Top Marketing Tip for Small Businesses

Repetition is the #1 tip I give to small businesses. To expand on that a little, I mean to choose some marketing activities and stick with them — repeat them.

The biggest mistake made by managers — or whoever handles the marketing — is that they try something once and then drop it when it didn’t work (even though they didn’t measure it).

Postcards and print ads are the primary example of this rule. Why?  Because postcards and print ads almost never work with just one distribution. Go ahead and quote me on that.  I will stand by it until I die and I think David Ogilvy would back me up. That’s life and that’s how postcards and print ads work.

Repetition with Postcards

To move on with the example of a postcard… First, make your postcard.  Actually, have it designed by a professional because you probably aren’t any good at designing a postcard even after going to business school and then reading [insert title of that marketing book you read].

Next, buy a targeted mailing list. You can buy lists that get really targeted. For instance, you could buy a list of households within 25 miles of your office with household incomes above $80K, kids under 16, and a swimming pool.

Tip: stop thinking “how much does this cost per piece?” and start thinking “what is the total value of this and how many sales will I get from it?”

Finally, mail to the list multiple times. Unless we are promoting an event or really great offer with an expiration, we basically do not start mail campaigns with fewer than six distributions.

You should not do the mailing yourself, by the way. For one thing, a bulk mailing house such as PostcardMania will print, address, and mail your cards for you on the schedule you specify — at bulk mail prices. The other thing is that it is ridiculous for you to stamp and mail your own postcards unless you are only mailing a few hundred anyway.

Expect a Slightly Better Response with Each Mailing

Repetition pays off because you are reaching people at their various times in the buying cycle:

  • before they know a product/solution like yours exists (you’r informing them)
  • before they want your product (you’re branding them)
  • when they considering buying a product like yours
  • when they want your product
Most of your mailing list will be ready to buy at one time or another but only a few of them are ready at any given moment. Repetition keeps you in front of them.
And, finally, it is almost always better to reach 1,000 people six times than to reach 6,000 people once.



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