What the Heck is a Campaign and Why Do I Need to Do One?
Many people ask me, "What is a postcard campaign, exactly?" "And why do I need one?" As I have been educating my clients one on one for years now, I suddenly had the bright idea that I needed to explain this for more than just one at a time and in further detail. So here goes?
Campaigns for marketing are, in a nutshell, a series of repeat mailings that are strategically planned so that there is maximum benefit (more new customers) for your business.
Nota bene (that means "take note" in Latin - and I do mean take note): If you are not doing repeat mailings then you are flushing money down toilet.
Why is this true? Basically, because people hold onto your postcard for a while. They can hold onto your postcard for six months. They will even hold on to your card for three years. When you repeat your mailings to those same people, your chances of them responding just got greater. Repeat mailings cannot be repeated enough.
A one shot in the dark postcard mailing is not going to change your business, your bottom line, your life or your anything.
So, if you are not up to confronting that you need to do a campaign then maybe you shouldn't be in business. And that may sound harsh - it is harsh. It's a harsh world. And I want you to succeed in it.
Why do businesses fail in the first three years? Because they don't have enough people paying money to them for their services. The bottom line is, they don't market - they don't get people buying their stuff. That's the whole point of marketing.
Yes, some promotion is better than no promotion. But the great thing about marketing campaigns is that you will be more able to predict your growth. Your income is dependent upon how much communication you put out on a subject. It's relative to that.
If you put out a blast of communication you will get inflow - prospects, customers calling or coming in and buying. Yes, once that initial blast goes out you will get some business from referrals?some. But you want that blast repeated over and over and over to get the inflow that it will generate consistently. You could almost make a big flow chart of what will happen.
Say you send out 5000 postcards.
Out of that 5000, 150 hang onto your postcard.
Out of that 5000, so many call the 1st week.
Out of that 5000, so many call the 2nd week.
Out of that 5000, so many call the next month.
Out of that 5000, so many call in 6 months.
Out of that 5000, so many never call?
There is a dwindling inflow from that first mailing and therefore can give a false impression of what occurs from one mailing. Someone sends out a postcard and says, "I only got four responses from my mailing!" But there is a whole dynamic that is going on that is continuing from that one mailing way after the person who sent the mailing expects things to happen. Think about it. Do you jump at every single advertisement that you get bombarded with that you think is a good idea? If you do, you are either a millionaire or broke. But most likely, you see some advertisement that catches your interest and say to yourself that you'd like to check that out some day. Then, you see it again and remember that you wanted to check that out one day. And then, you see it again and this time you decide to check it out. Or you file it away and when you pay off that credit card, you pull out your file and visit that store that advertised the rug you wanted to buy for your living room.
Victoria Secret, Ballard Designs - any reputable catalog company will mail you catalogs multiple times! Are you getting the picture yet?
You want continuous and consistent growth. So what do you do? Look at this scenario:
You send out 5000 postcards one week and you have all that going on that I mentioned above.
You send out 5000 the next week and you have all that going on that I mentioned above.
You send out 5000 the next week and that dwindling flow chart is going on, on each one of those outflows.
What is going to happen? Mmmh, let me see? Eventually it is going to snowball - it's coming in from all different places!
You are really putting your communication out there consistently in a big way.
And yes, it costs a lot of money to do it. So, FIND THE MONEY. FIND THE MONEY. If you are going to borrow money to do a business, spend that borrowed money on marketing!
This is the thing about capital investment - people get money to start their business. They give themselves a nice big salary, they buy really great furniture, computers, a building, and so forth. That's not where they should be spending their money. They should be spending their money on marketing and promotion and getting their name out there. And then all that money from the sales that come in should be spent on upgrading their computer or designing a fabulous office. Then and only then.
Back to campaigns and mailing out boo coo each week. Start with a list and mail to one list one week, another list the next week and another list the following week. Then you rotate those lists - again. And again. And again.
Now you ask - what if you only have one list? You can still rotate one list. And it is always good to put it on a spreadsheet or a flow chart to track what you are doing and what you have already done.
For instance: You get one list of 6000 identities. You can mail to 2000 one week, 2000 the next week and 2000 the third week. Then you rotate. There are your three different lists!
OK, you got the point. The next thing to know about campaigns is that there are two different types of marketing campaigns. There is the campaign to get your customers to keep buying from you so they don't go elsewhere. And then there is the campaign to get new business in.
Once you have gotten new business in, then those customers (that once were prospects) get the repeat-customer campaign.
Where does one start?
The first thing you should do when starting out and thinking of a marketing campaign is to start with your own customers.
Say you've been in business 5-10 years and have hit a plateau; start by mailing out to your own customers that have been with you and already know you are good. And then once you get your income up a little bit, start the second campaign to market to new customers.
But then, if you have the money just figure out how to do both. Don't go out to eat quite as much. Don't buy that new Lexus (yet!). Don't invest in that piece of real estate right now. Put your money back in your business.
If you have made all your money with your business, well then that business is the goose that is laying the golden egg (for the eventual Lexus), so put that money back in your business first. Go ahead and spend the newly earned money on both the new customer and customer retention campaigns.
Sure, be selfish; you earned it but just be patient. Wait until your marketing is really paying off and you couldn't stop the influx of business if you tried.
Above, I am speaking to someone that has gotten very comfortable in their own income and doesn't necessarily want to cut their own income to grow their business. But if you have a new business and really only have twelve customers, then you have to do a campaign to get new customers. And it costs money; it will be a big expense.
So buy a used computer on Ebay. Most of the $10,000 you borrowed from your dad to start up should be spent on marketing. Work out of your bedroom on a used computer, then sell and deliver your product or service. When you've sold plenty. then you pay yourself (when Dad's paid off and you actually have money).
To get back to what we were discussing: just mail to the list for a while - and rotate through it. It will pay off, I promise.
Who do you mail to?
Say you have a product that only goes into and works in an American made car. And say that you notice that the customers you have are between the ages of 40 to 60 years old. Well, find out from a list company how many people in a ten-mile radius or five-mile radius there are that fit that description in your area. Or, look at your own customer base and find out where they live and then find out how many other people fit that demographic in their area.
That is your list!
OK, so you get with a list company and there are 20,000 identities with that demographic. The catch is you can only afford 1/3rd or 1/8th of that to start with.
Fine! Take 5000 identities from that 20,000 and start. Divide your campaign into three-week segments. Mail out 1/3rd one week, 1/3rd the next week, 1/3rd the following week. You can mail the same postcard to all segments of the list.
The campaign aspect is that on mailing 2,3,4 and so on all your postcards should look similar. Not the same, but similar. You could do a three-card, four-card, five-card campaign. Look and feel should match. Your logo is in the same place each time, your color scheme is the same, etc.
You have got to come up with your look and feel beforehand. I suggest that you design and mail the first one and check for results. You can tweak it, but choose your basic colors FIRST. Do a little research. Which colors communicate to you the most? Be your own survey person. Love your mail piece. Don't sign off on anything a designer came up with if you don't love it. You'll imbue it with results. It'll pull better if you love it?sounds nutty, but it's true.
One thing about campaigns is that you have to commit to a campaign. Commit. Wherever you buy your marketing services from, commit to a campaign. Let them design all five pieces at once. I don't suggest printing them all at once. Tweak the design on the others if you need to as you go.
Consumers rarely get multiple postcards from a business. Yet it is such a brilliant idea. When I receive multiple postcards, I take a look. I think, "Hmmm, these guys are still contacting me." That shows persistence, it shows credibility. You are building credibility with a campaign. That is the point. So, hit 'em again, Sam.
A campaign is mailing to the same people over and over and over again. The point is you want to hit your prospects with different communication about the same thing or hit them with different products with the same look and feel. The rest will come. A great movie had a great quote that rings true through and through, "Build it and they will come." However, people usually think that it means put a building there and people will come. Or they build a web site and expect people to come. No, you have to drive customers to your business.
So, "Build it and they will come" should actually have been "Build your marketing campaign and they will come". Because what you are building with a marketing campaign is credibility. You are building your business through communication. You are communicating consistently, so much that people will believe you (credibility) and they will respond; they will come, they will spend.
Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998; her only assets a computer and a phone. In 2004 the company did close to $9 million in sales and employs over 60 persons. She attributes her explosive growth to her ability to choose incredible staff and her innate marketing savvy. Now she's sharing her marketing secrets with others. For more free marketing advice, visit her website at http://www.postcardmania.com
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