You don’t have to be a graphic artist to do marketing

Don’t consider yourself an artist? Few people do, but don’t let that hold you back from marketing! Your fear of not being “creative” enough for marketing is completely unfounded and we’ll tell you why: all we do is marketing, and we’re not very good artists either.

Sure, our design team is world-class, but that’s not what drives sales. We like to rely on data to make our marketing decisions. We’re always testing testing testing, and have done so over millions of postcard sends (some of them, yes, by real artists) for the past twenty years.

Good SMB marketers are a jack-of all trades

Over that time what has become clear is that to be a good small-business marketer and to make more sales with a direct mail marketing campaign, you just need to be a really good generalist.

A generalist? Sure. We’ve found that the biggest winners are the generalists. At very large Fortune 1000 companies specialists can afford to get tunnel vision around a project and spend weeks designing a single flyer. Not so here, where small and medium business owners are juggling a host of competing responsibilities. Your business would suffer terribly if you swept everything aside to compose the perfect photo series. A generalist however can get in, get it done, and move on, and they tend to see the highest response rates and sales. In short, you don’t have to be an artist to be good at marketing.

Here’s how you know you’re a highly effective generalist:
  1. Business – do you know the value of your business to the customer?
  2. Marketing – can you give prospects social proof by letting your customers speak for you?
  3. Design – when the time comes, can you choose an effective image over a pretty one?
  4. Timing – can you lay down the law with a deadline?

If you’re sitting there nodding your head thinking, “duh,” this is what I do all day, then great! Click here and get started with a direct mail campaign, and don’t even bother with the rest of this. But if you’re curious and want to see how the pros do it, read on.

Designing your own unique and powerful postcard really is as shockingly simple as touching on these four points: 
  1. Create your value proposition. Why should the customer buy from you? There’s plenty of other competing businesses out there, you need to select the single thing that sets you apart and make it the headline of your postcard. I know what you’re thinking, “but there are hundreds of reasons!” which may be true, but remember, when someone opens the mailbox you’ve got one big first impression to make. Avoid blowing it with a “busy” design that tries to tell them everything you do.

The famous line is, “If I had more time I would have written a shorter letter,” which is to say, it’s tough editing it all down to one thing! But based on how postcard campaigns with just one big value proposition perform, it’s entirely worth the work. Cut it down to just one and go with it!

  1. Social Proof. If you haven’t seen our primer on using psychology in postcard marketing, it’s worth a glance. Social proof puts your potential customers at ease because it shows that others have tried your services and been delighted.

Just think, you wouldn’t trust a new babysitter who walked in off the street and was a complete stranger, would you? Of course not. You choose one who you know, probably the son or daughter of a friend, and whom has successfully babysat before. What you’re trying to establish is his or her credentials. The same is true in direct mail marketing, where you have to show the customer very quickly that you’re trustworthy. So let your happy customers do the talking and pepper the card with testimonials and statistics about customer satisfaction!

  1. Get flashy – its finally time to create some visual drama! Because your postcard is only so big and you can only write so much, don’t skimp on the pictures, as they speak volumes. Where do you get those photos? Use stock ones! This is the great inside secret of the industry, and who wouldn’t want to draw from the work of professional photographers? Any good direct-mail vendor will help you choose from an array of photos and give you templates so that you know where to place them. But which photos do you choose? That’s where the generalists excel.

Oddly enough, people who don’t know a lot about photography actually do better with this. This seems counter intuitive, whereas real artists will focus on picture composition and light quality, which are great to have, generalists will focus on the big picture (no pun intended) and use images that tell a story about their value proposition.

Do you guarantee that you’ll remove stains? Show the couch! Do you restore old cars? Show your favorites! Generalists are pros at boiling it all down to one or two photos, say a before-and-after picture of someone with new flooring, a new yard, or a new vehicle. Once you’ve got those images, you’re done. On to the next step!

  1. Create Deadlines. Great generalists know that sometimes it’s time to stop playing around and get tough. You’ve made the customer a great offer, but are you hard enough to hold them to it? Deadlines are a great selling tool because people really are driven by them: taxes, invoices, school registration, etc.

Just think back to your time in school (I know it’s been a while, it has for us as well). Did you ever do complete an assignment the day you received it? Heck no! You waited until the last hour of the last day. Your customers will as well, and if there’s no deadline, that postcard is going to get saved and lost. Compel them to act now and make them an offer they can’t refuse!

And there you have it. Feeling pretty good about your generalist skills? You should. Marketing is best done by those can get in, get the job done, and get out. They can hammer out a value proposition, gather testimonials, tell a story with two photos, stamp a deadline on it, and get back to their day.

I guess you didn’t realize it but by running your business, you’ve already prepared yourself with the skills you need to craft a powerful marketing campaign! Now the only thing left is to pick up the phone and dial 877-222-6010 to get that campaign out the door and watch the sales flow in! Remember, get in, get it done, and get on with your day.