Postcard Your Way to ProfitsBy: Sue Barrett
Offline advertising can often be overlooked and sometimes completely omitted from a marketing plan. That's a mistake for some, but it can be an opportunity for you to reach potential customers before your competition does.
Sure, I'll admit that you can reach zillions of people By marketing on the internet. But contrary to my original belief, not everyone surfs the web 24 hours a day.
Besides saving you time and money, postcards are easy to create, convenient to use, offer fast message delivery and instant visibility.
Postcards are an excellent opportunity for you to boost your sales and name recognition, while taking a break from the traditional (and sometimes boring) direct mail material.
Take a look at a few benefits:
1. Low Cost.
Overall, postcards are an inexpensive marketing tool. You can be creative and test-market on a small scale before committing to an entire marketing campaign.
Do you market to a small area or highly-specialized market? Postcards are a inexpensive way to reach your target market and your target market only. Even with trade journals, you often spend money advertising to a significant number of people who will have either no
interest in your product or service or never even see your ad.
2. Save time.
Once designed, postcards are quick and easy to address and mail out.
Within a matter of days, you can have your message directly in the hands of an interested client.
Adjust mailings to fit your marketing schedule. Mail as many and as often as you want. You also can more easily make changes at the last minute.
Postcards can be used in a variety of different ways to promote your business.
6. Instant visibility.
You don't have to depend on a prospect opening an envelope or having the time to read through a lengthy brochure.
7. Higher likelihood of being read.
Instead of hundreds of other magazine or newspaper ads, your postcard competes only with the day's mail.
8. No fancy equipment required.
You can easily outsource the design work, copy writing and printing. There are also resources that enable you to
pull-off the creative development yourself and still come out with a professional-looking card.
There are lots of ways postcards can be used. They can broadcast a plethora of different messages for virtually any
product, service or event. Before you get started, you'll want to take a look at all of your options and decide what works best for your business.
Your marketing focus will fall into one of three main categories: prospecting for leads, building repeat sales or maintaining customer contact. First decide who you will be targeting.
1. PROSPECTING: Finding New Customers
In prospecting, postcards are often used to qualify leads; the first step of the two-step sales approach. The second step involves following up with the most qualified leads and giving them more detailed information and making the sale. So here, the objective of the postcard is to get he customer to request more information (by phone, fax, e-mail or mail), so you can accumulate names to follow up with.
To quickly qualify prospects, offer them (a) something valuable (b) for free, and (c) requires them act in order to receive.
2. RESELLING: Building Repeat Sales
Most marketers will agree that it's much easier and more cost effective to sell to a current customer than to find a new customer. Most successful businesses are built on repeat orders, but why stop at just a repeat order?
Additional information or a simple suggestion can build repeat orders, plus increase the amount of your customer's average purchase and the frequency at which he or she purchases from you.
But don't stop with just one follow-up! Satisfied customers can be sold again and again as long as they are kept satisfied. There are all sorts of reason why your happy customers would want to hear from you. Here are just a few:
3. COMMUNICATIONS: Maintaining Client Contact
Even if you don't have a specific product you're promoting, you still want to keep in touch with your patrons to let them know you appreciate them and haven't forgotten about them. Get into your customer's mind and stay there! Contact them several times throughout the year, so that when they're ready to buy, they'll buy from you.
Any change, addition, celebration, event or newsworthy information about your business is a reason to contact your customer. If you don't have anything new and exciting happening with your business, create something fast before you go out of business.
So how can you maintain contact with your shoppers without being a nag? Postcards, of course! With a message and design that's positive, creative and interesting, you can add a little fun to someone's day.
Once you've decided who your target market is and your reason for contacting them, you can develop your marketing message and design.
GETTING THEIR ATTENTION
As with any marketing medium, layout design and ad copy play an important role in the success of your postcards. Be creative, but remember a few simple basics so your customer understands your message and is motivated to purchase.
You may have the best product n the world, but how you present your offer can determine whether or not it sells. That's where your ad copy comes into play. Since space is limited, you need to be brief, specific, direct and clear in your message. Count to five, and your prospect is either intrigued by your offer, or throwing your postcard in the trash.
Four steps to reach your goal:
1. How to attract attention:
WHO TO MAIL TO?
You basically have two options here. You can use a mailing list you already own (of current customers most likely) or you can purchase an outside list. A good mailing list is key to a successful mailing, so do some research when making this decision. Some tips:
Your business, offer and budget will help you determine whether you should go with a full-color glossy postcard or a simple black and white card. Both can be designed to look classy with a well-thought-out design, heavy cardstock and a professional printing job.
If you have lots of different promotions, you can order discounted bulk postcards printed on one side only and still have the flexibility of changing your sales message on the other side.
© Sue Barrett 2000. All rights reserved.