Postcards are one of the best-kept secrets of successful marketers. Amid all the bells and whistles of electronic media and social marketing, it’s easy to overlook this humble workhorse.
Postcards are a cost effective choice because, compared to other forms of direct mail, they’re less expensive to print. They’re also usually less expensive to mail. No matter what format your mail piece takes, you have literally two seconds to catch the eye of the recipient as he flips through the mail. Miss that opportunity, and your mail piece is in the trash. And that’s where postcards give you a major advantage over a direct mail package: you don’t have to get the recipient to open an envelope first. Your headline and offer aren’t buried under a layer of paper; they are right there in front of the recipient’s eyes.
Postcards do have some advantages right out of the gate, but they aren’t the right choice for every promotion. Some products and services require a lot more copy to close the deal or bring in the lead. In those cases, a multi-page direct-mail package is probably the better choice. But for simple, straightforward, low-risk offers, postcards are great marketing tools. Here are some tips for postcard success:
Focus on one purpose.
What do you want to achieve with your postcard mailing? Generate foot traffic to your store? Drive traffic to your website? Fill your calendar with appointments? Sell out your stock of last season’s product line? Every word on the postcard should work to bring about that goal.
Send to the right list.
The single most important element of any direct mail campaign is the mailing list. You don’t want your postcard for lawn service ending up in the mailboxes of apartment dwellers. The grand opening of a new daycare center is of little interest to empty nesters. Mailing the wrong offer to the wrong person is a waste of money. A mailing list broker, printer, or mail house can help you target your list carefully for the best chance of success.
Make sure your postcard has heft.
A flimsy piece of thin cardstock simply won’t have the same impact as a heavier weight mailing. The same goes for dimensions. A standard 4.25 x 6 postcard is easily lost in the shuffle; a larger 5 x 7 or even a jumbo 6 x 11 get much more attention. While the standard-sized postcard requires only 29¢ in postage (first class rate), upgrading to a larger postcard that requires a 44¢ stamp is a smart investment. You can also save on postage by using presorted options and bulk mailing rates. Your printer or mail house should be able to help you sort through the options. The greater response you get from using a larger postcard should more than offset the difference in postage and printing costs.
Make your best offer.
Every postcard should have an offer. Even if you’re just announcing the opening of a new business, you should still make an offer. Examples:
- Be one of our first 100 customers and you’ll get a free jumbo cinnamon bun with your order.
- Open an account with us by July 2, and receive a double-insulated thermal travel mug.
- Stop in, sign our guestbook, and you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing for a free iPad.
Use a compelling, benefit-oriented headline.
You want to catch the reader’s eye as fast as possible. Whether or not you use an image on your postcard, you must have a strong headline. The best headlines are usually benefit oriented; you may even wish to feature your offer in the headline. Examples:
- New Breakthrough Upper Body Massage Technique Helps Relieve Chronic Tension Headaches!
- Tuesdays Through Thursdays, The Pie Is On Us!
Online postcard companies make it easy. You can design and layout your postcards from the convenience of your office, place your order online, and even have the postcard company customize mailing lists and handle the mailing for you. Here are just three of many online postcard companies that can help you achieve success with a postcard campaign.
Choose from four sizes of flat postcards, plus folded postcard options. The minimum print run is 250. Choose from their image gallery, or supply your own. Their turnaround time is in as little as two days. Mailing lists and services also available.
Choose from six sizes of flat postcards. You can have color or black and white, with an optional gloss finish. The minimum order quantity is 250. Upload your files or send on CD or flash drive. A convenient online calculator lets you explore all options and prices. Mailing lists and services also available.
Choose from three sizes of flat postcards. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel—this company offers tested, industry-specific postcards that have worked for thousands of businesses. You can customize with your company info. Design, addressing, and list services also available. Turnaround time, 3-4 days.
Make postcards a regular part of your marketing strategy, and watch your business grow.