My brother got married a couple weeks ago to a wonderful woman in an absolutely beautiful ceremony. I can’t think of any other event that brings together so many business, large and small, at once. The caterer, the florist, the venue, the DJ, the dress salon, all of these businesses contributed to making the event special. Afterwards, I looked up every vendor whose name I could remember, and wrote a nice review on Yelp or Facebook. As someone who is in marketing, I know how crucial those reviews and testimonials are, particularly for small businesses that deal in very personal services like weddings.
I hope that all of you, dear readers, are actively asking for and gathering testimonials on a regular basis. If not, shoot me an email and we can chat about it (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are, I want to give you some tips on how you can repurpose those testimonials and make them even more powerful tools in your marketing toolbox.
Turn your testimonials into visuals.
Using a program like Canva or PicMonkey, turn testimonials into visuals you can easily post to social media.
Expand testimonials into case studies.
If you have a client with a unique need, ask to use them as a case study. Describe the need, document your process, and write about the solution you created. Be sure to use photos, videos and direct quotes from the client.
Collect video testimonials.
In addition to asking for written testimonials, ask clients for video testimonials. Post these to social media, on your website and on your YouTube channel.
Use testimonials throughout marketing materials.
Don’t regulate them to just a page on your website. Put them on postcards, listing presentations, brochures, letters, etc.
When it comes to direct mail marketing, the United States Postal Service offers several different options. The two most cost effective are standard marketing mail (aka bulk mail) and Every Door Direct Mail (aka EDDM). With standard mail, you provide names and addresses for each piece. With EDDM, you choose one or more carrier routes and your piece is delivered to every single address on that route. Each program is effective, but for very different reasons.
Why use EDDM?
Businesses who want to target a local audience, but do not need to target a specific audience based on different demographic data, find EDDM very effective. For them, EDDM is less expensive and easier to execute than standard mail.
EDDM is easier for many business because it doesn’t require addresses. Obtaining a database of addresses can be expensive, and formating the addresses onto a mailing piece difficult and time intensive. If you don’t want to bother with all of that, EDDM is the way to go. You simply choose carrier routes through the USPS website and don’t have to deal with addresses.
Restaurants, automotive shops, home services, and gyms have found EDDM particularly effective. These brick and mortar businesses send large mailings to homes on carrier routes close to them and often receive a great response.
Why use Standard Mail?
Business with a direct mail marketing strategy centered on unique mailing pieces, or dependent on specific targeted databases, have found standard mailing to be the most effective program.
Standard marketing mail allows for a much wider variety in size and shape of mailing piece than EDDM. Businesses who want to mail a variety of postcard sizes and shapes, as well as unique pieces like booklets, envelopes, folded pieces, and lumpy mail, need to use standard mail.
Some businesses have a database of past clients, current clients and leads that they keep up to date. They create campaigns specific to this audience, they may even use variable data to make the mailings highly personalized. These businesses will want to continue using standard mail as EDDM does not allow them to mail to a database. Standard mail is also the best way to mail for business that want to target audiences with very specific demographic criteria. For example, if a business ONLY wanted to mail to people in a certain age group, or with a certain income, etc., they would need to purchase a database that matches that demographic and send to the database through standard mail.
Many of One Step Services’ real estate agents send to geographic farms, social lists and absentee owners. All of these effective strategies require standard marketing mail.
Can you use both?
Absolutely! There is no reason why a direct mail marketing strategy can’t include both EDDM and standard marketing mail. You just need to be strategic about what pieces you send through each program. Our customer service staff at One Step Services can help you create and execute a comprehensive strategy that effectively targets the correct audiences and gives you the best return on investment. We design, print and mail all types of direct mail marketing pieces. Give us a call at 949-587-5301 or email email@example.com to set up a consultation appointment.
The envelope. The sports jacket of the direct mail world. Done properly, it can enhance your mailings and increase open rates. Done incorrectly, and it’s a first class ticket to the trash. So this month, our Tip Tuesday is dedicated to giving you some ideas on how to make the most of your direct mail envelope.
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times. Brand your mailings, people. Put a logo in the return address box. Get a stamp with your tagline or motto and stamp the back flap. Put a line of your signature color along the bottom. Anonymous envelopes look like bills and credit card offers. They get thrown in the trash. Let people know who the envelope is from.
In addition to telling people who the envelope is from, you need to tell them why they need to open it. Put a call to action right on that baby. Ask a question. Make a compelling statement. Let them know there’s a free offer inside. Make it short, simple and powerful.
When I was a kid I got quite a bit of personal mail. Birthday cards, postcards from friends, notes from my grandparents. Now, I’m lucky if I get a few Christmas cards. SO, when I see an envelope with a handwritten address, you better believe I open that up. Its usually just a note from my accountant or dentist telling me I need an appointment, but still. Handwritten = open.
Color attracts eyeballs. In a stack of white envelopes, your bright orange one is going to stand out and pique the recipient’s curiosity. While colored envelopes are a little more expensive than white, it is still a very simple and cost effective way to make your mailings unique.
It’s not too late to create a real estate marketing plan for 2018. And we’ve got a FREE tool to help you do it. Our 2018 Marketing planner allows you to plan when you will send postcards, emails, place ads, post to social media, door knock, warm call, etc. It provides a great birds eye view of your marketing for the year.
Download One Step 2018 Marketing Planner
We also have printed planners available. Just ask for one next time you come to the office, or we can ship one with your next order. Just let us know!
Back in October, I did a Facebook Live event showcasing our holiday marketing products. It was our first FB Live event and I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but it was great! About 10 of you logged in and listened, participated, and won some great prizes.
We decided Facebook Live Events are something we want to do on a weekly basis. These events will cover a variety of topics related to marketing for real estate agents, non profits and small businesses. We’ll discuss print and direct mail extensively, as well as digital and social marketing channels. Engagement is encouraged, so come with questions and don’t be afraid to engage in the comments section. We’ll also be doing giveaways and contests at most events.
We’d love to have you join us every week! If you’d like regular email reminders about these events, please sign up below. We’ll send an email one day before every event with a quick summary of what will be discussed. If you miss an event, you can always catch the replay on our Facebook Page.
Unlike other holidays, it’s socially acceptable to wish people a Happy New Year a couple weeks past the actual holiday. If you weren’t able to send out Christmas cards, these Happy New Year postcards are a great way to reach out to your farm or social sphere.
SPECIALS: Order 200+ and we’ll waive the production fee.
Download the New Years 2018 Post Card Order Form
I frequently participate in forums on Alignable, asking and answering marketing questions. I occasionally bring bits of the forum here to the blog. Today, I’ll be expanding on a conversation I had with a bookstore owner about how to generate referrals.
Bookstore Owner : Looking for advice as to how best to market my audio bookstore to the local neighborhood and online. Here’s my issue. Our business model, that makes us unique to bookstores, is that we offer audio books for Rent. I believe we give a great value to our customers for the price we charge. But I have tried everything including radio ads, print ads, Facebook Ads and writing articles. Yet, most people find the store by accident. After 9 years in the same location, people still walk in and say to me “Wow, I didn’t know this place existed”. Thanks in advance.
Brianna at One Step: Do you have any sort of referral or rewards program? Often the best marketers are those clients who already love your business. Maybe you could offer a free month’s membership or a free book rental if they share your Facebook page, bring a friend to an event, tell a friend about your business, etc.
Bookstore Owner: We have tried several types of referral plans. Giving $5.00 credit for each referral. Offering a 1 Free month to our customers if they get a customer to sign-up to a plan. We usually advertise these referral programs for three months in a row. Out of the 300 customers we sent the offer out to only less than 1% referred anybody. That’s not say that we don’t get referrals from our customers, because we do. They just happen to be given organically. I don’t think our customers which skew in a older demographic care so much about getting a free month or receiving a dollar amount for each referral. Plus our business is so unique, I don’t think most people are thinking about it when they are out with friends.
Brianna at One Step Services: Rather than trying 3 month plans, I recommend thinking of ways that you can consistently and constantly remind your clients to refer you. You may be right that they aren’t interested in rewards and that organic referrals are best for your clientele. However, there is nothing wrong with reminding them to make those organic referrals. Many studies show that the more you remind or ask people to do something…refer you, like your social media post, write a testimony, etc…the more likely they are to do it.
So to increase those organic referrals, consider including a referral card in every book you mail out. Just a little something that a client could pass on to a friend with your info. Keep those same handouts near your cash register so people can grab them on their way out. Every time you send an email, make sure there is an obvious link so they can forward it to a friend. If you’re on social media, about once a week make a post asking for referrals or asking them to share your post/page with their friends. Here at One Step, we send out handwritten welcome notes to new clients and we include referral cards. We also send handwritten notes to our most consistent and loyal clients, people we think would speak highly of us.
It may sound obnoxious, but keep in mind one single person will probably only pay attention to one of these touch points. And it’s critical that you constantly stay top of mind to get those organic referrals. This is not a three month program, but something that is part of your long term marketing strategy. And I do think that you are off base in saying that your service is so unique people don’t think about it when out with friends. Media is a very popular topic amongst friends and movies, music and books are easy conversation starters. Your clients will refer people if you tell them to.
Our annual holiday schedules of events are ready to order! We’ve done things a little differently this year. Instead of choosing a city, you simply choose your county and we’ll put together a list of major events taking place in different areas throughout the county. Have some specific events you want featured? No problem, just send those over and we’ll put them on the card you choose.
These pieces are particularly effective because they are sticky, meaning people are likely to keep them around for a while and reference them more than once. Every time they do, they’ll be reminded of your name, your face and your brand. These pieces have a strong ROI and are a great way to wrap up your 2017 direct mail marketing efforts.
Each design is available as an 8.5×8.5 postcard or 8.5×5.5 postcard. As always, the production fee of $12 is waived when you order 200 or more. Additional bulk discounts apply for orders of 500+ and 1,000+. Download the order form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call if you have questions 949-587-5301.
If you are promoting a business, you are a content creator. Whether you write blog posts, send weekly emails, mail postcards, or post to social media, you are having to come up with content to share with your audience. The better the content, the more likely you are to
Step #1 – Make a list of types of content
This list will vary depending on what industry you are in and what type of business you are promoting. However, there are some general types of content that work well across the board. Testimonials and case studies make great content as do the answers to frequently asked questions. (Not sure what your FAQs are? Ask your customer service reps!) Other great content ideas include product promotions, event invitations, how to’s, top ten lists, and employee spotlights.
Step #2 – Create a list of content sources
Not all of your content has to be original. Your audience will appreciate you curated relevant content from trusted sources. Keep a list of sources that routinely publish good information on your industry. The easiest way to do this is with an RSS Reader <—- Go ahead and click that if you don’t know what an RSS Reader is. One of your primary sources should be us, One Step Services! Not only do we provide great content on our blog, monthly newsletter and social sites, but every month we release new content ready postcards that can be used for real estate agents, small businesses and nonprofits. Want to get the scoop when we release new designs? Sign up here
Step #3 – Give each day a theme
At One Step, Mondays are for motivational quotes, Tuesdays are for tips, Fridays are for fun. Giving each day a general theme or category makes it easier to decide what specific content needs to be published that day. I also give the months different themes. For example, in doing my planning for first quarter 2018 (ah, how are we already at the point of planning for 2018?) I decided that the theme for February will be the importance and relevance of Direct Mail. About 75% of the things I post that month will be related to that theme.
Step #4 – Create a content calendar
Once you have your list of content ideas and your themes set, it’s time to map it out. There are literally hundreds of different ways to do this. TBH, although I have been planning content for years, 2018 will be the first time I have to get every single thing down on a calendar to show the bosses. So my typical system of sticky notes and dreams isn’t really going to cut it. The first thing that I’m going to try is a color coordinated Google Spreadsheet. At first I was worried it would be a little to linear for my scattered creative brain, so far it’s working quite nicely. Want to see a sample? Email me email@example.com and I’ll be happy to share.
Step #5 – Write /create / find your content
I know what your thinking…why do I have to do so much work BEFORE I start creating content? The reality is that creating content isn’t that hard, but creating effective, consistent, purposeful content is. And in order to create that kind of content, you definitely need to plan ahead and do steps 1-4. The good news is, that those first steps get easier and easier the more you do them and it becomes quicker to finish them every month. So don’t get discouraged! The hard work at the beginning is worth it.
When you create your content, refer back to the list you made in step one. Find a specific testimonial to post, answer a specific FAQ, write out a case study. Something to keep in mind…don’t be afraid to be a little personal. You don’t need to share your martial issues or what you had for breakfast, but your experiences with other business, your opinions on relevant industry news, and your solutions to problems you’ve experienced in business can be extremely valuable to your recipients. This entire blog post, for example, is based on my personal experience of creating a content calendar for One Step.
Step #6 – Distribute your content
Once you’ve written your content, its time to publish it! Where you publish is an entirely new topic for another day, but whether it’s on social media, through a direct mail campaign, or a post to social media, you need to share that ish! And yes, you absolutely can share the same content over multiple channels. You worked hard to create that content gold, use it and reuse it in different ways to get the most out of it.