Is marketing an expense or an investment?

    This is a question as old as advertising itself, and the long held wisdom from corporate board rooms to sole-proprietorships is that it is indeed just an expense. Historically the problem with marketing has been that it’s been nearly impossible to tell what’s working and what’s not. To quote John Wanamaker, a 19th century American businessman, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” So true, right?

    Only here the 21st century, marketing is changing. With advanced tools like Google Analytics or direct-response tracking for analyzing your direct mail marketing performance we have a stronger grasp than ever on exactly what your marketing will do for you. These are tools that would have been unimaginable, pure science fiction to Mr. Wanamaker, so is it maybe time to revise our age-old wisdom along with the times?

    Well, which one is it?

    To return to the original question, let’s consider the difference between an expense and an investment. An expense is a one-time cost that you pay because you have to. It’s buying more supplies, paying a ticket, or purchasing fuel. Once it’s purchased, it’s gone, and there’s no way to know if it somehow led to a sale. An investment on the other hand, is defined by Investopedia as:

    “an asset or item that is purchased with the hope that it will generate income or appreciate in the future”

    Let’s put this in marketing perspective. You wouldn’t buy flyers or door-hangars with the expectation that they’d never land you a new sale, would you? No, you buy them rightfully expecting a return that’s greater than you paid to get them. And with the ability to track which flyers or door-hangar campaigns led to which sales, and to A/B test and improve them over time, suddenly you have some data that makes your marketing very predictable. And once you can reliably calculate your return, we are most definitely talking about investing.

    So if marketing is investing, that makes you a marketing investor. And knowing that, how will you behave differently?

    Here are our 4 time-tested principles of investing that you can apply to your 21st century marketing:

    1.) Have a marketing plan

    .Just like flossing, everyone says they do it but nobody ever does. Plans are important because they protect us from short-sighted emotional decisions. Even if “going with your gut” seems to work in the short run, research shows that it fails in the long run when it comes to investing. You wouldn’t throw darts to pick the stocks in your 401k, would you? Then let’s take some of the same rigor with your marketing dollars.

    They best way to begin is to define a repeatable strategy. You want to avoid “random acts of marketing” where you chaotically throw money at campaigns when it’s convenient but ignore the topic altogether when it’s not. If you haven’t set up a marketing funnel, this will help you keep things organized and show you which campaigns to run to whom and when.

    2.) Diversify your marketing investments.

    The core of modern portfolio theory is diversification, or not having all of your eggs in one basket. Some investments are inherently more risky than others, and in marketing, there are so many factors that go into the success of a campaign that you’ll want to diversify and run many different ones to cover all your bases.

    If you have a billboard campaign that’s proven extremely successful and drives most of your marketing revenue, what happens if a tree falls on it? Or if other billboards go up? Or if you depend on Google advertising and they change their algorithm, how will you adapt? Cover yourself and offset those star performer campaigns with other types so that if one were to stop working, your marketing table would still have three legs to stand on.

    Rule of thumb: Always have campaigns running in at least 3 of these 8 categories:

    • Direct mail
    • Digital advertising
    • Email marketing
    • Signage/billboards
    • Referral system
    • Tradeshows
    • Broadcast
    • Social media

    4.) Invest in businesses, not their products.

    That is to say, when buying stocks, look at the business running things and not the hot commodity that they’re selling. All too often a promising idea is destroyed by a poorly run business and they’ll take your hard-earned money down the drain with them. In marketing, this means choosing your marketing vendors carefully.

    When you spend money or “invest” in a marketing strategy like email, advertising, direct mail, or SEO, peer behind the curtain and evaluate the company that you’ll be spending money with. Make sure that they have happy customers and have been in business for a while to ensure that they will actually be able to execute your requests and turn your investment into a marketing profit.

    5.) Invest in marketing for the long term.

    When asked how long he typically likes to hold his stocks, Warren Buffet’s response is “forever.” Once he commits to buying something, it’s in his portfolio for good and he’ll keep re-investing.

    In marketing, the same is true: when you find strategies or channels that work for your business, double down. If you try some personalized email or postcard campaigns that bring in a glut of new customers, don’t celebrate! You’re not done yet. You have to keep up your marketing investments for the long term or you’ll fall into what’s known as the feast-and-famine cycle. This is when your marketing works so well that you get busy and stop marketing, and then before you know it, there are no new customers and you’re back to square one.

    Well we just killed two birds with one stone, didn’t we? An investing lesson bundled as a marketing lesson, aimed at helping you cope in a world where marketing is an investment. With all of the data available to you today, it’s no longer sufficient to sit back and lament your marketing expenses. You have the tools to control them and turn them into highly profitable investments!

    So pick up the phone and give us a call today at 877-222-6010 to add a postcard marketing campaign to you diversified portfolio of marketing investments.

    And if you’re feeling like what you could really use is some stock tips from your wealth manager, *ahem*, marketing consultant, contact us at Opportunity Knocks Marketing to ensure your business’ complete financial health.

      Choosing Postcard Marketing Images

      Your image choice when creating marketing postcards is critical. They’re your way of conveying a world of meaning in just a few seconds which can translate directly into sales. Choosing the wrong images on the other hand can have the opposite effect, and it can seriously hamper your campaign’s effectiveness.

      With postcards, you’re inherently limited to what fits in their mailbox and that’s actually a good thing because having those constraints actually inspires greater creativity. If you could include as many images as you want you’d end up bombarding the customer with too much (like so many busy websites) but by forcing you to choose just 2 or 3 photos from all of the available options, you end up having to whittle it down to the very best ones. It takes work, but the end result is far better.

      How do I choose the best images for Postcard Marketing?

      First and foremost, let’s start by getting your objectives straight. There’s a big difference between a good photo and an effective photo. A good one may be pretty, but if it’s of a tulip and you’re an insurance agent and there’s no discernible connection, it doesn’t necessarily inspire action. It’s not effective. A truly effective photo is both pretty AND gets people to realize that they need what you offer.

      How does it do that? Sometimes by showing what they’re missing, like a newer car. Sometimes it’s by helping the customer realize that what they have today just isn’t cutting it, like a broken down lawn mower. And sometimes by conveying the feeling that they’re supposed to feel once they do have your product or service, like someone smiling with a diploma. All of these can be accomplished through careful photo selection and lucky for you, we’ve sent a few postcards in our time (several million, but who’s counting?) and here are our tips.

      Here are four types of photos that you should include in an effective postcard campaign: 

      Engaging faces: All too often people search for a photo that shows a subject doing something up to the neckline. Maybe the idea is that it could be anyone, maybe even you, but that ambiguity kills the effectiveness of your image! Just as every customer needs to be greeted within the first 10 seconds of entering your place of business so that they don’t leave, every postcard recipient should be engaged with a good old fashioned smile and eye contact. Research shows that simply using a smiling subject over a non-smiling subject can increase the effectiveness of ads by as much as 50%.

      Here are two postcards. Both have similar subjects, but in the second one there is smiling and eye contact. See the difference?

      Postcard marketing Photo 1Postcard marketing Photo 2







      Completed work: Very often, people don’t really know what they’re missing out on by paying for a service until it’s shown to them. Most often, this happens by chance. Maybe they see that their neighbor got a hot tub, their cousin is enjoying her perfect teeth after braces, or a friend of a friend was able to rebuild their house on a fantastic insurance policy. But do you have time to wait for that sort of serendipity? Of course not! It’s your marketing’s job to make them aware of what they’re missing today with a market dominator campaign and an image of their dream backyard, dental work, or financial security! Do this with a carefully selected photo of the dream item that they need.

      Here’s an example of two postcards. One shows an X-ray (not everyone’s favorite part) versus the beautiful, completed smile that they could have! Which one engages you more?

      Postcard Marketing Image 1

      Postcard Marketing Image 2







      Before and after photos: These go a step beyond the completed work photo and use the principle of contrast. A dream yard picture may look very appealing but we promise that it will look ten times as appealing next to what the yard looked like before it was fixed. There’s reason that cheap infomercials use this technique: they only get a few seconds to communicate the impact of their product and so they choose photos like these. You can do the same (only in a much less corny way), and when the customer gets your postcard, sees the yard that they want and then realizes that their current one is more accurately represented by the “before” photo, you’ve got yourself a qualified caller.

      Before and After Postcard Photo

      Here is a great before and after photo. See how clearly this spells it out for them?

      Black belt level tip: use metaphors. While the tips above are you speaking directly to your prospect’s conscious, metaphors can speak volumes to their subconscious. A visual metaphor is a way of conveying the feeling that your service will give them, not just necessarily a picture of the service. Modern billboard advertisers rely heavily on this. Below is one from Mitsubishi. Do they actually expect us to presume that there’s a real rhinoceros under the hood? Of course not. But we take the things we associate with the animal like toughness, strength, and invulnerability, and associate them with the car. That, is a metaphor done well.

      Best Postcard Marketing Photos

      Image Source

      To create your own metaphor, think of how your happiest customer feels when they buy your product. Now, take it to an almost absurd level. Will they literally be in heaven once they see their newly manicured lawn? Will they cause car accidents with their new blinding white smile? Take that image and craft you own metaphor that speaks to their subconscious!

      Now you’re off to the postcard marketing races!

      And there you have it, that’s your primer to choosing the right image for postcard marketing. To recap what we’ve gone through, your options are to engage them with a smile and earnest eye contact, show them the finished product, really drive it home with a before and after story, or go for the gusto with a metaphor that’s both funny but effectively conveys your message.

      Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the hardest part is behind you and you’re clear to create your postcard campaign today! Or, if you have a question, pick up the phone and give us a shout at 877-222-6010 because we’d love to hear from you.

      And of course, this blog post wouldn’t be complete without our own metaphor for what happens when you starting sending campaigns with ProspectsPLUS!

      Postcard Marketing Money

        Imagine you’re a fisherman on a dock. You’ve got a single hook and sinker and you’re waiting for a bite. Along comes another fisherman who walks up to a rope tied to the dock. He hauls up massive net with a boatload of fish, and then packs up and leaves. You look down at your rod and wonder what you’ve been doing wrong. This is the advantage of content marketing.

        Let’s begin with a definition from the Content Marketing Institute:

        Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

        This is more than advertisements, its helpful advice. Content marketing is about being an expert that people want to listen to and in turn, trust to handle their landscaping, food choice, home repair, and decorating. Now, if it’s so powerful, why do most businesses neglect to do it? Because it requires that you give away your best ideas for free.

        For free? If you’re like most people, you’re thinking, “but I should charge for my best ideas!” But I’ll ask you, does the fisherman worry over giving up the sardine on a hook to catch a yellow-fin tuna? Of course not! He sees that he’s investing in a much larger prize. This is how you should think of it as well.

        Your great ideas become a wide net that keep you top of mind. As a trusted thought-leader, people will think to come to you when they need your service. And when their friends share that they’re having tree and yard issues, your customers will recommend you. What makes it so successful is that customers will take your great ideas and think, “wow, I’d love my house to look like theirs” and it will lead them directly back to your services. It’s a cycle.

        You can look and see great content marketers are all around you. The local farm-to-table restaurant that posts Instagram pictures of their most mouth-watering dishes keeps diners coming back hungry. The painting service that sends postcards with home-improvement tips that inspires people to repaint their exterior. Examples abound, and it’s easy to get into because nobody is more of an expert about your business than you. Share that expertise and reap the revenue rewards!

        For you, your outreach channels can be newspaper articles, blog posts, product spec sheets, social media posts, emails, radio spots, event booths, podcasts, and more. There are unlimited venues for you to share your ideas with an audience who will eventually be led to buy.

        So now that you’re convinced that you want to get into content marketing and “fish with a net,” how do you get started? Here are 5 simple steps. 

        1. Know where to cast your net. Begin with defining your audience. What are you an expert in? And who wants to hear about it? If you’re a general repairman, new home owners would love to hear about maintenance tips. If you’re an interior designer, people would love get inspired by photos of your great work. If you’re an insurance agent, people would love to hear financial advice and tips on the sort of long-term planning that we all love to put off. Whatever your business, there’s a niche market of customers that would deeply value your expertise and this is the audience you should create content for.
        2. Cast a wide net. No fisherman would drop their net straight down and hope that the right fish were under the boat, would they? Good fisherman recognize that there’s some uncertainty around where the right “fish” are, so they cast a wide net. For you, this means not limiting yourself to a blog but sending direct mail campaigns, posting on social media, “flyering” the neighborhood, and encouraging word-of-mouth. Different people have different preferences for consuming content. Your young professionals probably commute in the car and thus listen to podcasts. Your homeowners can best be reached where they live. Be in lots of places at once, and be consistent in your message across them.
        3. Weave a strong net. If you cast a poorly made net that’s loose, it doesn’t matter how many fish it reaches, they’ll all pass right on through. You need to craft a strong net and in content marketing, this means writing truly useful content. If it’s uninteresting, people will ignore it. Invest some time in learning to craft good headlines and having a hook. Beta-test your content on friends and family and be completely open to feedback. Strong, truly valuable content will keep people coming back for more.
        4. Remember to draw the net in. Now that you’ve cast your net around an audience and they’re interested, remember to pull it up! In marketing, this means having clear calls to action that direct your prospects to buy. It can be a phone number, landing page, an address, or an e-commerce site. Let them know how to move forward if they’re interested.
        5. Repair the net frequently. One of the great things about the net is its reusable! That excellent article that you wrote for your blog can be chopped up into several great tweets and maybe a postcard or two. But it can only be reused up until a point and when it starts to feel stale, it starts to work against you. People need fresh content and so you should be doing something new at least every week, whatever that means for your business.

        Are you feeling the call of the sea yet? We’ve covered how to identify your audience, reach out across many channels, write truly useful content, include a call-to-action, and to repeat the process weekly. The fish are out there in great schools and it takes content-marketing strategy to go out there and catch more than you hoped for.

        If you’re ready to cast your first net, hop aboard and dial us at 877-222-6010 or jump straight into postcard marketing using our simple campaign builder!

          What are psychographics?

          Let’s say that you run a smoothie shop, and you’ve just run several Google Adwords campaigns for your nutritional weight loss smoothies. You’ve spent a healthy amount of money on it and you’re getting some clicks, but nobody is actually coming into the store to buy anything. What gives?

          The simple answer is that you may be targeting your customers in the wrong way. How could that happen? Because you might not know them as well as you think just yet. You may have some really good demographic data on them like gender, age, and income, but you’re going to need psychographic data as well.

          Psychographics are details about what people think or who they aspire to be. Often, this is a better predictor of why they will buy. Why? Because it reveals their detailed preferences. Two middle-aged and married homeowners who are demographically identical could have vastly different psychographic data and require different marketing. Don’t abandon demographics however, because you’ll need both to form what is called a complete buyer persona


          • Gender
          • Age
          • Marriage Status
          • Income


          • Concerns
          • Lifestyle
          • Habits
          • Opinions
          • Values


          Getting to the buyer persona

          When you can combine factual data like where people live, their income, and their age with subjective data like their beliefs, values, habits, and lifestyle, you create a buyer persona that can come to life.

          It’s the difference between marketing to Suzy, Female, aged 31 who makes $75k/year and marketing to Suzy the advertising manager who’s interesting in digital marketing, is in a long-term committed relationship, volunteers at the Red Cross, and whose guilty pleasure is binge-watching crime dramas on Netflix. One of those Suzies seems like a statistic while the other feels like a living, breathing person who we could market to.

          What products of yours do you think Suzy would be interested in? That’s the level of detail that we’re trying to get to.


          I want psychographics. How do I go about gathering them? 

          To gather psychographics, the best place to start is with your best customers! Ask them for a brief interview and find out why they bought, why they’re happy (or aren’t), where else they shop, and what their top day to day concerns are. Get to know them a little better as people and take notes. Ask how their weekend was, how their kids are doing, and what movies they watch. Take note of everything because it’s often surprising what’s useful later on.

          Next, interview your customer service associates or anyone who deals with customers on a daily basis. Ask them to theorize on who their typical customers are, who the best ones are, and what they all care about.

          Have you discovered anything surprising? Take the questions you’ve now raised and craft a brief multiple-choice survey (6-10 questions is ideal) for the rest of your customer base. Surveys work well in-person but even better online with tools like SurveyMonkey. If you want to guarantee good results, offer a gift card drawing. Here are some sample questions:

          • What are your interests?
          • What do you like to do on your days off? 
          • What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last month? 
          • What books have you read recently? 
          • When you purchase your product, what problem did it help you solve? 

          As answers start flowing in, you now have a database of psychographic information that you can start incorporating this in your marketing. Take some time reviewing the data and writing out several customer personas like the one above for Suzy. They don’t need to be more than a few sentences, but they’ll help guide your decision making for the next step.


          Where do I best reach my customers?

          Returning to our example of Suzy, we now know that Suzy is 31 and a millennial, so she’s probably savvy with technology. She’s also interested in digital marketing, which means that she probably knows a lot about how Google Adwords works. Why isn’t AdWords capturing her attention? It’s because she knows she can avoid them with a service like AdBlocker and doesn’t ever see them! 

          Now is when we need to re-evaluate the Adwords campaign. Maybe, a direct mail marketing campaign will be much more effective at reaching her because it will actually get through and stand out. Make this one change and voila! Psychographics have saved the day, and “Suzy” and people like her are walking in your smoothie shop doors asking about the two-for-one discount.


          Psychographics are often what’s missing

          The most successful marketing happens with good data. As you can see, psychographics are some of the most valuable data that you can gather from your customers. Going forward, collect it on a more regular basis. Teach your customer service team what it is, why it’s important, and how to report interesting facts about patrons. You can incorporate surveys into your online shopping experience. And you can go the extra mile and go through an agency to conduct focus groups.

          All of this should lead you to one question: what don’t I know about my customers right now? You have the tools, you just need to go and collect it.

          If you’re interested but too busy, Opportunity Knocks Marketing can give you direct access to psychographic data on millions of consumers in your area, and help you run marketing to them. Give them a call at 877-222-6010 and get started right now!

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

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

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

            Good SMB marketers are a jack-of all trades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              Ahh, spring is in the air and the birds are chirping again. Or is it fall, and the leaves are changing colors? Or have the first flakes of snow now fallen and as you scrape across the icy sidewalk in your winter galoshes? (Or if you’re a Californian, you’re asking ‘what are seasons?’)

              My point is that everyone notices when the seasons change. It’s universal, and it’s part of our biological clock.

              Why am I going on about this? Am I merely waxing poetic about the changing of the seasons? Of course not! If you know Opportunity Knocks Marketing and this blog by now, it’s all about the marketing tips that can be gleaned from this insight. In this case, you can leverage the seasonality of your customer’s needs to better target them with postcard campaigns!

              Why do seasons give us reasons?

              The seasons can tell you a great deal about what people are going through, or about to go through, and you can thus appear to be downright prophetic in your recommendations to them. And as well all know, the more targeted you can be, the more effective you’ll be. In many cases, you can double your ROI on a campaign. According to Forbes, personalization can increase sales by as much as 10%. What would you do with that extra money?

              Here is how our most successful customers align their marketing with the seasons:
              1. Spring cleaning: Once its springtime and the grasses are growing green, people are coming out of their proverbial winter caves and thinking about being outdoors again! This means that they’re pulling out last season’s clothes, trimming their yards, planning neighborhood gatherings, and anticipating full-blown summer. How can you best advertise to them?
              • Spring trips: For many, Spring Break is time to get out. Advertise trips, travel destinations, home alarm systems, and doggie day-care for while they’re gone!
              • Wardrobe changes: People want sun and it’s sure to leave it’s mark. They’ll need protection with hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, and flip-flops. And on the flip-side, they no longer need their coats and skis, so it’s time to talk about storage units, consignment, and house-cleaning.
              • Festivals: Millennials are really feeling the summer love and festivals have become big business. Cater to this market with far-out clothing, camping gear, and RV rentals.
              • Tax season: Not a fun time, but a trigger event nonetheless! People will be interested in accounting, legal, banking, and document storage services.


              1. Summer fixing: Summer has hit and the sun is sweltering. People are thinking about how best to enjoy themselves and stay cool. They’re likely taking a few out of town trips, and they’re definitely investing more in their yard to make it a great, shady gathering place.
              • Vacations: With the kids out of school, it’s time to haul everyone off on a road trip to the Grand Canyon or hop on a plane to Fiji. Advertise road-trip car inspections, electronics, play devices for the kids, insurance, and travel services.
              • The outdoors: People will spend more time outside, both in their yards and in the national parks. It’s time to help them break out cooler clothes, hiking boots, and anything they need for a BBQ like better lawn chairs, a fire pit, solar panels, and pool cleaning services.
              • That one backyard project: Every family has that one project, that gazebo started last season that hasn’t been worked on. They’ll never be more interested in your help with it than right now!


              1. Autumn squirreling: People are trying to get the most of everything in Autumn. This is the time that the sun has sunk lower in the sky, the days are growing shorter and people are anticipating the trials that winter (or school or the holidays) will bring.
              • Back to school: Students dread it, retailers love it! Cash in on the must-have clothing, books, writing supplies, sports equipment, tutoring, and transportation arrangements.
              • Holidays: They’re coming up quickly and decorations are in order; everything from pumpkins to fir trees. Catch people early with services to make decorating and un-decorating totally hands-free and they’ll love you for it.
              • Sports frenzy: NFL season begins and across the USA and millions of folks are suddenly going to be glued in groups to the TV. It’s a social event, so now is the time to strike with offers for a more spacious couch, snacks, new TV and phone packages, and of course taxi services.


              1. Winter heating: The real chill has set in and people are bundling up at home with family. They’re prepping for the holidays and thinking about being thankful for the people in their lives, and are looking for great bargains on gifts.
              • Home remodeling: With all that time indoors, people invariably get to thinking about that old floral wallpaper that they never quite loved. Advertise remodeling or decoration services! They’re also very aware of how much they’re paying for heating, so advertise energy-saving appliances and weather-proofing!
              • Gift season: They say to always sell value, not price, but this is time to appeal to both people’s values and their wallets! Nothing strains a budget like buying gifts for the whole family and nothing helps a buyer be generous like a really good deal. Advertise those holiday deals!
              • Trip planning: People are moving about the country and stress levels are about to hit their zenith as everyone takes to the skies to visit home! Think about how you can make their lives easier, from more comfortable flights to shipping services to games and meal ideas for the family.


              The circle begins again: no, there’s no fifth season here, unless you count the beginning of the next year. Seasons are a cycle! If you’ve done it correctly and you’re consistent, customers will actually start to associate those powerful seasons with your services, and that’s a great place to be.


              If it’s working, make it a habit. Pin this season’s successful marketing campaign cards on the calendar for the next few years and keep track of the ones that worked best!

              Hopefully you’re chock-full of seasonal ideas and have noticed that Spring officially begins on March 20th! Plant your springtime seeds for success and get started on a mailing or call 877-222-6010 to talk to a helpful “flowers and may showers” marketing expert and get your marketing rolling!

                Was YOUR Name Drawn?

                Wow! A big thanks to all our amazing contestants this past month! We had some terrific entries – and we thank you all so much for sharing your experiences! If your name wasn’t drawn – no worries!  We’ll choose another WINNER, April 5th!  Congratulations everyone!

                Our $250 Winner is Peter Koukounas, who shared:

                “I was never a big fan of postcard marketing until Jim and his team made me a firm believer in the benefits of this marketing approach. Just from 1 run, the amount of leads and signed agreements have paid for this campaign and future campaigns 10 fold. The design, professionalism and approach that Jim and his team came up with was spot on and we will now be doing campaigns on a monthly basis. Any company looking to do postcard marketing would be doing a disservice to their company by not partnering with Jim and his team for their marketing needs.”

                Thanks Peter!  You now have a $250 gift card to use on our DIY postcard marketing website here or on a custom postcard marketing campaign through our sister company, Opportunity Knocks here.

                Thank you to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy!  Leave your review of your product or service on our Google+ Page or our sister company’s Facebook Page today!  We’ll give away a $250 Postcard Marketing Gift Card! Next drawing is April 5th.

                We’d also like to invite you to join us in our goal to raise $50,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®! We are matching every donation this year, dollar-for-dollar! Learn more at:

                And if you’re in the mood to see what’s NEW – head over to our Specials Page and see all the new marketing tools for March and nab your 10% savings promo codes!

                  Do you ever run into someone at a party who likes to ramble? Who starts telling a story and halfway through you’re wondering, “where are they going with this?”

                  Now think about what they make you want to do: find a quick exit or somehow finagle them onto another unsuspecting guest. It seems pretty obvious that rambling doesn’t draw people in, right? Well this is exactly what you are doing with your website if it’s not optimized to drive leads.

                  And every visitor that “bounces” becomes someone else’s customer!

                  Creating a good website actually becomes harder the more you know about your business.  Most owners fall victim to what Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the book Made to Stick, call “the curse of knowledge.” This is when you know so much about a subject that it’s difficult to say it simply. When your website is filled with too many things it becomes intimidating and suddenly you’ve become that rambling party guest.

                  What we need here is a reset on what really matters. Your website exists to drive more traffic to your business, so here are 4 tactics that can help you clear the way to do so:

                  #1 – Say things more simply.

                  Don’t think you can say things more simply than you already are? Think again. Even a giant company like ADP who has literally thousands of products manages to explain what they do in just seven words.

                  Pretty impressive, right? If they can do it, so can you.

                  A great exercise for this is to try to explain what your business does to a small child. The younger the better. Grab a niece or nephew and ask them to explain it back to you, and through several attempts you’ll start to realize that there are many unanswered, “why?” questions that you had assumed were obvious. To your customers however, they aren’t. This will help you transform, “Experienced industrial metalwork and fabrication contractors” into “Your local metalwork experts.” Simple can be beautiful, right?

                  How do I get more people to my now simpler website?

                  You’ve heard the term “SEO” bandied around, no doubt, maybe even as someone’s title followed by the word “expert.” At its simplest, Search Engine Optimization is how Google (and other search engines) gauge how valuable your site is. The more valuable, the higher it ranks on the list when people search for you.

                  Pro Tip: visit or hook up Google Analytics to see how many visitors your site is currently getting.

                  The key to having good SEO is to have a well-organized site full of keywords that your customers are searching for. While simplifying your messaging, you should also focus it so that the keywords are used consistently throughout. Don’t just write this one in! Spend some quality time on it (or hire a freelance writer), as Google’s algorithm can spot a fake and it will hurt your score.

                  Great work so far, but are you feeling impatient waiting for Google to discover how great your new site is? There’s always paid advertising where you can have ads for your site placed around the web. It costs money, but it’s a guaranteed way to get things rolling. Google’s Adwords service can come off as a little complex to the layperson so it never hurts to talk to an expert before getting started.

                  #2 – Getting them to take an action

                  Now that people are knocking down the proverbial doors to your website, waste no time in directing them to a “call to action” or CTA, like this:

                  The most effective lead-generation websites have a homepage with one large picture, a single sentence, and one or two buttons. Just take a look at Opportunity Knocks Marketing for a good example. Visitors have just two choices: get started or learn more. See what a vast departure this is from a website homepage full of hundreds of options? Here, your prospects clearly understand what you do, and can waste no time contacting you.

                  This sort of simplicity is possible because again, we’ve clearly defined our objectives: get people to fill out a form so that we can call them. Know your own objective, for example an eCommerce site would direct them to a store, but it always starts with a call to action.

                  #3 – Leveraging their contact info in other campaigns

                  Always use forms for collecting information. Too often I see good websites that direct people to a page that just lists an email or a phone number. Why leave it up to the customer to get in touch with you? If you instead use a form you not only take the initiative to reach out to them but you also capture their information for future use.

                  Several of our customers use their online forms to collect people’s addresses or zip codes which then allow them to send them postcard campaigns which see even higher engagement than typical email, meaning that they’re getting a higher ROI for the website that they already have. Pretty neat trick, huh?

                  #4 – Clear the runway for takeoff

                  You’ve come leaps and bounds from where we started. You now realize that by trying to say too many things on your website, you can end up saying virtually nothing. And now that we’ve been able to redefine your objective for the website around generating leads for your business, everything has gotten a lot simpler. Your messaging is clear enough that a five-year old can explain it to you, you’ve got traffic to your website, and you’re directing all of them straight to a form. Now we are in business!

                  There’s always more to learn, and if you’re finally ready to see some revenue from postcard marketing, call us today at 877-222-6010 and talk to an expert about how you can drive more leads!


                    When you think “psychologist,” you probably think of some stuffy Freudian character with a long armchair asking you how you feel. Am I right?

                    You’ve probably never fancied yourself a psychologist, but as a marketer, you absolutely need to know the basics. You may even discover in reading these that you already do some of them naturally…but how many of them do you actually practice in your marketing? Very rarely is it more than two.

                    If you’re like most businesses, you stop at the learning phase and never put valuable tactics like these into practice and as a result, you’re dumping buckets of money down the drain with each marketing campaign. They’re simple, they boost your results, and best of all, they’re totally free!

                    So here are the 4 psychology principles make your postcard marketing vastly more effective:

                    Principle #1 – Scarcity

                    This is the idea that we humans want something most when we fear that it’s going to disappear, like a squirrel who wants to cross the road but is only finally motivated by an oncoming car (and speaks by unharmed). As they say, you don’t ever miss something until it’s gone.

                    How is this used to sell things? Every time you see “limited supply,” “offer expires,” “get it while it lasts,” or any kind of offer expiration date, this is what’s going on. Ever notice that when shopping online, Amazon will tell you that there’s only 5 items left in stock in red letters? Are they being helpful? Partially, but the real goal is to sell with scarcity.

                    How you can use it: Make your product or service scarce. If people receive a postcard with a discount and no time limit, they’ll feel that they can wait for forever and will stash it away and lose it. Try giving people 2-4 weeks to take advantage of an offer and instead they’ll post it on their refrigerator and eventually act. Remember to make the expiration large, loud, and clear so that it really catches their eye!

                    Principle #2 – Contrast 

                    This one proclaims that our sense of something’s size is completely dependent upon context. Large isn’t really large until placed next to something small. Don’t believe me? What if I told you that you owed me twenty dollars? Seem high? Well compare that to me telling you that you owed me $100 but if you just give me $20, we’ll call it even. What changed? Your sense of how much you owed went from large to small, despite it being the exact same dollar value.

                    Once you know that our sense of size is always affected by the first number we hear, and you can control this by making sure that that first number you show customers is always bigger. See this in action in any department store where they’ve “slashed” prices and the tags show the original higher price crossed out in red.

                    How you can use it: if you’re going to include prices, make sure that you contrast them with the normal cost, or the cost of your competitors. $25 won’t seem like a screaming deal until you point out that others are charging $50. Or even better, combine it with the scarcity principle and say that it’s $25 this week only!

                    Principle #3 – Reciprocation

                    This is the idea that we feel deeply compelled to return favors. They leave us feeling indebted, and nobody likes that. Here’s an everyday example – my wife and I were on a long drive and we stopped by a diner so she could run in to use the restroom. I stood there awkwardly with the waitress and then found myself walking out with a hot coffee to go. I didn’t want coffee, so why did I buy it? Because I felt indebted for our use of the restroom.

                    This is happening anywhere that free samples or advice are being handed out. The homeless person who washes your windshield, the superstore handing out free food tastings, timeshare vacation getaways, even those monogrammed address labels that non-profits send you in the mail are all leveraging the rule of reciprocation. If you receive something, you feel compelled to return the favor and very often, you’ll spend more than you got.

                    How you can use it: Include in your postcard an offer for something free. It can be key rings, chocolates, cards, or advice. If done in a genuine manner, people will stop by for their “free” giveaway and it will activate the rule of reciprocation. By the nature of having gotten something for free some percentage of them will feel compelled enough to buy something after all.

                    Principle #4 – Social Proof 

                    This is a common and obvious one, also referred to as the “lemming effect”: people follow the crowd. It’s so obvious that you might not think it’s worth discussing but over and over again we see marketers overlook it. There’s almost no excuse for excluding this one from your marketing!

                    You can see this at work in tons of varied places from Yelp reviews to customer testimonials to sitcom laugh tracks. If people see others buying a brand and being satisfied, they too will buy without any further thought. It’s a powerful force for moving sales.

                    How you can use it: Customer testimonials with pictures work wonders, as do any statistics about customer satisfaction. Social proof will give you instant credibility and make customers far more likely to take you up on your offer.

                    And there you go, now you’re a budding marketing psychologist! Like we said, you probably already use some of these. What really separates moderate returns from great ones in a postcard campaign is someone’s ability to use more than one of these principles at a time. Especially when you combine them with psychological triggers, the result will be an intensely appealing offer that people just cannot pass up on.

                    Speaking of great deals, if you’re a big fan of the free advice we offer here on our blog, just think about what our marketing services can do for you! Give us a ring at 877-222-6010 and try out your new-found psychological powers of persuasion today!


                      Building a mailing list that actually responds

                      You should feel great about getting your first postcard campaigns out the door because getting started is really half the battle. But how are you doing on your responses? That’s the other half, and it’s a big half. A conversation goes both ways and if you’re doing all of the talking and not hearing anything back from your mailing list, it’s considered unresponsive. It could be more than just the marketing copy and odds are good that the problem is one of three specific things it’s causing you to lose out on customers.

                      Before we dive into the answers, let’s talk a bit about why people wouldn’t respond. It is no secret that consumers are absolutely bombarded with marketing messages these days (some 5,000 per day, according to studies). The result of this is that people have learned to filter what they see and if it smells like bad marketing, they just ignore it. What are the signs they look for?

                      1. It’s not personalized and addresses them generically “Dear Mr. or Mrs.”
                      2. It asks for something without offering anything back
                      3. It’s unclear what you’re asking them to do

                      All of these are poor interpersonal habits for anyone to have, but coming from a business? In the words of Fat Tony, “forget about it.” These messages won’t ever be responded to. Luckily we’ve helped run thousands of successful marketing campaigns over the years and have three tips for creating a truly responsive mailing list:

                      Get Personal

                      People feel compelled to respond when addressed by their first name. Just as you know intrinsically that you’ll have a higher response rate when writing someone’s name on an envelope than printing it, you’ll have a higher response rate for addressing them by their first name on a postcard than by using “hi there.” Why? Because at our core, we’re all just a little bit vain. We like to hear our own name. And when someone addresses us by it, we feel compelled to learn their name as well. This works just as well with your business as it does with two strangers meeting for the first time, so always lead with their name and they’ll feel obliged to remember yours.

                      Deliver Real Value

                      To compel your customers to act, you need to consider the “WIIFM,” or “What’s In It For Me” factor. This is an acronym that you should pin to your wall and every time you’re designing a marketing campaign, refer back to. If you were your own customer, what would be in it for you? Nobody goes into the auto shop out of the blue just because its #1 rated in customer satisfaction. They go in because they heard a clanking noise and they’re afraid their old jalopy will have a blowup on the freeway. So what’s in it for them with your postcard? Peace of mind! Tell them about how relaxed they’ll feel knowing that their family car is safe to drive. Find the real value that you offer them and it will compel them to act now.

                      Tell Them Exactly What They Need to Do 

                      Your postcards may have pretty pictures, but they’re so much more than a pretty picture! Every marketing action you take should be driving consumers towards taking an action of their own, whether it’s bringing the postcard in for a 2-for-1 deal or calling your toll free number. If you’ve taken five minutes to set up your marketing funnel, you’ll know exactly which action to direct them towards. So make your call-to-action large and obvious!

                      And if you’re really looking to inspire responses, it’s also very important to make it as easy as possible to respond. Leave nothing up to interpretation. I’m always shocked when I see mailings that say vague things like “Get in touch with us!” and the phone number is either absent or hidden somewhere else. They’re expecting me to know what “get in touch” means, how to do it, and when I should I do it. As a consumer, I’m likely to set this postcard aside and forget it. Don’t create barriers to people responding! Use a phrase like “Call today for your free sample at 1 (800) 555-5555!” which tells them why (free sample), how (call us), where (phone number), and when (today).

                      How to Get It Right

                      The best postcard campaigns are ones that consumers feel they got a great deal on and actually look forward to receiving more mailings. When they respond consistently and your sales start to spike, you know that you’ve hit the three points successfully. You’ve sent personalized outreaches, delivered value, and made it easy and compelling to respond. Congratulations! You’re now holding a responsive mailing list which is the golden goose egg of marketing because it will keep delivering more sales.

                      Not so tough after all, huh? Now that that cat is out of the bag, there’s really nothing standing in between you and a successful, responsive mailing list than just getting started!

                      Today is the day, give us a jingle at 877-222-6010 and let’s talk about your next marketing campaign!