Ninja QR

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Don’t miss out on this killer ninja QR code method that’s basically a WSO in itself.

 

 

READ IT HERE.

 

 

Ninja QR Strategy

Don Alm, the marketer with the very vivid imagination, mentioned a strategy recently that I thought was really cool. While I of course take his claims of success and experiences with a big grain of salt, he’s definitely a great source of inspiration.

I don’t really have the time to look up the post but he somewhat hinted at a strategy of using a QR code to link people to a mobile directory or something where deals were always being offered locally.

I think that’s definitely a cool idea but I’m not a big ‘directory’ guy personally. I just think it’s a lot of work and takes way too much time to build enough credibility and traffic to make worthwhile. I was however really intrigued by the thought of using QR codes as a constantly updating coupon.

QR Codes in general

I’ve always been curious about these things, which I’m sure you have to, but they never really seem to work. Everywhere I go, I see them but I know very few people actually scan them. I mean really, I’m at the bank the other day and there’s a table tent on the desk telling you to scan the code for a video on mortgage refinance. Really? Who’s the idiot that’s going to whip out their smartphone and watch the video in front of the banker?

For us, the little guys, we need to make sure that if we’re doing something like QR codes, that they actually bring in some results, right? Unfortunately I think that some of the very best ideas that revolve around QR codes still have severe limitations regarding response, but I’d hate to see such a cool innovation go to waste, so we should at least spend some time with them.

The point of a QR code is to send someone easily to a webpage that has more content, whether it be a video, squeeze page, article, or whatever. It’s a tool that’s supposed to make the prospect more likely to take an action because of it’s novelty, curiosity, and relative ease. Unfortunately it doesn’t really make it that easy to do because it’s one of those things that just sounds better in theory than in practice. You still have to download a scanning app on your phone, you have to stop what you’re doing, and you also manage to look like an idiot in public pointing your phone around while it scans.

QR Pizza Deals

Here’s what I have in mind that sounds like it might just work. Because I like to be results-oriented, I’m going to use pizzerias as an example since they are SO good for generating response. If you’re looking for some success stories with almost any kind of marketing, then pizzerias should be your prime target. Everyone loves pizza and we eat it so often that any kind of coupon or discount or deal is welcomed and used quick. They also typically have strong competition and if you go with the underdogs, they’ll often try a bit harder to gain an advertising edge on their direct competitors.

How about integrating a QR code with a landing page that shows that weeks current specials, coupons, or deals for the pizzeria? I’m not talking about the regular specials either, but specials that are ONLY available on that particular page, linked through the QR code. This way:

  • The customer is enticed to scan the code for deeper discounts
  • The client gets to see direct tracking of how many scan the code and how many redeem the offer
  • The shelf life of the QR code becomes unlimited

The end result is we want the consumer to keep the QR code around so that they scan quickly scan it in the privacy of their home (because I’m not a fan of public QR code scanning potential), and keep checking it everytime they’re in the mood for pizza.

Delivery and sustainability

Well direct mail certainly comes to mind, and there’s  a ton of ways you could deliver the QR code in a postcard or envelope but I’m pretty sure the most effective way to keep it on their minds would be a simple fridge magnet. Who doesn’t have a pizza magnet on their fridge anyways, right?

A postcard with the QR code may last pretty long if it’s tacked up on a board or in a she

luigispizza

A quick design of what I’m talking about. You can download my full PSD if you want by clicking the image. I’m cool with you editing it and using it for your clients as well if you want.

lf (make sure it’s UV coated) but a magnet really is going to be the best, hands down. It’s going to be in front of their face alot, available when they’re hungry, and won’t deteriorate.

Distribution

There’s lots of ways to get these into the homes of local pizza eaters.

They can be:

  • Handed out right at the pizza parlor itself
  • Mailed by EDDM if the size is big enough
  • Clipped to doorhangers
  • Passed out at local events and shows, and lots of other methods.

Sizing and Printing

You can get magnets printed pretty easily. Local print shops will often do it (even though they usually outsource it to online printers!) or you can order them online yourself.

Of course I’d love to print them for you (my printing site is printing4supercheap.com and they’re available under the “digital printing” products or follow the direct link here).

For sizes, you could go with the regular business card size magnet but I really think you should make them bigger so they stand out more. I think 3.5×4.25 or larger is a good choice. At this size, it should only cost around $200 for 1,000 of them.

Pretty easy sell if you ask me, because you should be able to get double that at least from the biz owner.

Landing page

Okay I’m not the best website maker in the world and I’m pretty sure many of you have more experience this than me, and might have better solutions for the landing page but essentially all you need is one specific page devoted to weekly specials that are only relevant to the QR code link. Why is this important that they’re not just the typical special offer? Because with direct response marketing we want to track exactly where the orders are coming from.

When the customer calls in and orders the “2 large cheese for $12” it becomes easy for the biz owner to know that the order came from the QR scan. If he sees that it works, he’ll keep doing it.

If your customer already has a website, you just need to make the edits yourself to a new page that’s not linked anywhere on the site. Or you can alternatively create a quick wordpress site with a similar domain that the QR code links to. If he has luigispizza.com, then you make a wordpress site at luigispizzany.com. This way you retain control.

Better yet, to retain even more control, you can setup a generic wordpress site like “pizzadealsny.com” and sell a whole bunch of pizzerias on the idea, managing everyone’s weekly special offers on your own site. The QR code just simply bridges the consumer to your page that you control.

NINJA QR REVENGE!

Lets say your pizza client decides to jump ship on you. Even if you’re pulling in loads of customers for them, there’s still a lot of small biz owners who feel they can cut down on marketing costs when business is down or up. Guess what, you still own that QR code link if you’ve got it going to your own page!

That means if your client stops paying, makes the mistake of ditching you, or goes out of business, all those magnets on people’s fridges can still be linked to your site, where you direct them to even better deals from their competitor!

 

 

 

Where’s the PROOF!? (M3)

I’ve been getting a few inquiries about providing proof of mailing when you setup an M3 deal. In my experience, it’s never been much of an issue at all. I do believe that it *could* be an issue if I was approaching business owners as a marketer and not a fellow like-minded biz owner. That’s the big difference.

Here’s an email I just received:

When two companies do decide to go for the M3 offer, how do I go about handling money.  Once I get the grand total from the printer (who handles the mailing also) do I just tell them what they owe me? Do I pay it all up front? Wont they want to see the bill? And is this 100% ethical? If they ever found out wouldn’t they be very pissed and want the share they paid for?

I’ll handle these questions one by one but first, I’d like to mention that your whole approach should be as a like-minded business owner and not as a marketer selling a product or service. YOu want to approach prospects this way specifically. You want to make sure that your intentions are exactly the same as theirs, this way they won’t even question it because the logic makes so much sense.

 

1.) When two companies do decide to go for the M3 offer, how do I go about handling money.

This is where paypal comes in REALLY handy. I strongly suggest using paypal’s email invoice feature. Personally I wouldn’t do a button because it will look too “markety”. Most biz owners will not have heard of a paypal invoice so you’ll need to explain it to them. I say something like this:

“I’ll pay the printer/mailhouse in full once we’re all ready to go. I can invoice you through paypal which will protect all of us. You don’t need to have a paypal account, they just process a credit card. Or you can pay by check of course but paypal invoice would be fastest so we can get this out. I get a receipt from the post office soon as it’s mailed.”

 

 

2.) It says that using the system I can get the other advertisers to pay for MY portion, but how do I go about hiding my portion of the bill and making them cough up the money?

The beauty of the M3 system is that you have the resources to get printing/mailing/lists so low that it doesn’t even look suspicious. If you tried to do this 5 years ago, you probably couldn’t get away with them paying for your space since the cost would be so high. It would have still made sense to split it up 3 ways evenly but you’d really have to pull a fast one over on them to get them to pay for your spot.

Today, with the cutthroat competition of online gang-run printing and mailing, coupled with cheap lists or the use of unaddressed mail (EDDM), the costs have come down so significantly that this whole system works logically. You don’t have to lie to them, just tell them you’re splitting it up. Splitting it up can mean two or three, right?

If you took 100 business owners, stuck one of the 6.5×11 16pt UV coated full color cards in their hands and asked them what they think it would cost to print and mail one of them, you’d probably hear almost all of them say at least 70 cents. Just thinking about postage and the print cost of a large postcard is going to do the justification for you. It all makes sense on their end, don’t sweat it.

As far as ‘proof’ if they ask for it, there’s two kinds, depending on whether it’s targeted mail or EDDM.

EDDM Proof

If you’re doing an EDDM campaign, you should take a picture of all the postcards stacked together and email it to them. It’s impressive. That alone will be obvious proof. You can also have the post office make you a quick copy of the forms when you pay for them although you may not want them to see the postage amount.

Targeted Proof

With a targeted mailing, you’re not handling the actual cards but you do receive a form 3602, which the post office provides the mailhouse (me for example) that details how many pieces were sent. It does show the postage however it’s not a big deal since you offset the postage price with printing. See more of what I mean in a moment.

Also, with targeted mailing always make sure to include one or two extra addresses in you list for each partner, one for their business and one for their home so that they can know when it’s delivered. This also obviously gives them proof that it actually happened.

 

3.) Do I pay it all up front?

Yes you will need to pay all of it up front, the printing happens almost immediately after ordering and we’re talking about tangible products here, not a service. Everything is mailed within roughly 3 business days, so the postage is paid at that moment and requires the balance to be paid in full by you.

You should ALWAYS collect the full amount from your partners prior to printing. Again, you’re not doing this as a service and you’re not approaching them as someone who is. You’re approaching them as a like-minded business owner who wants to share resources.

 

4.) Wont they want to see the bill?

No, it’s highly doubtful and if they do for some reason you can feel free to give me a heads up and your client can email me and I can send something that verifies it! I’m on your side.

 

5.) And is this 100% ethical? If they ever found out wouldn’t they be very pissed and want the share they paid for?

What’s really nice about this system is that you actually are providing massive value to them. All they care about is what it’s going to cost them. The fact that you’re splitting it up makes logical sense, and if you mention that you have a friend that’s does printing and mailing, that justifies the cost. If you have samples, that can really help because you can show them that you’re out of state business partner uses this with great success.

 

 

Some more advice:

If you’re doing lead generation (preferred) don’t be greedy to make money on the front end. Your money should be coming on the back end so the more you can mail, the better. I highly suggest keeping the cost as close to breakeven as possible, maybe making yourself a few bucks more but again, don’t be greedy. The money is much better spent on more mailings.

When you quote the cost, if you talk about the cost of postage, don’t bloat it. You can markup the cost of printing as much as you’d like but don’t forget that your postage proofs will have the postage cost printed, so you don’t want to look like a jerk later. The real advantage you have is in the printing, because nearly all printing these small business owners deal with is super expensive. Go to your local printer and see what postcards cost to print, you’ll be amazed.

I’ll quote this from the private forum:

Asked for quote on 5000 cards approx 6×9 full color both sides, both EDDM and targeted (if I supply the list)
EDDM: $3929.55 (.79/card)
Targeted: $4351.28 (.87 card)
I asked for quotes from a couple more printers – but this is supposed to be a discount printer! MinutemanPress

Almost all your marked up cost can go to printing. You can markup the list as well, just keep the postage around 30 cents for targeted and 15 cents for EDDM.

 

I hope this helps! Feel free to ask questions in comments.

Chris Hackett Rakes in BIG money from a simple email.

Chackett – Still at it – BIG TIME SALES ..

quoted from our private forum

Howdy All,

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted in here (or visited really). I wanted to poke in and just see how everyone’s doing. I’ve been doing really well, and I promised Jake I would come in and give a quick update.

So didn’t have too much trouble getting started with the 9×12 method, and I started doing everything by the book.

Recently while making calls, I called on a local company to pitch them a spot on the 9×12. Actually, I think I sent them an email, and someone replied almost immediately with something like “Definitely interested, call me at 555.1212”

Obviously I called right away, and the fellow says something like “Hey .. so glad you sent that email, we’re interested in doing some mail. Can you quote me on 10,000 postcards?” He wanted a solo mail. I was thinking “Hey .. that’s awesome .. I called him to sell a $500 space on a 9×12, and he wants me to quote printing and mailing 10,000 of his own piece.” So I worked with Jake on the printing and sent over the quote. They placed the order almost immediately. They wanted me to send 2k cards per week for 5 weeks, and they paid everything up front.

A couple weeks go by, and they’re starting to get calls and things seem to be going well for them. Couple days later I get an email from them: “Hey, Chris, we want to send out 10,000 letters. Is that something you can do, or do you have someone who can do that? We would like to just run it through you if we can.” I of course tell them I can do it, and then get busy figuring out how I can get it done.

I called around, found a local mail house that could handle the job. I found two local mail houses and got quotes. I marked everything up and put it on my own quote / invoice form and forwarded it on to the client. 10,000 one page color letters, folded, and stuffed into printed envelopes and mailed to 10,000 houses. This was an excellent job. And really all I had to do is shuffle some papers around.

The day after I sent the quote for 10k pieces, I get the following email from them ” Hey Chris, if we sent 20,000 pieces, would that bring down the per piece price.” “Absolutely, let me work it up and get back to you.” Shuffle some more paper and email, send a new quote and off we go.

This was a $10,000 order.

I had never met these folks before, only spoken to them on the phone once. I initially called them to sell a $500 spot on the 9×12, and now.. not more than 6 weeks later, they’re giving the green-light on a $10,000 order with me.

There are two main partners at this business .. and when I got the green light, one of them decided it was time for a face to face meeting. Honestly I think one of the partners basically said “Hey, I’m sure everything is good, and I’m not worried about it, but before we go write this guy a check for $10k, could we at least meet him?”

So I went to their office (which was in the very nicely finished basement of their very nice home.). We had a great chat about mail, mailing lists, the effectiveness of it all. They talked about how they want to have a partnership and they want to start planning their mailings in advance and loosely plan out their mail strategy for the year. Definitely a long term, valuable client and relationship that I hope will pay dividends for years to come.

Anyway .. thought I would share that story to let you know that you just never know what’s going to happen when you pick up that phone and start prospecting. If you’re feeling discouraged, just think “Hey .. the very next call I make could be the one that lands me a client that wants to start writing $10,000 checks to me.”

Good Luck Y’all!

Chris

Deliver Magazine – Mail that reaches high level targets

In case you’re not subscribed to Deliver Magazine (owned by the Post Office), here’s a great article that I’d like to share on the power of unique direct mail..

Disguise the Prize

People in a horse costume standing in front of a woman who's sitting at a desk

In the perilous days of antiquity, palace sentries greeted approaching strangers with a sternly uttered, “Halt! Who goes there?” In today’s hypercompetitive business world, the sentry is more likely to be a vigilant secretary who politely inquires, “May I ask who’s calling?” Modern manners aside, a contemporary defender like the executive assistant is as ferociously territorial as his or her ancient counterparts. Indeed, secretaries and other gatekeepers can be the one hurdle standing between you, your executive target and that career-boosting new account. So what’s a B-to-B marketer to do?

Here’s a thought: Build a Trojan horse. Think about it — what if you could create a marketing package so clever that the gatekeepers would vet your doohickey, and then walk it into the CEO’s office with their tacit blessing. Cool, right?

That’s what Will Pringle did. A marketing demand generation vice president for the IBM subsidiary Netezza (pronounced net-eezah), Pringle designed an intriguing marketing campaign that relied on the popularity of another device: a highly coveted MP3 player. Toward his goal of showcasing the value and innovation of Netezza’s data storage appliances, Pringle shipped attractively packaged MP3 players to more than 250 tech execs nationwide. Loaded with personalized content designed to emulate the feel of a sales pitch meeting, the branded Netezza players featured custom videos and other virtual goodies explaining how the analytics appliance provider could help recipients meet their business objectives. The effort, says Pringle, was designed to provide a “high-touch” experience to the prospect.

IBM chose to employ the attention grabbing power of direct mail to boost business. “I usually describe this as the ‘silver bullet’ campaign,” Pringle says of the Netezza initiative. “This direct mail piece is the one bullet that you slide into your gun when you really need to talk to the decision maker.”

How to build a Trojan horse

Purchased by IBM in 2010, Netezza creates big data analytics appliances designed to make advanced analytics simpler, faster and more accessible. Though its clientele includes numerous big brands, Netezza’s tremendous reach and influence is perhaps best illustrated by another one of its top customers, Catalina Marketing. When most Americans scan their supermarket rewards cards, their purchase info is relayed to Catalina, which collects shopping data on more than 75 percent of American shoppers. “They have to calculate, track and store more than 300 million different retail transactions every week,” Pringle says of Catalina. “The foundation of their data warehouse environment is the Netezza solution, which supports their retail direct online customer loyalty application, in-store coupon delivery and health resources business.”

With its impressive client list and the prestige derived from having joined the IBM corporate family, Netezza was understandably eager to ratchet up its marketing efforts. So in 2010, Pringle asked members of the Netezza sales team to articulate their absolute ultimate wish. More than anything, they wanted meetings with C-level executives at their target accounts. So Pringle and his team began to brainstorm about how they could capture their attention.

“We thought, ‘What could we do with the C-suite that would provide them value and entice them to respond?’” Pringle recalls. “We narrowed that down to, ‘How do you talk to the CEO, CIO or CMO?’”

Eventually, Pringle and his team came up with the idea of shipping MP3 devices that featured apps designed to create a sales meeting experience. Pringle tingled at the possibilities. “I thought it would be the ultimate direct mail piece if we could immediately catch the attention of C-level executives,” he says. “What if the recipient powered the MP3 player up and the first thing they experienced was a customized video that addressed them by name? The more I thought and penciled everything out, the more excited I became.”

While his Netezza sales reps created dream lists of top-priority executives, Pringle rolled up his sleeves and began executing. First, he contacted a noted manufacturer to help create devices that would accommodate exclusive Netezza content. “We couldn’t just take a store bought device and redo the operating system on it,” Pringle explains. “We had to talk to the company that created the device and license the option to change the operating system. Ultimately, we needed the creator’s blessing, and fortunately we got it.”

After securing the software and codes to alter 100 of the gadgets, Pringle and his teammates then served up a cornucopia of personalized content. He rounded up IBM data specialists and general managers — sectors ranging from retail to healthcare to financial services — and had them record personalized video messages for targeted executives. “For instance, our financial services general manager is Jamie Lynch,” Pringle offers. “When our targeted CIO activates her MP3 player, she is greeted by a message from Jamie. The idea is that he is talking to the executive and addressing her business challenges personally and directly.”

The intro video was just the beginning. Each MP3 player was custom tailored. The music application was loaded with classic rock tunes all designed to remind recipients of Netezza’s tremendous speed and simplicity. For the photos application, Pringle created close-up pictures of Netezza appliances. He even loaded directions to the recipient’s nearest IBM office into the map app. “We customized every app on it,” Pringle says. “We wanted prospects to smile and think, ‘Wow, these guys really thought this through!’”

Breaching the gates

Finally, in August 2010, curious cylindrical mailers appeared on the desks of executive administrators nationwide. Save for United States Postal Service® labeling and a Netezza “N” logo on the cylinder’s plastic cap, by design the mailers boasted no overt promotional messages.

When exec admins opened the packages, they discovered yet another cylinder inside. Made of clear, pliable Plexiglas, the inner cylinder revealed the package’s entire contents, including the MP3 player, a cover letter and a business card from IBM Netezza general managers. The face of the MP3 device featured a sticker with a color photo of a Netezza analytics appliance that read, “It’s time you got in touch with Netezza.”

Pringle says there was logic behind the relatively mysterious outer packaging and its revealing inner counterpart. “To pique curiosity and to get it from the mailroom to the exec admin, we decided on packaging that didn’t show what was inside,” Pringle says. “When they pulled that MP3 player out, we knew it would shine and show the true value of our product.”

The mailers were vetted by the targets’ respective exec admins before being passed along to the executives themselves. And once they turned on the devices, the executives were treated to a personalized digital sales experience: Following the intro pitch video, another screen pops up that is customized for the sector the targeted CIO works in (e.g., retail, healthcare, etc). Once the intro video closes, many recipients were taken to custom Netezza case study video presentations in that industry.

A few days after the initial packages were shipped, Pringle’s team started putting in calls to his target C-level executives. “Within the next two to three weeks, we secured seven meetings out of 15 — an almost 50-percent success rate,” Pringle says. “In many cases, we had attempted to meet with these companies for years, and this was the piece that opened the door.”

“Executives have called our GMs and said, ‘Hey, I got your MP3 player,’ and ‘If you care enough to produce this mailer, then I’d love to take the time to hear how Netezza/IBM can help my business.’”

What we learned

Thus far, the Netezza campaign has achieved a 35-percent response rate, translating to approximately $30 million in new business. According to Pringle, it stands as the single most effective campaign in Netezza’s history. As of Q1 2012, the campaign cost Netezza about $200,000. Pringle says the investment has been well worth it. “When you’re talking about sending people unsolicited thousand-dollar packages in the mail, it sounds a bit silly,” Pringle says. “But so far we’ve gotten a 150-times return on our investment, and that’s not so silly. This concept resulted in the highest ROI of any campaign that I’ve ever worked on.”

Pringle contributes the campaign’s success to a variety of factors, not the least of which is the high-touch experience embodied by the mailers. Indeed, many recipients can’t help but be impressed by how Netezza imaginatively leveraged one of the world’s best-known consumer technology companies to create a forward-thinking marketing/sales experience.

The MP3 player direct mail campaign has been such a success that it’s an ongoing component of the Netezza marketing mix, which also includes e-mail, phone calls, webinars and trade show sponsorships, among other campaigns. But of all the options on the Netezza marketing menu, Pringle says the campaign is the one he employs when he wants to dramatically increase the likelihood of hooking a big fish. “This campaign has a specific use,” Pringle explains. “It’s the campaign we use when we want to capture the attention a C-level executive whose organization we can really help.”

The rewarding lesson of the initiative is clear, says Pringle: “Go with your instincts. Think differently. One simple idea can generate millions of dollars in revenue for your business. So stay confident and keep pushing the envelope.”