Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Hacking the lead-gen algorithms: why we gifted $126 in our brochure 

by Andy Daniluc, Creative Director of Heraldist

In a world where cold-calling is now even more annoying than advertising, standing out has become an art. While we get bombarded and ignore requests via email or LinkedIn on a daily basis, we sometimes can’t help but appreciate the effort of a well-written, personalised message that may even lead us to believe that the person writing it knows about our needs – and has found a way to address them. 

The reality is that the odds of starting a new business relationship with a stranger have plummeted since the pandemic, as most people have embraced and extended that social distancing rule to the point where they feel reluctant to chat with people they’ve never met before. 

To adapt, we need to rethink our approach, improve our icebreakers and storytelling skills, and flex our creative muscles to stand out. On top of this, we need to get our hands even deeper into our pockets to get our messages in front of the right people. 

According to recent research, it costs $126 to get someone to download and maybe go through your PDF credentials. 

When Heraldist’s strategy department shared this with the wider team, we all went “Wow!”. “That’s 25 Big Macs or 18 months of Netflix.” 

Then someone said, “What if we don’t spend that money and just send it to a potential client?” – and that’s when the ball started rolling. 

“Yeah, and they can do whatever they want with it. It’s like a gift card.” 

“Or a bribe.” 

“It’s not a bribe, we just skip the middleman.” 

“Money in an envelope? Feels a bit tacky.” 

“You will never know how it feels because you will never get your hands on one.” 

“Yes… but we can ask them how they feel about it.” 

And just like that, “The $126 Brochure” became Heraldist’s cold call. A conversation starter. A hack. A gift. A foot in the door. 

To test it out, we put together a list of startup decision-makers (our target audience) and sent it out. While we’re waiting to see if we get any feedback or ROI, we also shared the idea with the world and instantly got flooded by reactions and credentials requests. 

Did we know it was going to work? Of course not. But historically, whenever you cause disruption or come up with an entertaining twist or conversation starter, odds are that it will get talked about. 

It’s the same with chat-up lines. If we keep on going “So, do you come here often?”, the only reaction we’ll get is an eye roll. But as soon as we get creative (apologies in advance for the lack of a more trending topic) and go with something like “Hey, do you know how much a polar bear weighs? Enough to break the ice.” – we might just steal a smile. And a piece of new business to go with it.