Thursday, April 16, 2009

POSTCARDS: Five Strategies for Postcard Marketing Success

Postcards can be a very cost-effective way to generate website traffic, announce upcoming events, provide advance notice, encourage customers to take action and make special offers and promotions... if you do it right.

1.) Make a Big First Impression.
People like getting postcards from friends and relatives. They don't like getting advertising mail. Make your postcard look at first glance like a message from a friend instead of like advertising. It creates a warm friendly reception for your postcard.

Remember that your postcards will often be delivered in a pile of other mail items so using attractive images and sizes that will stand out in the pile will help your message get noticed and read. As a bonus, think about making the face of your postcard something that might even be worthy of will help keep your message around a little longer while your prospective customer gets around to framing the image. Making the postcard usable as a "free print" is a little "good will" gesture that will also set you apart.

2.) Get Right to the Point.
Postcards get delivered in a format that's ready to read. Take advantage of this by making the biggest benefit you offer the first thing the reader sees. This will encourage them to want to read the rest of your postcard. Keep it simple. Be direct.

For example, state your biggest benefit as a headline at the top of your postcard ...or make it the first item on a bulleted list of benefits ...or highlight it in bold type if it's in the body of your postcard.

3.) Choose the Right Purpose.
Marketing postcards are most effective when they are used to generate website traffic or generate excitement and interest for "something to come". They are less effective for closing sales because they don't provide space for a detailed message.

Design your message to "sell" the reader on seeking more information instead of trying to close sales.

For example, don't include much (if any) actual information about the product or service you are selling on your postcard. Instead, promote the major benefit (or benefits) they provide. Then persuade the reader to visit your website or to take some other action to get more information from or respond to a source where you can close sales. On occasion, you may be able to get your customer to take more definitive action if the matter is time sensitive and they can benefit from acting immediately.

4.) Be Clear and Direct.
You have only a few seconds to get the reader's attention and to persuade them to take the action you want. So keep your message brief and make sure the reader can clearly understand with just a quick glance what action they should take.

For example, limit your postcard to just a few short sentences with blank lines between them. Reduce several sentences to a short bulleted list to save space and reading time.

Always end your postcard by telling the reader exactly what to do to get more details - and include a reason to do it immediately.

5.) Stimulate Fast Action.
Unless the postcard is being used as a teaser, just telling your reader how to get more information is not enough. Give them a reason to respond now or many will put your postcard aside to do later... then get involved with other things and never act.

For example, offer them a discounted price, a special bonus or some other benefit if they reply to your postcard by a deadline. Postcards are not new or high-tech. But that's not a reason to ignore them. They are relatively easy to create and distribute. They can generate a lot of interest and improve the response to your existing marketing programs for a very low-cost.

Article originally posted within AGC's e-newsletter, ePrint Tips.