The vacation postcard: A marketing opportunity for residential contractors

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Bernie Heer shares how you can turn your vacation into a marketing opportunity -- with some creative postcards.
Bernie Heer shares how you can turn your vacation into a marketing opportunity -- with some creative postcards.
Bernie Heer shares how you can turn your vacation into a marketing opportunity — with some creative postcards.

Bernie Heer has suggested how you can turn your vacation into a marketing opportunity with a bit of creative postcard-sending.

He says (in advance) find an image of your vacation destination, perhaps from a website (check copyright first, though!) “and send it to your printer for the front of the postcard.

If you want to have a little fun with it, you can use your computer’s drawing program to draw a little stick figure on it that represents you.

Now, for the back of the postcard, you write a short sentence like, “Greetings from my awesome vacation in Alaska.” Or wherever.

Then you say something like this, “Because I’m in such a good mood from my vacation, I wanted to offer you a [your offer]. All you have to do is call [Name] before I get back on [Date] to take me up on this great offer. ”

You can offer an upgrade of some sort – upgrades that have high perceived value but don’t cost you a lot work really well here – or if you have a special service, like a painter or carpenter for a day type of thing, that can also work well.

Prepare the postcards with postage and all before you go, and take them with you. When you get to your destination, just drop them in a mailbox. (If you’re going overseas, check out the postage rates. It may cost you a small fortune in postage. In that case, mail them locally just before you go.)

Another variation of this theme is to set up the postcard so your employees purportedly send it without your knowledge.

On the front you have just a headline on a colored background. One I really like is, “Oh boy are we in trouble when George gets back from vacation!”

On the back you explain – or rather your staff explains – that you’re on vacation and they decided to surprise you by sending out this postcard while you are gone. But now they’re not so sure that you’ll be happy about it.

Then you make whatever offer is going to be made. Again, they have to call before you get back.

Heer observes:

This sort of marketing works on several levels… it’s fun and engaging for your clients, which makes them more likely to hire you again (MUCH more likely)… obviously it puts an offer in their hands… and you can put a little note at the bottom of the postcard that invites them to give it to a friend, neighbor or family member if they cannot use it, so it becomes a referral device.

It’s a great idea, though I doubt it will convey a professional image if you are working in the business to business or business-to-institutional markets. But even there, you may find a lighter approach yields really good results and the idea may be worthy of some testing.

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