What is the first impression you make when someone approaches your business or makes an enquiry?

I’ll give you a real-world example here, so you can see exactly what I mean.

We often get stuck on the “what” and not focus enough on the “how”. It is also very easy to forget to view everything you do from you prospect and customer’s viewpoint.

I don’t think there is a real right and wrong here, but it is very important that you think everything through and actually do everything on purpose.

I’m reminded of a story Dan Kennedy told:

He was speaking at an event and someone approached him in the break saying, with quite an accusing tone : “You seem to do everything so deliberately!” Dan’s reply? “Yes.”

And that is how it should be in your business too

Don’t confuse this with spending hours trying to decide if the envelope should be green or blue, that is a waste of your precious time.

The example below came about as we were doing research for one of our clients, so I requested a couple of samples from their competitors.

Both turned up on the same day in the post, so it was easy to compare them right away.

The first example (Left in the pictures below) is in a very plain looking, but branded envelope, nothing on the back and quite impersonal.

The second example (right in the pictures above) has a very nicely designed envelope with pictures of products and branding.

So, what did I get in my sample?

Example 1:

A nice but very “corporate” cover letter, with a measuring guide and a small section of a slat from a window shutter. This is all fine and does what it says on the tin, but no real thinking or effort went into this.

There is a glaring error here though. In this picture you can see that there is nothing printed on the rear of the letter or the measuring guide.

The additional print cost of filling this real estate with additional information, a voucher code, nice pictures etc would be negligible, and would not increase the postage cast. NEVER send out blank sheets of paper.

Example 2:

The nice design and layout of this sample continues with the detail on the inside of the envelope.

It is clear that a lot more effort went into the design of this piece overall. I received a very nice, personal looking cover letter, with a photo of Leah who signed the letter.

The mailer that came with it looks great too, and stands out from any other piece of mail on the kitchen table.

Again the rear of the letter is wasted, but the mailer has another high quality photo to show me what I could have.

The mailer folds out into a large format, with clearly laid out sections, which makes it very easy to follow, and makes you want to engage with it. The key messages of Fast Delivery and Exclusive Designs stands out from everything else on the page.

Once the piece is folded out completely, there are again a few key messages and contact details.

A couple of things stood out for me where this could be made better:

  1.  On the inside they talk about a measuring guide, but that is not included here, so a point scored by the first example.
  2. The glaring error here is that everything in this piece shows and talks about curtains and blinds. I ordered a sample of a shutter. This gives the impression that shutters is something they do on the side and not the main thrust of their business.

It would be easy, and much better if they had a version of this specifically for shutters, so the images and the call-out text was all about shutters.

Overall both pieces do what they are tasked with, deliver a sample, but the second example is much better and memorable, just needs to be made product specific.

There is however a MASSIVE error shared by both these companies.

I requested the sample a couple of weeks ago. In order to get them I handed over my email address and full postal address details.

I have not heard a thing from either of these two companies. Not a single email, letter or phone call to see if I have all the info I need or if I need help placing an order.

It’s not happening in your business is it?

Pieter K de Villiers

Author: Pieter K de Villiers

Pieter K de Villiers is slightly obsessed with systems. The systems and process automation he builds for small businesses are transformative, to say the least. Pieter is a Co-Founder of Barefoot Digital and the Amazon best-selling author of “Barefoot Business: 3 key systems to attract more leads, win more sales and delight more customers without your business killing you”.