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Mountain Dew recently followed a long line of companies who misused advertising to accidentally offend people. As a small business owner, you’re not concerned with big named celebrities pasts, but there are lessons to be learned from this debacle. Do you think that you can do better at reaching out to new people? We think you can. Appealing to the needs and desires of potential customers is more connected to other identifying demographics than it is to the color of their skin.
Get to know your customers and potential customers. Take the time to study the demographics, but more, start conversations with potential customers. You can’t just pitch your product with language you hear or styles a group uses. Mimicking the desired customer base’s characteristics is just as ineffective when used from economic demographics or location as it is when using race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality, it’s just not as offensive. This type of message or imagery in a video or printed postcard is going to be viewed as pandering or, worse, as mockery or ridicule. Read the rest of this entry »
Staring with a larger card for an Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) campaign, the possibilities are infinite. What can you say? What should you say? Sometimes with a large space to fill, there is the temptation to put anything and everything on the card. However, this can be too much information for the typical consumer to process. Many advertisers fall into the trap of thinking that varying and changing their message will relieve boredom and keep buyers interested. If you study the most successful companies like Coke, Apple, or GM, you’ll see that they carefully continue to hone and craft and the same basic message over and over again. Everyone knows that Maytag stands for reliability. These companies stick to the point and drive that point home with a call to action. There is an important lesson there for EDDM marketers too.
1) Pick a theme or promotion for your mailing. Is it a sale, grand opening, event or particular product or service? This decision basically sets the purpose for your EDDM campaign. Making it a single purpose will be more effective than a general “brain dump” of “here we are and here’s our entire menu of products and services.” Read the rest of this entry »
I love this one (as I do many vintage postcard design). Why?
1. It’s clear and simple. You know what it is advertising.
2. It shows what the business looks like, and it shows it beautifully.
3. It evokes emotions. Don’t you want to make your kids as happy as those kids?
This ad shows the viewer a pleasant scene that the viewer can relate to. A happy family enjoying a beautiful evening. It says, “we know what you’re seeking.” It shows that the people running the business are people too.
A touching Norman Rockwell-like image isn’t the only way for a business to build trust and relate to customers, and it’s not always the most effective way to convince people that you are like them. Depending on the business and the audience, the message may be different, but the goal should be the same. You want to get people to trust your business.
Too often, the message of the postcard focuses on some detailed or specific examples of why the business being advertised is better than the competition.
The fact that you need to have provide quality products and services cannot be denied. You need to be better to survive. But you know what? No one cares. Most advertisements tell people that the product being advertised is better. And most of those ads are lies.
People know that ads are full of biased opinions and complete lies. The goal of a good ad then, is not to convince people with logic or facts to buy your product. People just don’t believe it… it goes beyond that. They are so conditioned to think that ads are lies, that they don’t notice them. People are subconsciously and consciously ignoring advertisements. Companies throw away a lot of money on bad advertising.
That’s why it is so important to get your ad in front of the right people, get the targeted people to look at your ad, and get people to read your ad. But beyond all of that, you have to get people to trust you.
You can tell them what you do and why you do it better, but there’s no reason why they’ll trust you. The postcard above evokes positive emotion in a way that shows that the business understands the needs of the customers. The business isn’t making claims and using words which carry lies. The postcard presents an image of what it’s all about.
What is your business really providing? Along with sales, production, and customer service, advertising should go beyond just being great. Your company and your advertising should be working in sync to provide something deeper, more important. A good business seeks to make life better for its customers, and a good ad conveys that.
Think about it! What drives people to use your product? Whether the potential customer is looking to feel secure, sexy, important, loved, or anything else, these feelings are part of the greater emotion of happiness. Your customers seek happiness. If you can show them happiness, they will begin to trust you and you will be successful.
The correct way for landscaping and lawn care companies to advertise is with a three pronged approach. You should canvas the areas you want to focus on servicing on a seasonal basis, continual target the most obvious future customers, and constantly remarket to your existing customer base.
Use direct mail because it is targeted and it works. Coupon books, local newspapers, radio and television are a waste for lawn care and landscaping companies. Your ad will get lost among many in a coupon book or newspaper. Radio and television ads are only effective if you can take advantage of the broader audience by having a bigger company or a location. Direct mail puts your lawn care company in the mailbox sitting in front of the lawn.
It’s super easy.
1. Use EDDM to target a broad qualified audience to build your brand. Using demographic data (which you can get through our Free Map and Demographic Report), you can target concise areas to blanket areas with your brand, a simple message, and a call to action. You’ll want to do this two to four times early on in order to get a big push for spring.
2. Next, work with an experienced direct mail marketing professional to create a mailing list of new leads based on demographics. You can make a list of single family homes, occupied by the homeowner, and of a certain income in your area or use other factors. Those three factors are often all you need to create an effective mailing list for your direct mail campaign. That’s it. We’ll get them printed and mailed out from there. To “cold” leads, you’ll want to plan a sequence of postcards and specials to introduce them to your brand and get them buying.
3. Of course, the most effective type of mailing? Mailing to your existing database of customers. You provide the list and then send your existing customers cards regularly. This is a powerful way to upsell, get referrals, and ensure renewals. If you have an existing customer base and do no other advertising, this is what you should probably start with.
Keep your name in your future customers’ minds, clearly tell them what to do, and make it easy for them to contact you.
It seems like everyone wants to be rich. Reading this, you probably are in business or want to be in business for yourself. You don’t want to work for someone else, you want to work for yourself… But at some point, if you really want to be a success, you’ll need to get other people and your money working for you.
How do you do that?
Through planned campaigns of advertising and training of your staff. It’s actually, a pretty easy explanation. The hard part is going to be your determination and consistent application of these basics to make it work.
Create Postcard Campaign in one move. Instead of doing several different individual postcard mailings, plan out the number you want to do for the year. Do all the designs at once, this will save on separate design fees. You can still print them when you need them (and have the money to pay for postage), we’re not going to make you pay for all the printing at once. However, if you do print your postcards , you can save even more.
When someone calls in from your advertisement, your company and your customer will be better off if the people answering the phone are ready to help. You can prepare them by training the employees about the products and services being offered, or better yet, focus on marketing based on their existing knowledge and expertise for products and services. Next, make sure they know when to expect more phone calls or people walking through the door. Show them the artwork of the card, or if possible get them a copy to hold on to. By having your people properly prepared, they will be more productive (and you won’t have to do as much).
You don’t need complex discounts or wordy messages. Do something clear and simple. Tell them who you are. Promote one aspect of your business at a time. Instruct the customer what they need to do with a call to action. This could be as simple as “Call Today” or it could be more powerful, “Bring in your (insert) to us today!” By having clear, concise instructions, your customers will know what to do in order to give you their money.
Keep a steady flow of business coming in by mailing to the same people over and over. If you mail to different people each time you are wasting money. Build your brand in the heads of a smaller group, they will begin to identify your company with your products and services. Then, they will go out and start talking about your brand. They will be doing the work for you.
By having a self-managing direct mail campaign, with proper preparation and training, you’ll be free to grow your business in other ways. Direct mail is an essential part of a successful business.
One of the biggest fears of small businesses is that they will put money into advertising, then get no response. What a waste that would be. It’s happened to many businesses. It can be prevented. Here’s how.
Use the following steps to formulate a plan for your campaign. By planning ahead, creating a schedule and a checklist, you will be prepared for success.
Targeting is often easier than it seems. You have some existing customers, what are some characteristics that are indicators of why they buy from you? What distinguishes your customers from the general community? You can target them geographically with a tool like Every Door Direct Mail, by general demographic groups through other forms of advertising, or by very specific information with Direct Mail. Existing customer lists are often a very effective way to target. Too many small businesses take for granted that they already have a list of strong leads.
Use a special web address, phone number, or coupon to keep track of whether the card is working or not.
Doing an advertisement one time is almost a waste of money. You can increase response rates and reorders dramatically by exposing the same people to advertisements more than once. I have found that 3 times is the minimum amount for maximizing results.
Make sure your team knows that the advertisements are out, what they say, and how they should be addressing callers and customers who mention it. What’s the goal? Do they need to make sales immediately? Set appointments? Gather more information?
6. Follow Up
If you have a business or existing customer list, have your sales people call those on the list. If you’ve had people respond to the advertisement, call them. Close the sale, get feedback, get more information.
7. Follow Through
Whatever it is that you are offering, make sure you back it up with good products and services. Make sure that people really get what they thought that they’d be getting.
You’ve got people following you on Twitter. A good bunch of customers are following you on Facebook. Now what?
You’re probably thinking: “Where are all those sales that were supposed to appear when I got the following?”
The best thing you can do to raise the effectiveness of your social media marketing is to raise user engagement. In other words, getting people to interact with your posts, read your posts, and share your posts more is the most effective way to increase your sales using social media.
Here’s four basic things you can do to raise engagement and ultimately sales.
1. Post great content. Don’t just post promotions. While they might be clicked the first time (probably not), when they aren’t discussed and shared, your posts will quickly be pushed to the back of the shuffle by social media sites. Post good links to other sites. Post original content. Most importantly, post stuff that will get people to want to comment, like, retweet, and share…
2. Pick and create content that people are likely to share. Look at your own social networks. What do people share?
Social Networking Users will share and interact with things that:
3. Join the discussion. Once you have people commenting, comment back. Be positive and add more value by adding your expertise to the conversation. You don’t need to respond to irrational criticism. Focus your energy on questions.
4. Combine your efforts. The importance of brand power is high for all businesses in all places. You want to use the same themes you use on the web, in your other advertising like direct mail and your brochures.
Some people call it bulk mail, some people call it junk mail, but you can’t deny the effectiveness of Direct Mail. Businesses use direct mail because it is effective. A postcard, letter, or brochure is a sure-fire way to get your company in front of qualified people.
How often should I mail out advertisements?
You should do as much direct mail as possible. What limits the amount of direct mail you can send out or limits how often you can do a mail campaign? There’s the price of mailing a postcard and the time it takes to complete the campaign. You have to divide your resources carefully, but advertising is essential to a successful business.
4 Ideas on When to Use Direct Mail to Promote Your Business
1. Mail to promote a big sale
Promoting sales are important because the advertising for the sale will help generate the volume of business you need to make the sale successful. More importantly, the sale promotions reinforce the value aspect of your brand to customers.
2. Mail during the holidays
While a lot of companies advertise during the holidays, consumers are in a better mindset for receiving advertising. During the December holidays, with Christmas and other gift-giving holidays, people are looking to buy. At other holidays, people have extra days off and often plan to shop for things that they normal don’t have time to buy.
3. Mail to promote your own events.
Generate excitement for your brand by creating and promoting events. This is different than a sale. This would be something that adds value to the experience. Be careful though, you may get a lot of people to come to your place of business by offering free food, but they aren’t going necessarily going to be qualified if you advertise it on radio. This is where targeted direct mail comes in. You can offer something free to very qualified candidates by using a mailing list built around specific factors and demographics. This way, you’ll only have qualified people eating your free hotdogs or getting balloon animals for their kids. Another tip is to keep the event focused on something related to what you do. You want it to have broad enough appeal to bring people, but be focused enough to prevent too many people who are just there for the free stuff.
4. Mail on a regular schedule.
Once you figure out how much money and time you have to spend on advertising, you can and should plan out a regular schedule. Depending on how much competition you have, what your maximum capacity is, and how often they advertise, you will want to work out a plan of regular mailings. It may be twice a week or 4 times a year. Making and keeping a schedule is a good way to keep your marketing going smoothly and on budget.
Build your Brand!
Building a successful business brand is not dissimilar from the concept of planting a seed and nurturing that seed to bloom. It takes planning, dedication and hard work. Fortunately, for small businesses, there is now an incredibly powerful advertising tool, Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM). EDDM allows you to canvas an entire neighborhood at very low costs and fewer headaches. The process involves reviewing area information from the USPS that includes every address in an area. By concentrating the mail in such a dense area, the USPS is able to offer very low postage rates – as low as $.149 each in a variety of popular card sizes and formats.
Basics of Branding
What is a brand? What is branding? Your brand is how people see your business. It is what feelings and items people associate when they see your business. It is what things and feelings they experience elsewhere that they will make them think of your business.
Every Door Direct Mail is the best way to improve your branding in an area. It is cost effective and powerful. Every Door Direct Mail is bigger than regular letters. The bigger piece stands out and gives you more room for big images and your logo. Even when the piece is thrown away, it’s hard to miss the big logo, themes, and colors on a postcard. People are less likely to throw away bigger things without looking first.
When you start using Every Door Direct Mail to expose people in your area to your business, carefully plan out your branding effort. You are planting the seeds for growing into a powerful local brand. Use the same color themes. Include the same fonts. Include similarly toned images. Did you ever catch a commercial or read an ad, but before you saw the name, you had a feeling what the ad was for? That’s because companies intentionally use similar background noise, camera effects, colors, etc. You can do the same thing. It’s not difficult. Use the colors and font from your sign if you don’t have an official logo. If you are getting a logo, have it stand out and portray what your business represents.
As part of branding, you’ll want to reinforce the brand. You’re not going to see a huge response from your first advertising campaign. You have to get your brand out there over and over. Make sure your branding is present in all of your external communication. Keep the language, themes, and color similar. With Every Door Direct Mail, the roots of your business will be firmly planted because you’re mailing to the areas which you plan on serving. Mail the same areas again and again, and spread out as your business and your budget grows.
Tips to Save Money When Planning Every Door Direct Mail
If you pour heart and soul into your business by developing a product or service and then strive to exceed customer expectations, then you must continue to market and advertise to let folks know that you are out there and remind them again and again. Think of it as planting a seed, nourishing that seed and growing it to full bloom. EDDM can be an integral part of the business cycle, so feel free to bring any questions you might have to the friendly experts at SonicPrint.com!