Attract Future Customers with 'Bug-em' Mail

I hate cold calls, but I love it when potential customers call me. So I developed a marketing plan that doesn’t require sales calls. 

3 steps to get customers to call you

  1. Awareness: creates interest in YOU
  2. Interest: keeps YOU at top of their mind
  3. Top Of Mind: gets them to call YOU when they need you

Using my three steps builds awareness of your company and what you’ll do for customers over a period of time. Creating awareness is based upon the Rule of 7: you must have at least seven contacts with future customers before they remember your name, feel they know you, trust you or will call you.

Send “Bug-em!” mail

In my business I use the post office to make future customers aware of me. We mail out something to our entire customer target mailing list at least six times per year. Once is not enough. And we don’t just mail any old boring piece of mail. We send creative, different, unique and informative "Bug-em!” mail. We use a professional design firm to keep our image consistent. Orange is our branded color. Everyone recognizes my orange hardhat on every piece of "Bug-em!" mail. I'm building awareness.

To create interest and be remembered, get different, crazy and unique. Stand out from the crowd. Be clever, creative and fun. Never send the same old throw-away pens, ball caps and notepads everyone else sends. Send professionally created materials that consistently reflect your message.

Quality counts

Match your "Bug-em!" mail to your customers. I use a newsletter that looks like a blueprint for our construction customers. But to attract bank investors we use traditional white stationary with blue ink. If you are targeting the medical industry, consider using a prescription theme. Future customers respond to the familiar.

To peak the customer's interest we mail cartoons, jokes, small hardhats, coffee cups with hammer handles, golf tees, golf ball markers, chads from election ballots (during the Bush/Gore election), and American flags on the 4th of July. Once we mailed envelopes filled with nails and a banner: “When can we nail down your next job?” Last year I sent postcards from Vail, Colo., with this note: “Thanks to my loyal customers for sending me skiing. I appreciate your business!”

Tell customers what you want them to remember

Remember your goal is not only to create interest but to create the right kind of interest in you. You have to tell your future customers what you want them to remember about you. To show we were more than a “local” company, we sent out maps indicating our many project locations within a 100-mile radius. To create a perception of fast service, we mailed out "on-time schedulers." Tell future customers what you want them to remember - over and over and over! 

Getting future customers to call you is a long, slow process which requires constant action over time. It will take one to two years to be effective. Marketing is a drip-drip-drip process. It never is a one-time event. I’ve sent "Bug-em!" mail every two to four months since 1984. I’ve never stopped because it works. I always get lots of potential customer calls after every mailing. The best part? They call me.

Cheap cost = high return

And it’s affordable. We typically mail "Bug-em!" mail to 1,000 to 2,000 future customers four to six times per year. The average cost including postage is $1.00 to $2.00 for each piece we send. Our annual "Bug-em!" budget for six mailings costs around $12,000 per year. It's worth every penny times 10. We use a $200 database contact management software program to keep track of future customers. The software sorts by address, industry, customer type or any other criteria we need. You can also create personalized form letters to mail. It only takes a few minutes to print 1,000 mailing labels. Easy.

We only dedicate four hours every month to our "Bug-em!” marketing program. We constantly look for great ideas, articles, perfect mailing pieces, fun flat gifts and photo opportunities. To remain consistent, we’ve used the same professional design firm for over 20 years. But you can easily hire local marketing or graphic design students from nearby colleges to help you get started. After we select or design our "Bug-em!" mail, the task of creating it in-house, using an outside promotional products vendor or getting it to the printer is simple. When we are ready to mail, we use temporary help to print the labels, assemble the packages and stuff the envelopes. Done. Then we wait for the phone to ring. It always does.

George Hedley is a professional business coach, popular speaker and best-selling author of “Get Your Business to Work!” and “The Business Success Blueprint For Contractors” available at his online bookstore. He works with contractors to build profitable growing companies. E-mail: GH@HardhatPresentations.com to request FREE admission to his next webinar, signup for his e-newsletter, be part of a group BIZCOACH program, join a peer mastermind BIZGROUP, take a class at Hardhat BIZSCHOOL online university, or hire George to speak. Visit www.HardhatPresentations.com

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