There are many ways to advertise your business, including television, radio, newspapers — the list goes on and on. Modern technology makes it very easy for television viewers to fast forward through commercial breaks, however, and both television viewers and radio listeners can quickly change the channel as soon as any commercial begins. The circulation of newspapers has dropped dramatically in recent years due to the ease of finding information online. In all of these advertising scenarios, it is impossible to guarantee that your targeted prospects will ever see — let alone respond to — your message. Direct-mail marketing, however, is still one of the most effective forms of promoting your company's products and services, because it allows you to market to a highly targeted audience. In particular, direct-mail postcard marketing campaigns are an economical way to get your message in front of the right prospects.
The following is a guide to direct-mail postcard advertising for the beginner:
The benefits of direct-mail postcards
The primary benefit of direct mail is exactly what the name implies: It is direct. Your postcards are delivered only to prospects that fit a certain demographic or customer segment, and they are likely to want or need what you have to offer. Unlike other forms of direct mail, printed postcards do not require any opening and unfolding and have the best chance of grabbing immediate attention. They're also the least expensive form of direct-mail marketing and typically have a high response rate. These elements make postcards the perfect medium for the beginning direct-mail marketer.
Before you do anything else, you must define who your target audience is. What do your current customers have in common? Pay close attention to demographics such as age, gender, income and geographic location. New customers will likely come from the same demographics.
Next, you'll need a business or consumer mailing list comprised of prospects that fit these demographics. If you don't already have a list, PsPrint is a great online resource for defining a highly targeted list based on your chosen demographics. The service is quick and easy, and highly recommended considering that the quality of your mailing list alone accounts for 40 percent of your overall campaign success.
Once you have your target audience defined, you must appeal to their needs, wishes and desires. What problems do your prospects have, and how can you solve them? Your postcard should include a great offer that will motivate potential customers to take the next step in the purchasing process. Often, postcards do not make a direct sale — rather, they bring prospects to your business through free giveaways or coupons. That doesn't mean postcards can't make direct sales — just make sure that you have a great offer that also appeals to your target audience. If 40 percent of your campaign success is dependent on your offer alone, then 80 percent of your campaign success is dependent on your audience and your offer together.
Postcard design and copy
Your postcard design should be clean and use images that elicit complementary feelings and emotions from your prospects. Make sure your logo is included for branding purposes and create an overall theme for your direct-mail postcard campaign that embodies your products, services and offer, while simultaneously appealing to your audience.
Your copy, or the text on your postcard, should be concise. Motivate your prospects with big headlines and powerful phrases and define an immediate call to action. Your call to action is what tells prospects how to take the next step in the purchasing process, whether it's calling a phone number, visiting a website or coming to your storefront.
Print and mail
You should have your postcard professionally printed and mailed to ensure that your company maintains a credible appearance with your audience. Postcards are very economical to print and mail, plus, bulk mailing your promotional pieces will save additional money. Since your primary goal is to achieve a high return on investment, postcards offer the best opportunity to boost response for a relatively low fee.
Your postcards must stand out from the competition, and using a large size or adding a gloss finish can help you accomplish this. Ask your printer and mail house for advice; they'll be glad to help because they know that if your campaign is successful, you'll come back for additional services. Some companies such as PsPrint offer all-in-one mailing list, printing and bulk mailing services, which will save you time, money and headaches when developing your first direct-mail postcard marketing campaigns.
When done correctly, advertising with direct-mail postcards is an easy process that can yield big results. Remember that repetition sells, so it's a good idea to plan for four postcard mailings spread out during a two-month period. You'll also want to test different variations of the same campaign throughout a small segment of your target audience. By tracking your results, you'll soon realize what works — and what doesn't — so you can continue to develop profit-turning campaigns.