Advertising Part C: Chutzpah Gold Mining
What is chutzpah marketing Pronounced huts•pah
On this web page we are going to look at the chutzpah technique of using your customer information wisely. I begin with the assumption that your present and past customers respect your work, trust your opinion, and like you as a person. If this is true, you have a gold mine that is waiting to be harvested.
A customer is a valuable commodity. You spent a lot of money to open your business and to generate your first customer. (Not counting the cost of your training.) The vast majority of entrepreneurs I work with do not keep contact with their customers after the first sale is over. I think it is because most entrepreneurs assume that once a customer, always a customer. Unfortunately, this is not a fact. The truth is, loyal patronage has to be cultivated.
A database is a collection of data arranged for ease, speed of search, and retrieval. All the contact information you have on every customer you have ever seen is your customer database. All the contact information you have on every company you have ever worked with is your Business to Business (B2B) database. All the contact information you have on every person who ever downloaded anything from your web site is your Internet database.
If you read this and think to yourself. “Holy cow, I have only eight people in my database,” don’t worry. I’m going to help you fix that.
Most entrepreneurs think little to none about their database. Nevertheless, your database is filled with ready contacts that know you. The fact that they know you (or of you) helps if you would like them to buy more from you.
In the real dog-eat-dog world of business if you have not had contact with a customer for six months, you most likely do not have that customer. I am not saying anything negative about customers or entrepreneurs, but the fact is customers are people, and as people they do what they want. Let me give you an example.
In the cola wars, I like Diet Coke. All things being equal, I vote with my money and I buy Diet Coke. While standing in the soft drink cavern of Costco, my bride of over twenty years asked me, “Do you want Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi?” To tell you the truth I thought it was a dumb question. She knows I’m a Diet Coke drinker. She continued, “I have a coupon for Diet Pepsi, two dollars off per case.” I looked at the large signs above the pallet’s of soda cases, Pepsi products were fifty cents less per case. We bought Diet Pepsi. At $2.50 less per case I was motivated to suffer with Diet Pepsi.
Now, I want you to think about my soft drink decision. The cola giants spend millions to get me to buy their product. Millions! But for $2.50 I switched. At the beginning I said, “All things being equal I vote with my money and I buy Diet Coke.” The coupon, and the lower starting price, made my usual cola choice unbalanced.
My friend the dentist is a great dentist. I say this selfishly, because over our very long friendship, my family and I are stuck going to him. As long as he is an (even) OK dentist, if I want to maintain our friendship, I have to go to his office. If I get a coupon from another dentist I drop it in the trash. The mailing from every dentist in the area is a waste on me. I don’t need a dentist, I have a great one.
I tell these two stories because your customers will keep coming to you, or talking about you, all things being equal. But, it may not take much to make them stop thinking about you. Please do not overestimate customer loyalty.
Use of you database to keep in regular contact with your customers. This is chutzpah important if you wish to grow an ongoing and thriving business.
The computerization of a modern business is not within the scope of this book. Over the next few pages I will simply touch upon the basics of using a computer database in your business.
A computer database is an organized collection of information. Most entrepreneurs I work with have this information in individual customer index cards or in customer files. A growing percentage have this information in a computer database. The advantage of a computerized database over a paper database is ease of use. With a computer database you can easily sort the information, say by city or zip code.
Kathryn Luddite had been in part-time business for less than five years. She had a file on every customer she had ever seen; a total of 84 files. When I suggested that she organize the files into a computer database she was reluctant. On top of that, when I suggested that of the 84 files, probably half were outdated, she got upset with me.
“How do you know that my files are outdated?” she snapped.
“Nothing personal,” I said. “But about 20 percent of the population moves every year. So, there is a good chance that many of your customer addresses are outdated.”
A well managed database has a life span of about six months. After six months, many of the addresses will be incorrect. If you are using an outdated database to mail 100 letters to past customers offering some new and exciting item you are now offering, probably only 80 percent will get your mailing. If the mailing costs you $1.00 each, that is a waste of $20.00. Add another “0” to the equation and the numbers get scary. ($200.00 in waste)
There are a lot of database programs on the market. The most popular are part of a program suite such as:
Program: Microsoft Office, Estimated Cost:$250-$600, Operating System Windows & MAC
Program: Apple iWork. Estimated Cost: $79 (Free with a MAC), Operating System MAC
These suites are packaged with other features: word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Within each suite, you will find a powerful database tool. If you are new to computers I highly recommend Apple’s iWork. Apple computers are much more people friendly and have the fastest learning curve.
For a small business, I recommend the freestanding database program, Bento 2, by FileMaker. This is an easy to use dedicated personal database. (Cost about $50)
For mid-size and larger companies, I recommend the powerhouse of database programs, FileMaker Pro. (Cost $300) This program has a serious learning curve. However, it can do almost everything you can think of in the database world. Unless you are a computer geek, I recommend you take a community college course versus self learning this program. For a few dollars at your community college you get a great learning environment and some academic hand holding. If you are looking to hire an office manager you may wish to add FileMaker Pro knowledge to your list of job requirements.
The program suites (Microsoft Office & Apple iWork) are each great starting tools. But, you will have to learn the program. Be kind to yourself. Don’t plan on learning the database component and building your database in an evening. Realistically, twenty hours over two weeks will have you up and running. Having someone show you how to use it can save you half the time. If you are going to learn the program by yourself, I recommend you purchase a book to support your education. In the old days, computer programs came with massive documentation, not any more. The program will come with an Internet based help program which tends to be very comprehensive. The problem with the help program is you need to know the right questions to ask. In a book, you will find tutorial chapters that teach a set of skills. This will be much less frustrating than trying hit-or-miss on your own.
I advise the (computer program name) The Missing Manual printed by Pogue Press, or the (computer program name) Bible printed by Wiley. Avoid the (computer program name) For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech)) books. They seem to me to be rushed to print. Often, they are the first on the market, but not well organized or documented.
The computer books are expensive, usually in the 30 to 40 dollar range, and there are lots of choices. These tomes are mouse killing, massive, 400-500 page, paperback books. Don’t let that intimidate you. You’re going to read it chapter by chapter, a page at a time. Often you will be given a tutorial to try; for example the first database I developed was for a fictitious coffee company. All the basics I learned building the tutorial coffee company have been the building blocks for every database I have developed since.
One last thing on getting a computer book. Make sure you get the exact book for your exact program. My local Barnes and Noble bookstore tends to carry outdated computer books for a year after the program updates. If you own FileMaker Pro 10, the FileMaker Pro 9 book will be of moderate use, and probably confusingly frustrating. In computer program lingo, FileMaker Pro 10 and FileMaker Pro 9 are children of the same family, but they are not the same child.
If you are a professional such as a CPA or a plumber you will have access to more customer information than say a mom and pop shop and rob (convenience store). The latter company will have to use data gathering information that will be discussed later in this chapter, to build its database.
If possible, start with the basic information: name, rank (title), address, and phone number, then you build onto your database from there. However, since a database is sortable you want to have each chunk of data in its own data field. My name is Philip Copitch. In my database I am First Name = Philip, Last Name = Copitch. To database newbies this tends to seem like an extra step: having 2 data fields for just 1 person. It will prove to be very useful in the use of the database information.
Each piece of data needs its own data field. In the old days I only had data fields for home phone number and office phone number. Nowadays I also need data fields for cell phone numbers, and email addresses.
The more data fields the more powerful a database becomes. Please let me explain.
What if I wanted to sponsor a senior self defense class at the local YMCA? With my database I can sort for females, born before 1960, who live in zip codes 96001, 96002, and 96003. This will give me the address of every woman I know, who is age appropriate for the class, who lives within one hour of the YMCA where the class is to be conducted. The database information can be printed on labels to be placed on fliers. Or, I could merge the data into a personalized letter.
Dear Mary, (First name = Mary. Used as a database merge field)
Thought you would like to know of the exciting event we are sponsoring at the…
It is this sort-ability that makes a database program very chutzpah. In a few minutes you can organize data into distinct specifications for your task.
The biggest problem with databases is that you can only sort for information that is in them. If your database has only names and addresses, you will not be able to sort out your seniors to invite to the event.
Most professional businesses build their database from their file data. With this in mind, it is usually best to have the computer database entry form in the same order that the data is on your intake form, contest entry, or email sales promotion registry. This will allow the data entry to take on a comfortable, common feeling. The goal is to get the correct information into the correct data field.
Below you will see the first part of my Patient Intake Form.
If the patient is a child, I may have three full sets of data: child, mom/stepmom/guardian, and dad/stepdad/guardian. If my identified patient is an adult, I tend to have one set of data to record.
Information is valuable. In addition to customers, I also add business contacts to my database. If I am handed a business card, I jot down where I met the person and other stuff I learned about them, such as: “has two kids, likes the 49ers.” I also estimate the age. If he looks around fifty, his birth year is estimated as 1968. Business to business contacts give implied consent to stay in contact through the business information provided on the business card or brochure they gave you.
Printed on the Intake Form above, you may have noticed a space for Social Security Numbers. This private information is not placed into my marketing database. I do not like phone solicitation, so I do not use it or recommend it. Thus, I do not store phone numbers for marketing purposes in my marketing database. (In many states phone solicitation is regulated. Yeah!)
I advise an opt-in policy. I ask for permission to send mailings or email to customers. I ask right from the beginning, “Is it ok for me to put you on our email list? We send a newsletter out about every six weeks with information concerning health and science.” As part of every contact, we offer a clear and easy opt-out option. (See: Email later in this chapter.) My goal is not to bother anyone with my newsletter, as well as not to waste money on sending someone something they are not interested in.
An attorney I worked with decided to develop his database prospecting (finding gold in a database). He gathered all the business cards he had collected over the three years he was in private practice, and was overwhelmed with the total–1,500. After getting no volunteers to type all the data into the computer, he decided to go hi-tech. He purchased a nifty card scanner called the CardScan Executive 8.0 made by DYMO Mac/PC). He did the job himself on two consecutive Sundays while watching football. Cost: $260 for the scanner, and a little more for the pizza, beer and chips.
A cool addition to the story is that he keeps a copy of his database on his iPhone.
Once you have your database set up you have lots of options to keep your customers aware of how you can help them. (Short on customers? New in business? See: Ways To Generate Custom Mailing Lists later in this chapter.)
“How you can help them” is what your gold mining is all about. Most marketers try to talk existing or new customers into buying their products or services. A chutzpah marketer solves problems for people, and helps people get their needs met. We do no talk anyone into buying anything, we offer a quality product or service, and let people understand the benefit of it for themselves, personally.
Your chutzpah business mailings and emailings should sell you as the right company for your potential customer. You cannot be all things to all people. You need to focus on your market niche, your desired potential customer. (Please, please, please) Write from the needs of your potential customer. (Discussed in detain in Chapter 1: Talk To, Not At, Your Customers)
Never let a computer know you’re in a hurry.
The 4 best ways to stay in contact with customers in order of chutzpah value:
Postcards are a powerful way to stay in contact with long term customers. The ratio of cost is reasonable for the benefit. The cost is around a dollar per postcard, which includes postage, labeling, printing, and labor. The benefits are the ease of getting the postcard out, and it will get looked at. This second benefit is very important. Most mailings are not read. The recipient receives the letter, has to open it, unfold it, and then read it. That is a lot of opportunity to lose your reader’s interest.
With the postcard, you have a great chance of getting the postcard headline read. Thus, the headline is very important. You only have seconds to capture the reader’s interest.
Since the reader already knows you, you have a second-second to get the reader’s cooperation. This second-second is very helpful.
My wife and I received this postcard from a nonprofit that we are members of. We like this museum and support its efforts. Let’s take a look at the card they sent us. See below.
I am impressed with the work Turtle Bay does and highly recommend that if you are ever in northern California you take a day to explore the park. It is an amazing combination of education and natural beauty. But, this card has a few limitations.
Turtle Bay postcard address side
Turtle Bay postcard side 2
I point out these limitations because they are so common in many of the mailers and advertisements you are constantly exposed to. The card is sender centric. It focuses on them. They are having a one day print sale. So? Am I looking for a print on sale? In fact, what is a print anyway? The answer may be in the copy on the address side. Thus, another problem. Where are my damn reading glasses? Am I interested enough in finding out more about this postcard to put them on?
I’m not joking about the reading glasses. I’m fifty + years old and I haven’t seen 9 point print in five years. Please take a moment to think about this, one of the reasons this charity sent this card to my wife and me is because we are of the age and income bracket that can afford to buy collectable art. We are good prospects. We have bought art from other charity fund-raisers over the years. (Our names are on a mail list of people who buy art from charity fund-raisers; see buying a mail list later in this chapter.)
When you develop your advertisements, business card etc., please keep the recipient’s needs in mind.
What would you print as the eye catching headline on the address side of this card? How are you going to get the reader’s attention and hold it?
What would you suggest?
Your card has made the trip though the mail service’s machines, airplanes, and trucks. It is now in the hands of your prospect. You have a few seconds, how are you grabbing the prospect’s eyeballs?
Just as we did when building our chutzpah Yellow Page and print ads, let’s use chutzpah copy. (See: Advertising Part B: The Yellow Pages and Local Media)
All chutzpah ads have four major components. When it comes to post cards you want to ad a 5th component!
1. Chutzpah headline
2, Chutzpah supporting information
3, Chutzpah supporting secondary benefits
------Name and address
4. Chutzpah call to action
Plus a 5th, if possible– save/stick/pass-ability.
Save-ability, stick-ability, and pass-ability is the act of making the postcard so valuable to the receiver that they keep it and even want to show it to others. Ways to motivate a prospect to keep or show your postcard are:
I am an unemployed cartoonist at heart. I even joke that I write books just so my cartoons have a home. Many years ago, the local school districts went through severe budget cuts. Of course, I drew a cartoon. It was like Christmas, summer vacation, and my first kiss, all rolled into one when I noticed my cartoon (below) on a staff information bulletin board at the County Schools’ office. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if it had my company information tacked on the board along side of it.
I once met a man on a plane who told me about his main advertisement problem and solution. His pizza parlor was well established in his college town until a chain pizza joint move in down the street. The chain bought a bigger ad in the college weekly than he could afford and started pulling business away. Their ad offered six $2 coupons for money off their pizza (One per visit). So, the small pizza owner changed his ad to read, Bring in any Pizza ad with a money off coupon and we’ll give you $3 off the best pizza in town.
He knocked out their bigger ad and multiple coupons for only $3 per paying customer. I love the chutzpah.
A postcard can do just that. It takes your chutzpah marketing information and places it right next to save/stick/pass-ability. Our goal is to have the reader act on our offer right now, or hold and share the information with others in the near future. (I’m super happy if they do both.)
Dr. Hanson was moving, and being the chutzpah marketer he is, he didn’t want to lose any of his patients during the move. So, he sent them all a giant postcard (we will look at postcard sizes and cost later in this section).
The postcard measured 11” X 6” so it had to go First Class letter rate. But, for the cost of a stamp, he put the information right in the hands of his clientele. The logo family and recognizable name got the reader’s attention (“My dentist is moving?”). The map added stick-ability. I’m sure the postcard ended up on refrigerators all over the county for the rest of the family and visitors to see. See below.
Dr. Hanson’s moving card. Address side (reduced)
Dr. Hanson’s moving card. Side 2 (reduced)
When looking at Dr. Hanson’s card, please note the great use of art and white space. His headlines are solid, and the subheadings talk to the customers about the benefits of the change. The logo family helping the business move adds the feeling of family to family dentist.
When striving to stand out in a community with lots of lawyers, Mr. Berg chose to show off his professional credentials. There are lots of attorneys, but only a few are Certified Specialists In Criminal Law By The California State Bar Association. This impressive distinction separates the experienced trial attorneys from the pack. Along with a little playfulness and chutzpah, Mr. Berg is well known in northern California. See below.
Mr. berg understands his target market. The tongue-in-cheek nature of side 2 speaks to the devil-may-care attitude of many of his potential customers. This playfulness is in stark contrast to his logo, the dueling pistols. The logo represents the law business’s motto and refusal to give up attitude. Mr. Berg’s legal tenacity is as in-your-face full intensity as is his motto: In a legal battle, choose your weapon carefully.
Mr. Berg’s postcard side 2
Mr. Berg’s postcard address side
Mr. Berg’s card allows me to illustrate how targeted a postcard can be, and how reasonably priced it should be. This card is printed in black and white. It lines up perfectly as a 4-up on an 8.5” x 11” piece of card stock. That is pennies a card. A reduced copy of the 4 card master is below. With a design like this you can economically print postcards in house with a decent laser printer.
Mr. Berg’s 4-up postcard master side 2 (Reduced)
When a man throws an empty cigarette package from an automobile, he is liable to a fine of $50. When a man throws a billboard across a view, he is richly rewarded.
Pat Brown Quoted in David Ogilvy, Ogilvy on Advertising, 1985
According to USPS regulations (available at www.usps.com), the address on a postcard needs to be parallel to the longest edge. That way your postcard can be machine canceled. The rest of the print is up to you. With three major exceptions:
Additionally, the area under the mailing address may get a postal barcode printed on it. This bar code can make your information look sloppy or even unreadable. An example of this USPS bar code can be seen in the Turtle Bay postcard address side printed earlier in this chapter.
The following example will help you keep track of the areas where the post office will be mechanically looking at, and possibly, printing on.
Post office cautionary areas
The reality is that you are giving up valuable real estate to the post office on the address side of the card. However, I suggest you do not over-stuff the print in the first place. White space around your copy invites the reader to do what you want them to do–read.
A postcard is a very chutzpah tool to push one request: Buy my book, visit my web site, or think of me. However, it won’t allow you to do all three in a single postcard. Overcrowding will not encourage the recipient to read your offer.
About two weeks before any of my books were available, I mailed (and emailed, and told) everyone in my database that the book would be available on such and such a date. See below. This is the front cover of the book in full color. The address side offers general information about the book. I use the same side 2 for targeted postcard mailings if I am going to be at a book signing or event. Instead of “Available March 20,” it reads, “Meet the Author.” See Below.
Postcard of book release side 2
Book signing postcard invitation address side
Next, are two cartoon postcards. The first is an integrated cartoon and the second is the stand alone cartoon.
The integrated cartoon, at first glance, is a little crowded. Much of the white space is used by the cartoon. However, people like cartoons and will take the time to figure them out. Thus, drawing their attention to the message.
Integrated cartoon/text postcard address side
Integrated cartoon/text postcard Page 2
The following example shows side 2 of a cartoon postcard. We use this postcard in November and December. The attention grabbing cartoon is the focal point of one side of the postcard. The address side is similar to postcard page 2 above without the cartoon subsection. In this particular card we play off the holiday season without being too commercial.
Cartoon postcard side 2
It may not cross your mind often, but the United States Postal Service (USPS) moves a lot of mail. There are a few ways to get the USPS to take your postcard and give it to your customer or prospect.
The size limits on your postcard can be found in the table below. If you go over it, even by a smidgin, you will be charged the same rate as a first class letter (today that is 16¢ more/postcard).
The most common way to mail a postcard is First Class. For the price of first class postcard postage (28¢ in 2010), your postcard is on its way. The USPS even gives you a self sticking stamp. (The USPS no longer makes stamps with the lovely tasting glue.) So, if you want to mail 638 postcards the postage alone will be $178.64. That is real money but not too bad. But, what if you want to mail, 8956 postcards? That is a postage bill of $2,507.68. By using Bulk Mail you can lower the price per postcard about 5¢. In addition to the savings, you also get very specific rules you must follow so that the bulk postcards can go through the USPS Bulk Mail Centers. These “highly mechanized mail processing centers” (USPS ) allow the USPS to keep the cost down. The machines route the mail by bar code. Your bar coded mail list must be pre-certified by the USPS before you can use it. There is also a $180 annual fee to use bulk mail services.
Most of you will not be mailing out the quantity to take advantage of the USPS Bulk Mail savings and if you are, you still may not wish to. The USPS regulations (See: http://pe.usps.com/businessmail101/welcome.htm) are stringent and if you do not follow them exactly, the USPS will refuse your delivery (trays of mail). Most find the savings they would get are eaten up by staff power costs and time, plus aggravation.
The news is not all negative. There is a whole industry dedicated to putting out your bulk mailing for you. Once you get to the bulk rate size, a specialty company can do the mailing for you. Your cost is about the same, but they take care of the headaches. See bulk mailers in the Yellow Pages.
All things being equal, I like the first class postcard postage stamp. So, when I have a mailing of fewer than 2,500 I put stamps on them. When the recipient gets the postcard it does not look like “junk mail.” Some recipients have a personal rule to toss any mail with a bulk rate stamp.
If I had my choice, I would hand print each address to make the postcard more personal.
Chutzpah marketers rope anyone they can into “fluffing and folding” mailers. If I tote a box into the house, my kids and the dog vanish. “Fluffing and folding” is boring work. So make the process easier on yourself. A few hints:
Now let’s have some fun. You will need a stack of blank 8.5” x 11” paper. By folding it in half along the long side you get 8.5” x 5.5”. Turn the paper and fold along the long side again to get 5.5” x 4.25”. Make the creases crisp then open the page. Not exactly origami, but you do have four postcard size quadrants of 5.5” x 4.25”. (If you are printing in house, this gives you four postcards per sheet, with no waste and only two cuts.)
To start developing your postcard you will need your business branding to check your ideas against. Then play… But remember all chutzpah postcards have five major components.
1. Chutzpah headline
2. Chutzpah supporting information
3. Chutzpah supporting secondary benefits
------Name and address
4. Chutzpah call to action
The purpose of a newsletter is to keep your name in front of the customer. Remember, the customer is thinking of themselves, not you. So, by popping up in front of the customer every now and then you state remember me! A second reason for your chutzpah newsletter is to entertain and teach. You want your newsletter to be infocational: informative and educational. Your newsletter should contain snippets of “cool” information presented in a fun, uplifting way. This may sound difficult to do, but I’ll show you lots of options.
Electronic newsletters are the “in” thing if you listen to Internet gurus. I’m not so sold on them. The best thing about an enewsletter is that it is very inexpensive to distribute. The hope is that your enewsletter is picked up and distributed to tens of thousands of interested readers. The reality is that your distribution goal is another’s SPAM. This brings us to an important fact: Chutzpah marketers do not SPAM.
I prefer to build a content packed newsletter. I want to distribute it to my target group the way they would like to get it sent to them. If they want it mailed, I mail it. If they prefer it in their email box, I happily oblige and send it to them as a PDF attachment to an email. I’m even happy to do both. No matter the format, I gently encourage them to distribute the newsletter to friends and family. On my web site I offer free PDF downloads to the world. When I am playing “Stump the shrink” with a parenting group, I can casually mention, “A few months ago there was an article about the latest research concerning this in my free newsletter. You can get it for free at my web site.” (You and I know this is really a 9-second speech.)
Dr. Peri O’Steum, a chiropractor I worked with, bought the mail list of a chiropractor who was retiring. This left Dr. O’Steum with 6800 families that had purchased chiropractic services from the other chiropractor sometime in the last 20 years. Dr. O’Steum was reluctant to send each name on the list a letter inviting them to use his services. The postage alone would run $2,992.00. So we devised a postcard campaign to be rolled out over three months. Each month, 2,300 postcards were mailed. The postcard was a coupon for a free exam (side 2) and an offer for a free enewsletter from Dr. O’Steum’s web site. Over the course of the year, Dr. O’Steum garnered 117 new families for a total of 209 new customers. Dr. O’s business averages $560 per year per customer. That totaled out to over $117,000 from new customers alone. Not bad for a postcards/coupon/newsletter campaign.
It is best to send at least three mailings over the course of a few months. So I suggested that he continue mailing to the non-responsive families over the course of the year. In the end, he chose not to because he was too busy and didn’t want to bring in an associate.
For the rest of this section I will be discussing hard copy chutzpah newsletters, but rest assured these newsletters can live forever as PDFs circulating the Internet.
(Portable Document Format) The de facto standard for document publishing from Adobe. On the Web, there are countless brochures, data sheets, white papers and technical manuals in the PDF format.
PDFs solved a chronic font problem, in which the target computer may not have all the fonts specified in a document. For a graphic artist, font selection is an important part of page design, but, quite often, only basic fonts are chosen to ensure they will be available in every user’s computer.
In contrast, PDF files do not rely on the fonts installed in the computer that displays or prints them.
Document designers are free to choose whichever fonts they have at their disposal, and those fonts are embedded within the PDF document. Because the fonts are not distributed for general use, they comply with the font license and do not violate copyrights or patents. Most importantly for page designers, they can use all the fonts they have at their disposal and be guaranteed that the page will display and print correctly on any computer with PDF rendering software.
It is best if your newsletters have a “feel” to them. After reading a few of your newsletters, your reader should know your newsletter on sight by its “feel.” The easiest way to do this is to have every edition of your newsletter built on a template with a predictable organization.
Word processing programs such as Microsoft Word and Apple Pages have newsletter templates built right into them. These have become quite sophisticated and easy to use. You simply paste your information into the template. The biggest problem is that the program comes with a small number of templates and your newsletter can easily get the same “feel” as the church down the street or the elementary school across town. However, these newsletter templates are a great beginning. For the computer savvy the program InDesign (PC/Mac) is the industry print/publish standard.
Below are examples of two templates from Microsoft Word. It is for a standard 8.5” x 11” newsletter in full color. (The creator of these templates must get free color cartridges.)
Microsoft Word template example #1
Microsoft Word template example #2
What you do is replace the filler words with your copy. Then replace the filler photos with your photos, and voila, you have a newsletter.
Your newsletter can be from 2 to 6 pages, which is up to three pieces of copy paper printed on each side, then folded in half. Staying within 3 pieces of paper keeps you under the 1 ounce, first class, postage requirement. By using the bottom of the last page as the mailing label area, you save an envelope. You will need mailing seals (2¢ each at office supply stores.) These are perforated, 1” white or clear labels, that keep the mailer closed during shipment, but makes opening easy without damage to your mailer. Mail seals are even printable, with free computer templates available at www.avery.com.
As with postcards, it is very helpful and money saving to mail merge the address directly onto the mail piece.
Below shows my newsletter (custom made) template produced with Adobe software.
Dr. Phil’s newsletter template (reduced) The big hairy thing is Dr. Phil (chair).
[UPDATE] In 2013 my patient newsletter went 100% email.
Color can add a lot to the look of your newsletter. The problem is that color is expensive and your newsletter is a freebee.
My advice, develop the newsletter in color, but print it in black and white (gray scale) on a quality laser printer. Why bother with the color if I’m advising you to print in black and white? The reason is the PDF. Color in a PDF is free. When your newsletter is viewed on a computer screen, iPhone, iPod, or iPad screen, it shines in all its glorious color— for free.
Color pictures print nicely as gray scale on a laser printer because the color shades are reproduced as shades of gray.
It is nice to have the option to print in color. You may want to print the first page in color making the whole newsletter brighter. Or, use color for your holiday newsletters.
If you print in color have it done professionally or splurge on a color laser printer (PC/Mac $500.00 and up plus expensive color toner costs). Avoid ink jet color, it looks less professional and comes at a really high toner price.
The whole reason for your newsletter is to get your name and services front and center in your customer’s mind. The second reason is the hope they will share your newsletter with a friend or family member. If 80% of your copy is interesting stuff, you get to fill the other 20% with informative stuff about your business.
This is where interesting topics count. Not interesting necessarily to you, but interesting to your target audience. What does the reader want to read about?
People like to read short articles about:
If you read the cover of Reader’s Digest the next time you are in line at the supermarket, you will see the quintessential national newsletter. Reader’s Digest’s April 2009 cover boldly stated:
That’s just the cover. Personally, I love the little stories and jokes but never find the time to read the magazine that sits in my own reception area. (I did enjoy one a few months ago at my dentist’s office.)
Email is tricky. People seem to love it or hate it. People love to get pertinent email, and they hate to get spam. This is a huge problem for you if you are looking to communicate with your customers by email. Unlike regular mail, email for a lot of people seems very personal. So, if your email is unwanted your services may quickly become unwanted.
The best way to deal with this is with opt-in only email. What this means is that you only send email to people who give you prior permission to send them email.
However, this opt-in rule is still not enough. Every time you have contact with the individual you also need to offer them a clear way to opt-out of receiving email from you. People change their minds. This needs to be respected.
The Opt-in and Opt-out procedure should be simple for both the email receiver and you. If your email database is managed by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) make sure you familiarize yourself with their procedures. It could be some time before you get a complaint about the system if there is a problem. Most customers will simply feel unloved and choose a different company to work with verses tell you about the problem. Most people do not like conflict.
A manual system of opt-out is easy to set up. It is part of your email signature and looks like this:
If you wish to have your name removed from the CopitchInc.com email alerts simply send: “Please remove my email address” to:
If you have had this alert forwarded to you and would like to have your email address added, simply send: “Please add my email address to the CopitchInc.com email alerts.” to:
Please add the above address to your address book or white list so your spam filter will let us through, Thank You.
This way you, or your designate, gets an email telling you to remove them from your email list. Nice, clean and simple. Please note, as your email is sent from friend to friend, you will also get new opt-in requests. An enewsletter often takes on a life of its own once you let it fly.
“So why bother with removing them?” you may ask. The first and by far best reason is “Chutzpah marketers don’t SPAM!” And once you know you are emailing someone who wishes no contact, your email is spam. The second reason is Internet justice. Like in the old west, there are self appointed Internet sheriffs who will teach you a lesson.
I have a friend who is, by day, a mild mannered entrepreneur. But at night, he is the Internet version of Zorro. He is obsessed with email purity, so when he gets an unsolicited email he responds with a polite, “Please remove me from your database” email. And he saves the unsolicited email in a file he calls simply “Z”. If he gets a second unsolicited email from the same person or group he responds with a stern, “REMOVE me from your email database, if you do not, you are giving me permission to send you unsolicited email.”
If he gets a third unsolicited email, he sends the naughty emailer the contents of his “Z” file which is massive. This will play havoc with the naughty emailer’s service provider. No matter what you think of this tactic, it is not uncommon. There are reports of some major companies having their web sites knocked off the Internet when an angry individual asked a thousand (or 10,000) of his closest friends in a user group to simultaneously email their computer operating system, every hour, to the errant company’s web site. This level of usage will disrupt even the largest ISP, and most likely get the attention of the FBI.
This is simple to say but hard to do. You want to send information your customer wants to read more about. Content is king!
The goal of your email is to get information in front of the eyes of your opt-in customer. They want to hear from you, that’s why they opted in. Now give them what they want. Quickly.
Consistent format is helpful so your customer can find what they want every time: clean, easy to follow information. Your email is an invitation to learn “more.” It would be nice if it was seen by the customer as “an old friend” in the email window. Give them the headline and then a sentence or two with a follow up “More...” link (hypertext link) to get lots more information. This link should go to a specific place in your web site (called an anchor). Internet patrons have no patience. If you drop them at the beginning of your web site and expect them to search for what you interested them in, they will click off your page and be gone. Your hyperlink should take them right to the item you interested them in.
This destination web site page should have full navigational abilities giving them full access to your web site offerings.
The subject of direct mail is a weighty topic that can cover volumes. We have already covered the chutzpah value of postcards, for most purposes the best form of direct mail, and the usefulness of a chutzpah newsletter. But, there are other methods that a chutzpah marketer should have in her arsenal to be pulled out at the right time.
In this section I am going to cover the low cost, high value, direct techniques that can be used to nurture a growing business. My focus will be on low cost and high value, the chutzpah way.
Chutzpah direct mail is a targeted sales method. Unlike L.L. Bean and Costco that can afford to place a catalog in everyone’s mailbox, your funds are limited. Don’t let this discourage you, because it is an advantage. Inside the mailbox of the correct individual you can compete easily with the million dollar players in the direct mail business.
The vast majority of direct mail is a total waste of money. I was once told by a magazine editor, “Ninety percent of my direct mail is a waste of money, I just don’t know which ninety percent.” This is strange math in the real world, but not in direct mail. Most direct mail campaigns have an expected read rate of ten percent and a sale rate of 1-3 percent. So, if you knew which 1-3 percent would buy your product or services, you wouldn’t need to bother mailing to the other 97-99 percent.
By using your own list you have upped your odds dramatically. People that have bought from you in the past are more likely to buy from you in the future. This makes sense, but there is more. People similar to those who have bought from you in the past are more likely to buy from you.
As we have discussed before, it is important to follow your business branding and direct your message to your potential customer’s pressing needs. When developing your mailer, use the same process as you did with your postcard ad campaign.
There are many types of low cost direct mail ideas. A chutzpah marketer keeps an eye out for the opportunity:
Inserts are advertisements that are placed into another company’s package or mailing; like when you add your 3-up brochure to every statement you mail to existing customers. Well, almost every other business does the same thing, and if you ask nicely, with the correct motivation, they may let your 3-up ride along.
Three entrepreneurs who met a few years back in the hallway of their building work together to support each other. They help each other keep costs down by buying their general office supplies in bulk from Costco. The three office managers each take turns doing the weekly shopping, and distributing the items. They also place the other two entrepreneurs’ fliers in their outgoing statements. This way each entrepreneur gets to place his name in front of the other entrepreneurs’ customers for the chutzpah cost of the insert.
A social worker who is highly involved in her church’s women’s group asked the church school director if she could pay to have a small ad placed in every monthly bill mailed to the parents. The school director politely said, “No.”
The social worker talked to me about the uncomfortable conversation, and I suggested she ask again, but from a different angle. Instead of “ad” I suggested “sponsorship”.
At the end of each statement, “Thank you to Mary Richmond, M.S.W. for her donation to offset the cost of this mailing. Mary is a social worker who works with teen girls, junior high through college age. Mary’s office is located at 1917 Columbia Street. Her phone is (555) 555-5879.”
Mary pays half the postage, and the church school director is now looking for someone to sponsor the other half. (Please note: Mary has no printing costs.)
When Mary talked to the school director in advertising terms with the word “ad”, the director was turned off right at the beginning. But when Mary talked about helping with the ever growing cost of the school statement mailing, the school director was eager for help.
When you open a magazine or newspaper and stuff falls out, that stuff is called stand alone or free standing inserts. This type of insert takes a ride with periodicals, thus no postage. To get your flyer into the periodical can cost a pretty penny. A few low cost ways have crossed my desk over the years.
A psychologist who lives in a large apartment building, noticed that residents would recycle their barely used magazines by leaving them on a table in the mailbox area. He placed his 3-up into each magazine to see what would happen. About a week later, he got a call. When he asked, “How did you get my name?” the caller said, “I saw your ad in Architectural Digest.”
Over the next couple of weeks this enterprising psychologist started taking extra copies of magazines and leaving them, along with his inserted flier, on the “free” table at the public library.
An athletic trainer who was a frequent visitor to the used bookstore in her neighborhood, asked the owner of the store if he could put his insert into the books in the health and fitness section. The owner was ok with the idea, but joked, “For every sale you make, you owe me lunch.” To date, the trainer has brought him three meatball subs. The bookstore owner liked the deal so much, he now has a deal with the Jiffy-Lube on the corner. The Jiffy-Lube manager gets to put a coupon in the automotive books and magazines, and the bookstore owner gets a free oil change every three months.
Inserts don’t only get to travel by book. A charity I was involved with was having a Wine & Art Auction. One of the sponsors was an upscale specialty food and wine shop. In addition to the sponsorship, I asked the owner if he could have his baggers stuff a flier into every bag that left his store. He agreed as long as the insert had no advertising from any other store on it. When I suggested that the insert could be all about the Wine and Art Charity Auction and how gracious his company was to sponsor it, he volunteered to pay for the printing of the insert. A few days later, he called and asked permission to print information about the Wine and Art Charity Auction on coasters that he had to buy anyway for another business. As it turned out, he also owned an upscale bar that specialized in micro-brewery beers and ales.
Companies like Val-Pac (www.valpak.com) and Welcome Wagon (www.welcomewagon.com) mail packs of inserts concerning goods and services to homes throughout the country. It is common for entrepreneurs to get national card decks, a pack of post cards mailed in a plastic shrink wrapped mailer. Card decks often tout specialty books or product deals.
Often local card deck advertising are coupon driven ad campaigns. I tend not to recommend coupon driven ad campaigns for entrepreneurs, because in most situations, entrepreneurs who give coupons accidentally teach the public to wait for another coupon before buying from them. Larger companies with lots of different types of items to sell can afford money off or percent off coupons as loss leaders.
If your company is doing a charitable activity where you need the community to get involved (and maybe learn your name), then a mass card deck mailing may help.
When a local service club wanted to gather glasses to refurbish and send overseas, Dr. Eage offered his Optometry clinic’s lobby as the main drop off point. The following year, still pleased with the goodwill from the prior year, Dr. Eage, paid the cost for an insert in the Community Saver Pack. The local service club helped get a lot of glasses to needy people, and Dr. Eage got a lot of goodwill and added foot traffic.
Not all communities have mailbox/card deck companies. To find a local company look in your Yellow Pages under Direct Mail.
You may wish to think outside the envelope. The postal service will mail almost any non dangerous item for a price. I mailed a coconut from Hawaii to friends instead of a postcard. I just put a stamp on the coconut shell, wrote a note and the address with a marker, and the USPS delivered it in a timely fashion. No box needed. My friends still have the coconut to this day.
In my small city, you can get a letter delivered across town for $4.00 by a private messenger service. They mainly deal with attorneys, but they are happy to pick up and deliver to any address in 3 zip codes. Check your local Yellow Pages under Delivery, private or Messenger Service.
It may sound simplistic, but the best way to build onto your mail list is to ask people for their address. Business people will happily give you their business card, while others will give you the information if they feel they are getting something from you.
When I give a talk, I encourage listeners to place their names and addresses on a list that I pass around. The offer is usually a free white paper. (I have learned to beg for penmanship.)
As will be discussed in detail in Chapter 11: Chutzpah Presentations, Speeches, and Trade Shows, if you do a health fair, job fair, or charity event, have a raffle. Make sure the raffle ticket has ample space for name and address (no phone number). By making it clear that “You do not need to be present to win,” you will greatly increase the participation. On the bottom of the ticket write: “The winner will be informed by certified mail.” This costs only a few bucks but sounds very official and special.
One year, my dog Jazz was expecting. So, just for fun we had a Guess The Birth Date raffle. On the “Official Entry Form” there were spaces for name and address along with spaces to guess the date of birth, start time of birth, and number of pups. First prize was a large coffee table book of “Puppies.” ($10 bargain table at Barnes and Noble) I left a large stack of Official Entry Forms in the waiting room and told people, “Give them out to friends, let everyone play.” Over the next few weeks, hundreds of entrees got turned in. Jazz did all the work, but a lot of people enjoyed playing the game. The winner was a school teacher who I had never met from a school across town. Her class sent Jazz 30 very nicely written congratulation cards and the book became very popular in the classes’ lending library.
You can even get addresses over the phone. If someone calls looking for information, offer to mail them your business brochure or newsletter.
Your physical location is very important to a potential customer. If a customer has to fight traffic or parking to get to your business, they may simply look elsewhere. This information may be ego deflating, but many people pick a business based on location. With this information in hand, it may be advantageous to inform people within a few mile radius of your office that you are there to serve their needs. This is when a list broker may come in handy.
List brokers sell public information in a tidy fashion. If you know specifically what type of person you are looking for, a list broker can get you a list of names that meet your parameters.
Your job is to think of the parameters. The list broker’s goal is to sell you names–the more the better. They get paid by the name anywhere from 6¢ to over a $1.00. The list broker has the list, and runs a computer sort to fine tune their whole list to your target group.
Examples of lists:
As you can see, if a computer can gather the information from public records, a list broker can sell you that information. It is kind of spooky how much is in the public domain.
Mail list owners tend to be large banking and credit corporations with access to huge amounts of consumer and business data. Mail list brokers lease the lists from the mail list owner and rents it to you. Yep, that’s right, you, the end user can only rent a list. Usually the list is rented for a single use or for unlimited use during a specific period of time, for example one month.
The mail list brokers offer two types of lists:
A compiled list is computer generated from public and business records such as telephone directories, birth records, divorce records, credit reports, and annual reports.
A response list is computer generated from information gathering areas like, magazine subscriptions, warranty return cards, business contact databases, government reports, and government records.
Response lists tend to be more targeted and are more expensive to rent.
When you rent a list you have to be aware about freshness. A list that is one year old is very old. It may be 30-40 percent inaccurate. People move, companies go out of business, or move. You do not want to pay to mail your target list to the wrong mailbox.
A fresh list is considered 92 percent accurate. It tends to be about a month old. List owners and brokers regularly clean up their lists. There is competition in the list rental game, and the list broker wants to keep you coming back to rent from them. It is appropriate to ask how old a list is, and when was the last time it was pruned. The list broker cannot guarantee that people on the list will buy your product, but they should back that the list is accurate (92% or better).
Beware of “expired lists.” I have been offered expired lists on a few occasions. The cost per name was nice, but a expired list is very old, and when you think about the cost of the mailer and postage, an expired list is probably a black hole that will simply devour your money.
Most list brokers want to sell quantity. It is common in the industry that a list broker sells the names for, say 15¢ each, with a minimum list price of $500.00. This $500.00 minimum was the standard for at least the last 10 years. However, just recently, a list broker I worked with a few years ago sent me an email offering “Inflation Busting Special” of a $350.00 minimum.
List brokers add a few seed names into every list they sell. The seed addresses are legitimate addresses monitored by the list owner. If you use the list again, without paying for it, you will get a call, bill or nasty lawyer letter. Or perhaps all three.
Some of the big players on-line are:
Direct Marketing Association This site has a wealth of information.
MX Logic reported in 2005 that 3 of every 4 email messages were spam. It bothers most people to get spam. This has also taught most people to mistrust email marketing. With this information, and the fact that most states and the federal government are regularly drafting anti-spam legislation, it is potentially dangerous to buy and use email addresses for marketing purposes.
I advise you not to email anyone who did not opt-in to your company specifically.
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