First, the letter and BRC are intended to be mailed to customers who you have not seen in six to eight months. You choose the period of time. Such a list ought to be readily available from your estimating software. If not, then shame on you!
Second, you need to typeset and print a #10 envelope with copy that carries a message such as: Important Message From Our “Lost & Found” Department. Given the choice, I would probably imprint the message in red and use a typestyle similar to what might appear if it was a rubber stamp.
Third, is the letter itself. Personalize it if you want, but don’t discard the idea simply because you can’t personalize it. Here is the copy of the letter:
Dear Susan (or Dear Lost Customer),
Have you ever lost a set of keys, a credit card, or a cell phone and worried yourself sick until you found the missing item? Well, at Paragon Printing & Graphics we feel like maybe we’ve lost something far more important—You and your business!
We haven’t seen or heard from you in a number of months and we just wanted to check in and make sure that everything is OK. We also wanted to make sure that it wasn’t something that we did or didn’t do that has resulted in our not hearing from you.
So, Edgar Simpkins, director of our “Lost and Found”department, decided that we should take the bull by the horns and take two steps in our effort reach out to lost customers.
First, Edgar has decided that we should offer lost customers a special, 14% Off coupon that can be applied to any job, large or small. The only catch is that this coupon must be used within the next 60 days.
Edgar has also requested that we enclose a simple business reply card that can assist us in determining why it’s been so long since we last saw you. So, we are asking if you would please take 30 seconds or so and complete the enclosed “Lost and Found” inquiry card.
Edgar and I want to thank you for your time and we look forward to hearing from you and reading your cards.
Mary F. Stewart
Of course, you are free to use the above copy exactly as is, including our company name. Or just for fun, you might consider inserting your own company name where appropriate and using your own name under the signature.
The Response Card
Fourth, hopefully, you have a Business Reply Permit number on file with your local Post Office. Assuming you do, one side of the card needs to be addressed to “ATTN: Lost & Found Department,” followed by your company name, etc.
On the opposite side of the card, you need to offer three or four choices for responses. Remember, you need to keep the copy light. We’re not trying to write a thesis here or embarrass the recipients. Just give them a chance to check one or two responses. Here is some proposed copy:
Dear Mary and Edgar,
( ) We still consider your company to be our vendor of choice, but as you can imagine things have been a bit slow. But when business picks up we will be back.
( ) My nephew started a small print shop in his garage and my sister/brother insists we use him, even though he is color blind and can’t tell the difference between blue ink and red!
( ) To be honest, we had a bad experience the last time we used your firm and we decided to take our business elsewhere. Sorry.
( ) Actually, we are now working on a new marketing project and we would like to talk to you by phone or in person to discuss this project further.
( ) Other: _________________________________________
Directly beneath these options are some simple spaces where they will provide their name, company name, address, phone, and email address.
How many responses will you get? Who knows? Will it break the bank? It’s doubtful. Will much be accomplished? Once again, who knows? All I can tell you is that it has worked for us on at least two occasions in the past and this column has prompted me to attempt this same mailing again in January.
How about you? If you do try it I would love to hear about your results. Until then, have a Merry Christmas, a joyous holiday season, and a prosperous New Year.