Operating from the concept that less is more, short copy is sometimes the most effective way to get your message across. Short copy allows you to key in to what is critical for your target audience and when you’re working with a small space, such as a postcard, you’ve got to focus in on what really matters.  What will paint a true picture of your offer?  How it will benefit your customer?  And why should they call right now!  Here are some suggestions with proven success in converting your target audience into into loyal customers.

    Understanding Your Target Audience

    The real effort that goes into creating effective short copy should be done before you write the first word.

    1. Know what is important to your target audience.
    2. What makes them happy?
    3. What makes them mad?
    4. What is their biggest challenge?
    5. What keeps them awake at night?

    Short copy is most effective when the audience is specific, limited, and targeted. Imagine you are addressing one specific person rather than broadcasting a general message to everyone. Drill down the specifics of that one optimal customer. Ask yourself who is most likely to buy your product or service and speak directly to that customer.

    Realize the Power of One

    When you understand the “power of one”, you can put together tight and compelling copy without the need for wordiness and fluff. Focus on one main idea and weave that idea through your entire piece.

    Stay on track!

    To determine your main idea, determine the biggest problem you can solve for your target audience and focus on that, free from other distractions. Avoid lengthy stories. If you must tell a story, paraphrase and shorten as much as possible! If the story works, keep it. If not, go with something else, such as a compelling quote from someone your target audience knows and trusts, or refer to a relevant current event.

    Edit anything out of the copy that doesn’t support your main idea of solving the potential customer’s biggest problem.

    Know Your Goal

    Determine the goal or action you want your target audience to take. You may want them to visit a website or call a number for more information. You may want them to set an appointment, or you may want them to buy something. Whatever your goal, know what it is when you write your copy. Once you’ve established the goal, determine what it would take to convince your target audience to take that action.

    The easiest way to drill down on your goal is to write the call to action first. This will give you a clear direction to proceed in before you write your copy.

    Find the Deeper Benefit to Your Offer

    Short copy will not allow you to emphasize every feature and benefit of your product or service. You’ll need to select the benefits that are most compelling to your target audience. Earlier, you determined the main idea for solving the customer’s biggest problem. Now you’re going to go ever further and determining the deeper benefit you offer. Here’s where you focus on how your product will solve their biggest problem, and why wouldn’t they want that?

    Imagine you’re selling a fitness product; a workout DVD with resistance bands. Features might include a 30 minute DVD you can watch anywhere, and resistance bands for strength training. To tap into the emotions of your target audience, ask yourself, “so what?” You can answer that by understand the biggest benefit – a DVD can be watched anywhere; in the privacy of your own home, or while traveling. Resistance bands build muscle faster, meaning you’ll see results sooner and won’t have to work as hard for the same results as you would with a traditional workout.

    Take a moment now to analyze the deeper benefit. For a younger person, it might be about being more toned and attractive. For an older person, it might be about maintaining good health and reducing the aches and pains that come with age.

    Paint a picture that builds an emotional connection.

    Put Customers at Ease with a Solid Guarantee

    To improve the performance of short copy, include a rock solid guarantee. Anything that minimizes risk will help your target audience feel more comfortable to try your product or service, thereby increasing conversions. These could include a simple satisfaction guarantee, a risk-free trial, or a free trial offer.

    Test It Out

    Testing your copy is a must! By testing out your copy, you can see what works and be better prepared create good short copy on the next go around. Short copy is easy to edit and test, and small changes such as altering the headline or changing the font size can make a big difference.

    Feeling overwhelmed?  We can help easily dissect this concept into a killer postcard marketing campaign…We have seen and tested new ideas for days!  Call 877-222-6010 today and start seeing new postcard marketing sales now.

      The Familiarity of an Old Friend (or Better Yet…Family Member)

      To be successful in business, it used to be sufficient enough offer the best widget, sell it a fair price, and provided top notch customer service.

      Now, in the days of the heavily-saturated marketplace, being the best isn’t good enough anymore. Don’t get me wrong…being the best is a great accomplishment (although very subjective) but to be truly successful these days, you have to be more.

      You have to stand out from the crowd to end up on the top of the mountain. (That’s literally a mountain!)  Customers are bombarded daily with marketing pitches; a refrigerator magnet for the veterinarian, a calendar from the real estate agent, some address labels from a charity, coupons for pizza and sandwiches. It’s a lot. It’s a lot for a customer to digest when they go to the mailbox every day and receive numerous mass marketing pieces.

      So what can you do to set yourself apart from the others? One word:  Tenacity.

      You’ve got to hang in there, put yourself in front of that customer time after time after time until you start to feel like a member of the family. This is where the 3-7-27 Law of Branding comes into play.

      Name Recognition Is Not Enough

      A great way to establish credibility, build trust, and create resonance for your brand is by being aware of the 3-7-27 Law of Branding. This law tells us that according to historical trends it takes:

      • Three (3) contacts for someone to recognize your name.
      • Seven (7) contacts for someone to associate your name with your business
      • Twenty-seven (27) contacts for your business to become a brand name in the market.

      “So where do businesses make the biggest mistake?”  After three contacts, they quit. Period.  And as they quit all the money they invested in that initial recognition goes out the window.  It’s a shame, really.

      They assume, “Hey, they know my name now,” then sit back and wait for the business to roll in.  Then they are shocked when it doesn’t! Three contacts is simply not good enough. You’ve got to follow up and follow through with the 3-7-27 Law of Branding.

      Building Your Business

      Now that you know how many times prospects should see your marketing, how do you execute?

      Postcard marketing has long been and continues to be one of the most successful and cost-effective ways of building your business within a target audience. Matching your message to the exactly the right audience pays huge dividends and saves you tons of money.  If you’ve got email addresses and phone numbers, those are great ways of getting your name in front of potential customers, but you want to stand out from the other 400 emails in their inbox, the personal touch and tangible feel of actually putting something in the customer’s hand is priceless.

      Try these strategies for highly successful postcard marketing:

      1. Let your postcard look more like a message from an old friend than an advertisement. Use familiar images like fake stick-on notes, fonts that look like handwriting, and imperfect lines.
      2. Create a little intrigue to motivate customers to take action using wording such as “Learn how you can save 10% on home remodeling fees today.” It’s a subtle difference from a standard close, but this type of message tends to be well received and engenders a higher response rate. According to master direct mail copywriter, Dean Jackson, “Be compelling vs. convincing.”
      3. Include a credible testimonial. Use a genuine and honest testimonial, one the customer could actually verify if they felt so inclined.
      4. Addresses are on the back of postcards and mail is typically viewed address side up, so it’s critical to begin your pitch on the back of the postcard. Make the pitch on the backside something that will motivate the customer to turn the card over to learn more.
      Start Carving Out Your Place Today

      So there you have it.  Four easy examples of how to make a great impression on potential customers through postcard marketing.  Given that you’re required to be in front of that customer a number of times, you’re going to need all these creative approaches and more. Commit to choosing a list of leads and creating a mailing every day. In doing so, you’re invoking the power of the 3-7-27 Law of Branding and will be well on your way to carving out your niche in the marketplace.  Need help coming up with more creative strategies?  We can help…We have seen and tested new ideas for days!  Call 877-222-6010 today and start cementing your brand!

        If you’re a business owner, over the course of the past several years, you’ve probably embraced social media and other online marketing techniques.  After all, every marketing guru swears that digital marketing is the “future” of marketing.  What’s worse, they repeatedly warn business owners just like you that if you don’t keep up with the times, you’ll quickly become irrelevant to your target audience.

        What these self-proclaimed gurus fail to mention is that there’s a traditional marketing strategy that when utilized properly, can be just as effective as a comprehensive digital marketing campaign – if not more so.

        So what is it?

        Postcard marketing.

        And here’s why…

        Have you ever received a REALLY good postcard in the mail?  We’re going to guess that the answer is yes.

        Do you remember the feeling you had when you received it?  The image was vivid.  It caught your attention.  The message was engaging.   You genuinely WANTED to do whatever that postcard was telling you to do, whether it was to grab a free drink at a local restaurant or book a massage at a new salon down the street.

        So, the question then becomes: why aren’t you using postcard marketing for your business?

        If you’re like many business owners, you’re convinced that postcard marketing campaigns are outdated – and maybe even completely ineffective.  Perhaps you believe that they’re too expensive or just won’t work for your business.

        The Cold Hard Facts 

        Recent studies have found that that:

        • 7% of people visit their mailbox daily
        • 5% of consumers read postcards
        • 4% of consumers respond to postcards that they find relevant
        • 46% of consumers say that they are more likely to respond to a postcard from a company that they’re already familiar with. Repeat advertising?  Yeah, it works.

        Now let’s translate these numbers into something more tangible, shall we?

        The Benefits 

        Postcards are:

        • Cost-Effective – The cost per lead – the total amount of money spent divided by the total number of leads generated – for postcards is $54.10. To put this in perspective, print advertisements average around $60.50 cost per lead and telemarketing a whopping $190.49 cost per lead.
        • Customizable – Digital printing companies like ProspectsPLUS! can print postcards in a variety of shapes and sizes – and for a variety of different promotions – while keeping both your message and imagery laser focused. You no longer need to order in bulk as you did in the past so you can run smaller campaigns that are more fine-tuned to your end objective.
        • Personable – Because of the different printing options available, you can completely personalize your message, all the way down to using the recipient’s first name, which is very strategic when executing laser focused send outs like birthday postcard marketing campaigns. After all, who doesn’t like receiving something in the mail that addresses them by name, wishes them a happy birthday and offers them a promotion of some sort?  The same thing goes for holidays.
        • Physical – You can’t physically hold an email or a voicemail. You can, however, hold a postcard. You can put it on your refrigerator.  You can leave it on your counter so you see it often.  It’s never going to accidentally be deleted or lost in cyberspace… and it certainly isn’t going to get a virus.
        • Nostalgic – It’s no secret that digital techniques have completely transformed the marketing landscape. As a result, many small businesses have opted out of using postcards. This makes them both rare AND appreciated.  Being different can be a great way to retain your existing customer base while generating a healthy, steady pipeline of new prospects and customers.
        • Accessible – Most letters come in an envelope. And let’s face it: it’s pretty easy to tell whether something in an envelope is legitimate or a solicitation. Postcards are different. When your intended recipients pull your postcard out of the mailbox, they see everything there is to see. There aren’t any secrets.  Your message is right there, front and center.

         The Main Takeaway

        Traditional postcard marketing is NOT dead. There’s still a whole lot of experimenting to be done and because less businesses are doing it, your postcards will stand a MUCH better chance of standing out. Making an investment into a postcard marketing campaign for your small business is not only a good idea, but one that has proven to remain successful over the years – and will continue to do so long into the future.

        Want to learn more about how you can use postcard marketing to up the ante on your marketing efforts?   If so, give us a jingle today!  877-222-6010.

          Direct Mail in a Digital World

          Every company has a desire to build a loyal customer base.  You communicate with them often, you treat them with utmost respect and you over-deliver on your value proposition’s promise.  This, however, is typically expensive, time-consuming and only happens over an extended period of time.

          One alternative to this approach is being there when your customer needs you most.  (Then communicate often, treat them with utmost respect and over-deliver on your value proposition’s promise.)

          In the marketing world…we call this a “trigger.”  And one “trigger” group that can easily become loyal customers are New Movers.  Let me explain…

          Putting Your Brand on a Blank Canvas

          Let’s take a closer look at a New Mover and analyze their current situation.  This is a group of potential customers who have just moved to a new area, whose life is probably in immediate chaos, they need products and services and thank goodness for you, they have not yet developed loyalties to businesses.

          New Movers are essentially a blank canvas. They have moved away from what is old, familiar and established and now must forge new loyalties. They are in a position where they not only want to establish new buying connections, but circumstances dictate that they must do it quickly and easily.  They are yours for the taking, but only if you know how and have an effective new mover marketing system to win them over.

          A Society on the Move

          Americans are people on the move and in a period of transition, they represent a massive marketing opportunity. The motivation for moving can include major life transitions such as marriage, change of job, births, retirement, and divorce.  (Even more “Triggers”…more on that later.)  This period of transition can prove to be very challenging.  A person new to an area may feel lonely and uncertain, having severed social and community connections ranging from friends, neighbors, physicians, to even mechanics and hairdressers.  All of these things must now be replaced in their new location.

          When people move to a new area, they experience five stages of transition:

          • Stage 1 – Separation: Saying goodbye to the old and familiar.
          • Stage 2 – Transformation: This represents the physical aspect of the move.
          • Stage 3 – Early Integration: They experience this during the first six months in their new location.
          • Stage 4 – Integration: The subsequent period of adjustment.
          • Stage 5 – Maintenance: The period where those who have relocated finally settle in.

          As you can see, moving to a new area is a major life disruption.  And it’s the perfect time to help.

          The Time to Strike

          The time for a business to seize the opportunity to gain a new customer is during the “Transformation,” “Early Integration”, and “Later Integration” phases.  These phases represents a time of “hyper-spending” – a time when new movers will purchase everything from new furniture to pizza delivery. Once a person has relocated to a new area, they will spend an average of $7,100 on goods and services that can be directly attributed to their move. Additionally, 80% of residents new to an area will try products and services from local businesses in the first 6-9 months.

          Radical Generosity

          Businesses are quick to seize on the opportunity of these new movers, but the problem is they are using the same conventional promotional offers they are using with everyone else. Big mistake!

          This is the opportunity to get a little more radical.

          Offer them something more than the typical every day offer. To win new movers as a permanent customer, you should be offering these customers not only sufficient incentive to try your business, but also a gesture so sincere that they are taken aback by the generosity. Now is the time to truly give to a market that needs you most.

          The “token freebie”, such as a gift-with-purchase offer is simply not enough. If you’ve got a restaurant, offer them a free dinner. If you’ve got an oil change business, offer them a free oil change. These types of offers, are two to five times more likely to convert than traditional offers.

          It may be tempting to feel like that’s just too much to give away, but consider that if a family orders $25 worth of pizza most weekends, in four years, they will have generated up to $4,500 revenue for your business and a gross profit of approximately $3,500 (Disclaimer Alert…we’re not pizza experts!)  A customer’s loyalty to an auto repair shop represents approximately $2,000 based on average turnover. A free dinner or oil change seems like kind of a bargain in comparison to what is to be gained. (Again, another guess but you get the point.)

          The question you should be asking is not can I afford to do a giveaway, but rather, can I afford not to do a giveaway?

          From Blank Canvas to Loyal Customer

          Opportunity Knocks’ new mover mailing system, integrates all the essential elements of a successful new mover marketing campaign.  Three cards are mailed to address the three critical phases, personalized postcards are mailed to initiate a personal touch and it’s completed automated so you can focus on what you do best.  You can even search a new mover database for free to find out how many people recently moved to your area.  You’ll see the little bit that you have given away will come back to you many times over – an opportunity knocking that you cannot afford to miss!

            It’s time to get more strategic about your postcard marketing campaigns.

            After reading that, you might be asking yourself, “I’m targeting the right people, I’m using call-to-action offers with expirations, I’m sending them multiple times and now you’re telling me to get more strategic?  What’s left?”

            It’s quite simple, actually: you start tracking your results.

            If you’re like most business owners, you think that you’re tracking your results, but in reality, the likelihood is that your efforts are falling a little short.  Unfortunately, most so-called “tracking” we hear about, isn’t really tracking at all.

            Here’s a good example: you send out 1,000 postcards, receive 18 enquiries and calculate a 1.8% response rate.  But is that truly an accurate assessment? How do you know that all 18 enquiries are a direct result of your postcard mailing?  Would you have received some of those enquiries regardless of whether you had sent out your postcard mailing?

            Tracking your postcard marketing results is as essential as anything you do. After all, postcard marketing campaigns can be extremely effective – but aren’t free (obviously) – which is why you need to keep your thumb on the pulse of your campaigns if you want to see the biggest return on your investment.

            If you are accurately tracking your results, that’s great.

            If you’re not, that doesn’t mean you should stop postcard marketing… but what it DOES mean is that you need to change what you’re doing ASAP. Here’s how:

            1. Define – in advance – what success will be
              Define what you want prospects to do. Visit your website? Call you? Come into the office? Buy something? You can’t know whether a campaign is a success or a failure unless you know in advance what success and failure looks like. How are you going to write the call-to-action (CTA) if you don’t know what you want recipients to do?
            2. Have a way to identify responses
              You need to be able to tell which enquiries came from your postcards and which came from some other sources, so have a special 800 number and/or URL that’s just for responses to the CTA on your postcard.
            3. Do A/B Mailings
              Whether you’re sending 100 cards or 100,000, don’t make them all the same. Have at least two designs – more, if you’re mailing to a large number – with different messages and different CTAs tied to different response identifiers. Be steadfast in using the designs that produce a good response and ruthless in weeding out those that don’t. It doesn’t matter if it was your son-in-law’s design – if it isn’t working, get rid of it.
            4. Know how long it takes prospects in your market to respond
              If you’re new to postcard marketing, you may not know how quickly prospects will respond. In some markets, like restaurants, a business owner can send out postcards and have sales from them within two days. In more conservative markets like insurance, however, you might have to send three separate mailings before you start to see the first tentative feelers. Budget for those three separate mailings and don’t give up after the first send-out simply because you think it isn’t working. Also make sure to track which postcard generated the most responses. 1% for the first? 1.5% for the second? 8% for the third? That’s vital information and you need to have it.
            5. Track all of the data, even if you think it’s insignificant
              Give this task to a staff member you know to be meticulous – not a corner-cutter. You want a record, ideally on a spreadsheet, of every single measurable item. Which postcard got the most website visits? Which CTA? How many of those visits led to an enquiry and how many enquiries to a sale? Which geographic areas responded best (and worst) to which cards? And when you have all of this data, examine it. Get other people to examine it, too. Brainstorm. What are the numbers telling you?

             

            Need help tracking your postcard campaign? Contact us today at 877-222-6010 and we’ll be happy to work with you on your postcard marketing campaign every step of the way.

              It’s a New Year, which means it’s time to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new.

              This includes antiquated marketing strategies that just don’t work anymore.  It’s easy to hop on the “this is the most amazing marketing strategy since sliced bread,” bandwagon, but at the end of the day, these so-called miracle marketing strategies have a short lifespan and you’ll likely find yourself bouncing from strategy to strategy to try and keep your business relevant.

              If you don’t want to subject yourself to becoming a slave to every new marketing fad, perhaps in 2016, what you REALLY need to do is get back to the basics.  And by that, we mean stripping things down and going back to marketing strategies that have withstood the tests of time, yet still successfully deliver results.  As it turns out, postcard marketing happens to be one such strategy.  If you REALLY want to take your marketing efforts up a notch this year, keep on reading…

              If you want to create the absolute BEST postcard marketing design for your business, keep these helpful tips in mind:

              1. Develop a specific purpose for your postcard campaign that will grab the attention of your prospective customers. Craft this idea with value in mind and make it as exciting and interesting as possible. For example, perhaps you’re running a 30-day sale where all purchases over $50 are 10% off. Or maybe a birthday card campaign where the recipient gets free dessert with the purchase of an entrée.  The possibilities here are endless.
              1. Keep your message as simple as possible, even if you decide to use over-sized postcards. Don’t make it too wordy or oversell. The purpose of the postcard is to create interest enough for them to call.  Sell when they call.
              1. Using short, bold-faced headlines is best. Avoid jumbled, muddled information. Don’t attempt to explain every little thing in your postcard message. And make sure to include your contact information.  It may sound silly to have to remind you of something so basic, but you would be amazed at how many people forget.
              1. Use timely messages, including offers that have deadlines. Encourage your prospective customers to act in quick manner. Give them good reasons to “act now,” such as a coupon with an expiration date or a special offer with a deadline. There needs to be a sense of urgency in whatever your promotion is going to be.
              1. Design your postcards to be eye-catching. Use high-quality images, colors and graphics that stand out. Choose high-quality, glossy printing option for your postcard design. This makes the most impact, and usually doesn’t cost much more than standard printing options.
              1. Every postcard has two sides, so it’s a good idea to use both of them. The side without your contact info should contain the biggest and boldest colors and images. The opposite side should have your offer, contact info, and other details.

              In addition, here are some bonus tips:

              1. Don’t forget that postcards can be multi-faceted. You can use them for reminders, new product or service announcements, coupons, gift certificates, – and even tickets.
              2. Measure the results of your postcard marketing campaign. Measure both the immediate and the long-term results of your campaign. Notate which postcards generate the best results.
              3. Track your ROI. Your postcard campaign can potentially return at least 4 times your original cost, although some of the most successful campaigns land closer to 8-12 times your original cost.

              For step-by-step instructions on how to create the perfect postcard campaign, download the “Insider’s Guide to Mastering Postcard Marketing.” (psst…to the right of your screen)

              If you’re ready to kick off 2016 with a successful postcard marketing campaign, give us a shout today at 877-222-6010 to learn more about why we are the perfect partner!

                Unless you’ve been in hibernation for the past 24 months, you’ve probably seen a few marketing buzzwords floating around in cyber sphere: gamification, visual storytelling and Big Data.  While the first two are relatively easy to understand, the latter is worthy of some explanation since Big Data can provide you with a magical (and powerful) crystal ball that can not only have a dramatic impact on your postcard marketing campaign but your overall bottom line.

                What It Is

                If you head over to Google and search for the definition of Big Data, you’ll find everything from one sentence answers to 1500 word blog articles that try to explain what’s actually a very simple concept.  Big Data is essentially a data bank where human actions are logged and quantified. This data can then be aggregated, analyzed and used by government agencies, pharmaceutical companies and even small businesses just like yours.

                Where to Start

                Thanks to advances in technology, the price tag associated with Big Data is now more affordable than ever.  Google Trends, a platform that will let you conduct unlimited searches for free, monitors trending topics by quantifying how frequently a specific search-term is used over a specific period of time.  The data produced can help you keep a pulse on your target market and the things they care about the most…all critical when it comes to the messaging of your postcard marketing campaigns.

                Big Data Benefits

                By embracing the power of Big Data, you’ll better understand your customers and prospective customers.

                How?

                By giving data a human face.  Big Data can help you fine-tune who your ideal customer is by aggregating data related to age, gender, ethnicity, income and marital status, amongst a laundry list of other criteria.  This data can then be used to define who your most valuable people (MVP’s) are, which in turn, can help you create super-targeted postcard marketing mailing lists full of prospects that will actually care about your product or service.   Prospects Plus can even offer you free counts so you can size up your ideal target market BEFORE you mail.  Check out their video to learn about the type of Big Data available.

                What’s more, when you have insights regarding your target market at such a granular level, you’ll be able to modify your messaging to truly “speak” to these individuals, which can dramatically improve your response rates.

                Additional benefits of Big Data include:

                • Predicting Customer Behavior – If you were a psychic and could accurately predict the decisions your customers are going to make sometime in the not-so-distant future, how would that affect your business? Big Data might not be a crystal ball, but it can aggregate 3rd party data to help you successfully predict customer purchases, as well as shifts in behavior and sensitivity to price increases.   These are all important in direct mail campaigns.
                • Real Time Personalization – Relevancy and timeliness are important pieces of the marketing puzzle. In fact, research indicates that personalization of messaging can deliver 5 to 8 times more ROI and increase sales by up to 10% or more.  Google Trends can help you send the right message to your target market at precisely the right time. Embracing the power of Big Data can make this seemingly impossible task possible.
                • Tracking Marketing ROI – Before Big Data’s existence, it was impossible to quantify the ROI of a single social media post or blog article when it came to marketing reach and revenue generation. Big Data now makes it easy to track the success of blog posts or social media posts through things like page views, likes, shares, Retweets, +1’s and sales generated. If something is popular, you’ve clearly touched on something that is important to your target audience.  If there’s zero engagement or very few sales, it’s is a pretty clear indicator that something is wrong and your strategy should be modified accordingly.  

                Recent reports indicate that by harnessing the power of Big Data in postcard marketing campaigns, many businesses are experiencing increases in lead generation of up to 50% – AND at a cost that’s about 33% less.  And the best part is that many digital printers make it super easy to integrate Big Data into your direct mail marketing campaigns.

                If generating more leads at a lower price-point is music to your ears, give us a jingle today at 866-319-7109 or at okiam@prospectsplus.com to learn more about how we can help you improve the ROI of your postcard marketing efforts simply by embracing the power of Big Data.

                  Birthday candles

                  How to Use Birthday Marketing to Get NEW Customers Fast

                  Ahhh, it’s that magical time of year when the ones you love break out the wine and bake a cake to celebrate… you!

                  Yep, it’s your birthday.

                  While many of us cringe at the thought of turning yet another year older, it’s OK to admit that deep down, you kinda like the extra attention.   And guess what?  Chances are that your customers do too, which presents a very unique marketing opportunity for your business.  While they are busy celebrating with friends and family, why not give them something they’ll TRULY love: a discount or a birthday “reward.”  It’s a quick and inexpensive way to build customer loyalty – and is something that probably won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

                  With 2016 already here, now is the perfect time to start a birthday marketing campaign.  It’s proven to yield double digit response rates (that’s 10 times the national average) and by following the 4 simple steps we’ve outlined here, your campaign will be ready to launch in no time!

                  STEP 1: Define Your Hook 

                  Before you start thinking about the size and design of your birthday send-outs, the first thing you need to do is to define your birthday promo.  The quickest – and easiest – way to do this is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes.  So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back in your chair and brainstorm a bit: if you were checking your mail a few days before your birthday and saw something from one of your favorite local businesses, what type of promotion would REALLY stand out and pique your interest?

                  • If it’s from a spa or salon, perhaps it’s a free service or plan a spa birthday day with friends.
                  • If it’s from a restaurant, maybe it’s a BOGO or even a free or meal (BTW…The free dessert doesn’t get anyone in the door.)
                  • If it’s from the local pub, a free drink on the house may be enough to whet your whistle.
                  • If it’s financial planner, certain key financial decisions are made after specific birthdays

                  Or maybe you just want to get in the good graces with your customers and just say Happy Birthday!  That really does go a long way to maintain loyality.

                  The options with your promotions are endless.  It’s important to note, however, that the type of promotion you use needs to speak to your customer base while aligning with your business goals if you expect to see a positive ROI with this type of marketing campaign.

                  STEP 2: Nail the Timing 

                  Timing is everything.  While there are certainly worse things than receiving a belated birthday wish, its impact won’t be nearly as effective. When sending out your birthday promos, plan things out so that your customers will receive them as close to their actual birthdays as possible.  If “better late than never” is one of your mantras – or if you really just want to think outside the box – there ARE clever ways you can get away with sending out a promo after your customer’s birthdays have passed, however.  For example, if you’re a spa owner, you might use something like:

                  Another birthday has come and gone.

                  You’re another year older.

                  Another year wiser.

                  And your muscles are another year achier.

                  Stop by today for your FREE 15-minute massage!

                  Just keep in mind that if you’re sending out your birthday promos after your customer’s birthdays have passed, it’s something that should be done intentionally and clearly referenced in your messaging.

                  STEP 3: Focus on the Details 

                  The end goal of a birthday marketing campaign is to attract new customers and/or improve current customer engagement and loyalty. Attention to detail, both big and small, is a critical piece of the puzzle and there’s one very basic thing that can jeopardize your entire campaign: misspelling your customer’s name. Digital printers use technology called variable data printing to imprint the birthday recipient’s first name on the card to give it that extra special touch.  However, if you’re not sure about someone’s name, don’t take chances: sending out a generic greeting is a much better option than printing the wrong name.

                  Also, if your birthday promo features an offer or reward, include a clear expiration date.  This will prevent awkward situations from arising should your customer try to take advantage of your offer AFTER it’s already expired.  No one likes visiting a business to take advantage of a promo, only to be declined.  It’s embarrassing, a bit demeaning – and will have the complete opposite effect that you were shooting for here.

                  Step 4: Be Sensitive 

                  A good rule of thumb is to avoid mentioning your customer’s age or other specific details since this can lead to trouble, especially if your customers don’t find “aging gracefully” to be graceful at all.  No one likes having their personal information out there for the world to see, so it’s best to stick to the basics: name and promo.

                  A birthday marketing campaign is simple and easy way to engage with each one of your customer’s on a more personal basis.  And the good news is that by embracing the 4 steps outlined here, the planning process will be a quick and painless one.

                  Need help with birthday marketing ideas or design?  We can even run a count on how many upcoming birthdays are around your business.  Just give us a jingle today!  877-222-6010 or by email at okiam@prospectsplus.com

                    Creating Your Own New Normal for 2016

                    By Todd Robertson

                    If you’re like a lot of successful business owners, you’re probably analyzing everything you did in past twelve months.  You also are probably asking yourself a few questions:

                    • What worked and what didn’t?
                    • Did my actions support my goals?
                    • Did I earn what I’m worth?
                    • Did I take personal responsibility for my success or failures?

                    By carefully analyzing the past you can discover the elements that you can take into the new year and create
                    your own new “normal”.  In other words – you can advance your game, play at a higher level, and avoid the pitfalls and hurdles you’ve already cleared to excel faster and with hopefully a few less headaches!

                    As you approach the new year, many of you are in the process of goal setting.  Let me share a four step system for goals that is used by some of the top performing entrepreneurs in the world.  It’s called the DOME strategy.  Here’s what that stands for:

                    • D – Stands for Decide. If you look up one of the definitions of the word decision, you’ll find that it means to “cut off from”.  That’s step one for creating your new normal. What things should you cut yourself off from that aren’t working or haven’t
                      worked for you this year?  Whether that be a mindset, a skill, or a system, what can you unplug, cut off, or change up that will increase your success in the new year.
                    • O – Stands for Outstanding. There’s never been a more important time to play at an outstanding level.  That means to surround yourself with the best people, strategies, solutions and systems in our industry.  Model your choices on those of successful business owners.  Duplicate excellence.
                    • M – Stands for Momentum. Now’s the time to take the stance that what gets scheduled – gets DONE.  That’s how you build momentum.  By cutting out the things that don’t work. By plugging in new systems and solutions that drive your business in smarter ways.  By blocking your time so that you can streamline your processes – as well as schedule those
                      things that help you create balance.
                    • E – Stands for Tell Everyone. Once you’ve set your goals for the next twelve months, it’s time to tell everyone. If you’re goal is 10 salable listings in your pipeline at all times or to own a geographic farm – tell everyone you know. Put public pressure on yourself to hit those goals. People will help you when you do. They’ll support you. Remind you. Work with you to make them happen. Then commit to doing whatever it takes to make those goals happen.

                    Ready to create your new normal and put a plan in place to take 2016 by storm?  Go for it. Remember that we’re here if you need anything. 

                    Need help? Call our team at 877-222-6010! That’s what we do best!

                      How To Clean Mailing Lists

                      Clean Your List so Profits Don’t go Down the Drain.

                      It’s no secret that direct mail marketing is making a surge back from the “I’m only doing email marketing” days! More specifically, and to answer a big question you may face, direct mail marketing using postcards is far more profitable for small business owners when compared to using letters and envelopes.

                      According to a report published by the Direct Marketing Association in 2013, around 24% of the consumers responded to offers through postcards compared to only a meager 5% response through envelopes.

                      The report also reveals that around 52% of consumers read postcards, while only 30% of the consumers read envelopes.

                      However, before you can even attempt to experience these types of results, you MUST clean your mailing list so it’s accurate and up to date.

                      You wouldn’t want your valuable message to “fall on deaf ears,” would you?

                      Here are some easy tips you can do before the New Year so your list is ready for 2016!

                      Contact Validation Tools and Verification Databases

                      You have quite a few options when it comes to validating in-house maintained contact lists. Of note are validation tools developed by the United States Postal Service (USPS) like the CASS certification tool (Coding Accuracy Support System). USPS also owns a contact database in the form of the National Change of Address Database (NCOA). This database contains the latest updated addresses of people who have moved to a different location within United States.

                      The CASS Certification Tool

                      The CASS certification tool is of great help with respect to checking the accuracy of contact addresses in a contact list. Before actually giving it to the mailing service provider, you can verify whether the different portions of the address are in the correct format by making use of USPS CASS certification tool.

                      This tool checks whether the address is actually valid and deliverable. This ensures the correct delivery of postcards to the intended and verified address and saves a lot of wasted money!

                      CASS also performs the validation by comparing addresses with the standard format and points out those addresses that are not in correct format. When detected, it can correct improper formatted addresses. This tool also identifies duplicate contact address records and merges them into a single record.

                      The National Change of Address Database (NCOA)

                      The USPS continuously updates contact address information whenever contacts move to a different region within the country, and this is updated in the NCOA. Access to this database is only available through licensed direct mail vendors who have the necessary licensing from the USPS to perform checks against the NCOA database.

                      While our mailing process already included a CASS certification process when your postcards are mailed, it is always beneficial to clean your list prior to ordering to ensure the best response while avoiding wasted marketing dollars.

                      Need help with your list? We can help.

                      Simply contact us at 877-222-6010 or at okiam@prospectsplus.com and we’ll get your list cleaned up ASAP!