ICS Magazine

Try This With Your Next Mail-Out

July 21, 2008

One of the biggest things to remember in advertising is "Do Something Different."

You don't want to be viewed as just another company sending out junk mail. Homeowners get lots of junk mail every week. Getting a postcard from you doesn't excite them-even if the offer is 10 rooms of carpet cleaning for $29.99.

The competition is fierce. You're competing with everyone else that sends your prospect mail.

What are you going to do to get their attention?

If you send a personalized mail piece to someone, you could be the only person sending them personal mail that day. How likely will it be they open your mail if it looks like a personal letter? Pretty likely. They may even set the all the other bills and junk mail to the side so they can sit down and read your letter if you do it right. Otherwise, your mail stands high risk of getting thrown in the trash before it even gets opened.

One of the things I like about direct mail is you can hit your target when no one else around. There's a good chance you'll be the only cleaning company mailing them that day. Most often, the only mailing a carpet cleaning company sends is a coupon mailer, like Val-pak, where your ad is stuffed amongst dozens of other coupons. That's why standalone direct mail can work so great. Just the act of sending a postcard or sales letter makes you stand out from the crowd.

Direct mail is also the best way to keep in contact with your current clients. Don't rely on the business card you left them or even a refrigerator magnet. While those are good tools, they don't take the place of reminders sent in the mail. You have to continually remind your clients you are still in business and you want them to call you.

The key to remember here is they must call you. Unless you operate a cash and carry rug cleaning shop, the primary way your client initiates a sale with you is by phone. So you must keep in contact with them so they always have your phone number. If you rely on the yellow pages to do this, you're taking a risk that your valuable client may call another company.

When mailing to repeat clients, bulk mail is fine. However, when mailing to new prospects, bulk mail makes your mailing look just like junk mail. To keep your mailing from being perceived as junk mail, use first class. Also, make the envelope look like it came from a friend. Make it look like personal mail.

Here are some other tips to try that cost little to nothing extra:
  • Send your letter in an invitation envelope
  • Use a hot pink or other colored envelope instead of standard white
  • Mail an oversized postcard (half of an 8 ½ x 11 inch page)
  • Use a first class stamp with something other than the standard flag (Butterflies, Animals, etc)
  • Handwrite your envelope or use a handwritten font when printing
  • If can't handwrite the envelope, avoid using labels-print directly on the envelope
  • Put something bulky in the envelope to intrigue the recipient (band-aids, pen, etc)
  • Include a business card that restates your offer

You have their attention. If they're at all interested in cleaning, they'll give you a call. And if they're not interested in cleaning, they may tuck your mail piece away to call you later. But realistically, many of your mail pieces will get thrown in the trash. That's why it is important to mail in sequences. A one shot mailing is never your best bet. Test different headlines and offers. Don't give up.

Think out of the box. It will take your company to new levels. Your prospects will be interested and your current clients will stay interested.