Tag Archives: Geller

Eight smart ways to find new customers now!

Eight smart ways to find new customers now!

(Get the most from your mailings to potential customers using tips from a direct-marketing pro.)

What does it take to get someone to buy a car? A personalized letter promising a $1,000 discount can go a long way. That’s what I discovered years ago in Canada when I worked on a direct mail campaign for Ford, promoting Lincoln’s Town Car, Continental and Mark VIII. We told recipients that all they had to do was visit a dealership, negotiate their best price and then produce the letter to save another $1,000. Sales took off.

Consumers are bombarded these days with advertising messages. Direct marketers like me are part of the reason. For 12 years in New York and now in Hollywood, Fla., I have run Lois Geller Marketing Group, a marketing advertising firm with big clients such as J.P. Morgan Chase, as well as other large companies.

Sending an offer by mail can cost anywhere from $1.00 to $150 for each prospect, depending on the different components of the campaign.

For the most part, direct mail is more expensive than advertising, or e-mail or social media, and it can also be much more effective in the long run.

How do you get the most out of the money you invest in your direct mailings, whether you handle them in-house or hire an outside firm? Here are eight of the approaches I recommend to clients.

1. Save the postcards for vacation. The classic letter in an envelope has a much better chance of generating a significant response, in my experience. To most consumers, serious mail comes in a letter, which is private. The act of opening an envelope and unfolding the letter is engaging.

A few years ago my company created a two-page letter for a firm that was selling a $2,000 annual subscription service to advertisers and ad agencies. Our client had done fairly well with a post-card campaign. It was generating paid orders at a rate of about 0.75%. We thought we could do better. We created a letter to the ad agencies that said, “If you can send me an e-mail with the 4 letter code above, I’ll send you a secret that will help you land new business you didn’t even know was loose.” Each recipient had a private code, available only in the letter. Paid response increased to 11%.

2. Impose a deadline. Give recipients a valuable freebie that they can’t get any other way than by responding now. It should fit what you are selling. For instance, if you were a tax preparer trying to attract new clients for next year, you might send a mailing in January of 2013 offering the first 100 new customers a free leather binder to store their 2012 taxes – and tell them that the offer would expire on March 15. Potential customers who can’t procrastinate will act immediately. We call this a “call to action”.

3. Emphasize your product’s benefits, not just its features. Say you are selling a teapot with a spill-proof spout. Rather than simply mention the spout’s spill-proof shape, focus on the problems it will prevent: burned hands, ruined suits, embarrassment.

How do find out what your prospects will value most about your product? Ask them. For instance, if you were selling the spill-proof teapot, you might want to chat with tea buyers at your local supermarket to find out what teapots they use and how these pots could be improved.

4. Outdo the competition. If you are a dry cleaner, and ABC Cleaners down the street is offering 20% off to new customers, give your regular customers 25% off as an incentive to stay loyal.

5. Use real people. I have found that when we include photos of actual customers or employees, rather than models, in our mailings, the response rates go up. Your direct marketing agency or art director can help you arrange an inexpensive photo shoot and get the permission you need to incorporate the pictures into your ad.

6. Rent the right list. List brokers will offer to sell you all kinds of lists. Ask for those with recent high responses to offers to products similar to yours. I suggest using a list broker who’s a member of the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org), a reputable trade group.

7. Get personal. If it looks like your letter and envelope might have been in the hands of a real human being at some point, customers will be more likely to open it. Sign your letter in blue ink. Use the same ink to highlight a paragraph or to add a margin note. (The art director on your campaign can help you add your black ink “handwriting” on the layout and change it to blue.) Try a real stamp (or stamps) on the envelope. The more unusual the stamps, the better. Use a blue signature line above the return address.

8. Repeat your offer in the P.S. People often read that one first.

When we mail our own newsletter, I usually write personal notes on about 100 of them. I might mention someone’s family or a catalog their company had done. Typically, about 50% of that group will respond. In an e-mail driven world, a human touch can have a dramatic impact. So, try it.

The Power of Focus, and it pays to escape from the office!

The Power of Focus, and it pays to escape from the office!

I wish I had time to go to more conferences but I just don’t. In the last few years, I’ve managed to attend only when I’m a speaker.

So last week, I spoke at two events (an industry conference and a benefit), but I stayed afterwards to see what I could see. It was great because I:

1. Got to meet a lot of new people and to put faces to names I’d met only online
2. Learned a lot listening to other people speak
3. Enjoyed not being at my computer keyboard.

Lois Geller, Michael Dell'Aciprete, Maria Harrison

My keynote topic at the Florida Direct Marketing Association’s Annual Summit was that “in this chaotic world, we need to focus on one great objective.” I had fun speaking and then I really had fun seeing and listening to old friends such as Herschell Gordon Lewis,
Dale Filhaber, and Bob Dunhill.

I also got to hear people I hadn’t yet met, people like Bullseye Strategy’s Maria Harrison who spoke about SEO and Native Remedies’ Michael Dell’Aciprete who spoke about interactive marketing.

I noticed that I was able to focus on what they were saying and later, as I thought about it, I wondered if the growing trend in online meetings is going to change that.

A Meetings Professionals International study with 2,740 responders indicated that 11% of meeting professionals expect an increase in the use of technology to access meetings and content remotely. Everyone is trying to lower costs so it’s understandable. I just don’t know if it’s a good idea.

The problem is that when I log on to computer mediated sessions I tend to keep working quietly, checking my Tweetdeck, email, reading reports and sometimes having conversations in the office. No focus.

A couple of days later, I did a short talk at Senada Azdem’s Celebration of Hope is a Pink Strides Event for Breast Cancer Awareness (one of my favorite causes). There I had a chance to focus on just talking to people, and I found out I knew many of them (though I don’t live nearby, and had no idea who would be there).

Kelly killoren Bensimon, Bobby Campbell, Lois Geller & Senada Adzem

When I got to the event I ran into Scot Karp of Premier Estate Properties. He said he’d heard me speak at the Luxury Real Estate Conference at the Boca Raton Hotel a few years ago. I think he won one of my books there. Great person and I enjoyed talking to him.

Senada Azdem, Scot Karp & Lois Geller

Also met Roz Ceresne who’d introduced me to Senada Adzem. Senada is from Bosnia and she’s involved in a lot of things. For example, the people in our office have packed up a box of books for her to send to an orphanage over there.

Kelly Killoren Bensimon, of the Real Housewives of New York City, was there introducing her new shoe line. The Kelly by Kelly Killoren Bensimon line, is a philanthropic shoe line that benefits breast cancer. For every shoe sold, $3.00 will go to the Breast Cancer Research Fund.

Sometimes mingling at the beautiful Estate felt like old home week. One of the doctors in attendance recognized my Philadelphia accent and when we had a chance to chat, we found out that we knew quite a few of the same people back in Pennsylvania. Mingling also resulted in meeting new friends which I wouldn’t have had the chance to do if I hadn’t been there as a speaker.

So, I’m going to take my own advice this week and focus on not being an office hermit and on getting out more to meet new people, get new ideas and be REFRESHED.

How about you?

Lemar Scott’s First Guest Post

Lemar Scott’s First Guest Post

Hi! I am an intern at Lois Geller Marketing Group and it is my second week here. Lois asked me to do a guest post on her blog so I sought the advice of our Creative Director, His most regal majesty- Mike. He suggested that since I have little experience and only a small (but rapidly growing) knowledge base, I might consider writing about something that I know.
So here goes….

I signed up as a “Guess List” member along with a group of other shoppers who agreed to receive texts about special offers and new products.

Today, I got a text and what a mess!

It was too long; way too long to hold anyone’s attention. The main point was on page two. Page Two! Texting operates on an entirely different level than direct mail copy which is fine if it’s long, even very long. How do I know this? Well, there’s common sense, of course, but I’m a near-addicted texter. Just ask my friends.

So I decided to tell you about Mobile Marketing: My Experience.
Messages to-on-the-go mobile devices can wield a lot of marketing power, assuming they’re messages that people want to read. Most texters are like me, average Joes with smart phones, tablets, navigation systems, e-readers, and MP3s. We’re not known for long attention spans and We wrt lk ths (we write like this).

So, using common sense, I developed The Intern’s Short List of four points for effective commercial text messages:
1) Texts under 160 characters. For one thing, 160 is the max set by phone companies. And readers like messages that are that quick, at-a-glance easy and right-to-the-point. Plus, we don’t want to pay for several pages of texts just to get to your promotion! We’re big fans of direct marketing … and we’re looking forward to location based real-time marketing.

2) Wandering off topic is annoying. It’s OK to be inspired by an approaching holiday or current event, but a lot of marketing texters seem to get carried away. Readers can get uninterested and even disoriented trying to follow their thoughts.

3) Texts should look interesting, don’t you think? Consider the differences between these two versions of the same message:
a) Come in tonight for an exclusive release party at eight.
b) Come in TONIGHT for an *exclusive* release party @ 8!!!
You know that b) is texter-style, right?

4) And I do wish they wouldn’t harass us! Prospects are wary of deals because it seems that every other offer is not real. Unless we specifically ask for more, I suggest that texts be limited to perhaps four or five a month. We like to see message inboxes filled with texts from buddies — not businesses!
So please comment and tell me about your mobile marketing ideas. I beg you!

Your friend,
Lemar Scott: The Intern

You might consider a “Just in Time” Mailing

You might consider a “Just in Time” Mailing

Guest Post from Rachel, The Intern

Here’s one…


This letter came to Lois Geller, and though it’s about “moving to a new home” not a new office, they have the right idea. People still buy the most new things when they’ve moved and want to start fresh.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned while working in marketing it’s that it all about the right offer, to the right people at the right time. This offer is a bit lame, and not sure we can redeem it in stores close by our office.

blank white page for bv template_01_01Crateandbarrel

Lists and offers are very much like finding the love of your life; it’s not easy finding the perfect match. You try people on and if they don’t fit, you chuck ‘em. You ask yourself, what am I doing wrong? Well in Marketing, it’s the same way! You have to find the right match! When I say match, I mean the right list and the right offer. Once you have those 2 things down, you’re sure to have a successful campaign.

Lists work, and you need a “call to action”- use by September 1, 2010.

Most importantly, you have to strategize! If you want to stay ahead of the game, you have to have a game plan. Like the Miami Heat creating the Dream Team with Lebron, Wade, and Bosh, they have a game plan to win a championship! A good strategy in our case would be a Customer Loyalty program, which builds the database, and also creates long lasting loyal customers- like us!

blank white page for bv template_01_01Rachel

My name is Rachel Rodriguez and I am
currently a student at Johnson & Wales University,
studying Marketing. I will be graduating in the spring of 2011.

The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web

The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web

by: Tamar Weinberg


Reviewed by Lois Geller

Reading this book reminded me of something and it tugged at the back of memory until it burst through.

195 years ago, John Keats wrote a sonnet called On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer. Chapman was George Chapman and his translations of Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad struck Keats as rather splendid:

“… I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;”

That’s how I feel about Tamar Weinberg’s new book about Marketing on the Social Web and if I could write like Keats I’d compose a sonnet to her on the spot, perhaps borrowing those lines :

“… I heard Chapman Weinberg speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his her ken;”

It’s that kind of book, an eye opener, a gentle slap to the back of the head.

Just as Keats had read other translations of Homer, I’d read other books about the Social Web and I am on Twitter, Plaxo, Ecademy, Facebook and LinkedIn and I thought I was doing pretty well with them.

Then that new planet swam into my ken and I realized I’d been a village blacksmith tinkering with a jet engine.


This book is so comprehensive, that I learned about StumbleUpon (still not sure how that works), and delicious.com and RSS feeds, bookmarking and whole new worlds I’d only heard about. The 346 page volume is packed with all kinds of new opportunities, for people like me who love marketing.

Tamar (I don’t know her but I hope to be on a first name basis some day) starts from the start assuming her readers know nothing about the Social Web, and, compared to her, that’s a good bet no matter what readers think they know.

She holds your hand and in tight, readable prose walks you through this Wonderland. She tells you that it is really conversation marketing. She tells you how to do it (or get it done), how to get photos and video on social sites, what language to use (and not use), how to build your reputation and your following, and, most of all and dear to the heart of this direct marketer, how to use social sites to sell.

She tells you who’s already miles ahead of you (and why) and not to worry because you can catch up in no time – if you pay attention to Tamar, my new BFF.

Get this book, read it, read it again, keep it by your side and grow rich in your pajamas, working online at home, having fun and making friends even if you’re the marketing head of a Fortune 500 company.

P.S. I went to a local Barnes & Noble to buy a copy for my client, and they were sold out. That’s another good sign.