Are You Still Selling Your Father’s Postcards, Print Strategist?

Postcards are more popular than ever, though many writers and designers run for cover when they hear the word. Some don’t like condensing the message into such a small space. Others dismiss them as low-end, low-value promotions for companies that can’t afford anything else.

But savvy print strategists know better.

Postcards can be performance powerhouses when done right. In fact, they sometimes do remarkably well even when done poorly. One of the reasons they continue to work is that postcards come “pre-opened.” There’s no decision to make. The offer is right in front of you. Postcards draw immediate attention and give your customers more than a fighting chance to entice prospects even when the sender is unknown.

Perfect for today’s over-messaged marketplace.

Understanding Postcard Basics.

Although our intent is to encourage you to take the form to its highest level, there are four postcard basics that your customers need to get right no matter what technology you integrate into their campaigns:

  1. Attention-demanding Headline. They only get a few seconds to gain attention, so headlines must be big and benefit oriented.
  2. Involving Visual. Draw in the recipient by making the visual and headline work as a team. Visuals should be as large and involving as possible. Showing a product or service in action is always an effective recommendation.
  3. Persuasive Copy. Maintain interest with strong, feature- and benefit-oriented copy. Since the postcard is likely the first in a multi-step approach, copy should entice and qualify.
  4. Call to Action. Be sure your customers are telling recipients exactly what action to take and to assume nothing. They should direct the person to “Call toll free today for a free sample and information kit,” or whatever is the appropriate action for the program. Multiple, user-friendly options tend to work best.

Adding Some Technology Juice.

Separate your clients’ postcards from the competition by taking advantage of the technology you offer (or should be offering):

  • Encourage Data Mining. From variable data digital printing to inkjet imaging, print technology provides opportunities to personalize and customize postcard mailings. There’s a strong likelihood that your customers have plenty of existing data to elevate the performance of their postcards. Encourage them to start simply, if necessary, and then help them work their way up. But do bring data into the picture. Every personalization step they take will deliver better results. Keep in mind that there’s also worthwhile demographic information to append from outside sources while they’re building their internal database. Offer to provide data services through an outside partner or, if you have one, your in-house team.
  • Personalize. Get your clients past the “name thing” quickly. It’s not that using someone’s name isn’t worthwhile—it is—but today’s variable technologies allow marketers to do so much more with photos, graphics and copy if they know anything at all about their target. You can help them create postcards that are variable in every respect with digital presses or do something as simple as offline-inkjet imaging a store location map while you’re doing the addressing. You can also help them create postcards with personalized URLs (pURLs) that connect recipients to a personal landing page where they typically receive an incentive for their effort. Advise your customers to provide offers at the personal landing page that go beyond the original promise, such as an opt-in newsletter or club membership. Besides the personalization effect, the big benefit of pURLs is that they provide a reliable method for tracking postcard recipients who went online as a result of the promotion, whether or not they took advantage of the offer.
  • Involve. Postcards can now be more involving than ever. Consider QR Codes, the two-dimensional barcodes that enable smartphone users equipped with the correct reader software to scan the code. This causes the phone’s browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL. A real estate company, for example, could offer a property on the postcard and the QR code might take the recipient to a video tour of the home. But don’t dismiss involvement devices such as scratch-offs, repositionable notes and other proven techniques that can boost the effectiveness of postcards.

The bottom line is that postcards not only work, but also are evolving tools that can achieve virtually any level of marketing sophistication your customer requires. They provide a great opportunity for Marketing Service Providers to take customers beyond commodity postcards and into more sophisticated solutions.

While you’re at it, why not demonstrate your capabilities through your own postcard campaign?

By Larry Bauer

Want Expert Advice?

Bauer Associates helps printers of all sizes develop and execute effective marketing strategies. For more information, email Print Strategist Larry Bauer

You can connect with Larry Bauer on LinkedIn. Or follow him on Twitter. Or join Print Strategist on LinkedIn.

Explore posts in the same categories: Direct Marketing, Marketing

Tags:

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

One Comment on “Are You Still Selling Your Father’s Postcards, Print Strategist?”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: