Direct Mail Postcards Work
By Wilson Zehr
Direct mail is the most powerful advertising medium available returning on average thirteen dollars for every dollar invested (Direct Marketing Association). It is an essential tool for every business, association, and non-profit. However, it can also be a waste of time and money if the campaign is not properly targeted and the proper direct mail package is not used.
Billions of dollars are spent each year on elaborate and expensive marketing campaigns. You probably know this from examining your own mailbox. However, much of this mail goes unopened. It is instantly tagged "junk mail" and filed accordingly -- in the trash bin.
How do you cut through this clutter and compete without breaking the bank? Postcards are a powerful tool that can help you break-through to your best prospects. They are fast, they are inexpensive, and when used properly, they are extremely effective!
Here are some simple tips to make postcards work for you.
* Target the right audience. The world's best offer will produce zero results when directed to the wrong recipient. Understand who your best customers are. Understand what they have in common. Then use this profile to identify your best prospects. Zairmail provides an online tool for creating mailing lists based on demographic profiles.
* Get right to the point. Have a simple and powerful offer. With just a glance, the recipient should be able tell if your offer is worth considering. Proposals that cut straight to the chase are always appreciated.
* Make contact simple. Be clear about the action you are requesting. Do you want your customer to visit your store, send a donation, navigate to your Web site, or pass the message along to a friend? Ask for the response you want.
* Make sure your contact information really stands out. Use colors, fonts, and placement to make sure that this information is impossible to overlook.
* Open many channels of communication. Include your telephone number, Fax number, email address, Web site URL (as appropriate). Different recipients often prefer different methods of making contact. Allow your customers to reach you in the way that feels most comfortable for them.
* Reach out to your customer. Follow-up calls to recipients can often double response rates. Make it memorable. Creative postcards get past gatekeepers and reach their mark. Great postcards also have staying power Â– sometimes they will end up on a refrigerator door or a bulletin board for years.
* Use a compelling headline that spells out the benefits you're offering.
* Make the design look like something other than an ad. Make your postcard interesting, scenic, funny, or touching. Give your customers a reason to spend more time considering it.
* Put some useful information on your postcard. For example, if you are a computer repair person you can include a list of 10 basic computer maintenance tips; if you're a landscaper you may want to tell recipients what they should have in their garden this time of year; if you're a banker you may want to consider some saving or investment advice. These types of postcards are saved.
* Funny can work well -- but make sure the joke isn't on you. There is no point in making recipients chuckle if they don't notice your message.
* Use every inch of space effectively. Distill your ideas to a core message and select a powerful image that supports it. Zairmail has pre-formatted templates online that can be used as a convenient starting point.
* Offer something of value for free (e.g. a helpful video, audiotape, or industry report). These types of offers get immediate attention. However, make sure that your giveaway is most valuable to those who are likely to be your customers.
* Postcards offer businesses, associations, and non-profits the ability to scoot around competitive giants and put points on the board. When used correctly postcards can be the most powerful tool in your marketing toolbox.
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