By Golly George! Who Built That Fence For You?!

 

My favorite clients all say, "We grow mainly by word-of-mouth."

Excellent!  That must mean you do your job well. You deliver on promises made. And best of all, your customers like you!  A word of warning however -- word of mouth is not what it once was.  Gone are the neighborly over-the-fence chats of the 1950’s.  Families don't set roots in small hometowns for generations like they once did. College, career changes and snowbird retirements are spreading families out across the nation.  Clientele age and naturally drop out of your prospect pool.

Don't count on referrals as the only source for qualified leads or risk losing the lifeblood of your business.

Good news!  You can capitalize on your strong word-of-mouth and satisfied clients by turning them into a direct mail advertising message that works.

We have proven formula to help you achieve remarkable results.  The success of your direct mail campaign will be influenced by three things: the list, the offer, and the design.

 The List

Be laser focused and target prospects who look and act like your clients.  What makes referrals great is that people generally befriend folks who are similar to them. Their sameness makes your job of closing the lead that much easier.  Understand your customer and mail to those just like them.  You need consumers who are able, ready and willing to buy. One of the most desirable demographics today is the mass affluent, the 21% of homes that are responsible for 60% of spending. They are the 98% of homeowners that are twice as likely to buy, and when they do, spend 3.2 times more.**

 The Offer

What offer can you make the conveys real value to the reader? We often get asked “How much should my offer be worth?”  We advise: Without giving away the house, what is the most unbelievable offer you can make?  If your ideal customer received your postcard today, what offer would motivate them to take action today?  Remember the stronger the offer, the greater the response.  What is trending in your industry now?  Can you entice the reader with that?   Follow the lead of marketing giants and use BOGO (buy one, get one) deals or percent off sales or cash back offers.  By now, everyone recognizes the trademark blue and white Bed Bath & Beyond 20% off direct mail offer.  Consumers want to feel like they are special and getting a deal.

 The Design 

While the artwork is important, the headline and message are more critical.  What can you tell me that will captivate my attention immediately?  What problem can you solve? According to John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, "Tell stories. People love stories. Often even complicated ideas can be made simple through the use of a story. Talk about how your clients use your products or services."  Avoid platitudes and generalizations like ..."World's best cabinets" or "Quality service, affordable prices." Boring!

287 is the average number of meaningful branding and advertising messages seen daily. People are tired and bored of the everyday, the mundane, and the expected. If your message doesn't resonate or impinge with the consumer, will they even notice it?*

This simple three-step formula can begin to fill your marketing funnel with new and interested prospects.  Once you turn your new leads into clients don't forget to keep your referral train rolling. Make asking for them a part of your selling process.  Jantsch shares "One of the best ways to leverage the power of referral marketing is to make the providing of referrals an expectation of every client relationship."

Still concerned about your message? Download the free white paper: 8 critical mistakes to avoid when marketing your product or service.

Contributed by Heather Craaybeek.

Heather

 

 

 

 

 

 

*source: Jay Walker-Smith, president of the Marketing Firm Yankelovuch

**source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey

Shout out to Cincinnati!

I am very proud to oversee the prospecting here at RSVP in our Cincinnati, Ohio zone. Of course we love all of our zones (all 12 of them!) but Cincinnati will always be very special to me. I was born and raised here in Dayton, but I have considered Cincinnati to be my home away from home. Surprisingly enough I traveled there a lot while I attended the University of Dayton. Sometimes my roommates and I would need to get away from it all, and Cincinnati was just close enough to take a day trip. I was fortunate to have one of my roommates from there so she knew all the hot spots.

One of the many things I love about Cincinnati is their beautiful parks. Most of the parks in the area are free to AultParkexplore and even have events and activities in the summer. Ault, Eden, Hyde Park are just to name a few of the many  that are located in the city, all of them unique. My favorite is probably Ault Park. It isn’t the biggest of the parks and it doesn’t have any restaurants or shops. It does have a large overlook that is fun to climb. I think it is one of the most beautiful places.

CinciSubwayStationThe city of Cincinnati is  full of history. Did you know that during the 1800’s Cincinnati was actually considered one of the top ten most populous cities in the country? It’s true! Also, the growth rate during the end of the 1800’s was compared to New York City and Chicago. Wikipedia says that “6 million dollars was going to go towards a Rapid Transit system similar to Boston and Chicago.” In today's numbers, that would be like us spending nearly $74 million on it!  City Council delayed progress on the terminal because WWII had started. After the war the estimation of how much it would cost to finish the subway had almost doubled. The stock market soon hit which made it even harder for the subway to get completed.

Unfortunately the subway never did get completed, but I have faith that one day Cincinnati will have an active subway station that will be a wonderful addition to the city. Until then, twice a year the Cincinnati Museum center and the Over the Rhine Foundation operate tours through the historic tunnels. I haven’t been yet, but it is definitely on my list.

Most recently Cincinnati has been the host to a few big named celebrities. Cate Blanchett has been spotted in the city filming the movie Carol and also Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor will be in the city to shoot a film about jazz musician Miles Davis. If you’re in the city keep an eye out and you just might run into them or get to be an extra in one of the movies??? Okay that might be a little much, but still very exciting to look out for while walking around downtown.

With the summer coming soon, take some time to visit a new city. Whether it is Cincinnati or just a place you’ve wanted to visit for a long time; even if it’s just a short car ride away. Wander around the parks and explore a little of the city’s history. You will be glad you did!

Happy exploring!

Contributed by Crista Kling.

 

Crista

 

 

 

Perspective from “the New Guy”

new guy

Being a recent graduate of Centerville High School has been an accomplishment and success.  I decided that I wanted to pursue a degree in marketing at The University of Cincinnati.  I felt that the co-op program at Cincinnati offered me the best chance for success in the “real world.”  Having completed my freshman year at The University of Cincinnati, I feel as if I learned a good amount of information about not only marketing, but business in general.

I have just recently started working at RSVP this summer.  Working at RSVP will be a great opportunity to contribute to this business, develop practical real-world experience, further myself in my long-term job search and enhance my resume this summer.  It has been my first real job in the career path that I have chosen.  As I started working at RSVP, I felt as if I needed to prove myself to my fellow employees and demonstrate that just because I am the boss’ son, I can “bust it” and earn their respect in the office.  I have started working part-time, with my first of several assignments being converting hundreds of businesses paper files to our new paperless database.

While I am converting files, I feel that being the new intern with a fresh set of eyes in the business, I can offer new ideas to the company, and more efficient ways to do daily tasks.  Even though I lack experience in the workplace, I feel that I can make up for it in creative and new ideas, and energy and passion for life.

Being “the new guy” allows me to be in a position where I can challenge and inspire myself and others to excel, while simultaneously generating new ideas and process improvements for the RSVP business.  That is a perspective that I have now, and hope to maintain throughout my career.

Contributed by:
Anthony J. Sucato
University of Cincinnati
Carl H. Lindner College of Business

 

AnthonyWeb

Creating a Fun {and inexpensive} Summer To-Do List!

summer

Every summer, as the school doors open and close for the last time, every family wonders the same exact thing, “What are we going to do with our kids for the WHOLE summer?!”

For the past two summers, my family has created a “Summer To-Do List,” and I thought I would share with you some of our favorite no-cost ideas that our kids look forward to doing every summer.

~ Jump in puddles! My children LOVE to run outside after a storm (once all the lighting and thunder has passed, of course) and jump in the puddles and splash around!

~ Catch some fireflies! This is something that I loved to do as a child, and I have passed my love of this to my children. We love to run outside at night and count how many fireflies we can catch and watch glow in our hands.

~ Go for a hike! We like to call them “Adventure Walks” where we count how many different flowers and birds we can find along the way.

~ Have a picnic! Why eat inside on a beautiful day when you can throw down a blanket (preferably in the shade) and eat outside.

~ Build a worm farm! This might be geared towards boys, but who doesn’t love digging in the dirt and finding some worms?

~ Splash Park! If you are lucky enough to live near a splash park then make sure to make use of it! On a hot summer day, this is a great way for your kids to cool off and have fun!

~ Go to the library! In addition to all the wonderful books to choose from, most libraries also have DVDs and video games you can rent for no charge.

~ Go fishing! Go ahead - grab your fishing pole and bait and head to the closest pond and try your luck at catching dinner!

~ Lemonade Stand! What better way to entertain the kids and have them earn a little bit of spending money? The kids will love creating and decorating the stand, and also have a blast serving the best summer refreshment to friends and neighbors!

These are just some of the fun activities you can do with your family this summer. What memories will you add to this list during the summer of 2014?

 

Contributed by Marcella Gillespie

Marcella