Think of a marketing tool for your small business that’s simple, timely, eye-catching, two sided, multifaceted, budget-friendly and effective. Have you conjured up an image of a postcard? In this high-tech age, direct mail marketing campaigns may seem to be a remnant from the last century, but in actuality they can be exactly the right choice for a startup operation or one looking for an inexpensive way to get sales moving.
Direct mail is still a big media channel with businesses of all sizes, according to a report from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) that reveals that over 84 billion pieces were sent by businesses in 2011. The Magna Global U.S. Media Forecast from the same year reports that businesses spent over $21 billion on direct mail, representing 12 percent of all advertising spending.
But what makes the lowly postcard a particularly great direct marketing choice for small businesses? For one thing, your target audience can read it easier and quicker than a message in an envelope — and they’re more likely to pay attention to a card in their hand than an unsolicited email in their inbox. Postcards are simple to create and print, thanks in part to a plethora of highly-competitive printers who can deliver thousands of cards for just pennies each within a couple of days.
With postcards, you can choose the size, color, font style, graphics and finish you want from the printer, or use a free design service, and you can incorporate incentives like coupons and gift certificates right on the card itself. Postcards deliver your message succinctly and in a timely fashion, and you can mail them directly into potential customers’ homes for just 23 cents each.
Before you launch your postcard marketing campaign, here are a few ways you can help ensure that it will pay off big time for your business:
- Be bold, not boring. Your message should be an attention grabber, timely and offer value to consumers. Otherwise they will relegate your card to the recycling bin.
- Don’t be afraid of color and design. You want to attract the attention of potential customers, so focus on creating a postcard that’s eye catching. Use strong graphics and fonts, and don’t stint on color.
- Keep your message simple. Don’t get too carried away with verbiage and make every word count. Postcards have always been the domain of the short message, so pack a punch with your headline and keep the rest of the copy on point.
- Provide contact information. A phone number, email address and street address should suffice so customers can follow up with inquiries.
- Use both sides of the card. The picture side is your billboard, so concentrate your boldest efforts there. Save your offer and contact info for the address side of the card.
- Go as high quality as you can afford. Think in terms of full color and high gloss, both of which are sure to capture the attention of your audience. Supersize the card itself for greater impact and more room to get your message across.
- Motivate customers to act now. Offer a bonus if they respond by a certain date.
Ready to get started? USPS can help with tips for a direct mail marketing campaign for your small business, including advice on budgeting and planning, finding your target audience, designing your postcard and other mailers, and working with a printer.