Peak SBC, LLC  



by Mark Smalley

1) Understand the advertiser's user

We need to know the advertiser's buyer or user better than they do.

If you publish an email newsletter on horse breeding the first thing you'll need to do is identify the top "A" advertising prospects.

An "A" prospect would be any company that's already advertising in other similar email newsletters or publications.

These "A" prospects might include prestigious breeding farms, horse brokers or auctioneers. "A" prospects may also include horse training facilities, horse tracks or even stables.

These prospective advertisers need to reach buyers.

A horse-breeding farm may be looking for new horse buyers or investors. A horse broker may be looking for horse buyers. A racetrack syndicate may be looking for new partners, publicity or even high-end gamblers.

So when you approach these companies to purchase advertising you need to know that YOUR READERS are the people who want their stuff.

That's what the structured sales approach to advertising is all about! Know the market!

2) Understand the advertiser's competition

It's hard to sell advertising if we don't understand the advertiser's competition.

One of the ways to locate top competitors for Fortune 2000 type companies is with

When you search for a company in their database it'll display 4 or 5 of the company's top competitors.

What's more, Google ( is another great source for locating competitors. Enter the company name and the word "competitors" next to it, or the name of two companies that are competitors. You'll be amazed how well this works at locating their competition.

If you've already established a relationship with a company you could ask them who their competition is. They'll usually tell you.

We need to know why the competition keeps the marketing guys up at night and then use this to our advantage.

3) Assume the risk and guarantee results

Most advertising is a joke. I mean this from an advertiser's point of view. How many publications are willing to assume the risk of an ad and guarantee results?

But things are changing at the speed of light. Publishers may dislike CPA deals but they better guarantee response rates or they'll be out of business.

After the recent dot com slaughter thousands of companies went to a CPA (cost per action or acquisition model).

Most of the time these dying companies assigned young business development directors with the task of obtaining "lots of customers and affiliates" without cost.

The business development guys would say, "We only do CPA deals."

I could tell that most of these companies had only a few months of life left before they hit bottom because they relied too heavily on CPA type deals.

An irate business development guy once told me, "We're a multi-million dollar company with no debt and enough cash for two years."

The reason he said this is because that is what the CEO told everyone to say. Well, this particular company went bankrupt.   Amazingly, most of the cash went into the CEO's pocket. There are numerous legal proceedings against the company.

There is another side of the CPA deal though. We need to be willing to assume part of the risk for the advertiser and guarantee results.

If an advertiser is willing to assume part of the risk by sending a check that clears I'll bend over backwards for him.

On top of that, I'll always guarantee a minimum response from our subscribers. If we fail to meet the minimum response rate we'll continue to run their promotion until it's achieved.

This approach has been wildly successful with advertisers.

4) Become an expert on your reader's needs

What does a small business owner really need?

What are IT Project Directors really looking for?

What does an Internet marketer really want?

What would a Java programmer like to have?

We need to become experts on our readers. We can do that by asking our readers questions and by reading the same publications they do.

Print publishers of the 20th century would ask subscribers to fill out a "bingo card." The notion was by answering these questions (usually 50 or so) the publisher would really get to know their readers.

Yeah right.

Years ago when I was selling advertising for a high tech print publication I got a hold of the names and telephone numbers of about 20 subscribers. I called everyone on the list. 

Much to my surprise (and the publisher's when I showed him my findings) I learned that only three people out of twenty ever heard of the publication! On top of that, of the three people that did recognize the name of the magazine only one liked it! 

The "bingo cards" are a sham!

What's more, if you ask someone to tell you how much they make each year and you give them multiple choices ranging from $45,000 to $120,000. How many do you think are going to say they make $45,000?

The answer is none.

So the best way to get to know your readers is to send them a personal email from the publisher. If you send just 10f these personal emails (not autoresponders!) you'll begin to be an expert on your readers.


Mark Smalley is the author of "Formulas that Guarantee
Advertising Sales." To find out how to close a $51,478 advertising deal over the Internet -- without any phone calls, lunch meetings, presentations or web conferencing, just click here:

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