I received an opportune email recently from a salesperson for a local TV station. As we all sit in lockdown because of the novel coronavirus outbreak, she sent me an unsolicited offer. She was just doing her job, marketing the station’s advertising. I could see her sitting at her kitchen table, pounding away on her laptop, alternating between the internet, where she was researching possible purchasers of her product, and her email, where she was crafting her sales pitches. Why was this well-timed? Was this an opportunity for me? If so, how?
Here’s what she said:
Subject: Divorce Rates Expected To Increase After Quarantine Lifts
Kelly Jones here with Spectrum and Bay News 9. I hope you are doing well and staying healthy. I just thought I would reach out to see if you and your team at Open Palm Law have heard any news about divorce rates increasing, due to the pandemic?
It’s definitely a very stressful time, so logically, there will, unfortunately, be couples who need mediation. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder, not 24/7 lockdown. With that said, it is the perfect time for your firm to advertise. Everyone is home right now, and watching the news A LOT. I’d love to chat more about some of the specials we are running for new advertisers, including free production, discounted rates, and signing bonuses.
Please let me know if you’d like to review a proposal, and I can email you over some options.
Know what my reaction was? Do you think I jumped on this offer? After all, with everyone stuck at home under quarantine, if I had had billboards, bus benches, sides of buses and the like, they’d be virtually worthless right now. So Kelly was right; radio and TV make a lot more sense right now than they usually do.
Or was this an opportunity for something else? I looked Kelly up. She’s a local girl who’s worked in advertising and media sales for 13 years, since graduating from The University of Tampa. She explains that she:
Help[s] businesses overcome marketing challenges, and reach company goals. It is my job to utilize the best in radio, digital, and events advertising, as well as social media, to deliver great results while building strong lasting relationships.
So, knowing Kelly as she has described herself, no, I did not jump on her offer. I’ve never been much into media advertising; it’s too expensive for my small shop. But, it did occur to me that I could help Kelly (or her employer) a lot more than she could help me. So, I focused on sharing why I could be valuable to Bay News 9, and why I was credible, my credentials, to see if I might catch her attention. Not all of my creds, of course, but enough of them to whet her appetite.
Basically, I offered Kelly a way to do me a favor and to make her bosses happy. Here was my immediate response:
Subject: Divorce Rates Expected To Increase
Kelly, excellent marketing on your part. Good for you. You should know, however, that, although I always offer mediation as a choice of process, I am known for the collaboration divorce work that I do, especially locally. See, e.g., the April/May 2020 edition of Tampa Magazine 2020 (as well as 2017, 2018, and 2019) Top Lawyer List.
That said, I don’t really need to advertise on TV as I can appear on a hosted news program instead. See my recent appearances in Sarasota, for example, here and here. In fact, I probably should offer to do that here, in Tampa, as well. Is there any interest in your newsroom for access to a divorce and paternity expert (40 years, OMG!) in the world of Coronavirus? I usually appear by Zoom or by Skype, although I prefer Zoom, and can host the appearance in order to make it happen.
Would you be interested in forwarding this email to the appropriate person? Or emailing me his or her contact info?
How did Kelly respond? Her reaction was gratifying. I had piqued her interest. She took a little time to reply, but the reason soon became clear. It was nearly 30 minutes later before she sent:
Thank you so much for the compliment and quick response. By mediation, I was actually referring to the collaborative divorce process. I used the wrong wording, I apologize, I know now they don’t mean the same thing.
I think it would be great to have you do a segment on Bay News 9! I can’t promise anything, but I will certainly forward your email to my News Team. If they are interested, they’ll reach out to you directly.
So there’s my second win; not only do I have a new media contact, but I’ve taught her that not all divorces have to be fought in the courtroom!
Now the door is open. What would you do next? Wait and see? Is that what you would advise me to do?
No; I believe in “proacting,” not reacting. Remember, I’d only given Kelly a taste of what I could offer. She still didn’t have any definite evidence that I could talk about “divorce during lockdown.” So here’s what I sent Kelly next.
It makes sense to share my latest blog posts, virus-related. See attached:
As we all wait this pandemic out, how can you still effectively market your services? Do you see opportunity all around you? If so, Carpe Diem! Use your down time successfully. Use this time to expand your virtual network; start by connecting with Kelly or me on Linkedin. And, if after reading this you’ve found yourself yearning to make the most out of your day, reserve an hour to watch the first half of my Zoom webinar Five Steps to Better Marketing. Here’s what one attorney had to say:
Thank you for a practical, informative and inspiring webinar today. I particularly appreciated how you demystified the “publish” piece. It can feel so intimidating given everything else we feel we have to do, but even I can dictate something in 12 minutes that can be polished later.
So much of what you said resonated with me, and I feel the way you do about not viewing ourselves as competitors. I wholeheartedly agree that “Your success is my success!” You not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk by freely sharing the materials you developed and honed over many years.