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Creating Effective Post Cards Is Easier Than You Think

It doesn't take a lot of time or money to produce a postcard campaign but when done right, they can be highly effective. By following the guidelines below, you can maximize the effectiveness of your next postcard campaign. It really is easier than you think.

1.  Make them simple.  They need to get a person's attention.  A mass of information is less effective.  As a rule, write like every word is costing you a thousand dollars.

2.  Make them timely.  If you have a time sensitve message, state it prominently.  Time sensitive mailers tend to generate greater responses.

3.  Print them on both sides.  The use of graphics on the front side with informative details on the other side is highly effective.  Don't feel like you have to fill in all of the space.  Again, keep it simple.

4.  Make them visually appealing.  Since there are no envelopes with postcards, the use of color and visual appeal go a long way toward incresing the effectiveness.  Graphics can be a powerful way of delivering your message.

 5.  Make them measurable.  By creating time sensitive messages, adding coupons or even telling people to present or mention the postcard, you're adding a degree of measurability.  This gives you a greater knowledge of what was effective and what was not.

 Below are four basic goals of every postcard design:

Attention. In creating the front of a postcard, try to have either the text or the graphic be the dominant feature. Decide which elements will grab the recipient's attention. The other element should compliment it. 

Interest. The text on the back should be geared to creating interest. Quick read facts and bulleted points are highly effective. Create awareness. 

Desire. Focus on benefits and not features. Don't go overboard on details. List benefits with which the recipient can associate. 

Action. Include a call to action. Something that prompts a reaction such as limited time offers, special incentives that are tied directly to the recipients prompt response.

Business Booming? Or Not!

Even if your business has not been affected by the economic slowdown, the following is good business in good times or bad. Looking for answers?

What to Do?

Here's some suggestions from Jerry Buchs, an independent consultant and author of "Strategies for an Economic Slowdown: 16 Proven Ways to Sell More of Your Products and Services While the Experts Decide If We're in a Recession"...a mouthful!

» Commit to marketing consistently and aggressively all the time - not just when you need the business. Planning an ongoing marketing campaign ensures a steady stream of new business leads.

» Give existing customers superior service. Now is an ideal time to go the extra mile with extra service or courtesy.

» Add value to existing products or services. You can keep existing customers and land new business by offering more value than the competition.

» Motivate inactive customers. A properly scripted telephone call to a list of past buyers should generate approximately one order for every 10 calls.

» Motivate old leads. Most businesses give up on sales leads too early. Repeated follow-ups with better offers should convert 10% of prospects to buyers.

» Repackage your products or services to accommodate smaller customers on reduced budgets. Be creative.

» Stay positive. The most important thing about a slow period is not to get depressed by it. If you are down, prospects can sense your desperation and fear, and it has a negative effect on your dealings with them.

The 5 habits of highly effective postcards

1. They're simple: A postcard has to catch your customer's eye when they're going through the mail. Simple headlines work best. Follow it with a simple call to action.

2. They're timely: If you want your customer to act now, give them a reason with date specific messages and action words that create urgency.

3. They're printed on both sides: It's your real estate, use it! Pose a question on the front, answer it on the back. Or use one side for your ad, the other for a more personal message. But keep it simple.

4. They're attractive: Postcard design has to work harder than other mail media. Add graphics, colors or photos. Use catchy statements and bold claims to get attention.

5. They're measurable: Use coupons or gift certificates to generate responses that you can measure. Keep track.

The above is published as part of the "Simple Formulas" Direct Mail
resource, available in its entirety at:

Improving Direct Mail Returns

Some businesses avoid direct mail because it is perceived as “risky.” Sure, running a direct mail promotion can be stressful because many variables that affect your return on investment (ROI) come into play. You have to have a great offer that is sent to the right people, packaged in such a way that the recipients will be compelled to open it. Get one of these variables wrong and you might just say goodbye to your profit.

However, when direct mail works, the ROI can be phenomenal. The Direct Marketing Association and Wharton Economic Forecasting Associates did some research and learned that U.S. advertisers spend $167 per person in direct mail marketing to earn $2,095 per person, which is an ROI of 13 to 1. A survey from the U.S. Postal Service showed that 85% of mail is read or scanned by recipients and 38% found direct mail pieces interesting. So even with the rise in Internet marketing, direct mail certainly isn’t dead.

In fact, if the people getting your direct mail are customers you already do business with, the news is even better. A study by the Rochester Institute of Technology Printing Industry Center indicated that 67% of respondents actually like getting mail from companies they know.(1)

To reap these benefits, you have to approach direct mail systematically. Just as in science class, you need to experiment. Try a promotion on a small scale, see what happens and then tweak it to improve response. Only after you are getting a profitable response should you expand your direct mail program.

Of course before you can begin all this experimentation, you need to put systems in place to track your response. The best response becomes your “control” package. Once you have reliable statistics on the control, experiment with changes to your lists, packaging and offers. Keep track of the lists you use that work well (and those that don’t). Test out different packaging or offers and track which approaches work best. Big direct mailers test everything right down to the punctuation on the lowliest envelope or insert. Remember that if you can measure something, you can improve it.

You can track response in many ways, depending on your budget and staff. It can be as simple as telling your employees to ask your customers where they heard about a promotion or using codes on response cards. Whenever you launch new promotions or contact customers, see if there’s a way to create a feedback loop. The more information you can obtain about who your customers are and what they really want, the more successful your direct mail efforts will be.

©2006, The Print Council, Washington, DC,

Marketing Tips to Help You Grow Your Business

 Westwind Graphics, LLC
PO Box 866,  Loveland, CO 80539

970-663-7492    800-423-7492