INTRODUCTION: Solving a Small Business Marketing Problem
If you've priced out display advertising or Yellow Pages listings, you know that they can add up
to big money in a hurry. What's worse is that if you decide to spend your hard-earned cash on
them, there's no guarantee that you'll get any response.
Think of it: You could spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a nice newspaper ad and not hear from a soul. Or maybe you'll just hear from people trying to sell advertising in their publications.
These salespeople will tell you that it pays to advertise, that you must spend money to make money, but you've just spent a big chunk of your money on that newspaper ad and have nothing to show for it.
Needless to say, you're not eager to sink even more money into advertising. But since promotion is a necessity, even for the smallest of businesses, what can you do? I've found a way around this dilemma by using color postcards. They've been an essential part of my marketing toolkit for six years, and they've brought thousands of (U.S.) dollars worth of business to my web design studio.
Top 10 Advantages of Using Postcards
Now, you may be asking, "Why should I be using postcards as opposed to some other marketing tool, such as advertising in my local newspaper?"
Please don't stop advertising in the paper, if that has worked for you in the past. But if you're like that small business owner described in the previous section, you don't have a lot of money to spend on advertising experiments. With this thought in mind, let's look at the Top 10 Advantages of Using Postcards:
1. Postcard marketing is affordable, even for the smallest of businesses. A year-long postcard marketing campaign to each name on my mailing list costs less than $6.00 per name per year. And my mailing list rental costs are zero. That's because I created my own list for free.
2. When you're marketing with postcards, your competition doesn't know it. But they'll sure know it if you're advertising in the newspaper!
3. It's easy to track your results. Your card can tell recipients to bring the card into your store for a special discount. Or it can ask them to use a special ordering code when purchasing from your website.
4. Postcards are versatile. In a single mailing, you can seek business from prospective customers, and solicit repeat business from existing customers. Better yet, a postcard isn't just something to send through the mail. You can use postcards as oversized business cards, hang tags for your products and mini-information sheets.
5. Your postcards can "brand" you and your business in ways that most marketing materials cannot. If you start and stick to a regular postcard mailing program, you and your business will gain quite a reputation, perhaps even a little notoriety.
6. Testing an offer with postcards is easy. Just send your card to a small group of people and see how many of them respond. If you're satisfied with the results, then roll out a bigger mailing!
7. Postcards don't waste people's time -- they don't even have to open an envelope to read your message.
8. Postcards don't take up a lot of space. Your customers can carry them in their pockets, or carry them in their pocketbooks, for that matter. Hey, some of them might even create a postcard display on their refrigerator door!
9. Postcards are inexpensive to print. You could design what's called a "four-up" card -- four cards on one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, print the design onto card stock, then cut the sheet into four cards. Want to do something fancier? The Postcard Marketing Secrets manual is filled with leads to inexpensive color postcard printers.
10. Postcards are cheap to redeem. Better yet, they have no cost until your customers redeem them.
Creating a Postcard Marketing System
No doubt about it, creating nice postcards and sending them out to an appreciative audience is a lot of fun. But treating your postcard marketing efforts that way probably won't grow your business.
Your cards will grow your business when you think of them as tools in a marketing system. A successful postcard marketing system consists of the following six steps:
Step #1: Idea Generation
Step #2: Card Creation
Step #3: Printing
Step #4: Mailing
Step #5: Follow-up with Prospects and Clients
Step #6: Cost-Tracking and Evaluation of Results
Use this system by starting with Step #1, proceeding through the next five steps, then repeating the process, over and over again. Why the repetition? Four reasons:
1. Marketing expert Jeffrey Lant is a big proponent of what he calls the "Rule of Seven." What it means is that people need to be exposed to your message at least seven times in 18 months before they're ready to buy from you.
Now, you're probably wondering why I'm saying something like this after our first lesson included some not-so-nice words about display advertising and listings in the Yellow Pages. I'm saying it because it will cost you a lot less to repeat your message seven times on a postcard than it would in an advertisement or a listing.
2. Think for a moment: How many businesses do you hear from on a regular basis? Not too many, right? And inattention to customers can prove costly. How costly? Well, according to research conducted by the Price Waterhouse accounting firm, 70% of the people who leave a supplier do so because of lack of contact, follow- up or individual attention. That's not good. But think of how easy it would be to make your business stand out from the crowd if you sent your customers a regular postcard...
3. Another idea to ponder, and this one has actually been proven through numerous studies: It costs 6 times more to win a new customer than it does to make a sale to an existing customer. What this means that if you have a customer list, and if you send regular postcards to the people on that list, you'll build repeat sales for your business and become more profitable in the process. This leads right to our fourth and final Reason for Repetition...
4. A business that customers hear from is one that they'll keep in mind -- and keep on patronizing.
ANY QUESTIONS? Ask me! Send e-mail to:
Martha Retallick, Publisher Postcard Marketing Secrets
Martha Retallick's soon-to-be-published Postcard Marketing Secrets manual will walk you through the process of creating a complete postcard marketing system for your business.
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