BlogHer U: Prospecting -- Free and Low-Cost Tools to Find Your Targets with Monique Maestas-Gower

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Prospecting: Free and Low-Cost Tools to Find Your Targets
Monique Maestas-Gower, Account Executive, BlogHer

Before I was a sales person I was a sales planner, and I prospected a lot, trying to diversify our client base. Before BlogHer I was prospecting for a very new startup so I was looking for influencers and investors. Those are all different but share some strategies.

Prospecting is not panning for gold -- it's passive, simple and you have one tool.

It's more like fly fishing -- you have a lot of tools; you need to put a lot of time behind it.

Approach
Combine tools and skills to optimize response rates. Response = results
Persistence + determination = HUSTLE. Prospecting can be defeating, so keep at it until you get results.
Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Take the risks, you can only go up.

Keys to success
1) Attitude. Stay positive.
2) Be open-minded. Your blog is not one-dimensional and neither are you. Try lots of approaches.
3) Dedicate time daily.
4) Know your audience. Do your due diligence to make sure you have the right fit.

Define your targets
1) Describe your blog as a person. Who is she?
2) Keep in mind what interests your readers. What type of content performs best? Photos? Videos?
3) Think outside the box. Be broad -- it's easy to narrow later. You're sending out dozens and dozens of emails so keep going.

Newsletters & online publications
- You have the verticals you want to reach, now how do you find ideas for contacts?
- TechCrunch and Mashable - great for tech
- Across the board - AdAge, MediaPost - digital marketing trends, tells you who works on accounts
- CrunchBase newsletter - small business sector every morning, who has received funding for what, great inside knowledge
- Company blogs

Competitive intelligence
There's nothing wrong with knowing your competitors. You want to know what they're doing!
- Be familiar with the space you're working in
- Leverage brands working with similar bloggers
- Don't limit yourself to only those brands -- look at those brands' competitors too!

Networking & events
- #1 goal - get your name in the marketplace
- Establish yourself as an expert in the field
- Word of mouth recommendations and intros are gold
- Follow up! Connect on LinkedIn, send emails, keep them thinking about you

Finding the right contacts
- Devote the most of your time here
- Be prepared to look everywhere
- Different company to company
- Tools
      o Company website
      o PR, BusinessWire
      o LinkedIn Premium
      o Data.com
           § 125/month/user
           § Free version at connect.data.com
      o Hoovers
           § Custom packages

Organization
- Keep track of whom you have connected with and when
- Implement processes and tools early on
- Take advantage of free tiles
- Tools
      o Salesforce
           § 5/month/user/billed annually
      o Zoho
           § Free trial
      o Sugar CRM
           § 35/month/user/billed annually

Pre-sales pitch
- Keep it fresh & personal -- answer who, what why
      o Form letter can be your foundation
- Know the brand's background, personalize
- Leave them wanting more -> increases response rate
- Follow up, ask questions, learn from any response.
      o Learn from the no -- if they reach out to actually say no, there was something there that interested them. See if you can get an answer why. Could be timing, you could follow up in 6 months.

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