Five Things Marketers Forget About Postcards

Postcards are power performers when it comes to direct marketing, and because they're so often deployed marketers can lose focus and forget some of the basic tenets of successful direct-mail postcard marketing campaigns. To keep you large and in charge, here are five things marketers forget about postcards and what you need to do to run a successful postcard marketing campaign.

They're supposed to be short and sweet

Postcards are means to ends, not end-all-be-alls. If you expect your prospects to receive your postcard and immediately pick up the phone to make a purchase, you're barking up the wrong tree. Don't overload postcards with every conceivable bit of copy, images and other distractions that cause chaotic clutter. You won't get a sale with a postcard like that. Instead, craft a compelling headline, a short paragraph and/or bullet points, an incredible offer with a timed deadline, and a powerful call to action that motivates customers to take the next step in the purchasing process. You can do all that with fewer than 100 words.

Repetition is key

If your idea of a postcard marketing campaign is a one-shot offer delivered via one postcard and one mailing, then you need to get your head in the game. Consider how many times you have to hear about a product or service before you buy. For some products, especially inexpensive products, the sale cycle can be short. But for others, especially expensive or time-intensive products, sales cycles can take months or even years. Cruise lines, for example, know that repetitive branding is crucial to long-term success. Sure, many people would like to take a cruise, but they don't always have the extra money or the extra time to do so. If a cruise line sends these people several postcards every year, they're bound to eventually hit them when the time is right and get the business.

The list makes all the difference

Many marketers focus exclusively on offers and pay less attention to mailing list quality, but this is a fatal flaw. The better the list, the better the response. A great offer is needed, yes, but it isn't delivered to the right people it won't go anywhere. In fact, a good offer is characterized by one that an audience wants: A B2B pet store supplier wouldn't send a wholesale catalog to an auto mechanic even with a spectacular offer.

The postcard has a backside

How are postcards delivered? Address side up. This is where you should begin your pitch to encourage prospects to flip the card over to read the rest. Otherwise, it's just wasted real estate - and the first thing your customers see when they pull your postcard out of the mailbox.

Quality printing denotes quality products

Perception is everything, and when you send cheap, thin, roughshod postcards in the mail they get beat up and end up tattered and bruised on delivery. This does not bode well for your company image or your return on investment. Have your full-color postcards professionally printed on state-of-the-art printing presses. The best postcard paper is probably either a super-thick 16-point gloss or 13-point recycled  matte, because they both look elegant and are durable.