Creative Offline Marketing

Part II – Creative Offline Marketing

  1. Package Inserts – If you’re going to mail out a product or package to a customer anyway, always tuck a sales letter for another product in the package. It won’t cost you any more, and when your customer receives that package, he or she will be pleased with the product (assuming your product isn’t junk) and be more favorable towards another purchase from you. You can also joint venture with other companies that target your niche market and get them to include your insert when shipping their product.
  1. Mini-seminars – A great way to bundle up all of your products and services and sell them from the platform. It’s very inexpensive to rent a hall and put on a 2 hour presentation for your target market on something that interests them. You position yourself as the expert, and you get to pitch your products and services. Be sure to record the event and offer it to other prospects who may not be able to attend the presentation in person.

Speakers don’t get paid, but still make money by pitching their products. It works, and anyone who doesn’t have one or more of these planned is missing out of a lot of extra potential income.

  1. Teleseminars – Basically a conference call, we’ve all probably been on many of them. Some have organized them and have been speakers. They can be pure content (i.e. no obvious pitches) for strengthening social proof and building up anticipation for a new product to be released in the future. They can be a mixture of content and pitch. You can even arrange a series of them as a tele-course and charge big money to attend (Marc Goldman and Jay Abraham did this with a six-month long series, one per month, on joint ventures and deal making).

  1. Voice Broadcasts – A very under-utilized technique. If you have an existing relationship with your customers or prospects, the Do Not Call list does not apply. That sets the stage for a great way to call thousands of your customers simultaneously when they are most likely to be away from home. You simply upload your customer’s phone numbers, record the message you want to leave, and the technology does the rest.

Example: “Hi, this is John Smith. Sorry I missed you, but I wanted to let you know that our firesale is ending tomorrow…”

Voice broadcasts work best when they are part of a sequence.

Example: “Hi, this is John Smith calling, from Smith Publishing. I’m sorry that I missed you, but I wanted to let you know about a valuable letter and free gift we’re sending to your home. You should be getting it in the next day or two. Just look for the bright blue envelope…”

  1. Gift Certificates – It’s generally known that people will usually spend more than the gift certificate amount. So if you operate a jewelry store, and you mail your customers a free no-obligation $25 gift certificate, it’s usually a very sound investment. Most restaurant owners already know that people generally don’t dine alone, so by giving your customers a free gift certificate, they’re bound to bring in others who will spend more money on food and drinks. A good variation on this formula is the free birthday dinner. Generally, nobody is going to come in on their birthday and eat their free dinner by themselves. They’re going to bring friends, relatives, you get the idea.

Here’s a great way to use gift certificates to get referrals: Send a letter to your customers with three gift certificates. One they can use for themselves, and the other two they can give away to friends or relatives. They keep your customers happy (and happy customers are more likely to speak highly of you to others) and they compound that fact by letting your customers give the certificates to others, to whom they will sing your praises. It’s like a tell-a-friend script on steroids!

  1. Coupons – Like gift certificates, coupons are also a great way to “touch” your customers and bring them back into your store (or website or whatever).
  1. Contests – The sandwich chain Subway recently had a scratch-off contest, but you had to go online to see if you were a winner. Contests are a great way to get leads and generate sales. Here’s a tip: always include an unadvertised “second place” that everyone who didn’t win will get. Joe Vitale did that last year, and used an email and voice broadcast to announce your “second place” prize. I would have included a sequence of direct mail as well, but the premise is the same.Also, the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest is a great example of using their product in the contest itself. If your product or service lends itself well to this approach, consider testing it.
  1. Celebrity Endorsements – They aren’t as expensive as you might think (unless you try to get Sean Connery or Tom Cruise). The key is that you need to use celebrities that your target market recognizes as such. So Tony Rice would make a great celebrity for bluegrass and acoustic guitar enthusiasts. Not so much for gardening fans.
  1. CD Salesletter – People generally won’t read 90 minutes worth of copy, but they will listen to it. The perceived value is much higher than a traditional salesletter as well. They can listen to it in their cars, on their walkmans (although today everyone has an iPod…why not use a podcast instead?). The point is that you can cram in a lot more information. You can do testimonials in their own voices, have sound effects or music. Anything to help advance the sale.
  1. Thank You Letters – Whether you send gift certificates, coupons, a 2 for 1 special, a free gift, or just a friendly thank you letter to stay on your customer’s radar screen, these types of letters are memorable and encourage your customers to send you referrals. As always, these types of letters should be personalized, and never use a mailing address letter on the envelope.


Dear Mr. Smith,

I hope you are very pleased with your recent purchase of my quality artwork. May it bring much viewing pleasure for you and your family for years to come.

Being an independent artist, I truly appreciate your business! I really want to personally thank you!

You should know that a recent painting I did was auctioned locally for more than $10,000.00! My work is featured at local art shows, and my original Silent Tempest painting has been on display in the Wadsworth Atheneum In Hartford since 1998. That means if you hold onto your painting, you’ll likely see its value increase considerably.

As you may know, I also paint custom portraits, landscapes, abstract art, and theme-based artwork from your choice of subjects.

What does that mean for you?

Good question. I just moved into a new, more spacious studio, and I’m having a special sale just for my best customers. Here’s what I want you to do (you’ll love this): call me right away for a absolutely FREE, no obligation quote on any custom painting you’d like me to do for you. But…

Don’t tell me you have this letter

until after I give you my free no-hassle quote.

Only then tell me that you have this letter, and I’ll knock off an additional 21% off of my already ridiculously low price.

That way you’ll know for sure I haven’t “padded” my price just to give the appearance of a sale. I’m going to let you trick me!

Why would I do this? Simple. I want you as a customer for life. Most of my customers come back again and again, because they love my inspiration and extraordinary use of colors. And they appreciate the fact that no other local artist enjoys an appreciation on the value of their paintings as I do.

So call me today at (555) 555-5555 for your FREE quote.

Very Truly Yours,

John Artist

P.S. Remember, call me right away to take advantage of this most exclusive offer for my best customers only.

P.P.S. Also, don’t tell me that you have this letter until after I give you my rock bottom price first!

Ok, obviously that’s fictitious (it’s a reprint from a sample letter I included in my Money Magnet newsletter). Plus I personally wouldn’t use price as a selling point for an artist (unless your market warrants it), but you get the idea.

One car salesman collects the name and address of everyone who comes in to check out a car. Then he sends them a personalized letter, thanking them for stopping by, and telling more about the car they looked at, it’s features, benefits, etc. Even if it results in one more sale a year (and he gets more than that), it’s worth it in his case.

  1. Event Marketing – Ever see those plaza store events, like when a new Harry Potter book is released? All the stores get together and celebrate the launch of the book in different ways. Obviously there’s the bookstore release, but the local video and game rental store gets in the act. So does the family restaurant, ice-cream vendor, and arcade. Even the dry cleaning store can get involved and pump up their business, if they stick to a common theme. And this is all announced ahead of time (with appropriate press releases, etc.) so people coming down know what to expect. “Oh, great, we can get the book for little Sally, I can drop off my suit at the cleaners, my wife can go to the apparel store. What a great time this will be for the whole family!”
    1. Start a Talk Show – If you have regular content to deliver that your target market wants, your own local talk show may be another avenue to cut through the clutter. Where I live there are plenty of local access stations that have these types of programs, and in most cases the community stations are free to air your programs. Think nobody watches them? Well, you’re not going to beat out American Idol, and even infomercials will likely edge you out, but informal surveys I’ve conducted tell me that people are aware of these shows, and sometimes watch all or a part of one during late night channel surfing. There are even some regular “shows” that some of the locals rely on for information they can’t easily get anywhere else. The key is to not do the same boring thing everyone else is doing.

      In my local Rare Reminder newspaper, a local cable-access talk show host who DOES have people watching advertises for guests. If you can’t start your own talk show, why not appear as a guest on one? You can get a DVD recording of it to use as a lead generation device. You can get great leads that way if your target market is watching.

    1. Word of Mouth / Viral Marketing – The key here is create something that people will want to share. Yes, the “tell a friend” scripts are good online. The gift certificate idea mentioned previously is another. But surely there’s something you can think of to really “wow” them. You want to make them say “Wait until Jane sees this!”

    One of the keys to making this work (and any sort of lead generation device) is to know your customer’s lifetime value. In other words, what does your average customer in this market (using the type of lead generation you are doing) bring me in profits over their entire lifetime? Let’s say it’s $25,000. And let’s say your method of gathering leads converts 10% of leads into customers. Do you think it’s wise to spend $100 per lead of that type in your efforts? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

    1. Volunteer – Besides making you feel good about helping a worthy cause, it’s a great way to network if you can volunteer where you come into contact with prospects (or people who have frequent contact with your prospects).
    1. Unusual Places for Ads – I should say “unused places.” Wherever a space is zoned for advertising and it’s blank, there’s an opportunity to get your message out. The side of a van. The side of a dumpster. Wherever.
    1. Be an In-house Speaker – Besides getting great fees to appear and speak, you establish yourself as the expert. And like your free local mini-seminar, it’s a great place to pitch your products and services.
    1. In-house Presentations – JP Maroney talked about the stadium pitch on our call. I believe he was referring to a Chet Holmes article that talked about in-house presentations and closing the sale. I’m not going to say it better than Chet, so I’ll refer you to that article so you can read it yourself. Great stuff!

    1. Dimensional Mail – Or “lumpy mail,” as it’s known is a great way to get your letter opened! They just can’t resist the lumpy package. After it’s opened, however, your sales letter should do its job. If you have a successful sales letter, adding a dimensional object to it will almost always bump response. A great place to get these types of lumpy mail objects is from Mitch Carson at

    Another place to get “million dollar bills” and related promotional items is

    I received this dimensional mail package from Dan Kennedy. As you can see, the “lumpy object,” a plastic airplane, was tied in with the offer, which included free airfare to one of Dan’s seminars. Also note the “handwritten” letter. Stand out from the clutter!

    1. Get Your Online List’s Home Address and Phone Number – I spoke about this on the call. One technique Gary Halbert used was to ask his list for their home address, because he wanted to send them something to help them with their marketing. Then he sent them a lumpy mail package. But he got their home address. Now he can send them direct mail pieces and cut through all the email clutter by bypassing it completely (well, actually by supplementing it). Yanik Silver mentioned this as well. He obtains their home phone number and sends them a voice broadcast (see above). Joe Vitale does this too. So does Bill Glazer. Hmm, if all of these top marketers use this technique, do you think it works?
    1. Going Out of Business – If a business with the same target market as yours is going to shut down soon, why not acquire their customer list? Most brick and mortar businesses consider liquidating their inventory or equipment, but not all of them are savvy enough to sell their customer list. That could be a huge opportunity for you.
    1. Alternate Franchise – You know most franchises cost big bucks to buy into. Let’s say you have a profitable cleaning business that’s not a franchise, with your own system for success. You can teach this system to others and sell it for much cheaper than a franchise would go for. Here’s an example of a company that does just that: I essentially do that with entrepreneurs. I teach them my marketing system (which as you probably know most entrepreneurs don’t know a lot about effective marketing), and they gain a doubled or tripled profit margin as a result.

    Or, you could locate such a successful company yourself, learn their system, and teach it to others in the same manner.

    1. Office or Waiting Room Redesign – If you have an office, waiting room, or reception area for your business, get rid of all magazines and replace them with testimonials and success story books, before and after photo albums, and other publications designed to advance the sale. Replace your wall paintings with framed testimonials. Give them an avalanche of proof!
    1. Pre-paid Services – Pre-paid “memberships” have been sold successfully by many businesses, such as cosmetic surgeons, chiropractors, dental services, martial arts schools, photographers, restaurants, you name it. The idea is to offer a bundle of services or products that would cost far more if purchased separately over time than if purchased pre-paid up front.
    1. Reference USA – I mentioned this above in the “Direct Mail” topic, but it’s worth its own topic. Why? Because if you have a library card, chances are you can access it for free. I don’t pay the annual thousands of dollars required to access the site and compile lists of all sorts, because my local Newington library subscribes to it. My free library card gets me in for free.
    2. Creative Business Cards – Besides using both sides of your business cards and putting a compelling benefits-oriented message on it, there are many other creative ways to put your business card to work for you. Of course, odd-shaped and “rolodex-styled” cards stick out from the crowd as well. One real estate agent in California hands an extra three bucks and a business card to the toll collector as he crosses the bridge into San Francisco. He tells the toll collector that he wants to pay for the driver behind him, and asks him to give the driver his business card. Nine out of ten times, the driver calls, at least to say thank you. He’s sold several expensive homes that way as a result.

    A good lead generation device is to offer a free report or other gift on the back of the card. Then just distribute them where your prospects live.

    At my local Munson’s Chocolates outlet, Sales Manager Jim Florence has his business card fully imprinted with the company logo, name, phone number, and email address made out of…you guessed it…CHOCOLATE! (best business card I’ve ever eaten). A relatively new technology now allows Munson’s to “print” in edible ink everything from text, images, logos, and photographs. With their business cards, customers get to taste their USP. How many other businesses offer that experience?

    1. Ask Your Customers – It may sound super simple, but if you just ask your customers what they want and then give it to them, you’ll be ahead of your competitors. For example, there’s a local dentist who advertises on the radio that he offers a little pill that will put patients to sleep. While they snooze, he fixes years of neglect and damage in one visit. Without asking his customers, he may not have come up with this tremendous USP.
    1. Do Research to Find Out What They Want – Again, this seems like a simplistic idea, but you’d be surprised how often it’s overlooked. For instance, that same dentist I just mentioned above also advertises that nobody in his office will ever lecture you about avoiding visits to a dentist or failing to care properly for your teeth. They’ll cheerfully do the work that you need and that you want, without guilt or hassle. That’s a powerful benefit that most patients would probably not volunteer to tell their dentists, if asked. But by researching what dental patients complain about, and why they avoid going to the dentist as often as they should, he’s addressed another powerful benefit of going to see him.
    1. Positioning – Jay Conrad Levinson and Seth Godin talk about this in The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook. When Tom’s of Maine introduced their “all natural” toothpaste, they didn’t want to directly compete with all the other toothpastes out there. So they positioned themselves as a healthy all natural alternative. They sold it in health stores instead of supermarkets. Close-Up toothpaste used a similar tactic. Whereas most other toothpastes emphasized “no cavities” and were more family-oriented, Close-Up targeted single people and emphasized “whiteness.”

    An excellent book on positioning is Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, by Trout & Reis.

    1. Video Brochure – The same advantages a CD salesletter (above) has over a print salesletter are even greater with a video brochure. You can film your own infomercial and even if it never airs, you can distribute it on a DVD or videotape. Unlike infomercials, which have some strict guidelines, video brochures can contain practically any format. You can use the “news broadcast” format, which is restricted in infomercials. The best video brochures are those that look like television programs, since that’s what people expect to see when they are watching it. Testimonials can now contain video of the person speaking. Before and after shots are great in this format as well.
    1. Data-Based Marketing – Data-based marketing can be as simple as sending a greeting card or other “touch” communications with your customers and prospects. A florist specializing in nationwide delivery of fresh orchids uses data-based marketing quite effectively. If you order a bouquet for a friend’s birthday or anniversary, they note the date and occasion in their computer. Eleven months later, you’ll receive a call from them, reminding you of the occasion and asking you if you’d like to send another bouquet. Restaurants do this all the time with the birthday gift certificates. Other companies take it a step further and know when their customers will need a reorder of their product. They’ll send a coupon or other discount to make another sale (for example, an oil change). Nowadays with all of the “rewards” and “shopper’s club cards,” supermarkets and chain stores not only capture everything you purchase and when, they can send you coupons and discounts for those products you regularly purchase. Amazon sends you emails about books similar to ones you have purchased when they re released and during other promotions.

    You may want to consider starting your own “rewards” type program or something similar.

    1. Secret Sales – You can send your customers a postcard that has a secret discount from 10% to whatever on everything they buy in one visit. The catch is they have to come into your store to find out the amount of the discount. The chance that they may have a 75% off coupon, for example, is often irresistible to the customer.
    1. Add Extra Amenities – For physical locations, such as a car dealership, consider testing an in-house diner, barber, coffee shop, putting green, wireless internet, video arcade, playrooms for children, book stores, manicurists, climbing walls, mini-museum, ice-cream shop, etc. These can work well especially for those businesses where their customers have to wait. It may sound extravagant, but many businesses, especially those that cater to the affluent, have done this with resounding success. Why do you think McDonalds added playgrounds to most of their restaurants? Why do upscale bookstores have coffee cafés? The list goes on.
    1. Newsletters – Newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with your customers, offer them special discounts and coupons, inform them of upcoming events (a wine store can tell their customers about an upcoming wine tasting event, for example), give them recipes, articles, advice, tips on making the most of your products/services, and much more. It’s a great place to slip in case studies, success stories, testimonials, and pitches for other products and services.

    Here are some tips for running a successful newsletter:

    • Don’t make it a straight sales pitch. You want it to be something your customers look forward to receiving. Too much advertising can turn them off and equate it with junk mail. Include quality content on a variety of subjects, not all related to your business. Don’t be boring.
    • Keep it regular and consistent. Don’t send it three times in one month and then wait 2 months before sending it out again. Quarterly is fine, but monthly is much better.
    • If you have trouble coming up with regular content or don’t have the time to commit to a newsletter, there are services that will do it for you. Dan Kennedy has such a service . You can also subscribe to a content service such as Pages (, where they give you royalty-free articles, artwork, and much more every month.
    • Proofread your newsletter. A spellchecker won’t flag “four” when it should have been “fore.” Tools like Microsoft Word also have grammar checkers. Check for factual accuracy and make sure dates, times, and places are all correct. Double-check coupon amounts and other numerical figures.
    • Once you develop a layout that works, try to keep it consistent from issue to issue.
    • Make it easy on the eyes to read. Avoid white type on black or colored backgrounds. Don’t use dark blue type on a light-blue background. Use serif fonts for the body text. Don’t make it look like too much work to read. Use white space liberally.
    • Have a plan before you launch your newsletter. You want to have specific goals about what you want it to do for you. Should it be written in first-person from the owner? Or third person, like most newspaper articles? Do you want to have regular columns or features? Guest writers? Do your homework up front.
    • Always include your contact information, perhaps even on each page.
    • Feature your customers regularly. They like to see their names in print, and it’s always far better to let them sell you than for you to sell yourself.
    1. Novelty Items – You can put your message on t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, pens and pencils, mouse pads, you name it. The trick is to have a compelling image or slogan. For example, a logo or business name is boring. But a clever message or picture with a web address will get noticed more and used more.
    1. Go to the “Edge” – Seth Godin talks about this in his book Free Prize Inside. Basically, the premise is that while your competitors sell to the “middle,” you find ways to sell to the edge. It sets you apart from your competition, but it’s not necessarily your USP. For example, the first release of that book came packaged in a cereal box with the prominent “Free Prize Inside” displayed.

    Some more examples:

    • A massage salon moves their chairs outside in the summer.
    • A security guard company offers its guards dressed as Beefeaters, Buckingham Palace guards, paramilitary camo-wearing high-security guards, Matrix-type outfits, or even attractive white-collar uniforms.
    • A local pub built their own custom jukebox of twenty-six thousand songs in it by ripping their 1,798 CDs into a computer.
    • A restaurant in Manhattan makes the average Joe’s wait, but gives the VIPs an unlisted number to get to the front of the line. Strangely enough, this pleases both groups (the VIPs love to get right in, and the average folk feel special by going to an exclusive restaurant where celebrities dine and the wait is longer due to its popularity).
    • Mexico has plenty of all-in-one resorts, but only one caters to overweight people.
    • tells the TV-style news like everyone else, but they, well, wear less.
    • The Four Sisters restaurant in Myanmar doesn’t bother with a check. You pay what you think the meal is worth.
    • Did you ever notice how supermarkets reward their worst customers? Shoppers with the least amount of items get their own special express lane, but the poor schmuck who’s buying tons of groceries (and worth much more to the store as a customer) has to endure the longest line. What if a grocery store had a special line for their best customers, staffed with extra baggers and other mechanisms to speed the checkout process?
    • Commerce Bank is open seven days a week. Do you think there are people who wouldn’t mind having the option to bank on Sundays? And Liberty Bank offers free ATM usage. They’ll even reimburse you for fees charged by other bank’s ATMs.
    • A church in New York City holds an annual barbecue for fundraising. People come from miles away because if they don’t, they have to wait a whole year to come again. The local German club near my house holds their German Festival every two years for precisely the same reason.
    • Enterprise Rent-A-Car doesn’t focus on airport rentals. But when you need a rental car for a few days while your car is in the shop, they are the first ones you call. Plus, they pick you up!
    • In the instant Internet buying world, a lawn care company realized that waiting weeks for a lawn care quote was too long. By using satellite photos and public tax records, they’re able to quote a cost for service before their prospects are even contacted. Now they drive down the street with a stack of Frisbees, each affixed with a sticker containing the property address and price quote, and toss each Frisbee onto the lawn.

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