In business as in life it is valuable to learn that the only constant is change and a business that is not constantly changing and adapting to the changing environment will have difficulty surviving. In the past 18 months I have completely changed my marketing strategy for my business (1-800-PLUMBING INC).
I realized that many of the tactics I used are no longer cost effective and that it is time to try some different marketing techniques and determine what is effective in this economy.
I have worked on solidifying partnerships with vendors and I have resorted to some un-conventional techniques, one of which I would like to focus on.
Very few companies send greeting cards to their customers. It is generally not cost effective to buy a card for $4 – $5, writing a message, stamping it and mailing it. To sum it up, sending a regular greeting card the old fashioned way is inconvenient. Sending an e-card does not have the same impact of a physical card and personally, I usually don’t bother to open e-cards for fear of introducing a virus to my computer. Email and e-cards are just not the same.
Well about a year ago, I signed up to use a company called “Send Out Cards” (sendoutcards.com). My first use of this product was to send thank-you cards to donors for a charity bicycle ride I have done for the past 3 years. With Send Out Cards, I am able to up-load my pictures, put them on a card, up-load a list of contacts, hit the send button and everything else gets completed at the facility in Salt Lake City. They print the card, stuff the envelope, stamp it and mail it! They will even put a gift in the card. Send Out Cards takes all the inconvenience out of sending a card and adds a huge creativity factor. Also, a 2 panel card with pictures costs less than $1.50 (not including postage)
So fast forward and I have a new marketing challenge. 1-800-PLUMBING is licensed out by exclusive geographic territories. When a major metropolitan territory opened up, I wanted to get a marketing piece in front of my prospects that would have maximum impact and still be cost effective. So, I put together a card with a cool picture of some plumbing/heating system valves on the front and the tag line is “this is a unique card” Inside the card I have a picture of a plumbing truck with the “1-800-PLUMBING” logo and the text below reads:
“Right Now, You have a unique opportunity to get the number “1-800-PLUMBING” for your business. We have an established territory available in your area now! Calls are already coming in…. Call us at: 1-800-758-6298 before your competition gets it!”
Well I have had a much higher percentage of calls and I even had one prospect query me as to how many I sent and was I getting other calls. I think this is the most cost effective marketing strategy I have come up with in many years. I am still tallying the results, but I am already thinking of my next target market area.
Recommended Books on Direct Marketing, Including Using Greeting Cards:
- No B.S. Direct Marketing: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Direct Marketing for Non-Direct Marketing Businesses
- Successful Direct Marketing Methods
- The Direct Mail Solution: A Business Owner’s Guide to Building a Lead-Generating, Sales-Driving, Money-Making Direct-Mail Campaign
- 2,239 Tested Secrets For Direct Marketing Success : The Pros Tell You Their Time-Proven Secrets
- Direct Mail in the Digital Age