There is a simple but almost mystical law which governs promotion and marketing and their relationship to amount of business generated: business will come in to degree that you get your message out, promote, let people know you are there, advertise, write to people, call people, e-mail people and generally communicate to existing or potential clients. It isn’t a fact that registers easily and it almost takes faith to follow this dictum until you have seen it work over and over in all sorts of different businesses and organizations (as I have).
This law transcends market conditions, activities of your competition, acts of terrorism, time of year, alignment of Mars with Jupiter and all million and one explanations we frequently fall back on when business is slow. All these conditions may be present but there is still a way to rise above them: just promote more heavily and frequently and business will start to pick up again. It never fails.
It’s almost a natural instinct when times get a little tight or business is slow to cut down on expenditure. You hear people talking about tightening their belts. Too often first expenditure companies seek to cut is their marketing and advertising dollar, and that is a serious error, a guarantee of contraction. You have to step up promotion, not cut back. The trick is to find ways to get maximum results with minimum expenditure, but never to cut back and promote less. That’s suicide. Here’s one way to increase promotion while keeping costs down.
You don’t have to open a postcard!
We have found more and more brokers are turning to high quality, four-color postcards as best form of direct mail. It’s time to pass on information for those who haven’t yet discovered this cost-effective way of getting word out and business in.
This is especially timely advice as national anthrax scare – whether you give credence to it or not – has resulted in a certain caution when it comes to opening envelopes from unknown sources. One great advantage of postcard is that it doesn’t have to be opened – there is nothing hidden about it and nothing to be scared of.
Quite aside from anthrax angle, fact that a postcard doesn’t need to be opened has another advantage: it has a chance to get its message across before it is dropped into garbage can as “junk mail.” An envelope can be tossed in trash without even being opened, allowing hard-hitting promotional material inside no chance at all to get its message across.
The chances are fairly high that if you have a brightly colored image on front of your postcard it will attract enough attention to get an initial glance. If your headline is a good one and invites further interest, then your postcard will be read and you will have succeeded in delivering your message. If reader is even vaguely interested in what you are trying to sell, you may well get a visit or a call.
Even though it is imperative to promote more than ever when economy is sticky or business is slow, that doesn’t mean you can’t cut costs in process.
Many brokers are convinced that a full-color postcard with right message on it, mailed out to previous clients (for re-financing for example) or to prospective borrowers gets most bang for advertising buck of any form of promotion, even when they also advertise in print, on radio and TV, sky-writing, you name it.
You can mail out a postcard up to 4 1/4 inches by 6 inches for between 17.5¢ and 19.5¢ first class pre-sorted. This is cheaper than lowest letter rate which is 19¢ - 24¢ and that’s for standard, bulk rate, not first class. If you find right company you can get 5,000 high quality, full-color, laminated postcards printed for under $400.
Warren Financial Corporation of Dunedin, Florida, is an example of a company who rely entirely on postcards (and referrals) for new business. “The strange thing about postcards is that I’ll have people who will call me 6 or 8 months after I mailed them out and say, ‘I got one of your postcards and kept it.’,” says Jim Warren, company’s owner. He buys 6,000 postcards at a time and sends out 400 every month to highly targeted mailing lists. He leaves back of cards blank so that he can get a different message printed on them when he’s ready to send them. This allows for rate changes and other time-sensitive messages to be printed on at time postcards are going to be mailed.
He used to use very basic, black and white postcards run off by his local printer but has now gone to full-color, 4 1/4” x 6” cards (the largest size you can send at lowest mail rate) which has improved his response rate. “I have a rifle rather than a shotgun approach to marketing,” he says. “For what I do four-color postcards are perfect.”
A case in point…
Sun Pacific Mortgage of Santa Rosa, California have been in business for 14 years, specializing in giving loans to people who have been turned down elsewhere. Owner Forest Tardibuono came across some management technology in 1997 and since then their income has increased by 900% and is still on rise. One of principles that Forest learned and really put into practice was fact that if you want more business or new business, you have to promote. “We’re one big marketing machine,” he says. “We promote heavily and it’s then an easy job for loan reps to pick up loans. The sale is easy.” The company spends 14% of its gross on promotion. With an annual income of close to $2 million, that’s a sizable budget for promotion. But it is also a major factor in their continued growth.
Sun Pacific order 50-60,000 postcards at a time with a selection of several different images on cards. They have an arrangement with local title companies whereby these provide Sun Pacific with mailing lists already printed in mailing label form at no cost as an incentive for mortgage company to use them for title work. They provide these labels as often as needed and targeted as narrowly and specifically as required. For example, Forest will ask for homeowners of a specific zip code (one that has proven profitable in past) and will limit search to specific categories to make sure that mailing hits home. Getting mailing labels free of a charge represents a considerable saving.