How a hardware store launched home installation services and saw a 10x return

    First off, there are few things more gratifying on this earth than hearing that our customers are successful. At ProspectsPLUS!, we work hard to empower small businesses to increase their sales through marketing and today we’ve got an incredible success story to share from Jason at Limeberry Lumber in Indiana. He shares how the company went through a transformation and used Opportunity Knocks Marketing, the custom campaign division of ProspectsPLUS!, to drive $35,000 with just a few campaigns!

    Jason sat down with Jim Schimpf here at Opportunity Knocks and here’s an excerpt from their conversation:

    Q: First of all, thanks for being here Jason! How did you find out about Opportunity Knocks?

    A: I’ve used you at my own business in the past, and I used you as an employer at a previous company, for another contractor. I think we did some basic google searches and found you that way.

    Q: So what was marketing like at Limeberry before you started working with Opportunity Knocks? 

    A: [When] I came on board at Limeberry Lumber about two years ago now, this program was non-existent, so we initially reached out to you guys to get it going, get the word out. Limeberry Lumber as it stands is a sixty-year-old family owned hardware and lumber store.

    Word of mouth was huge, local newspapers, community outreach into the ball fields and other youth programs were big. I don’t know all of it, but it was on older style of tried and true kind of marketing, and some radio spots here and there.

    [At first] I had a conversation with Scott here at Limeberry about coming on board … it became pretty clear that the interest was there in having more of an outreach in the community, in servicing some of those retail customers so we started an installation division.

    Q: What prompted the owners to want to do an installation service? 

    A: Well we had walk-in customers and we kept hearing “we need a deck built, do you guys recommend anyone?” Or, “Hey we need some windows replaced, who should we call?”

    We wanted to be responsive to that rather than giving out names and phone numbers and let them walk out the door. The two different things we were doing wrong was that first, we weren’t capturing the customer. Who knew where they were going to go? Number two, we didn’t know if that contractor was going to follow through. Maybe they did call somebody on a list we gave them but then that contractor never called them and so that customer comes back in the door and says “Hey I called that contractor and they never called us back.”

    Q: Now that reflects on your reputation

    A: Exactly. There’s no other way to look at it. It did. What we wanted to do was provide a better service, more predictable service, but cheers to you Jim because we had to get that word out.

    I’ve lived in this county all my life but all Limeberry Lumber was to me was a place to grab two-by-fours on Saturday, or to grab a garden hose, but it was never more than that in my eyes, and we want to make for sure we didn’t take for granted that everybody would just know what we were doing. That’s why we reached out to you guys, to help present that new image along with the new offerings and the new services that we were ready to bring to market.

     


    “That’s why we reached out to you guys … to help present that new image along with the new offerings and the new services that we were ready to bring to market.”


     

    Q: So that’s when you connected with Andy?

    Correct. Andy had done a couple other campaigns for me before. Anyhow, we said what are you trying to do, we told him, we gave him some basic budget figures.

    I’ll tell you the way it is, I wore him out trying to find the right mix of customers at the right budget, and he’s always done a really great job for us finding the demographic and the zip code that we need at a budget that makes sense. He’s always taken a lot of time to do that for us.

    Q: Andy is un-wearable. You can’t wear him out. Did he have to do specific research? 

    He spent a lot of time, number one, helping me define that. He did research on our county and he did research on the ages and the home values and home incomes and home counts and the zip codes – he did all that. We’ve even taken some of that knowledge that he shared and adapted that into how we present newspaper advertisements, how we focus other things we do. That’s knowledge that we didn’t have.

    I don’t remember and I’m just shooting from the hip, but at some point he made a comment about the average home value in our market – how it only makes sense to market to that customer and not the higher end, because the reality of it was, [most of our buyers] couldn’t afford it. That little tweak, that helped, a lot.

    Q: How many campaigns have you done with us? 

    A: Oh, 4, 5, 6, I don’t know, but the response has been predictable, and that’s why we do it. [Your team] was doing some follow up with me and I think the last time I shared with them that we had closed about $35,000 in business and 2-3 other sales, and what’s interesting about it, is that these are proposals we had typed 6 months ago.

    Q: How is that?

    You know how it is, your life’s busy, it kinda gets put on the shelf at home, you forget about the importance of doing that project, but then you get that reminder in the email, “Oh yeah, I forget about that, I wonder if Jason still remembers me…”

    We had a couple of those that weren’t new leads, but they were born-again opportunities. In addition to the 4-5 sales we made from the 7 or 8 fresh leads, we also had a couple that came through that received a postcard that were like “Oh yeah, we can work with you.” This last campaign we had a couple of really big ticket items, big tickets for us, you know, and after spending $2500, we brought in $25,000.

    Q: Wow, that’s incredible. What would you say has been the most helpful overall in working together? 

    A: I’ve been doing this for thirteen, fourteen years now, and I say it all the time, when I’m meeting folks, the relationship is the valuable part of what we’re doing today. And Jim, we’re in a small community, we’ve have 40,000 people in the county. Chances are when I go to the local grocery store, I’m going to see somebody that I’ve either worked with or someone that I’ve talked to about working with. What you guys are letting us do is sending a direct message to people that are realistic customers, it’s a targeted message to targeted customers, and we want to make them aware of us and it works. It works.

    Not bad results for a bit of back and forth, huh?

    Jason, thanks for taking the time to share your insight and expertise! We truly appreciate your business and this partnership and we look forward to helping Limeberry Lumber continue to grow.

    Now, curious if it’ll work for you? Only way to find out is to call Andy for yourself at 1 (866) 319-7109!

    Would you like to be a featured client spotlight? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line at 1 (866) 319-7109.

      Direct mail is all about the targeting.

      While you may never know who opens your emails, visits your website, or clicks on your online ad, you can guarantee that when someone receives your postcard, they read it. It’s a brilliant hand-held billboard that they can’t help but glance at, and with USPS tracking, you know precisely when it arrives.

      But, (and it’s a big but) for them to take action on that postcard, you have to be sending the right message to the right person. That’s the role of targeting.

      In order to come up with the right message and the right recipient, you’ll need to look no further than your current or potential clients. As much as you think you know about them, you’ll find that there’s always more, and the more you know the more your business can grow.

      Kick it all off by asking the right questions.

      Existing Clients

      If you have clients, start here. Reach out to them to gain some perspective on what’s working and what needs to be changed. If they’re not thrilled with the service, it’s very likely that you’ll have trouble attracting and keeping more of them. If they are, you know exactly what you need to be advertising to the others.

      It would be wise to start with your best and longest standing customers, but make sure that they feel comfortable being honest with you. Here are the questions to ask them:

      1. In what ways do you use our product (or service)?
      2. What problem has it solved for you?
      3. What similar products have you tried, and how do we compare?
      4. What is the most useful feature of our product for your purposes?
      5. What is the least useful?
      6. In what ways would you improve our product?

      From this, you’ll better understand their use-case which informs your marketing message. You may find answers that surprise you, and can help you reach a market you may not have considered before. For example, a landscaper client of ours learned through this process that many real estate agents in his area needed help manicuring yards for sale, and began advertising to them on this basis.

      Once you understand the problems your product solves, you can start shaping your message to suit a market with those needs.

      Potential Clients

      Now that you understand how your product is used, you can start looking for new clients.  To find them, you’ll want to start reaching out to your test markets and asking:

      1. What problems do you currently need to solve?
      2. What products or services are you currently using to solve those problems?
      3. What issues do you face with your current solution?
      4. Who are the decision makers in your family or company?
      5. What budget constraints do you face?

      While collecting these answers, you will want to group your respondents by demographics, and look for trends that are specific to each group. In doing so, you will be able to understand how different demographic factors impact a clients’ needs. This will help you shape each marketing message effectively and pointedly.

      Once you’ve collected all this data, there’s nothing left to do but put it into action. You can use our web-to-print platform to design a new offer based off a tried-and-true template and target your ideal customer!

      Here are your targeting options:

      • Map My Mail: Draw an area on Google Maps using tax assessor data.
      • Demographic Search: Choose from hundreds of data choices and in-depth property information.
      • Psychographic Search (Powered by Nielsen PRIZM): Understand your customer at a deeper level by choosing pre-selected personas who match your ideal customer.
      • Upload your own list!

      Need marketing advice? Our agents have seen it all and would love to share what they know. Just call 1 (877) 222-6010!

      Or, if you need someone to handle it all for you, Opportunity Knocks can act as an extension of your team to attract customers. Call them at 1 (866) 319-7109 and start the conversation!

        Wow! A big thanks 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 January 3rd!
        Congratulations everyone!

        Our $250 winner is Sylvie Farrell who shared, “Extremely helpful, extremely friendly, extremely professional. Opp Knocks is extreme! I need a lot of hand-holding as I begin my new franchise—something I NEVER thought I would undertake, and Opp Knocks are really there for me. I am so grateful I found out about this fantastic company!

        Our $100 winner is TJ Curran who shared‎, “In my role as Branch Manager for Movement Mortgage in RI, I don’t have a bunch of time for arts and crafts.  ProspectsPLUS! allows me to create great co-marketing pieces for my agent partners that are fun and creative.  It takes that off their hands and helps me add value to my business relationships.  And ProspectsPLUS! is very user friendly, so I spend less time on arts and crafts and more time building relationships and closing loans.”

        Our $50 winner is Jennifer Manley who shared, “Opp Knocks is a fabulous company. They are very easy to work with and are willing and ready to work with me to personalize my marketing materials to get my desired message across.

        Thank you to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy!  Head over to share your ProspectsPLUS! experience on our Google or Facebook Page.  We’ll give away a total of $150 in ProspectsPLUS! credit. Next drawing is January 3rd!

          Knowing your ROI is everything

          Everyone (ourselves included) calls it “direct” mail marketing. Why is it direct?

          Well, it’s certainly not because the postcards go directly to your customer’s doors – they all do that. Where else would they go? And it’s not “direct” because of the style of communication we prefer to use – although direct and concise is pretty much always better.

          No, it’s called “direct” because that’s a shortened version of “direct-response.” That is to say, when someone receives a postcard, you get a direct response. And if they reply to it, you know so, and you can track which campaign it came from.

          The response is direct and immediate.

          What makes direct marketing like this so incredibly different? It’s that it lets you track your ROI, of course!

          When direct marketing like this tells you what works and what doesn’t you know A, how much money you made and B, how to optimize to improve your campaigns. Eventually you reach a point where you know exactly which audience will buy, what message resonates best with them, and that for every $1 you put in, you get $3.27 back.

          Contrast this with all other types of marketing like branding, advertising, radio spots, and billboards where you have no idea what the ROI is. Heck, you don’t even know if people heard it. You just have to trust that it reached people and that they’ll remember you the next time they need a roofer, a plumber, a dentist, or an architect. For these types of marketing, it’s a guess.

          With direct marketing on the other hand, your expenditure is an investment.

           

          Here’s how our customers measure their direct mail ROI:

          1. Run a postcard campaign

          You can use one of our tried-and-true templates in our web-to-print tool to design the whole thing in about fifteen minutes (or re-use a past campaign) and select a target audience. You can include an offer code like “DIRECTMAIL12” which is different for each campaign. Hit “send.”

          2. Your postcards are delivered

          Over a period of 2-3 weeks your campaign goes out through the USPS. Every piece of mail is certified and tracked so that you can come back and check our website and see that they’ve all gone out. (Our tracking rate is 100% and our guaranteed delivery rate is always higher than 92%).

          3. You start to hear back

          For every postcard that people respond to, they’ll follow your call to action to visit your website, call on the phone, or walk into the store. When they make a purchase, you and your employees will ask how they found you – if they reference the “DIRECTMAIL12” offer code, you know precisely where it came from.

          4. Do a little simple math

          Wait until 30 days after the campaign is over. From here, calculating your ROI is easy. Divide the number of respondents by the total number of postcards that were sent.

          Let’s say that 1000 responded out of 10,000 postcards sent, so a 10% response rate. You can expect that this will be your rate in the future, given similar campaigns to similar targets.

          Now, divide the revenue that you got from the campaign, let’s say $6,540 on a spend of $2,000. That’s a 327% return on investment.

          And mind you, that’s only after 30 days. Some sales will continue to creep in overtime as people finally take action. Experts call this the long-tail ROI effect because your ROI always continues to grow. For simplicity however, we only measure after 30 days and move on to the next campaign.

          And there you have it! Direct mail means “direct-response” which is how you measure campaigns against each other to figure out which ones deliver the greatest ROI. This is how you move your marketing from being a cost, like radio-spots and billboards, to being an investment with a guaranteed outcome.

          Ready to test your own ROI? Log in and send a campaign today!
          Or, if you need help, Call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and they’ll set your campaigns up for you!

            The best way to stay top of mind

            It may sound greedy, but you want all of the customer attention that you can get.

            If you think about your customers in terms of the problems that you solve for them, they spend very little actual time looking for and engaging with your products or services. If you’re a dentist, you help them clean their teeth perhaps twice a year. A handyman? You might repair appliances maybe every two years. And as a landscaper? Tree trimmings occur even less frequently.

            In the in-between time, you basically have no business reaching out to these people.

            And yet, the key to great marketing is to stay in touch so that when they do have that problem, you’re the one that’s top of mind. That means that you’ve got to find a way to be noticed all the time, and the best way to do that is to be helpful.

            What sort of strategy helps you do this?

            Let us introduce our good friend content marketing

            Content marketing is the idea that you can participate in all parts of your customer’s life, not just the times when they most need you. You do it by creating helpful content that they enjoy and want to read – something that’s either interesting or helpful. Great examples include Home Depot, who offers basic woodworking classes in its stores, REI, which offers group outdoors trips, and not to be too self-promotional, but ProspectsPLUS, which publishes a bi-weekly SMB marketing advice blog. None of them are making any money off of these endeavors but they are building trust by being helpful.

            This sort of strategy does generate revenue in the long run however because when folks need 2×4’s, a new sleeping bag, or more customers, they know precisely where to go.

            How can you leverage content marketing in your own business?

            #1 Choose a Topic

            The best way to do this is to start defining your customer personas. Who is your typical customer? Where do they live? How much do they make? Do they have kids? Here’s an example of one:


            Jane: age 41, Des Moines IA, employed full time in sales, married, two toddlers


            Now, map out the things that Jane does. What could she possibly need help with?

            • Commutes to work
            • Manages house finances
            • Works a time-intensive job
            • Occasionally makes dinners
            • Raising two kids

            Among those things, is there something that you’re an expert at that you could help her with? Choose something that’s tangentially related to your business, and then proceed to step #2.

            #2 Choose a Channel

            What’s the best way to communicate that message? Your options are:

            The best strategy of course is to mix several of these and use them to promote each other: Your newsletter should reference your blog, your postcards should reference your newsletter, and your emails should send out links to new blog posts. That being said, don’t bite off more than you can chew and start small, then build up.

            Once you’ve selected the place that you think Jane will be most receptive to receiving your friendly help, get to work writing about topics that you think she’d want to hear! Remember to keep them focused on delivering value and not on pitching your services. If people sense that you’re doing this because you want something from them, they’ll quickly opt-out. This can happen if you fill your newsletter with updates about you rather than helpful tips for her.

            Start sending!

            After this, it’s all about building your base of subscribers. It’s key to constantly test messages, interview customers to see what they’d love to hear about, and optimize for the greatest possible readership.

            Do this and you’ll have successfully created a content marketing strategy that monopolizes your customers’ attention in the most helpful way!

            Need help with this? Call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109; they can create custom graphics and plan it all out for you!

            Want to get a trial postcard campaign out the door? Log into our web-to-print platform and do it yourself!

              First off, do you know how Black Friday started?

              Here’s how the urban myth goes: The day after Thanksgiving was the day of the year when retailers finally turned an annual profit. Because their accounting was kept in ledgers which at the time used red ink to denote loses and black to note profits, it was termed “Black Friday.” Everything was finally “in the black.”

              Sounds reasonable, right?

              Only, this version of the story is from the 1980’s. The actual term dates back to a century earlier.

              “Black” is an ancient term used to describe calamities, such as the original Black Friday of 1869 when a gold-buying scheme by two wealthy financiers caused the entire US stock market to crash. It was total bedlam in New York’s streets. Nearly a century later, police in Philadelphia commented on the chaotic shopping scene that had evolved on the Friday following Thanksgiving and dubbed it “Black Friday” because they had to work double-overtime to control the crowds.

              The name stuck.

              Nowadays, Black Friday has a much more positive spin: it’s a day for great deals. It will always, however, harken back to an insatiable wave of people going wild in the streets. Perhaps, with some tips, we can help you take the term back to its roots this year to bring a throng of crazed shoppers crashing through your doors too!

              Here are our top 11 Black Friday selling tips:

              1. Make it known that you’ll participate

              First and foremost, not everyone participates. Outdoor retail giant REI ran a campaign last year boycotting the event (#optoutside) and has gathered hundreds of brands behind it, including Subaru and Google. If only we all had the revenue to abstain from one of the biggest shopping bonanzas of the year, huh? If you do plan to participate, advertise that fact and let people know that you’ll be open!

              How can you get the word out? If you want to reach as many people as possible, try a Market Dominator postcard campaign that targets your entire zip code.

              2. Publish your hours

              Along with letting people know that you’ll be open, let them know when. Many shoppers get their start at 4 am and if that’s a little aggressive for you, let them know what they can expect. It doesn’t hurt you to be their second or third stop if it means a little extra sleep.

              3. Leak your ads early

              This is a publicity stunt to be sure, but it’s an effective one: If you have a mailing list or a decent number of website visitors, run your Black Friday ads now and then retract them. Publicly apologize that the campaign wasn’t meant to go up yet, and that the deals were meant to be kept a secret. This will generate excitement and those that only saw the apology will go looking for the ads and become intrigued.

              So many big retailers do this that the financial website NerdWallet dedicates a page to them.

              4. Early bird freebies

              This is a common practice and an all-around savvy move. Only a few people will ever redeem the prizes but many hundreds will show up trying to claim them and odds are, they’ll purchase something while they’re there. Last year Cabela’s gave away BBQs, Fandango gave away movie tickets, and Walmart gave away … deodorant? Perhaps this was to make sweaty shoppers more bearable for their staff.

              5. Sell both in store and online

              Cyber Monday, Black Friday’s online cousin, emerged as ecommerce’s answer to post Thanksgiving deals, but now the two have blended together. Whether you sell online, in-store, or both, give your customers the same experience everywhere so that you can …

              6. Prepare for savvy smartphone users

              Customers expect an omnichannel experience. That is, they want you to recognize them as the same individual when they show up in person, on their computer, on their phone, and across all channels. Make sure that your web experience and prices match the in-store one because customers will not only hold it against you but they’ll also price-shop your competitors while standing in your store. Prepare your employees with the power to discount and answer these types of questions.

              7. Arrange the most desirable advertised goods in the back

              This is a classic supermarket store-stocking tactic, and it’s the reason that to get to produce, dairy, and meats in any supermarket, you have to walk to the three farthest corners. This forces you to see and smell everything else as you go. Along the way, you pile more in your cart. Take a page out of their book and place your most advertised items in the back.

              8. Drop the price on desirable items as lures

              One of the best ways to create word of mouth buzz about your Black Friday sale is to price a few things so low as to be impossible for people not to share. What if you offered microwaves for $1? Or a set of tires for $0.99? That’s so low that people can’t help but talk about it and spread the word. To preserve your margin however, offer them in …

              9. Limited Quantities

              Scarcity is the number-one psychological trigger that convinces people to buy on the spot. We all fear missing out on things and if you combine jaw-droppingly low prices at extremely limited quantities, you’re going to convince people to visit you first to capture the deal.

              10. Create a line

              Ever see a bunch of people outside of the Apple store and suddenly realize that a new iPhone just launched? Now, Apple could stock enough employees, open up stands outside, or find some way to sell them faster than in-person, but they choose not to. Why? Because lines create exclusivity! People want things that others want and if the line is so long that it’s down the block, others are going to feel left out and they’ll want in too. If you can manage it, hire someone to control the flow of traffic to give the impression that everyone in town is at your store right now.

              11. Use offer codes to track your ads

              Here at ProspectsPLUS we’re big believers in direct-response marketing. If you can’t track it and measure your ROI, it’s not good marketing. That’s why we highly recommend including unique offer codes on all of your postcard marketing campaigns in the run up to Black Friday so that you can calculate which ones brought in the most revenue and optimize for next year!

              Black Friday is fast approaching – time to get to work

              Unlike its historical ancestor, the Black Friday of today is a revenue boon.  It’s a terrific opportunity for you to demonstrate your marketing chops! Try a few of these campaigns and bring the crowds crashing through your doors.

              Quick – give us a call at 1 (877) 222-6010 or log in and launch your postcards today.

              Forget the tactics. Need a strategy? Opportunity Knocks has your back – give them a call at 1 (866) 319-7109 and they’ll put your plan in order!

                Postcards Prove Perfect for Quick-Start ROI!

                Customer spotlight: Making your presence known
                An interview with Dr. Vatsal Suthar, proprietor of Swansea Dental Practice

                Every now and then we like to sit down with the people who know the benefits of our products better than even we do – our customers. It’s a great practice for staying abreast of what’s happening in their world and a fantastic opportunity to learn a thing or two about the industries in which direct mail marketing has a tremendous impact. our good friend Doctor Vatsal Suthar was kind enough to sit down with us and chat about marketing in his world and the impact that Opportunity Knocks has had on bringing in new clients for his recently established dental practice.

                [See: postcard marketing for dental practices]

                Within it, there are lessons for every sort of small business owner!

                Q: Dr. Suthar, thanks for sitting down with us. What kind of marketing were you doing prior to opportunity knocks?

                A: Just about zero. I took over an office which was in a rural part of town. The previous owner for whatever reason did nothing to really let the community know that there was a dental office here. I felt that something needed to be done and mailers seemed to have a good track record in the dental community.

                For me, it was really just a matter of creating awareness, and letting people know that we’re here – that was the message that needed to be heard and mailers seemed to be an obvious choice.

                Before this, the last offices that I worked at did very minimal advertising, I think one had a website and it was pretty outdated. One maybe did a radio spot, another one maybe had a billboard … but there was also one office that did nothing except join PPOs, so I never had good guidance from the previous owner showing me what marketing and advertising are all about for a dental office.

                Q: When you took over the practice, how many patients did you have?

                A: I think officially there were 700 in the computer. How many were active, well, it was probably a faction of that. It’s been a sizable increase because there’s been some attrition, and there’s some bad apples that had to be removed from the bushel, but now we’ve filled it up with good apples. I’d say we’re at 750, but all of them good ones now.

                Q: When you started the direct mail what sort of initial response did you get?

                The initial response was what we wanted it to be, which was phone calls. People [called] wanting to get scheduled or had questions about “Hey, do you do this procedure?” or, “Do you take this insurance?” or, “Are you open these days?” so it did what it needed to do to get the phone ringing.

                Q: Did a lot of those turn into immediate clientele?

                A: I wish I had the exact number, but based on the numbers that [Opportunity Knocks] gave me, 1.1% responded and out of those, probably a dozen people that actually came in and got an appointment or a cleaning or an exam or what have you, and it more than paid for itself.

                Q: Why do you think it worked so well? what messaging do you think worked?

                A: I believe it was just the first time the market had been exposed to anything like that before, we were going to get some kind of response. I’m willing to bet that it had everything to do with going from no exposure to some exposure.

                Q: How long do people typically stay with a dentist?

                A: Well, it’s changing. If your insurance changes, you move, and those numbers are only going up. There are lots of patients who are just floating from office to office.

                Q: What’s your practice’s strategy to combat that?

                A: You’re just fully transparent to the patient. You tell them how we run things scheduling wise, how much their treatment cost is going to be, what their responsibility is going to be, and you’ve gotta leave it up to them. It’s just a matter of being super transparent to the patient. I don’t know if that’s groundbreaking, but, it’s the basic things.

                Q: What have you liked about working with Opportunity Knocks?

                A: To start off I didn’t know about you guys until a colleague told me, so right off the bat you came recommended. I respect him a lot, I said, “what the heck, let’s do this.” Andy helped me out. I think what I was most impressed by was just the open communication throughout the whole process, before, during, and after. I mean, even now, we’ve done a second campaign and everything is emailed back and forth and discussed and followed up and that really made an impact on me.

                Q: Has doing business with us been easy?

                A: Very much so. It goes back to transparency, if I know what to expect, what the timeline is, what the fees are, it just makes it easier to make a decision and go with it. All I’ve gotta say is that you’ve been real pleasant to work with. As a new guy who doesn’t know too much, you having the experience to know how it works and to explain everything has been really helpful.

                I can take this time [for the interview] because you’ve always taken this time for me.

                Thanks Dr. Suthar for sharing – we know how busy you are and all of our readers appreciate you taking the time to share your experience!

                Ready to get your own campaign out? Give us call at Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and we’ll help you get it out do the door in under 30 minutes!

                  For a regrettable number of business owners, the answer to this question is to throw their hands up in the air and to assume that it just won’t work for them. Perhaps they’ve tried creating a website, tried sending out emails, or tried postcard marketing, didn’t get enough replies, and now feel turned off to the entire process.

                  That’s a shame, because you know how an expert small business marketer would take that news?

                  They’d be elated! Yeah, as in “ecstatically happy,” because they know that feedback is the only way they’re going to eventually make it work.  Or as Thomas Edison once said,

                   


                   “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”


                   

                  Every marketing campaign that doesn’t work is just another lesson in what not to do, and after enough of these (you’ll have plenty over the course of running your business), you’ll narrow in on what does.

                  You can isolate and test different factors of your campaign, for example perhaps you chose one phrase over another. Next time, you can A/B test them. Perhaps you chose the bright red image rather than the bright blue one. Next time, switch them up.

                  Test everything, but just don’t test too many factors at once – do it one at a time so that you know precisely what the winning change was.

                  3 ways that you can test your campaigns

                  Now, just because you’re about to experiment doesn’t mean that you have to make someone else’s mistakes too. Here’s what we’ve learned over the past few million postcard sends that you can test, using our DOD method.

                  1. Data – try targeting different people

                  If you don’t yet have an extremely clear sense of who your target audience is, perhaps you’re going after the wrong one. Companies make this mistake all the time, and they confuse their end-users with their actual purchasers. A full 59% of women, for example, feel compelled to buy clothes for their partners, and any ads targeted at those men who have (as the article alleges) “given up” on their appearance would be completely wasted. Similarly, any car ads targeted at first-time drivers would be completely missing who actually pays the price.

                  Try switching up your targeting. If you were very specific, try being more broad. If you were broad, go specific. Mix it up and test just the audience.

                  2. Offer – try offering something different

                  Perhaps you know your target audience well, and that they come into your store and buy from you all the time. In this case, it’s probably the offer that’s falling flat and needs to be pumped back up. Is what you’re offering phrased well? Were you concise or are the words too flowery or rambling? Or did you forget to include the almighty call-to-action?

                  Mix up the offer and see if something else sticks.

                  3. Design – try changing the design

                  If you’re certain that you’re targeting and your offer were on-point but you still didn’t get your results, it might be the design. Visual cues are everything and studies show that your brain processes images about 60,000 times faster than text. If your images are bad, it could be that they’re turning people off to your postcard before they even know why.

                  Follow our guide to supercharging your images and try a few of these effects!

                  Put it to the test!

                  What do you suspect is your marketing issue? Change that one thing and keep sending, each time tweaking one factor on your original postcard. Include unique offer codes on each so that you can track the results and when one of them hits, double down and send more of those!

                  Expert small business marketers know that marketing that doesn’t work is their training ground to develop marketing that does!

                  When you’re ready, call us at 1 (877) 222-6010 and we’ll send that postcard!

                  Could you use an expert hand?

                  Opportunity Knocks are marketing experts and they can diagnose why things aren’t working and get you back on track in one phone call: 1 (866) 319-7109

                    Wait, we’re confused. Is our headline today baking advice? Dating advice? Actually, it’s a foundational principle of good marketing.

                    Ever heard of a lizard brain? Well, you have one. It’s a section of your brain called the amygdala, also known as the “primitive brain,” that’s known for its quick, knee-jerk reactions and fight-or-flight responses. This is where gut-reactions come from.

                    These gut reactions happen a lot faster than we realize – usually in under three seconds. This makes them tens of thousands of times faster than your normal thinking mind.

                    It’s basically the result of spending tens of thousands of years as a species trying to quickly identify danger – if a bush rustles, we jump. If we see certain colors, we love or feel anxious.

                    Because of this, your lizard brain is the first line of defense against all incoming messages, aka any kind of marketing.

                    If you’re going to be successful at bringing in new customers, you’re going to have to put on your neuroscience cap and learn to speak to it!

                    Here’s some advice for speaking to the gut and not the brain:

                    1. Use powerful images

                    Your brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. That’s right, you came up with a reaction to the picture of this article that much faster than you registered the title.

                    The same research also shows that while we process text much slower, using both pictures and text is the ultimate winning combination to drive home your message and make it stick. You hit the reader with imagery and then provide intellectual rationale.

                    The lesson for your marketing should be crystal clear: Choose better images and combine them with text! Those images should be arresting, that is to say, they should have high contrast, intense colors, and stand out from their environment (the rest of their mail).

                    2. Use emotion

                    Right next to the part of the brain that processes images is the area that processes emotions. It’s a quick leap from sight to feeling, and those emotions are processed 5x faster than the conscious thoughts that follow.

                    Thus when it comes to making a good first marketing impression, 62-90% of our feeling about a brand can come simply from the emotion that the color used evokes.

                    Which one do you associate with in your marketing?

                    color_wheelyRed – sense of urgency, encourages appetite

                    Blue – reliability

                    Yellow – dependability (but sometimes anxiety)

                    Orange – optimism and expression

                    Green – tranquility, nature

                    Purple – wisdom and respect

                    Black – authority

                    Gray – practicality

                    (You can log into the web-to-print platform and choose a stock image to create a color-powered postcard now)

                    3. Use smiling people

                    Another powerful universal feature of our brains is their ability to recognize human faces. This only makes sense, as recognizing other people and building relationships has been key to our evolutionary survival. Babies are born with this ability and the emotional center of our brain lights up in a unique way when we see them.

                    It’s thus that using happy, smiling people in your postcard marketing is not too unlike greeting them happily in person. Here are great examples:

                    faces

                    Address your next mailing to “the lizard brain”

                    Next time you’re marketing, who are you trying to appeal to? The lizard brain! It processes everything faster and it prefers communication via images, color, emotions, and faces. If you can combine all of these elements into an advertising or print campaign, you’re going to be off to the races on ROI.

                    Click here to get your own mailing out now

                    If you’ve got marketing that needs doing, why not let us lend a hand? Call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and well get you set up with a psychologically-powered campaign series today!

                      If all you do is read the first sentence of this article, remember data, offer, design (DOD), in that order.

                      What does it all mean? These terms are the keys behind every highly successful postcard campaign that we see come through the presses, including one that recently delivered $40,000 for one of our customers within just one week. (This came from 30-45 minutes of work, we might add. We can’t even start to do the math on that ROI.)

                      Remembering these principles thus ensures that your offers get to the right people, say the right things, and look the right way in order to capture leads and customers. Do it any other way, or heaven forbid mix them up, and you risk wasting postcards and precious marketing dollars with dud offers.

                      Ready to learn how the 3-secret system works?
                      Let’s dive in.

                      1. Data

                      As David Ogilvy, grandfather of modern advertising, once said, “Don’t count the people that you reach, reach the people that count.” In direct mail marketing, this couldn’t be more true because 100% of your poorly targeted postcards are wasted. The problem is that you don’t ever really know which half that is, and thus you can’t do anything about it. Typically.

                      If you’re using a direct mail platform that leverages state of the art technology however, it becomes a different story. Our partners are out there collecting every drop of information you could want to know about your prospects – do they have a credit card? Do they drive a car? Do they have young children? All of this is placed at  your fingertips through ProspectsPLUS’s web-to-print platform.

                      The provider of this is Nielsen’s PRIZM, which makes your job easier by just allowing you to select profiles  of your ideal customers.

                      With the data piece of things taken care of, you cut out the vast majority of wasted postcards and target just those who are ready to buy.

                      2. Offer

                      Once you’re focused on the right people, it’s all about what you say! Delivering the right message to the right audience is critical, as personalized offers increase sales opportunities by as much as 20%. Personalization is so powerful in fact that it’s responsible for 1/3 of Amazon’s revenue and 75% of Netflix’s movie rentals.

                      Nielsen’s PRIZM put’s this same power in your hands via postcards and when you know precisely who you’re writing to, you can get much more specific.

                      Start off the postcard addressing the recipient by first name to grab their attention (just like we do with our emails). Next, talk about what you can do for them and not what they can do for you. Drop the “We’re a contractor who’s been in business 40 years…” intro and tell them how they’ll feel once they buy from you.

                      Make the message relevant to their household or industry by peppering in specific jargon that you know will resonate. If they’re a homeowner talk about local landmarks. If they’re in construction, talk about well-known job sites. Ensure that they feel like they’re reading a letter from someone who understands their neighborhood or industry.

                      Include the 5 W’s: 

                      Who are you to them?

                      What is being offered?

                      When will the offer expire?

                      Where can it be redeemed?

                      Why is it important that they act now?

                      How do they reach you?

                      3. Design 

                      This comes third, but is still extremely important as it determines whether your card is picked up and read or not.

                      The best design is a high quality photo of one of your customers enjoying your product or service, and the emotions that go with it: excitement, relief, joy. If the photo is grainy or too small, go with a stock image photo. Make sure that it’s bright, powerful, and attention grabbing, and that your call to action (CTA) is displayed prominently and in a different color!

                      Example:

                       

                      postcard_invest

                       

                      All set to go!

                      What are you going to remember from today? Data, offer, design. DOD. Now the next time that you’re thinking that you need more customers, you know exactly where and how to get started: just log into the ProspectsPLUS web-to-print platform which will walk you through those precise steps to get your marketing out into the world where it can land you more customers!

                      If you’re ready to be done for the day, give one of our experts a call at 1 (877) 222-6010 and let’s get you set up!

                      Need a little extra help?

                      Call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 to get help setting it all up so that it runs without you even thinking about it!