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10 Ways to Boost Response Rates with Postcards

resources imagePostcards are the most inexpensive form of direct-mail marketing and can often yield high response rates when done right. Unlike sales letter packages and even brochures, postcards are delivered at face-value and have the highest likelihood of grabbing attention before they hit your prospects' trash cans. The key to earning a high response rate with postcards is to grab attention fast, then compel your prospects to take the next step in the purchasing process. The following are 10 ways to boost response rate with direct-mail postcard marketing:

1. Use an outrageous photo on side A

Side A is your attention-grabbing side and typically contains a headline or question coupled with an evocative photo to compel prospects to take a closer look. Try picturing someone benefiting from your product or service in an obscure, funny or emotional setting to intensify the attention level. For instance, you could show someone using their cell phone camera to take a photo of a co-worker who has torn their pants while bending to pick up papers. The headline could read, "Capture all the rip-roaring moments forever."

2. Create desire on side B

Side A works to compel prospects to turn your postcard over, so side B should focus on the features and benefits, introduce or elaborate on your offer and present a call to action. This is where you make your pitch and persuade your prospects to take the next step.

3. Give personal contact information

resources imageIn today's e-world, most postcards send prospects to online landing pages and websites to continue along the path to purchase. You could boost response, however, by instituting a toll-free phone line to field responses or — even better — give them a direct number to you. This is a particularly useful method with real estate agents, insurance brokers and other professionals who often deal with clients in a one-on-one, face-to-face setting. Imagine a postcard with your photo and number one it: "Are you really covered? Call me today to find out." No matter what, make it easy for prospects to take the next step in the purchasing process by prominently displaying your phone number and website URL.

4. Make it a coupon

If your offer includes a discount or free gift, ask your prospects to bring the postcard in with them to redeem it. Even better, include a short survey they must fill out to redeem the prize to help you collect demographic information — such as spending habits or whether or not they own a pet — that you don't already have. Not only will you be able to track your results, you'll discover new emotions and lifestyle attributes you can tap into with subsequent direct-mail campaigns.

5. Present your offer in big, bold letters

If your offer is truly great (and it should be if you want your prospects to respond) then make it known right away. Some effective postcards are even devoid of photos to emphasize the copy.

6. Send an invitation

The most effective direct-mail postcard mailers don't attempt to sell prospects straight from the postcard. Rather, they compel your readers to take the next step in the purchasing process. Try designing and writing your postcard as if it were a formal, personal invitation. You could host an event or seminar that would interest your audience, or simply invite them to visit a website. In either case, the next step is where you'll make your sales pitch.

7. Ask a question

One great way to get your prospects to turn from side A to side B is to ask a question on side A, then bury the answer toward the end of side B. Make it an evocative question that they'll want to know the answer to, and then force them to read through your side B copy to get to the answer.

8. Demonstrate performance and product differences

When comparing your product or service to the competition, try using a meter of some sort to emphasize that your stuff outperforms the competition. You could incorporate this into the overall theme of your postcard. A good graphic designer can suggest ways to do this.

9. Flip flop side A and B

Traditionally, side A is reserved for your photo and headline, while side B contains the pitch along with the stamp and address. A relatively new idea in direct-mail postcard marketing is to put your photo and headline on side B. The theory is that most postal carriers look at the address before delivering mail, and therefore place mail with side B facing up in the mailbox. This means your prospects will see your attention-grabbing side first.

10. Don't skimp on the paper

When it comes to postcards, the paper they're printed on is just as important as the design itself. If you use low-quality paper that is flimsy or worn, your prospects will equate that with your products and services. Make sure your paper is thick, and try using a gloss or matte finish for a credible, professional touch. This grade-A appearance of your paper can build trust and increase your response rate dramatically. Marketers have tried many variations of the aforementioned techniques to boost response throughout the years. Don't forget that the foundation of your success is in your mailing list and in your offer. If you've got those things right, it's time to incorporate these other elements with persuasive copy and sharp design to boost your direct-mail postcard marketing response rate.