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Marketing Magic: No-Fail Mailers

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The benefits of creating postcard promotions.

Amber Pinkelman believes she’s cracked the code to sending out effective mailers—even during her slower months. Although her Norfolk, Nebraska-based shop is located far from any high-traffic areas, the co-owner of Pinkelman Truck & Trailer has managed to generate a great deal of buzz for her brand.

Calling on a combination of dollar off discounts and preventative maintenance tips, Pinkelman’s marketing campaign fires off more than 2,000 postcards each month to keep her facility’s name in front of her customers—and does so with impressive results.

Here’s what Pinkelman revealed about the secrets to her mailing success.

Amber Pinkelman, co-owner of Pinkelman Truck & Trailer

Photo courtesy Pinkelman Truck & Trailer

Amber Pinkelman, co-owner of Pinkelman Truck & Trailer in Norfolk, Nebraska.

When are your slowest periods during the year?

June by far, year after year, has been our worst month. [Previously], we’ve known right around harvest that it was slow since a lot of the farmers were in the fields and don’t have time to bring [their trucks] in. So, we started promoting in advance to get the beginning period of the season and again right before summer to get people to fix their air conditioners. That helps boost the sales in those months.

When did you begin using postcard marketing?

Summer or early fall of 2013 is when we started the [campaign]. We went from sending 500 [postcards] to about 1,500. When we switched marketing companies, we bumped it up to 2,500. However, you’re not going to see instant results from it. I think we had five people come in the first week, and they told us, “Oh, I keep getting these postcards from you, so I figured I’d give you a shot.” It’s about getting our name in people’s heads. Then, when [they] do need something, you’re the one they think about.

What do you like about it?

Being able to direct what we want [to promote] in the shop. There are times where we can buy a pallet or two of clutches, get them at a less expensive cost because we purchase them in bulk and then send out postcards with some dollar off special on them, such as a $50 discount. That drives the work for those clutches.

Which pitches work the best?

You have to look at your message and match your picture accordingly. For example, when we’re going into the cold-weather months, and I want people to get their trucks winterized before the snow hits, I use a picture of a truck down on the side of the road in the middle of a storm. A photo with more of a negative connotation really works if it’s a warning, such as “Get this done, so it doesn’t happen to you.”

How has the campaign improved your business?

It’s gotten a lot more people [familiar with our location]. We aren’t in an ideal place. We’re not on the highway, and we’re tucked back off the road. A lot of people didn’t even know we were here before we started doing the mailers, so that’s the biggest thing. People see [our name] constantly, and when they view our billboard driving through town they remember, “Yeah, they send us postcards.” It’s making [our business] a lot more known.

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