Postcard printing remains one of the most powerful marketing strategies available to small businesses, yet many companies have yet to engage in postcard marketing. If you’ve been hesitant to try postcard marketing, perhaps for the postage investment, or if postcard marketing hasn’t worked for you in the past, I issue the following challenge: launch a highly-targeted postcard marketing campaign this month. The following will walk you through a small-scale campaign so you can not only learn how to market effectively with postcards, but how to turn your investment into predictable and measurable profits.
Step 1: Identify your best customers
First, make sure you know who your best customers are. I’m talking about your top one to three customers, those who buy more from you than anyone else. Now, determine their shared demographics: age, gender, income, employment status, geographic location, established purchasing habits, what they buy from you, how much they spend per purchase and anything else you know about them. Write your best customer demographics down.
Step 2: Develop your offer
Decide what type of deal your best customers are likely to respond to. How does your product or service relate to what’s going on right now? Consider upcoming holidays or local events, whether or not school is in session, local sporting events, even the weather.
Step 3: Write your postcard copy
Your copy should incorporate a headline that highlights your special offer, the features and benefits of your sweaters, a time limit and a compelling call to action. Make sure your customers know what to do to redeem your offer. I suggest having them bring your postcard in as a coupon, thus making it easy to track your response rate.
Step 4: Design your postcard
Your postcard design should make your copy even more compelling with large headlines, bulleted benefits and natural flow toward your call to action.
Step 5: Consider your mailing list
You should always maintain a mailing list of your customers – past and present. Anytime you consider a mailing campaign, these people should be including in your recipient list, in addition to potential customers. To reach potential customers – there is no “sure-fire” way to hit the perfect group of people … it is all very dependent on your product or service. A home services type of business (maid service, AC, landscaping) may benefit from targeting neighborhoods that fit certain criteria – age of home, value of home, or how long the current residents have lived there. If you have a retail location offering services most people need (such as auto insurance, hair stylist, pet care products), you may benefit from a “blanket” coverage of surrounding homes or businesses. Highly targeted mailing lists are available for purchase. The cost of these lists depend upon the specificity of your criteria and the number of records returned.
Step 6: Print and mail your postcards
Have your postcards printed on premium paper stock. This lends an impression of quality, which is how you want your products to be considered. You can address, stamp, and mail your postcards yourself; but you’ll save a lot of money, time and energy by having your printing company handle it for you. Some printing companies are full-service: you can have your postcards written, designed, printed, addressed and mailed under one roof. Typically, this will save time and money, and make your entire effort more cohesive.
Step 7: Measure your results
Make sure you track the number of customers who redeem your postcard for your special offer. Also measure the difference in sweater sales during the promotion; customers will tell their friends, who will also come in to buy. By measuring your results, you’ll not only know your return on investment, you’ll have a base to test against for future campaigns.
What if your campaign fails?
If your postcard marketing campaign fails, evaluate the process and identify where you went wrong. Talk to your best customers and ask if they received the promotion, and why they didn’t buy. You could have misjudged their perceived value of your offer. Or, your copy might have been lackluster. Whatever it is, identify what went wrong and correct it, then try again. After a few postcard marketing campaigns, you’ll master what works and you’ll have a profit-producing marketing strategy that will serve you well for decades to come.
Portions taken from an article by Brian Morris, 2/13/13