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!

          Listen to the 13 minute interview:

          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:


              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!





                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!

                  Responses don’t mean jack.

                  That’s not to say that they don’t matter – they do let you know that things are happening and that people are responding, but this is only activity. Thinking that a campaign was successful because you got a bunch of responses is like celebrating your victory only halfway through a race.

                  While you’re cheering, your competitors are still sprinting ahead.

                  And if none of your respondents end up buying anything, or if they did buy but weren’t profitable, then it wasn’t a success. What truly matters is ROI.

                  Today we’ll explore a few scenarios where responses did not lead to ROI and how you can avoid the
                  same mistakes.

                  Here are 3 times that responses did not equate to ROI, and what they can do differently:

                  1. The wrong people responded

                  Sometimes people just want to talk. That was one of our client’s realizations when they sent out a postcard campaign that saw a nearly 40% response rate. People of all socioeconomic strata and a great variety of backgrounds and professions took the time to hand-write responses to their postcards – many of them in monogrammed envelopes and some of them even several pages long. As the mail flooded in, our client at first thought it was too good to be true!

                  In this case it was. What all these leads shared in common was that they were all retired. Our client had sent a postcard campaign to an area of California with a high density of retirement communities and nursing homes and very few (if any) of these letters denoted real buying interest. Many of them politely declined, but then proceeded on a different topic. They simply wanted to talk.

                  The simple solution? Better targeting. With digital printing technology you can see this coming – you know where each of your postcards are going and you can adapt for next time to focus on only your ideal customers.

                  2. The wrong customers bought

                  Some customers are more demanding than others. One B2B client of ours discovered this in their mass postcard campaigns designed to open up a large, untouched segment of price-sensitive customers. Their three-touch postcard series worked, and they started to sign on more and more of these clients – the responses were there and the revenue was there. These clients paid. But they also took.

                  They took, well, just about everything that they could get their hands on. These smaller customers had smaller teams, and their owners were stretched thin on resources to begin with, so they leaned heavily on our client’s open promise for unlimited support and clogged the phone lines day and night. In response, they were forced to hire more support staff to keep up.

                  In the end, this was a money-losing proposition. Why? Because they reached the wrong customers! Generally, the larger the clients, the less hand-holding they’ll need, and with ProspectsPLUS’s targeting systems you can make sure that you’re only going after clients who are going to bring in the big bucks.

                  3. The offer wasn’t mutually beneficial

                  This last one came the closest to being successful – they got the high volume of consumer responses that they wanted, from people who might have been the right people, but in the end, their offer came back to bite them. This customer installs curtains, and they offered a $50 gift card to anyone who scheduled a home consultation using their postcard offer code. The phones positively rang off the hook.

                  The only problem? When their sales reps stopped by, they were met with open doors but blank stares. No amount of free advice or decorating expertise could get them un-stuck from their avid desire for the gift card. Many people who otherwise would have been great leads were so fixated on the free gift that they paid no attention to the consultation and the sales conversions languished in the single digits.

                  The solution? Predicate your offers on some sort of a give-get! Make your rebates applicable after some sort of a purchase or you’ll get a flood of well-meaning people who want free things but who were never going to buy to begin with.

                  Ready to get some ROI on your responses?

                  Responses, as you can see, are not everything. They’re an indicator, a mile marker that lets you know that you’re on the right track. What really matters however is new customers and your ROI, which needs to factor in not only what it cost to acquire those customers, but what it cost to maintain them.

                  And there you have it, all of the warning you’ll need to make ROI your primary focus! Get out there and fire off your postcard campaigns with confidence today knowing that you properly targeted your audiences.

                  Need a little help getting the right people to buy?

                  Sometimes it’s great to run your plan by someone, and that’s why Opportunity Knocks is here. They’re experts in more than direct mail – they’ll consult you on your entire marketing strategy and then run it for you! Give them a call at 1 (866) 319-7109 to see what you can accomplish together.

                    The power of repetition

                    Have you ever met a super fit person who only visited the gym once?

                    Have you ever met a great chef who’s only cooked one meal?

                    What about a superb golfer who’s only shot one round?

                    Yeah, us neither.

                    So why the heck do businesses out there think that their marketing would be successful after only one or two postcard campaigns? Beats us.

                    Like all things, practice and repetition make perfect.

                    While practicing will help you get these 3 things right:

                    • Audience
                    • Offer
                    • Design

                    Repetition will help you conquer the fact that all of your customers are busy professionals, in or out of work. They’re husbands picking up their kids from lacrosse practice, they’re wives working long hours to advance their careers, and they’re neighbors trying to build thriving communities. Their attention is spread preciously thin, and you have to help them out by repeating your message.

                    This is called the principle of effective frequency which states that:

                    People need to be exposed to your brand message 5-7 times before purchasing. 

                    What does that mean for those businesses who quit marketing after only 1 postcard campaign? after 2? after 4? They net only a fraction of the sales that they could have had. For those who stick with it however, it yields incredible results. Just ask some of the biggest brands on planet Earth who have found what works and stuck to it, repeating their messages millions of times until they became household names: (list courtesy of The Financial Brand)

                    • Breakfast of Champions, in use for 89 years
                    • Got Milk?, in use for 23 years
                    • Just do it, in use for 29 years
                    • What happens here, stays here, in use for 12 years
                    • 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance, in use for 7 years

                    This should be your aim as well: repeat your message until it really sinks in.

                    What does this mean for your direct mail marketing?

                    Actually, it means be less creative. That’s right, we said it: Stop changing your coloring, your branding, your images, and your font so much. Each time you make a major change, you start the shot-clock over again. Your customer has to remember a new you for the first time, and instead of 5-7 repetitions, you’re back to 1 or 2.

                    Instead, tweak and edit your most effective campaigns to make them better: resize the tagline, bold the phone number, and change the stock photo, but leave the majority intact.

                    Some of the most effective postcard marketing campaigns of all time were the same postcard sent over and over.

                    Here are some rules of thumb for maximum effectiveness:

                    1. Plan to send 5-7 postcards, and design and schedule them all at once
                      (optional: have us design, stamp, and send it all for you)
                    2. Target them at the same group of people
                    3. Design them to be consistent with your branding and message
                    4. Change them only slightly – maintain the overall logo, color scheme, and tagline
                    5. Hit send, sit back and track the results

                    Tracking the results is absolutely critical here because this is how you’re going to see the difference between the one-off “I got lucky” postcard campaigns and the sheer effectiveness of leveraging the effective frequency principle. Repeat it enough, they’ll hear it, and they’ll respond.

                    Ready to start? Here’s the web-to-print platform. Go forth, repeat yourself, and set yourself apart as a truly great marketer!

                    Need a helping hand?

                    Opportunity Knocks can combine this principle with hundreds of others to create a series of killer marketing campaigns that drive home results! Call us at 1 (866) 319-7109 today!

                      Doesn’t it seem like holiday marketing creeps forward every single year? We sure think it does.

                      I mean, who isn’t at least a little bit offended when turkeys start appearing in July and Santa Claus starts making appearances in November?

                      And yet, it’s a sort of cheer-filled arms race that you can’t afford not to be playing. Most businesses do almost one third of their annual sales during the holiday season alone. Customer attention overload also climaxes in late November and continues on into the new year and if you want to break through and make your sales numbers this year, you need to start generating some brand awareness pretty much right now!

                      To that effect, we want to make it easy on you!

                      Here are our holiday marketing tips for closing more sales in the busiest time of year:

                      1. Gift reminders

                      Does your product or service make a great gift? Remind people! One in three shoppers wait until the week of Christmas to do their shopping. You’ve probably been there, we all have: you don’t know what to get or you don’t have the time and before you know it, they’ve run out of stock.

                      Do your customers a huge favor and help them lock their gifts in now, early, (perhaps for a discount) so that they can avoid the last minute buying madness! The best way to do this is to focus on the pain that this typical entails, like so:




                      2. Holiday decorating tips

                      If there’s anywhere that consumers can use help this season, it’s in making sure things run smoothly. With all of the family coming over and the need to coordinate plane tickets, spare bedrooms, meals, and more, your marketing can do them a big favor. Find a way to work your products or services into simplifying or streamlining the holiday bustle and they’ll love you for it. We’re talking about things like recipes, gift wrapping ideas, books for the plane ride, games for the family, music to play, house repair, and landscaping.

                      3. Offer holiday related services

                      A smart marketer realizes that they can turn just about anything into a compelling event, and the holidays are no exception. With so many people either using their home to gather the whole family or leaving it vacant to go back to someone else’s, there’s a lot that you can remind them not to forget. If you’re a landscaper, make sure that their house is safe and clear from widow-makers while they’re gone. If you’re a dentist, make sure that the kids’ teeth are galvanized against the onslaught of sugary goodies that are coming. If you’re a contractor, make sure that the house is ready to withstand the flood of slushy boots! There’s something for every business in here.




                      4. Sweeten the deal with holiday offerings

                      Help people get into the holiday spirit by giving your products or services a holiday twist – gift wrap purchases, hand out candy canes, give away toothbrushes, and color things in Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas colors.

                      5. Holiday count-down marketing

                      If you’re really looking to stay top of mind, start a countdown. In some cases, this makes a lot of sense for sales that can’t happen early, like food, flowers, decorations, and travel. Use marketing postcards simply to lay the foundation for later sales!

                      That season is just around the corner!

                      Just like your shopping, don’t put off your holiday marketing until it’s too late. Pick up the phone and give us a jingle at 1 (877) 222-6010 and let’s get you set up for end of year success!

                      If you really want a hands free holiday marketing plan, call up the experts at Opportunity Knocks, the sister company to ProspectsPLUS that will set all of your campaigns up for you!