A new client sent me some of his postcard marketing campaigns recently and I must admit that it is an idea I like.
I am very much in favour of direct mail marketing provided you are using a targeted list and have a compelling sales letter (see my copywriting resources for tips and advice or consider buying Instant Sales Letters).
The Problems With Direct Mail Sales Letters
There are several problems with direct mail that involve the A and B Piles:
- I buy into the arguments about long copy and read/scan long copy myself but I can see that anyone who receives a six, eight, fifteen page letter will think either "I haven't got time to read that and out it straight in the waste paper bin" or "That looks interesting. I'll read it later." but later never comes.
When I was employed I used to have a big pile of "that looks interesting", just waiting for the a quiet time.
While I accept that you have to be ruthless in your editing as you tighten your prose, there is still the message "long copy good, short copy bad" so it can legitimise excessive words.
- There is the envelope problem.
Just how do you get the envelope opened. Should there be a message on the outside or should it be plain? Should the envelope be labelled, individually printed or hand written?
Testing provides the answer for big campaigns but how many small businesses send out campaigns that can produce statistically valid tests?
The Advantages Of Marketing With Postcards
So postcards force you to be very clear
- How are you going to attract attention
- What is your key message?
- What is your offer or call to action?
How To Put Together A Winning Postcard Marketing Campaign
The Objective Of Your Postcard Marketing
Decide what you want to achieve.
The more I work with the idea, the more I believe that you should spend ten minutes putting together your seven step Guerrilla Marketing plan. Who do you want to attract, why should they do as you want and how are you going to move them through your sales funnel?
You have very little room on the postcard so the clearer you are on what you want to achieve, the more precise your message will be.
The Headline On The Postcard
Work on your headline. Even with the minimal content on a postcard you still need to persuade the recipient that your postcard is worth the few seconds of time it will take to read.
You have a few choices to work with:
- Benefits based headline - 7 ways to reduce the tax pay if you earn £50,000 or more per year.
- Curiosity based headline- Discover why twenty seven local millionaires used my services when they last moved house
- Pain based headline - Are you paying too much tax?
- Advice based headline - How to choose the right tax accountant for a small business.
I could go on but take your tips from Jay Abraham 100 greatest headlines
The Photograph On The Postcard
Next choose your photographic image you want on the front. There are just three things to consider:
- What will attract attention?
- Is it appropriate to your audience? Will it attract rather than repel?
- Is it relevant to your headline? Showing a picture of an orange with a headline "The best apples in town - juicy, crunchy and fresh" will only cause confusion.
The Mailing List You'll Be Sending Your Postcard To
There is no escape from the fact that marketing success depends on sending the right message through the right media to the right people.
Get the best, most up-to-date list you can and since this is just one step in your courtship (your postcard marketing campaign is just one approach you are taking isn't it) even consider checking all the names by ringing up their reception.
Your postcard marketing campaign will open conversations but don't expect it to close orders and cause cheques to come rushing into your postbag.
So your offer is the incentive to persuade your prospect to pick up the telephone for the free consultation, to visit your website, to send for the free book, to attend your event.
"Come to our free seminar" isn't enough.
Be crystal clear to explain what's in it for them. The space restrictions mean you have to be brief so it is better to explain one compelling benefit than gloss over four. Be as specific as you can be about how they will gain from ding just what you want.
Since this is multi-step marketing you must be clear how this will eventually convert to the right number of paying customers. Estimate your response rates, conversion rates and costs. Do the arithmetic but remember it's not first transaction value that matters but lifetime value for the customer.
Your Call To Action
Tell them what to do and remind them why.
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Communicate Your Marketing Identity
Remember they don't know you so briefly explain who you are.
Putting It All Together
Try to mock up your design for your postcard and show it to people.
What is their reaction?
How would they make it better, punchier, more impactful?
Listen and then make your mind up. You are paying the costs, you reap the benefits of a successful campaign or the pain of more money wasted on another marketing campaign.
Send The Postcards
If you don't do you will never know so send out the marketing postcards.
Make sure that you make the response easy.
If people are expected to call on Wednesday through to Friday, make sure that the telephones are manned. Little causes a prospective customer more frustration than trying to make contact and they can't get through.
Measure your response
Record how many people respond and follow them through your pipeline so that you know how many converted into customers.
Then re-evaluate your marketing postcard.
Is it a winner? If so make sure you use it again.
If the returns were only OK how can it be improved? With hindsight is the headline right? The picture? The offer? The benefits clear?
If the response rate was disappointing consider why. Do you still like the campaign? Does it fit with best practice marketing theory?
If so, where does this postcard fit within your sequence of marketing communications. Remember it takes multiple communications to build trust and confidence - see Sales Persistence Pig-headed Discipline & Determination.
You may still have a winning postcard but it is too early in your sequence.
Your Stories About Using Postcard Marketing
Have you used postcard marketing? If so how successful were you?
What tips do you want to add to make a postcard marketing campaign more successful?
Do You Need Help Creating A Strong Marketing Message?
Postcards give you very little space to get your marketing message right.
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For more article about succeeding with direct mail see: