Whether you’ve just sent out your first postcard campaign or your hundredth, it’s likely that there’s room for improvement—maybe a little, maybe a lot—in your response. Though there is a ton of information available today about how to get better marketing results, the small business owner can feel as if he/she is in a cloud of confusion as how and where to start to improving their own results.

    Luckily, there isn’t a multitude of possibilities but rather just three specific areas you need to look at. Usually, it takes addressing just one of these areas to produce greater response.

    But before we address those three areas, let’s consider your marketing from the viewpoint of the prospect. It is estimated that the average person is exposed to (some would say “bombarded by”) thousands of marketing messages every day—so much so that they will ignore it for one or all of these reasons:

    1. It doesn’t address them by name but rather as “Dear Resident,” “Dear Neighbor,” “Dear Sir or Madam,” etc.
    2. It presents no benefit but only asks for the sale.
    3. There is no clear direction on what they should do.

    It’s these three oversights that make people cynical about marketing, waste your marketing efforts and wreck your response and ROI. So here’s three ways to avoid those oversights and create greater response:

    1.) First Names

    There is no sweeter sound than the sound of one’s own name. So address your prospect by their first name: “Hi, Bob,” “Dear Susan,” or “Howdy, Zeke.” When you call someone by their first name, it’s personal. You will have their attention. Calling someone by name on a postcard is not much different than it is when meeting people in person. When you call someone by name, they will be interested in finding out your name. And they will feel compelled to respond. And when they respond, well…you will have “response.” Using their name also helps them to remember your name. Try it.

    2.) Appeal to Prospect’s Self-Interest

    Let’s be blunt: when it comes to your marketing, the vast majority of prospects don’t care about the quality, speed, value, or price of your product or service. It’s the age-old marketing duality of features and benefits. Businesses and marketers are naturally more aware of their product—it’s specs and features. The prospect is largely aware of his own needs, problems, and dreams. So, once again, as a business, you’ve got to walk in the prospect’s shoes. Figure out what problem your product/service solves for them. Or what need it fills. Or what dream it fulfills. Once you’ve identified it, put in your headline. Expand upon it in your copy. Make sure the image on your postcard supports it.

    3.) Give a Clear Direction

    Your marketing should not be a puzzle. It should not be literature. It should not require the prospect to figure it out or interpret it. On the contrary, it should be totally obvious—and this is especially true of your call to action. You may present the juiciest, most desirable offer but if you don’t tell your prospect exactly how to get it—in large, prominent copy—few of them are going to take it upon themselves to figure it out. So if you want the prospect to call, tell them “Call now.” If you want them to bring the postcard into your shop to get a 20% discount, tell them in large type, “Bring This Card Today for 20% Off Your Next Order.” Also, make it as easy as possible for people to reach you by making your phone number, address, and or website URL easy to find.

     

    And while we’re talking about three things, you can design, print, and mail your next postcard campaign as easy as 1-2-3 by logging on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei. Use your own existing design or one of our custom templates, upload your mailing list or use our audience-targeting tools to produce a new list, with just a few mouse clicks.

    Or, save time and make it easy by calling Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109. (See? We know how to appeal to your self-interest.) Our design and marketing pros will produce a great looking, high response postcard for you, target it, and mail it too.

      The holiday season is more demanding of your customers’ attention than any other time of year, with the added social obligations and related distractions. In order to not get forgotten in the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years blur, smart businesses use the holidays to keep their names in front of their customers and prospects.

      Here are six rules to remember to get the most of your holiday marketing:

      1.) Make it Personal

      First and foremost, the purpose of sending postcards during the holidays is to deliver a holiday greeting and thus create a more personal relationship with your customer or prospect. While the front of the card will display your holiday message (“Seasons Greetings” or what have you), include a personal holiday message on the back, such as a thank you to your customers.

      2.) One Card, Two Jobs

      In addition to delivering your holiday greeting, you can also present a great holiday offer of the back. If you’re having a holiday open house or other event, include that information on the card as well.

       3.) Avoid Selling

      “Salesy” messages are unwelcome most any time of year, but especially so during the holiday season. A laid-back offer, such as a discount, is welcome but skip any loud, “buy now!” sales copy.

      4.) Thanksgiving, Veterans Day…Halloween?

      Smart businesses sent Christmas cards but the really smart ones also send on greetings on other holidays as well, including Thanksgiving, New Years Eve, Valentine’s Day—and did someone say Groundhog’s Day? Different holidays may be more appropriate and lend themselves to your particular business or message, so check and see what’s coming up.

      5.) Make It Fun

      Nothing communicates like humor, so let your hair down and show your personality. You can even contact us at 877-222-6010 for help on this, if you find you’re taking yourself too seriously. We’ll help you choose just the right images to tickle your customers’ funny bone and keep you top of mind.

      6.) Do It Sooner

      Because of the additional burden on the post office at holiday times, make sure to get your mailings out the door at least two weeks prior to the holiday. You can also shave off a lot of delivery time (up to 10 days in some cases) by sending your postcards first class instead of standard rate.

       

      You can get a jump on your holiday postcard campaigns by logging on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei, where you will find plenty of attractive and customizable holiday designs or upload your own. You can also handle the address and mailing, all from your computer.

      If you’re going to be busier than usual during the holidays give Opportunity Knocks a quick call at 1 (866) 319-7109 and have our design and marketing pros create a beautiful and memorable holiday postcard that will put your business at the top of your customers’ list.

        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 December!
        Congratulations!

        Our $150 winner is Matt Newcomb who shared:

        “Opportunity Knocks has been excellent for our marketing & advertising business!  It’s the perfect fit for what our business is looking to achieve when doing targeted blasts for our business and those of our clients.

        We’ve always had an excellent ROI when sending out marketing materials via Opportunity Knocks.  Their staff is always a pleasure to work with and get back to you almost immediately when working with them on data questions, artwork, etc.

        We will continue to work with Opportunity Knocks for years to come and highly recommend them to others!”

        Thank you 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. We’ll give away $150 credit. Next drawing is the first week of December!

          We know that some people reading this are thinking “Of course I know my brand image; I designed/developed/approved it!”

          Let’s clear this up right at the beginning: the way you present your company—your logo, your tagline, your philosophy and all the rest—is not your brand image but is your brand identity. It’s how you intend to be perceived.

          Brand image is a different thing: It’s how you actually are perceived by your customers, prospects, and general public.

          For instance, several years back, Comcast High-Speed Internet boasted of “The fastest speeds out there.” That was their brand identify and the big message of their campaign.  However, its brand image—the public perception of the company—was “worst company out there.” (Comcast was voted Worst Company in America in Consumerist magazine in 2010 and 2014.) In 2016, the company publicly declared that it was engaged in an all-out customer service overhaul.

          Their brand image did not align with their brand identity. They were taking action to repair their image.

          Your Customers Will Tell You

          To assume that your brand image is the same as your brand identity could be fatal. And if business is not as good as it once was or as good as you feel it could be, perhaps it’s time to have a look at this identity vs. image thing.

          It’s just two simple steps:

          • Take nothing for granted.
          • Ask your customers.

          We’ve noticed lately that that fast food restaurants and supermarkets have begun to elicit survey info from customers, They put a code number and a website on receipts and offer of free food or other inducement to log on and take the survey.

          Because this is a postcard marketing blog, we’re going to suggest that you could “talk” to your customers with a postcard, perhaps directing them to an online survey to answer a few questions. You could also must pick up the phone and call or email customers (and former customers) and ask them a few questions.

          Make sure to speak to a large enough percentage of them to produce statistically significant results.

          The answers you get might surprise you.

          What To Do with the Information

          As with any kind of survey, in speaking with a substantial number of customers, you will discover that for each question asked, one or a few answers will be most prevalent.

          What you discover may not be negative but may be different from what you expected. For instance, if you have a store, you may have assumed that your biggest selling point was that you’re open late. But in speaking with customers, you may discover that most of them rave about the friendly service.

          Or, you might discover the opposite…that people are bothered by slow service.

          In either case, you would apply this new information to your next postcard campaign, either fortifying the “friendly service” message or announcing that “we’ve addressed service issues and you’ll notice the difference” (but address and improve the situation before you promote it).

           

          You can start a conversation with your customers right now by logging on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei, where you can create a new postcard using your own design or our customizable professional templates, then address and mail it, all from your computer.

          If you would like some help with this, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109. We’ve helped plenty of businesses reconcile their brand identities and images, and reach larger and more satisfied audiences for their products and services.

            Can you say with certainty what kind of ROI you’re getting from your direct mail marketing efforts? If you said “yes,” what are you basing it on? And if “yes” was your answer, then we will assume that you’re tracking your results because…well, the only way you could be sure of your ROI is by tracking results.

            But for too many small business owners, “tracking results” equates to “number of postcards out,” and “number of leads/sales in.” Yet, if you looked closer, many of them would not be able to say for sure what motivated a particular incoming inquiry. Might’ve been the mailing. Might’ve been organic search or…. You get the point.

            So here’s what to do in order to get a tighter, more certain grip on your direct marketing ROI.

            1.) Write the ending first.

            Identify exactly what action you want your prospect to take in response to your direct mail piece. Do you want them to order? Join your Facebook group? Call you for a quote? If you know in advance what end you want, then you (a) know what your call to action will be and (b) you can track the success of the campaign. It becomes a matter of monitoring a particular kind of response, rather than just “response.”

            2.) Have a dedicated destination.

            If your call to action is “call now,” the card should bear a unique phone number so that you can tell which calls came from that mailing. If you’re directing people to a landing page, same thing; make the URL unique to that mailing. Unique promo codes and discount codes also fall under this “dedicated” idea.

            3.) Always be testing.

            Regardless of the size of your mailing, always mail at least two versions: the one that’s currently the most effective (“the control”) and another version (or versions) on which you’re testing some aspect of the design or copy, to see if you can make it even more effective. And for each design, refer back to #2—have a dedicated destination for each, so you can see which is most effective.

            4.) Gauge the prospects’ response time.

            If you’ve been marketing with postcards a while, then you probably know what kind of prospect lag time to expect. If you’re new at it, don’t assume what it should be. Rather, observe and find out what it is. This is important because, depending on your industry, you might get immediate response with one card, whereas in other industries, you may have to do more three or more separate mailings before responses start coming in. (And, of course, keep #2 and 3 in mind, so you can identify which of the three got the best response….)

            5.) Monitor all of the data.

            Successful marketing is a science as much as an art. And science relies on the collection and interpretation of data. Every mailing can return to you a range of data—measurable items—which you should track on spreadsheet. Which design/copy/call to action got the best response? Which geographic area responded most? Which card brought in the most leads? Most sales? No measurable item is too small. Collect it all, put it all on your spreadsheet and analyze it to find out which mailings are the most effective.

             

            The most cost-effective way to send out multiple mailings is to log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei, where you can design A/B versions of your postcards, using our custom templates or your own design. You can address and mail them too, all from your own computer.

            Or, for the least amount of trial and error, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109. Our design and marketing pros know what works for your industry and will save you time and trouble while increasing your response.

              How do you approach your postcard design? Do you tend to be overly concerned about telling your customers everything about your product or service, in the hope that it will result in sales? If so, we recommend you relax and take a lesson from Hollywood.

              Selling a Movie

              Have you ever rented or streamed a movie or gone to the theatre and you didn’t know very much about any of the films that were presented?

              How did you choose?

              Imagine you knew nothing about movie but you looked at the poster and it said “A married man has an affair with a seductive woman. He ends it but she doesn’t. Then he discovers too late that she’s a psycho, as she takes steps to get him back, including breaking into his house and assaulting his wife. The wife ends up killing the psycho. The man is left to salvage his marriage.” (That’s the plot of Fatal Attraction, by the way.)

              Would you go see the movie? Probably not. There’s no reason to; the poster told you everything.

              The actual poster for the film showed a torn photo of stars Glenn Close and Michael Douglas in an intimate moment with copy that read, “On the other side of drinks, dinner, and one night stand lies a terrifying love story.”

              You’d be more likely to go see it based on that, though…right?

              Selling with Postcards

              Movie posters don’t usually provide a summary of the movie’s plot; rather, they contain just enough information to arouse interest. In this case, it’s interest in the kind of movie experience the potential viewer wants to have: action, romance, comedy or whatever. It all comes down to the ticket buyer’s self interest: “What’s in it for me?”

              Like a movie, you only need say enough about your product or service to appeal to the customer’s “What’s in it for me” interest.

              This can be explained in the sentence “Don’t explain products/services; emphasize their benefits.”

              Figure out what it is about your product or service that fulfills the “What’s in it for me” for your customers and emphasize that.

              This can be different, depending on what your product or service is. If you sell something that people are familiar with, like insurance, dental services, or pizza, then you’ve got to emphasize what makes you different than your competitors and why it makes you better.

              If you sell something that people are less familiar with or which is new in your market, you may have to do a little explaining about what it is but you still want to devote most of your postcard space to what it does for the customer.

              Not a Close but a Step Closer

              The last thing to mention is that, unlike a movie poster, you’re not shooting to close someone with a postcard. You’re seeking to arouse their (self) interest and move them closer to a sale. So your card should have a call to action that moves them along—to visit your store or contact you by phone or online.

               

              You don’t have to go to Hollywood to produce a “blockbuster.” Just log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei to create 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 you can call Opportunity Knocks 1 (866) 319-7109 and our design and marketing superstars will create great-looking, high-response postcards that will customers lining up around the block (or around the clock).

                There is no question that, in order to drive leads and make sales, your postcard copy has to be great. But “great” is relative, rather than absolute. Some of the following styles may be effective for a certain industry but not for others (Then again, sometimes you might want to throw your audience a curveball….).

                We hope it gives you some ideas of how to strengthen your own copy.

                1.) The Velvet Rope

                “Velvet rope” copy means positioning your product or service as being for the exclusive, like actual velvet rope outside a swanky nightclub holds back the “little people” while allowing VIPs to enter. Using this approach in your copy (when your postcard is sent to the correctly targeted audience) creates a feeling of inclusion. It got snob appeal. But it can also work on a less qualified public, as it plays on their desire to be in that group.

                2.) The Best

                If your company is indeed the best in your market or industry, then don’t be bashful. Tell your customers and prospects you’re the best…but back it up with proof: awards, statistics, testimonials—or all three, otherwise your marketing efforts are nothing but hype and will be duly disregarded.

                3.) Corner Office

                Getting a direct, down-to-earth communication from the owner or CEO of the company can make the recipient feel a little bit important and it makes the executive seem like a regular guy or girl. As long as it’s written in plain language (not “corporat-ese”), it can give the recipient a bit of that warm ‘n fuzzy feeling for the company.

                4.) Nothin’ Fancy

                Sometimes, just telling your customer or prospect the basics—what it is, what it does, the benefits, etc.—is enough to generate interest. Skip gimmicks. Skip flash. Nothin’ fancy copy means giving them enough information to be able to make an informed decision.

                5.) Case Study

                With case study copy, you set up a story about one of your customers. Describe their problem or challenge. Tell how they overcame it. Include some quotes from them. Obviously, you will position your product or service as having been the thing that solved their problem.

                6.) Two People Chatting

                This is another way of saying “conversational” copy. Write it as if your customer or prospect is a friend that you’re having a casual but somewhat intimate conversation with about whatever troubles them. Show them that you understand. In an easygoing way, come around to how your product/service solves it.

                7.) The Disclosure

                Telling your customer or prospect up-front what the potential negatives of your product or service is, before introducing the benefits, can actually get your customer’s or prospects’ trust because the honesty makes you transparent and authentic to them. They believe what you say about the downside and this produces continuing agreement when you tell them about the benefits.

                8.) Imagine That

                With this style of copy, you ask your customer or prospect to imagine themselves in a different situation or condition. It could be something better, such as greater wealth or health, or it could be something worse, such as imagining yourself facing the same hard circumstances as the less fortunate in society (as used by some non-profits).

                9.) Like a Poet

                Poetry is aesthetic. It’s beauty and people respond to it. This one isn’t for all businesses but those who do it well can get their message into the poetry, educate the customer or prospect and create an enhancing experience that is reflected in interest.

                 

                If you want put some new copy log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei where you can design your next postcard with our custom templates or upload your own design to produce stylish, professional results.

                If you feel like you need some help figuring out which style of copy to use, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109. Our design and marketing pros will work it out and create great-looking, highly effective postcards (They can help you with the list and mailing, too.).

                  Everywhere you look in public these days—on the street, in coffee shops, even at the stoplight—it seems that people have their eyes on their phones. Nowhere does this seem to be more true than for 19- to 34-year-olds—the millennials. The prevailing thought in marketing circles is that this phone fixation has rendered direct mail ineffective, unwanted, and untrusted by this group. Fact is, nothing could be further from the truth.

                  They are not (entirely) smartphone-dependent.

                  They may gazing at their phones a large percentage of the time but, marketing-wise, this does not appear to translate into action, as 50% of millennials said that they ignore digital advertising and have a greater trust in printed advertising. Supporting this preference for print is the fact that millennials make up a significant percentage (20 to 31%) of newspaper and magazine readers.

                  They like to receive direct mail. 

                  Millennials overwhelmingly like the mail. A report by the U.S. Postal Service (where all of the stats for this story came from) found that 97% of millennials said they like to receive mail. They are more likely than non-millennials to sort and scan their mail, more likely to read it and show it to others, and less likely to thrown mail away.

                  They trust it.

                  Based on the previous paragraph, this might be completely obvious but we mention it because it’s not merely that millennials trust direct mail; it’s that they trust information they receive in their mailbox far more than they trust digital media…or any other kind of traditional media. Statistically speaking, a full 90% deem direct mail a reliable source of information and deals.

                  They respond to it.

                  It would follow then that millennials also trust direct mail and…that is exactly what the U.S. Postal Service’s study (called “A Look at How Millennials Respond to Direct Mail,” if you want to Google it) found. Despite a general non-existence of direct mail campaigns targeted at millennials, just a few short years ago, more than 28 million of them made a purchase from a printed catalog—y’know…the kind that you get in the mail.

                  It works.

                  In short, despite what some people are saying—everything from “direct mail is dead” to “millennials don’t care about it,” direct mail works on millennials. A giant 84% of them check their mailboxes on a routine basic and 64% of them prefer to direct mail to email for finding useful information.

                   

                  We hope “everybody knows” that they can 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.

                  We know how busy small business owners are (no generalization there), so you might prefer to 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.

                    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 November!
                    Congratulations!

                    Our $150 winner is Gina Pearce from Decorating Den Interiors who shared:

                    “Andy Kidgell and the whole group at Opportunity Knocks provide excellent service and have deep knowledge of our specific industry in addition to marketing. That is not a combination that most agencies offer. My first mailing already resulted in one lead and it just landed in mailboxes a couple of days ago. I have heard multiple comments about how professional the flyer is. It has definitely legitimized my brand new business. Thank you Opportunity Knocks!!”

                    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 November!

                      We are going to assume that the majority of people reading this blog own and drive cars but are not auto mechanics. Even if you’ve never looked under the hood, you will probably appreciate the following fact.

                      Here it is: When a car’s engine won’t start, the problem can only be due to a maximum of three things:

                      (a) air

                      (b) electricity

                      (c) fuel

                      Engines need all three of these things to start and operate. It won’t start if (a) something is preventing enough air from getting into the engine, (b) power is not reaching the starter or the spark plugs, or (c) fuel is not reaching the engine. (Did you remember to fill up?)

                      Not a million possibilities; just three. Doesn’t that make cars seem a lot simpler?

                      It’s the same thing with your marketing.

                      There Is No “Fail”

                      Perhaps you’ve tried some different marketing methods—email, postcards, a website—and were underwhelmed by the response rate. A common reaction to such results is to conclude that the method “doesn’t work” for you.

                      Don’t jump to that conclusion. The “fail” has actually provided you with a starting point. It tells you what didn’t work. Now, to get it working—like the car that won’t start—there are only three things that you need to check:

                      (a) data

                      (b) offer

                      (c) design

                      Again, not a million possibilities; just three. Review your marketing piece for each of these three items, then change/adjust/improve just one of them, and try again. (This is how you test your marketing, by the way.)

                      Let’s take a closer look at each one.

                      Data

                      “Data” refers to your mailing list. Ideally, you should have a clear picture of who actually buys your product or service. Isolating to the buyer persona, with demographic and psychographic data, is often the key to improving response. Or it may be a matter of wide vs. narrow: If you’ve mailed to a very specific audience, perhaps you should broaden it. Likewise, if you’ve mailed to too general an audience, perhaps you should narrow it. Testing your audience can produce some startling results. 

                      Offer

                      Let’s assume you know your audience well but your promotion is not producing sales. Chances are good that your offer is not “wowing” them. There are a few aspects of an offer that you can check and test:

                      • headline
                      • copy
                      • call to action

                      For instance, you review your copy and find that it doesn’t emphasize the benefit to the buyer well enough. Improve the copy and test it against the original copy. See if it produces an improved result. If it does, great; if not, still great because you’re still getting valuable feedback on what doesn’t work. Keep checking and testing aspects of your offer and you will hit on something that produces an increase in response.

                      Here are some ways to produce irresistible offers. But remember to only test one aspect at a time. That’s how you figure out what works.

                      Design

                      Your copy is killer and is getting delivered to a 100% correct audience and it’s still falling flat. In this case, have a look at the images and layout of your postcard (or other marketing piece). An otherwise great piece of direct mail with an image that turns your audience off won’t produce the results you want. Here’s four tips for choosing perfect postcard marketing images.

                       

                      You can put yourself in the driver’s seat when you log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei where you can design your own postcards. Use our customer templates or upload an existing design to produce professional-looking results…all with a few mouse clicks.

                      If you prefer to turn the job over to the experts, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and have our design and marketing pros create great-looking, high-response postcards. They won’t fail you.