We all get postcards. Those glossy, colorful pieces of cardstock that fill our mailbox are still prevalent — despite digital marketing experts predicting the demise of direct mail. Yes, postcard marketing is still alive and kicking, but in this age of limited time and even more limited attention spans, creating a successful postcard marketing campaign is no easy task. It requires avoiding some common mistakes that trip up even savvy marketers.
Have you had less than stellar results from a recent postcard marketing blitz? Are you considering sending out a postcard mailer for the first time? If so, you’ll want to keep reading to avoid these common mistakes.
Mistake #1: Too General
Although the goal of a postcard marketing campaign is to increase awareness of your business and hopefully encourage recipients to take the next step toward becoming a customer, your postcard can’t be so general that it gets lost in the shuffle amongst flyers, circulars, and junk mail. The most effective postcards are those that have a short message addressing a reader’s need and a very clear call to action. Simply sending out a piece to say that you’re in business is never enough, and your response will be dismal at best.
Before you start creating any postcard, it’s wise to carefully consider your message. For example, a realtor is likely to get a better response from a postcard invite to an open house rather than a generic piece that features stock photos of houses and your agency details. A new retailer can bring in customers with a postcard with a discount offer. A dentist can highlight a specific treatment or offer a limited-time promotion. The possibilities are endless. The key is getting past the temptation to focus exclusively on your business. Remember, it should be about your customers and giving them something they want or need.
Mistake #2: Using Stock Photos
Don’t use that convenient, stock image to promote your business! Whether it’s the happy, generic family in front of their new house or the tantalizing, perfectly grilled steak. We all know a stock photo when we see one, and these send a message to your recipients that you haven’t taken the time to differentiate your business with an original photo. In this age of digital photography, getting good quality images for a postcard campaign is fast and easy.
Not handy with a camera? Consider a local professional who has the tools and techniques. They can use their lights, lenses, and editing tools to create images that you not only use for postcards, but also in other print pieces and online.
Mistake #3: No Call to Action
So what? That’s what your postcard recipients will think if you don’t encourage them to take the next step and provide them with the incentive to do so. The postcards that deliver the highest return on investment are those that clearly spell out the desired action you want the recipient to take. This should be more than simply providing your phone number and website address.
If you’re investing in the design, printing, and distribution of a postcard, you will want to make sure your call to action is clear. You’ll also want to make it as simple as possible. Don’t make potential customers jump through hoops to use a coupon or take advantage of a promotion. Start the relationship on a good foot by creating a seamless customer experience that will hopefully build loyalty and lead to repeat business.
Mistake #4: Using Your Personal Home Printer
Just say no to using cardstock from the office supply store to create postcards you’re mailing to current or potential customers! This is a surefire way to diminish the quality of your brand. You may be surprised how fast, easy, and affordable it is to create professional quality, full-color postcards using an online solution like Xpressdocs. It’s as simple as choosing the type of postcard you want to send, selecting a template, and uploading your content. You can even have them printed and mailed. You’ll not only save time, you can be proud of what you’re mailing.
Mistake #5: Lack of Immediacy
Postcards are ideal for carrying timely messages. Leaving your call to action open-ended will probably result in it being stuffed at the bottom of a pile of mail or worse – circular filed. Consider adding an attention-grabbing deadline or limited time offer to encourage the recipient to act sooner rather than later.
Mistake #6: Focusing on Only One Side of the Postcard
Every postcard has two sides. Make the most of this limited amount of space. The non-address side should have the most impact with big, bold photos, colors, and headline. The other side can expand upon your offer, contact information, and details.
Mistake #7: Limit Postcards to One Type of Promotion
Postcards are multi-purpose. While they’re perfect for promoting a special deal or offer, they can also be used for new product announcements, grand openings, and even as entry passes to a special event.
Mistake #8: Try Postcard Mailing Only Once
Like every type of marketing, there is usually fine-tuning required when it comes to postcard mailing. It can be tempting to give up after only one mailing if your results weren’t ideal. However, it can sometimes take a steady drip campaign of multiple postcards to build awareness. If you’re not sure if your message is resonating, try testing out multiple messages and designs with different target audiences to determine what works best. Track results by having different calls to action.
Mistake #9: Think of a Postcard as a Standalone Piece
Many novice marketers make the mistake of creating a postcard in a proverbial vacuum. It shouldn’t be a standalone piece, but rather one component in a larger digital and direct marketing program. Every marketing tool, whether it’s a single 3×5 postcard or a targeted mobile ad, should work together to build brand awareness and generate a positive customer response.
Mistake #10: Second Guessing the Effectiveness of Direct Mail
Did you know that direct mail has the highest success rate in new customer acquisition compared to other marketing channels? With so much push toward digital communication, many erroneously believe that direct mail is a relic from a former marketing age. The reality is direct mail is still very much alive and well. In fact, because so many businesses have turned exclusively to digital marketing, sending out postcards can be a great differentiator.
Now that you’re aware of common postcard marketing mistakes, it’s time to use this information to leverage the many benefits of this proven direct mail strategy. Consider promoting an upcoming event, a new real estate listing, or simply introduce yourself to the neighborhood with an eye-catching promotion. You may just find it to be one of the most reliable tools in your marketing arsenal that delivers the highest return on investment.