Direct mail continues to serve as a key component of marketing plans. It works best when complemented by online efforts to fill a need. Online marketing can be low-cost with low impact; print is higher cost with often higher impact. Online is passive, direct mail is active. Direct mail is proactive and tactile – resulting in action by the recipient. Better response rates will justify your investment and make direct mail worthwhile for customer acquisition and retention.
Postcards are an effective use of direct mail. They are cost effective, easy to produce and easily visible by the recipient. The design of postcards is almost as important as getting a good mailing list. Just like developing a good list, there are definite rules you should follow when designing a postcard.
1: Have a clear, bold headline
Your postcard should contain one central message that is displayed with a bold, clear headline that is not cluttered with other text. This headline should immediately tell the recipient what you are selling.
2: Include a graphic that supports the message
“A picture is worth a thousand words” is important to remember in designing your direct mail piece. Try to show what your message is with a graphic. If you are selling swimming pools to home owners, show a picture of happy home owners frolicking in their gorgeous new pool.
3: Use a color that pops
Make sure your headline and other text stand out by using a color that contrasts from the background color. It should the be the first thing the reader sees. If not, change the colors and look at it again. Show the printed proof to several people and ask, “What do you see first”.
4: Use bullet points to communicate details
Long paragraphs of text (longer that 100 words) will lose the attention of your audience. Bullet points force you to get to the point and highlight the important benefits of what you are selling.
5: Benefits, benefits, benefits
Forget the features of your product – customers buy because of the benefits. If you are selling low interest home mortgages, don’t assume the recipients know the benefit. Tell them their payments will be lower.
6: The offer
Always include an offer that represents a specific reason for you to be contacted. It should be time sensitive such as “…Expires end of the month…”; “Limited Supply”; or “Be the first of 25 people to receive this offer…”
7: Your company name and logo
Make your name and logo clear and visible but don’t overshadow or diminish your offer. Customers will react because of the product/offer/benefit. The call-to-action will tell them how to contact you.
Be specific and clear on what action they need to take to receive youroffer. “Call 800-555-1234 today”; or “Contact us online at www.yourwebsite.com.” Don’t have a complicated call to action. One step, one action.
9: Contact information
Provide your name, phone number, website, etc following your call-to-action. Whatever you ask them to do, provide them the means to do so.
10: Return address
A return address is important to receive postcards returned from the post office and help clean up your mailing list. It also tells recipients you are an established business and what your location is. This builds confidence if the recipient is not familiar with you.