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 next month!
    Congratulations!

    Our April $150 winner is Richard Koonce who shared:

    “The team at Opportunity Knocks is very professional, efficient, and helpful. They can assist you with setting up a marketing plan specifically designed for your business. We’ve enjoyed working with them for many years!”

    Thank you Richard and to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy! Simply share your experiences on our ProspectsPLUS! Google+ or Facebook Page, or our Opportunity Knocks Google+ or Facebook Page and you’ll be automatically entered. We’ll give away $150 credit. Next drawing is the first week of June!

      Would you like your business to expand this year?

      We are going to tell you the fastest, easiest way to accomplish that. Now, we realize that some people reading this will probably roll their eyes. Those people are not ready for this information. They unfortunately are going to have to struggle a bit longer, their companies growing very slowly, before this information really hits home and they realize that it’s what they need to do.

      But others reading this will have a moment of recognition. It will wash over them like the warmth you feel when you step out into the sunlight. For some, the realization will take their breath away for a moment. Time might even feel as if it’s standing still. These people have reached that critical point when they could see the truth in this information and finally know what they need to do to keep their companies growing.

      It sounds a bit mystical, doesn’t it?

      It is.

      The Ideal Circumstances

      After that big build-up, we fear we may disappoint a few people with what we’re about to say, but here it is: If your current postcard is not performing very well, this information won’t do much for you.

      First, it’s a necessary circumstance that you mail our your postcards regularly and repeatedly; you’re not expecting marketing miracles on one mailing per year.

      But if you’re sending out a substantial number of cards every week or month and your ROI is for the dogs, this information won’t change  your situation appreciably.

      If you can at the very least say that your current postcard is producing “not great, but acceptable ROI,” then you’re still in a great position.

      And if your card is doing great, you’re in the ideal circumstances under which to benefit from the information which we’re going to get into…

      …Right now.

      Here it comes: mail out twice as many cards as you’re currently mailing.

      (Trust us, we hear those eyes rolling…)

      This is the concept of scaling up: your current card produces a certain amount of ROI. Sending out more of it will produce more income.

      Yes, it is as easy as that.

      This is one of the most difficult points for us to get people to think with. No offense, but it’s almost too simple a concept for some business owners to accept: the more marketing communications you mail out, the more response—leads, income, etc.—you get.

      “But We Already Mail to Our Entire List…”

      There are plenty more people out there who are just like your current customers.

      They need and want your product or service. You can use Neighborhood Radius Marketing to reach more of them in your geographic are. Or take advantage of Big Data with a service like Nielsen Prizm Data to reach more prospects who think and feel the same way as your ideal customer, regardless of location.

      The Alternative

      You could try and squeeze more response out the same-sized mailing by tweaking the design of your current card and doing endless rounds of A-B testing of the headline, the image, the call to action.

      And it’s true: A-B testing is valid and can make a huge difference in your ROI but it’s not fast and it’s not easy. (Remember, the title of this post is “The Fastest, Easiest Way to 2x, 3x—Even 4x Your Postcard Marketing Results,” okay?)

      Tweaking and testing (or hiring a designer with experience in your industry) is for those people whose card is producing lousy, embarrassingly low ROI.

      “Of Course You Guys Would Say That…

      …you’re in the postcard business.” We were waiting for someone to bring that up. True, we are in the postcard marketing business but that doesn’t mean what we’re saying isn’t true.

      All you have to do to prove it to yourself is try it and see. We’d be shocked if you didn’t see a notable increase in ROI, commensurate with your increase in output.

      So, if you’ve got a card that producing acceptable results and you’re in a hurry to expand your company, take the fast and easy route: double, triple or quadruple the number of postcards you’re now sending. The more you marketing postcards you send out, the more response, leads, and income you get.

      When you log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei, you can duplicate your existing design and get access to Neighborhood Radius Marketing and Nielsen Prizm, to expand your mailing list. And you can handle the mailing too—all from your own computer.

      If you’re short on time, give Opportunity Knocks a call at 1 (866) 319-7109 and we can take care of all the details. And if you’re in the “embarrassingly low ROI” group, we can definitely design a card that will increase your ROI. And you know what to do next…

        Whether you’ve only marketed your business digitally or never marketed at all, you will eventually ask yourself the question (if you haven’t already), “Are paid online ads and email enough?”

        You probably don’t click on every single ad you see when you’re online, do you? And you probably don’t open every email that every marketer sends you, right? (We certainly thank you for opening this one.)

        Your prospects probably aren’t much different than you. They might even make liberal use of a spam folder and ad-blocking software.

        It’s hard to be absolutely sure, unless they somehow contact you and move the sales cycle ahead.

        But one thing’s for sure: postal mailboxes don’t have spam filters or pop-up blockers, so direct mail has a much higher degree of certainty of receipt; you can be sure that your prospect is seeing your promotion.

        And it doesn’t stop there. It’s been scientifically proven that you get a much higher rate of response with direct mail. A U.S. Postal Service-sponsored study which found that postcards generate a more significant and lasting effect than digital marketing methods: 79% of recipients respond immediately, as opposed only 45% of email recipients.

        We could toss out more pro-direct mail stats but let’s get on to the reason you began reading—five great ideas for your first postcard campaign:

        1.) The Introducer

        This is for new businesses or a new location or office. It’s the “Hey, here we are!” card. An introduction postcard may be the first exposure a prospect has of you, so it should be straightforward about what you do, where you located and how your prospect benefits from choosing you. And even though it’s just supposed to be an introduction, you do want them to respond, right? So remember to present an offer.

        2.) Dollars Off

        Whether you’re trying to win back customers who’ve gone astray or just generate more business from existing customers, you can’t lose with a discount offer. But according to one study, you’ll win more if you express your discount in dollars, rather than in a percentage. Specifically, dollar amounts (“Get $1 off,” “Take $50 of your next order,” “Here’s $20!” etc.) were consistently found to perform twice as well as a percentage discount.

        3.) Thank You!

        According to a 2014 survey, 53% of U.S. consumers will take their business elsewhere when they feel unappreciated or taken for granted.

        You’re a customer too, so you know how it feels. Don’t be that guy (or girl). Remember to send a direct mail thank you note when customers make a significant purchase or reach a new customer milestone.

        4.) Rewards Program

        Think of a rewards program postcard as being a Dollars Off-Thank You! combo. But it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Decide what qualifies a customer for a reward (discount, something free, etc.) and, if you’re using marketing automation, you can set it up to recognize the signals and trigger a new card informing of their discount or freebie.

        5.) The Happy Holiday Postcard 

        During Christmas and New Years, people anticipate receiving cards in the mail from family and friends. All this attention on the mailbox set up the perfect conditions to send out your own warm holiday greeting. And definitely put the emphasis on the greeting. Wish them a wonderful holiday. Thank them for their business. And then, almost as an afterthought, present them with an irresistible offer or holiday discount.

         

        Did this post give you some ideas for your first (or next) postcard campaign? Here’s another great idea: you can design your card right now, and handle the printing and mailing, all from the comfort of your computer, by logging on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei.

        And if you want to hear some more great postcard marketing ideas, give Opportunity Knocks at call at 1 (866) 319-7109, and talk to one of our design and marketing pros about your business. They’ll handle the job from design to mailing and help you get powerful results.

          We never launch into our blog posts with a “Hey, look at us!” approach but we’re going to do it this one time because…well, you’ll see why.

          So here it is: ProspectsPLUS! gives you the ability to create and send custom direct mail postcards with the simplicity of email. Don’t you love that?

          This Is Not Your Daddy’s Direct Mail

          Some business owners, entrepreneurs, or marketing personnel, when presented with the idea of direct mail, automatically think “It costs too much” and “It takes too long to get it out.”

          At one time, both of these conclusions were true because such direct mail printing was handled by printing houses, which meant:

          • Manual, machine printing
          • Several-week turnaround time
          • Ordering huge batches to get a decent price-per-piece

          Only mid-sized and big businesses could really afford to use it for outbound marketing.

          That’s how direct mail was done in your parents’ day.

          We knew that 54% of all sales in the U.S. are made by small businesses. ProspectsPLUS! was established on the conviction that small businesses should have access to the power of custom direct mail postcards—fast and affordable.

          We didn’t just give them access; we made it as fast and easy as email.

          Direct Mail As Easy As Email?

          You write and send email on a computer or handheld device. Now, thanks to the same kinds of technology that produced the convenience and speed of email, you can design, print, and mail postcards from your computer or tablet.

          You don’t even need to have a huge mailing list. You can target new prospects and grow your list with the easy-to-use Mailing List tools.

          And it’s much cheaper than traditional brick and mortar printing costs.

          If this is all moving a little too fast, take a moment to click on www.prospectsplus.com/pei and watch these short videos on the page:

          • Postcard Design
          • Mailing List
          • Printing & Delivery

          Then you’ll see that you can get your postcard campaign out in a matter of days, not weeks. You can design it yourself, use your own existing design, or have one of our design and marketing experts handle it. You can find prospects for your product or services and build up a list.

          And you can do it all from your computer, just like email.

          So, What Do Small Businesses Use It for?

          The short, simple answer is: everything that you use traditional direct mail for:

          • Lead generation
          • Warm lead sales conversion
          • Driving traffic to your door
          • Customer retention
          • Customer reactivation
          • Customer rewards

          It’s fast enough that you can generate and launch new campaigns quickly, and it’s affordable enough so that you can do it more often.

           

          Have you watched those videos yet? If not, you can see them at www.prospectsplus.com/pei. While you’re there, feel free to look around and get more familiar with the ProspectsPLUS! design and print platform.

          If you want to speak to one of our experts about your specific direct mail marketing needs, we have a separate, full-serve division, called Opportunity Knocks. You can reach them 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 next month!
            Congratulations!

            Our March $150 winner is Rebekah Clark who shared:

            “I have trusted Opportunity Knocks for all of my print marketing to my past clients for many years. Andy is terrific, and the customer service is great. They are always there to help if I can’t find something or need assistance with an idea or edit. I would highly recommend their services.”

            Thank you Rebekah and to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy! Simply share your experiences on our ProspectsPLUS! Google+ or Facebook Page, or our Opportunity Knocks Google+ or Facebook Page and you’ll be automatically entered. We’ll give away $150 credit. Next drawing is the first week of May!

              Like that old seventies hit, “Baby Come Back,” business owners (or their marketing managers) sing the sad refrain of “Customer, come back” when customers “churn.” (That’s marketing-speak for when they stop acting like customers—they disengage, unsubscribe, defect to the competition, stop buying, etc.)

              It doesn’t really matter why a customer fades away. You can launch a re-engagement campaign regardless.

              You might never find out exactly why a customer churned—but that shouldn’t stop you from making an effort to win them back with a re-engagement campaign. 

              Re-Engagement Basics

              A re-engagement campaign is a two-step process:

              1. Identify when a customer has churned
              2. Create and launch offers to win them back

              Churn is more obvious in some kinds of businesses (the customer cancels their membership, for instance) so the first thing you’ve got to do is define what churn is for your business. Is it when they haven’t opened your last six emails? Last twelve? Haven’t made a purchase in six months? A year?

              If you monitor your marketing with any sort of modern marketing automation system, once you’ve defined churn, you should easily be able to identify when it happens and set up an automated sequence to respond to it.

              Your campaign can’t be anything as blunt as “Baby, come back!” (Then again, for some kinds of businesses—perhaps a music streaming service—it might work.) Like any effective marketing piece, your re-engagement campaign has to have an irresistible offer…something like these:

              • “Enjoy 25% off your next order for the next seven days”
              • “Get a free (product, add-on, etc.) with your next purchase”
              • “Now! Pay as you go (or another kind of pricing option that might better suit their needs)”

              While you will likely have some decent response to your first email, plan on multiple emails over a several-month period. Reason: One 2014 study of re-engagement campaigns showed that 25% of disengaged customers continued to open and read emails for 300 days after the first re-engagement message.

              This Puts the Oomph in Your Re-Engagement Campaign

              The problem with relying on email alone when conducting a re-engagement campaign is that not all churns will still be active email subscribers.

              For some, you will have been marked as spam. Others will have unsubscribed. Maybe they closed out that particular email account. (A recent forecast noted that the majority of email users have multiple email accounts.)

              So if you’re not totally certain you’re reaching their in-box, go for their mailbox. Send them direct mail; a postcard.

              This is something that the majority of digital marketers never consider.

              It doesn’t even make all that much difference if you create a new offer or just sent a direct mail version of whatever your email offer is; even injecting a single postcard into your win-back campaign increases the possibility of a returning customer.

              And because direct mail still dominates results, adding additional postcards to the campaign will correspondingly increase your results.

               

              Whether you’re trying to win back customers or just win some, period, you can’t do better than with direct mail. You can design and mail your first postcard campaign right now, from your computer, at www.prospectsplus.com/pei.

              Or, if just the idea of graphic design makes you sweat, give us a ring at Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109, and tell us what you need. Our design and marketing pros will handle the design, list, and mailing for you—no sweat.

                Do you know that old saying, “The only certainties in life are death and taxes”? While that may be true for all of us, businesses that market to consumers have a couple of additional certainties:

                • Customers and prospects look for the easiest excuse to discard your direct mail postcard without engaging with it.
                • You will always need to do all you can to ensure that your postcard promotions rise above the “static” created by the majority of other direct mail advertisers.

                If you understand and fully apply the following four points to your future promotions, you will dramatically increase response, conversion, and customer goodwill (which leads to more response and conversion).

                1.) Choose and use current, vibrant imagery.

                When you use photos or graphic elements that are dull—the same or similar to things customers have seen a thousand times—your campaign becomes just another singer in the “static choir” created by all the other dull marketing efforts out there.

                In the entertainment business, it’s understood that every story has already been. It’s never a matter of telling a new story but of how to tell the same kinds of stories in the most interesting way.

                So yes, you’ve got to try a bit harder to find (or create) photographic images or graphics that feel fresh and new.

                And so it is with your images.

                Do this: Google “freshest direct marketing postcard designs” or similar wording to see what’s catching peoples’ eyes right now. You can also log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei and sample our customizable design templates, which we keep very fresh indeed.

                2.) Reach for the Heart, Not the Mind.

                A successful promotional postcard is one that causes your customer/prospect to feel something—and emotional reaction. If you card demands of them to read, think, compare, etc., it’s headed for the recycle bin.

                What is the real human benefit that your product or service delivers. Ask yourself how it does one or more of the following:

                • Make life (or one of life’s aspects) easier
                • Make the future more secure
                • Put them in more control
                • Make them better than average
                • Make them healthier, smarter, or more attractive

                Brainstorm on this and come up with all the different ways. Then brainstorm again on ways to express these benefits. Create headlines, taglines, subject lines that express this.

                Do this: Ask some of your current customers why they choose you over your competition. They will tell you in terms of the real human benefit, the emotional reasons. Listen to their words and take notes. They just might give you a testimonial that you can use as the headline for your next campaign.

                3.) Seek to Develop Interest, Not Close a Sale.

                A postcard is not a sales letter or an email. While it’s true that “the more you tell, the more you sell,” a postcard simply does not have the necessary space for lists of benefits and features or numerous calls to action or the other elements of effective direct response copy.

                So don’t approach your postcard design as it it’s just a smaller version of an email or letter.

                Instead, say just enough with your to create intrigue and generate interest for the reader…and make sure to include your contact information.

                4.) Keep Your Offer Simple and Don’t Push It Too Hard

                While you must have an offer always remember these two things:

                1. Keep your offer simple
                2. You don’t have to make the offer the central focus of your postcard

                Like we mentioned in #2 above, do your best to not make people have to read a lot or have to calculate or compare. Present one offer, such as giving them something for free. People understand “Two for one entrees” or “Seventh car wash free.”

                And also as we began to say in #2 above, put most of your postcard design effort into pushing the core benefit of your product or service. Appeal to your customer’s self-interest. Make the offer seem offhand, an afterthought. Put it on the back of the card.

                 

                Try these four things on your next postcard campaign and remember to let us know how it went for you.

                And you can put these four points to work right now by logging on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei, where you’ll find those fresh design templates we mentioned and a lot more, including targeted list-building and mailing services, all from your computer or tablet.

                You can also get your postcard created by marketing and design experts who’ve produced thousands of successful campaigns for businesses just like yours. Just give Opportunity Knocks a ring at 1 (866) 319-7109.

                  We discussed marketing to millennials a couple times last year—mostly on the topic of how, against most marketer’s assumptions, millennials like and respond to direct mail.

                  As important as it is to know how to market to the younger generation, the plain fact is that, when it comes to having money to spend, the baby boomers are still the largest and most powerful age demographic.

                  So, let’s review a few things about marketing to them, shall we?

                  The Numbers

                  Over the next 10 years, nearly 70 million boomers will be retirement age. This is a largely affluent generation who will have plenty of free time to shop and discretionary income to spend. (Oh, and did we mention that, according to Forbes, they will inherit nearly $13 trillion between now and 2037?)

                  No matter what industry or profession you’re in, it’s likely that it’s needed or wanted or might appeal to this generation. So here’s five things to keep in mind when promoting your product/service to them:

                  1.) They Don’t Consider Themselves Old

                  This is the generation that experienced Beatlemania, youth culture, the hippies. They were raised on rock and roll but retirement to this crew doesn’t mean “rocking chair.”

                  Baby boomers will use their golden years to do all the stuff they couldn’t do while they were raising families: travel to exotic locales and have adventures. So don’t assume that such things won’t appeal to them. You just need to present it in a way that appeals to them—which may be different than how you would present it to a younger demographic.

                  2.) They Appreciate Quality Marketing Copy

                  Boomers like to read. But they largely don’t dig trendy slang, web abbreviations, acronyms, etc. (OMG! LOL!) So write proper copy. And don’t skimp. This generation is used to traditional direct mail, such as long-copy sales letters and the like. Though postcards provide limited space, you can still fill the back side of your card with sufficient copy.

                  Another thing is to play it safe with conventional sales copy—no hype, no foul language, nothing overly clever or cute. Address any possible objections they might raise—this goes not only for your direct mail but also for websites, brochures, and other marketing pieces.

                  3.) Don’t Rush ‘Em

                  Generally speaking, before a boomer makes a purchase, they will do their research. This includes familiarizing themselves with the product or service; talking to others who’ve used it or a competing brand; compare specs, check reviews, and the like. This generation has money but many are on a fix income, so purchases are viewed as investments. In short, they won’t be rushed into a purchase, so your best strategy (as detailed in point #2) is to give them plenty of information and content. Shoot for gaining their trust in your brand. When they get to that point, they are on the threshold of a close.

                  4.) Get Personal

                  They’re retired. They are not in any hurry. They have plenty of free time and tend to enjoy longer interactions with people—family, friends and, yes, even salespeople. So, if you’re marketing to this age demographic, don’t be in a hurry. Rather, be willing, ready, and able to invest time in them. It’s the flipside of #3 above. You will likely find a willing set of ears, interested in hearing what you have to say about how your product or service can benefit them.

                  5.) Baby Boomers Aren’t Afraid of Technology

                  The younger generations are often identified as the tech savvy ones but boomers are no less savvy. They may not have had smartphones in their cribs but they’ve lived through the progression of black and white TV to color, the advent of stereo sound, cordless telephones, VHS players, CDs…you get the idea. They are not fazed by more recent technology. More than 90% of boomers use email and search engines, and make purchases online. Because they are the fastest-growing age group on Facebook, you can successfully bolster your direct mail efforts with Facebook ads; they’ll see it.

                   

                  Now that you know more about marketing to boomers, you can put that knowledge to work on your next postcard campaign, which you can design, print and mail, all from the comfort of your desktop, by logging on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei.

                  Or call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109. Tell our design and marketing pros what you need and want and we’ll handle everything from design, to generating a targeted list, and even the mailing. You’ll say, “Boom. That was easy.”

                    Whether you’ve only marketed your business digitally or never marketed at all, you will eventually ask yourself the question (if you haven’t already), “Are paid online ads and email enough?”

                    You probably don’t click on every single ad you see when you’re online, to you? And you probably don’t open every email that every marketer sends you, right? (We certainly thank you for opening this one.)

                    Your prospects probably aren’t much different than you. They might even make liberal use of a spam folder and ad-blocking software.

                    It’s hard to be absolutely sure, unless they somehow contact you and move the sales cycle ahead.

                    But one thing’s for sure: postal mailboxes don’t have spam filters or pop-up blockers, so direct mail has a much higher degree of certainty of receipt; you can be sure that your prospect is seeing your promotion.

                    And it doesn’t stop there. It’s been scientifically proven that you get a much higher rate of response with direct mail. A U.S. Postal Service-sponsored study which found that postcards generate a more significant and lasting effect than digital marketing methods: 79% of recipients respond immediately, as opposed only 45% of email recipients.

                    We could toss out more pro-direct mail stats but let’s get on to the reason you began reading—seven great ideas for your first postcard campaign:

                    1.) The Introducer

                    This is for new businesses or a new location or office. It’s the “Hey, here we are!” card. An introduction postcard may be the first exposure a prospect has of you, so it should be straightforward about what you do, where you located and how your prospect benefits from choosing you. And even though it’s just supposed to be an introduction, you do want them to respond, right? So remember to present an offer.

                    2.) Dollars Off

                    Whether you’re trying to win back customers who’ve gone astray or just generate more business from existing customers, you can’t lose with a discount offer. But according to one study, you’ll win more if you express your discount in dollars, rather than in a percentage. Specifically, dollar amounts (“Get $1 off,” “Take $50 of your next order,” “Here’s $20!” etc.) were consistently found to perform twice as well as a percentage discount.

                    3.) Thank You!

                    According to a 2014 survey, 53% of U.S. consumers will take their business elsewhere when they feel unappreciated, taken for granted.

                    You’re a customer too, so you know how it feels. Don’t be that guy (or girl). Remember to send a direct mail thank you note when customers make a significant purchase or reach a new customer milestone.

                    4.) Rewards Program

                    Think of a rewards program postcard as being a Dollars Off-Thank You! combo. But it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Decide what qualifies a customer for a reward (discount, something free, etc.) and, if you’re using marketing automation, you can set it up to recognize the signals and trigger a new card informing of their discount or freebie.

                    5.) The Happy Holiday Postcard 

                    During Christmas and New Years, people anticipate receiving cards in the mail from family and friends. All this attention on the mailbox set up the perfect conditions to send out your own warm holiday greeting. And definitely put the emphasis on the greeting. Wish them a wonderful holiday. Thank them for their business. And then, almost as an afterthought, present them with an irresistible offer or holiday discount.

                     

                    Did this post give you some ideas for your first (or next) postcard campaign? Here’s another great idea: you can design your card right now, and handle the printing and mailing, all from the comfort of your computer, by logging on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei.

                    And if you want to hear some more great postcard marketing ideas, give Opportunity Knocks at call at 1 (866) 319-7109, and talk to one of our design and marketing pros about your business. They’ll handle the job from design to mailing and help you get powerful results.

                      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 next month!
                      Congratulations!

                      Our February $150 winner is Suzanne Christie who shared:

                      “Love how I can customize each piece and how I can target my audience by so many demographic points. Easy to set up and make changes as my needs change. So many programs to suit my needs and the staff I work with are awesome! Thanks Opportunity Knocks.”

                       

                      Thank you Suzanne and to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy! Simply share your experiences on our ProspectsPLUS! Google+ or Facebook Page, or our Opportunity Knocks Google+ or Facebook Page and you’ll be automatically entered. We’ll give away $150 credit. Next drawing is the first week of April!