A postcard from a local business arrived in the mail the other day. The image and colors on the front stood out from the stack of white envelopes that spilled onto my desk.
The message on the back was succinct and to-the-point. It included a call to action for me to contact the company for more information, and also included its contact info.
Bang. Message delivered.
Here‘s why you should be using postcards in your marketing mix…
YOUR MESSAGE... DELIVERED
Unlike a letter or e-mail, the images and message on a postcard are right there for your client or prospect to see. There‘s no avoiding it. Your prospect is going through the mail, and whether he or she sees the front or the back of the postcard first, your name and your message are right there in plain view. There’s no avoiding it.
Most people, no matter how busy they are when they’re looking at the mail, will look at the front of a postcard, and then read the message on the back. Even if they’re busy at the time they read it, they’ll most likely set it aside to look at it again when they have a moment to really read through it and pay attention to what it says.
Your message was just delivered.
Traditional snail-mail letters and e-mails are actually opt-in messages. Your client or prospect needs to physically open them in order to see it and find out about it. If he or she is busy, having a bad day, received a lot of mail that day, etc, a snail-mail letter or e-mail is much more likely to go in the trash or get deleted, without ever being opened.
Postcards eliminate that chance. The message (and your name) is right there in front of your client or prospect, who is reading it before deciding whether or not they really wanted to.
POSTCARD DESIGN AND TEXT TIPS
This is the single most important part of any postcard marketing effort. Take your time and get expert advice or help, if you need it. Use the same rules that apply to all of your marketing/visual identity tools. Your postcard should reflect your business or organization’s professional image.
The images/colors on the front should compliment each other, not compete. It’ s o.k. to use a number of small images, but leave plenty of blank space and room for some text, even if it’s just your company name and/or logo.
A good way to think about how to design the front of your postcard is to think about the best billboard advertising you’ve seen. The best billboards are designed so that you can drive by at a high rate of speed and quickly grasp the concept and point of the message. Short and sweet.
The front of your postcard should do the same thing.
The message on the back also needs to make your point fairly quickly… there simply isn’t space for a lot of text.
Be creative with your text, but be sure to:
Explain why you’re sending the postcard. Point out how your client/prospect will benefit from your offer/announcement. Issue a direct call to action, telling him or her to contact you. Include your contact information.
POSTCARDS AREN'T PERFECT
The avenues and channels for marketing and communicating continue to grow, and the world is moving more and more toward cyber communication. For that reason alone, postcards are becoming somewhat of a non-traditional marketing method, and can actually stand out among the other messages your client or prospect is being bombarded with every day.
But, there are drawbacks. Industry statistics indicate conversion/response rates to direct mail are typically below 5%. It costs 28 cents to send a postcard, and using an online design and distribution service will drive that figure higher… typically $0.75 to $1.50 per card, depending on the size and number you send. You also need to plan your campaign a little further in advance to accommodate delivery times, which can be anywhere from 2 to 7 days, depending on the destination.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The biggest advantage to postcards is that they almost force your client or prospect to see your message, and certainly remind them of your name and/or business or organization. Like any marketing effort, there’s a cost involved, and historically conversion rates from direct mail are low, so your postcard really needs to stand out in terms of visual/emotional appeal and benefit to your client/prospect. The advantage to using them is that the trend toward cyber communication makes them stand out as a marketing tool that gets people’s attention.
INSIDER TIP: USE POSTCARDS TO:
Announce a new product, service, sale or special event. Announce a recognition, award, professional certification, etc. Introduce Yourself to/Follow Up with a Prospective Client Thank Your Clients for Their Business Remind Your Clients/Prospects that you‘re Thinking about Them.