Kids are instinctive about something I like to call The Rule of Repetition. It's a marketing secret that every child knows - and you should, too.
In its least scientific - but most effective - form, The Rule of Repetition sounds a little something like this:
"Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, can I have an ice cream?
Can I? Can I? Can I? Can I?
Please. Please. Please. Please.
I'll be good for a whole year.
I promise. Just give me a dollar.
I won't ask again for a looooooooooong time.
What can we learn from a child's insistent urging for an ice cream - or a bicycle or a doll or a teddy bear or a skateboard or to stay up late? Plenty. In fact, The Rule of Repetition will be one of your biggest allies as you move forward toward your first postcard marketing campaign. That is because regular, repeated mailings are the best way to create big, predictable results. When you mail every 30 days for a year, you will cause a dramatic growth in your business. I'll repeat that: When you mail every 30 days for a year, you will cause a dramatic growth in your business.
When you mail every 30 days for a year, you
will cause a dramatic growth
in your business.
The Rule of Repetition states that people respond to repetition. If you are a parent, or have ever been on the same line with one in the grocery store aisles, you know how hard it is to refuse repeated requests for an ice cream cone or a desperately wanted toy. Why not welcome this rule into your life by applying it to your very own marketing campaign?
Repetition in Your Campaign
Many people ask me, "What is a postcard campaign, exactly? And do I really need one?"
My answer is always the same: "Only if you want to sell something!"
The postcard campaign is to direct marketing what the gas tank is to your next road trip: fuel for the journey - and the only way to get from Point A to Point B. Unfortunately, this strategy is also the hardest part of the process to teach.
It's not as simple as showing a postcard design or handing over a mailing list; campaigns require patience and persistence in order to pay off. And yet no matter how hard I try or how much proof I give, people just don't want to believe it. But I owe you the truth. For the money you spent on this manual, you deserve nothing but the truth.
So here goes. First, a quick definition:
cam·paign (km-pn) n. 1. A series of military operations undertaken to achieve a large-scale objective during a war. Ex: Grant's Vicksburg campaign secured the entire Mississippi for the Union. 2. An operation or series of operations energetically pursued to accomplish a purpose. Ex: An advertising campaign for a new product; a candidate's political campaign.
As you might have guessed, the second definition is the one we're using.
Campaigns for marketing are, in a nutshell, a series of advertising steps, including repeat mailings, strategically-planned to attain maximum benefit (more new customers) for your business.
Note: If you are not doing repeat mailings, you are flushing money down the toilet. Sorry, I know. The truth sometimes hurts.
Why is this true? One mailing of one postcard one time is barely going to get anyone's attention for more than the one minute (or one second) they see it. Think about it. How many times have you seen the same TV commercials, over and over?
They are appealing to The Rule of Repetition, which states the more often a prospect sees something, the more likely they are to become a customer. You'll notice there is no Rule of Restriction here! That's because a single shot in the dark postcard mailing is not going to change your business, your bottom line, your life or anything.
So, if you are not up to confronting the fact that you need a campaign, maybe you shouldn't be in business. That may sound harsh - because it is harsh. It's a harsh world. And I want you to succeed in it. It's better I'm harsh now and show you the right way than life being harsh later - after you've spent thousands on a single mailing cop-out and NOT a campaign.
There is another reason The Rule of Repetition makes campaigns a necessity, not a luxury - Credibility. In some cases, people will hold onto your postcard for a while. They can hold onto your postcard for six months. They may even hold on to your card for three years. But in most cases they'll think, "Oh, I may need that someday" and then while tidying up they'll throw it away. When you repeat your mailings to those same people and they see your image, logo, slogan and message over and over, you become credible to them. Your chances of them responding just got greater - in a big way.
The U.S. Small Business Administration reports that 49% of new businesses fail within five years. Why is that? Simply put, they don't have enough people paying money to them for their services. The bottom line is, they don't market. Therefore, they don't get people buying their stuff. That's the whole point of marketing.
Yes, of course, some promotion is better than no promotion. And sending out a one-time mailing is better then never sending any mailing at all. But this is a chapter about campaigns, not complaints. With a real campaign of repeat mailings, you will soon learn to predict your growth.
Eventually, you will see trends within your own company based on specials or offers on your postcards. You'll know which offers pull more responses. And if you keep track of how much income comes off of each promotion - you'll be better able to predict the results of your next mailing. That means you can personalize your strategy - create your campaign based on your results.
Let's keep it simple: Your income is dependent upon how often your message is communicated to your target list; the more prospects that see your message, the more income you'll make. After some time of mailing consistently, you will know how much you need to mail in order to bring in the desired dollar amount to give you enough of a Return On Investment.
If you put out a blast of communication you will get inflow - prospects and customers calling or coming in and buying. If you're one of the small businesses still surviving on referrals, you are an extreme rarity these days. Yes, delivering a good product gets you some business from referrals, but only some. You want to blast repeatedly to get consistent inflow. And consistency is where prediction comes in. You could almost make a big flow chart of what will happen.
- Say you send out 5,000 postcards.
- Out of that 5,000, 150 hang onto your postcard.
- Out of that 5,000, so many call the first week.
- Out of that 5,000, so many call the second week.
- Out of that 5,000, so many call the next month.
- Out of that 5,000, so many call in 6 months.
- Out of that 5,000, so many never call…
As you can clearly see, 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 going on from that one mailing after the business owner who sent the mailing expects things to happen.
Think about it this way: Do you jump at every single advertisement that seems like a good deal? If you do, you are either a gazillionaire or broke. Most likely, an advertisement catches your interest and you say to yourself "I'd like to check that out someday." Then, you see it again and remember you wanted to "check that out" one day. Then, you see it again and this time you decide to actually check it out. Or you file it away and when you pay off that credit card, pull it out and visit the store that advertised the rug you wanted for your living room.
Victoria's Secret, Pottery Barn, Harry & David (and any reputable catalog company) will mail you catalogs not just once, but multiple times! Are you getting the picture yet? How many Pottery Barn catalogues have you received without ever making a purchase? And yet they keep sending them.
Do you think even a company as big as Pottery Barn or Victoria's Secret has enough money to consistently waste it sending out catalogs to people if they didn't think they would eventually buy something? These companies have the smartest minds in marketing working for them and even so it still all boils down to one thing: The Rule of Repetition.
You want continuous and consistent growth.
So what do you do?
Look at this scenario: What if…
- You send out 5,000 postcards one week and you have everything going on I mentioned in the earlier flow chart from above
- You send out 5,000 the next week and you have everything going on I mentioned above
- You send out 5,000 the next week with the dwindling flow chart going on for each one of those outflows - turning those outflows into inflows
What is going to happen? Hmmmm, 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 and in a big way. You are following the Rule of Repetition and making the most out of your campaign.
I'll be the first one to admit it costs a lot of money to do it. (Once you have your list, which you'll use over and over, postage is more then 55% of your costs.)
So, FIND THE MONEY.
Say it with me, "FIND THE MONEY!" If you are going to borrow money to run a business, spend it wisely. In other words, spend that borrowed money on marketing!
This is the thing about capital investment: People get money to start their business, but often they don't prioritize properly. They give themselves a nice big salary; they buy really great furniture, computers, rent a great office, etc. That's not where they should be spending the bulk of their money. They should be spending their money on marketing and promotion and getting their name out there. Then - and only then - the money coming in from sales can be spent on upgrading computers or designing a fabulous office. Then and only then.
But I digress; back to campaigns and mailing every week: Start with a list and mail to one list one week, another list the next week and another list the following week. Then, rotate those lists again and again and again.
You might be asking, "What if you only have one list?" You can still rotate one list - by dividing it up. Take that one list and divide it up into a series of smaller lists. (Naturally, it is always good to put it in 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 6,000 identities; now split it into thirds. You can mail to 2,000 one week, 2,000 the next week and 2,000 the third week. Then you rotate. There are your three different lists!
Okay, okay, you got the point. The next thing to know about campaigns is the 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?
Priorities Before Pencil Holders
When you have a problem or need a favor, the first people you turn to are those in your immediate circle, right? Your family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.
Well, why should your customers feel left out? The first thing you should do when 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.
Be smart with your money; prioritize. Finding the money is often as easy as looking right under your own nose. Look at your last bank statement and highlight the luxuries. Cigarettes, movies, books, CDs, bar tabs, Twinkies! These are the quickie items you can cut out immediately. But don't stop there; keep right on going. Don't go out for dinner 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 into your business. If you prioritize wisely, you might be able to tackle two campaigns at once!
If you have made all your money with your business, then that business is the goose that is laying the golden egg (for the eventual Lexus), so put money back in your business first. Go ahead and spend the newly-earned money on both the customer retention campaign (Campaign #1) and finding new customers (Campaign #2).
Sure, be selfish and spend the money you need on things you want - you've 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 before you take from your professional account to spend on the personal. 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 prioritize where you can and save where you must. For instance, buy a used computer. Most of the $10,000 you borrowed from your dad - or maxed out on your credit cards - to start up your new business should be spent on marketing, not the latest promotion from Dell or Mac. 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, that is).
And just to let you know - I'm not asking you to do anything I didn't do or anything I'm not doing currently. Everything in this manual has been proven out by my personal experience and observing results of tens of thousands of customers.
Build Your Marketing Campaign and They Will Come
Postcard campaigns are a lot like postcard designs: the bare minimum will work, but why stop there? A campaign could be as simple as mailing the same postcard over and over again to the same list. You'd still be campaigning if you did it this way - and you would have results.
However, you could get closer and closer to your ideal results with a "several-different-messages" campaign. You could design each piece so that it communicates to different types of people. For instance, FEAR is a common feeling for people when they are about to make a purchase. You could use this universal emotion to make your cards communicate how safe it would be to try your product or service - or how awful it could be for them if they don't. There's one card down. Maybe for your second card you offer a money back guarantee. People also respond to humor. A third card in your campaign could be funny. Different folks will respond to different emotions in advertising, and this way you are able to reach them all with a unique message.
A VERY successful way to put together a campaign is to create a series of cards mailed one after the other with some time in between to your market. All of these postcards should look similar. Not the same, but similar. You could do a three-card, four-card, five-card campaign. The look and feel should match, meaning your logo is in the same place each time, your color scheme is the same, etc.
Again, planning is key here; you have to come up with your look and feel beforehand. I suggest 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. I talk a lot more about design in chapter 13, in case you skipped it.
One thing about campaigns is that you have to commit to a campaign. I mean really 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, but definitely commit to the process and fulfill your commitment.
Consumers rarely get multiple postcards from a business. Yet it is such a brilliant system. 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 great movie had a great quote that is well remembered but not necessarily true: "Build it and they will come." Ever hear that? People think it means if you put a building there people will come. Or they think if you build a website, people will automatically visit it. 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 people will believe you (credibility) and respond. They will come - they will spend.