Does snail mail really work for marketing your private investigator or process server business?
Look, “snail mail” direct marketing works.
It doesn’t seem like it would work. It seems expensive, bulky, and old. I mean it’s called “junk mail”!
Everything in your gut tells you that it shouldn’t work. That it doesn’t work. And maybe that’s been your experience. We all have that experience of separating our mail over the trash can! Everything that’s advertising goes into the trash. We don’t even open it!
A True Story…
I was explaining direct mail marketing to a buddy and fellow business owner. And he said, “I don’t even open my mail. If it’s ad it goes straight into the trash. I don’t even open it!”
An I had to agree with him! I do exactly the same thing! Except… we do open our mail. And you do too.
What do I mean?
We open birthday cards. And wedding invitations. We open letters from grandma. There’s plenty of mail we do open!
What if this happens?
You get a letter with…
1. A return address from a person (not a company).
2. Addressed to you. (Maybe even hand addressed – not typed out.)
3. With a first class stamp on it. (Not metered or bulk.)
4. No writing on the envelope. (IE. “Your survey is enclosed!”)
Would you open that letter?
Of course you would! Duh!
We open letters from people!
If you open the envelope and see a LARGE headline that makes a BIG promise to you, then you will read the sub-head bellow it.
And if you like what the sub-head says, you read the next line (an so on).
You read at least part of the letter (advertisement) including the signature and the P.S.
Pro Tip: Hand sign each of you mailings to potential clients with a thick, blue felt tip pen. This lets them know you’re a real person who took at least a bit of time out of your life to send them this letter. That means it’s at least a bit of a personal letter and not some automated advertising,
It ain’t just me saying this!
I got a letter the other day from PayPal.
An actual letter in the mail from PayPal addressed to me.
While I do have a Paypal account, I don’t recommend them. I’m not a big fan. They’re better than they were ten years ago, but there are other online processors you can use. But, I happen to have a PayPal account.
They see me every time I log in. They have a little pop-up ad I hate. As a matter of fact, it’s a game for me. I know it’s coming; how quickly can I click to shut it down.
They have my email address and send me emails. Which I ignore.
It doesn’t cost them a dime extra to do any of that, yet they still paid money to send me a letter in “snail mail”! WHY?!?! Because they know it works!
They have all that access to me and then they send me a letter in the mail. What in the world could they be sending me a letter about? Well, they want me to get a charge card with them.
They try to tell me that in the pop-up ads, which I ignore. They try to tell me that in emails, which I don’t even open. So they’re sending me snail mail as well.
Google does it too!
Have you gotten snail mail from Google? If you own a business, it’s likely you have!
But, think about it for a moment. Google knows everything about you down to the day and hour you were potty trained. They can target you with ads. They control the search results that come up when you look for things. They have so much online control and power, and yet millions of people receive letters in the mail from Google offering them ten dollars off if they’ll open a Google AdWords account (or whatever they’re calling AdWords these days).
If Google (Google!) finds snail mail profitable, if PayPal finds snail mail profitable, don’t you think maybe you and I should wonder why these big online companies with all this presence are able to turn a profit using snail mail? It’s because it works. Because…
It makes them money!
In fact, the rest of the world is catching up with this concept that I’ve been teaching for years.
I promise you, snail mail kept me in business. Snail mail is a wonderful thing for getting clients.
In my book ‘How to Make Money as a Private Investigator’, I explain the three important elements for marketing you business including:
1. The Message.
2. The Method.
3. The Market.
Of “The Big Three”, the market is the most important.
Why this works.
If Google was just sending mail to random people, maybe it’s not going to be profitable.
But that’s not what they’re doing! They’re sending mail (advertisements/offers) to people that own businesses! To a specific target market of people!
If PayPal was sending out random mail asking people to open credit card accounts with them, they would lose money! But that’s not what they’re doing.
They have “the list”.
They know I’m already one of their customers. They know I make money. They know I pay my bills. I’m their ideal customer! So yeah. They’re going to put fifty cents into printing a letter, dropping it into the mail, and sending it to me!
They know if they do that for a thousand people (their ideal customers), they’re going to get “X” number of positive responses. That’s going to be more than enough to turn a profit! And that’s where you need to be as well.
The business world finally listens to Larry!
I’ve preached this for years. I won’t let go of it. I’m like a dog with a bone.
So I’m pleased the rest of the world is finally catching up with me on this.
As a matter of fact, a new company has opened offering to do exactly this for online companies.
The Washington Post reports about a company that’s working with all sorts of leading brands and are sending hundreds of thousands of mailers a year based on who visited their website. (Notice they are mailing to a specific “market” or very targeted list of potential customers – NOT to random people.)
What this new company does is capture the information of people who visit their websites, run it through databases trying to identify the visitor (even when the visitor give NO INFORMATION about themselves and this company has about a 70% success rate of identifying the visitor and getting a physical address for the visitor.
Personal Note from Larry: You should find it super-scary that simply visiting a website allows the site a 7 out of 10 chance of knowing who you are and where you live!
Then this company prints up a postcard based on what the visitor to the website does and they snail mail it that person.
Why do they go through all this trouble? Why do companies pay for this?
Because it works! It makes them way more money that it cost them!
Website visitors may “blank out” or ignore banner ads. (We’ve all become blind to them.)
Website visitors try to click pop-up ads before they even load.
But now, the ads follow people home! Because THAT works!
They’re receiving a postcard in the mail. And even if they want to throw it away, think about it… they’ve already looked at the postcard!
And when it’s for the boots, shoes, power tool or whatever they were looking at online they’re going to take a second look, especially if it has the elements that I teach in my new book, ‘How to Make Money as a Private Investigator’. (IE. A strong headline, a good offer, etc.)
Note well… they’re not mailing randomly into the world. They’re targeting their most relevant customers.
Again, this is something I teach. Don’t just send out a thousand letters. (Or a hundred letters. Or ten letter.) Start with whatever number you can afford to send, but don’t just send them to ten people up and down Main Street!
Target your letters to your most likely clients, especially ones that you most want to work for!
In most cases, for us private investigators or process servers, that’s going to be law firms.
You don’t have to send out ten thousand mailings in your community, hoping that you hit a lawyer. There are lists online all over the place. Send them a mailing. You can send out a hundred letters and know that every one of them is landing at a law firm. They’re landing at a potential client.
The Math. (This is actually good news!)
If you mail 1,000 good letters (ads) to the clients you want (IE. law firms), it will cost you about $500 (about 50 cents a letter) and you only get one new client, but you serve ten process server packs for them the fist 60 days… then you’re even. You made back your $500 expense. More importantly everything after that is (mostly) profit!
I cover all this in my book, but here’s a list of common direct mail mistakes I see people make…
1. Not sending enough letters.
If you only sent 100 letters, you ‘ll get no response and you’ll think this doesn’t work.
2. Sending to the wrong “list” / market / group.
Specifically choose the potential clients most likely to hire you (and that you want to work for).
3. Sending a bad letter.
There is an art / science to creating a good marketing letter. Learn it.
4. Mailing only once to a potential client.
They will need to get many letters from you before they truly “see” your message. Mail at least once a month or so. Repeat mailing works.
Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye, P.I.
P.S. – Don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here: