Here at PostcardMania, we live for results.
I have a client case study you HAVE to see.
Nelson Construction started out as a small construction business here in Clearwater, FL with just a truck and a couple contractors.
Over the past 4 years, they’ve grown from just a few staff into a multi-million dollar organization.
I interviewed Dominique Nelson, one of the owners , so you can learn EXACTLY what she and her husband did to grow their family-owned and operated construction business into a multi-million-dollar company.
Nelson Construction specializes in design-build and custom homes in the Tampa Bay, FL area.
When they started out 11 years ago, the business only consisted of:
- Greg Nelson
- a couple other contractors
- and a truck
Back then, they could only handle 1-3 clients at a time.
They delivered incredible service and their clients were happy, BUT:
The business was not set up to handle more leads, more clients, nor more projects.
At the time, Dominique wasn’t even working in their business —
She was actually busy working at a local school and caring for their children…
But she was watching the company closely:
Dominique: “I noticed that anytime my husband took on more than 1-3 clients at a time, things would start to fall apart in the business.”
Dominique wanted to help expand the business, so she left her job at the school and came on board with Greg about 4 years ago.
She took on hiring and office management and also put herself in charge of marketing.
More clients, more jobs, more revenue, more employees — legitimate expansion on every level!
I decided to interview her and pick her brain and not just share the marketing parts but also whatever else seemed relevant.
That way, you can use the same principles (PROVEN to be successful) to grow YOUR business.
First things first:
1. She organized their business top to bottom and began tracking everything.
In the first couple months after joining Nelson Construction, Dominique quickly realized the business needed more organization.
So Dominique started using the Hubbard Management System, an administration system that helped her organize the departments of the company so that tasks would be done faster and all production would be fully tracked. She also learned how to hire (and train) the right people so, as her business grew, they could actually handle the anticipated increase in renovation projects.
As the new Head of Marketing, the most important thing she wanted to track was where new leads were coming from and the effect those new leads were having on the business.
She wanted to know exactly how her marketing efforts would change the business.
She didn’t want to rely on intuition or anecdotes like, “I remember we had a really good year once when we sent postcards.”
Dominique looked at the business and broke it up into divisions, then assigned each division a statistic that would indicate if that division was doing well. She did this on a large and small scale.
The statistic for the overall business = Gross Income
The statistic for finance division = Bills Paid
Dominique started entering statistics for each division into a software program that allowed her to view (and print off) graphs of those statistics.
Assessing the health of your business is much easier when you can SEE IT.
Here’s an example of Dominique’s graphs:
You can see how easy it is to spot long-term trends over days, weeks, months and even years.
Dominique: “We keep graphs on every division in the company.”
Here are the statistics Dominique set up for Nelson Construction to track its marketing AND overall production, quality control, and growth:
- Promo Sent Out
- Gross Income
- Bills Paid
- Cash-to-Bills (as a ratio)
- Letters Mailed Out
- Administration Program Steps Completed
- Logistics Points
- Production Points
- Quality Control
- And Dollar Value Sales
And here’s all the marketing this “Promo Sent Out” statistic includes:
- Postcards & direct mail
- Social media promotion (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)
- Houzz (an online community for home projects)
- Google ads (pay-per click)
- Blog posts
- Magazine ads
- Magazine articles
- Email newsletter
- Personal letters or emails sent to current or past clients
- Job site signs
This is all combined into the number you see on the graph above as “impressions” — how many Nelson ads are seen.
Dutifully, she logged all these numbers weekly!
Now that she had the framework in place to measure her success, she was ready to promote!
She organized ALL their contacts into a database and started sending them weekly newsletters.
Marketing to your current customers is always one of the most affordable and effective ways to market. They’ve already chosen you!
Dominque: “I started sending out a weekly newsletter via email, and we started mailing postcards with PostcardMania. We also created and sent out tri-folds.”
Plus, her newly organized database allowed her to see exactly WHO their customers were, and with this data, she got a mailing list consisting of raw prospect contacts with similar demographics.
She mailed 2,000 postcards per month — for 3 months.
These postcards resulted in calls and traffic to their website.
Dominique kept emailing the weekly newsletter, along with mailing postcards, and all the while…
She started to see a correlation!
Here’s what she discovered:
More promotion sent out = increased income.
In other words:
Marketing was proportional to business growth.
Don’t take my word for it, take a look at these 2 quarterly graphs!
The more she marketed Nelson Construction, the more the business grew.
Prior to the big leap in the promo graph above, she had this huge realization:
Dominique: “We had BIG plans to expand and hire people and organize the company further, but we just weren’t getting the number of leads we needed to actually be able to generate the wherewithal and capital to hire more staff and really expand.”
Nelson Construction realized that they couldn’t jump ahead to more clients and revenue without one important step:
Once she had the numbers and could see the trends for herself, Dominique’s next step became clear…
The focus became outright PUSHING marketing.
Increasing the volume and consistency of their marketing beyond anything they’d tried before.
Dominique knew she needed more education, so she signed up for our Growth Summit, an in-person marketing event where she’d learn the ins and outs of modern marketing techniques that would really help her get even better results from her marketing — and FAST.
2. Dominique launched an all-out marketing campaign that would explode the business.
From the Growth Summit, one of Dominique’s first targets was to tweak her website.
She learned that a business website isn’t just an informational tool you provide to people —
Your website is a TOOL in the overall marketing strategy that should advance and control the buying cycle.
Here’s what I mean…
When someone visits your website, one of 2 things happen:
- They either LIKE what they see and decide to stay on your website.
- They think, “This isn’t for me,” and leave.
So your website is a vital part of your marketing strategy. And a website that’s designed extremely well — which doesn’t have to be expensive, by the way — should actually get you leads!
Dominique made the changes to her website and then realized:
A higher percentage of her revenue needed to be allocated to her marketing budget to grow the business MORE.
At this time, she was spending about 1-2% of her revenue on marketing.
It was getting her results, but not enough…
So she invested even MORE money into her marketing.
This is NOT an easy thing to do.
Trust me, I’ve been there!
Back when I first started PostcardMania, I didn’t have a ton of experience under my belt, but what I did have was a stable piece of marketing information — from the Hubbard Management System — that told me if I marketed more, I would see an increase in leads and revenue.
I was mailing out around 1,000 postcards a week promoting my business. Not long after I started mailing those 1,000 postcards, my revenue increased.
Later — even though it was a BIG jump — I upped my postcards to 2,500 per week (more than double!)
Again, my revenue increased!
However, after a few months of consistently mailing 2,500 postcards per week, my business hit a plateau, and my leads and revenue flat-lined.
Again, the only data I had to guide me was this:
If I wanted to increase my leads and revenue, I needed to market more.
So even though it felt like a big risk, I doubled my marketing again —
This time mailing 5,000 postcards with a commitment of 6 weeks.
What happened next — I honestly was SHOCKED.
My revenue skyrocketed to more than EVER before.
That’s when I learned — just as Dominique learned — that if you want to see your business’s leads and revenue increase, you must commit to marketing and promoting MORE — even if it feels scary at first (which it will.)
And, depending on your sales cycle (how long it takes to close someone from the moment they first contact you), it could take a few months to really see the increase in revenue.
Dominque had also learned from the Growth Summit that marketing communication — like the text on her website and in her weekly newsletter — had to be personal.
Dominque: “I made the content less commercialized and more personal to really fulfill that need and answer the questions that they had.”
She focused her content on really helping their homeowner clients, considering questions like these:
- What issues did they run into?
- What help did they need?
- What questions commonly came up?
Because pushing marketing was the TOTAL focus to grow the company, Dominque started planning year-long marketing campaigns.
No longer was marketing an after-thought or an extra expense. It became the vital focus of ALL her efforts.
She went from a couple 3-month campaigns a year to this:
TRIPLING the amount of postcards she mailed and QUADRUPLING the length of her campaigns.
She was now committed to year-long mailings of 6,000 postcards every single month.
The most important lesson she learned from the Growth Summit:
You have to market your business SO MUCH MORE than you think is reasonable. That’s the only way to finally be seen and noticed!
I’ve said that you need to make your business “omnipresent” — meaning your business needs to be seen EVERYWHERE. Dominique took this data to heart as you can see from that graph I showed you above.
3. Dominique increased her marketing by the thousands and across several platforms.
She committed to consistently mailing out 6,000 postcards every single month vs. 2,000 cards every few months. She worked with her marketing consultant to target lists of homeowners with specific annual incomes and home values in excess of $200,000.
Being a local company, she targeted homes in close proximity to her service area to ensure they could take on any jobs that came in.
She signed up for DirectMail2.0, which combined Google follow-up ads with her high-volume postcard campaign.
Why is this so important?
Now, anyone who saw Nelson Construction’s postcard — or visited their website — would be “followed” all over the internet, seeing their ads across MILLIONS of websites in the Google network.
And since these Google follow-up ads matched the design of the postcards — and were run at the same time — prospects received literally thousands of impressions of Nelson Construction’s marketing message.
Take a look at their postcard design:
Notice they have TWO special offers?
$300 off PLUS a free consultation!
Love that, and it’s clearly worked for them!
After mailing a total of 93,396 postcards combined with DirectMail2.0, here’s what happened:
- Leads QUADRUPLED
- Revenue DOUBLED
- And their online ads were seen 1,233,121 times
Dominique: “People reported seeing us ‘everywhere!’ In reality, we had just 2 trucks with logos on them yet people had this feeling we were EVERYWHERE, and it was because of the reach we were generating with our postcards and DirectMail2.0.”
At the same time, Dominque also ran paid Facebook ads to get the business even more exposure. She also uses Facebook as a survey tool, testing which imagery and copy actually generate response from her target market.
Dominique: “I use Facebook as a survey tool to find out what gets the most interest — which particular photos do people like, which kinds of ads get clicks — like the ‘Call Now’ ads vs. the ‘Visit Our Website’ ones.”
Dominique learned from the Growth Summit that understanding exactly which calls to action works best stretches her marketing dollars even further.
She also used Facebook to share her helpful content —
Content that since the Growth Summit she had tailored to be even more personal and helpful to homeowners.
Dominique: “I also did a lot of social media posts, both daily and weekly, I really used the internet as a tool to BOOST our presence and outflow.”
In other words, Dominque used several marketing channels to get the word out about Nelson Construction (not just 1 or 2.)
Dominique: “It’s inevitable that as soon as we do a postcard blast, about 4-6 weeks afterward the income goes up and the leads pour in!”
Her leads increased from a 2-3 a week to 15-20 each and every week.
That is 6 TIMES (6X) as many!
What does she spend on her marketing?
Currently she spends about $3,000 per WEEK on marketing.
Does that seem like a lot? Or too much?
Not when you consider this:
She tracks her promotion, leads, and income. (Among many others!)
She KNOWS that investing in her marketing results in increased income!
It isn’t a risk — it’s a mathematical equation.
And THIS is what I have trouble getting so many business owners to understand!
It is literally the hardest principal to get a small business owner to implement…
There are plenty of people in Clearwater that knew me before I was successful – many are small business owners themselves. When I’m asked, “How did you do it?” and reply with, “I marketed WAY more than any sane person would think is normal,” and tell them the specifics, their eyes glaze over.
I can almost hear them thinking: “That wouldn’t work for me,” or “We could never do that.” It seems to be the instant reaction to this principle.
Yet, those that DO accept and embrace this concept WIN and GROW their businesses.
Again here’s the proof —
Check out this graph showing the yearly promo out:
Dominique: “Now we have the OPPOSITE problem as we did before, because now we really NEED more staff to actually meet all the demand our increased marketing is generating.”
And this too is MY problem… we need more sales reps to handle the HUGE influx of leads coming in daily to PostcardMania. This is a much better problem to have!
Here’s the key takeaway:
You need to PUSH marketing MORE than you even think you do.
Dominque learned through her own trial and error that the importance of repetition in marketing CANNOT be overstated.
Dominique: “Before the Growth Summit, I didn’t have that concept, but now I really get that everybody needs to see your marketing message 3, 4, 5 sometimes 15 times before your marketing impinges on your prospects.”
(Think about the way YOU react to marketing — do YOU buy the first time you see an ad or learn about a new product or service? I’m guessing the answer is no.)
Dominique now knows the value of investing fearlessly in her marketing.
Dominique: “The other thing I realized is that the money we invest in our marketing inevitably results in increased income. So now I have NO concern over how much I spend on marketing.”
This was a HUGE revelation for Dominique.
She told me she used to be super concerned and a bit freaked out about what she spent on marketing.
But now Dominque knows, based on her own testing and experience, that investing money into her marketing = investing money into GROWTH.
That’s why Dominque plans her marketing a full year in advance.
Marketing is not a secondary expenditure but a VITAL one. She signed up for her 2018 marketing campaign already so that, when January 1, 2018 rolls around, there won’t be a single hiccup in her promotion.
And get this:
She will mail 72,000 postcards just in the new year, in addition to thousands of online ads.
I know that sounds like a LOT of postcards to many of you. And it could be, depending on where your business is in its lifecycle.
I invest 18% of PostcardMania’s income back into our own marketing — which is a LOT compared to other businesses.
But that’s my point:
I figured out that 18% is the right amount for me to invest into marketing in order to grow PostcardMania. With more than half our revenue coming from re-orders, I realized that getting the most new customers possible was the way to grow my business.
For Nelson Construction, $3,000 per week works for their business and industry.
Different marketing experts say different percentages, but the only way you’re going to know the right amount of marketing for your business is by TRACKING.
You have to know how your leads and revenue grow from your marketing expenditure.
It’s not ONLY about marketing — and I’m saying this as the owner of a marketing company!
Nelson Construction delivers not only an incredible product but amazing, really care-driven service. Trust me, I know!
I’m their client, and out of ALL the construction projects I’ve done I’ve never had better communication and care given to me. And I’ve done my fair share of construction projects over the years. In fact, I built the 60,000 square-foot building PostcardMania’s in, plus I’ve renovated my house and backyard!
So marketing is obviously a HUGE part of your growth strategy, but you also need to:
- Deliver fantastic customer service
- Deliver an excellent final product
- Organize your business
- Track everything
- And hire well-trained, caring employees
Truthfully, I’m THRILLED that one of my clients really listened to my advice on marketing, as Dominique did. It means SO much to me (and my awesome employees) to see a small business owner boom their business, especially by taking this this:
Whatever you THINK you need to promote to change your business, it’s actually MUCH more than that.
This is the HARDEST thing for me to impart on business owners no matter how many times I say it.
You have to be omnipresent in today’s marketplace, and this means marketing and promoting FAR more than you think you need to, and:
A one-shot marketing blast won’t have any effect on your prospects when they’re already bombarded with marketing messages all day, every day.
That’s why you have to consistently distribute your marketing message over and over again on a number of different channels.
Dominique: “If you really want to boom your business, you need to PUSH your marketing — you HAVE to promote more. And when you think you’re promoting more, you need to promote even more than that.”
It can be overwhelming for small business owners to market enough to change their business —
Simply because “enough” seems like “TOO MUCH.”
Honestly, even just figuring out Google ads and Facebook ads — not to mention designing the ads and tracking every minute detail — are way above what most small business owners have time for. (If it wasn’t my JOB to figure these things out, I doubt I’d have time, either!)
But whether you have time or not…
Your business won’t survive or even grow if you’re not marketing enough to make it known and desired above your competition.
That’s why we launched a product to help you get your name out there en masse.
It will promote a cohesive and coordinating campaign AUTOMATICALLY using direct mail, Google ads, AND now Facebook ads —
All without YOU having to hire an entire marketing team.
We call it Everywhere Small Business —
Because for your business to not only survive but GROW, showing up everywhere is no longer an option.
Dominique: “You always need to OVER-promote, and only then will you have that flood of leads and you’ll get to the point where you’ll be in the condition you really want your business in.”
Here’s what you get with Everywhere Small Business:
- A personal grow-your-business consultation with our experts
- A custom mailing list based on your ideal customer
- A targeted and results-based postcard campaign
- Online follow-up ads blasted across the Google network
- Super-targeted Facebook ads to the list you’re mailing to
- Tracking of your online visitors and impressions
- Call tracking and call recording (easy to access via an online dashboard)
- And real-time updates of ALL of the above on your own online dashboard, available 24/7
Honestly, as I write this:
I’m unaware of ANY other company who has created a product like Everywhere Small Business, so we’re pretty excited over here —
Because the truth is if you were to hire another marketing agency to do this for you…
You won’t find one that combines direct mail with digital marketing and puts it on autopilot for you.
Sure, you’ll find plenty of digital marketing agencies out there, and they charge anywhere from $40/hour to $200/hour JUST to run your Google and Facebook ads…
And that doesn’t even consider — let alone cover — direct mail marketing in a seamless affordable package.
So here’s the deal:
I want you to grow your business affordably and easily, and we can help you plan your 2018 marketing campaign starting now.
It’s definitely not too early!
I have a team of 30 incredible marketing consultants who will help you understand what works in your industry so that you can make the best decisions for getting your name out there in the New Year —
And in a way that works with your marketing budget.
For more information on Everywhere Small Business and your marketing plan for 2018, just call 1-800-628-1804 to speak to one of these marketing consultants — their advice is 100% FREE!
Or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. You can STILL send out holiday postcards to remind your prospects and customers that you’re the business to buy from this holiday season… check out our holiday designs for inspiration and help!