Saturday, April 23, 2011

Marketing Challenge for ALL!

This is nothing I’ve not written about before, here or elsewhere, but as all of you who follow my articles know by now I am a strong believer and proponent for low volume (small batch) special interest postcard direct-mail campaigns.

This time, however, I’m issuing ALL WHO READ THIS A CHALLENGE! I want and expect commitments of 30-, 60- 90-day, six months or one full year from each of you. I DARE you to do this and at the end of your exercise tell me you gained nothing from your participation. That you failed to get one phone call, e-mail inquiry or website visit. More, that you failed to get at least one gig from your campaign.

Ignore what you’ve previously experienced, read or heard (except here, of course ;-) about direct-mail marketing. Open up your minds, engage your willingness to suspend disbelief, and THINK about what I’m asking you to do ... fairly and objectively. Then, let’s see how many of you are willing to commit to a specific period of time by responding NOW in “comments” below, and occasionally for the duration of your exercise. Let’s see how many will seriously accept the challenge.

Then, bring on the comments! Let’s share and learn from your individual experiences by either e-mailing me direct reports, or posting comments here. I will commit to providing blog updates as the program grows and continues. Let’s hear the results, positive, negative or neutral.

Any of you who’ve read my articles know I’m a firm believer in small direct-mail postcard campaigns focused on specific areas of interest: dance schools, school events, youth sports groups, and other clubs, groups and organizations from community playhouses to community center activities.

What I mean by “focused” and “small” is less than 100 units per campaign and as mentioned above, postcards designed to appeal to a specific area of interest.

Do a Google search or use any other method of identifying ANY facility, school, organization, club or group(s) of interest within your service area. Get addresses and as often as you can GET NAMES! Someone to address that postcard to: the counselor, owner, director, choreographer, events planner, organizer, pastor, etc.

DESIGN A POSTCARD with minimum wording, a call to action and a promise you CAN keep: special price, introductory offer, no minimum sales, etc. — something that appeals to the ever-present question “What’s in it for me?” EVERYONE you try to sell something to will ask, and not always aloud.

COMMIT TO MAILING a minimum of ONE postcard a day, on average, (that’s right JUST ONE, although MORE is better) and stick to the commitment. It takes just a few minutes to come up with 30 or so viable addresses, and often names, for most active events. Ten minutes, or less, a day if you ONLY look for one, identify it, address the postcard, stick a stamp on it and put it in the mailbox.

KEEP A RECORD of what happens. What interest group(s) you select. Who you mailed to. How many you mailed. How many responses you get. How many sales, gigs or opportunities you received. Then come here and share your “updates” with the rest of us for the duration of your commitment.

YOU WILL ENJOY a better than five percent response. I’ve been doing this for years and I’ve averaged an eight percent or better response to each and every direct-mail campaign and batch. I’ve ALWAYS done better than break even when factoring in my costs and time, always getting MORE business income than what I invested. Yes, a REAL R.O.I. (return on investment)

Persistency, consistency, commitment WILL generate responses and business. You ARE gaining eyeballs, and TELL yourself this until you believe it, even if you DON’T receive even ONE response over a 90-day period. People WILL read your postcards, many of them will save them for reference purposes because even if they don’t perceive a need today, they will want to keep it as a resource for tomorrow’s, next week’s or next month’s special party or event. They often find themselves in need of a replacement vendor either because they’re displeased with them or they had one flake out on them at the last minute.

These reasons and more have resulted in my getting gigs over the period of many of my direct-mail postcard campaigns.

Keep records, because you WANT to repeat mailings, either with the same direct-mail piece or a new one, but still with your prominent business name and branding present so you continue with the association, visibility and linkage, and familiarity that comes from repeated exposure.

DON’T however overdo it by getting rambunctious and saturating your address lists with something akin to SPAM or JUNK MAIL. That is counter-productive, guaranteeing a negative return and 100 percent direct-to-trash response.

Make your postcard content simple, compelling and ALWAYS include a call to action: “Call NOW!” or “ACT NOW!” or “E-MAIL TODAY!” or “BOOK TODAY!” so on and so forth.

Just do it! And share your results with the rest of us. I personally look forward to many glowing reports of positive limited run, direct-mail postcard, special interest campaigns over then next 12 months.

Remember: “If you market, you will make it!” © 2004-2011 Earl Chessher

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