Postcard critique please?

26 replies
Hi guys, So I am an owner operator of a carpet cleaning business. In the past I have made my own general flyers / postcards. I bought the joe polish bootcamp a couple of months ago and have spent that time going through everything. From Joe's package the first strategy I tried was the big pink flyer. I sent out 3,000 over 3 weeks ago and so far I have had 0 response. I am putting the finishing touches to this postcard and would like some feedback please. Most of the copy is from joe polish and a little bit from a marketing guy in australia called Peter sun which I have bought some of him material last year. The blank space in top left corner i will be putting a photo of my ugly mug and the box on the back of the postcard I will be putting testimonials.

Postcard has been removed as I will be re writing. Thanks for all the input and will post new postcard when finished.

#critique #postcard
  • ...interesting but disheartening that the guru's "tried and proven" copy hasn't worked for you.

    Even a miserable 0.1% return would have brought you 3 enquires.

    Surprisingly, there were typo's and many sentences in the copy didn't flow well.

    Also both postcards "seemed" a bit too general - all things to all people.

    Would be great if you could "personalise" them. Give your name, tell people a bit about yourself. You're a local, owner owned company. You really do care about exceptional service and outstanding carpet cleaning...

    Don't knock any competitors but you can say why you feel you are so much better.

    And you must have a couple of testimonials on the cards from delighted customers.

    I'm not a "guru" (thankfully) but I think there is too much copy on the first card - based on it's size. It's tough to wade through.

    Remember...

    You don't have to make them "postcard" size. Make them bigger so the copy is easier to read. And always print on good quality card.

    So the postcards aren't like everything else the householders get through the letterbox. They stand out. And get much more attention. And always send them to your best targeted audience.

    They don't need to be full colour. Often black and white gets more impact - because they don't look like a "standard" promotional postcard. You save on the printing costs. And can distribute more of them.

    I do a lots of flyers and postcards for clients - it's the quickest, least expensive way to bring in fast revenues and profits. The results can be phenomenally successful.

    But to get a great response you have to make an truly irresistible offer. With (as you've done) a scarcity element - book by such a date.

    I know you mention 4 "irresistible" reasons - but none of them are that great (and you only give 3. Anyway, people expect a "free" evaluation, quote or audit. Every 4th room cleaned free isn't that enticing. And a free bottle of spot remover is good - but say how "professional" it is. Why is it better than the stuff at the supermarket? How much is it worth?).

    Another downer is the economy. Money is tight. People aren't spending. And carpet cleaning is a low priority. Instead they're putting rugs or moving chairs over the marks and stains.

    But it gets to the stage when they need to clean them.

    Really hammer home the reasons.

    Makes them look and feel like "new" is the obvious one.

    But a shock statement can be much more powerful - all the hellish bacteria festering and breeding away spreading throughout the house - with all the dreadful "health" implications. "You don't want your kids getting infections from the bugs..." The hygiene and bacteria bit is in your copy but you could highlight it.

    Another angle is the "embarrassment" factor. People may be OK living with their carpets in a bit of a state.

    But what do their visitors and guests think?

    Horror of horrors - the humiliation.

    If you can subtlety weave this into the copy - it can produce dramatic results.

    And in these difficult, troubled times with stacks of competition from other carpet cleaning companies - could you come up with a sensational offer and your best possible price?


    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      One problem with it could be where you deliver them to.

      The higher priced home owners take more pride in their homes
      more so than renters of cheaper homes.

      You might want to get a list of pet owners
      in your area from infofree.com, as they leave lots of hair and mess.
      You can divide that list up into postal codes in which you know are in high income areas.

      That's my initial thought without looking at your postcard.

      Best,
      Ewen
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      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        Just thought about the actual card and what the definition of clean is.

        Define what clean and what isn't, in a dramatic way.

        You do it by showing an oversized image of a carpet bug,
        and describe all the nasty things they cause,
        how many there are and how quickly they breed and multiply!

        Say how difficult they are to remove and the only ONE way to kill them,
        safely for the residents, is what you offer.

        Dramatic demonstration like this, beats the pants off a "7 reason why" ad.

        I'll write it for you if you want.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varied_carpet_beetle

        Best,
        Ewen

        P.S. Have this creep covering the card...

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  • Profile picture of the author crazman
    Thanks, for the valuable input guys.

    Ewen, if you could write me soemthing just to start me off that would be great.
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by crazman View Post

      Thanks, for the valuable input guys.

      Ewen, if you could write me soemthing just to start me off that would be great.
      It's not going to happen until I go deep into research
      and dig up data before I even write a word.

      That's part of my paid service.

      Best,
      Ewen
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      • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
        It is very text heavy and I am not sure pushing the guarantee so hard
        is helping the ad sell.

        Polish or any 'guru' sells their ideas in a vacuum (no pun) sometimes

        I have seen many templates fail, big time. I know of a carpet cleaner
        who bought a postcard template (I'll not mention from who) and
        he sent out 10,000... he got ZERO response.

        As Ewen said, a lot has to be taken into account when creating ad
        copy for a business. What I seek out in very comoditized businesses
        such as carpet cleaning is uniqueness.

        Many carpet cleaners use the guarantee approach made so popular
        by Polish... in my opinion that is not a motivator as much as it is a
        qualifier. It has punch only after you have got the reader going
        'down the slide', as Joe Sugarman says.

        Here are my initial thoughts...

        -The numbered bullet points are uninterestingly explained (uninteresting =
        boring. Boring = trashcan)

        -Too many offers, none of which has a value. How much are any worth?
        "free" has no value unless you give it value.

        -Way too much emphasis on guarantees (as I mentioned)

        -FAR too much text for this type of ad. It looks overwhelming to read at
        first glance... and all you'll get is a first glance from prospects.

        Rather than spending big bucks on guru systems, go get yourself some

        books on direct marketing. Dan Kennedy's Ultimate Sales Letter will
        give you an idea of foundation of an ad... and also Bill Glazer's Outrageous
        Advertising to get ideas of attention grabbing.

        For $15 on Amazon you can learn to create ads that work.

        No matter what- TEST IT! Send out small batches to see if the
        marketplace has interest in it.
        Signature




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  • Profile picture of the author crazman
    Thanks for all the feedback, it has given my plenty to think about. I will be making a few changes.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheSalesBooster
    ewen has a good idea in his second post, but I think everyone here is missing the problem with your approach.

    Nobody is going to want to read all that text on a little post card.

    You're trying to hard to fit everything in...

    A post card should only serve two purposes. Getting their attention and getting them interested to call you.

    That's all it should do.

    You really think people care to read all that text on a small piece of paper? You're post card is going straight in the trash once they read that headline.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle
    Copy intensive postcards do work. Here are the fronts of two of them...

    Signature

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    • Profile picture of the author TheSalesBooster
      Originally Posted by Mr. Subtle View Post

      Copy intensive postcards do work. Here are the fronts of two of them...


      Of course they can work if you have something worth reading.

      You think anyone wants to read a tiny post card filled with text about carpet cleaning?

      OP is better off mailing a small carpet cleaning guide if he wants to take that 7 reasons why approach.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mr. Subtle
        Originally Posted by TheSalesBooster View Post

        Of course they can work if you have something worth reading.

        You think anyone wants to read a tiny post card filled with text about carpet cleaning?
        Yep...
        Originally Posted by TheSalesBooster View Post

        ... if you have something worth reading.
        ....
        Signature

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  • Profile picture of the author meags
    If I got this in the mail, I would throw it away without looking at it twice. I don't have time to read a full length two sided post card on something that looks like junk mail. (No offense meant.)

    What would grab my attention is a big logo and one or two sentences that promise me something that other carpet cleaning companies can't.

    If I want more details past that, I'll call.
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    • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
      Originally Posted by meags View Post

      If I got this in the mail, I would throw it away without looking at it twice. I don't have time to read a full length two sided post card on something that looks like junk mail. (No offense meant.)

      What would grab my attention is a big logo and one or two sentences that promise me something that other carpet cleaning companies can't.

      If I want more details past that, I'll call.
      Awesome insight for anyone marketing exclusively to meags. You now know what to do.

      In terms of the rest of the world, however - completely irrelevant.

      You are not your market.
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      • Profile picture of the author meags
        Originally Posted by BrianMcLeod View Post

        Awesome insight for anyone marketing exclusively to meags. You now know what to do.

        In terms of the rest of the world, however - completely irrelevant.

        You are not your market.
        I'm sorry. Let me rephrase it for you. Of course, this is my opinion.

        If someone got this in the mail, they would probably throw it away without looking at it twice. Most people don't have time to read a full length two sided post card on something that looks like junk mail. (No offense meant.)

        (I'll leave this part as it is my opinion and others have stated similiar things as well.) What would grab my attention is a big logo and one or two sentences that promise me something that other carpet cleaning companies can't.

        If people want more details past that, they'll call.

        Better?
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        • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
          Originally Posted by meags View Post

          I'm sorry. Let me rephrase it for you. Of course, this is my opinion.

          If someone got this in the mail, they would probably throw it away without looking at it twice. Most people don't have time to read a full length two sided post card on something that looks like junk mail. (No offense meant.)

          (I'll leave this part as it is my opinion and others have stated similiar things as well.) What would grab my attention is a big logo and one or two sentences that promise me something that other carpet cleaning companies can't.

          If people want more details past that, they'll call.

          Better?
          You're making assumptions about the market solely based on your own personal opinions and then giving advice based on that opinion, which is exactly why Brian said what he did.

          On what data is this opinion based? Opinions are definitely helpful in marketing, but data is king.
          Signature

          Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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          • Profile picture of the author TheSalesBooster
            Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

            You're making assumptions about the market solely based on your own personal opinions and then giving advice based on that opinion, which is exactly why Brian said what he did.

            On what data is this opinion based? Opinions are definitely helpful in marketing, but data is king.
            The fact that he had 0 response isn't enough data for you?
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            • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
              Originally Posted by TheSalesBooster View Post

              The fact that he had 0 response isn't enough data for you?
              Again, I would like to direct both you and meags to Mr. Subtle's post above where he shared copy-intensive post card campaigns that have worked. The OP's postcard has not worked thus far as is, but that does not mean that he necessarily has to do away with long copy in order to get peoples' attention or generate leads. This is why he needs to study more, rework, and test. Especially if he's not going to bite the bullet and just hire someone.
              Signature

              Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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  • Profile picture of the author TheSalesBooster
    Excellent!

    Now if you can create a post card about carpet cleaning filled with text that will get people to respond you can open your own carpet cleaning business and dominate the world. I await your post card in my mail.
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  • Profile picture of the author RedShifted
    There is a huge difference between the copy in the first ad and the copy in the second ad.

    The copy in the first ad is cheap, doesn't flow, and communicates the wrong message.

    Like the second guarantee for instance. That is precisely how you set off red flags. I am no expert in copywriting but I would NEVER send something like that.

    It might as well read like this:

    "If our work is absolutely atrocious, and makes you vomit all over your rug... that we tried to clean .. but couldn't clean... because we're a carpet cleaning biz, but not really ... then we'll refund you 110%"

    I GUARANTEE YOU most people threw it in the garbage after the second guarantee.

    I'm sorry but the obvious problem here is the copy.
    You are telegraphing the wrong emotions.

    I would give you tips, but you really need to do 1 of these 2 things either way:


    1) Learn how to write great copy.
    2) Pay someone who knows how to write great copy.

    Thats all I'll say.

    G/luck! - Red
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  • Profile picture of the author dlkiefer
    I like Ewen's bug direction... I made a sample front brochure playing on this theme... by all means, it is not usable, I am sure... as Ewen said, research would have to go into it... as a homeowner with carpets, these critters would freak me out and knowing they could be in my carpets causing the bites on my daughter's legs... well, I would wanna get rid of them!!! And the added bonus would be the carpets would be CLEAN enough you could SLEEP on them!
    And they would look nice too! :-)

    Here is the link... you will have to copy and paste it because I cannot add links yet :-)

    farm9.staticflickr.com/8305/7953617620_e51d9a7e48_k.jpg
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by dlkiefer View Post

      I like Ewen's bug direction... I made a sample front brochure playing on this theme... by all means, it is not usable, I am sure... as Ewen said, research would have to go into it... as a homeowner with carpets, these critters would freak me out and knowing they could be in my carpets causing the bites on my daughter's legs... well, I would wanna get rid of them!!! And the added bonus would be the carpets would be CLEAN enough you could SLEEP on them!
      And they would look nice too! :-)

      Here is the link... you will have to copy and paste it because I cannot add links yet :-)

      farm9.staticflickr.com/8305/7953617620_e51d9a7e48_k.jpg
      Here's the image...

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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Yeah girls and not so young girls hate bugs, spiders
      and creepy crawlees.

      And they are the buyers.

      Now we have fired them up into action!

      Thanks for a "buyers" perspective in this whole discussion.

      Best,
      Ewen

      Originally Posted by dlkiefer View Post

      I like Ewen's bug direction... I made a sample front brochure playing on this theme... by all means, it is not usable, I am sure... as Ewen said, research would have to go into it... as a homeowner with carpets, these critters would freak me out and knowing they could be in my carpets causing the bites on my daughter's legs... well, I would wanna get rid of them!!! And the added bonus would be the carpets would be CLEAN enough you could SLEEP on them!
      And they would look nice too! :-)

      Here is the link... you will have to copy and paste it because I cannot add links yet :-)

      farm9.staticflickr.com/8305/7953617620_e51d9a7e48_k.jpg
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      • Profile picture of the author dlkiefer
        Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

        Yeah girls and not so young girls hate bugs, spiders
        and creepy crawlees.

        And they are the buyers.

        Now we have fired them up into action!

        Thanks for a "buyers" perspective in the whole discussion.

        Best,
        Ewen
        My pleasure... and thank you for being so kind to post my pic

        Donna
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        • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
          Originally Posted by dlkiefer View Post

          My pleasure... and thank you for being so kind to post my pic

          Donna
          Donna, you balance out all the testosterone
          on display here!

          Welcome aboard.

          Ewen
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          • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
            Here's a bunch of carpet cleaning ads.

            No one stands out from the crowd...
            it's all a blur.

            And one uses the Joe Polish approach of
            "The Most Thorough Carpet Cleaning"

            A picture of the bug/bugs rivets attention
            first, then you've got her hooked in to read more.

            See what I mean...?

            Best,
            Ewen

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          • Profile picture of the author dlkiefer
            Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

            Donna, you balance out all the testosterone
            on display here!

            Welcome aboard.

            Ewen
            Thank you so much, Ewen! I am excited to come aboard and already addicted to following a few of you around... (Your Silent Stalker :p)

            I'm a babe in all of this marketing yet extremely intrigued... I love to write but am having a difficult time learning to write in the ever infamous Copy format... :-) So, I am here to learn from the best... and maybe make a post here and there!!

            So, thank you again for welcoming me... I look forward to engaging in conversation... You and Steve the Copywriter are already two members I feel will bring a plethora of worthy and useable information :-)

            Kindest regards,

            Donna
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