Though the web is full of marketing “rules” for anyone who cares to Google for such, the 40-40-20 Rule might be one of the most powerful because it’s also the most simple. It doesn’t add more activities to your already busy day but helps you focus your current time budget on the factors that bring the biggest returns.

The 40-40-20 Rule represents percentages: 40 percent of your marketing success depends on identifying the right people for your mailing list. The other 40 percent depends upon creating the right offer. The remaining 20 percent is…all the other stuff, like the design elements—colors, photos, fonts—of your postcard. (Certainly these things are important but not as important as the other two.)

You can spend a lot of time on the 20% but the factors that have the most effect on your response and ROI are the list and the offer.

Here’s how to do it:

1.) Identify Who Your Customers Are

The world if full of prospects but, unless you’re fond of wasting tons of money, you don’t need to reach all prospects; you only need to reach the ones who need or want what you offer—a percentage of whom will become your customers.

So, instead of “spraying and praying” with your marketing, take a more pro-active approach: identify exactly who your ideal customer is, according to demographic factors like these:

  • age range
  • income
  • gender
  • number in household

Depending on your product/service, you might want to further refine your ideal customer identify based on psychographic factors

You can learn about all of our mailing list options here.

The more specific you can get about your ideal customer, the more money you will save because you won’t be sending to “almost” prospects. And the more response you will get because everyone on your list fits the ideal customer description.

2.) Increase Your Warm Leads

It’s a truism that the best source of future income are the sources of past income—your existing customers.

Next in line would be those people who have responded to your marketing but have not yet made a purchase. You can gather more of these warm leads by offering prospects a lead magnet, such as a white paper or special report or even a free gift, in exchange for them sending back a business reply card back in the mail or visiting a landing page and taking a short survey. Not everyone will take the bait but many will and those will be your hottest prospects.

3.) Personalize Your Offer

Notice that both steps #1 and 2 deal with your list? Step 3 is all about your offer.

By “personalize,” we mean “present an offer that creates a strong incentive with your ideal customer.” This can be one of many different approaches:

  • Two for one
  • 50% off
  • Time limited
  • etc.

You know your ideal customer best, what grabs their attention, and will make them hang on to your postcard for immediate or future use. So put 40% of your efforts into making sure the offer “speaks” to them.

4.) Test and Adjust

The truth is that even after putting 40% of your attention on the list and 40% on the offer, you can send out your postcards and get dismal response. This is completely normal and should not discourage you. Rather, it should be looked upon as a sort of survey of what works and what doesn’t.

Even a dismal response will provide some valuable data to help you adjust your approach and receive a better response next time. In order to maximize this feedback in your early mailings, do A/B testing on the demographics you think are the most qualified for your product/service.

A simple way to do this is to mail even quantities of cards to two distinct groups. You could distinguish the two group by any one of the following:

  • ZIP code
  • Age range
  • Income range

This kind of testing is necessary as it provides even more specific data because as you jockey the differentiating factors, you will discover the traits (age, geography, etc.) in your ideal customers that provide the best response.


And here’s ours: Log on to right now and design your next post card (and remember your call to action). You can also create a mailing list and handle the mailing, all in one sitting!

If you need some help with your call to action, give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109. We have lots of experience and success and will design a card that will improve your response.


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