Brand image and brand identity: don’t they mean the same thing?

    There’s actually a pretty big difference between the two and understanding that difference can help you steer your business in the right direction. You’ll be able to employ more effective marketing techniques and you’ll net more sales because people will know and trust you. Neglecting the difference on the other hand can lead to a catastrophic image problem than can undercut all of your hard work.

    What’s the key difference?

    We’ll start with brand identity. This is how a company wants to be perceived. It’s largely internal, with a business owner, a marketer, or a marketing agency (or maybe all three) coming up with the logo, the tagline, the jingle, the value proposition, and the general aesthetic for the company. Brand image on the other hand is largely external and is how consumers perceive the company, which can be quite different. Take Walmart, for example.

    Walmart’s brand identity, as dreamed up by marketers: save money, live better, community engagement

    Walmart’s brand image, as perceived by the public: minimum wage, putting mom and pop shops out of business, child labor

    Not so good, huh? When identity and image don’t align you have an image problem and people are far less likely to trust you. And whereas Walmart does indeed do an incredible job of donating money to charity and encouraging corporate responsibility through its value chain, people interpret those actions through the filter of its negative image and accuse it of using these donations in manipulative ways. So you see how a negative image can become a very deep hole to climb out of, and why you should work so hard to avoid it?

    How can you ensure that you align your brand identity and image?

    It all comes down to close communications with your customers. Communication is of course a two-way street that requires both talking and listening. This can become an incredibly difficult task for large enterprises (just think about how often AT&T or Verizon ask for your feedback in surveys) but for small businesses, it’s both practical and possible to elicit and act upon feedback.

    Customers’ positive or negative perceptions of you start to develop at the individual level. When they don’t find what they’re looking for in your grocery store, for example, they’ll start to think of you as “that place that never has Brussel sprouts.” Or when they’re delighted by a clerk’s recipe recommendation (try baking them honey), they’ll conversely think of you as “that super helpful grocery store.” When a consumers shares their feelings with others, that perception starts to snowball into a public one. It’s thus important to have channels for eliciting this feedback constantly, whether it’s anonymous surveys, asking customers about their experience, or using secret shoppers. By knowing how people feel, you can then use your marketing to steer your brand identity.

    Use marketing to steer the ship 

    If your brand is becoming known for something good, lean into this phenomena. If people like your fresh produce, use that in your next postcard marketing campaign! Or if you’re starting be known for long lines, fix the problem and start a marketing campaign announcing that it’s been fixed! Through close communication, both listening and responding, you can steer your brand identity and image to the same place and be known as a trustworthy business.

    Have something on your mind that you need to get out?

    If you’re reading this thinking, “oh man, I totally need to communicate something to my customers!” you need not wait. With our online web-to-print platform you can get a postcard marketing campaign up and running in under thirty minutes. Give us a call at 877-222-6010 and we’ll see how we can get your brand image back on track today!

    If you need a little extra help…

    It never hurts to have an extra set of eyes on your project, especially when it’s as important as deciding how to portray yourself as a brand. You can always lean on Opportunity Knocks, a full service marketing agency with decades of experience helping people align their brand identity and image so you get actual response. Talk to a person directly at 866-319-7109.

       

      How can postcards help me specifically?

      Postcards are a great way to capture new customers.  Period.  Yet time and time again we’re asked the question, how are other people in my industry utilizing this? How can I be more strategic with my postcard marketing? Well here you are, what follows is our answer!

      To understand all of the possible use cases (and to dream up some of your own), let’s understand a little bit about the technology behind our postcard marketing system. It’s personalized, digital, and fully automated, which helps you in these ways: 

      • Personalized: We hold a deep database of customer data along with partners like Accudata and Nielsen Prizm which allows us to know virtually everything about your consumer. You can select your prospects by demographic or psychographic profiles, or to simply draw an area around a neighborhood in Google Maps to target. When the postcards go out, they’ll address each of those people by first name!
      • Digitally powered: Most people are still familiar with the old offset printing technologies that required tons of environmentally harmful ink and large order minimums. Those days are gone, and the digital printers that ProspectsPLUS! uses allow us to sustainably print high resolution postcards in batches as small as one (lonely) postcard. This makes it possible to do advanced trigger campaigns where we can send one-off postcards for appointment reminders or people’s birthdays, or massive Market Dominator blasts to tens of thousands of recipients.
      • Fully automated: In this era of marketing automation the whole point is to save you time, otherwise why would you pay us to do it? We allow you to set up several campaigns at once from our online web-to-print platform and schedule them so that marketing becomes a once a month activity, not a daily hair-pulling hassle.

      Whew, we’re done. With that foundation, here’s how our customers are leveraging this technology in their particular industries: 

      • Dental: Dentists are highly local businesses and thus MapMyMail allows them to target specific neighborhoods. They also rely heavily on appointment reminder postcards to those infrequent cleanings and check-ups.
      • Beauty and wellness: Hair and nail care is another industry where visits are infrequent, and appointment reminders are extremely helpful. And for prospecting, they like to use psychographic profiles to target women and men who are likely to spend extra on hair care products.
      • Financial planning: People dread dealing with their finances and so it’s no surprise that missed appointments are a major reason financial planners use appointment reminder postcards. They can also easily prospect in their local area for families with sizable assets and young kids destined for college.
      • Insurance: This is one industry where you can never have too many leads so they are heavy on the prospecting and like to target their messages based on financial factors like age, income, property ownership, and marriage status, and personalize those postcards images to give them a very local feel.
      • Vision/Optometry: Appointment reminders are the #1 use case here to keep people showing up to those annual check-ups. Postcards are also a great way to do mass mailings to the surrounding areas to announce new openings and offerings.
      • Retail: Research shows that new homeowners spend on average $7,000+ upon moving to a new area, and a New Mover Campaign can be set to target these folks when then arrive within a certain perimeter of retail stores.
      • Real estate: Property showcasing postcards, brochures, and business cards are staples for real estate agents to attract new leads. They combine visually appealing pictures with highly targeted and personalized mailings to achieve a higher ROI.
      • Landscaping/Construction: Door hangers are the perfect complement to postcard mailings which they target at specific neighborhoods. This allows landscapers to both use pictures of completed jobs in their marketing and to keep their new job sites tightly grouped for efficiency.

      This list is always growing and we’d love to hear from you about what’s working in your industry! Every day we collect more and more success stories about how direct-mail which is personalized, digital, and automated is making businesses money while they sleep!

      With so many options, where do you start? 

      Whatever your industry, it couldn’t hurt to chat with a postcard marketing specialist to hear more about how we can help you market your business. Give us a call today at 877-222-6010 to chat with someone directly or visit our postcard marketing platform to jump right in.

      And if you need an extra hand, you can trust Opportunity Knocks Marketing to consult, design, and deploy the perfect industry-specific postcard marketing campaign for you. They’re a sister company to ProspectsPLUS! and you can reach them right now at 866-319-7109!

        In many ways, your customer base can be a bit of a leaky bucket. Sure, some clients will grow over time and make up a sizable part of your business, but many will also churn out, for various reasons. Individuals move and businesses go bankrupt. All of these scenarios leave you with a customer pool that’s slowly losing water! To keep it topped up, you’re going to have to find a good way to fill it with new customers.

        The answer of course is prospecting!

        This word may make you shudder, probably because the last time you did it, it ended up being a lot more work than you signed up for. Especially if you did it through an out of touch, old-school postcard and direct mail vendor (direct mail of course achieves the highest returns and response rates). We’re willing to bet that these were the steps you had to go through:

        1. Identify your target market
        2. Come up with a message
        3. Design marketing materials
        4. Get the consumers’ contact information
        5. Enlist a vendor to print and send them
        6. Track the deliveries and responses, and then do it all over again

        If we made it into a flowchart with everything you have to do highlighted in red, we’d get this;

        PP Prospecting for new customers Figure A

        Enough work for you? The good news is that you don’t have to ever take it all on again! Technology has come a long way to make your life easier and if this time around you choose a direct mail marketing partner with digital printing technology, here’s what it looks like:

        PP Prospecting for new customers Figure B

        Seem like a vast improvement? We agree, it suddenly seems not only manageable, but easy. Let’s explore how we do it.

        The new school of direct mail marketing

        When you sign up for the services of a digitally-enabled postcard marketing partner like ProspectsPLUS! they already have a database with all of your prospects, their contact information, well designed postcard templates, a tight handoff with the USPS, and software to track each delivery. In essence, all you need to know for your prospecting these days is:

        1. Your target audience (choose from a list)
        2. Your messaging
        3. Click send, wait for results!

        Have you been timing us? Not even thirty minutes have elapsed and we have your next month of campaigns targeted, designed, and queued to go out to people who are eager to hear them. And once you find one that you like and works for you, we can set it on repeat so that prospecting becomes something that happens while you sleep!

        Already have an audience and a message in mind?

        ProspectsPLUS! has the database of all of your potential customers and all you need to do to start landing more clients is give us a call at 877-222-6010 or access our online web-to-print platform today!

        Need a little help writing that first marketing message?

        If that’s your barrier, or you just don’t have the time and would like someone to run it all for you, get in touch with Opportunity Knocks Marketing. They’re a full service marketing agency with a plug-and-play plan to pour gallons upon gallons back into that leaky bucket of customers for you!

           

          What can we learn from The Art of War?

          Is there really an art to postcard marketing? Of course! There’s an art to practically everything, and as a general of the ancient Chinese army of Wu, Sun Tzu proved to be one of history’s greatest chroniclers of these universal truths. In his translated verses we can still draw upon the crystallized advice of great historical leaders and here today we’ll use this wisdom to help you maneuver your postcard marketing campaigns to victory!

          How might we compare marketing to war? Well first off, there are undeniable parallels, and in business across the globe we still eulogize our more warrior-like past with phrases like “uphill battle, cut-throat, long-shot, and crushing the competition.” It’s all about winning against an opponent. And while our society is much more peaceful than any before it, business can still be viewed like a tactical game of chess.

          It is in this light that we can view our marketing as a struggle to win more customers than the other guys! At ProspectsPLUS! we’re strongly against calling your competitors (or heaven forbid, your customers) “the enemy” but if you treat them with respect like a sportsman who is trying to win customers away from you, you can use these strategies to be the more cunning player!

          So it’s time to put on our general’s caps, roll out the maps, and learn from ancient Chinese Art of War: 
          1. Supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting. 

          Translation: The best marketing tactics will be met with no resistance. That is to say, you should be effectively using psychology in your postcard marketing. Instead of beating people over the head with discount offers and practically begging them to walk through your doors, you can accomplish the same thing with less effort by applying tactics like the contrast principle or social proof. Together these strategies imply to your prospects that they’re getting a great deal and hundreds of other people feel the same way, allowing you to sidestep their initial skepticism and jump straight into a sale.

          1. When you surround the enemy’s army, leave an outlet free. 

          Translation: The idea here is that if you corner your opponent and give them absolutely no escape, they’ll fight like a cornered tiger, which is bad news for you. If you instead leave them one obvious route for their escape, they’ll go exactly where you want them to. The marketing implications are obvious, aren’t they? Lead your prospects to the sale by giving them an out! Avoid outright criticizing their current practices because if they think you’re simply calling them dumb for not buying your insurance policy, let’s say, they’ll get offended and disagree. Instead, give them the benefit of the doubt with softening statements like “You probably already knew that you could risk loosing everything if you don’t have insurance.” It will still corner them with the right information, but will leave them with only path to escape: agreement!

          1. There are not more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.

          Translation: Repurpose your old content! While you music buffs may point out that modern music theory recognizes twelve notes, the advice is the same: through combination and recombination, there’s no limit to what you can create from what you already have today. Oftentimes in postcard marketing business owners will get stuck feeling like they’re all out of new ideas but the truth is that with whatever they have at hand, there are limitless combinations! They can break down white papers into blogs, social media posts, flyers, slogans, testimonials, and more! There are endless melodies you can compose to design the perfect postcard.

          1. Do not repeat tactics which have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances.

          Translation: Switch up what you’re doing for marketing! If people see the same postcard arriving month after month, they’ll start to tune out its message. You can get creative and with very little effort by simply customizing those campaigns based on seasons or holidays, supplement them with door hangers, or even trigger them based on major life events like moving to a new area or opening a new office. This allows your tactics to mimic the mighty streams that Sun Tzu so admired, flowing around obstacles and adapting to the unique circumstances of the people you’re marketing to.

           

          And there you have it! These go much deeper than just being practical advice on maneuvering armies and rallying troops: they’re universal lessons in how to allocate your time and resources to achieve victory, no matter the arena. If you follow even a few of the four timeless principles you’ll see a sharp uptick in the effectiveness of your postcard marketing campaigns.

          So, general, what’s stopping your troops from marching?

          Call ProspectsPLUS! at 877-222-6010 to get your next postcard marketing campaign out today!

          And if you need help, the best campaign advisor you can have in your camp is Opportunity Knocks Marketing, a full service agency who can get it all done in a flash for you!

            Neighborhood Radius Marketing

            Every company struggles to build a loyal customer base. The key is being there, with great service, when they need you most.

            New Movers Need New Relationships

            A great target customers who have not developed loyalties are those who have relocated to a new area. We call them New Movers are essentially a blank canvas. They have migrated away from easy and established business relationships and now must forge new business relationships. They are yours for the taking, if you know how to win them over.

            A Responsive Marketing Niche On The Move

            Americans on the move represent a massive marketing opportunity. According to the National Association of Realtors, people move every seven to nine years.  They move because of marriage, change of job, births, retirement, divorce and sometimes “just because.”

            New to an area, a person may feel uncertain, having severed social and community connections ranging from friends, neighbors, physicians, to even dentists and hairdressers. All of these things must now be replaced in their new location.

            The Time to Strike

            Timing is key to converting new movers into long term loyal customers.  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. 80% of residents new to an area will try products and services from local businesses in the first 24 months.

            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.  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.

            Look At Your Lifetime Value

            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. 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. 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?

            New Homeowners are great targets for any business. Find out how many new homeowners have moved to your area, FREE.  Click here or call 866-319-7109 today.

              What does a Green Commitment really mean to you?

              In today’s world, not enough companies are tackling the biggest problems that face our planet. Everyone’s thinking, “Once my business has made enough, then I can invest in cleaner technology.” But this is also the reason why Beijing has acid rain.

              Before you get too worked up, there are some success stories out there. Solar panels have built mounting success within the United States because they combine greener technology with the tangible benefit of saving their owners money! It’s a complete win-win, and there are hundreds of technologies like this out there, many of which you haven’t heard of yet.  We have tons of successful solar clients…Its joy to help them.

              It’s the vendors using these clean technologies that you should be partnering with. They’ll help you clean up your business’ ecological footprint and in many cases, that green technology actually allows them to deliver even higher quality service than they could before (more on that in a bit). The longer we put off making these changes, the harder it will be to actually do anything about it!

              Do it for your children’s children, and heck, even yourself!

              After all, your generation is going to live longer than any in history! You’re going to be around for the impacts of your decisions now, as will your children and your children’s children. So who wouldn’t want to be part of both the solution and a verdant, green world? So take action and hold your partners accountable!

              Here at ProspectsPLUS! we hold ourselves and our partners to a very high standard and stand behind our Green Commitment. We use some pretty advanced digital printing technology for your direct mailings and postcards that, just like solar panels, both save the environment and actually allows us to be more nimble and deliver an otherwise unachievable level of quality.

              How does it work? Well, for starters, we use digital printing as opposed to traditional offset printing. Whereas offset printing generates loads of waste paper, uses environmentally harmful ink, and generates wasteful inefficiencies, digital printing allows us to be extremely nimble to both cut down on waste and actually improve the product for our customer! Here’s what that means for you, our valued customers:

              Cleaner technology is saving our precious environmental resources:

              Our unique printing techniques allow us to print on 95% of the available space on each postcard. Virtually none of the paper that comes in our doors goes to waste. And all of the paper that makes up all of those flyers and postcards is certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC), a fantastic organization which verifies that our stock comes from well managed forests. And whereas classical offset printing requires postcards and door hangers to be proofed by printing out wasteful physical samples, digital printing gives us more control over the coloring so that we can proof everything on advanced computer screens. Digital printing helps ensure that not a drop of our Earths’ precious resources are wasted!

              Smarter technology now makes you marketing twice as effective.

              With old traditional offset printing, things worked a lot like the newspaper presses that you see in movies: if you were going to print one, you had to print hundreds. Digital printing on the other hand allows us to print orders as small as one single postcard and as large as millions. What does this mean for our customers? They don’t have to do large bulk orders and in fact, we can print them only when they’re needed. This is the secret behind our triggered postcard technology which enables things like new-mover marketing: if we detect that someone moves into a new house, we can print one postcard with their name on it and send it off for you that day. Pretty incredible huh? It makes our services more nimble and hassle-free for our customers who no longer have to save up their ideas to meet some “bulk minimum.”

              And it doesn’t stop here. We take the digital aspect even further and we’ve plugged our systems into the national Do Not Mail system so that you don’t accidentally send postcards to people who aren’t supposed to be getting them. And we can even detect and prevent postcards addressed to building owners from accidentally going to any of their rental units. This digitally enabled safety network allows us to guarantee high quality direct mail services in a way that just wasn’t possible with older technology.

              So there you have it, the secret to digital printing is out! It’s the cornerstone in our Green Commitment to helping to save the planet for future generations. And because the technology is better as well, we can offer the highest quality product on the market that makes our customers’ marketing more colorful, effective, and timely.

              Are you thinking of doing something to save the world today? Sign up with ProspectsPLUS! or call 877-222-6010 and start doing more of your marketing on highly effective green technology today.

              Curious about our Green Commitment? Learn more here!

                Mortgage Marketing

                With Mortgage Marketing, timing is everything.

                In the real estate business, location is a big factor but you want to take advantage of a great rate or good terms while you can. As a mortgage broker, you know that, and you know you have a lot to offer your clients.

                Now it’s just a matter of updating your mortgage marketing strategy to reach new customers or call back former customers. You want to grow your business, and now is the time to take advantage of the resources available to you.

                Low interest rates prevail so far this year. Economists have mixed feelings about when rates will go up in 2016. Encourage customers to refinance now, before rates rise. Bill Conerly*, writing for Forbes magazine says, “Long-term interest rates will rise by roughly one percentage point per year.” Conerly adds that mortgage rates are expected to be around 6% by the end of 2017.  Today’s average mortgage rate of 3.5% to 4% for a 30 year fixed loan will be a thing of the past all too soon.

                Mortgage Postcard Marketing is the best choice you can make when it comes to your marketing strategy.

                Why? Return on investment (ROI). You may have a website already, and that may be your main form of marketing. It works fairly well and your email campaign generates a few leads. However, add postcard marketing to your marketing strategy, drive more people to your website and create hundreds of leads! Postcard marketing gets your name out to more people, increases traffic to your website and increases your ROI for a small investment of your time.

                Postcard templates allow you to simply choose your mailing list or purchase a new mailing list, add a few personal touches, and quickly place your order. Our postcard templates give you a jump start on the whole package and they’re just waiting for your personal additions. Postcard marketing is your most cost effective and efficient choice in direct mail marketing. One more task for the day that you can cross off your list.

                You are the liaison between the consumer and the lender, offering the most cost effective and efficient loan process in the business. Reach more customers through postcard marketing and watch the leads pour in.

                What are the benefits of postcard marketing?

                1. Small investment of your time for a gigantic reward.
                2. Get your name in front of more customers.
                3. Great ROI. Combine with online forms to grow your database.
                4. Use your mailing list or create one and reach leads in any area you choose.
                5. Add personal touches; these aren’t cookie-cutter postcards.
                6. Reach hundreds of potential new customers with one mailing.

                ProspectsPLUS! offers you helpful marketing strategies to increase your name in the market, get a greater return on investment, and grow your business.

                What if you need to build your mailing list?

                We have awesome tools available to help you build your database. Simply visit our website and create a mailing list using Accudata. Within minutes you will have access to hundreds of potential new customers targeted to your needs.

                How does this work and what are some of the options?

                1. When you choose to create a new mailing list, you have three choices. Map by Mail (uses Google Maps and tax assessor data), Demographic search (search by personal demographics), or Nielsen PRIZM (based on consumers preferences).
                2. A demographic search will be a good place to start for your type of business. Here, you can choose from categories within your target area. What kind of categories? How about high income renters, empty nesters, move up market, or high income consumers.
                3. Select the area you would like to target based on a central address. Then, draw a shape on the map to mark your area or use the radius search.
                4. The search results will notify you of the address count in that area. Choose how many addresses you would like, save your information, and you’re ready to grow your business!

                Ready to get started?

                Here are a few tips to get you started and to get the most out of your new mortgage marketing strategy and our marketing postcard templates:

                1. List your competitive advantages

                How many different types of mortgages do you represent? High numbers will get attention and may cause a potential new customer to say, “Hey, if they have thousands of loan types to choose from, maybe they will have one to fit my situation.” Also, remind consumers that rates are likely to go nowhere but up. Time is of the essence.

                2. Use testimonials

                You have had numerous satisfied customers. Let everyone know! Think of a customer whom you really helped out of a sticky, but all too common, situation. If necessary, call them to see how they’re doing and ask them to talk about the loan process they went through with you. Chances are they’ll say something you can use as a testimonial on your new marketing postcards.

                3. Create drama

                Have you saved a client thousands of dollars when they refinanced? Give examples of the loan amounts and savings. Did you help a first time homebuyer who was convinced there was no mortgage out there that could help them? Tell the story. New customers will relate to the story of another buyer who was in a similar situation. If you helped someone else, you can help them too.

                These are just a few of the helpful tips you’ll find on our website, ProspectsPLUS! Strike while the iron is hot with today’s low mortgage rates. Get started on your new direct mail postcard marketing campaign today and grow your business!

                * Online reference:

                  Which type of marketing plan is easiest to stay committed to?

                  Marketing plans are all well and good but they can also be a lot like an expensive camera. How so? Allow us to explain.

                  This occurred to me on a recent vacation. My wife and I brought a small “point and shoot” camera because we don’t know the first thing about taking good photos. Our friend on the other hand is a semi-professional photographer and brought along his expensive DSLR with several lenses. This camera was the size of a bazooka and required its own shoulder bag. Over the course of that vacation, it was my wife and I who ended up taking all of the most memorable photos of everyone. How could that be? Because the best camera is the one that’s with you, and our friend got tired of lugging his around!

                  Let’s apply this back to your marketing plan: the best plan is the one that you actually act on! If there are so many bells and whistles that it becomes burdensome, you won’t be able to keep up with it. In the end, you’ll actually accomplish a lot less than someone with more modest goals who simply manages to stay consistent.

                  So it is in this spirit that we want to encourage you to stick with it! Your marketing after all is the key to consistent and recurring revenue for your business. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and here are some tips that can help.

                  Here are our top 5 tips for staying committed to your marketing plan:
                  1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew! Time and time again we see business owners draft up multi-channel assaults on their target audience that require YouTube videos, an Instagram expert, QR codes, landing pages, and hundreds of door hangers. It’s great to be excited, but you’re going to burn yourself out! Build up to that fully implemented marketing plan by picking one new project to focus on at a time.
                  2. Write your goals down. We believe in the power of positive affirmations, or the idea that if you say something often enough and have it posted on your wall, eventually it will seep into your subconscious and you’ll get it done. Now, whether that works because of those written notes, or whether the type of person who’s dedicated enough to write their goals down was bound to get it done anyways, does it really matter? Prove that you’re a doer and not a talker and keep your SMART goals written down and visible in your office!
                  3. Run regular tests and get feedback. With marketing projects, it’s ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ Make sure that you stay on top of them and their ongoing success by running A/B tests to make sure that they’re functioning properly. In doing so, you’ll notice and fix small things that might have been out of order and hurting your campaign, like typos, broken links, and unsent emails. It gives you a positive way to tinker and keeps you consistently engaged in your marketing programs.
                  4. Calendar everything twice. We’re going to admit here that we set two alarms every morning: the one that we’re bound to ‘snooze’ and the one that actually gets us up. You should do the same for all of your campaign launches, completions, check-ups, and reminders, so that if you’re busy or don’t have time set aside that day, you do eventually follow-up with them.
                  5. Automate everything you can. This is probably the most important rule, and we saved the best for last. If you have the opportunity to create, say, a postcard campaign, and it takes you fifteen minutes, would you rather it go out once or three times? Of course you want to run multiple times on its own! Digital marketing makes it easy for you to rely on partners to send out your campaigns on time. Take it even further and set your campaigns to trigger themselves and go out automatically when new people move into a neighborhood, when a client needs an appointment reminder, or when the first day of spring arrives. It’s impossible not to stay committed to your marketing when you’ve made it someone else’s job!

                  And there you have it, our top five tips that have helped us stay consistent in our own marketing! Consistency is a big part of how we’ve turned ProspectPLUS! into one of the top direct mail marketing vendors in the industry. When the company was founded our goals may have resembled a hefty DSLR camera but we tackled each project one at a time with a trusty portable point and shoot camera and the results followed!

                  So get out there and get that first marketing success under your belt! ProspectPLUS! can help you automate your direct mail campaigns or give us a call today at 877-222-6010 and we’ll see if we can help you with whatever you’re working on!

                    Marketing coffee when they should have been advertising routers

                    Do you know why your customers buy? A coffee shop we know and love that’s been in business for over 15 years recently asked their customers that and was shocked by the response. Whereas they had always assumed that the coffee and atmosphere were the main drivers for business, a customer poll revealed that people’s #1 reason for being in there was WiFi and access to power plugs.

                    WiFi and power plugs? What has the world come to? No, never mind, we’re not here to judge, but what this can teach us is that no matter how well you think you know your customer, you probably don’t. People continue to buy coffee there just as they always have, but their reasons for doing so have shifted.

                    It goes to show that if you don’t keep your finger on the pulse of your customers’ motives, you can get blindsided, just like this coffee shop did when the router went out and everyone mysteriously vanished. All of a sudden their time-tested value proposition of “great coffee, great people” was worthless. It’s thus far better to ask the right questions.

                    Questioning will help you stay abreast of why people buy. Those reasons can vary a lot between individuals who each have their own unique demographic and psychographic profiles, but in aggregate you should be able to develop the profile for an average customer. Many marketers even choose to name them, like “Suzy shopper.”

                    1. The first thing to do is ask the right questions!

                    Poll your customers however you can. Try online surveys, asking people at the check-out counter, or handing out paper questionnaires. Remember to always keep it less than 10 questions and if you want to supercharge your response rate, offer a drawing or sweepstakes for participating. In that survey, ask them things like:

                    Why did you make a purchase today?

                    Would you buy again? Why or why not?

                    What is the most important thing to you about ___ product/service?

                    What made you choose us over the other options out there?

                    2. Create a hypothesis for your customer value proposition 

                    How many responses is enough? For the average small business, no less than 100 will do. Tally all of them up and select the top reason for buying from each category. This should allow you to craft a statement like this: “Suzy shopper purchased because ____.” This is your hypothesis value proposition, but don’t stop here because you’re not done yet!

                    3. Make sure you’re working with an actual value proposition 

                    You’ll want to make sure that you, unlike many business owners, steer clear of the feature/functionality trap. This is when you think your business advantage is a technological one, like a car dealer advertising more cup holders on their sports car. You see businesses of all sorts advertising this way, saying that they use ACME technology or the X1 method. But do customers really care? Heck no! They have no idea what ACME or X1 are, they only care that their dentist makes them look more attractive, their mechanic gets them to the party, and the pastry chef makes their five year old smile.

                    It’s about what you do for them, not how you did it. So stop advertising technologies and get wise! Your value proposition is about the real impact to your customer’s life.

                    So stop now and double check your hypothesis value proposition. Is it about how it makes them feel, or is it about your industry’s version of “more cup holders?” If it’s about how it makes them feel, you’re on to something, and you can check that it applies to at least two of the five most common reasons that people buy (from an acronym known as PIERS):

                    Productivity: will they get more done?

                    Image: will it make them look better?

                    Efficiency: will it make their life easier?

                    Revenue: will it make or save them money?

                    Safety/Security: will it give them peace of mind?

                    Let’s put all of the together now…

                    What did you come up with? Hopefully your hypothesis is ready to be tested by the trial of marketing. Take your newly minted value proposition and try it out in a marketing campaign. With a direct mail postcard campaign, you can even A/B test its effectiveness against the old one so that you can know if you’re truly onto something.

                    New value propositions really are that easy! Nobody expects you to be a mind-reader because the answers you seek are lying right in front of you with your customers! Like our friends at the coffee shop, you should be curious and ask lots of questions. So get out there, improve your value proposition, and in turn, increase your own marketing efficiency and revenue! (how did we do against PIERS?).

                    Looking for a little help with that campaign? 

                    Opportunity Knocks Marketing can help you develop a killer value proposition and if you’re having trouble formulating your own or simply don’t have time, give them a call at 877-222-6010 and enlist their help today!

                      As easy as feeding fish in a barrel

                      Are you familiar with the phrase “as easy as shooting fish in a barrel?” We’ve never quite cared for it. Even as amateur fishermen (and women) we think there are much more productive and less messy ways to bring home the catch. If we were to re-write it we might call it “feeding fish in a barrel.” By feeding them like any livestock, don’t you grow them so they can better feed you? And in such a way, this is a perfect analogy for neighborhood marketing.

                      Instead of shooting fish with one-and-done marketing campaigns and then moving on, neighborhood marketing is about establishing and leveraging your local presence. It’s about developing the relationships that will grow your business so that people are out there doing your selling for you while you sleep. It’s about feeding them consistent and direct marketing so that your brand grows over time. The only problem is, how do you make sure you’re targeting only people in that neighborhood?

                      Automated neighborhood postcard marketing

                      There’s no better way to get started with this than by postcard marketing. With technology is these days direct mail marketing allows you to create a campaign based on a radius, zip-code, or region that sends postcards to the homes or the businesses in that area and repeats itself multiple times. Once you set it, you can basically forget it. And multiple touches is important because it takes on average 7 “touches” or marketing messages for people know who you are.

                      And once you get this rolling, you’ll start to take advantage of all of the benefits of neighborhood direct mail marketing: you increase your chances of referrals, you boost your social-proof credibility, you send more personalized and effective messages, and you cut down on your overhead. Whew, that was a mouthful, so let us elaborate on each of these.

                      The true benefits of neighborhood-based postcard marketing:
                      1. Increase your chance of referrals: If you’re out there trying to target the entire continental United States, odds are low that any two of your customers are going to know each other, discuss your service, and create what’s known in marketing as a “” Buzz requires an air of excitement around your product and service and it’s much easier to generate it in a more confined area amongst communities who talk frequently. In general, the smaller the better. If you target a single neighborhood, neighbors talk to neighbors and people who are happy about a service will share (or brag, if you will) and spread your name. By marketing to one neighborhood repeatedly, people will be asking each other, “Hey, haven’t you heard about Jane’s new shop?”
                      1. It gives you built-in social proof. If you’ve done any reading on content marketing, you know that it’s important to advertise across many channels simultaneously. Campaigns that support each other reinforce your message and provide more “” If you complete a successful local job and can post a job site sign, you can run a postcard campaign that directs people to see your work as they drive by. They’ll intrinsically trust you because their neighbors already do, and that’s two touches. If another few people become customers as a result, you can run yet another campaign and create a virtuous cycle where people are buying from you because it appears that everyone else is.
                      1. Get more specific and personalized: Broad marketing messages fail to engage people as individuals. If you use a generic postcard graphic of the typical American lawn for your landscaping service, it will probably work. But if you’ve chosen to market locally to just one neighborhood and you get permission to use the picture of an actual customer’s house, you suddenly make a deep and meaningful connection with people. Plus you can use personalized postcards with messages like, “Susie, we’re renovating 321 Main Street. Come see our work!”  They’ll recognize it, drive by it, and it will cement your business’ presence in a way that you can only achieve without neighborhood marketing.
                      1. You’ll cut down your overhead. Logistics is the hidden killer of profitability. A sudden influx of new jobs can seem like a blessing until you realize that they’re scattered all over town and after paying for the supplies, gas, time, and materials, you’re just breaking even. Your business has effectively just become a non-profit for the week. However, by marketing to neighborhoods, you drastically increase the likelihood that your job sites are tightly grouped and you can take advantage of the economies of scale. What’s another job if your contractors are already in the neighborhood?
                      A barrel full of well-fed fish

                      And there you have it, the not-so secret benefits to neighborhood postcard marketing! They’re easy to create, quick to get out, and they’re running while you sleep so that you can focus on completing jobs and winning over more happy customers. Instead of shooting up your barrel with one-and-done marketing, you’re feeding your fish so that everyone grows together.

                      Done correctly, neighborhood marketing increases your odds of earning new business, gives your marketing more credibility, and cuts down on your overhead so that additional jobs actually translate into more profit.

                      What more could you ask for? Give ProspectsPlus a call today at 877-222-6010 and start marketing more effectively to your neighborhood!

                      And if you’re thinking that you’d love to take advantage of this but don’t have the time, Opportunity Knocks Marketing is a full-service agency that can be your postcard marketing expert and get it all done for you. It’s all of the benefits with none of the time commitment!