If asked what the perfect marketing tool is for a given product or service, I would almost always answer “direct-mail postcards.” Despite digital marketing advances, when you list the benefits of postcard marketing it's easy to see why postcards might just be perfect marketing tools:
• Postcards deliver a highly targeted offer to a highly targeted customer base
• Postcards are cheap to design and print
• Postcards engage customers in a personal, tangible way – they arrive at customers' homes, and customers can pick them up, hold them, and feel them
• The average direct-mail response rate is 4.4 percent, compared to just .12 percent for email
Understanding that direct-mail postcards are powerful marketing tools is one thing; running a successful postcard marketing campaign is another. You can't just send any postcard out there and wait for throngs of customers. Rather, you have to employ a proven strategy designed to maximize your return on investment. Here's your cheat sheet for direct-mail postcard marketing:
Develop a time-limited, valuable offer: Your offer should have excellent value for your customers and still leave enough room for ample profit. Carefully consider how you can package an offer customers will want to take advantage of right away. Then, add a time limit to motivate immediate response. The 40-40-20 rule of direct-mail marketing states that 40 percent of your success rate is dependent on the perceived value of your offer.
Get a highly targeted mailing list: Do you know your “best customer profile” or the demographic characteristics shared by your top customers? If not, define your best customer profile and then purchase or rent a mailing list composed only of those individuals who match that profile. In other words, send your postcards only to those who are likely buyers. If you have an in-house list of past buyers, that’s even better. The 40-40-20 rule of direct-mail marketing contends that another 40 percent of your success is based directly on the quality of your mailing list. Get your offer and list right, and you're off to a great start.
Design and copy: The remaining 20 percent of your success is dependent on everything else – design, copy, timing, etc. – but it's still a significant number. You can bolster your response rate by designing a postcard that commands attention and by drafting sales copy that creates desire and motivates action. A big, bold headline that reveals your special offer, bullet points that reveal benefits and create desire, and a persuasive call to action that reminds customers of your offer and its expiry date can be powerful. Always make sure customers know exactly what they need to do next to take advantage of your special offer.
Tracking mechanism: Your postcards should include some kind of tracking mechanism, whether it's a custom URL, perforated coupon, or coupon code, so you can track response rate and, ultimately, sales.
The three T's: Test, track, and tweak. If you want to maximize your ROI you should test different variations of your postcards on small portions of your list to determine which performs best. Learn which postcards outperform the rest and make tweaks as needed. You should develop a “control” postcard that has a predictable response rate and then continually test other postcards against it to see if you can beat your average.
Repetition: Finally, repetition is critical to all marketing channels; when you send several postcards each year, customers will get to know and trust your brand. They'll also be more likely to respond. If you make direct-mail postcard marketing a staple of your overall marketing strategy, your response rate will grow with time and repetition.
Use this cheat sheet to fine-tune your direct-mail postcard marketing campaigns, and you'll be able maximize your response, increase your return on investment and, ultimately, earn greater profits.