Ms. Madden, an accountant in Houston, TX, was trying to build her small-business advisory practice. She had a targeted mailing list of small companies in her region—the problem was that she needed a unique marketing message and a service offering that the businesses would respond to. Ms. Madden had previously explored the direct mail marketing approach, and sent her firm’s brochure along with a letter that showcased her compliance services. However, she had not received a favorable response rate.
Ms. Madden created and mailed a postcard that offered business owners a “Financial Checkup” as an innovative way to generate interest in her firm. One side of the postcard contained a picture of financial statements and the following message: You already have your financial statements—let us help you understand them. On the back of the card, Ms. Madden positioned herself as a small-business financial advisor—she offered a written evaluation of a company’s financial condition during the first meeting.
Two weeks after mailing 700 cards, Ms. Madden received 47 requests for a performance evaluation. Many callers were frustrated by the fact that their current accountant provided only numbers, but did not help them understand those numbers so that they could better manage their businesses. During each call, Ms. Madden would assess the client's potential. Twenty-five of the prospects she evaluated became full-service clients, and paid more due to the higher-quality services she offered.