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

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

(a) air

(b) electricity

(c) fuel

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

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

It’s the same thing with your marketing.

There Is No “Fail”

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

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

(a) data

(b) offer

(c) design

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

Let’s take a closer look at each one.


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


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

  • headline
  • copy
  • call to action

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

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


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


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

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