the sweepstakes rules in your state, you may even be able to say up front "This sweepstakes is only valid if we receive 2,000 entries.", or whatever numbers work for you.)

And... let's say your average customer sale is $1,000 dollars.

This means, you'll need to make 10 sales to at least break even on the deal -- now. Plus, whatever it costs you to promote your sweepstakes, so... let's say you need to make 12 sales to make this promotion break even.

What you have to ask yourself, is... will you make 12 sales, to the 1,500 people who've come into your store and signed up for your sweepstakes?

That's one sale, to every 125 people who come sauntering through your front doors.

Can you do this?

Honestly, I don't know.

It depends on what your conversion ratio of prospects-to-customers is. Meaning, how many of your prospects, do you actually convert into paying customers?

But at least, now you have a working formula to use, so you can figure out what numbers you need, to make this sweepstakes of yours work!

Plus remember... you're using this sweepstakes to generate leads for future sales, not for making sales today, right?

So what you also have to take into consideration, is...

How many sales will you make over the next 12 months, by sending out a monthly marketing piece to all these 1,500 qualified new leads you've now got?

After all, isn't that what you're supposed to be doing with your qualified leads, anyway?

And this translates into, "Will you be able to make a sale to 1 out of every 125 people who came through your doors, sometime during the next 12 months?"

Well, even if you're only a halfway decent copywriter... as long as you're consistently making these prospects a compelling offer each-and-every-month...

You Should Be Able To Do That!

Sweepstakes are especially good for retail stores, since they seem to have a hard time building their prospect list up.

It's tough to get people's name and address when they come in your store, especially if they're just browsing and they don't buy anything.

And why are sweepstakes so effective at generating qualified leads for you?

The answer is simple: For the most part, people don't go out of their way to enter sweepstakes for items they don't want, or wouldn't buy at some point in time, on their own.

And really, almost any business can run a sweepstakes.

Like if you're a hotel, raffle off an overnight stay in one of your better rooms. Then you do the same thing the furniture store owner did -- you make a consistent offer to each and every person who signed up to win the overnight stay.

When you're running a sweepstakes to generate leads, you must remember the purpose of "lead-generation". And that is, sometimes it's easier to build up your list of leads, so you can make consistent offers to your prospects, than it is to just try and sell them something directly.

(For more information on using "2-Step" lead-generating selling formulas, see my article and "2-Step" writing samples here.)

And running a sweepstakes is a fun and exciting way to get your prospects motivated and all fired-up about your business.

P.S. Do you know the most popular sweepstakes ever ran? (Yes, even more popular than "Ed McMahon's Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes!)

Well, the most popular sweepstakes ever ran, was put on by AOL in April, 2004. Over 1 Million people entered the contest to win a Porsche Boxter seized by federal authorities, from a major internet spammer.

And let me ask you this: Do you think AOL did just a "little" marketing to those 1 million entrants?

Did you know, if AOL only got a 0.25% conversion rate, of entrants who eventually became AOL subscribers (that's 1 out of every 400 people)... even at the lowest AOL subscriber plan of only $24 Dollars a month, this turns into...

$60,000 Dollars A Month... or... $720,000 Dollars A Year... Forever... For AOL!

Ka-ching! Not bad, hey?

Later.

Craig Garber is America's Top Direct-Response Copywriter. You'll find hundreds of marketing tips to increase your sales, and his insanely popular FREE Unconventional and Irreverent Daily Direct-Response Marketing Tips, on his website, http://www.KingOfCopy.com

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