An Edutainer's Guide to Postcard Marketing Basics
The billions of dollars spent annually on marketing have created a fog of commercials, infomercials, billboards, direct mail, TV and radio ads, newspaper ads, flyers, blurbs, jingles, and bloggles (a type of viral marketing - blogs posing as informative but are actually nothing more than marketing sponsored by a specific company).
How does anyone compete with this onslaught? You don’t! You must demonstrate your own posture, define your own appearance, mark out your own territory, and strengthen your own brand. But how do you accomplish this without spending huge bucks?
I’ll show you how in this Edutainer’s Guide to Postcard Marketing Basics.
Let’s say your gross commission income is $125,000 a year and you have 3,000 names in your active database. Currently, you have a direct mail postcard campaign in effect and contact your entire database monthly. You, or your staff, print postcards and labels, sort, stamp, and deliver 3,000 pieces of mail to the post office monthly.
Your minimum cost with labor, materials, ink, and postage is 74¢ each; i.e., 74¢ x 3,000 = $2,220/month. Multiply that by 12 months for a total of $26,640 per year.
Using business school math, marketing should be no more than 20% of your annual gross income. Therefore, you should not be spending in excess of $25,000 on marketing per year (20% x $125,000 = $25,000). You are exceeding your budget by only $1,640. However, that’s for all marketing, which leaves you zero dollars for anything else. And you know there is always something else!
But I Don’t Need Any Other Marketing!
Get a grip! There’s REALTOR.com, Open Houses, Just Listed, Just Sold, Visual Tours, web sites, an e-mail campaign – to name a few. So, yes you do! The answer is obvious. You market to “Earn More Money”. Let me show you how.
This solution, that allows you to expand your postcard campaign, leaves money in the budget for other marketing.
To start with, let’s reduce your direct mail cost and use an online printing solutions company that specializes in postcards -- one like expresscopy.com. You provide the addresses (from your contact management system). It’s easy to roll out a standard-sized postcard (4.25” x 5.5”) for as little as $45 per hundred or 45¢ each – much cheaper than doing all the work and labor yourself.
But look what you can get for $45: a full-color (both sides), laminated postcard, individually addressed and certified according to the USPS standards, and affixed with first class postage. Remember, such postcards can be mailed to any address in the United States and U.S. Territories. To summarize the total cost:
Cost: .45 x 3,000 = $1,350/month x 12 months = $16,200
Back to business school math, $125,000 gross income x 20% = $25,000, minus $16,200 leaves $8,800 to apply to other forms of marketing! Actually, many of the agents I work with who earn in excess of $125,000 a year spend closer to 30% of gross commission income. But wait…
Triple the Coverage for the SAME MONEY and Increase Income
Using what retail catalog marketers have taught us, you, too, can now apply spatial repetition to your postcard marketing campaign.
Start by increasing your contacts from 3,000 to 9,000. (For this example, we are going to arbitrarily ‘bump up’ the numbers. In real life, you would gradually add to your database of contacts. And, if you apply the suggestions I give in my book, Dog Eat Dog & Vice Versa, 9 Secrets To Put The Bite Into Your Marketing, it will build fast. Or, if you choose, you can go out and purchase 6,000 new targeted names. But either way, we will now use your new database of 9,000 contacts.
The Secret of Spatial Repetition in Steps
Step 1 -- Divide your database of 9,000 names into thirds -- three groups of 3,000 each. Let’s call them Red, Blue, and Yellow. Use your own database as the Red Group.
Step 2 -- Create your postcard. Remember, with expresscopy.com, it’s easy, use one of the thousands of existing templates or create your own. They even have a "by appointment" training solution.
Step 3 -- Mail to the Red Group once a month for three consecutive months. (If you, like this example, are using your existing database as the Red Group, then you have already achieved spatial repetition with this group and can proceed to the Blue Group.) For this example, we will say those months are January, February, and March, which creates your first campaign that follows the rules of spatial repetition.
Step 4 -- Mail the same postcard to the Blue Group -- April, May, and June.
Step 5 -- In July, you again mail (the same postcard) to the Red Group to maintain spatial repetition. Spatial repetition creates a perception to the receivers that they get mailings from you monthly. (Note: this is a lesson learned from catalog mailing campaigns used by major catalog companies that many of you receive.)
Step 6 -- In August, September, and October, you will now mail to the Yellow Group.
Step 7 -- In November, it is time to mail to the Blue Group again. Are you seeing a pattern here? (See postcard schematic.) Skip December -- unless you are promoting seasonal products and gifts, mailing in December is wasted marketing dollars.
Step 8 -- In January, mail again to the Yellow Group.
Step 9 -- Using spatial repetition in this manner, you will now mail 3,000 postcards to the Red Group on February 1, mail 3,000 postcards to the Blue Group on March 1, and mail 3,000 postcards to the Yellow Group on April 1.
You are now mailing 3,000 postcards every month, exactly as you did when you had a database of only 3,000 names. However, you have tripled your database to 9,000 names and created the perceptions of 9,000 contacts that they are receiving a postcard from you monthly when in actuality they are receiving a postcard only quarterly. (See postcard schematic.)
You have now mailed to all groups per Schema A -- once a month for 3 consecutive months to establish spatial repetition. And have moved all groups to Schema B -- postcard mailings once a quarter.
And the fantastic part of this is that you now have established spatial repetition with 9,000 contacts (three times the number you started with) and never once exceeded your original budget! Talk about pulling a rabbit out of a hat!
Once you start this type of mail campaign, you are now “managing the perception of your market.” Although you, in the end, are only mailing to your customer-base on a quarterly basis, your customers have the perception that you contact them monthly. They also get the impression that you really want their business. (And you really do!)
The Proof is in the Results
You probably didn’t think you could afford a 9,000 targeted mailing campaign. And now you know you can. Such a campaign, as outlined above, will do two things: bring in new business and brand your company’s name and your ‘Compelling Point of Difference’. You go to the head of the class in your customer’s and potential customer’s minds. When they want, need, or desire your products or services – There You Are. And you have accomplished this brand recognition for pennies per contact!
What you were originally (in our first example) spending, $26,640, was reduced by $10,440 - $10,440 you can now spend on other marketing. Originally you were sending 3,000 postcards a month and you are still doing that, but for only $16,200 per year. And because of Spatial Repetition, you are tripling your contact mailing list. For less money, you’ve increased your targeted consumer contacts now doing three times the work placing you in front of 9,000 targeted contacts!
Using spatial repetition, you have made 36,000 actual contacts (3,000 x 12 = 36,000) and 108,000 perceived contacts (9,000 x 12 = 108,000 ÷ $16,200 = 15¢) with a cost of 15¢ per contact per year for fully branded, full color, visually attractive, personalized individual impressions! Can you see why I get so excited about the medium of the postcard and a spatial repetition postcard marketing campaign?
And NOW for the FACTS!
Since 1986, I have been coaching, training, and teaching real estate agents and brokers full time. I have proven numerous times that if you have a list of 300 plus contacts that you contact once a month for a year with a postcard mailing, you can achieve a 2%+ return. That is, if you are sending 333 postcard mailings, once a month for a year, you’ll generate 6.6 listing, sale, or referral transactions per year, proving postcards to be a positive lead generation activity.
Since it doesn’t matter what’s on the card (another topic completely), changing the content does not improve the rate of return. Therefore, the only way to increase the rate of return is to mail more cards to more people. This, however, is expensive.
Solution and the WOW Factor
“Spatial Repetition”! As outlined above, you are now spending the same money, sending the same number of postcards monthly but tripling the impressions. The result is a 2% rate of return on 999 contacts, which is equal to 19.98 listing, sale, or referral transactions a year! An increase of 13.4 listing, sale, or referral transactions a year FOR THE SAME DOLLARS SPENT, WOW!
If your average gross commission dollar per transaction was $4,800, then the six.Six transactions would gross $31,680 - $16,200 cost of postcard campaign leaving a profit on marketing expenditure of $15,480 - a good and necessary return on marketing dollars of 96%. However, by using Spatial Repetition to generate 19.98 transactions, your gross would be $95,900 or a whopping 169% return on marketing dollars expended!
WOW, and remember, we started by saying that your previous gross income was $125,000 annually. If you did no other marketing for the exception of the Spatial Repetition Postcard Mail Campaign, the $95,900 return would be 77% of your annual gross income!
Any way you figure it, it’s a BIG WIN! Do it NOW! Activate ROSSI’s Edutainer’s Guide to Postcard Marketing TODAY! Go to http://expresscopy.RossiSpeaks.com and make success happen!
(Rossi, Certified e-PRO Trainer, ROSSI Speaks, inc. Edutainer, Humorist, Coach, & Bon Vivant, and author of Dog Eat Dog & Vice Versa: 9 Secrets To Put the Bite Into Your Marketing.)