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A Postcard And Your Credibility

By Bob McElwain
Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I got a postcard the other day. It made me think of the person who sent it, the things I admire about her. I appreciated her thinking of me, and taking the time to send the card.

It wasn't Christmas, my birthday, or any special day at all. The printed message is, "Just a note to let you know I appreciate you. I hope you have a wonderful summer." Above it, she'd written my name. Below it, she had signed her first name.

The return address had been printed. She had included her phone number and the URL to her website. The other side of the card was a rendering of a photo taken in South Mountain Park, Arizona.

The card laid on my desk for about a week. I glanced at it often. Finally I carted it out to the small table in the living room at which I often sit sipping coffee while checking out the trees and mountains to the east.

What A Grand Idea

Judy Vorfeld of http// sent me that card. She did so only to demonstrate she was thinking about me. There is no hidden agenda here. The card is exactly what it appears to be. And it delivered the message Judy intended.

But consider what has happened here. Judy has reached out to me from the real world, the one in which we live.

What Makes This So Great?

The most difficult task you have in your web-based business is building visitor trust and confidence in you as a real live person. Until people come to believe you are one they can count on, they won't become clients or long term customers.

Such things matter less if you are selling digicams and offer them at the best price available. Many buy on price alone. But the best path to a successful business for most includes generating repeat business. And this won't happen unless you are able to demonstrate you are for real.

Yet this is tough to do when you can only provide your visitors with images on the monitor of their computer. It's a major drawback to building a web-based business. Your potential customers can't see or touch your goods. And you can't step up and shake their hand.

Adding Reality To Your Website

There are lots of ways of broadening your thrust so your site seems more a part of the real world. Business cards, for example.

Carry a few. Leave them behind wherever you go. Tuck three or four under the salt shaker before leaving the coffee shop. Three or four more on top of the paper towel holder in the restroom.

Offer a free brochure. Something folks will find practical and useful. But print it, or at least use a copy shop. Then send it via U.S. Mail. Even to those uninterested, the availability of such offers is a plus for your image.

Figure Ways To Surprise People

Send a gift to clients past and present. Or to your customers. Avoid any hint of it being a sales pitch. It is only a reminder that you are thinking of the person. And that they matter to you.

Ball point pens with your name and URL on them are easy to obtain. In quantity, the cost is modest. And unlike calendars, they don't become outdated. So you can buy a bunch now, and use them for several years.

Go Further

Check the web for specialty shops. A quality letter opener may lay about a desk for a long time. A key ring might be used for years, one with a neat reminder of your business attached.

Recently my wife found a cute plastic image of Donald Duck, with bobbing head and all, in a box of Rice Krispies. It's still on the table with that postcard.

Judy Vorfeld Gets The Prize

But you'll find it tough to do better than Judy did with the postcard she sent. You can even buy neat cards in quantity, to use in this way. But she'll be ahead of you, for she created this card. For a peek at it, see ...


This doesn't tell the whole story, though. It doesn't show my name or her signature. Or my address printed by hand to the right. (Far greater impact when done by hand than when printed.) And there is no postmark on the image, as there is on the card. No cancellation mark on the 23 cent stamp Judy pasted to the card.

This postcard was created and sent to me by a real live person. It was delivered by the U.S Postal Service. It adds dimension to Judy, and to her site and business.

Find ways to do things like this occasionally. Do them right, and your credibility will get an awesome boost.

Techie Notes:

Judy began with a color photograph she had taken, then scanned it. If you have a digicam, you can skip the scan. Next she used Paint Shop to create an enamel effect.

She used Microsoft Publisher 2000 to design the card, and printed four per sheet. She used 8.5x11" ivory 80# cover/card stock. She favors Neenah. She used an inkjet printer.

Judy has a quality paper cutter that creates a great edge. Some copy shops can make these cuts for you. The garden variety paper cutter does not cut as smoothly, and may even tend to tear.


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