Is Your Marketing Message Being Returned to Sender? 4 Lessons from The Post Office


Whenever I speak to business owners, the very first question I ask is, “who is your ideal client, and what are the specific results they come to you for?”   It’s a simple question, but the answers I hear are usually much too complicated.  
I recently said to a client, “do you realize that it took you eight minutes to answer the question, when it should have taken less than one?”  He admitted that in less than ten minutes, I helped him pinpoint precisely why he was having trouble attracting lucrative clients. 
Ironically, he said that he believed he was good at helping clients define their message.   This example is precisely why every business owner can use an outside pair of eyes from time to time, if not regularly.
If you want to attract a specific type of client, it’s imperative that you communicate in a way that positions you as an expert, but also provides value so that you can build a relationship.  You probably already know that, but actually crafting your message effectively is probably more difficult.  
Crafting your message is similar to sending any other message, and since the holidays are coming up, the post office is preparing for it’s busiest time of the year.  What advice would your inner postal worker have for you?  Probably something like those four steps to sending a message that is delivered and received :
  1. Address it:  Be clear about who your audience is, what keeps them up at night, gets them out of bed in the morning, and what solutions are they searching for online?  Even better, what are they Googling to find your services?  Use these keywords in your content, on your website and in all your marketing collateral.  Speak directly to their needs, challenges, and desires.  Create a detailed client avatar resource for future reference and post it to your office for easy access when creating content.
    If you want to attract corporate clients, don’t write about topics that apply only to individual business owners.  If your ideal client is a Fortune 500 Company, all of your marketing should emphasize that.
  2. Stamp it: Walk your walk and talk your talk when crafting your marketing collateral.  If you call yourself “The Creative Marketing Coach”, then your own marketing had better be pretty creative. Let your gifts, talents, and personality shine through so your prospective clients have something to connect to, and gives them reasons to feel like you are kindred spirits.   I can’t tell you how many clients have told me that they took a second look at my business because they noticed I love yellow Labradors, leopard shoes, live in Michigan or went to Catholic school.  Or  something else about my marketing caught their attention.  This is not accidental and is part of my strategy, because my ideal clients are dog people, and aren’t afraid of the occasional animal print.  Our most ideal clients are usually pretty similar to us, right?I love Siamese cats too, but since my family is allergic and I don’t have one, I don’t have the credibility to back that up.   You get what I mean, right?  The more personal you are, and the more personal experiences that you share, the more people you will have in your community who are similar to you, and will likely become clients at some point.   People don’t connect to logos or faceless websites without personality, and there is no point in making claims that you can’t back up. 

  3. Send it:  Your marketing won’t go anywhere if it doesn’t have substance.  Give as much value as you possibly can, show your readers or viewers what their next steps are, and point them in the right direction.  Include calls to action, and include reminders to share, comment, and subscribe if they feel inclined.   Make it easy by including social sharing buttons when possible.   And remember to promote your content yourself too!  If you write a blog post, share it with your community, groups you’re a member of and to your social networking sites.
  4. Get it Read:  You can write the most brilliant and beautiful message, and even use a gorgeous stamp, but if your envelope is boring, looks like an advertisement and doesn’t seem special, it will end up in the circular file. Think about how quickly you look through your mailbox and decide what deserves attention, and what doesn’t?  We do the same in our email in-box, and on our social media sites.  Only the shiniest things grab our attention, and sometimes what is shiny to me, might be dull and ordinary to you.  Don’t we judge a letter by the envelope? Whether it’s handwritten, or printed?  How about the difference between when mail is addressed to our name, or “Resident?” 
So be sure you have a handle on step #1, speak to your audience, and grab their attention by leading with what they want, not what you think they need.  
Craft your message like an invitation to a VIP party, and not a mass advertisement.  This will make sure you have the best possible chance of having your most ideal and lucrative clients cast their attention your way for even a brief second.  
Keeping your prospects’ attention will depend on how much attention is given to the other steps, and will determine the value of your “postal” service.
What are your thoughts or questions? Please leave me a comment below, I’d love to know.


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  1. Thanks Ann! I appreciate your comment. 🙂

  2. Your information is timely. Your analogy is so appropriate. Thanks for sharing

  3. Thanks Wendy, I had fun writing it, glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  4. Thanks for the comment Carol and for the sharing love. 🙂

  5. Great little article, Cheryl, clever and to the point and I love the reference to the post office and a letter!

  6. I love this because it is so spot on. Thanks for posting. I have several clients that I will be sending this to. Good job!

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