Wow! Thank you to all our amazing contestants this past month!

    We had some terrific entries – and we thank you all so much for sharing your ProspectsPLUS! and Opportunity Knocks experiences! If your name wasn’t drawn – no worries! We’ll choose another winner in May!
    Congratulations!

    Our $150 winner is Kristin Kopcial from Decorating Den Interiors who shared, “Opportunity Knocks makes my marketing a breeze! I use the New Homeowners program and have had great results. I would highly recommend Opp Knocks!”

    Thank you to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy!  Simply share your ProspectsPLUS! experience on our Google or Facebook Page and you’ll be automatically entered.  We’ll give away a $150 ProspectsPLUS! credit. Next drawing is March 7th!

      With postcard marketing, you only have one quick opportunity to catch your reader’s eye. After that, the amount of time and attention they give to your ad will depend heavily on how it’s designed and the message you are sending.

      Will yours be eye-catching enough that it becomes fridge-worthy? Or will it get lumped in with the junk mail?

      Here are three steps to ensure that your direct mailers get noticed.

      1. Keep it Simple

      Start with an image that clearly and effectively portrays your message without overwhelming your reader. Select something bright and colorful that does not overcrowd the postcard. Too much clutter will be distracting, look like spam, and ensure prompt disposal.

      Likewise, the message you choose needs to state your purpose directly and clearly. In few words (again, avoid clutter) you will need to describe who you are, what you do, and why they should do business with you.

      The lesson: Reduce clutter to keep your message clear.

      2. Aim for maximum contrast

      As humans, we’re constantly comparing what we see to what we know. This habit is called perceptual contrast.

      When what we see doesn’t match our expectations, we’re surprised and it catches our attention. For example, when Coca Cola left prank vending machines that dispatched unlimited drinks, flowers, and even pizza, it gathered quite a crowd.

      More commonly, marketers leverage perceptual contrast by listing “before and after” discount prices in their direct mail campaigns. This price can be arbitrary, but it makes a big difference.

      An offer for a $100 window cleaning service doesn’t sound too exciting but an offer that shows that the original price was slashed from $200 to $100? Now that’s something.

      The lesson: List the slashed “before” price to increase response rates.

      3. Call your readers to action

      The last critical element to your direct mailing campaign is a clear call-to-action (CTA). This is where you tell people what you want them to do. Make it crystal clear how they stand to benefit and how to take advantage of your offer.

      For example:

      “Call today for your free quote!”

      “Bring this card in for 15% off your purchase”

      “Visit our website and use offer code TUESDAY”

      This includes your contact information: a phone number, an address, an email, printed large and clear. Include this and you’ll make responding easy for your customers!

      The lesson: Include a bold CTA.

      Now you’re ready to net new customers! Log into our web-to-print platform and get them out today.

      Need some expert help? We can design it all for you – just call 1 (866) 319-7109 or visit Opportunity Knocks marketing!

        Welcome to Part 2 in our multi-part series on how to maximize your direct mail revenue. (If you missed Part 1 on planning and investment, read it here).

        Let’s face it, the average consumer is so inundated with advertising messages – from junk mail to billboards – that trying to stand out is a herculean feat.

        But the trick to being found and making sales isn’t being louder or pushier – it’s being smarter. Your postcards need to speak directly to your reader, and with these persuasion tips, you’ll master the art of the postcard sale.

        3. Design

        The design of your direct marketing postcards requires more than a pretty picture and eye-catching logo (although those are important). It takes an understanding of your customer and how they pick up and use your postcard.

        For example, what are the demographics of the people who read the mail? What kind of lighting do they read it in? Which hand do they hold the mail in? Where is the focal point of the card, and therefore where should you place your most important details?

        Once you have a better understanding of the way people open and look at their mail, you can design accordingly and create visually stimulating postcards.

        You can use color and font variations to draw the eyes around your card. You can use the yes-ladder method to get people to agree to several statements on your postcard before showing them a call to action (CTA). And you can use psychographics and knowledge about how your customers speak to tailor your language to them.

        Do this, and you’ll have a piece of postal excellence that really gets its message across.

        4. Test

        Now, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll come up with the best design on the first try. Don’t sweat it, and don’t let “perfect” be the enemy of “finished.” Get it out there and test.

        You can use A/B testing which is when two similar marketing campaigns are launched simultaneously with one or two slight differences to see which works best. It’s like scientific trial and error, and is how the most successful marketing organizations on Earth operate.

        It’s only by looking at this data that you’ll know that you’re having a positive impact.

        Here are some elements that you can A/B test:

        • The Offer: What works best, a two-for-one deal or 30% off? Free initiation fee or free month of training? You’ll never know until you A/B test!
        • The Audience: Hopefully you have some idea who your ideal customer is at this point, but you may be surprised about who is really most receptive to your mailers.
        • The Images: Try using a variety of images on your cards to see what captures their attention.
        • The Timing: What time of year do consumers respond best to discounts? What weather conditions will get them to shop? Trying your mailers in different months could reveal unique buying habits of your market.
        5. Adjust

        Finally, after all your designing and testing, you’ll want to take your results and adjust your campaigns accordingly. By incorporating each of your testing successes into your long-term marketing strategy, you’ll be able to craft compelling, effective, and specific offers that speak directly to your prospects.

        It’s good practice to continue designing, testing and adjusting throughout the life of your company—markets change constantly, and you’ll have to keep up if you want to win. The more you perfect your system, the more seamless and compelling your postcards become.

        Ready to test? Log into our web-to-print platform right now!

        And look out for Part 3 in this series, coming soon.

        Need help getting marketing strategy up and running? Call Opportunity Knocks marketing at 1 (866) 222-6010 and reach your customers today.

          With an ROI of $27 for every $1 spent, do you really need anything more than postcard mailers?

          They’re one of the most effective ways small businesses can market themselves and yet you don’t just stumble into incredible results like this with zero planning.

          No sir, you are going to need a full-fledged strategy, and that’s why we’re kicking off the first in our three-part series with planning your two biggest resources: your customers and your budget.

          1. Identify your customer

          One of the biggest advantages of using a direct marketing system is that you can target customers in whatever market you choose. Unlike digital campaigns, you have full control over which living, breathing people see your ad.

          To figure out who those ideal customers are, ask yourself:

          -Who are my best clients? Think demographics: Is your product geared towards men or women? What age range? Income or education level? Career status?

          -Where do they live? ProspectPLUS! gives you options when it comes to figuring out where your targets live. You can use:

          In addition, if you’ve run successful campaigns in certain areas in the past, you can reuse your mailing lists and simply upload them.

          How do they buy? You will also need a grasp on your customers’ purchasing behavior. What sorts of call-to-actions (CTA) have your prospects responded to? Do they prefer talking on the phone, browsing your website, or visiting your store? Study the data from your previous marketing campaigns to understand exactly what drives your customers to spend. This will determine how to craft compelling campaigns that lead to real results.

          2. Identify your budget

          Postcard marketing can be used to build your business in more ways than one and the more you invest, the more you take advantage of psychological principles like the availability heuristic whereby customers see you so much that they start to wonder what they’re missing out on.

          Ask yourself: 

          – Where do I invest my marketing dollars? Just like a good investment portfolio, it makes sense to diversify, but you should bias your spend towards those channels that give you the greatest ROI.

          For many small businesses, this is direct mail. It’s easier to target customers, saves you time, and produces high-quality leads. Limeberry Lumber learned this the easy way and saw a 10x ROI and drove $35,000 in sales by focusing on direct mail.

          A good rule of thumb is to elect for an 80/20 split—80% of your marketing dollars toward the top channel (direct mailers), and 20% for everything else.  

          -How much to invest? U.S. Small Business Administration recommends investing 7-8% of your gross revenue back into your marketing, although the optimal number may fluctuate for your particular business. Keeping in mind the 80/20 split, consider allocating 5-6% of your total gross revenue to your direct mail campaigns.

          Ready to get started? Log into our web-to-print platform today.

          And look out for Part 2 of this series coming soon!

          Or, need something specific? Call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and get expert advice!

            From expensive coupon books to online ads, Pam Coffee, owner of Costless Blinds in Seattle, has tried everything.

            It wasn’t until she found direct mail however and partnered with Opportunity Knocks that her business really took off. With an astonishing 90% close-rate on her leads, she still had time to sit down with Jim Schimpf to discuss how Opportunity Knocks has helped her change her business.

            Listen to the 19 minute interview:

             

            Q: Pam, thanks for taking the time. Can you tell us about yourself and Costless Blinds? 

            Sure, thanks Jim. I’ve been in the business forever – I have over 30 years’ experience in this field – but I started up with the new name after 2008. It was a struggle at first.

            People weren’t buying blinds because of the collapse of the economy. Things were not good … I was struggling to find ways to get my name out there that I could afford.

            “I’ve always believed that advertising is an investment, not an expense.”

            Q; What did you try?

            I tried everything. When I first started out, it was a little ad in the newspaper. That’s how we did things. But everything is so different now.

            But I would put hundreds of dollars into Google Adwords, I would try hiring SEO companies for $300-400 a month. I’m a small business, but I’ve always believed that advertisement is an investment, not an expense. I’ve always looked at it like, if it costs me $100, could I get 5 appointments out of it, and if I sell one of those, it’s well worth it because they’re going to tell somebody else because they’re happy. That’s the type of advertisement that everybody wants—word of mouth. 

            Anyway, I was struggling trying to find the right way to do this. Then, I came across Opportunity Knocks. Andy was great. He really was. He literally took so much time with me explaining it. 

            So, I mentioned this to my son and of course his first thing is, “Mom is it a scam?”

            Q: He asked you if we were a scam?

            Yes. 

            Q: We were too good to be true? Andy was too good to be true?

            You know, there are so many out there, so many that say they are going to deliver and never do. And I told [my son], “This man would not have spent hours with me just trying to get my lousy $300.” So my son said, “Mom, let me pay for this for you.” And he did, and it was the best thing.

            It’s so exciting to get the phone call, “I’m ready, just moved in, got your name from the postcard.” And, when I go out there, I find that they don’t want to get multiple quotes. They just call me, which says a lot about the postcard as far as showing credibility. And for a dollar a lead? That’s an incredible return on investment. 

            “And for a dollar a lead? That’s an incredible return on investment.”

            Q: What’s your average revenue per customer that you generate?

            Probably $600-$1000 off a $1 postcard. That’s pretty good. I recently got a hold of Andy and said, “We need to pump this up. I need hundreds—I need more zip codes!”

            It’s spring time in Seattle, we’re number one in growth right now. They’re building so much we can’t keep up with it. And I just want a little bit of it. You guys have provided that for me in a really exciting way. The concept is amazing. I’m just very happy with it.

            Q: How did you hear about us originally? 

            I was driving myself crazy trying to figure out, because I have a limited amount of money to spend every month, the best way to spend that money. So I did a lot of research. And the postcard campaign just makes sense.

            Q: Why do you say that?

            Because it targets the exact audience I’m looking for: people that are moving. Whether they’re moving in or out, they’re going to either need new blinds, or they don’t like the blinds that are up.

            Q: So being able to identify an ideal client, then proactively send them something, sounds like it works better than having to sit back on Google waiting for them to find you.

            Yeah it does, it takes the pressure off. It gives them options without me banging on their door…and it’s incredibly cheap.

            These postcards are nice, they’re oversized. They don’t get lost with the rest of the mail, and they’re designed really well, so people are going to look at it. They’ll decide yes, no or maybe, but they’re going to throw it in a drawer, they’re going to put it on the fridge. It gets my name out there. That’s what it’s all about.

            “They’ll decide yes, no or maybe, but they’re going to throw it in a drawer, they’re going to put it on the fridge. It gets my name out there. That’s what it’s all about.”

            Q: Anything else you want to add?

            I’m very happy with it, I want to do more. I want to step it up. There’s nothing out there that can really come close to it. Thank you for finding me and helping me build my business.

             

            Ready to see your dollars work for you? Call us today to see what Opportunity Knocks can do for you! 1 (866) 319-7109

               

              Repetition is widely regarded as the best way to improve at, well, just about everything: new languages, new sports, new skills.

              Yet none of this improvement happens overnight. It takes time for new things to become second nature.

              This principle applies to marketing campaigns as well: Repetition and consistency are key to capturing your customers’ attention. You must continuously put yourself in front of prospects.

              At first, you’re just familiarizing them with your brand, but at a critical point, they’ll start to equate seeing you so much with you being of a higher quality. (This is called the signaling theory.)

              Keep this up and the money will start flowing in while you snooze.

              But how do you do this without annoying them?

              Learn the 3-7-27 Law of Marketing

              How many times does a message need repeating before it sinks in and brings value? A good rule of thumb is to remember the 3-7-27 Law of Marketing which says it takes:

              • 3 points of contact to remember a name
              • 7 to associate a name and a business
              • 27 to become a household name

              While these numbers sound daunting, the use of ongoing, repetitive marketing campaigns can help seamlessly accomplish your goals while you worry about your other more urgent matters…like your REM cycle.

              Keep it Consistent

              In order to reach these numbers, you will need to create a design that you plan to send 5-7 times to the same audience over the course of your campaign. That way, your message will be clear and will start to stick. Small changes are okay from mailing to mailing, but be sure to keep your overall design consistent; any drastic changes will start your repetition count over, and will essentially act as a new advertisement.

              The best part about this strategy is that you will reap the benefits long after the work has been done. You can design, stamp, and plan your mailing schedule all at once (we can help you with this) so the only thing left you’ll have to do is wait for the leads to come in.

              Mix it Up your Strategy 

              By now, you’ve probably heard about all the ways that direct mail campaigns can benefit your small business.

              In order to make the most of these campaigns, however, consider mixing in some new advertising mediums to coincide with your postcards.

              Consider using a variety of television, radio, print, and digital marketing platforms at one time. This activates the availability heuristic, in which your customers assume that because your ads are everywhere, you are important and popular, giving you a sharp edge on the competition.

              Need help getting started??

              Create, print, and post campaigns all online through our web-to-print platform.

              If you need help designing a repetition marketing campaign that will free up some precious nap time, call the experts at Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109!

                 

                So you’ve launched your first direct mail campaign–Congratulations! What’s next? Now comes the part where you wait and see if your campaign will turn into revenue for your business.

                Here’s how you do that.

                1. Track it

                You can’t judge your postcard success without knowing which leads it generates. That’s why you should add tracking that makes it easy to determine which of your new customers came from this campaign.

                This can be a discount code, a unique URL that they can visit, a QR code, or even something to show when they walk into your shop. Keep track of how many of these visits or codes you receive and how much those customers spend. This allows you to determine your ROI.

                2. Calculate your break-even point

                The break-even point of your campaign is the critical piece of information that will determine if your campaign was successful and worth running again. While making money and bringing in customers in any form is great, you want to know whether the next one brings in more than you spent on them, and that’s what this will show you.

                First, let’s get cover some definitions that you’ll need to calculate this:

                • Response-rate: How many leads typically respond? Ex. 5%
                • Close-rate: How many of the leads that do you typically close? Ex. 50%
                • Break-even close rate: The number of leads that need to close for you to break even
                • Total cost: That’s postcards plus any labor. Ex. $200
                • Gross margin: The amount that you make from each sale after costs. Ex. $100
                • Pieces: The total number of mailings you’re sending. Ex. 1,000

                Now, here’s how it works. Complete this equation:

                Break-even close rate = (Total cost / gross margin)

                If we use the example number from above, we get a break-even close rate = 2.

                That is to say, if you get two 2 new leads that close, the campaign has paid for itself and you break even.

                Now, if you want to know how many postcards to send to get there, use this equation:

                Minimum number of pieces to send = ((break-even number of leads / close rate)/average response rate)

                Again, by using the sample numbers above, we know that our break-even close rate is 2, our average close rate is 50%, and our response rate is 5%

                Thus, we need only to send 80 postcards to get there. But that’s only if you’re shooting to break even – what if you wanted to double your money?

                Double the number.

                After a while you’ll see a diminishing return where you saturate your market, but according to Entrepreneur, that isn’t until you start sending millions of postcards.

                Want more customers? Send more cards. It’s that simple.

                Well, was it worth it? 

                If this is your first campaign, it’s advisable to run a few mailers at one time to see which draws the most customers back, using variable elements that can help you determine what’s working and what’s not.

                These variables can be in design, regions you mail to, month, discount, or any other element that can be manipulated. Keep rigorous track of the success/failures of each variable to know what works well in the future.

                It may take a few of these A/B tests to hit your break-even point or turn a profit—but don’t let that deter you. Spending money to make money is just part of business. Eventually you’ll lock down the best strategies for each campaign and can significantly exceed your B/E every time.

                Do more than break-even – get ahead! Send your next postcard right now through the link.

                Want a master strategy? Call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109!

                  Wow! Thank you to all our amazing contestants this past month!

                  We had some terrific entries – and we thank you all so much for sharing your ProspectsPLUS! and Opportunity Knocks experiences! If your name wasn’t drawn – no worries! We’ll choose another winner April 4th!
                  Congratulations!

                  Our $150 winner is Patrice Hawkins from Decorating Den Interiors who shared, “Opportunity Knocks streamlines my marketing. We have had great results with their New Homeowner program. Ask them about their Dominator Program. Love working with their whole team.”

                  Thank you to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy!  Simply share your ProspectsPLUS! experience on our Google or Facebook Page and you’ll be automatically entered.  We’ll give away a $150 ProspectsPLUS! credit. Next drawing is March 7th!

                    Invest in marketing and you’ll earn customers’ “interest”

                    Have you ever heard of the rule of compounding interest?

                    You probably have, but here’s a quick refresher: because you earn interest over time, the pile of your money that’s gaining interest increases. For example, if you invest $1,000 and get a 5% return, at first you earn $50, but then you get $52.50, $55.12, $57.88, and so on.

                    The money you invest grows exponentially. It’s how you can turn $1,000 into $18,000 over the course of your lifetime if you simply invest it.

                    And guess what? The same principle works in your marketing.

                    Your customers’ “interest” in your business compounds in the exact same way – only to earn their interest, you actually have to market to them.

                    If you do this consistently and keep earning interest, you’ll see exponential sales growth.

                    Why does it work?

                    This works because human brains love shortcuts. We think things are more important if we see them frequently. For example, try answering this question:

                    Q: What’s more likely to kill you, an airplane crash or diabetes?

                    Don’t worry, most people get this wrong: it’s diabetes. It’s the 7th leading cause of death, compared to airplanes, where your chances of dying are, in The Economist’s words, “so low that it’s almost not worth calculating.”

                    Why might you have thought airplanes though? You simply have more examples of airplane crashes in your mind because we hear about them nightly on the news.

                    Similarly, if your prospects see you a lot, they’ll start to think that you’re important.

                    In fact, after about 7 mailings or “touches,” they’ll not only know your name but they’ll start wondering why they keep seeing you. They’ll feel left out and become curious.

                    That’s when you start to get phone calls and the graph for your sales turns into a classic hockey-stick chart.

                     

                     

                     

                    Most businesses get bored when they don’t see any initial success and they give up after 2-3 postcards. Those who keep marketing however generate a tidal wave of demand.

                    There’s a lot more that goes into it of course – you need to have the right message, a solid call to action, and you need to target those messages, but the underlying principle that’s common to all successful small business marketers is that they stick with it.

                    So. Now that you know this, will you become an investor?

                    Click here and get that next postcard marketing campaign out the door right now and in 2-3 years time, you’ll really thank yourself that you started.

                    After all, the best time to plant a seed was yesterday. The next best time? Right now.

                    Need help? Call us, we’ll get you started – 1 (866) 319-7109

                      Millennials aren’t coming – they’re already here. At 80 million strong with a purchasing power of $600 billion, they’re now America’s largest consumer segment.

                      And sure, you know that they’re aged 18-34 and grew up with the internet, 9/11, and the great recession, but beyond that, but what else?

                      Most business owners admit to knowing very little, and their misconceptions can hurt them. If millennials think you’re out of touch, they’ll go elsewhere. Better read up!

                      Here are the 3 biggest myths that have been debunked:
                      Myth #1: They’re lazy and entitled
                      Truth: Millennials are passionate, dedicated, and motivated

                      Of all the myths out there, this is the most pervasive. Many bosses are vocal about the belief that millennial employees are too entitled or don’t work hard enough. And the fact that they switch jobs more than any other generation doesn’t help their case. But are they really too lazy to keep a career?

                      Quite the opposite, in fact. Millennials may be one of the most industrious generations ever, and the research that’s called them narcissistic has been debunked. The traits that they exhibit are really just hallmarks of young adulthood, and they’re starting to grow up.

                      • 84% of millennials made a charitable donation in the past year according to Entrepreneur
                      • 94% of millennials value hard work
                      • 89% of millennials regularly check their email outside of work hours according to Forbes
                      • 67% dream of starting their own business

                      The bottom line: Millennials work hard, do good, and dream big. Address those values in your marketing.

                      Myth #2: They don’t value owning “things” or settling down
                      Truth: Despite all the talk, millennials are big consumers and want to settle

                      Sure, millennials may have spawned the “sharing economy” where cars, apartments, and even dogs are communal property, but is it out of desire or necessity?

                      Remember that millennials grew up under dire economic conditions with piles of student debt. Most of them simply couldn’t afford milestone possessions like cars and houses like previous generations. Instead, they moved back in with their parents to save money. Now that things have improved, the data shows that they’re plenty willing to spend:

                      • 93% of millennials want to own their own home according to Goldman Sachs
                      • 70% want to get married and 74% want to have children
                      • They do less buying in stores, but make up for it with purchasing online

                      The bottom line: Millennials are just ramping up into their prime spending years and are a great target for your marketing.

                      Myth #3: Millennials only read things if they’re online
                      Truth: Millennials actually prefer things in print, like postcards.

                      A report by the Pew Research foundation found that millennials are more likely than older generations to prefer reading their news. And the under-30 crowd, who use far more digital devices than others, were more likely to say that “a lot of useful, important information is not available on the internet.”

                      Not what you would have guessed, huh? The numbers around direct-mail marketing reflect this preference for reading print:

                      • 46% of millennials prefer to read their news in print
                      • 23% of millennials bought or purchased something because of a direct mailing in the past 12 months
                      • 65% of millennials have made a purchase because of a catalog
                      • Direct mail has a 4.25% response rate from millennials compared to 0.06% for digital ads

                      The bottom line: Postcard marketing is the key method for reaching millennial audiences.

                      Well, has the data changed your mind at all? They’re not the narcissistic, spend-thrift, freeloaders that you thought, huh?

                      Better tweak your marketing: postcards are the way to go and you can send one targeted at millennials through our web-to-print platform. Just call 1 (877) 222-6010 if you need help!

                      Or, if you want real help, Opportunity Knocks is the millennial-whisperer. Call 1 (866) 319-7109 to reach more of them today!