Postcard Marketing Model #20: Get Important People To Take Your Call

By Marcia Yudkin

Imagine how far you could go in your career personally or how far you could take your company if you could snap your fingers and get an audience with a Senator, a CEO, a New York book publisher, Oprah Winfrey’s producer or some other VIP.

Postcards can open the door. If you use them with creativity and persistence, postcards can take you from a total nobody in the eyes of a busy person who is guarded by effective gatekeepers to someone whose call gets through. Here are three proven strategies. They use the power of assumption, the power of curiosity and the power of personal humor.

Postcard strategy #1. Would a conscientious gatekeeper toss a personal message from an old friend into the trash along with the junk mail? Not a chance. This strategy takes careful planning, and it’s not for the faint-hearted.

First, research your target VIP’s avocations – perhaps rock climbing, the opera or southern barbecue. Find a postcard image or a commercially sold postcard of a place that vividly evokes one of those avocations, and create a bold statement tying together the theme in the image with what you hope to discuss with the person. Then hand-write your bold statement casually on the card, then say you’ll be calling soon to discuss it. Sign the postcard with your first name and a surname initial or an illegible last name.


For example, the image is of a climber on Yosemite’s Half Dome, because you’ve read Mr. College President likes climbing. Your handwritten message, slanted up the card rather than straight and neat: ‘Without knowing the ropes, no one makes it up Half Dome. We’ve pioneered a new route for budget forecasting that’s double the accuracy of our closest competitor. Talk to you soon! – Marianne C.’ Be sure to use a stick-on postal stamp. Send two variants of these with different images, then call and introduce yourself to the gatekeeper as the Marianne who sent the climbing postcards. Ask when would be a good time to speak to Mr. College President. Repeat until you get his ear.

Postcard strategy #2. Think up a question that Ms. Importante and others in her position would very much like to know the answer to and that’s related to what you’d like to discuss. The question must concern something that wouldn’t be considered a personal or organizational secret, and it should be an open question rather than one asking for a yes or no.

This postcard should look much more business-like than the one for strategy #1. On the image side, use something graphical that’s not especially eye-catching or indicative of the topic, so the recipient will turn the card over to see what it’s about. On the message side, present your question in bold, and underneath, explain that you’re surveying ___s (fill in the blank with their title) on this question. You need less than five minutes of phone time for the survey, and anyone who participates receives the anonymized results of what the other folks in the poll said. After sending the postcard, call to set up the appointment.

After you’ve done a handful of surveys, redo your postcard so that just after the question, you add a teaser indicating a preliminary finding. Emphasize that it’s inconclusive, and you’re still surveying, and so on. Again, after sending the revised card, call to set up the appointment.

After you’ve completed a reasonable number of surveys, send the results to all the VIPs you spoke with. Then call each one to set up an appointment to discuss the results. Finally you’re in a position to broach your real motive for setting the whole strategy in motion! Ms. Importante is just about guaranteed to listen at that point.

Postcard strategy #3. Here you send a cartoon rather like those in The New Yorker magazine that includes the name of the recipient in the humorous caption. According to Stu Heinecke, whose company CartoonLink supplies such personalizable cartoons, this technique has succeeding in winning appointments at a rate as high as 100%. It has also worked with Presidents, Prime Ministers, celebrities and CEOs. Not only does such a postcard become a keepsake, it nearly always gets shown around and displayed for months.

Heinecke recommends sending the personalized cartoon, then calling and identifying yourself as the person who sent the cartoon. You’re going to be tempted to include the name of your company in the cartoon, but that never works, he says. The cartoon doesn’t work because of branding, but because the caption and humor create a clever point of agreement about the situation you are proposing to help your prospect with. In addition, the person’s name in the cartoon makes a unique impression.

All of these are low-volume, high-touch ways to use postcards to start a conversation with important, hard-to-reach people. When you consider the potential value of getting through to the VIP who has the power to endorse and aid your project, careful execution of this type of postcard campaign is certainly worth the effort.

About the Author: Veteran postcard marketer, consultant, author Marcia Yudkin is creator of The Mighty Postcard Marketing Course, which teaches strategic, logistical, design and copywriting secrets of postcard marketing. Download her free 1-hour audio on marketing with postcards:


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