Improving Advertising Results from RSVP Cards avatar
Improving Advertising Results from RSVP Cards

Did you try advertising on RSVP and did not get good results? With the high costs of traditional advertising, people are often looking to improve the ROI on their marketing tactics. With costs of thousands per month and long term contracts, most advertisers are not willing to just take an average 2% response rate. So what can you do to improve the return on such things as RSVP advertising?


Remarketing is a Google Adwords tactic where advertisers serve image ads (sometimes people call them banner ads) to people that have visited the website.

If done right, a company can show a particular ad to those people that visited the site as a result of receiving the RSVP postcard. For example, Paving Stone of San Diego is advertising a 30% OFF fall special. If the RSVP postcard peaked someone’s interested and visited the site, BUT did not submit a form to receive more information, then an ad would be served to that visitor as they browse the web.

People tend to do a lot of information gathering online, so just because they visited your site, it does not mean that they are ready to call you. They are however, latent prospects higher on the sales funnel.

You don’t want to let go of this potential client, so you want to remain present on their mind as much as possible. This is what remarketing does. Once a person visits your site, you can advertise specifically to them again by showing your ad when that person browses home improvement sites, or reads an online article about architecture or home additions, thus reinforcing the RSVP message.

So basically, the potential client would become aware of the promotion via RSVP, and the offer would be reinforced online, through remarketing, as that person browses the web.

There are a few requirements for this tactic to be implemented:

  1. You need to install code on your site (the Google remarketing code),
  2. and for best results, you should send the RSVP visitors to a particular page on your site, and not just the home page (for example a page advertising the actual Fall special we’re talking about).

Remarketing is a great tool to improve results from RSVP.

Call Tracking

Call tracking is very inexpensive (in some cases under $10 per month) so there is absolutely no excuse for not using call tracking in any print advertising.

How does it work?  In simple terms, you get a phone number that forwards to your business line but that you are able to track. They all come with a dashboard so you can logon and see how many calls you actually received from a particular medium. Divide the cost of the RSVP cards by the actual number of calls you received, and that’s your cost per call for that tactic. Call tracking can be turned on and off easily and typically companies do not require long term commitments.

Call tracking can and should be applied to all marketing tactics. Everyone is looking to quantify which advertising method has the higher ROI. And most publishes will say that it’s “their publication” the one that really works. Well, put them to the test.  If you’re spending a couple thousand dollars a month in advertising then why not spend under $10 per publication to see which one is really driving calls to your business!

A word of caution. Many publishers say they can implement call tracking for you and give you a report themselves. Not to put anyone down, I do suggest you do this on your own. That way all publishers play under the same rules, and you can use the same metrics to clearly evaluate performance of each publication without bias.

Facebook. YES! Facebook!

Most advertisers are still not adopting social media as part of their marketing toolkit.

Small business owners are generally too busy and have lack of resources to incorporate in their marketing mix a full social media marketing plan, but having a Facebook presence will be a must as it will become more integral to search marketing (in other words for Google search!)

Facebook is trying to eventually become a search engine which means that just like we go to Google to search, we will go to Facebook to search. Facebook has the advantage of being able to put things in “social context”.

This means that when we search for something, the search results will be affected by the “likes” of people in our personal network.

So for example, if I search for pizza in 92127, Facebook will display the places that are relevant to my search, BUT ALSO that are “liked” by people in my network (friends, friends of friends, etc).

Facebook adds social context to the search.

What does that mean? Let me explain by comparing it to a Google search. If I use Google to search for “best pizza in 92127”, I will be served results based on an algorithm, so perhaps I get Pizza Hut, and Pappa John’s, maybe some others, but the search results will be based on Search Engine Optimization. But if I ask my friends to recommend a pizza place, then they’ll know that Pizza Hut is not for me, but that there is a new pizzeria in the area called Flippin’ Pizza that I will enjoy. The same “search” yields different results if put it in a social context.

So although a “social media guru” will tell you that a good Facebook marketing strategy will involve being active on Facebook, posting daily, engaging with the fans, etc., acquiring fans, even in a more passive way is simple if we can develop the habit of incorporating social media in all media – Traditional and Digital.

This brings us back to the RSVP cards. I looked at the RSVP advertising cards that were delivered to my home in San Diego, and found some interesting things I’d like to point out in order to help advertisers make these cards more successful.

I looked at the 35 cards that came and visited the advertiser’s websites, as well as their Facebook pages if they had them. 19 advertisers had a Facebook page live, however only 4 postcards were actually showing a Facebook icon, indicating a Facebook page was live.

I was amazed by the 14 advertisers that actually have a Facebook page but did not say so in the RSVP card. How hard can it be to put it there?  Why is this important?  Let me explain.

More and more people are going to Facebook to see what people are saying about a company or place of business. A website is seen as a marketing brochure, but a Facebook profile that includes comments from fans is a more telling story. People go to Facebook to find social endorsement.

Here’s an example of how this should work. The California Ballet sent a card advertising the December performances. They do have a very well maintained Facebook page, but nowhere on the card is this mentioned. Yet, when you see their Facebook page, you see comments from real people that endorse their functions!

Another advertiser missing out was Invisible Fence. If they had shown their Facebook icon on the RSVP card, one could go to the page and see comments like “Thanks to Invisible Fence, Bode loves sitting in the front yard, waiting for the kids to get home from school. We live on a pretty busy street, but he doesn’t miss any of the action!” or “Invisible Fence keeps Rocky safe in his own yard!”

Even further, imagine if the company had an endorsement (a “like” or even a review) from someone in the client’s own network?  That’s how social media should work.

This lack of discipline towards social media is not only particular to small advertisers. For example, Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza has an active Facebook page but does not show it on the RSVP card. If you ask me, they are missing big on social endorsement of their restaurants.

Poseidon on the Beach, a very nice restaurant in Del Mar is also missing out. They have almost 1000 fans on Facebook, but again, their Facebook presence nowhere to be found on the card.

Paving Stone of San Diego also included a card. They have no Facebook page at all. We can probably assume that a good portion of their business comes from referrals. Well, in many ways, Facebook is a referral system. If I went to their Facebook page (if they had one) and saw that I friend of mine recommended them, I would be that much more likely to hire them. So a great Facebook strategy for Paving Stone of San Diego would be to post completed jobs, and with the client’s consent, tag those pictures so that their friends and family would see the work that was done to their property.  Those people have a higher likelihood of also clicking “like” to the work that was done to a friend’s home.

This same principle applies to all home remodel companies that are advertising on RSVP.

Long story short, in this economy we must make every dollar we spend yield more. In the case of RSVP use these tactics to improve their performance and you might be surprised at the synergetic effect of multi-tier advertising and the convergence of traditional and digital media!