It's no secret that postcard marketing can be a highly lucrative endeavor for small businesses, yet the secrets of successful returns on investment often elude those who are new to direct-mail marketing. The worst part is that when businesses with good products or services launch a failed campaign, they become discouraged and refuse to engage in postcard marketing in the future. Such mindsets doom businesses, but you can avoid the pitfalls of poorly run campaigns with a bit of education. To get you started on the right foot, avoid the following five fatal postcard flaws.
1. Low-quality mailing list
It's often quoted that 40 percent of your direct mail success is contingent on the quality of your mailing list. That's why it's critical to invest the time – and money – to create a highly targeted mailing list. To do so, list the common demographics shared by your best customers. Then, use a mailing list generation tool to compile a list of individuals or companies who likewise share those demographics. This is your target customer base, and when you mail postcards to them you stand a much greater chance of a profitable return on investment.
2. No offer
The next 40 percent of your success is dependent on the perceived quality of your offer. An exceptional offer is one that your customers want to take advantage of immediately and which generates profit for you – either immediately or over the lifetime of each customer (or both). Make your offer valuable and time-limited to generate the most response quickly.
3. Poor design, copy and printing
It's said that the remaining 20 percent of your success is dependent on everything else; but that doesn't mean your design, copy and printing aren't just as critical. Develop compelling copy that lists your benefits and attracts attention with a powerful headline. Motivate response with a clear and specific call to action. Wrap your copy in a thrilling design that commands attention right from the mailbox. Print your postcards on premium paper stocks and consider options such as UV coating for extra sheen and durability, eco-friendly soy inks, and extra-large sizes for more attention-getting prowess. A complete premium postcard package stands a much better chance of being noticed, accepted, trusted and responded to.
4. Low volume campaigns
You have to make sure you print and mail enough postcards to generate a healthy response. The good news is that you can save money as you print and mail in volume. Bulk postage is cheaper than standard; and offset printing becomes considerably cheaper as you print higher volumes. This isn't to say you should spend more than you can afford; but it does mean you should send as many postcards per campaign as fits within your budget. Remember that your campaign is an investment with an expected return; the more you send, the more you should profit.
5. Failure in repetition
Repetition is key to long-term direct-mail marketing success. It's important to hit the same mailing list several times for any given offer or series of offers, so customers grow comfortable with you and will be more likely to take you up on your offer when they're ready to buy. And if they're not ready now, repetition ensures they'll remember your brand when they are ready.