Uncovering the Secrets of Contact Marketing
It’s a common frustration in business: You want to meet a big prospect, for example, a VIP, or a high-level executive. But how do you get past the obstacles in your path? According to Stu Heinecke, getting your foot in the door, and then creating a relationship starts with a strategy based on what he calls “Contact Marketing.”
He’s had some impressive experience in the field. As a cartoonist for The Wall Street Journal (and a DMA Hall of Fame nominee), Heinecke has used his cartoons for years to successfully introduce his services to a variety of clients. He shares the insights he’s learned in his new book, “How To Get A Meeting With Anyone: The Untapped Selling Power of Contact Marketing.”
The focus of this micro-marketing is on a very select, small amount of prospects, for either in-person selling, or building alliances. No broad audience messaging, no contests, no list juggling, no reply cards or landing pages.
I could talk about the incredible metrics — 100 percent response rates, ROI in thousands of percent — that Heinecke has achieved with his campaigns.
But I won’t. He covers that very well in his book, as well as various methods he and others have developed for breaking through barriers to reach their target audience of one.
Instead I want to look at one tactic in the toolbox that Heinecke regards as essential to the process: the contact letter.
His advice on what to include, he says, is “from a perspective honed through hard-fought lessons learned over a 20-year span, as someone who has produced countless record-breaking, control-busting campaigns.”
I get this. As the curator of Who’s Mailing What!, I’ve read a lot of powerful, effective letters over the years. Letters that resulted in millions, even billions of dollars spent, or raised, that were or are long-term direct mail controls.
A great letter, Heinecke states, starts with a hook that gets the prospect’s attention while also engaging them with an immediate point of agreement on an issue that should be addressed. This is where his cartoons work so well, especially when personalized.
Next, the letter should include a value statement, “confined to as few words as possible,” Heinecke says, on how you can solve the prospect’s problem.
Then, a “hold-back” device, or premium of high value, can be offered in exchange for the chance to discuss the opportunity at a meeting. Bring that gift to the meeting. Don't worry — he offers lots of resources to find the right one.
The last paragraph should ask the recipient to take the call, and also be succinct in this task as well.
Your signature should include elements that enhance your standing or VIP profile, to put you on the level of your C-level target. Again, Heinecke helps out with an entire chapter on how to make over your status.
Besides using a P.S. to quickly restate the reason for the meeting request, Heinecke’s last recommendation for the letter is crucial: use a jargon-free, conversational tone to establish an emotional connection with the prospect.
This is in line with the whole objective of the book: to use honesty and openness to begin new relationships on a human level and provide real, ongoing value to the prospect while producing impressive sales and partnerships.