View Full Version : Please Review Ad for ShopPass.com

12-21-2008, 10:11 AM
OK, I uploaded my card to my server..here it is.

What could I have done differently to see a better response, it was pretty much non-responsive, but it's intent was to only get them to see the website. Is there someting we can do to get them more interested and should I have included a number to call?

Critic please (I can take it)



Steve B
12-21-2008, 12:53 PM
In my opinion you should always have a phone number.

My opinion on this depends on what you did with it. Was it in a newspaper?

It seems to be lacking enough information to get me interested.

12-21-2008, 01:03 PM
Bud, you mention this being a card. Is it a business card? A card that's slipped inside a magazine? Where exactly would people be seeing this?

I like the line at the top "Marketing Your Business is Easy on ShopPass.com," but the rest doesn't really do anything to get me to click. The Dear Business Owner, message doesn't say anything to me. There's no specifics. I don't need you to give my clients more than they expect. I can do that myself. How are you going to do that? What I don't get is a What's in it for Me? Give me something that helps convince me my business will benefit by taking you up on your offer.

Also the figure doesn't resonate with me. He looks to me like a butler and I'm guessing the idea is he and the site will serve me, but I don't really feel a connection between a butler and my business or marketing through your site.

What I get from the ad is your site is there to help market others businesses. What kind of business? Local? Specific industries? There are so many places I can market my business that I already know about. What makes your site different and why will it help me more than the other places I can market.

Now I don't expect you can answer every question I'll ultimately have about your site in a single card, but give me something specific that lets me know why your site is right for my business.

Hope that helps.

12-21-2008, 02:35 PM
The first problem I have is the figure on the card. I'm not sure what he's meant to be. At first I thought maybe he was a dog in a butler suit, and then I figured he was a man in a butler suit, but I wasn't sure exactly what he was meant to represent.

Second, the text is vague and I'm not sure what you're really trying to do. "Give your customers a little more than they expect" is very vague, and it's hard to pin down. Every customer expects something different. Also, if you're a business owner you don't want your customers to "thank you kindly" you want them to give you money and purchase things. Most business owners don't want to "give" their customers anything, they want to connect with them and convince them to become customers. Show me how your site will do that, and I may be inclined to click.

Right now there's nothing in that ad that would compel me to click over. I realize you don't have a lot of room, but right now your text is very generic and vague. What's the benefit to me as a business owner? That's what your target audience would want to know.

12-22-2008, 06:57 PM
hey everyone, thanks all for the input, it is appreciated - as I said it was for the most part a flop (I live and learn)

It was a post card sent out to only a couple hundred businesses as a trial - The image came from a similar ad that ran back in 1922 as a way to promte ones sheet metal business. It didn't do much for me either - but I couldn't afford an artist and a new drawing at the time.

Marketing your business is easy on ShopPass.com
This was to be the catch all statement just to introducse them to the ShopPass.com - if nothing else, it was to be a plant in their head...curiosity itself might get thewn to look...

On ShopPass, you can give your customers a little more than they expect... I'm thinking that most customers expect a lot...now more then ever. But how much can I put on a postcard.

It is about what the customer expects (ain't it) the heck with me as a business owner, I want to give my customers what they want (pertaining to my particular business) and to be prepared to give them a little more...and just maybe ShopPass can help me do that?

Honestly - most of the businesses we set out to talk to..were arrogant at best only to blame everyone else for their struggles...I live a great life, a successful career, a successful internet business, a successful marriage (29 years :)) and I still look in the mirror everyday and ask myself what can I do to make things better...

I'm tring to find the right people to help me get to "print" ads...it seems that direct marketing will be our goal and enhance it with the web...

I'll be hanging around here - I have much to learn :)

12-22-2008, 07:51 PM
I guess some of the poor response can be blamed on this being direct mail. On average you could have only expected 1 or 2 responses per hundred postcards. Still you'd expect to have gotten at least one back.

Speaking for myself for me to join I'd want to know what ShopPass can do for me. You say it's easy to market my business through it. Ok that's good. I need to market my business and easy is good. It's still vague and I've heard the promise before. So how about some detail.

X businesses in 'city here' gained Y new customers last year. Did you?
X% of 'city here' consumers use ShopPass. Will they find your business there?
X people searched ShopPass for local business last month. Is your business listed? It's free.

None of the above is necessarily great copy, but they're basically doing two things.

1. Giving some detail that helps me decide if ShopPass will help my business. Give us how many consumers have an account or how many other businesses have already signed up.

2. Now that we know others are using the site the copy plays into our fear of not being included.

3. I know I said two things, but the last line does three things. It mentions that it's free. That erases the question of how much it will cost me as a business. I'm more willing to at least look since it won't cost me anything.

This ad is one that would go out to businesses. Think of the reasons why a business wants or needs to market. Think of what your site does specifically to help them. More than just saying it's easy. In a few minutes I could list hundreds, even thousands of places where I could market my business. What does ShopPass offer me that other places don't.

Also think of the possible objections someone might have. One objection is that it will cost more than I want to spend. When you mention it's free you eliminate that objection.

You don't have to get across everything about your site. Too much info is not going to get read. Find one or two points that will be important to me as a business owner and include those along with your URL for more info.

Also keep in mind that advertising needs repetition before it generates a response. People are going to need to see your ad several times before they even notice it and can recall your name. Sending out one postcard likely won't have much success no matter how good the copy. You have to send it out to the same people once a month or once every other week for six months or more before you can really have an idea whether or not the ad will work.

Steve B
12-23-2008, 04:36 AM
If he could consistently get 1 or 2% response through direct mail he'd be very wealthy and may not have time to hang out on this forum. Especially for direct mail via postcard to attract businesses to an advertising idea.

If he could consistently get 1% success by sending out postcards (total cost of about 50 cents each including printing, postage and a list). That would mean for every $1,000 spent he would get 20 phone calls. At a 30% closure rate he would have 6 new clients (many would be repeat business). 6 new clients would likely result in far greater profit than $1,000 in a year - not to mention the clients that will stick around for longer than a year. Unfortunately, I would expect far less than a 1% success rate - even with a better piece sent via first class mail.

From a statistical point of view, a proper size trial for something like that would require approximately 3,000 pieces before you could assess the success or failure of it. The 3,000 number depends on several things - so, I'm guessing on that number based on some previous research that I had done. It took me a very long time to find a formula for required sample size for this kind of analysis.

I tried direct mail a couple of times for both my fence business and the advertising magazine. The payoff was never there for us. It could be worth trying again in a better economy however.

12-23-2008, 09:00 AM
Direct marketing can work, but your pitch needs to give your target market a compelling reason to do something.

Vangogh is on to something with the copy suggestions he made. Give your target customers something they can sink their teeth in to and some of them will respond. It probably won't be a lot, direct marketing is traditionally not a high response method of advertising, but it will be a few.

12-23-2008, 11:57 AM
If he could consistently get 1 or 2% response through direct mail he'd be very wealthy and may not have time to hang out on this forum.

Funny Steve and also true. I was being very generous and optimistic with that response rate, wasn't I? I'm not sure what's typical for direct mail, but I think it's less than 1%, maybe something like 0.5%. Just guessing here.

That would mean for a few hundred postcards if you get response total you've probably done ok.

Steve B
12-23-2008, 06:30 PM
I've done a lot of research on this topic and it's very difficult to get good information on it.

Here's what I found out.

The Direct Mail Marketing Association (and other groups will often refer to a 2-4% success rate). The key here is that the definition of "success" is a phone call, not a sale. Also, they have a vested interest in quoting high rates obviously. The 4% figure probably comes from a campaign where a local church is inviting the community to a Free (or almost free) Fish Fry - or something similar.

The success rate obviously depends on a lot of things - but the dollar value of the item will drastically influence. Think of someone hoping to generate interest in custom built homes at 300k each versus someone trying to market commemorative presidential coins for $19.95. They can expect drastically different success ratios.

When I did it personally for the fence business, the return was 1/4 of 1%. That was with a hand addressed #10 envelope, sent via first class mail, with my personal return address on it. There was a personally signed cover letter and a professionally done brochure with a pretty generous offer of a free book to those that responded. It was sent to a very clean list of homeowners of a certain value and registered dog owners. I sent out 2,000 of them to get a pretty scientific sample. I pulled out all the stops to see what the potential of this type of marketing was for me. Unfortunately, the return did not justify the expense. I probably did this just at the beginning of the recession, so it might be better during better times.

I also did a test of direct mail piece that I did after reading a couple marketing books suggested by some on this forum. It was something in a totally different style than my own. It was one of those long letters with lots of bold and highlited stuff. Same results.

For my coupon magazine, I've done similar testing but not to quite the same extent. The return on these mailings was similar - but, I usually followed up with phone calls. In many cases I sent samples of the magazine and a price sheet. Selling advertising to businesses through direct mail alone just isn't going to happen in my opinion. It sure didn't happen for me. For this business, I was doing it to build some name recognition, so when I walked in the door or called them on the phone they would have at least heard of us.

So that's what I know. If I could get a positive return on it, I would be doing a TON of it. Maybe I'll try again at a different time. Building name recognition with other advertising will in turn help your return on the direct mail also - so I've learned not to permanently write off a marketing idea just because it has failed once.

I'd love to hear from anyone else that has given direct mail a try.

12-23-2008, 08:57 PM
Thanks for the research and info Steve. I know direct mail has a low response rate, but I've really known how low. I've seen things like 2% and I've also seen 0.5% Obviously it's going to vary with how the mail is written and designed and what the offer is for. It should also depend on the frequency of the same offer. I would expect the first time someone receives a direct mail offer that it would have an extremely low return rate, but I would also think that repeating that same offer to the same people slowly increases the return.

My only experience with direct mail is a single postcard we sent out in a previous web design business. I think we sent out about a hundred to a list a small business owners we built through a local chamber of commerce. I can't really remember how the copy and design was, but I assume both were ok, though probably nothing special. Our return was exactly 0%. We weren't expecting a lot, but we had hoped one or two people would respond.

12-24-2008, 12:05 AM
Early 90's there was a course I bought on direct mail from some guy out of key west fl. He actually seemed to have a good system down, although it was scamming people as I recall. At that time, it involved using Fedex for delivery, because the odds of someone opening a Fedex envelope were far greater than just some flier. He had a method for getting a qualified mailing list to justify the fedex deliveries. I don't remember any more than that.

I can tell you this story that might be a good example. Sometime in the 90's, I had an American Airlines flight from South America to Miami. I had their airline sandwich. It surpassed the meaning of bad in airline sandwiches. I was hungry so I ate the one I had. I asked for a second one and stuck it in my briefcase.

On that same flight the American Airlines magazine had an article from the CEO of American talking about how they were changing their airline meals to meet the new light eating style of the the American Airlines customers.

I froze the sandwich in my briefcase. Highlighted every reference to the "new lite meals" in the CEO's article, stuck them in a Fedex package with a short note stating "this must be one of those new light meals you were referring to - you should be embarrassed about this" along with my frequent flier number and contact info (I had a ton of frequent flier miles with AA at the time). I FedEx'd the notes and sandwich to the CEO of AA.

I didn't ask for anything. I just said in the memo "you should be pretty embarrassed about this". I got more calls that week from executive VP's from AA than I did clients. They gave me a dinner voucher or something, I don't remember. I didn't ask for anything. I suspect what happened is the CEO's secretary opened the Fedex package, read the note, looked at the sandwich and it became an insider joke. What if I had two sandwiches and sent a copy to the media?

Relevant to this thread; I sent one Fedex package and had executives from AA calling me all week. It was a pretty qualified mailing list; the CEO. The mailer was an attention getter, his lousy sandwich along with his article bragging about their food.

No, the above isn't sales, although I got a dinner out of the deal.It might imply, however, that its not quantity, but quality, and the recipient that makes the difference.

Steve B
12-24-2008, 03:05 AM
Steve - the research also did suggest that you should re-mail to the same list 3+ times. I've never had the guts to do that since even if I doubled my success rate the second time I would still lose money. The only reason I didn't lose too much money with one of my attempts is because I had a dog trainer go in on it with me so all my costs were cut in half (two brochures and a cover letter just barely stayed under the 1oz limit). The problem was that his respense rate was 0% - so he wasn't interested in trying again.

I'll try it again someday when the economy turns around. The concept is very appealing to me if I could just find a formula that has a consistent positive return.

Bill your story reminds me of the time my Dad sent the rusted remains of the front quarter panel of his 75 Chevy truck to the president of General Motors in a manilla envelope. Those of you old enough to remember the rust years will appreciate that. Unfortunately, he didn't get any free truck coupons back in the mail.

12-24-2008, 05:46 AM
I'm back - I have to catch up on the read here - and then I'll post - thanks for the contributions to this topic.

12-24-2008, 06:10 AM
A lot of interesting comments and feed back..thanks

A couple things that I have forgot to mention...1 week after that post card we did send out brochures 3fold - we did get a couple fo calls and that's why we have some of the coupons we do have.

I had three ladies and myself knocking on doos too as a follow up - most businesses don't want you to walk in or some won't even take a call. This is the troubling part..these are small businesses (e.g. coffee shops, barbers, tanning salons, etc) these are the same businesses that when they started out, they want people to take a chance on them - but for our small local businesses they wouldn't give the time of day :) Go figure...but we keep pushing forward....I often sit back and try to figure out "what do they (the small businesses want" of course customers. But what will attract then to use our service..."more customers". I need more then their listing to get the amount of customers that will make their head spin...

Businesses have the tools for me to work with :) I just need to get them involved and then I can get customers to the site or use the service so I'm offering a drawing for Wisconsin Businesses -

Create a coupon of any value (the best would be by one get a second one at discounted price) and use the coupon to enter a drawing for a cash prize - I'm thinking it would be 150.00 cash prize and the 12 picked winners would be included in the big 12 cash prize drawing for a much greater amount...

As a business owner, that would get me to at least twitch :) and the fact that there are 12 chances to get the big prize will help me decide to keep the coupon online?

Do you think 150.00 would be enough for most businesses to "be interested"

The benifits are...
It's free to begin with (no layout of pocket expence, no risk?)
For a coffee shop (150.00 can help pay for the coffee they gave away free)
Not to forget the fact that they may have gained a new customer.

Now I have someting to work with...

Where do I make money?

Creating custom coupons, managed account for those that don't want to do the work..pictures of their business and even video?

12-24-2008, 11:06 AM
$150 is $150. Everyone can use a little more money.

That's the kind of thing that could entice someone to visit the site. Don't try to explain too much about the drawing on the ad. Just get across the idea about winning $150 for marketing your business and have them visit a specifically designed landing page on your site for the details.

Now you can attract new customers and win $150 in the process...visit shoppass.com/coupon for details

You could still offer other info on the ad about ShopPass, but make the info about the contest a teaser. Make people visit your site for the details. The specific benefits here is the chance to win $150 while marketing their business.

Make sure to design a landing page specific to this order. People visiting the site from the ad are going to be doing so because they want to find out about the $150. If they initial page they see on your site doesn't have that info they'll leave right away.

Also don't connect the rest of the site to this page. Don't link to this new page from the rest of your site. That way the only way people will get to it is by reading the ad. That could help you track how effective the ad is. You can have the landing page link to the rest of the site, but don't have the rest of the site link to this landing page.

You can prevent search engines from accidentally finding and indexing the page by adding a meta tag

<meta name="robots" content="noindex"

Steve B
12-24-2008, 05:04 PM
Be sure to research any gaming laws in your state. I'm not sure, but I think there may be some state specific guidelines about how contests that give away money are handled.

12-24-2008, 07:58 PM
Some great points - thanks.

Steve, yes I should check it out..but for now, I think I'm going to wing it. It's under 600.00 dollars so I'm not obligated to 1099 anyone (I think) But I'll look into it. The first drawing will be Feb 2009 for Jan 09 entries...so I gotta roll with it and see where it takes me next. The first month might be a little slow, but someone will win :)

It should grow to be interesting. We're focusing more on the smaller services coffee shops in the beginning.