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Do you offer a recession anxiety warranty?

Fed Up
Creative Commons License photo credit: Furryscaly

Remember the outrageous 7/70 bumper-to-bumper warranty Chrysler introduced back in the early 1980s when they introduced K-cars?

At the time, Chrysler’s quality problems were front and center reasons to avoid buying their cars. Likewise, major car manufacturers limited long-term warranty coverage to the engine and powertrain (ie: transmission, axles and such).

Iacocca came up with the “outrageous” warranty to get people past the quality question so they would  give Chrysler’s cars a chance. He knew the warranty was only good to get them INTO the cars – they’d have to meet their quality goals or that warranty would bankrupt them.

High Anxiety

While the warranty was a big change for car owners, the main purpose was to provide a little anxiety release. To get you to realize that Chrysler’s quality had changed, so much so that they were willing to cover *everything*, and thus, you could trust them to buy their vehicles.

Obviously, it worked. The K-cars saved Chrysler (for the time being, at least) and they paid back the then-controversial billion dollar loan (guaranteed by Congress) in 3 years, rather than the required 10.

It should be noted that Iacocca says much of the reason to pay the loan off quickly was to get the Feds out of his business. No question there is lots of controversy about the 1979 bailout / loan guarantee and the terms that went with it, but that isn’t the topic of the day.

Fast forward to today – when you wouldn’t dream of buying a car without a very-long-term bumper-to-bumper warranty.

So what does your business do in an environment of high buyer anxiety?

Remove the anxiety

Hopefully the obvious answer is to remove it.

Back in the Granite Bear days, we found some buyer anxiety issues cropping up. The few people who would ask for a refund would do so right at the deadline date. In almost every case, we found that those were also the folks who hadn’t started using the software yet. They were worried they’d be stuck with it and having not tried it, the obvious thing to do was ask for a refund.

One of our solutions was to extend our 30 day money-back guarantee to 60 day and then to a whole year. As I’ve noted before, some people thought we were nuts and would give back tons of refunds on day 364, but that ignores the reason people bought business management software in the first place – to manage their business and save them time. Who in their right mind would invest a year into integrating software into their business (and vice versa) and then toss it out the door on a specific day? That’s nuts.

In our case, we knew that if they really *used* it for a year, they’d never ask for their money back. We were right and it made a huge difference in sales, despite seeming like an insane thing to do. Our upfront costs of sales and implementation were mostly buried by day 30 (and definitely by day 60), so it made no difference whether we gave back the software on day 60 or day 364.

We also implemented other things that got them moving right away – another guarantee. Do you have specific guarantees for different parts of your business?

Recessionary buybacks

Recently, you’ve seen a number of major car companies offer to buy your car back if you lose your job – and that’s after they make several months of payments for you.

Hyundai started it and several other manufacturers felt the pressure to follow suit.

As I hear it, one very dark economic area’s local Hyundai dealer had their best weekend *ever* after corporate started offering these deals.

Something else that tells you about people in a recession: They aren’t all broke. If the buyback changed car buying behavior of a large group of people – did it also put a bunch of money in their pocket?

Of course not. Clearly they had the ability (and desire) to buy, but their anxiety about the future kept them from buying.

Your turn

In my case, I guarantee my marketing / strategic planning work.

Some people suggest that I’m nuts to do that. I might be nuts, but that has little to do with the fact that I’ve never been asked for a refund.

Meanwhile, it’s a huge differentiating factor because almost no other consultant guarantees their work. They either don’t have the confidence in their work, or the gumption to hang that guarantee out there – likely for fear that someone will use it. Maybe that even tells you something about the work product they provide from a strategic perspective.

Someday, someone might ask for a refund. Even if they do, it’s a great anxiety reliever for every other client – regardless of the economy.

What are you doing to take your clients’ anxiety off the table (or reduce it substantially) and get them from thinking to taking action/buying?

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Competition Creativity Customer relationships Direct Marketing Email marketing Improvement Internet marketing Marketing Positioning Small Business Strategy Technology

Take along your uglier brother

In today’s guest post from TED, Dan Ariely talks about why we make decisions and how we are influenced.

There are several pieces of this presentation that apply directly to traditional or online direct marketing of the stuff you do and sell, much less knowing a little more about what makes your internal decision tree tick.

Use what Dan discusses to analyze what kind of decisions you offer your customers and prospects. It’s all part of that “What do they buy the least of that they really need the most?” question. Part 2 of the question might be – “…and how do you get them to buy what they *really really* need?”

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Follow up

Legendary marketer and real estate investor/educator Ron LeGrand tells his students and speaking audiences that 82% of his sales come from the 2nd to the 7th contact with a prospective customer.

Dan Kennedy probably has a similar high-percentage number from his business.  The depth of his follow up probably has different numbers whether the follow up is done by phone, email, direct mail and so on.

The numbers themselves are of little use in the big picture. What really matters is that the follow up actually gets done.

How much business would you have if every lead who contacted you at your last trade show got followed up on with a brief personal email or phone call?

How about if they got a call or a postcard a couple of weeks later if they didn’t respond? The card might even give them a way to tell you that their needs have changed so you don’t have to bother them again.

And if you sent them a silly postcard with a bloodhound on it a week or so later, as if you were sending out the hounds?

Probably more than you got if you didn’t do any of those things.

It isn’t just about sales.

Could be follow up after a service call, an equipment repair or a meal delivery. Remember, every job is a sales job.

Back to that 82%

If LeGrand does a million in annual revenue (trust me, he does a lot more) and his follow-up numbers are right, it’s safe to say that he’d only do somewhere around $180,000 if he never followed up.

Just a little bit of improvement by doing that one thing (and yes, maybe by doing it up to 6 times).

Maybe it’d be different for you. How will you know?

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attitude Blogging Business culture Business Ethics Competition Customer relationships customer retention Customer service Direct Marketing Email marketing Internet marketing Leadership Positioning Small Business Web 2.0 Word of mouth marketing

Without customers, there ain’t no business, Joe.

pancakebunny06Since January 2005, I’ve been spent a lot of time explaining how Business is Personal.

When I started this journey way back then, I named the blog “Pancake Bunny“.

I called it that as a result of a customer service interaction where a company’s CEO told a customer that their message made no sense and then included the pancake bunny in their reply (click here to see the original pancake bunny).

It struck me that I had work to do.

Not solely because of the bunny remark, but because of a pervasive antagonistic attitude toward customers – especially by many in tech-related industries (remember, Ive been in the software biz since 1982).

Nine Hundred Eighty Five

Nine hundred and eighty four times I have posted here in order to teach this one important lesson. This one is number 985.

I’ve shared little anecdotes here and there, stories, admonitions, an occasional rant or two – whatever it takes to make you and your staff attract, sell, talk to, think about and work with your customers as if they are real people.

Like your grandma. Imagine that.

That lady you were snarky with on the phone this morning is probably someone’s grandma, or mom or something. Would you talk that way if she were in front of you? Hopefully you aren’t the snarky one in the first place and that was intended for someone else cuz you’d never do that.

Progress

I know that in many cases I am preaching to the choir, but I also know that many people have related personally to a story here and it has changed their business. They have finally seen how treating their clientele like a friend, a partner, a family member – changes their business.

Others have finally figured out that hiding from their customers, treating them poorly (if they treat them at all) and thinking “Damn, if those customers didn’t keep interrupting me I’d get some REAL work done” is not how business is done.

Instead, it’s how your “Dear Valued Customer” becomes someone else’s.

If you haven’t gotten that yet, today might be your lucky day.

Enter Mister Butts

Earlier today I got an email from a Twitter acquaintance named Rick Butts. He’s one of those internet marketer types (and he just winced when he read that – sorry Rick).

EXCEPT, he isn’t like many of them. He’s a regular guy who gets the Business is Personal thing.

If after reading Rick’s email, you don’t understand why you simply have to treat someone who is viewing your blog, your newsletter, walking into your store, calling you on the phone, or tweeting you *like your grandmother*, then I suggest going back to post #1 and read a few posts a day.

I can’t help but think it’ll help.

Here’s Rick’s email. Enjoy.

I Am Joeâ??s Email List – An Open Letter To Internet Marketers

Hi,

I am Joeâ??s email list.

Joe calls me his list, his peeps, and sometimes just â??the list.â?

But, I am not a list, really, I am not a crowd, or an audience. I am not â??everyone out thereâ? as they teach new broadcasters to say.

I am me.

One single person with hopes, dreams, stresses and fears.

In many ways I am just like you – the way you describe yourself in your hungry years before you went to that life changing event, read the book, and started making money online.

I get email from you Joe.

I canâ??t remember for sure, but I think I â??joinedâ? one day when you offered a free report or video and I had to put my email address in – and confirm – in order to see it.

In my inbox, Joe, your email looks just like the personal emails I get from my daughter or son, and sometimes, sadly, from my ex.

Now that youâ??ve been sending me email – as well as some of your â??good friendsâ? – I have begun to be able to see in a glance that they are just offers, sometimes disguised as important messages, sometimes blatantly, not.

Whenever I see the word â??thisâ? in your subject lines, like – â??this wonâ??t last longâ? – or â??have you seen this?â? I know itâ??s an offer.

Since the Product Launch Formula I and especially II – Iâ??m amazed at how many times per month I am literally inundated with emails from so many people all about the same exciting product.

They arrive over multiple days, culminating in a bonus orgy that is just overwhelming.

I read a clever post in a forum once, that â??the bonuses are so comprehensive, it makes me wonder what is covered in the course, that is not already covered in the bonuses!â?

That made me laugh.

Iâ??m writing you today, to share something important about myself – and I hope youâ??ll take the time to consider my feelings, ok?

I have to get off of some of these lists.

The volume of email and the distraction of chasing the offers is just crippling my time, my focus, and my ability to get things done.

When Rick Butts asked his readers to consider unsubscribing from the people who sent you Stompernet Launch offers IF they had not provided any useful content in the last month – he really got me thinking.

Then Ed Dale made a video saying, basically, that no one is holding a gun to your head and that if you wanted to stop getting offers – stop bitching – and just unsubscribe.

But hereâ??s the deal. Iâ??d LIKE to learn from you Joe – and to be able to know that being on â??your listâ? is valuable to me, my business, and my future.

So, please donâ??t think me a big whiner, Iâ??m a customer, and hereâ??s what I respectfully request:

1. Slow down the frequency of mailing to me, Joe.

Do not email me every day – thatâ??s just way too much now.

2. Donâ??t mail me offers all the time.

Iâ??m reading a lot more RSS feeds from bloggers who are putting out great content. If you are using Feedburner or Feedblitz or Aweberâ??s blog notification service that mails me when you update your blog – then, cool. Iâ??m good with that.

3. If you do mail me an offer PLEASE donâ??t cut and paste the pre-written one from the creator of the product.

Do you know how stupid that makes you look to me? And, how insulting it is to get them from multiple people?

4. Try giving me some TRUTHINESS in your communiques to me.

If you are really making money in the non-marketing-to-Internet-marketers, then tell me some useful tips that are working for you. No, you donâ??t need to tell me your market niche but hey, every once in a while how about your show me how valuable I am to you buy sharing one of those SECRETS?

5. Show me some stuff that made less than $1,000,000.00.

Iâ??d be immensely interested in real world examples of success I can get my head around. Iâ??m never going to build a big list of â??biz-opâ? peeps and hammer them with a big JV launch. Show me how I can make $500 a week – then be able to replace my income and quit my skank job.

6. Stop bragging about your zero-gravity dives and how you are spending my money in outrageous ways.

Trust me, this is a lot more fun for you, then it is for me to read about it. You may excuse it as â??inspirationalâ? but I dontâ?? even think that works in MLM anymore. It just annoys me. A little â??high lifeâ? goes a long way and Iâ??m more impressed by how Internet marketing lets you enjoy your family.

7. Please, please, please, for the love of God, stop participating in these dreadful launches!

Let me believe you are successful enough without having to bend over and schlup me and the rest of my list mates through your embarrassing attempt to get me to â??buy from youâ? and help you win a contest.

The reason Rick Butts wrote about the 12 Biggest Whores, without naming anyone, is that we have all watched the emergence of about that many well known marketers who cross-promote each others stuff so regularly it is hard to imagine that they do anything else.

I think that gives you a pretty good idea of the kind of things that would make getting email from you valuable again – and persuade me not to unsubscribe from you forever.

Final thoughtâ?¦

The blowback from the â??unsubscribeâ? and â??launch fatigueâ? has been to accuse me and my list mates, the little people, of being whiners.

And while there is no shortage of whiners in the world, I want you to know that from the bottom of my heart – I am pleading with you to not dismiss me so easily.

What most of us really want is for you to provide us with value, treat us like a long term relationship, and we will, certainly reward you for helping us get to the next level.

Now back to check my email, I think thereâ??s a Traffic Secrets 2.0 launch today?

Sincerely,

Joe’s List

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Blogging Creativity Direct Marketing Ideas Internet marketing Marketing Montana SEO Small Business Strategy The Slight Edge

Are you overlooking sales opportunities?

dennyrehberg

As I’ve mentioned here before, I write a business column for the Flathead Beacon, an online newspaper here in Northwest Montana.

When I have the time and inclination, I also cover sports and other stories about my community (Columbia Falls, Montana) that interest me.

So I take a photo of Rehberg and Montana Chamber of Commerce President / CEO Webb Brown (on the left in the photo above) at a Kalispell “listening session” a month or so ago and insert it into my brief article covering Rehberg’s session.

The next day, a communications specialist at the Montana Chamber of Commerce finds my Beacon article about Rehberg’s session and asks if they can use the photo (which includes their president/CEO)  in their monthly magazine / newsletter.

I was a bit surprised they wanted to use the photo since the microphone is obscuring some of Mr. Brown’s face, but it is what it is. I think they were simply glad to have his photo with Rep. Rehberg.

Good news, bad news

I say sure, they can use the photo in their publication if they include a photo credit that points to the blog and they agree. Good news for me, as state chamber members will be a very nicely targeted audience for Business is Personal.

So my mail arrives and what do you know, the photo not only appears in this month’s Montana Chamber of Commerce magazine called “Eye on Business”, but it appears *on the cover*.

Unfortunately, there is a typo in my photo credit’s URL.

It happens. In fact, it happens more often than you would expect, so you have to be prepared to react properly.

Some might flip out at this point, but think about it – I can’t change the magazine.

React strategically

The magazine is already printed and in the mail. Reacting strategically is the only viable solution.

Thankfully, I am fortunate enough that the typo’d website address is available, so I grab it and create a simple one-page website that acts as a landing page for Eye on Business readers who see the photo credit and are curious enough to read more.

But wait, there’s more. No one other than those readers know that site’s address. It’s only in the magazine and I have no good reason to use it elsewhere.

This means that a very high percentage of the people who see this page will do so because they are readers of Eye on Business. In fact, that means I have good reason NOT to use it elsewhere because of this situation.

Result: I can customize the message on the new site to Montana Chamber of Commerce members, making their first experience with me even more personal. That’s exactly what I did.

Yet another opportunity

I must admit that I thought it was a little odd that the contact with the Chamber was not also used as an opportunity to ask me what I know about the Chamber’s work, if I was a member, and if I would like to get an application form etc.

Nor was a brochure or application included in the package I received in the mail with the sample issues.  This was a missed opportunity to ask, much less just tell their story.

Are you missing out on opportunities like that? Keep your eyes open for them. Sales opportunities that are in context tend to be a lot more fruitful than those that are not.

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What makes the phone ring in any economy?

[audio:https://www.rescuemarketing.com/podcast/HowDoYouMakeThePhoneRing.mp3]
Princess on the Phone
Creative Commons License photo credit: Yogi

There are no secrets around here.

I am busy as crap. Some weeks, so busy that I’ve had to let the blog slide a bit (Horrors!)

I’ve made it quite clear that I expect “well-behaved” readers to be contacting their clients, customers and prospects at least once a month – and not simply to say “Whaddaya wanna buy?”

I’ve also shown that I do this in a number of different ways, using a number of different media.

Why different media?

Different strokes for different folks

Because some people like email, some like using Google Reader, some prefer audio podcasts, some prefer video (still working on that one), and still others prefer direct mail. And so on.

Likewise, some of media is about access and exposure.

Not everyone has (or wants) access to radio or RSS or email or whatever. Are you willing to give up an awesome new client because they aren’t into Twitter or RSS feeds or email?

I’m not.

Just the other day, someone emailed me to ask me about doing some work for them on a big project they’re working on.

They don’t read my blog. They don’t get my print newsletter. They don’t listen to my radio show (or podcast) on iTunes. They didn’t find me on Utterli.

They found me through my newspaper column.

Their comment was this: “Though we are strangers, I feel Iâ??ve gotten to know you fairly well through your weekly articles”.

I’ve never met them, never talked to them, yet they feel they know me.

How much of advantage do you think I have over competitors that they don’t know?

Ideally, my competition just sits around getting splinters from the bench. They never get a chance to take a swing at this work if I have anything to say about it.

The Temptation

The temptation with communication like this is to depend solely on email because its cheap.

That’s a big mistake.

Why? Because cheap only reflects your cost. It doesn’t reflect the results. Cheap ignores the return on investment (ROI).

If you want cheap and you don’t care about results, you can get yourself 50 million email addresses for $30, but you probably won’t make a sale to more than 50 of them (depending on what you sell). Worse yet, by emailing them – you’ll end up on every email blacklist there is.

If the result is your focus, then you should be thinking “I only want to use the media that have a great ROI”. In that case, I might suggest some slight adjustments (ie: don’t use just 1 media regardless of the ROI), but otherwise you’d get no argument.

The lesson

A long-time client of mine recently switched from printed newsletters to email (still using my service, just a change in media). I suggested *adding* email, not using it as a replacement.

One of the first response emails he received from a client and good friend was “I don’t have time to read another email every week”.

That same person has demonstrated (through their actions/responses) that they do have the time to read a 4 page printed newsletter once a month, yet an almost immediate reply email said they just don’t want more email.

I made note of that irony to the client, pointing out that his client’s reaction to yet another email is a great illustration of why printed newsletters just plain work.

His reply: “No kidding.”

What makes your phone ring?

Where do your customers/clients/prospects get their information? What do they use to consume the news? That’s how you should be providing info to them.

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Selling Santa with postcards

Four Cowboys
Creative Commons License photo credit: anyjazz65

Last week we talked about the direct mail letter that was used to secure donations of cash, in-kind items for the auction and to attract people to attend – as well as what could have been improved in the letter.

I left a few things out of the discussion at the time, so lets get back to them.

We started with some small but focused lists and I want to discuss how those were used so that you can think about the various customer groups you have in your business.

Two of the lists we had came from the organization who was the primary recipient of our fundraising efforts. They had a list of donors and supporters as well as a list of families receiving services at the two closest locations to our town. One of the locations is in our town, the other is 14 miles away so I only used the families who were local for the mailing.

I sent the same postcard to both lists because all I really wanted from them was attendance. The donors of this organization do not need to be confused by my sending them a plea letter asking for donations on behalf of an organization they already support.

If I had done that, the natural response would have been “Why is org A asking for donations for org B when I already give to org B?” I just want them to show up, buy a ticket and bid on the auction.

The families were a different story – I could have asked them for help – but knowing the demographics of the group, I really just wanted them to buy a ticket, eat and visit with Santa. We wanted them to learn that Rotary was helping their family, not just asking them for $. The best way to make that happen was to get them to the event.

As a result, I sent the same postcard to both lists. I used Click2Mail.com, primarily because they had the turnaround time I needed, plus the price was quite good for an oversized glossy 4 color postcard.

I uploaded my PDF and address list, it cleaned them and I paid. Over and done with in short order and I didn’t even have to lick a stamp.

You might be asking why a postcard? Why didn’t I hand address *these*?

I used a postcard because it doesn’t have to be opened and my message was relatively short.

I didn’t hand address them and mail them myself because postcards are open by design. I don’t have to work to get them opened, instead I can concentrate my effort on making them effective. I couldn’t do that with the donation letter because the message needed to be longer and required a donation form.

Almost forgot… The postcards were timed to arrive within 48 hours of the event.

[audio:https://www.rescuemarketing.com/podcast/SellingSantaWithPostcards.mp3]
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Automation Direct Mail Direct Marketing Improvement Marketing podcast Positioning Retail Rotary Small Business Strategy

Help! What’s wrong with my mailing?

Yesterday we talked about the details about the envelope and letter we sent to request Brunch with Santa donations and to sell tickets.

There were (in my opinion) a lot of things right with it. BUT…what was wrong with it?

Keep in mind it is perfectly normal to find things that are wrong with a mailing you just dropped at the post office. There’s a big lesson there: We didn’t wait to mail it until it was perfect. You just can’t do that.

If you wait until your campaign is perfect, you’ll never mail it because it’ll never be perfect. It’s like waiting until the perfect time to have a baby – there’s no such thing.

That said, there is always room for improvement. Maybe there’s a better way to state it rather than “what’s wrong?” is “How can I make the envelope and the letter even better?”

Slice em and dice em

One thing that I advise customers (and readers) to do is segment your mailing. Some might look at the letter sent to chamber members and think that I did – but that really isn’t the case.

The people on this particular mailing list fall into a couple of distinct groups: blue collar services (construction, auto body, auto repair, custom logging, trucking), white collar services (attorneys, accountants, bankers, computer consultants, real estate sales, graphic artists), hospitality businesses (restaurants, caterers, hotels, motels, bed and breakfast inns) and traditional retailers (clothing, food, auto parts, tires, coffee, etc).

What changes would segmentation bring?

If I broke that list down into the four segments I mentioned, it would allow me to make several important changes. I didn’t do so this year simply because of time pressure.

For blue collar service businesses: I would likely use slightly different verbiage that is more in tune with their businesses and would have made a more specific ask. Like the others below, the ask would be for items or services that are most likely to get the business a new customer. In their language, specific to their needs.

For white collar service businesses: I’d use some different verbiage, a different ask – more specific to the services they offer and keeping in mind that I want a donation that helps them get a new customer – and some slightly different psychology. Again, the language used would be in tune with these kinds of businesses.

For the hospitality businesses: Again, specific language to their business. In fact, I would likely split this group into food-related and non-food-related because of the differences in what I would like to get in donations, differences in industry language and COGS. For the food biz, I’m trying to create an opportunity for them to make an impression that brings new customers to their restaurant or catering service. That happened this year as well – I didn’t simply ask for a donation. I offered them an opportunity to promote their business with the best they could bring to the table. Positioning is important.

Other thoughts

I would like to have a bit more automation in place to deal with generating specific responses, logging auction assets and so forth. I’ll be working on that throughout 2009. While that automation will be somewhat specific to the Brunch, it is designed to work with any campaign – and with multiple media. It might become a system that you can buy.

A blue collar vs white collar mental image

Speaking of blue collar and white collar services, I’m reminded of an interesting way that Ford Automotive’s Social Media guy Scott Monty described the difference between white collar workers and blue collar workers: “people who shower *before* they go to work” and “people who shower *after* they go to work”. Paints a pretty clear picture, doesn’t it? You can follow Scott on Twitter.

[audio:https://www.rescuemarketing.com/podcast/WhatsWrongWithMyMailing.mp3]
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Automation cerebral palsy Direct Mail Direct Marketing Marketing podcast Sales Small Business Strategy

*The* most important thing about your letter

Sad Letter
Creative Commons License photo credit: jilly~bean

Yesterday, we started a discussion about the promotion of an event here in town.

Today, we’re going to talk about one of the mail pieces that went out to promote the Brunch.

Don’t worry, this series isn’t all about direct mail. We’ll also be talking about video, email, postcards, newspaper, press releases, PSAs, radio and TV.

That’s right. Every single one of those media were used to promote the event. While I didn’t use all of my arrows (with good reason), I did use just about everything in the quiver. Different types of media reach different people.

There are so many ways to consume news these days – you’d better be using every means possible to get the attention of your prospects.

Of course, you will be measuring the response from them, so you’ll know which are worth the expense IF there is an expense.

One of the most important mail pieces that went out was sent to business owners here in town (and a few in neighboring towns). I wanted to concentrate on our little town because the benefit is being received here. It makes for a tougher sale to folks from other towns unless you have a relationship with them. More on that later.

But will they open it?

The most important thing about the letter is making sure that the envelope gets opened.

If it isn’t opened, it was a waste of time and money. If it isn’t opened, the letter inside doesn’t get a chance to go to work selling the event. That’s kind of a problem:)

In rural Montana, post office boxes are the norm rather than the exception. This holds true for residential and business addresses. People stand over the trash slots at the post office and sort their mail into 2 categories: trash and probably-not-trash. You probably do the same at home if you don’t get your mail at a PO Box.

Because of this, I used several strategies to make the envelope less likely to be tossed out:

  • A real stamp was used. In fact, a Christmas stamp (the nutcracker one). It’s a little thing, but it matters. It makes the letter appear more likely to be from a real person.
  • Each envelope was hand addressed. To make it feel even more “real”, a green felt tip pen was used. Computer printed labels might work fine for people you already have a relationship with – but with no relationship, a pre-printed label is another check mark on the road to the trash bin, even more so if there’s a postal barcode.
  • Each envelope had a little Santa or snowflake sticker placed on it to the left of the address. Again, it makes it look a little more “from someone I know”, which contributes to more of them getting opened.
  • No return address was used. You really have to be careful with this one. If you already have a business relationship with the person you’re mailing, then the return address WITH your name is important. If you don’t have a relationship with them, the return address will likely become a criteria for tossing the mail, rather than keeping it.

Sweating the details inside the envelope

Inside, the letter was just one page long, printed on both sides. The letter was folded and inserted so that the front page would be seen first if the letter was opened traditionally (with the back facing the reader).

On the left side of the front page of the letter, all the board members are listed. Many are well-known in the community, thus establishing some credibility. The letter was personally addressed – not with a standard business lead in, but just with the person’s name. No business name. I’m writing to the individual.

The greeting is to the individual, not “Dear Sir” or “To whom it may (probably not) concern”. The latter two greetings aren’t even remotely personal. You want the reader to feel that you wrote the letter just for them, even if it is printed on a computer. That’s why…

The first line noted that I was only going to take 2 minutes of their time (yes, I timed it, it was just a hair over 2 minutes). I want them to know that this isn’t going to take long. I don’t want the letter set aside for later.

At the end, I hand sign the letter.

On many of them, I made a personal note at the bottom in that same green felt tip pen, usually to suggest an item for donation but sometimes just to make the letter more personal.

On the other side of the letter is a donation form that is already filled out with their contact info. I already have it in my database, why should I force them to re-write their contact info?

Remember, make it as easy as possible…

PS: A Sticky Situation

Just a little side note on the attention that is paid to the success of mail pieces: I received a letter promoting the Breakfast with Santa in Opelousas. It was closed with a 1.5″ long piece of scotch (ie:transparent) tape. I was curious if there was some testing behind the use of tape, so I asked my friend about it. It turned out to be a productivity issue. We laughed about the fact that we pay attention to silly things like that, but it illustrates the level of thought that has to go into every aspect of your marketing message.

In this case, we’re talking about a letter, but the same scrutiny is necessary for any other media.

Be sure that you’re putting this much care into the delivery of your message – and in fact, the message being sent by the delivery itself.

Tomorrow – how could this piece have been improved?

[audio:https://www.rescuemarketing.com/podcast/ImportantLetter.mp3]
Categories
Advertising Creativity Direct Marketing Marketing Small Business

Role reversal: Use it when crafting a product, service, story or ad

As with yesterday’s “I rescued a human” story, today I have another good example of role reversal to get into the conversation going on in your prospect’s head.

If you watch “traditional man television”, you may already have seen this commercial. You won’t likely find it playing during the soaps, or Oprah. It’s targeted at men and shown during shows and on networks that men are known to frequent.

Immerse yourself in your client or prospect’s situation. Once you’ve done that, the ad, letter, product or service will come to you far more easily.

Have a great Thanksgiving, and thank YOU for reading my blog.