Post by Rob Minton
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When building my real estate company, I used one form of advertised to generate over 95% of all of my leads. The form of advertisement I used was the Advertorial advertisement. An advertorial advertisement is defined by The Free Dictionary as:

An advertisement promoting the interests or opinions of a corporate
sponsor, often presented in such a way as to resemble an editorial.

An advertorial is an advertisement that runs in your local newspaper. The goal is to make the advertisement look and read like a regular article in the newspaper. At the end of this special article, a free offer is made to the reader. The free offer could be a free report, free CD, free class, or a free book.

The purpose of the advertorial was to generate leads. These advertisements tend to cost a little more to run because they are larger in size than a classified or display advertisement. However, in most cases, they generate a larger number of leads. The higher cost is justified by the leads generated. In many months, I was able to hit my target lead generation goal of 400 leads from one, well placed, advertorial advertisement.

One of the problems a marketer has today with advertorials is that the newspaper forces you to make the advertisement look like an advertisement. Sometimes they require thick borders which scream advertisement. In addition, they sometimes require that you include "Paid Advertisement" on the top of your advertisement. These requirements typically kill response and ruin the advertorial advertisement. In many cases, the changes required eliminate advertorial advertisements from a marketer's arsenal.

In this blog post, I'll show you how to follow the rules imposed by your newspaper and still run your advertorial so that it still generates a ton of leads for you. Consider the following advertorial found in the USA Today:

Advertorial one

(click on the picture to increase the size)

I've only included part half of this advertisement. It is one awesome advertisement and there is a great deal for us to study.

The most important thing for you to see is that there are two advertisements combined together. The first advertisement is on the top. The second advertisement is underneath the thin line and has the headline "Free armored safes being doled out to public."

The newspaper has required this marketer to paste the words "Advertisement" along the top of the first advertisement in several places. In fact, I count the use of "Advertisement" in 5 different places. This would typically drive response down dramatically.

However, the top advertisement is really an article without any special offer. It includes a compelling photo and 7 safe places to save money when your worried about bank failures. The real advertisement is the second one offering the armored safe giveaway. It follows all of the rules of a great advertorial and includes a special free offer for readers.

The marketer used the top half of the advertisement to include a special article offering valuable content. This article was attached to the disclosure that this was an "Advertisement." This strategy allows the marketer to run their real advertorial without having having "Advertisement" plastered immediately above the advertisement. 

It's simply brilliant and it works.

I can safely say this strategy works because I've seen this advertisement many times. The marketer is tracking response to this advertisement through the use of a special "Free Claim Code."  They can tell exactly how many leads were generated from every single advertisement they run. When you see a marketer who tracks response run an advertisement multiple times, you'll know that the advertisement is profitable. They wouldn't re-run an advertisement that didn't work.

The strategy for you to consider would be to mimic this layout with your advertorial advertisements. Use the top part of the advertisement to include a short article featuring you as the author with your picture. This will help to solidify your expert positioning throughout the market. Or you can offer this space to a lender or another professional and have them help cover the cost of part of the advertisement.

Below this short article, feature your best pulling advertorial advertisement. I'll bet you'll see an increase in response.

One more thing…

There is also a very powerful indirect marketing lesson included in this advertorial. The lesson has a direct impact on you and your business. Can you find it?

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