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Coupons can be powerful marketing tools if you make yours stand out from the crowd.

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This story appears in the June 1997 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Recently I received two letters in the mail. One was in a standard white envelope. The second was in a putty-colored envelope with brown speckles all over it. It looked as if mud had been splattered on it. Printed in one corner was the line "Time for a wash?"

This mailer caught my interest, and I set aside the ordinary, impersonal white one. Inside the "muddy" one, I found a personal letter about a new automatic car wash in my area. It explained features and prices, and included a small card with a map, phone number and prices, plus a colorful coupon good for one free deluxe wash in the next 90 days.

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