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Bug ‘Em ‘til They Buy


Don’t you hate cold calls? But you probably love it when potential customers call you. There is a marketing plan that doesn’t require sales calls. You can call it: "Bug ‘Em til They Buy."

Three steps to get customers to call you:

  1. Awareness: Creates Interest in YOU
  2. Interest: Keeps YOU at the top of their mind
  3. Top of Mind: Gets them to call YOU when they need you

Using these three steps builds awareness of your company and what you’ll do for customers over a period of time. Creating awareness is based upon the rule of seven: You must have at least seven contacts with future customers before they remember your name, feel they know you, trust you, or will call you.

Send “Bug-Em!” mail

Many businesses use the post office to make future customers aware of them. They mail out something to their entire customer target mailing list at least six times per year. Once is not enough. And they don’t just mail any old boring piece of mail. They send creative, different, unique, and informative "Bug-Em!” mail. They use a professional design firm to keep their image consistent.  Maybe orange is their branded color. Everyone recognizes the orange hardhat on every piece of "Bug-Em!" mail. They are building awareness.

To create interest and be remembered, get different, crazy, and unique. Stand out from the crowd. Be clever, creative, and fun. Never send the same old throw-away pens, ball caps, and notepads everyone else sends. Send professionally created materials that consistently reflect your message.

Quality counts

Match your "Bug-Em!" mail to your customers. For example, you can use a newsletter that looks like a blueprint for your construction customers. To attract bank investors, you can use traditional white stationary with blue ink. If you are targeting the medical industry, consider using a prescription theme. Future customers respond to the familiar.

To peak the customer’s interest, consider mailing cartoons, jokes, small hardhats, coffee cups with hammer handles, golf tees, golf ball markers, and American flags on the 4th of July. One company even mailed envelopes filled with nails and a banner: “When can we nail down your next job?”

Tell customers what you want them to remember

Remember that your goal is not only to create interest, but also to create the right kind of interest in you. You have to tell your future customers what you want them to remember about you. For example, to show you are more than a “local” company, you can send out maps indicating your many project locations within a 100-mile radius. To create a perception of fast service, you can mail out "on-time schedules." Tell future customers what you want them to remember — over and over and over.

Getting future customers to call you is a long, slow process, which requires constant action over time. It will take one to two years to be effective. Marketing is a drip-drip-drip process. It never is a one-time event. You need to send "Bug-Em!" mail every two to four months, and don’t stop. Why? Because it works. You will get potential customer calls after every mailing. The best part? They are calling you!

Cheap cost equals high return

“Bug-Em!” mailings are affordable. You can typically send "Bug-Em!" mail to 1,000 to 2,000 future customers four to six times per year. The average cost, including postage, is $1.00 to $2.00 for each piece you will send. Your annual "Bug-Em!" budget for six mailings will cost around $12,000 per year. It’s worth every penny ten times over. You can use a $200 database contact management software program to keep track of future customers. The software sorts by address, industry, customer type, or any other criteria you may need. You can also create personalized form letters to mail. It only takes a few minutes to print 1,000 mailing labels and it is easy.

You will only need to dedicate four hours every month to your "Bug-Em!” marketing program, but you should be constantly looking for new ideas, articles, perfect mailing pieces, fun, flat gifts, and photo opportunities. To remain consistent, you may want to employ one professional design firm. But you can hire local marketing or graphic design students from nearby colleges to help you get started. After you have selected or designed your "Bug-Em!" mail, the task of creating it in-house, using an outside promotional products vendor, or getting it to the printer is simple. When you are ready to mail, you can use temporary help to print the labels, assemble the packages, and stuff the envelopes. Then, wait for the phone to ring. It always does.

As the old saying goes: “Any plan is better than a perfect plan never executed.” The key to "Bug ‘Em ‘til They Buy” is to just do it, every two to three months, rain, or shine. So get started today and customers will be calling you soon.

Business - Commercial Real Estate Industry

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This article contains general information only. Sunflower Bank is not, by means of this article, rendering accounting, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This article is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, before making any decisions related to these matters, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.