How to Grow Your Foreclosure Cleanup Business Fast Using Postcards
Postcards are Cheap, Effective Marketing Magic for Property Preservation Start-ups
I don't care what your business is, it can be marketed via postcards. As of this writing, it costs just 28 cents to mail any standard-sized postcard (4x6) size anywhere in the U.S.
We've all received postcards in the mail from local gyms, the dentist, the eye doctor, etc.
Because they're uncovered (no fussing with glue or clasps on envelopes), postcards are enormously popular, especially for the budget-conscious, foreclosure cleanup entrepreneur.
Major Benefits of Marketing Your Foreclosure Cleanup Business with Postcards
1. Cost: Put simply, postcards are cheap. How cheap? Most postcard printing companies (the great majority of which can be found online), charge in the neighborhood of $100.00 for 250 graphic-intensive, multi-color cards.
These are professionally printed postcards that you can send out right away. Including the 28 cent postage, your first mailing can be out the door for less than $175. One job from this mailing should pay for this 4, 5 or 6 times over. (We landed a $900+ foreclosure restaurant cleanup job within one week after sending out just thirty postcards!)
Not a writer, graphic designer? Don't worry. You don't have to be. Most websites have templates, examples and an arsenal of graphics that will allow you to just drag and drop text and images.
2. Ease: Online printers make it easy. The computer age has made creating and designing postcards for your foreclosure cleanup business a snap. It usually takes me 30 minutes to an hour to go online and create, design, proof and order my postcards.
Most sites will store personal photos you wish to use (usually for a small fee), or you may use their images. You simply select a template, add your text and your card is complete.
3. Immediacy: Because postcards are so cheap to mail and so easy to create, you can start marketing with them right away. You don't have to wait until you can afford to place an ad in the Yellow Pages or a newspaper.
4. Personalization: You can send highly personalized messages with postcards. Also, you won't have to worry that your message will get lost among other ads. Postcards are a direct contact with potential foreclosure cleanup customers - the best kind.
Now that you see the benefits of marketing your property preservation business with postcards, let's take a look at the elements that make up a good postcard.
Overview: The Elements of an Effective Postcard
1. Response Elements: Make sure your postcard contains all the elements that will prompt a prospect to respond, eg: the headline (make it colorful, big and fun); the benefit to the reader (make sure it's a benefit, not a feature); the offer (time-sensitive offers work best); the close; and the call to action.
2. Effective: Effective postcards communicate something relevant and important to your foreclosure cleanup customer base. In fact, if the information is important and/or relevant enough, some customers will even hold on to it for future reference.
3. Positive Message: Minimally, your postcard should help customers recall something positive about your foreclosure cleaning business. Because they have limited space, having a memorable business name and a logo that conveys what your business is all about are two quick ways to make a good impression for your foreclosure cleaning business.
4. Beneficial Message: Your postcard should clearly and succinctly state the benefits of your service. Tell potential customers why using your foreclosure cleanup service is important for them. Some benefits statements might be:
Spend time selling foreclosures; not cleaning them!
Sell that foreclosure quicker: Let us make the property look new!
Stop losing money to vandals; let us secure and winterize your foreclosures!
This text clearly state the benefit the client will receive from using your foreclosure cleaning service.
Note: What is the difference between a "feature" and a "benefit"? Even experienced entrepreneurs sometimes confuse these, so review your material to make sure that you're getting it right.
Definition of a "Feature": A feature is something that describes the product/service. Eg, we are open 24 hours; we were rated number one in customer service; our prices are the lowest around; etc.
While all of this is great, it doesn't tell the customer what your business can do for them and why they should use you. This is what a benefit is.
Definition of a "Benefit": A benefit tells the prospect what a product/service will do for them. For example, it helps them to sell the house quicker, stops vandals from breaking in, makes the home more attractive to prospective buyers, etc.
Prospects don't buy features, they buy benefits, so keep the difference between the two in mind when you sit down to design your postcard.
Features of Effective Postcards
1. The "Kiss" Principle: Keep It Simple Sam. A postcard should grab your reader's attention. Simple, straightforward headlines are the best way to do this.
15% Off Simple Trashouts
Onsite Estimates Provided Immediately!
We Show Up on Time - Every Time!
These are all direct, effective headlines (particularly the one about showing up on time). The industry is so rife with people who don't show up on time - or at all - that you'll garner a lot of foreclosure cleanup business just by doing this one thing alone. Point it out every chance you get.
2. Time-Sensitive Messages: Time-sensitive messages are highly effective for motivating customers to respond, eg:
Respond by 6/5 and Receive 10% Off!
Lawn maintenance special expires in 10 days.
All of these are time-sensitive messages.
3. Double-sided Printing: Once you've given your customer a time-sensitive message, tell them how to take advantage of it. A great postcard would be to put your time-sensitive message on one side and the details of how to take advantage of it on the flip side.
4. Tell a Story Visually Attractive: Know the saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words?" Well, it truly is in this business. Use postcards to tell prospects a story. How?
Get in the habit of shooting before and after pictures. Put these on your postcard with a time-sensitive message and a strong benefits statement. If you do this, you have a winning sales message that will bring in jobs time and again.
Tip: Digital cameras are an effective way to take great, personalized photos to use in postcard campaigns. You can photograph a job before and after and load the images onto your computer in minutes. Then, they can be used on your website, in your postcard campaigns and even in your email campaigns.
If you don't already have one, invest in a good digital camera. They're very inexpensive now compared to what they used to be. You can buy instant ones for around $15.
The Best Ways to Make Postcards Work for You
Think "Campaigns" Instead of Single Mailings: What do I mean by this? To explain, sit down with a calendar and circle one holiday in each month. You're doing this so that you can create monthly postcard mailings.
Being proactive like this helps you to stay in regular contact with customers and potential customers. When it comes to marketing, this is what it's all about - constant contact.
Become a Habitual Marketer: Because postcards are so cheap and effective, you can always have them on hand. For example, if you come into contact with a great new prospect but don't have a business card handy, you can drop a postcard in the mail and follow up via other means when you can.
At least you get your name in front of the prospect sooner rather than later.
Good luck with your foreclosure cleanup postcard campaigns!