The success of your business—of any business—is the ability to give customers what they need or want.

    Continued success is the ability to continue to give customers what they need and want.

    That means you have to survey.

    Survey with Direct Mail

    Before we get into the indications of when you need to do a direct mail survey, let’s answer the question, “Why direct mail?”

    The answer is simple and well-documented: statistics prove it’s a far more effective way to communicate with customers than than email or other digital advertising methods:

    • 57% of people in a UK study said that direct mail created a more genuine relationship and made them feel more valued (than digital communications).
    • 60% of people in the same study said that direct mail created a more lasting impression.
    • A U.S. study found that direct mail generated a higher new customer rate—34% vs. 24% for email.
    • The Direct Marketing Association reports that direct mail averages a 3.4% response rate to existing customers, compared to 0.12% for email.

    This is backed up by scientific evidence: a 2015 study using brain imaging and eye tracking arrived at similar conclusions as the U.S. and UK studies.

    Now you know why to use direct mail. So let’s take a look at when.

    Signs You Need to Survey

    There are certain less-than-ideal circumstances that call for a survey. By being aware of them, you can move quickly to obtain the information from your customers to turn the situation around.

    And know this: a survey is not always a questionnaire. You can survey with a postcard, like this and your customers won’t even know they are being surveyed.

    Here are the four signs that you need to survey your customers:

    1. You have a lot of negative reviews. Sites like Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and others have given consumers a way to publicly celebrate or condemn a business. The solution is a customer satisfaction survey, which gives your customers an opportunity to communicate directly to you rather than resorting to a third party platform that can damage your reputation.
    1. Your sales figures are slumping. Your reviews may be great but down-sliding numbers is a more important datum to take note of. Survey your customers. Tell them about your product or service. Ask them if they know about it, why they would/wouldn’t buy it, if there is a particular objection to it or how they think it could be improved.
    1. You’re guessing or assuming what customers want. You either know or you don’t and your “know” has to be based on current, reliable data—not information from a few years back, gathered from a sketchy source. So don’t go off and launch another Ford Edsel. (Google it if you don’t know what we’re referring to.) Survey first.
    1. Your customers are going to your competitor. You can largely prevent this from happening if you send customer satisfaction surveys. That way, you will quickly know if there is something your customers want that they are not getting. And you can provide it before they go off looking for someone else to do the job. 

    The Wrap

    When things are not going well, don’t freak out. Don’t cave in. Don’t quit. Don’t make rash decisions. Instead, survey. Then look at what you customers are telling you and act on it.

    And do it with direct mail because it’s more appreciated and more effective than email.

     

    At www.prospectsplus.com/pei we regularly survey our customers, so we can provide the products and services they want, like a platform where you can design and mail postcards, right from your computer.

    For customers who tell us they don’t have time or design skills, we say to call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109. They design bright, effective postcards and mail them to prospects who want what you’re selling.

      We’ve noticed a disturbing trend over the last couple years. It’s the “Why your _____ sucks” trend. You see it in titles of supposedly helpful articles, blogs and videos: “Why your marketing sucks,” “Why your ‘great idea’ actually sucks,” “Why your metabolism is slow and how to fix it,” and on and on. It was even in the title of the 2005 book Why Your Life Sucks.

      Maybe these things are actually helpful but the use of “sucks” is too much of a put-down for us. So, instead of implying that anyone here is a loser, we’re going to concentrate on what the successful postcard marketers are doing.

      1.) The postcards they send out don’t look like advertisements.

      It’s a marketing truism that people don’t like to be sold. When you send out a post card that looks like an advertisement, it can push people’s “sales aversion” button. That doesn’t stop some companies from sending out “salesy” postcards that look like ads. Some of them even work. But something that the pros do that can definitely improve your response rate is they design postcards to look like a note from a friend. You can go so far as to use casual “handwriting” fonts, graphic sticky notes and anything else that gives it a more friendly, less “ad” feel.

      2.) They “work with the Post Office” to deliver their pitch.

      The next time you get your mail, take note of how it comes out of the mailbox: address side up. This is the result of mail carriers sorting the mail. And because postcards have the address on the back, they come to you backside-up. For this reason, the pros start their pitch on the backside of the postcard. When you do this, you motivate your customer/prospect to turn the card over and read the rest.

      3.) They use only authentic testimonials.

      Pros always use testimonials from real customers. If you don’t have any yet, start asking your customers for them—and the more authentic, the better. They shouldn’t be long but should contain the actual results the customer achieved. In B2B, the ideal testimonial would be from someone that your prospects can look for and find online—either their company website or social media. In B2C, the customer’s real name or initials and their actual city and state are usually enough.

      4.) They give people an easy-to-remember URL.

      While, it’s likely that a prospect is going to go from their mailbox to their computer and look you up from the postcard you sent, it’s more likely that you will come to mind the next time they are online (and don’t have your postcard handy). The pros know this, so they always put a relevant and memorable URL on the card. Rather than directing people to www.yourcompanyname.com/promotions/get-a-great-deal.htm, create a new landing page like www.GreatDeal.com.

      5.) They try to open, rather than close.

      Marketing pros know better than to try and close a sale with a postcard. Rather, they use it open the sales cycle. You can do this by putting copy on your card that intrigues the prospect, develops their interest, and moves them to make the next move. For instance, your postcard could say “Buy two months of Service X, get the third free” (close) or “Find out how to get a month of Service X for free.”

      That’s five things that marketing pros do to get professional results. Try just one of them and see what it does for your results.

      Log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei to produce professional-looking postcards (using your own design or our customizable templates) and fully targeted mailing lists. Then mail them out…all with a few mouse clicks.

      Or, if you want, you can call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and tell our design and marketing pros what you need. They create great-looking, high-response postcards all day long and help with list-building and mailing services too.

        There is a lot of information on the Internet for businesses looking to improve their marketing results. Sometimes it can make marketing seem like a deadly serious undertaking, best left to the experts.

        We’d like to put you a bit more at ease on the topic, so consider this: If you’re doing any kind of direct mail marketing, give yourself a pat on the back. Any kind is better than none at all.

        But there’s always room for improvement, right?

        Here we have seven little goofs that reduce the effectiveness of your postcard marketing. Be aware of them and you’ll never make the same goof again (and your results will improve):

        1.) Not Proofreading the Copy

        Did you know that a single error in your copy may cost you half of your sales? This is based on a report of a UK lingerie company whose sales doubled after they found and corrected a spelling error in their marketing copy. Typos, such misplaced or omitted apostrophes (writing “it’s” when it should be “its”) reduce your credibility and the prospects or customer’s trust. Solution: Hire a proofreader (it’s not expensive) or get someone who is sufficiently literate to proofread all marketing copy and ensure it is free of errors.

        2.) No Headline or a Bad Headline

        The headline is largely what grabs a person’s attention. If that communication element is missing or is too long and dispersed, expect poor response. Solution: Always have a headline that sums up your offer or its major benefit to your customer. And keep it as short as possible. “Smile with Your Mouth Open” is much better headline than “Cosmetic Dentistry That Enables You to Smile Un-Self-Consciously.”

        3.) Not Choosing Complementary Images

        A good headline with a correspondingly good image will do more than a good headline and a carelessly chosen image. Solution: Choose images that are bright, easy to comprehend, and support the message in your headline. For example, a postcard from an automotive repair shop might say “10% Off All Repairs in July.” An image of a smiling, satisfied-looking person looking out their driver’s window would be much more effective than a shot of the outside of the shop.

        4.) Not Targeting the Right Prospects

        A lawn care company mailing their postcards to apartment dwellers can expect to have quiet phones. Solution: Your own mailing list, of current and past customers, is the most reliable avenue to response. If you haven’t got a list yet, or want to build up your existing one with targeted prospects, you can do so easily with services like USPS’ Every Door Direct Mail or Nielsen PRIZM.

        5.) Not Keeping It Simple

        The function of good postcard is to grab your prospect’s attention and increase their interest—quickly. It isn’t a place to be clever or long-winded, explaining everything you can do. Solution: Present one offer. Use simple, direct language—short words and short sentences. Employ bullet points to make it a faster read. Tell them what to do next (call to action).

        6.) Not Giving Complete Contact Information

        Sounds ridiculous that a business would neglect to put all their contact info (including company name) on a postcard but these things get overlooked enough times that it’s worth mentioning. Solution: Include your telephone, email, website, fax, and return address, as well as the name(s) of anyone the prospect should ask for, if applicable.

        7.) Not Repeating the Message

        It would be great if you could go to gym just once, pump some iron and stay ripped for the rest of your life, right? But that’s not how it works for your body or for your marketing. Repetition is the absolute key to sales and more sales. Solution: Prepare to send out your postcards to your list regularly. Repetition makes your company real and legitimate to your prospects. It establishes credibility.

        Keeping an eye on all of these small details will result in better postcards that get better response.

         

        Visit www.prospectsplus.com/pei for the most goof-proof postcard design experience. Use your own design or our customizable template for a totally professional look. Then mail it to a targeted list, right from your computer.

        Or you can call the experts at Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and tell them what you need. When it comes to designing and mailing highly targeted postcards for you, these guys are not goofing around.

          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 in October!
          Congratulations!

          Our $150 winner is Jack Wingate from All Choice Insurance who shared:

          “I have worked with Andy & Jim for a number of years on some smaller projects. This year I decided to set up some larger campaigns. The whole team took time to find out what i wanted to accomplish and set helped set up a campaign to best suit my needs! Their Professionalism is outstanding!”

          Thank you to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy! Simply share your ProspectsPLUS! experiences on our Google+ Page or Facebook Page and you’ll be automatically entered. We’ll give away $150 ProspectsPLUS! credit. Next drawing is the first week of October!

             

            When deciding how to spend your marketing dollars, it would help if you could get a little bit of reassurance that you’re doing the right thing—something (anything!) that would reduce the gamble and shows that one marketing channel is more effective than another, right?

            US and UK Studies

            In years past, a couple of studies have been published which found that people preferred direct mail over digital.

            The UK Royal Mail’s The Private Life of Mail analyzed the reasons for the resurgence of direct mail and why it still works. They concluded that though the internet has changed the face of marketing, “What digital media hasn’t changed is people. Giving, receiving and handling tangible objects remain deep and intuitive parts of the human experience.”

            Further, 57% of respondents in this study said that direct mail makes them feel more valued. It creates a more authentic relationship. Sixty percent said that, when done well, mail advertising make a last mental impression on the receiver, making it easier to recall later on.

            A similar study, Enhancing the Value of Mail: The Human Response, sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, found that postcards create a more substantial and enduring effect than digital.

            And get this: it found that 79% of postcard recipients act immediately, compared with only 45% of email recipients.

            For a lot of people, these two studies are sufficient proof that direct mail outperforms digital and thus is the obvious choice. But there are people who simple won’t be persuaded by anything less than actual scientific proof.

            Well, it exists. And we can thank the Canadians for it.

            Recent Canadian Study

            Canada Post partnered with a neuromarketing research and strategy firm to understand “the neuroscience behind the response-driving power of direct mail” for its reports, A Bias for Action.

            The study relied on brain imaging (analyzing changes in the patterns of brain waves) and eye-movement tracking to measure a person’s engagement with various kinds of both digital and direct mail.

            The results show that direct mail is easier to understand and remember than digital media. This is based on scientific evidence that shows that direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process and provides for a 70% greater degree of recall than for digital.

            Oh, but it gets even better: It found that direct mail has a 20% higher “motivation score” than digital. Motivation is “the feeling of wanting that drives urges and decision-making.” It’s a measurement that correlates with future behavior, such as buying decisions and action.

            And, if that were not enough, the findings also shows that people visually process direct mail quicker.

            So, the message gets in quicker, stays longer, and creates greater want and thus, action.

            Thank you, science!

             

            Speaking of science, great-looking, effective postcard campaigns needn’t be rocket science. At www.prospectsplus.com/pei you can design and mail one using your own design our one of our customizable postcard templates—all from the comfort of your laptop.

            Or, save time. Call the mad marketing scientists at Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109. They’ll design your card and even create a targeted list and mail it for you, too.

              Have you ever felt that people knew what you were thinking? Did you ever wish that a particular person actually could read your thoughts?

              We’re going to guess that you answered “yes” to at least one of those questions. It’s natural.

              But, as a business owner and a marketer, you can never expect or rely on people—customers or prospects—to read your mind.

              Anything you want them to know, you must tell them.

              Anything you want them to do, you must direct them to do it.

              The Expensive Visitor

              Imagine if you sold life insurance or did home renovations or any other kind of business that often required you to meet with prospects at their home. (Maybe you already do run a business like that.)

              Imagine you spend a half-hour or hour with your prospect, going over their current situation and the best solution for their concerns or problems. Then you just sit there, waiting for them to read your mind: “Buy this product or service right now.” You wait for them to say “Okay, let’s do it,” and reach for their checkbook or credit card.

              It’s not going to happen. Rather, the prospect is going to hesitate. They’re going to say “I’ll think about it” or give you some other objection. And you—a businessman, a salesperson, a marketer—will slowly or quickly become nothing more than an expensive visitor—expensive to you, in terms of time spent vs. sales (not) made.

              You don’t always have to personally visit a prospect or customer to become an expensive visitor. Sometimes, your postcard or other direct mail does it for you.

              Ask for the Sale

              As was famously said by hockey great Wayne Gretzky (or basketball legend Michael Jordan or others, depending on who you ask): “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

              If you don’t ask for the sale, it’s all but sure that you won’t get it. The “sale” isn’t necessarily a financial transaction but any action which you “sell” the person on—get them to agree to do.

              In the same way, when your postcard has no call to action (or a really weak one), it’s as good as not taking the shot. Your direct mail pieces end up being “expensive visitors.”

              Tips for a Strong Call to Action

              Regardless of what you are trying to get the customer/prospect to do (buy, call, log on, etc.), here are some things to keep in mind:

              1. Have a single call to action, rather than several. Choices invite questions and confusion. One call to action gives only one choice.
              1. Eliminate risk. Don’t expect people to purchase high-ticket items from a postcard. It’s too much risk. But you can get them call or log on for information or some lesser risk call to action.
              1. Keep it simple and short. Don’t use a lot of industry jargon in your call to action (or any of your copy). Use the kind of language that your target audience would use in relation to your product or service. Keep it to eight or nine words maximum, and a short subhead at the most.
              1. This is more of a design point. Ensure that your call to action text is of a color that contrasts sufficiently with the background colors of the card. Make sure it stands out.

               

              And while we’re on the topic of standing out, visit www.prospectsplus.com/pei where you can create and mail postcards that will really stand out in your prospect’s mailbox—use your own design or our custom templates.

              You can also call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 they’ll go right into action, designing your postcard, creating or expanding your mailing list with targeted prospects and even handling the mailing for you, too.

                If you are not getting the kind of response or ROI you want from your postcard campaigns, it’s an indication that you need to inject something powerful into your copy. Keep reading to find out what to add to give that extra “little kick” that causes customers to buy now.

                Offers

                In a recent post on this very blog, we talked about the reasons you must present offers to your customers. To capsulize that post, people who receive advertisements in the mail expect to be presented with an offer. The offer tells them what they are supposed to do. A percentage of them will do it.

                Contrast that with an advertisement from a business that contains no offer. You can expect that a percentage of them will do nothing. You could expect that percentage to be 100 percent.

                So, we’ve established that you must present an offer.

                Irresistible Offers

                In a less recent post on this blog, we discussed how to create offers that your customers can’t resist. It consists of five ways to keep making an offer better and better until the customer feels they would be foolish to not buy.

                If you routinely present offers, you’re doing great. If you routinely present irresistible offers, you’re ahead of the pack.

                Even More Irresistible

                Urgency is the “rocket fuel” you can inject into your offer to make even more irresistible…and that translates into more sales, now.

                You want to customer to want your offer but to push them over the edge—to get them to actually buy—you sometimes have to give them the idea that if they hesitate, they lose out.

                There is a multitude of ways to put urgency into your copy but they all fall under the category of creating the impression of scarcity. And that scarcity is usually expressed in one or both of two ways:

                • Specify a date in your copy when the offer ends. Then reiterate it throughout the copy: in your headline (“Get 50% Off for Three Days Only”), body copy (“…but you’ve got to act before Thursday.”) and in your call to action too (“Act now—off ends on 7/5/17.”)
                • Limited number. It’s scarcity of opportunity: “Only 12 spots available,” “Only five at this price,” “We’re looking to take on only three new clients…” and similar

                But if you say there’s a deadline or a limited amount of something, stick to it. To do otherwise, you run the risk of insulting a customer’s intelligence (and wrecking your reputation) when they discover your urgency is a sham.

                 

                Go to www.prospectsplus.com/pei whenever you have an urgent need to create and mail a new postcard campaign. Use your own design or our customizable postcard templates for every industry.

                Or, if you’ve got “limited time,” give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109. Tell us about your business and we’ll design, target, and mail postcards that get you more of it.

                  A recent GetResponse survey of B2B and B2C companies found that 58% intended to increase their email marketing spend in 2017.

                  It’s great news for online media agencies and email marketing services like GetResponse.

                  It’s also great news for companies that create and sell ad- and spam-blocking software, because the online advertising space is going to become even more crowded (Is that even possible?).

                  But the best news of all is for direct mail marketers because that space still provides sufficient room for you to be noticed.

                  In fact, bigger email marketing budgets or not, direct mail is alive and well and here’s five statistics that’ll make you feel even better about using it:

                  1. More People Trust It

                  Print in the Mix, a clearinghouse of media effectiveness and an advocate for the effectiveness of print marketing, found that 56% if consumers trust print marketing over any other marketing or advertising method. A U.S. Postal Service report said that people find direct mail more memorable and that it makes an emotional connection, among other things.

                  2. Even “Kids” Dig It

                  We tend to have fixed ideas about the younger generation (19 to 36 years old), such as that they are device-dependent. But the fact is that they value direct mail. According to Compu-Mail, 73 percent of millennials use coupons they received in direct mail to make purchases. Ninety percent of them would prefer to receive continuing promotions by postal mail. And 92 percent said that their purchase decisions were affected by direct mail, whereas only 78 percent were included by digital.

                  3. Response Rate 

                  A recent Direct Marketing Association (DMA) report showed that direct mail gets an average 3.7 percent response rate for marketers mailing to their own lists. Marketing to prospect lists produces a 1 percent response rate. But response rate is meaningless without knowing ROI, right? (Keep reading.) 

                  4. Return on Investment (ROI)

                  A 2016 InfoTrends survey found that 62 percent of people who received direct mail over the previous three months made a purchase. DMA found that the average ROI for a well-targeted direct mail campaign is between 18 and 20 percent.

                  5. The Cost of Acquiring a Customer

                  When it comes to the cost-per-acquisition (CPA), direct mail, at $19, beats most digital advertising methods: Internet display ads have a CPA of between $41 and $50 and paid search runs from $21 to $30.

                   

                  All revved up right now about direct mail? Go to www.prospectsplus.com/pei, design your next postcard (with our pro templates or your own design) and reach an even larger pool of ideal customers with our data sets and mailing services.

                  Or, you could call the marketing pros at Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109. They’ll handle the design and create a custom data approach that will bring a higher response and ROI.

                    Every topic has its basics. These are the factors that don’t change, no matter how sophisticated a topic becomes (or is made to appear).

                    Example: Good health is a matter of sensible diet, hydration, sufficient sleep, and regular exercise. There are plenty of exotic vitamins and supplements, exercise regimens, programs and equipment you can spend a lot of money on too…but none is a replacement for the basics of eating right, drinking plenty of water, sleeping at night, and exercising a few times a week.

                    An example that might have more meaning to you is your marketing. No matter if you market online or off—whether you use postcards, Facebook ads, or roadside billboards—success or failure is based on the never-changing basic of the 15 words.

                    Have we made this mysterious enough yet?

                     

                    It’s No Mystery

                    We’re talking about your postcard’s headline.

                    Like the importance of sleep and exercise to your personal vitality, the headline on your postcard is the key to your business’ vitality.

                    A great headline is the doorway that your prospects willingly step through to find out more about your product or service. When the headline is weak, not well thought-out, they keep walking (past your door).

                    So those first 15 words are more important than all the other copy on your postcard or other direct mail piece.

                    Writing effective headlines has been made by some to seem complicated. True, the more you do it, the better and faster you get but headlines have their basics too. And if you know them and keep them in mind when you write your headlines, you will do better than if you just “wing it.”

                     

                    Headline Basics

                    Though some experts will tell you that an effective headline contains four, five, or more factors, we have found that you can do quite well if you just pay attention to three:

                    1. Benefit

                    Ask yourself “Why would a prospect or customer walk through my door?”

                    Is it because they have some time to kill? No. Is it because they feel obligated, since you sent them such a lovely postcard? Nope. It’s because they get the idea—embodied in your headline—that there is something there that will benefit them in some way, such as:

                    • Make their life easier
                    • Make them feel more secure
                    • Make them more attractive
                    • Save them money
                    • etc., etc.

                    So, state it, hint at it, promise it, but make sure it’s in your headline.

                    2. Curiosity

                    Look at the headline of this article: “The 15 Words That Determine Screaming Postcard Success.”

                    The benefit is pretty obvious: screaming success with your postcard promotions. (I want that!)  The curiosity factor? It’s “The 15 Words,” because it makes the reader wonder, “What are those 15 words?” and they will continue reading to find out.

                    Often, with postcard, a strong benefit will be enough to get people to walk through the door.

                    But sometimes you may need more. That’s when you should inject some curiosity.

                    3. Brevity

                    We could have called this article “The 15 Words You Need to Know About That Can Make All the Difference in Whether Your Postcard Campaigns Succeed or Fail.”

                    That’s 22 words. Our actual title is a mere eight words.

                    So 15 words is the absolute maximum but if you can transmit benefit (and curiosity, if needed) in 12 words, or nine, or fewer, you will give your postcard even more persuasive power.

                     

                    Here’s a few short words about www.prospectsplus.com/pei, where you can log on and design professional-looking cards and mail them right from your desktop.

                    Or, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and we’ll handle the design and mailing and you can relax and get ready for the screaming (success) to start.

                      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 in September!
                      Congratulations!

                      Our $500 winner is Tony Milen from Clear Sunset Car Wash who shared:

                      “I believe that Opportunity Knocks is the most professional marketing company I have ever dealt with. Their efficiency and quality is second to none. My “New Move In” mailer program which they print, manage and mail is giving me a 10% response rate month after month which is exceptional.”
                      – Tony Milen president, Clear Sunset Car Wash.

                       

                      Thank you to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy! Simply share your ProspectsPLUS! experience on our Google+ Page or Facebook Page and you’ll be automatically entered. We’ll give away $150 ProspectsPLUS! credit. Next drawing is the first week of September!