If you’re anything like me, the holidays are a special time for you.  They can bring so much joy and togetherness and create memories you’ll remember for a long time.  Family, friends, new experiences and old traditions seem to blend seamlessly.  The last quarter of the year can be both magical and hectic, but it is a time of year many, many people look forward to.

    The end of the year is also a fantastic time to take a beat and do something nice for your clients – and, in turn, for your business.

    There are three things I highly suggest you do to keep clients motivated, to keep them interested in your brand and services, and to broaden your circle of influence as you move into the next year. (NOTE: I’m speaking of the calendar year, running from January to December; not necessarily a fiscal year, as defined by you or your accounting practices.)

    Say Thank You

    It might be strange to say that, but those two little words, ‘Thank You’, are extremely impactful.  How many times have you done something for someone (perhaps you held a door open or let someone into traffic) and they didn’t say thank you?

    That kind of thing irritates me.

    Saying thank you to clients can show you’re respectful of their decision to rely on you for your products and/or services.  And it says that you appreciate them spending their hard-earned money with you.  It speaks volumes toward your character.  And when you say thank you out of the blue, like on a year-end mailing letting them know you appreciate them and their business, it goes a long way toward something called the 3/7/21 principle we’ll talk about in a later post.

    Stay Top of Mind

    When you’re looking for a product or service, or even just a place to go to dinner with your spouse or significant other, the most powerful tool you rely upon is: Recall.  Familiar names and familiar experiences (whether positive or negative), are going to help you instantly create a list of potentials.  Make sure your name is on that list.

    Beginning even before Thanksgiving these days, mailboxes are deluged with the hoard of cards from friends and family, the endless advertisements offering crazy sales, and the flurry of people you’ve never heard of offering you a fantastic ‘first-time’ offer on something you might not need, and don’t yet know you can trust.

    They’ve used you before, and they had a fantastic result.  Remind them of that.  Help them by bolstering their own powers of recall.  The next time they need what you’re selling, your name will already be on their mental list.

    And that’s one more step toward repeat business.

    Ask for Their Referrals, Not for Their Business

    I don’t know who coined the phrase, “Remember to ask for the business.”  I think it has its place in a lot of areas.  But sometimes I think it’s better to ask for something else.

    Stick with me on this one.

    I’ve already said thank you for your business in my mailing.  And I’m hoping that a great mailing is going to help you keep me on the tip of your tongue for future business.  But what I also want is for you to tell other people about me.  It’s not a request you’re making of them, but more of a friendly call to action.

    “If you know anyone who could benefit from the same kind of wonderful relationship you have with [insert company name], make sure they tell me you sent them over.  We’ll take great care of them, too.”


    • You’ve said thanks;
    • And by doing so you’ve potentially vaulted your company onto their Memory Wall for their next project;
    • You’ve committed to ‘especially’ remembering your client, and you’ve given their friends/peers permission to name drop when they reach out for their own needs.

    The subliminal messaging is that of doing a favor both for yourself (client referring business to you), and for the client (I’ll remember and potentially reward you for the referral), while never having directly expressed any of that.


    Ready to say thank you? We have two ways to help you say thank you this holiday season.

    ProspectsPLUS! online platform at www.prospectsplus.com/pei, where you’ll find easy-to-use tools to design and print your postcard and target new prospects too.

    Or, if your current reality is “not time for that,” then give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109, and turn it over to us. We’ve helped tens of thousands of small businesses in nearly every industry to get great results. Tell us what you need; we can help.

      Wow! Thank you to all our amazing contestants this past month!
      We had some terrific entries – and we thank you all so much for sharing your ProspectsPLUS! and Opportunity Knocks experiences!

      Our November $150 winner is Marva Don Card who shared:

      “Marketing is a funny thing, you wonder am I spending my hard earned dollars in the right way? Andy created a beautiful postcard mailer and this particular client kept my postcard literally for 5 years! Called me when she was ready to remodel and furnish her entire home! Thank you Andy and Opportunity Knocks!”


      Thank you Marva Don and to everyone who entered! We’d appreciate hearing about your experiences on our Opportunity Knocks Facebook Page, or our ProspectsPLUS! Facebook Page. It really helps other customers feel more comfortable with our service.

        Don’t we all wish we’d invested heavily in Yahoo! back in 1994? Of course we do, even if they did ultimately lose the market to Google. But in those early days, people who could grasp the potential of the internet invested heavily in Yahoo! and ended up sitting mighty prettily.

        And there were plenty of people who looked at the web and didn’t see the potential or the amount of opportunity. They didn’t go all in. And they didn’t have the payday.

        As a marketer, you have a similar opportunity today, in form of virtual technologies such as augmented reality, which look to be the next big wave in direct marketing (Some people think it already is).

        Will you roll your eyes and conclude that it’s a fad and thus a waste of time? Or will you, as a responsible professional, take a closer look at this technology, which is already widely in use, and see how you can leverage it to keep your business growing?

        To help you make that decision, here are the various kinds of augmented and virtual realities for marketing purposes.

        QR Codes

        The granddaddy of them all, the QR (“Quick Response”) code was designed in 1994 for use in the Japanese auto industry. The QR is similar to the bar codes you see on products but it’s got a greater storage capacity than a standard bar code. That capacity means it can hold more information about whatever product the QR is attached to. Today, you see QR codes on everything from magazine ads to apartment rental signs.

        After downloading a QR code reader app to your smart phone (there are many free apps available), you can use your phone to scan the code, which acts as a hyperlink, taking you to a website or page where you can learn more about the product or service.

        Augmented Reality (AR)

        AR has also been around for a few decades but only fairly recently has it been used for marketing applications. Similar to the QR, AR requires users to download an app to their smartphone. Then, by scanning the AR code (which is embedded in the image on, for instance, a postcard), the user is taken to visual content on the web which can look as if it’s popping right off the surface of the direct mail piece. This is especially effective for entertainment and travel services, where people customarily must see to believe.

        It can also be used interactively, on the web, to “try on a dress” or a new pair of glasses, or the see what a new floor or kitchen cabinets might look like in your home.

        Virtual Reality (VR)

        Where AR adds more content to what you’re already seeing, virtual reality is a more immersive experience, requiring the use of a VR headset, which enables the consumer to have complete extended sight and sound experiences. VR takes them where you, the marketer, want to take them. As the use of VR headsets becomes more common, more marketers will exploit VR to promote their offers. Right how, you’re ahead of the curve, and may even be poised to take advantage of VR.

        Perhaps you’re already thinking of ways you can pair direct mail with these new marketing realities.

        Bring your next postcard campaign to reality right from your laptop: log on to ProspectsPLUS! online platform at www.prospectsplus.com/pei, where you’ll find easy-to-use tools to design and print your postcard and target new prospects too.

        Or, if your current reality is “not time for that,” then give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109, and turn it over to us. We’ve helped tens of thousands of small businesses in nearly every industry to get great results. Tell us what you need; we can help.

          It’s been said that there are three sides to any story: your side, my side, and the truth.

          In the world of direct mail marketing, the proponents of digital marketing rejoice upon the assertion that direct mail is declining.

          And they’re right.

          On the other side, the champions of direct mail report that email is on the decline.

          And they’re right too.

          (Both sides are right? How can that be?)

          Then there’s the truth, which is that email actually is on the decline. This is backed up by statistics.

          For instance, the marketing consultancy Marketprofs found that while 44% of consumers recall a brand after getting their email, 75% recall a brand after seeing that brand’s direct mail piece.

          The biggest reason for this is in-box overwhelm caused by spam email. More than 74 trillion marketing emails are sent annually. We’d even bet you know someone who has abandoned an email account due to the amount of spam they were receiving.

          This flood of digital marketing messages has rendered email less effective. Hence email, though sent more, is actually on the decline in terms of results.

          To provide some contrast, marketers send out about 14 billion direct mail pieces annually. Though minuscule in volume compared to email, that constant flood of email has caused direct mail to become novel, just as email was novel 15 or 20 year ago.

          So direct mail is more welcomed by people right now. According to the U.S. Post Office, nearly 70% of Americans feel that direct mail is more tangible and personal than email. And where the average read time of a marketing email is two seconds, the Post Office found that people spend an average of 30 minutes reading what they receive in their mailboxes.

          What’s more, according to the Direct Marketing Association, postcards are the most-read type of direct mail piece, with 56% of them read by recipients. And perhaps due to the novelty factor, 79% of people respond immediately to direct mail marketing, compared to only 45% of people who click through on the emails they receive.

          And what about the future? Who knows? Maybe there’s something coming that’s going to cast a dark shadow on both email and direct mail. But for time being, direct mail is what’s resonating with people and it’s what’s getting most of the response.

          So if you’re a wise marketer…


          Get your next postcard out to your customers and prospects right now, with ProspectsPLUS! online design, print, and mailing platform. Log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei and upload your design or try our customizable templates to create response-driving campaigns.

          Or, if you’d rather turn it over to the experts, give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109. Tell one of our design & marketing brains about your industry, your customers, and your marketing goals and they’ll come back with a postcard campaign that sells.

            Wow! Thank you to all our amazing contestants this past month!
            We had some terrific entries – and we thank you all so much for sharing your ProspectsPLUS! and Opportunity Knocks experiences! If your name wasn’t drawn – no worries! We’ll choose another winner next month!

            Our October $500 winner is Janet Guerriero from Timeline Design who shared:

            “I cannot say enough how great Andy and Christian are to work with. As a marketing professional for over 12 years, there are very few vendors I can say I’ve had the pleasure working with, and Opportunity Knocks is one of them. Their team is detailed, communicative and extremely organized. Their integrated PURL direct mail with landing pages has worked great for our business, and their pricing is very reasonable.”


            Thank you Janet and to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy! Simply share your experiences on our ProspectsPLUS! Facebook Page, or our Opportunity Knocks Facebook Page and you’ll be automatically entered. The drawing is the first week of December!

              While growth is a necessary goal, concentration on the acquisition of new customers alone probably won’t sustain any business. Especially as the holiday season rolls in and distractions are everywhere.

              So, maybe you should try something else at this point in the year.

              Sure, you can put some energy into acquiring new customers but you’ll get a bigger payback from the marketing actions you take on your existing customers.

              This includes your inactive customers as well (Stick around; we’ll show you how).

              And the holidays are the best time (and excuse) to execute this strategy.


              The Shortest Route to Your Next Sale

              Your existing customers—the ones who have already spent money with you—are your most fruitful source of future sales. The stats look something like this:

              • Probability of selling to a new prospect: 5-20%
              • Probability of selling to an existing customer: 60-70%

              So who does it make the most sense to spend your marketing dollars on? Without a doubt, it’s your existing customers.

              On top of that, it’s cheaper to market to them, since you’ve already acquired them. And It’s also easier because (a) having made a purchase from you, you know they are within your target audience and (b) you have a pretty good idea of the kind of offer they’ll respond to, so there’s less trial and error.

              Direct mail postcards are an excellent method of reactivating your “lost” or inactive customers, staying in touch with your active customers, and rewarding your best ones. It’s just a matter of segmenting your list and delivering a tailored message to each.


              Get Rediscovered By Your Lost Customers

              You probably have a list of inactive customers. It may stretch back several years. Contact them and directly acknowledge that you haven’t heard from them in a while. Ask them straight out if something has changed. “Dear Former Customer,” you might write. “Do you no longer want to receive our offers? Has something changed?”

              You could ask them why they went away. Was it poor service? Competitors’ lower price? Another reason? Find out what their objection was and tailor your future messages to handle that objection.

              If it was poor service, promise stellar service.

              If it was price, offer them a discount to come back.

              Continue to make offers that correspond to, and handle, the objection and you will win back those lost customers.


              Cement Active Customer Loyalty

              With your existing, active customers, the best way to generate more business is to add value. If you’re a service business, offer additional services. Add new or innovative services to your offer to help your customers succeed.

              If you sell products, create offers addition products that are complementary to your main offer.

              If your customers are other businesses, create offers that promise to help them scale up. Create mutual value.


              Reward Your Best Customers

              This one is the easiest, of course: Thank them for their loyalty and offer them something to reward that loyalty—a substantial discount, a free month—whatever would really make their day (without putting you out of business).


              So there are some suggestions for messaging approaches for the three customer segments: best, active, and inactive.

              It’s great to find new customers too, but past customers—inactive or not—are still your most fruitful source of income.


              Your source for high-quality, do-it-yourself direct mail postcards is ProspectsPLUS!’s online design, print, and mailing platform at www.prospectsplus.com/pei. Use our customizable design templates to create winning campaigns. Then build or upload a list and mail to it, right from your computer.

              Or, if design isn’t your thing, give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109 and talk to one our design and marketing pros about your customers and your sales dreams. They’ll create a postcard marketing campaign to make those dreams come true.

                For this week’s post, we are going to eliminate “the build” and get right to the point: the real money is in the follow up. And that follow up must be continual.

                If a band came on stage and let out a single beat—bop!—nobody would dance. Even worse, nobody would buy any of their t-shirts or other “merch.” It’s the repetition of the beat that gets people on their feet. And when they know and love your beat, they spend their money.

                So, if you want people to dance to your tune (purchase your product or service), you’ve got to mail out your postcard as if it were the pulse of music, over and over.

                Okay, now let’s turn the music down for minute.

                It’s a War Out There!

                The conventional definition of the word “campaign” is “a series of military operations intended to achieve a particular objective, confined to a particular area, or involving a specified type of fighting.”

                Without a “series of…operations” in mind, you may win a battle every now and then but not the war.

                A marketing campaign is not all that much different than a military campaign in terms of objectives. Mind you, you’re not seeking to destroy anything (except perhaps the competition) but campaigns are what win wars…and customers…and repeat business.

                If your competition is on top, you can be sure that they know how to conduct a campaign.

                A single postcard mailing is not a campaign. Continual follow up—repeat mailings—is a campaign.

                Fire off your postcards on a routine, continual basis and victory is yours.

                But That Costs Money…

                True, direct mail marketing costs money (not as much as you think) but here is yet another brilliant analogy to explain why it’s necessary:

                Coca-Cola tastes pretty good. (If Coke is not your thing, then substitute your favorite commercially-available beverage.) Do you think that their flavor alone could have put Coke, Budweiser or Starbucks where they are today?

                We doubt it.

                Without analyzing it too closely, we can say with great certainty that what made these products the giants that they are is their reality factor. Our general awareness of them is great. They are in every supermarket. Their ads are on TV, in print, and online. Everyone knows and uses these products, so they are real and legitimate to us.

                Whether consciously or subliminally, this all creates in us a feeling of trust. And we tend to spend our money on the things we trust. Compare this to the feeling you get when considering an “off brand” of product. Off-brands seem less real to us. They “can’t be as good as _____.” We don’t want to risk our money.

                Final Thought

                So, it’s not really about war but it IS about building up a high level of familiarity with your audience to where you’re real to them. It is only then that they trust you enough to give you their money.

                The more they receive your postcards, the more they will recognize your name. You will slowly become real and legitimate to them. Enough mailings and you reach the point where people think “everyone knows” who you are.

                When you don’t follow up, when you don’t carry out a real campaign, you are literally nobody to your prospects. And prospects don’t just cut checks to nobodies.

                Use continual follow up to make yourself real and you will start to enjoy the real money.


                Speaking of real, it’s real easy to get out the next postcard in your campaign with ProspectsPLUS! online design, print, and mailing platform at www.prospectsplus.com/pei. You’ll find customizable design templates, targeted list-creation tools and more, all from your desktop or laptop.

                But if you’re real busy, you might want to give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109 instead. Tell us about your customers and your campaign objective and we’ll design a postcard campaign that makes you real (and makes your competition real jealous).

                  Wow! Thank you to all our amazing contestants this past month!
                  We had some terrific entries – and we thank you all so much for sharing your ProspectsPLUS! and Opportunity Knocks experiences! If your name wasn’t drawn – no worries! We’ll choose another winner next month!

                  Our September $500 winner is Karlisa Smith Shultz from Clark’s Pools who shared:

                  “We have nothing but great things to say about Andy and the entire team at Opportunity Knocks. They’re extremely helpful and professional at all levels, and we have seen a trackable increase in our business as a direct result of the marketing they have done for us. Consequently, we have never hesitated to refer them to other small businesses with whom we interact. Opportunity Knocks works for us!”


                  Thank you Karlisa and to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy! Simply share your experiences on our ProspectsPLUS! Google+ or Facebook Page, or our Opportunity Knocks Google+ or Facebook Page and you’ll be automatically entered. The drawing is the first week of November!

                    Whenever you click on this blog, you get information on how to improve your postcard marketing.

                    But today, we’re not going to talk about what you’re doing wrong or right or how to get a greater ROI. Rather, we’re going to take a closer look at the postcard itself: where it came from, what it’s had to endure…some interesting history and back story.

                    You can always revisit any of our earlier posts here.

                    How Old Is the Postcard?

                    There’s no definite data on the birth of the postcard but the Smithsonian Institute (a reliable source of information) estimates that it developed from picture envelopes—mailing envelopes with an image printed on the front left side. This would have been 1850 or so.

                    During the Civil War years, printers on both sides of the conflict created a specialized kind of picture envelope: patriotic covers. These envelopes carried messages and/or illustrations of cannons, flags, political leaders, and the like, supporting the Confederate or Union cause.

                    Congress Gets In the Act

                    In February 1861, Congress enacted a law which enabled people to mail privately-printed cards. Not surprisingly, the same year, an American printer named John Charlton copyrighted and patented the idea for the postcard. Charlton’s business partner was a man named Hyman Lipman. “Lipman’s Postal Cards,” which sold from 1861 to 1872, were the first commercially available postcards and were completely blank: one side was for the address, the other side, for the message.

                    In 1872, Congress enacted another law which allowed for the government to produce postcards. Theirs were no different in appearance from privately-produced ones but they cost half as much to mail: one penny instead of two.

                    By the turn of the 20th Century, another new law allowed “private mailing cards” to be mailed at the same low government rate. These privately-produced cards could have an image on the front or, if not, a message could be written there. The back side was still only for the address.

                    Postcards’ Golden Age

                    The modern postcard—image on the front with a split back for both address and message—came about in 1907 through the work of the Universal Postal Union, a special agency of the United Nations which coordinates postal policies among member nations.

                    Improvements in printing technology positively affected all printed media and by 1939, postcards were being produced with a process called photochrome, which resulted in those bright, photo-like, but not-quite-realistic look we associate with vintage postcards.


                    The Smithsonian opines that presently, people purchase postcards as souvenirs, rather than as a quick way to communicate. They obviously are unaware of the hundreds of thousands of businesses that use postcards to communicate with customers and prospects.

                    Today’s postcard is still divided on the back but continuing improvements in inks and papers allow you to print any kind of graphics or images you can imagine (on both sides).


                    Fact is, people love to receive postcards. By logging on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei you can take the first step. Check our customizable templates (or bring your own design), create a targeted mailing list, a few clicks to mail and boom—make history!

                    Or, if your extra time is a thing of the past, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and have a quick chat with one of our marketing and design pros. They’ll handle everything for you, from design to mailing, so you can concentrate on becoming legendary.

                      We begin today’s post with a little poem:

                      Roses are red,

                      Violets are blue,

                      Marketing is hard.

                      I’m overwhelmed.

                      So much information….

                      (The sound of a quietly sobbing poet)


                      Does that remind you of anyone you know?


                      Complicated and Simple

                      There is no subject under the sun which can’t be reduced to its few essential principles.

                      On the other side of the card, there is no subject that can’t be made to appear complex and hopelessly beyond the grasp of all but a few (highly paid) industry “gurus.”

                      Direct mail marketing is a subject about which much has been written. Much advice has been offered and sold at premium prices (those gurus again). Everywhere you look for marketing advice, you find opinions and one expert’s opinion may be in conflict with another expert’s.

                      It’s easy, especially for the new marketer seeking advice to end up with an inbox jammed with emails and offers from this expert and that one, all reaching for your dollars, with a promise of a no-fail solution. This is usually followed by information overwhelm, thinking you’ve got to learn and master many technologies and concepts in order to pull off a successful marketing campaign.

                      Okay, stand up and stretch. It gets better from here.

                      Now let’s flip that marketing card back to the simple side. How simple can marketing be made? How about this simple: No matter how small your list is, no matter if you’re working out of your den, no matter this-or-that, just start.

                      I Can’t Just Start…Can I?

                      Probably everyone reading (or writing) this has at some time been guilty of waiting…until everything…was perfect…before they took action.

                      Well, the fact is, there is no such thing as “perfect” and the timing is never right to do things that you’re nervous about or afraid of. So, if you run your marketing (which is the lifeblood of your business) on this basis, you will never move forward—or upward.

                      But if you just start—mail out your first batch of postcards in spite of fear of other considerations—you’ve factually moved forward. You’ve reached some people. You’ve opened the door to leads. And you can turn those leads into sales.

                      By just starting this way, you will learn what works, so you can strengthen it, which will bring even better results.

                      Waiting is losing. Starting is winning.

                      Continuing is Winning-er

                      When actors stop making movies, they disappear from the pages of People magazine and then they fade from the public’s awareness. Movie fans find other more visible stars to put their attention on. Tom Cruise is one of—if not the—biggest Hollywood stars because he is continually making and promoting his movies (He didn’t just stop at Risky Business, and hope to sustain a huge career, right?).

                      In the same way, if you don’t routinely remind prospects and customers that you’re there, you fade from their awareness. Then, when they need the kind of service or product you sell, they will contact the company—your competition—that is “top of mind” with them.

                      So, it’s crucial to start but then it’s necessary to continue with routine marketing.

                      It’s an easy choice: get overwhelmed into paralysis by all the marketing experts out there, or just start.


                      There’s never been a simpler way to start marketing your business than by logging on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei. There you will find customizable postcard templates, as well as prospect targeting resources, and mailing services, all for you use, all from your computer. So simple.

                      Or, if want to start off with a bang, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and talk to our marketing and design pros. They know what works in your industry and will design a card that will get results and make it easy for you to continue marketing.