When are you just being a pest?


PFG, Picture Framing God
Nov 2, 2001
Centennial, CO, USA
No, I'm not asking about me personally.......

I am wondering how often everybody sends store correspondence to their customers? I don't want to inundate them and wear out my welcome.

My plan for this year is to mail out four times. I am doing three Roma postcards and then in the fall I will be sending a more personal "holiday" postcard. The schedule to send them is approx every three months. I just sent one out last week, the next one goes out towards the end of April, again in August and then early November.

Each correspondence(postcard) will include an offer. I know most of you guys don't believe in discounts so I won't bother going into what kind of offer. Especially the one I sent out last week. It is a different offer for me and I fear it may backfire although today was promising. I'll let you know how it goes.

I also try to send out handwritten thank you notes in envelopes for anybody who spends over $100. I don't know if I should send a thank you everytime someone spends $100 or just an introductory one in the beginning. If a customer comes in 4 times a year and spends $100 that is a potential 8 correspondence to them. That seems like overkill.

I know newsletters need to be addressed at some point but I am not ready to wrap my brain around that just yet. Obviously if I get a steady enough stream of people I'd prefer to switch to newsletters with a possible offer included.

Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
All I know is, when I send them consistantly work comes in consistantly. When I don't work slows down.

My goal is to send something monthly. Now, I don't always get that done just due to time constraints. Is that too often? Probably, if it were a "sales" postcard. However, with a newsletter type of thing I don't think so.

As I mentioned in another thread that my January newsletter (which due to unseen circumstances didn't get mailed until Feb. 13) brought great responses. (So far) at least 10% of the recipients have contacted me about the newsletter saying that they had work to bring. And about 5% have actually made it here with it. (And remember how far out in the boonies I am...)

I also have an e-mail newsletter that my web host designs which goes out about every other month.

I think the most important thing that we can do to build business is to build a relationship with our customers. Whatever it takes to do that is not being a pest.

As the cliche goes - "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care..."

Kathy, I get quarterly newsletters from two local printers. I am a very occasional print-shop customer (like most people with framing) but I almost always read this information cover-to-cover because it's well done and interesting.

So I guess it depends on what you send them.

I understand the need to draw the line somewhere on thank-you notes. You don't want to spend all day writing notes to customers who have you put a new wire on their frame. But is it possible that the $99 customer might just need a little more encouragement than the $1200 customer?

For what it's worth, most of the thank-you notes I send out are to people who have referred their friends, relatives, co-workers, etc.
Ok, Kathy, I have to ask what kind of offers are you sending?

I think it is important that you mail something 4 times a year. The thank you note situation is one I struggled with. Some customers spend so much and very regularly that it does seem like I indundated them with thank you notes.

As prolific a writer as you are, have you can considered something more personal like a newsletter? You have a flare for writing and could write about both framing and antiques. I always found, and I mean always, that when I sent out a newsletter customers came in to see what I was talking about, which led to more framing.

Anyway, I don't think 4 times is too much, and it is way better than anyother advertising you can do.
Getting your name out there constantly is important. Just because you mail a card, does not mean the recipient is going to run to your shop and have something framed. In all probability, your card will get glanced at, then tossed in the trash, with the rest of the junk mail.

Junk mail is a fact of life, we are so used to getting it, it no longer raises our dander, we just toss it out.

That said, send out as much mail as you can afford, as often as you can afford it. The whole idea of advertising is to gain name recognition, so that when the need or desire for your services or product arises, your name will come to the customers mind.

If you send out a card once a week or once a month, people will get used to seeing it in their mail.

When they decide they need a picture framed and discover they can not remember who it was that sends them those nice cards, they will just wait until they get the next one. They will do this because you have become consistent with your mailings. Once a week would be great, but a little too expensive for most of us.

Remember, you can NEVER advertise too much, the more, the better. Why do you think Pepsi will run five or ten commercials in one show?


I've found that for our business that our direct mail is the single best advertising tool we have. After sending out only TWO last year our customers now look for and expect to get our newsletter. This year we're adding the Roma cards, Decor Home and anything else that may come down the road (Nielsen? Nurre?) in addition to 4 newsletters.

After spending way too much $$$$$
on a top-of-mind awareness campaign in our local paper we're going to keep mailing to our existing customers and add in some new homeowner mailings. That will be the bulk of our advertising this year. It's too effective and very cost efficient.

Anything that keeps "Out on a Whim" in front of your customer is a good thing. Like John says, they may not need you right now - but when they do a consistent mailing schedule will have put you in their mind. We've found that customers we've never met are now coming in after getting 2 newsletters, a postcard and a holiday card since we bought the place in January 2003.

My personal goal is to get our AppleTree logo to the same level as the Nike swoosh :D - when you see it you'll think Applewood, and you'll instinctively reach for something to frame (at least if you live in Charlotte).

Be consistent in your look and message - logos, key words or phrases, tag lines - develop and use them consistently on everything. The hard part is wanting and needing it to be effective NOW. It does take time. It's very cool now when I go to networking breakfasts and people mention they saw our van (with the logo) - it's starting to work....

Mail out your cards and start a newsletter. They're not that hard, they're very effective and they're not tht much more than a postcard if you do enough. I'd be happy to share what we've done if you like - just drop an email or phone call.

Thasnks for all the feedback guys. So I take it the general consensus is anywhere from 12-52 times a year is appropriate.......Maybe I'll plan on every couple of months.

The newsletter idea is one that I do need to pursue. I keep putting it off, fear of the unknown and all that.

Jo, I will tell what my offer is if it works. I've tied up my next three months in advertisng in this offer. I have a feeling it would be met with ridicule and I am emotionally unprepared for that right now. I realize it would be well meaning ridicule but February was lousy for me and I may have picked a bad time to change my offer. Only the framing God's know for sure.
Kathy, I hope that you have been collecting E-Mail addresses. We have found that E-Mailing our customers about once a month has been a GREAT way of staying fresh in their minds. (The price is nice too!) ;)
Kathy, go ahead and start writing articles for a newsletter. Write a bunch of them and just save them for when you are ready. Just as an exercise, start with holidays. Write some about things customers might be interested in, color, needlework, preservation facts, etc. You could write one on arranging picture groupings and offer to go to homes for free (as an offer for one newsletter, not forever!) and critique or give ideas. That is a great way to get your foot in the door and get to know them on a more personal level (so you can sell more, naturally). See what you can come up with. You can always tweak it later. Before you know it you will have more than enough for one newsletter.
Quick newsletter article sources:

PFM magazine
They each have articles written for this use - download, personalize and you're ready to go.

We also look at design magazines (even the stuff at Home Depot), home decor articles and vendor ads. We've got lots of ideas in folders - pull one out, tweak it and the letter is done. Compiling and saving article ideas make it quick to write the letter.

I send out a thank you note the first time someone has something framed. Dollar amount has nothing to do with it. Last year everyone got a card at Thanksgiving, and the big spenders received a gift from Harry and David.

I don't so a newsletter, but I would think quarterly would be sufficiant.

The problem I have with doing too many "offers" during the year is, people will start to wait for them. You'll have business during the current offer, and things will dry up until the next one. I used to do a "customer appreciation sale" in May, and a stitchery special in October. After a couple of years, I was really busy in May, but April and June were terrible. I would get loaded with stitchery in October, and little before and after. When I quit doing them, people asked when I was going to run these specials again. When they found I wasn't, they brought their items in anyway.