How To Use Cheap, Effective Postcards To Market Your Business, Organization, or IdeaBy: Ron Sathoff and Kevin Nunley
Your marketing needs two advantages to succeed. It must get attention and it needs to be cheap enough to fit your budget over the long haul. Marketing that blends in with ads around it or is too expensive to do more than a few times will get you into trouble fast.
Postcards carry the day on both points. Because a postcard doesn't need an envelope, your message has a head start when grabbing attention. Today's bright, full color postcards practically jump out of your prospect's stack of mail.
Postcards are far cheaper than regular mail. They compare in price to opt-in email. And you can make small, targeted postcard campaigns that bring the results of an expensive print or broadcast campaign.
First, figure out what you want to achieve with your postcard. Are you looking for leads? Do you need to get more people into your store or to your web site? Are you trying to boost sales of a featured product or service?
Your postcard's main message needs to be simple and direct. Create a sentence or two that zeros in on your main objective. If you want your postcard to get people to do more than one thing, consider sending a series of postcards. Each card can concentrate on motivating readers to do a single task.
For example, Mary's antique store might first send a postcard to addresses in an upscale neighborhood letting people know her store is open for business. Next she might want to send a postcard that focuses on a single item or line.
Notice we didn't just say Mary mailed her postcard. She mailed them to "an upscale neighborhood." Mary focuses her marketing budget on a specific audience that she feels is highly likely to buy. Targeting like this can increase response by 60 percent.
When you target consumers, consider these ways of categorizing your audience: where they are located, what they do for a living, family size, income range, ages, men or women, how much education they have, and the lifestyle they embrace.
Targeting a business is a bit different. Business-to-business audiences can be classified according to industry, wholesalers vs. retailers, number of employees and annual sales, and industry groups they may belong to.
You can also target to past customers. Target one mailing to people who buy often. Have a different postcard go to customers who buy less frequently or haven't purchased in a while. Unhappy or one-time customers could comprise a third and fourth list. Building your own house address list will be invaluable.
Get mailing lists from list brokers in your area (check the Yellow Pages) or from the firms in SRDS.com's Directory of List Brokers (have your local library can get it for you.)
Now that we have a big picture, let's get back to how to write and design your postcard.
Like any marketing document, start with a headline. Begin with an action word. Promise a main benefit customers will get when they buy from you. Cut out extra words.
Headlines work best when they are black, bold type on a white background. White on a dark background works well, too. Avoid colored type. It can easily blend into the background making your headline less attention-getting.
Write in a mixed case like this sentence. Capitalizing The Beginning Of Each Word or PUTTING YOUR HEADLINE IN ALL CAPS makes your headline harder to read.
Use a full-color photo to make your postcard look more impressive and stand out from the other mail. That used to be expensive, but now online suppliers like ModernPostcard.com give you a vast catalogue of stock photos to choose from at a low price. We have a card we send to advertising agencies that need help writing copy. The full-color photo shows an ad agency creative director pulling his hair out in frustration. Any ad exec will immediately identify with the story our photo tells.
Finally, take advantage of the many sizes postcard come in. 4.25 by 5.5 inch cards are small, perfect for short messages and fitting in a customer's pocket or purse. Many people like to use the larger 5.5 by 8.5 card. It gets attention, can hold more information, and can still be mailed cheaply. Cards as large as 8.5 by 11.5 inches are still relatively inexpensive to print.
If you are only sending a few postcards each week, you can get best results by hand addressing your cards and affixing a stamp. It gives your card a personal touch customer's appreciate.
Cheap, effective postcards are a great way for a very small business to gradually build its customer base and sales. Postcards are also a good way to augment a larger company's print and broadcast campaigns. By following these simple tips, you can insure your postcard gets noticed and brings results.
© Copyright 2001, Ron Sathoff and Kevin Nunley
The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.