For any business, there’s nothing like some good, strong market research to uncover valuable data about the market for your product or service—data that you can use to more accurately target that market. But even in the absence of robust (and expensive) market research, there’s something that most customers and prospects have in common. You can easily figure it out and then use it in your direct marketing.

    Objections

    There are no statistics out there about customer’s objections to ads but it’s a maxim of direct response marketing that people don’t like to be sold to. They resist sales pitches and tune out most marketing.

    So you can know ahead of time that a large percentage of people who receive your marketing will raise objections.

    Even if you succeed in raising their interest, they will still be looking for reasons why they can’t or shouldn’t buy your product or service.

    If you can handle these objections in your sales letter, on your postcard, your door hanger, you build credibility and bring your customer or prospect closer to a sale. Here the biggest objections and how to handle them:

    1.) Price

    People will often object on the basis of price, particularly when they think it’s too expensive. The best way to handle this objection is not necessarily to say “Hey, we know you think this is too expensive…” but by showing them that it’s an exclusive, limited-time deal. This implies that if they don’t act, they will miss out. This can be very a powerful motivation.

    2.) Need vs. Want

    Prospects will object on the basis of need; if it’s not a need, they can’t justify the expense. However, you can handle this objection by emphasizing (1) quality—how your product/service is better than your competition’s or (2) as with price (above), make it scarce—limited time, limited quantity, etc.

    3.) Hidden Surprises

    Less-than-ethical marketers have made it harder for the ethical ones to present a “free trial” and similar offers because it raises the objection of “there must be a hidden fee or some other catch.” The way to handle this objection is to lay out in your copy the exact terms, assuring the person of no surprises, no hidden fees, etc.

    4.) “Nothing Special…”

    Seeking any reason to reject your marketing offer, prospects will object to your offer on the basis that it’s no different than that of your competition—and rightly so, unless you handle that objection right up-front by telling them how you’re different. Take an objective look at your business and discover your unique selling proposition—the thing that makes you different, and thus better than your competition.

    5.) “Too Good To Be True…”

    You understand why you’re presenting a free bonus or a great offer at such a low price (to get customers in the door) but such “too good to be true” deals often raise skepticism and suspicion. You can handle this kind of objection with something as simple as “No, that’s not a typo—you read it right” and then perhaps leveling with the prospect, along the lines of “We aren’t afraid to make such a crazy deal because we believe you’ll be delighted by our product and maybe tell a friend or visit us again in the future.”

     

    Anything you can do to neutralize your prospects’ objections early on works to your advantage and promotes the kind of transparency that exists in the most harmonious business-customer relationships.

    Getting tense waiting for the inevitable sales pitch? There isn’t one. But when you’re ready to do your first (or next) postcard campaign, log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei and handle the design and mailing with a few mouse clicks.

    Or, if you want help with it, give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109. A design and marketing will listen to you and help you with a totally professional, high-response postcard campaign—no hidden surprises either.

      We here at ProspectsPLUS! contend that any kind of direct mail marketing is better than none. Anything you can do to keep your company and your offers in front of people is bound to result in some degree of response, sales, and all that good stuff.

      Some people call this method “spraying and praying” because it consists of mailing to a broad segment of the public—like a crop-duster airplane spraying an entire field—and then hoping that your marketing piece appeals results in some leads.

      While that may be better than nothing, it is also true that the more that you can target your offers to the people most likely to respond to them, the better your ROI. Rather than using a shotgun to spray your offer across a wide area, you can apply one or all of these three tools to laser-focus your offer, reach more of the people who will welcome your direct mail offers, and raise your ROI.

      So let’s take a look at them:

       

      1.) Data Segmentation

      We’re going to take for granted that you more or less know who the target audience for your product/service is.

      Think of segmentation as a process of further qualifying your target audience—to reach the best of your best customers or prospects or to identify the best ones relative to your various offers.

      The more you know about your target audience, the better you can target your offers, resulting in greater response and higher ROI.

      Some businesses have put in quite a lot of work to get to know who their target audience is. If you haven’t, don’t worry: services such as Nielzen PRIZM have already done the sweat work of customer data collection. More data = more accurately targeted direct mail = greater direct mail success.

      And once you’ve identified the most highly qualified segments, you can use PRIZM to expand the segment, to reach even more qualified prospects.

       

      2.) Personalization

      Personalization is anything that moves your direct mail piece away from a general, “Dear Resident” type mailing and towards a communication that is (or appears to be) more tailored to the recipient.

      Segmentation narrows the target audience and personalization narrows the message to fit segments within that audience.

      The more personalized, the more likely it is to “strike a chord” that results in response. Personalization can include the following:

      • Using recipient’s name in the address and the salutation of any mail piece
      • Including the address and operating hours of the location closest to them
      • Presenting product/service offers that are most relevant to them

      You can use “predictive modeling” to further segment your list. And while that might sound a bit high tech, the good news is that Nielsen has also taken care of all the sweat work. All you have to do is push a few buttons and you’re on your way to greater response.

       

      3.) Calls to Action

      The #1 rule on your call to action is: Make sure you have one. Some of the best direct marketing has been sabotage by the sender who forgets to include a call to action.

      Make your call to action prominent. This can mean large-enough type font but can also mean placing your call to action in several places in your marketing piece—you don’t have to wait for the very end.

      Lastly, give your recipient as many ways as possible to respond: include a phone number but also a web URL or QR code, or even a coupon, for those who prefer to respond in person.

       

      Right now, you can do all three of the above actions when you log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei and create your first postcard campaign. Not only that, but you can also handle the mailing with a few mouse clicks.

      Or, give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109 and talk to one of our segmentation experts about your campaign. They’ll help you target the ideal customer and reach more of them.

        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!
        Congratulations!

        Our $200 winner is Susan B. Stephen from BuzzOFF Mosquito of Tampa Bay who shared:

        “We have used Opportunity Knocks for years. Andy and his team are always helpful and professional when we need any changes or advice. I especially enjoy sending the postcards after we complete an install to inform the neighbors of why we were in their neighborhood and why they also need our services. In our world where everything is online I think a physical reminder is great.

        Thank you Susan 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. We’ll give away $200 credit. Next drawing is the first week of March!

          It doesn’t matter how good your company’s product or service is. It doesn’t matter if you charge less than your competition…or if you have a wicked-cool website.

          None of that seemingly important stuff means anything if you don’t know and do what we’re about to reveal.

          1.) Make Yourself Known

          In his 2005 book, Endless Referrals, author-speaker Bob Burg wrote, “All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”

          The order in which he put the verbs—know, like, and trust—was not likely at random, but rather in the only workable order possible.

          The marketing sequence starts with “know,” and it’s so easy to do that many businesses take it for granted and don’t actually do it.

          The key to making yourself known to your market is repetition of message. You don’t necessarily have to wait until your company has a strong brand image before you engage in repetition of message. Sometimes the message you repeat is what becomes your brand, even if you didn’t plan it that way.

          Something as simple as a postcard that says “Acme Lawn & Gardening, Have a Gorgeous Law This Summer, Call Now for 10% Off,” and a picture of a lush, green lawn will work.

          It’s scientifically proven that persistent repetition of your message—mailing out your postcards repeatedly—eventually establishes you in your prospects and customers’ mind (“Oh, Acme…yeah, the ‘gorgeous lawn’ guys…”).

          London businessman and author Thomas Smith noted this more than 130 years ago in his book, Successful Advertising. Smith estimated that it took 20 exposures to a message to make a customer but that’s advertising. With postcards, people only need to be exposed to your message 5-7 times before purchasing.

          2.) How Ya Like Me Now?

          Once you’ve overcome the hurdle of becoming known, you consolidate that gain by doing all you can to be liked. This basically comes down to how a company treats their prospects and customers. You don’t necessarily have to give away free stuff to be liked. Be courteous and respectful. Answer your phones. Return calls in a timely manner. Really listen. Care. Answer peoples’ questions. Be generally helpful. And sincere. That’s what gets you liked.

          3.) Trust Us On This

          You can ask around but we think you will find that most experts agree that trust between a business and its customers comes from doing what you say you will do (and maybe a little more), giving exceptional value, exceeding expectations, and that sort of thing. When you make people glad that they gave you their money, they will be willing to give it to you again. That’s trust.

          Sounds great, doesn’t it?

          But if you give up after you get “no results” from your first postcard campaign, no one’s ever going to trust you. They are not going to like you either, because you never gave them a chance to know you.

          That’s kind of sad, isn’t it?

          So don’t let that happen! Send out your message consistently and they will come to know you. You will get them to like you and then trust you.

           

          Time to repeat your message? It’s as easy as logging on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei to create your first postcard campaign. You can even handle the list and mailing, all from your computer.

          Could it be even easier? Yes: give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109 and tell them what you’re thinking. They will come back with a postcard campaign that you’ll be proud to send out again and again.

            Have you heard the well-worn advice about what happens anytime you assume anything? (I guess we’ll have to, eh…assume that you have.)

            It is almost always better to look/ask/verify than it is to assume anything. This is especially true when it comes to your marketing.

            The People Who Choose You

            You’ve been marketing your business for years…or maybe only for a few months.

            You’ve got customers. They give you money for your product or service but, even more to the point, they choose you over your competition.

            Even though they might not ever have consciously analyzed why they choose you, there is always a reason they prefer your business. If you ask, they will give it to you.

            When you find you are getting the same answer from a majority of people, you will have isolated what we call, in marketing, your value proposition.

            For instance, a few years back, a coffee shop that’s been in our area decided to ask their customers why they choose this shop over others in the area. They were shocked by the results. For nearly ten years, this shop had promoted itself on the basis of its coffee and atmosphere. But the majority of people surveyed said it was the shop’s WiFi and access to power outlets (to plug in laptops, etc.)

            Totally unexpected…yet vitally important. 

            The One Safe Assumption

            What if that coffee shop never asked its customers anything and just continued to promote its coffee and atmosphere? The return on their marketing investment would probably have remained about the same.

            But they would be wasting time, money, and effort. You see, the value proposition exists, even if the business is unaware of it. But when they do know their value proposition (and make it the focus of their marketing message), they can get a greater return on investment without increasing their marketing budget.

            So the one thing you can safely assume is that if many people are doing business with you for the same reason (value proposition), that many more will also do business with you, if they are made aware of that value proposition.

            Three Steps to Find the Customers You’re Missing

            1. Start asking questions.

            There’s no one right way to do it. Online surveys, in-person at the check-out, or written questionnaires are all good. But however you do it, keep it short (10 questions or less). Here are some ideas for the kinds of questions you might ask:

            • What brought you in today?
            • Why did you make a purchase?
            • Would you purchase from us again? If so, why?
            • What is most important to you about our product/service?
            • Why did you choose us instead of another ______?
            1. Create your hypothetical buyer profile.

            For the best result, you will want to get a significant number of completed surveys—certainly no fewer than 100. By reviewing the responses, you will begin to see trends emerge. Certain answers will show up again and again. From this, you can isolate the top answer for each question. From those top answers, you can work out a hypothetical statement about your typical buyer: “Pete Purchaser buys from us because _________.”

            The reason it’s hypothetical is that you’ve still got to qualify it as being a true value proposition.

            1. Qualify the value proposition.

            A true value proposition will always be about a benefit to the buyer. Here we are not talking about why your product or service is better than your competition’s. So, it’s never a matter of having more fleet trucks or greater processing speed, or “new super booster G-40.” It’s some emotional benefit and should fit into at least two of these categories:

            • Safety/security: Does it provide more peace of mind?
            • Money: Will it help them make/save money?
            • Beauty/image: Can it make them more attractive?
            • Ease/efficiency: Will it make life easier for them?
            • Productivity: Will it help them get more done, faster?

             

            Once you’ve ensured that the value proposition emphasizes at least two of these benefits, you’re ready to test it in your next postcard campaign, which you can easily do by logging on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei.

            If you need help isolating and/or formulating your value proposition, give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109. They’ll help you work it out and put it into fresh, eye-catching direct mail postcards that will increase your return on investment.

              For how long have you been thinking about using postcards to promote and market your business?

              Still thinking about it? Sometimes, we end up thinking about all the “what-if’s” instead of taking action.

              There are probably plenty of reasons for not doing something that you want to do or suspect you need to do (such as marketing with direct mail). But it usually boils down to fear of loss: loss of money, loss of time, loss of reputation…perhaps even loss of control because you don’t know what’s going to happen.

              But rather than ask “why,” let’s look at reasons to stop thinking about direct response marketing with postcards and just start doing it:

              1.) Anything Is Better Than Nothing

              Imagine you were a totally new business sending out your first advertisement to completely cold prospects. That would be kind of scary. You would probably have no idea what kind of message to write, what kind of offer to present, which call to action would be most effective, or what kind of images to use.

              So what? Just put something together and send it out. You might get a lot of response or not so much. If you don’t get any, then at least you’ll have discovered one thing that doesn’t work, and you’d be closer to generating some leads than you were before you sent those cards. Whatever responses you get, identify why people responded and strengthen that in your next campaign.

              But chances are that you’re not a totally new business. You probably know a thing or two about your customers and what they respond to. If you’re not using direct mail but are using other forms of advertising, apply what’s already working in your other ads to your postcard campaign.

              Any promotion you do is better than sitting around wondering if it will work. Each postcard, whether a “success” or a “failure” moves you ahead towards better results and more leads.

              2.) It Won’t Break Your Bank

              How much does it cost to market with postcards? It’s much less expensive than you think and more effective, too. (We’ll get to that in a second). But, rather than tease you, we’ll tell you: You can get totally professional, full-color postcards printed for as little as $0.17 each. (If you’d like more details, you can download our pricing schedule.

              3.) Direct Mail Works

              Studies from both the US and UK show that direct mail makes the recipient feel more valued, creates a more authentic connection and lasting impression than digital advertising. Does that translate into leads and sales? It does with postcards, as 79% of postcard recipients respond immediately, compared to only 45% of email recipients.

              There’s also a Canadian study that utilizes brain-imaging and eye-tracking (science!) to come to the same conclusions.

               

              So there’s three big reasons why it’s better to do your first postcard campaign than to continuing wondering about it: direct mail works, it’s affordable, and any direct mail you send is always better than none.

              Right now, you could log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei and find out for yourself (instead of, y’know…thinking about it) how easy it to create your first postcard campaign with our customizable templates. You can even handle the mailing online.

              Or, give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109 and talk to one of our expert marketers about your campaign. They’ll work with you and with our design pros to create an effective postcard campaign (What do you think of that?).

                It’s a given that your direct response mail piece—your postcard, door hanger, newsletter, etc.—must be clean, attractive-looking, and professional. People expect that. But the message that your marketing piece carries is ultimately what creates response, leads, and sales.

                There is an entire planet’s worth of advice, rules, books, courses, and systems on how to the write persuasive marketing copy. One of the best and easiest to understand is Hot Button Marketing.

                The “Why,” Not the “What”

                The basic premise of Hot Button Marketing (the title of a little book by consumer behaviorist Barry Feig) is that people buy products and services for emotional reasons, not rational ones; understand the emotion behind why people buy, then “push that button” in your marketing copy.

                One example of this is a man trying to sell a Jeep outfitted with a snowplow. He placed a classified ad that gives the usual car stuff: mileage, engine size, new tires (rational stuff). After getting no responses, he changed the ad to “Start your own snow removal business. Jeep with snowplow. Be your own boss.” He sold it the next day.

                Of course, this idea, that people buy for emotional reasons, is a fundamental of writing effective sales copy, and is not unique to Feig. However, what he brings to the table is a system in which he’s identified all the possible buttons.

                Only 16 Buttons

                The marketing hot buttons—those emotional reasons that people buy stuff—are only 16 in number. While the scope of this blog post won’t allow us to discuss all of them (or any of them in great depth), here are several, which will give you a good idea of what this is all about:

                1. The desire for control
                2. The excitement of discovery
                3. “I’m better than you”
                4. Revaluing
                5. Family values
                6. The desire to belong
                7. Sex, love, and romance
                8. Fun is its own reward
                9. Poverty of time
                10. The desire to get the best
                11. Self-achievement
                12. The nurturing response
                13. Reinventing oneself
                14. Power, dominance, and influence
                15. “Make me smarter”
                16. Wish fulfillment

                These are the “why’s”—the emotional reasons that people reach for and purchase products and services.

                When and How to Identify the Hot Button(s)

                A target public—may have more than one hot button for purchasing your product or service. You don’t settle on a hot button based on the product; it will come from the target public.

                Some good times to isolate them are:

                • At the start, to find out if there’s actually a need for your product/service and which hot button(s) correspond that need.
                • When you want to increase your sales. You may discover that there is a stronger button than the one you’re currently pushing in your marketing.
                • When introducing a new product or service to your current offerings, to see if there is interest.

                In each case, the way you discover the button is not by talking on and on about your product but by asking your customers questions and listening closely to their answers. They will tell you what they think of your product and why they buy it (why = the hot button).

                When you seem to get that same “why” from a lot of customers, you can be pretty sure it will resonate with a large percentage of your customers and prospects. So use it on them in your postcard copy and watch your leads and sales go out the roof.

                 

                Many of our clients tell us they love the fact that they can log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei any time they want and create a postcard campaign with our classy customizable templates and mail it right from their computer.

                But if you’re dealing with a poverty of time (to quote Hot Button Marketing), give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109, chat with our marketing & design pros and they’ll handle the design and mailing for you.

                  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!
                  Congratulations!

                  Our $200 winner is Wade Smith who shared:

                  “Andy and the Opportunity Knocks team have been Awesome! They have been very prompt and professional with everything they have done for me. And the postcards look great and get mailed out right on time every week. Could not be more pleased with the service I have received from them!

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

                    If this is not the first ProspectsPLUS! blog post you’ve ever read, please hang in there a for second, while we “preach to the choir.” For first-time readers, well…you’re the choir. And here comes the (short) sermon.

                    Despite what you’ve heard about direct mail marketing, it’s still widely used. Yes, it’s true that we live in “a digital world” and all of that; nevertheless, the statistics for direct mail response remain impressive and that’s reason enough for you to be using it.

                    Can we get an “Amen?”

                    So when you decide to market with postcards, outsource it to a direct mail marketing company (also called a “mail house”). Here’s four reasons why:

                    1.) The Convenience

                    Once upon a time, there were printing companies. You brought them your design and they converted it to a printable medium and then printed however many you needed. But when it came to mailing—mailing lists, addressing, etc.—you were on your own.

                    Later on, some printing companies began to offer in-house design services. These days, there are companies (like yours truly) that offer design, printing, and mailing all in one place. Some direct mail marketing companies (yes, yours truly again), allow you to do it all from your laptop or over the phone.

                    2.) The Cost

                    Unless you’re a particularly large corporation with continuous high-volume direct mail marketing needs, the cost of doing it in-house can be prohibitive. A direct mail house is already paying less for materials than you would because they purchase it in greater quantity. They subscribe to market-targeting services such as Nielsen PRIZM and others, the monthly or annual cost of which is usually beyond the budgets of most small businesses. You can even save on postage by going through a direct mail marketing company.

                    3.) The Time

                    Of course, if you wanted to, you could invest in the databases, digital design software, on-demand printing equipment and all the rest, take a couple years to learn how to use it all, then another couple years to learn to use it all well and then—okay, you get the point, right? A direct mail marketing company has already made the investment in state-of-the-art equipment and training. They’ll save you a lot of time.

                    4.) The Experts

                    Another thing about that investment in state-of-the-art equipment and training (mentioned above) is that it means your job is being handled by experts who know their job, move fast, and are able to routinely turn out top-level professional results. They make you and your company look great and are sure to know a few tricks to make your campaigns even more effective. (Go ahead, ask ’em….)

                     

                    Make a cup of coffee or tea and log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei, where you can create a classy-looking post campaign using our customizable templates or your own design and handle the mailing, too—all before you reach the bottom of the cup.

                    If you’d rather enjoy that warm beverage away from a computer, give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109, and have our experts handle the design and mailing of a professional, high-response postcard campaign.

                      Is it just us or does it seem like radio stations start in with the Christmas music earlier and earlier every year? Same thing with department stores and Christmas decorations.

                      As a consumer, this may be a bit annoying but as a marketer for your business, you can’t afford to fight it. For one reason, According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), small and mid-sized businesses do 20 to 40 percent of their business during November and December. NFR also found that 40 percent of consumers start their holiday shopping before Halloween.

                      So, it pays to join in and use the early-starting holiday momentum to increase your sales.

                      Here are some of our best tips on how to do it:

                      1.) Do a Holiday Count-Down

                      A great way to stay top-of-mind with your customers during the holidays is to start a count-down campaign to your offer, discount, etc. This can work for almost any kind of product or service and would involve several postcards to remind consumers about your awesome deal and how many days until they can take advantage.

                      2.) Provide Gift Solutions…Early!

                      If your product or service would make a great gift, send a postcard to your customers and prospects to remind them about it. You’ll actually be doing many of them a favor because approximately one third of all shoppers wait until mere days before Christmas to start their Christmas shopping, which just compounds the holiday stress because the lines get longer and the inventory get scarcer. So by suggesting your product or service—and presenting a special offer, you’re actually doing them a favor by solving some of their shopping list and helping them avoid the last-minute madness—and you can even mention these “pain points” in the copy on your postcard.

                      3.) Make Things Simpler

                      For many people, if they are not leaving town to visit friends or relatives, they are staying home and receiving friends and relatives. Either way, it means making arrangements and getting things ready: travel, tickets, accommodations for guests or self and family, cleaning, landscaping, painting, food, recipes, music, decorations, entertainment—you name it. Figure out how to position your product or service in a way that makes their holidays simpler, smoother, more streamlined. Help people reduce the hustle and bustle and you are golden in their eyes.

                      4.) Make Your Product/Service Holiday Related

                      Similar to #2, except that instead of appealing to the consumer’s desire to reduce holiday chaos, you’re putting on your marketing cap and figuring out a way to position your product or service in terms of the holiday: A dentist’s postcard campaign can be about dental protection from the oncoming storm of holiday sweets; the auto repair shop can offer services to “keep your car running great so you can get through all your Christmas shopping and travel,” and lawn care companies can offer to get customers’ property ready for all the entertaining they’re going to do or to keep it looking great while they’re traveling for the holidays.

                      5.) Holiday Spirit and Holiday Offerings

                      For retail stores, the marketing goes beyond postcards, to include your premises and customer service. So remember to deck the place out in holiday colors (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, etc.). Perhaps you can offer free gift-wrapping, holiday refreshments—anything that gets into the spirit of the season.

                      Start now because that season is coming up quick…

                       

                      You could start your holiday postcard marketing right now by logging on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei and creating your first postcard campaign with our beautiful customizable templates. You can create a targeted prospect list and mail from your computer, too.

                      All you want for Christmas is…a little less work? We hear ya. So give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109 and talk to one of our genius marketing elves. Then they will got back to their workshop and create a beautiful, high response postcard campaign for you.