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Last Update: Wednesday September 20, 2017

Key Idea: Communicate With Customers

Direct mail is a cost effective way for a small business to stay in touch with customers and prospects so building a mailing an email list should be goal #1 for every business owner.

Key Question:

A: 

Donna sends postcards and emails to customers on a regular schedule.  They discovered that actual photographs on a postcard elicit a greater response than do line drawings.

Q:  How did she know for sure?

A:
The beauty of direct mail is that you can track every variable. On every offer Kendra mails, she adds a tracking code. When a sale comes in, it is credited to the tracking code the customer has in hand when they order. It costs more to have a high quality photo taken of products than it does to have an artist rendering, but for Kendra it pays off in more sales.

The big idea for all of us is to track everything we do, for you have to spend money to make money.

Think about it

Is your database up to date?  Can you email or physical mail your customers easily?  How often do you communicate with your customers?  When you do, do sales bump up?

Clip from: Cowgirl Enterprises: Just Do it! Take charge!

Boulder, Colorado: In this episode of the show we visit with all American cowgirls. They actually ride horses and Harleys. They know how to sweat, roll up their sleeves and get the work done. There are no prima donnas here. They stand in sharp contrast to so many woman in the world. And because they embody the American spirit for freedom and adventure, we encourage the vision, "Take it global, Donna!" Encourage all woman who are held back or in the dark.

So many of our viewers ask, "How do you get a business started?" Here is a good story to study.

Donna Baase had a vision about skincare products that come from botanicals -- herbs, flowers, roots, etc. In the dry air of Colorado, especially in this mile high city, she knows women need and want skin moisturizers that really work.

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Cowgirl Skincare

Donna Baase, Founder

833 W. South Boulder Road
Building A Tel: 303-440-7549
Louisville, CO 80027

Visit our web site: http://www.cowgirlskincare.com/

Toll Free: 888-440-7549

Business Classification:
Personal Products

Year Founded: 1987

Communicate With Customers

HATTIE: So your title around here is?

KENDRA HARRIS: Trail boss. Trail boss is our fun title for operations manager.

HATTIE: So, Kendra, do you ride a horse?

KENDRA: I do, but I ride my Harley more than I ride the horse.

HATTIE: Do you ride your Harley to work?

KENDRA: I do.

HATTIE: This is really cowgirl stuff. OK. Now running the office, keeping up with customers, what do you do to keep your name in front of customers?

KENDRA: Well, one of our marketing communications programs is to put together direct mail to our customers to let them know of new promotions that we have put in place. And every six to eight weeks, we put together a program and have our designer put together postcards, such as these, and we send them off to our retail accounts and also to our mail-order customers.

HATTIE: You've learned some things because you've sent a lot of postcards. What have you learned? What piece of advice could you give someone about using direct mail?

KENDRA: One of the big things we've learned is that in the past our artists used line drawings and graphics to put on our postcards. Recently, we have now started using photographs of our products. And we understand that our customers really like seeing the photograph rather than trying to imagine what it looks like.

HATTIE: Are you trying to tell me when they see the photograph, they buy more?

KENDRA: Yes.

HATTIE: All right. So, again, you have to weigh out the risk vs. costs because it costs money to take these pictures.

KENDRA: That's right. But we definitely say it's worth it. Through our software programs that we use to keep track of all our accounts. We also are able to create an inventory item that describes the source of our orders. So we are very easily able to track where our orders come from, which marketing programs are producing what kinds of numbers.

HATTIE: OK. So if I got this postcard and I called in and said, `All right. I want this gardner special.' Then whoever does the data entry here says, `OK, gardner special is 1009.'

KENDRA: Right.

HATTIE: And then they add it up at the end of the month and we know that that worked.

KENDRA: Exactly right.

HATTIE: What's the hard part about working in such a tiny business?

KENDRA: I would say the obstacles are trying to find sources of labor that will handle our volume. We've had to do some searching for those people. We found them but it took a fair amount of effort to get there. I would also say that some of the difficulties come from sales. We don't have a solid distribution network set up yet. We're in the process of doing that and that takes a lot of work for a small company.

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