Bug 'EM Til They Buy or Die (long version)
by George Hedley


I hate cold calls. But I love it when Future Customers call me. So I developed a marketing plan that doesn’t require cold calls. Instead, it’s more like a form of that Chinese Water Torture you’d hear about in the old movies --- Drip. Drip. Drip. I call it: Bug ‘Em Til They Buy or Die!

In my business I follow these 8 Marketing Steps to Success:

1. AWARENESS: creates Interest in YOU

2. INTEREST: keeps YOU at the Top of their Mind

3. TOP OF MIND: gets YOU an Inquiry when they have a Need

4. INQUIRY: gets YOU Belly to Belly

5. BELLY To BELLY: gets YOU a face to face Proposal

6. PROPOSAL: gets YOU a loyal Customer

7. CUSTOMER: gets YOU a Life Time of Referrals

8. REFERRALS: means Future Customers CALL YOU

My Bug ‘Em ‘Til They Buy Or Die marketing plan is designed to move the prospect through all 8 Marketing Steps To Success without a single cold call. The goal of my Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die marketing plan is to get Future Customers TO CALL YOU.

Using my Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die marketing plan builds AWARENESS of YOU and what you’ll DO for THEM over a period of time. Drip. Awareness is based upon the Rule of Seven. You must have at least seven contacts with a Future Customer before they:

1. Remember YOUR NAME

2. Feel they KNOW YOU

3. TRUST you

4. Will TAKE ANY ACTION towards you

In my business we use the trusted U.S. Mail to make Future Customers AWARE of us. Drip. We mail something to everyone on our mailing list at least 6 times per year. Drip. Once is not enough. Drip. Drip. But we don’t just mail any old boring piece of mail. We send creative, different, unique and informative Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail! Drip. We use a professional design firm to keep our image Consistent. Drip. Orange is our color. Everyone recognizes our orange hardhat on every piece of Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail. Drip. Drip. Drip. Now you’re building AWARENESS. Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die marketing materials must do one of three things: Create INTEREST, Create A PERCEPTION Of VALUE or Reinforce Your RELATIONSHIP with customers.

To create INTEREST, be different, crazy, unique. Stand out from the crowd. Be clever, creative and fun. Never send the same old throw-away pens, ball caps and notepads like everyone else. If you send out cheap junk or homemade stuff your Future Customers will think you are cheap, have low standards and not financially strong enough to handle their work. Send professionally created materials that consistently reflect your image. Quality counts. Match your Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail to your Future Customer. We use a newsletter that looks like a blueprint for our construction customers but to attract bank investors we use traditional white stationary with blue ink. On a mailing to lawyers I sent out messages on legal pads and when we mail to meeting planners, we use a theme based on helping them make THEIR meeting a success. To attract investors for our real estate development projects, we send out aerial photos of the neighborhood along with pictures and renderings packaged in typical real estate folders. Future Customers respond to the familiar.

To peak their INTEREST we mail cartoons, jokes, small hardhats, mini CD-ROMs, estimating grid notepads, paper clip holders, coffee cups with hammer handles, business card holders, post-it notes, golf tees, golf ball markers, chads from election ballots and American flags on the 4th of July! Once we mailed envelopes full of nails with the banner: “When can we nail down your next job?”! Last year I sent postcards from Vail, Colorado with the note: “Thanks to my loyal customers for sending me skiing. I appreciate your business!” The best things to mail pack flat, play big and will not be thrown away. Don’t forget to put your Name on all of your Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail. Mail whatever your customer:

1. Will READ

2. Needs TO KNOW

3. WANTS

4. WILL KEEP

Remember your goal is not only to create INTEREST but to create the right kind of interest in YOU. Be sure that a percentage of your Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail creates the RIGHT PERCEPTION OF VALUE about YOU. You have to tell your Future Customers what YOU want THEM to REMEMBER ABOUT YOU. Don’t assume your Future Customers know what YOU know about YOU. To show our Future Customers we were more than a “local” company, we sent out a map indicating our project locations covering a 100-mile radius. To show our Future Customers we were qualified in a new business market, we sent out photos and resumes of key managers with years of experience in this “new for us” area. To create the perception of fast service, we mailed out "On-Time Schedulers" and photos of projects with the headline: "Another Successful Fast-Track Project". Decide what PERCEPTION OF VALUE you want to present to your Future Customers and tell them about it - OVER & OVER & OVER!

At our company, we want to be known as problem solvers. To CREATE This PERCEPTION OF VALUE, we mail Photos of us completing tight schedules or overcoming tough logistics. We mail customized Postcards of completed projects listing out the Extra services and Benefits the customer received such as personal service, quality control or value added cost savings. We mail Product Literature that's new & interesting to keep them informed and reinforce our cutting edge technical capabilities. We mail tips, "how-to" checklists and cost estimating guides to help customers and increase our value to them.

To create INTEREST, Future Customers must know that you DELIVER RESULTS. Your Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail should often show PEOPLE DELIVERING RESULTS. Remember that CUSTOMERS DON’T CARE about:

1. What You DO

2. What You HAVE

3. What You've DONE

(This is HUGE)

Customers ONLY CARE about THEMSELVES

and What YOU’LL DO FOR THEM

Save the reference lists, resumes of your employees, and photos of your greatest accomplishments for your corporate brochure and Belly to Belly meetings. That stuff is all about what you’ve DONE. Future Customers want to know what you’ll DO for THEM. This puts YOU at the TOP of their MIND.

Use Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail to show Future Customers how YOU:

1. HELPED your customers

2. SOLVED your Customer's PROBLEMS

3. Met CUSTOMER'S GOALS

4. PROVIDED SOLUTIONS

5. Gave Customers what THEY WANTED

Come up with a slogan or motto that tells the Future Customer what YOU'LL DO for THEM. We use “Our Goal Is To Make Your Project A Success!” Keep your message and marketing motto consistent. Customers understand a simple consistent message. Put your customer-focused slogan on every piece of Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail. Put YOU at the TOP OF MIND.

Remember: People Care About People. Show them YOU CARE about THEM and THEIR LIVES. To REINFORCE Customer RELATIONSHIPS use a personal approach with your Bug 'Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail. Send Articles directed at improving THEIR business on topics like: leadership, management, staff retention, customer loyalty and how to make more profit. We mail Announcements of contracts, people, promotions and accomplishments to show working relationships between loyal customers and our talented staff. Send photos of your people working with customers on-site solving problems together. This mail shows YOU CARE about THEM and want to help improve THEIR business.

Use your Bug “Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail to show your company involvement in charity programs, children’s sports groups, church outreach or industry leadership. Involvement in the community is part of what YOU DO for THEM. This will create INTEREST and reinforce the perception that you WILL CARE about THEM as your Future Customer.

Building AWARENESS, creating INTEREST and putting you and your company at the TOP OF MIND of your Future Customers is a long Drip slow Drip process Drip which requires constant Drip action Drip over Drip time. To get started, the Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die process takes a minimum of one to two year commitment to be effective. Marketing is a Drip Drip Drip process. It is NEVER a one-time event. I’ve sent Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail every 2 months since 1984. I’ve never stopped because it works! I always get lots of customer calls after every mailing. THEY CALL ME!

And it’s affordable! We typically mail Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail to 1,000 to 2,000 Customers, Future Customers and Referring Parties six times per year. The average cost (including postage) is $1.00 to $2.00 for each piece we mail. Drip. Drip. Our annual Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die budget for 6 mailings runs from $6,000 to $12,000 per year. Drip. Worth every penny. Times 10!

We use a database contact software program to keep track of Future Customers and our Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die marketing plan. With the software we can sort by address, industry, customer type or any other criteria we want to use. You can also create personalized form letters to mail. It only takes a few minutes to print 1,000 mailing labels! Easy.

We dedicate 4 hours every month to our Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die mailing program. On alternating months we plan or produce the marketing materials. We constantly look for great ideas, helpful articles, perfect mailing pieces and photo opportunities. To remain consistent and look professional, we’ve used the same professional design firm for over 20 years. But, you can hire local marketing or graphic design students from local colleges or universities to help you get started on your Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die marketing plan. Call your local college to locate eager graphics and marketing students.

After we select and design our Bug ‘Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail, the task of creating it in-house, using an outside promotional products vendor or getting it to the printer is easy. When we are ready to mail, we hire temporary help to print the labels, assemble the packages and stuff the envelopes. Done.

I like the old saying: “Any plan is better than a perfect plan never executed.” The key to Bug 'Em Til They Buy Or Die Mail is to do it! Every 2 months! Rain or Shine! Build AWARENESS. Create INTEREST. Put you and your business at the TOP OF MIND of your Future Customers. You WILL get the INQUIRY. You’ll be BELLY TO BELLY. Your PROPOSAL will get you a LOYAL CUSTOMER. You’ll have a LIFE TIME OF REFERRALS. Future Customers Will CALL YOU. Do It. Get Started. What are you waiting for?

BUG “EM TIL THEY BUY OR DIE!!!


George Hedley owns a $75 million construction and development company and Hardhat Presentations.  He speaks to companies on building profitable businesses, leadership, and loyal customers.  He holds 3-day in-depth "Profit-Builder Circles" open to construction company owners in an interactive roundtable format every 3 months.  His "Profit-Builder System" includes proven tools to always make a profit, build equity, create wealth, win profitable jobs, motivate your people, and enjoy the benefits of owning a profitable company.