Direct mail marketing, such as postcard marketing, provides the marketer (you) with direct insights into what works to create better response.

    But it can be a lot of trial and error before you see your response increase. So, to save you loads of time, we’re going to show you a special short cut that’s guaranteed to increase response with your very next campaign.

    And it’s only going to cost you two minutes of your time.

    But there’s more… We’re also going to give you the sure-fire secret that makes fence-sitting prospects jump down onto your side of the fence with a smile!

    All that—for just two minutes.

    And right now, if you agree to spend those two minutes, you’ll receive a free bonus: the easy-but-oh-so-powerful tweak you can use to supercharge any and all of your direct marketing pieces from now on.

    Ready to find out? Let’s go!

    Did You “Buy?”

    You’re still reading this. Excellent.

    How did you feel by the time you read “Ready to find out?”

    Were you more interested in “spending” your two minutes than you were when you started reading this article?

    We’re going to guess you said “yes.”

    Cool. Cooler. Really Cool.

    When we said we’d give you short-cut to eliminate trial and error and increase response right away, you probably thought “Cool.” Spend two minutes to save untold amounts of time? Who wouldn’t?

    But when we added in the “sure-fire secret,” it was even cooler. And then the bonus “powerful tweak,” all for the same two minutes? That’s really cool.

    You were even more willing to spend your two minutes, weren’t you?

    Structuring an offer this way has come to be referred to in direct marketing circles as “stacking the cool.” You take a good offer and stack another good offer on top, and then another. You make it so good, so valuable, that it’s irresistible—people know they’d be crazy to not buy it.

    The Five Rules of Cool

    Irresistible offers are the shortcut to greater response that was mentioned above.

    To create them, follow these five rules:

    1. Be obvious. Show the prospect what the outcome of using your product or service is. Don’t try to be clever; just make it clear what it does. The late Billy Mays, pitching OxiClean, demonstrated over and over how it cleans and brightens without the hazards of bleach. (This is the “oh-so-powerful tweak” we mentioned earlier.)
    1. Use emotion. People don’t always buy for rational reasons so present an offer that fulfills a deep desire or eliminates a real pain for the prospect. Billy Mays didn’t focus on the chemistry of OxiClean but rather on how it was safe and easy to get results with.
    1. Increase credibility. There are three main ways to increase your credibility in your marketing, including customer testimonials and evidence of market dominance. If you’ve got it, highlight it to strengthen your offer.
    1. Start stacking. Increase the perceived value of your offer by adding extras or bonuses to make the offer irresistible. For people who “call now,” Billy Mays would cut the price in half and throw in a squirt bottle, a “super shammy,” and a spray bottle of “World Famous Orange Clean.” Then he’d increase “super-size” the OxiClean from two pounds to six.

    Rather than being concerned about losing money by giving away free products or services, consider how much you’d give up to gain a new customer against that customer’s lifetime value to your company.

    1. Guarantee forever. Okay, maybe not forever but better than “30-day money-back guarantee.” Everyone’s heard it. It’s typical (and boring). Create a guarantee that’s another layer of cool on your already way cool offer. (This is that “sure-fire secret” we mentioned earlier.)


    ProspectsPLUS! can put the icing on your coolness with richly-colored, customizable postcard templates for every industry. Log on to where you can design, print, and mail it, all from your laptop.

    Or, you can contact Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and we can handle the design and mailing for you. (Hey, that’s pretty cool…)

      You’ve probably heard this saying,  “If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business; you have a hobby.” (It came from author-customer experience expert Don Peppers and his co-author Martha Rogers.)

      Though pretty obvious, the reverse is also true: If you’ve got customers, you’ve got a business. But let’s face it, as a business owner, you’ve got customers and then, you’ve got Customers—the latter being your ideal type, the loyal ones who buy often or a lot (or both) and with whom you share a mutually beneficial relationship.

      Isolate Customer Factors

      So, to be in business and stay in business—profitably and for as long as you choose—you must create a steady flow of the kinds of prospects who become ideal customers.

      You do it by a sort of “reverse engineering” of your existing ideal customers.

      That may sound a bit scientific but it’s easy to do—just three steps:

      • Analyze
      • Isolate
      • Target

      We’re going to look at each one of these individually.


      You’ve heard of “the 80-20 Rule?” It’s something you can observe in life. Example: You wear 20% of your shoes 80% of the time. Or, 80% of the pollution comes from only 20% of the cars. (It’s not always a hard and fast 80-to-20, but you get the idea.)

      It’s likely that 20% of your customers give you 80% of your income. So, have a close look at that 20%, in terms of:

      • Age
      • Gender
      • Education
      • Marital status
      • Geography
      • Annual income

      If you don’t have this demographic and geographic information, survey those customers to get it.

      Ideally, you want to also know your ideal customers’ psychographic data—what they value, and what motivates or interests them. Interests and values are expressed across a person’s life, from their hobbies to their attitudes to their spending habits—their lifestyle in general. If the information you have about your customers provides you some psychographic insights, you’re ahead of the game. If not, survey to get it.


      In analyzing a dozen or a hundred of your best customers, you will begin to isolate the common factors…and you may be surprised at what you find.

      We recall one very successful small business owner who had assumed that his customers were pretty much just like him: Millennial, entrepreneurial college drop-outs. When he finally analyzed the 20%, he isolated a game-changing factor: they were all baby boomers and retirees.


      Once you’ve isolated the factors that your best customers all have in common, you can use these factors to target more prospects who share these demographic, geographic and/or psychographic traits. It’s a bit like extracting the “best customer DNA” and using it to clone more ideal customers.


      If you’ve analyzed and isolated and you’re ready to target with postcard marketing, go to, where you can design your postcard and use Nielsen PRIZM to reach more customers with those “best customer” traits.

      If want to learn more about your best customers, their spending/buying habits and more, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and we’ll help you with the analyzing, isolating, and targeting.

        In the world of successful direct marketing—which includes marketing with postcards—there are a few fundamentals that remain constant. Regardless of what kind of business you run, your marketing pieces, to be effective, must contain the following:

        • Attention-grabbing headline
        • Promise of benefit
        • Irresistible offer
        • Call to action

        These factors are mostly copy-related but consider also that the photo or image can convey a promise of benefit or support an irresistible offer.

        Another factor which is necessary for successful direct marketing for any kind of business is repetition and persistence. On average, it takes seven postcard mailings for your brand to lodge in prospects’ minds. Repeated contact is what turns prospects into customers.

        Those are the main things that all businesses have to do to create response.

        Adjusting the Factors

        If you own a pizzeria and notice that the florist next door markets with postcards and gets a lot of business, you wouldn’t necessarily want to copy what the florist is doing for your postcard; it probably wouldn’t work. Rather, you want to create the kind of postcard campaign that will work for a pizzeria.

        Luckily, many industries have more or less already discovered what works.

        So, similar to how there are these direct marketing factors that are common to all industries, there are specific adjustments of these factors that work better for some industries and other adjustments that work best for others.

        Below are three examples to give you an idea of how these factors are used in a few different industries.


        You’ve got to present a great offer but dental practices seem to fare best when they present multiple offers on a postcard—as many as five, such as:

        • Free x-ray and consultation
        • Hundred-dollar gift card on work over a certain dollar amount
        • Limited-time special on dentures
        • Limited-time special on implants
        • Major discount on braces, etc.

        This approach speaks to a range of prospects: the ones who need dental work now, the ones with a bit of money, the ones with less money, etc. You give prospects all kinds of reasons to visit you.


        It’s recommended that you use a larger postcard, especially if:

        1. you have a lot of competition in your market, and
        2. they are using postcard marketing

        The landscaper could look at the successful dental office and say, “Hey, they have five offers and they’re so booked up, I can barely get an appointment. I’m going to have five offers on my postcard too.”

        He’s on the right track but three good offers is plenty for a landscaping business. It could be three out of four of these:

        • Free landscape evaluation and estimate
        • A low monthly lawn care package price
        • Percentage discount on project
        • First two grass cuts free

        As we’ve said many times before, a key factor in direct marketing success is the quality of your list. This is specialized for the landscaping industry in that you should routinely be mailing your postcards to a list of new homebuyers in your market—anyone who has purchased a home in the last six months.  


        As far as offers go, as an HVAC company, you can do very well with one strong offer—the more compelling and the bigger value, the better.

        And, if you’re in the HVAC industry, then you know that your offers should correspond to the season: A/C-related offers as you head into summer, heater/boiler-related offers as you head into winter, system inspection and maintenance during the rest of the year.

        (And notice that seasonally-geared offers might work somewhat for landscapers but wouldn’t work so much for dentists.)


        Over at you can find customizable postcard templates for every industry—looks and designs that have been shown to be effective in creating response.

        Or, give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109 and have one of our design and marketing pros put together a postcard campaign that makes your phone ring with incoming orders.

          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 July!

          Our $150 winner is Joe Large from Granite Transformations who shared, “The experience is like driving a car. You set up the cards, define proximity parameters and hit the gas. From there it just goes.”

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


            Have you heard of “the buying spectrum?” At one end of it, a prospect has a faint understanding that they will need to make a purchase. At the other end, they are ready to lay down their money.

            Not all prospects enter the spectrum at the very beginning. Sometimes they’ll become aware of a product and have a strong desire for it. They might buy now or shop around a bit first, but they’ve entered spectrum much closer to the end.

            Major life changes put consumers into the buying spectrum. These can include the following:

            • becoming a new parent
            • becoming a newlywed
            • buying or selling a home
            • becoming single
            • reaching a particular age

            (Businesses also undergo major changes [of interest to B2B companies] but this article is going to focus on consumers.)

            Marketers refer to these changes as “triggers” or “life event triggers,” which necessitate certain new purchases or changes in purchasing habits.


            Right Offer, Right Time

            Marketing and advertising work because the world is already full of people with needs and desires. It’s a fact of life. Trigger events are just specialized instances of need and want.

            By using the trigger events that apply to your business, you can deliver the right offer at the right time and produce a whole new level of response and new customers.

            (You’re probably wondering where to find this trigger data, right? That info is coming, shortly.)


            How Businesses Can Use Trigger Data

            For marketing purposes, trigger events are those major life occurrences which end up recorded in public records.

            These major life changes bring about new needs:

            • A new homeowner may need a gardener, a pool cleaner, a cable provider, an exterminator, a new doctor and/or dentist.
            • New parents are going to need diapers, baby clothes, nursery items, and day care services.
            • A newly-single person may be in need of a dating service, a make-over, or professional counseling.
            • People who’ve come through a bankruptcy may need ways to re-establish their credit (such as a secured credit card).
            • People nearing retirement may be in need of financial planning services, various types of insurance, or maybe a travel agent.

            With a bit of thought and research, you can figure out which triggers to market to. Then work out your offer to correspond to the trigger. Then prepare to start counting the money.


            ProspectsPLUS! gives you access to a whole new pool of prospects, according to trigger event, through the Nielsen PRIZM database. Log on to where you can design a beautiful postcard, print it, and mail it, all from your computer.

            Or, you can contact Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and we’ll save you the time and take care of it for you. (We do this stuff all day long.)

              You probably already know that it’s more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one, right? To be more specific, the White House Office on Consumer Affairs reported that it’s six to seven times more expensive.

              If you’ve got an endless marketing budget, or a quasi-monopoly in your market (as some cable companies do within a region), then you don’t have to worry too much about retaining customers.

              But most businesses don’t have bottomless budgets and the bad reviews will eventually catch up with you.

              The long-term business survival strategy is to keep your customers.

              Customer Service Statistics

              While it’s necessary to prospect for new customers, the fact is, your existing customers are your business: you have a 60-70% probability of selling to them vs only a 5-20% chance of selling to a new prospect.

              So, it pays to treat your customers like gold—that’s what they are.

              Seven out of 10 people will spend more with a company that they feel provides excellent customer service, according to an American Express Survey. And more than half of them (59%) would try a new company for a better customer service experience.

              So, to summarize:

              1. Your customers are your business.
              2. People value great service.
              3. They are willing to pay more for it.
              4. They will go to where they can get it.  

              One last stat: 80% of companies surveyed (by Lee Resources) said that they provided outstanding customer service. But only 8% of people surveyed agreed.)

              So, even if you’re sure you provide superior customer service, there’s probably a thing or two you could do to ensure it.


              Customer Service Marketing

              The successful customer-business relationship is not unlike any successful personal relationship.  

              Customers want to be properly acknowledged. They want to be treated with respect, courtesy, and maybe even admiration. They appreciate help and information, and genuine communication.

              You can’t always be selling to them. That’s like a “friend” who you only call when you need a favor. It won’t last.

              So in between sales, use your marketing as a form of customer service:  

              • Birthday & holiday greetings. It used to be fairly common to receive a birthday greeting in the mail from your dentist or other business. Not so much anymore. So, it really stands out as a kind gesture when you do it. (It also requires that you be collecting customer data, including their birthday.)
              • Surveys. People love to be asked for their opinion or viewpoint. So, send them a survey. It doesn’t even have to be about the customer experience. It could be about something related to your industry or product/service in general.  
              • Thank you’s. What if you sent your customer a postcard just to thank them for being your customer. You could even boost it with 10% “thank-you” discount.

              Any one of these strategies (or others) can be put onto a postcard, for highly effective, low-cost “customer service marketing.”

              In fact, you could design one right now at and get it into the mail in a matter of minutes, right from your computer.

              Or, for a superior customer service experience, give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109. We’ll save you time by handling the design and everything else.

                Do you date much? Would you like to?

                (No, ProspectsPLUS! is not moving into the dating advice niche. This is just a set up to for an analogy.)

                Which is the easier way to get a date?

                • On your own, at the supermarket, laundromat, bar, etc.
                • By having a friend introduce you to someone they know.

                You probably said number 2, right?

                Not a Total Stranger

                This may be a huge oversimplification, but it’s still true: it’s easier to get the date by your friend setting you up because you’re a friend of their friend. So you’re safe (more or less). You’re more familiar than a total stranger. It establishes some small degree of trust.

                So, what does all this singles-scene stuff have to do with your marketing?

                It’s this: by showing prospective customers that people just like them have used your service or purchased your product and got a good result, are happy and satisfied, you become less of a total stranger to your prospect.

                They are thus more likely to trust you.

                There are three main ways to promote your results and produce this effect:

                • Photos
                • Testimonials/reviews
                • Evidence of market dominance

                 Let’s take a look at each in more detail and how to use it in your marketing.


                 Photos are ideal for before-and-after scenarios where a picture really is worth a thousand words (and, marketing-wise, perhaps many thousands of dollars):

                • Weight loss
                • Cosmetic dentistry
                • Anti-aging products
                • Beauty products/services
                • Interior decorating/remodeling
                • Landscaping

                But photos of happy customers and their purchases—house, car, pet, etc.—can also be effective in producing trust.


                There is no bigger credibility builder than a great testimonial or review (or a few of them).

                A testimonial can say things to overcome skepticism and build trust that you, as the voice of your business, could never get away with. That’s because a good testimonial or review isn’t sales copy; it’s word-of-mouth advertising.

                When choosing a testimonial, shy away from the non-specific “I love this! It’s a great product!” raves. Instead, look for one that fulfills the following requirements:

                • It’s from someone like your prospect. “Like” can mean same geography, age group, line of business, etc.
                • It speaks of concrete benefits and results: “In just two week, I lost three inches in my waist!” or “We did the course and applied what we learned and have doubled our income in just the first six months.”
                • The benefits should support the claims you’ve made for your product or service. In other words, losing inches in the waist is great, if you’re selling a diet or exercise product or service.
                • It’s credible, meaning that it has identifying information, such as name (or initials), job title and company (as applicable), and city and state.

                 Photos have been shown to increase the credibility of testimonials and video testimonials are even a step better.

                Evidence of Market Dominance

                If you’re the city’s #1 plumbing company… that speaks for itself…and it says to prospect “Everyone is calling these guys. You should call them, too.”

                But don’t use this one unless you really are the market leader and can back it up with evidence and/or statistics: number of customers, number of sales, quotes from published reports, awards that indicate your “number-one-ness,” etc.

                A great photo, testimonial, or evidence of market dominance is the most powerful “bait” for attracting new customers.

                With one of these in hand, all you’ve got to do is log on to and put it into your postcard. Then print, and mail and get ready for your phone to ring.

                Or, if you’re tied up with all it takes to continue dominating your market, turn the postcard work over to Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and we’ll get it done for you.

                  In 1975, the Wall Street Journal initiated a direct mail campaign to generate new subscriptions. The piece they created came to be known as “The Tale of Two Young Men.”

                  Twenty-eight years and $2 billion dollars worth of subscriptions later, they stopped mailing it. Not bad, eh?

                  Nothing stays the same forever. It’s as true in marketing as it is anywhere. Even “The Greatest Sales Letter of All Time” eventually stopped being effective.

                  Most marketing pieces don’t have that kind of long-run effectiveness. That’s why it pays to conduct continual testing of your own marketing.

                  Go Big (Enough)

                  From your customer base, select out a control group (who will receive your current promotion) and a test group (who will received the new version) that are large enough to produce a statistically valid result.

                  Too many companies test on too-small groups, which wastes money and produces no useful results.

                  And remember, with this kind of testing (often referred to as “A/B testing” or “split testing”), you test only one thing at a time. Variables can include:

                  • new headline
                  • different photo
                  • different offer (bonuses, discount, etc.)
                  • re-worded call to action

                  There are other aspects of the copy or design which can also be tested, including color schemes, body copy, and more.

                  ROI, Not Just Response

                  Counting on response alone as a measure of test success is a bit like trying to get the most “likes” on a Facebook post. It makes you feel good but it does nothing for your bottom line.

                  With any marketing test campaign, you should only be concerned with the return on investment (ROI) for both the test and the control. This is easy enough to track with date-limited offers.

                  When your offer doesn’t have an ending date, results may come in for months, but there is a point at which you will have received 50% of all orders for that campaign. This is referred to as the campaign’s “half-life.” By running a few tests with a large enough representative segment of your customer base, you will discover within a few months what the half-life is. (It will be consistent, campaign to campaign). When you know, you’ll only have to monitor campaigns until the half-life date to know the ROI.


                  How often you mail is commonly a concern for email marketers but can also be an issue for direct mail marketing.

                  Campaign frequency can apply to either the total number of mailings or the number of repetitions of a particular campaign.

                  If you mail once a month, you could see what happens (in terms of ROI) if you mailed the twice a month to your control group.

                  In these testing scenarios, short-run postcard printing (as few as 100) is your ally because you can get it done fast and it’s very cost effective, which can do wonders for your ROI.

                  If you’ve got your control and test lists (and you’re sitting at your computer), you could go to and do a test campaign right now, in a matter of minutes.

                  And at Opportunity Knocks, we specialize in small order printing which allows you to easily and affordably run test campaigns. Give us a call at 1 (866) 319-7109 to find out more.

                    If you’re the top company in your market right now, you can stop reading.

                    If you’re not, then it might be time to do a competitive analysis to get a thorough understanding of your competition.

                    This understanding will provide a few important things:

                    • Your current and potential customers’ opinion of the competition
                    • Your competitions’ weaknesses and strengths
                    • A path toward strengthening and improving your competitive advantage

                    “Knowledge is power,” said 16th century philosopher Francis Bacon. And with a competitive review, you will achieve marketing power.

                    Identifying Your Competitors

                    If there are only a few companies doing business in your niche, then you should do an analysis of each of them.

                    If your market is crowded with competitors, relax: you don’t have to do an analysis of each one. Narrow it down to the top three.

                    Getting Competitive Information

                    Though you could hire a market research firm at great expense, you can do the job yourself quicker and cheaper. Much of the information you need is easily available:


                    • Marketing. Get on your competitors’ mailing list. Read their ads and sales collateral to find out price, offers, and benefits. See how they advertise, how often, where, and how their ads look. Visit their website regularly to keep up with news and developments.


                    • Articles. Google the owner or other principle of each company to see if they are talking about how their company operates, if they’re expanding or downsizing, etc.


                    • Reviews. Find product/service reviews on Yelp!, Amazon, and elsewhere. These will tell you the strengths and weakness of their wares.


                    • SEC reports. If your competition is a publicly traded company, you can access their reports on the Securities and Exchange Commissions’ EDGAR site to get earnings and growth information and more.


                    • Databases. Sources such as Dun & Bradstreet, Wards Business Directory, and others provide information on assets, earnings, and other key information for small, medium, and big businesses.


                    • Pay a visit. If you have a store, you can go out and visit the other stores in your area and observe how they do business. Play “customer” and ask questions to find out about service, price, and selection.


                    If your business is online, place an order with your competition to find out how good their service, delivery, and packaging is.

                    You can adapt this information-gathering step for whatever kind of business you have.

                    Your Own Company Information

                    Find out from your sales staff and customer service reps which product/service benefits and features your customers consider most important. Discover, if you can, how they rate your product against your competitors’.  

                    Figure out your market share or at least know what your total annual sales are, to compare.

                    Analyze Strengths and Weaknesses

                    By analyzing all the data you’ve collected, you can make an honest assessment of what you and your three competitors do well, in which areas you’re weak, and where your most likely competitive advantage lies.

                    By seeing where you’re strong, you’ll discover what to fortify. By seeing where your competition is weak you will discover an advantage for yourself. Turn their weakness into your strength.

                    Use the results of your competitive review to inform your marketing, towards the goal of more customers, sales, and greater market share.

                    A really fast way to get out your post-review postcard campaign is to pop over to and design, print, and mail a postcard that will help you get the edge on your competition.

                    Or, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109. Postcard marketing is our strength. We’ll conduct a competitive analysis for free to your campaigns see that added boost.

                      Clint Eastwood said it. Sean “Puffy” Combs did too. So did Former Prime Minister of New Zealand John Key (among many others):

                      “You get out of life what you put into it.”

                      But “life” is such a broad topic, right?

                      How do you apply this idea to successful business marketing?

                      You could modify it to: “You get out of your customers what you give up to them.”

                      Your marketing should showcase what you will give up.

                      The Offer

                      For your business to succeed well into the future, you have to put out an offer. This, of course, is so obvious that it hurts, but we have to say it because there are businesses out there that spend good money on marketing that contains no offer.

                      Think about that: You come home after work and you find a door hanger on your front doorknob: “Jack’s Burger Shack.” It has their address and phone number and their menu. That’s it.

                      Every other fast-food place in town has an offer: “two-for-one” or “10% off” or “Free Delivery.” Jack’s makes no offer. So why should you become their customer?

                      No offer = no new customer.

                      In your industry, some or all of your competitors are putting out offers. Some of them may be good (and it pays to analyze what they’re doing), but frankly, yours has to smoke (not like the charbroiler at Jack’s)—it’s got to be better than what your competition is offering.

                      Offers That Create Customers

                      To create the best possible offer, take a long-range viewpoint. Consider that you want to acquire a customer and keep them for as long as possible.

                      Figure out the lifetime value (LTV) of your average customer. Here is a simple way to get an estimate:

                      • Work out the dollar amount of the average sale.
                      • Multiply it by the number of sales the average customer makes in a year (or week, or month, depending on your business)
                      • Multiply it by the average customer lifespan (the years, weeks, or months they remain a customer)

                      When you know how much you can maximally expect to earn from a customer, you get a better grip on what you can give up in order to acquire that customer.

                      This isn’t just a matter of how much you should spend on marketing but of what you can give away, in terms of:

                      • Complimentary Service
                      • Free Consultation
                      • Discounts
                      • Extras
                      • Freebies
                      • Etc.

                      This kind of talk makes some small business owners nervous. They end up making “meh” offers (or, like Jack’s, no offer).

                      Skip the nervousness. Take the long view (sales, more sales, ROI out the gazoo, and referrals too). Give up as much as you can. Make a great offer. Get the customer.

                      When you’ve worked out your offer, head over to and design, print, and mail a postcard that people won’t be able to refuse.

                      And if time is something you can’t “give up” much of right now, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109; we can handle the design and everything else for you.