The Idea Center - Blog

Swipe to the left

How to Write a Creative Brief for Your Next Direct Mail Postcard Campaign

January 12, 2015

How to Write a Creative Brief for Direct Mail Postcard Campaign

Have you ever received work from a graphic designer that didn’t live up to what you had in mind? When you receive a creative that isn’t what you expected, the problem is often a mismatch between your expectations and your creative brief (or lack thereof).

A well-prepared creative brief is a roadmap for your graphic designer – an in-depth list of what to include in your direct mail postcard design. From your designer’s perspective, starting a project without a brief is like driving to a new destination without a map. 

This mismatch between expectations and communication can lead to designs that don’t match up with your vision. The end result may be a less effective campaign than the one you had visualized, and often a design that doesn’t match your business.

In this guide, we’ll share four techniques that you can use to write a creative brief for your next graphic design project, whether you’re creating a brochure for your business or launching a small business postcard marketing campaign.

Augmented Reality vs. QR Codes for Direct Mail Campaigns

January 6, 2015

Augmented reality vs QR codes

Have you heard of augmented reality? It’s the engaging and shareable technology behind the marketing success of Starbucks’ 2011 Christmas coffee cups, Topshop virtual dressing rooms, and American Apparel’s color-changing mobile app.

Augmented reality has been used in print marketing, billboards and even in direct mail campaigns. Its use of mobile technology to bridge the gap between online and offline marketing has earned it many comparisons to QR codes.

QR codes, of course, are the two-dimensional square barcodes you’ve probably seen on billboards, in catalogs and print ads. Both QR codes and augmented reality play a powerful role in 21st century direct mail marketing.

Despite this, their roles are very different. In this guide, we’ll look at the differences between QR codes and augmented reality technology to help you decide which will be the winner for your next small business postcard marketing campaign.

How to Generate Social Media Followers Using Direct Mail

December 10, 2014

How to Increase Social Media Followers

From Fortune 500 companies to mobile poutine trucks, a huge variety of businesses have used Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to generate buzz, strengthen their brands and increase their sales.

The value of a successful Facebook Page or Twitter following can be immense, both for big brands and local businesses. The task of finding those social media followers, on the other hand, can be immensely challenging for even the smartest marketers.

With Facebook’s bid-for-likes advertising option delivering mixed results and Page likes that aren’t exactly ideal, marketers are exploring new ways to generate social media followers that engage with their Page and buy their products.

One of the best ways to generate new Facebook followers is by using targeted direct mail. In this guide, we’ll share how you can use social media postcards to grow your business’s social media audience and expand your reach online.

10 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Direct Mail

December 5, 2014

Direct Mail Competitive Analysis

Are you new to direct mail? When you’re an absolute beginner – whether in sales, marketing or any other business function – working out which step to take is often a difficult process.

Do you send out a brochure or a catalog? Do you launch a postcard campaign? What should you write in your headline? Without any prior experience, it’s hard to know what you should (and more importantly, what you shouldn’t) be doing.

One of the best ways to find your footing and get started with direct marketing is by studying your competitors. Since some will have been in the market longer than you, they’ll possibly have honed in on the best techniques and strategies for direct mail success.

From the secrets of writing a good headline to the best colors to use, read on to learn the 10 most important things your competitors can teach you about direct mail.

20 Myths About Direct Mail

December 1, 2014

20 Direct Mail Myths

Do you think direct mail is just for “old-fashioned” companies? Or that mailing direct mail postcards is too expensive to be profitable? There’s no shortage of myths about direct mail, many of which couldn’t be more untrue.

From perceptions that direct mail “just doesn’t work” for young audiences to ideas that direct mail is impossible to customize, read on to discover the 20 biggest direct mail myths and why they’re 100% untrue.

Omnichannel Marketing: Not Just Another Buzzword

November 19, 2014

Omnichannel marketing

If you keep up to date with marketing news, you may have spotted mentions of “omnichannel marketing” in blogs and magazine. Omnichannel marketing is the result of a change from mass marketing to personalized communications. Omnichannel marketing is, in many ways, an evolution of integrated marketing, which saw businesses divide their marketing budget across multiple mediums to reach consumers online, offline, in print, via radio, social media, and using direct mail. While integrated marketing involved multiple marketing channels, omnichannel marketing is about a universal experience. From PC to tablet, retail store to phone, companies develop a unique experience across platforms and marketing channels. Confused? Not to worry. Like many other new marketing developments, there’s a great deal of discussion and debate about omnichannel marketing. There’s even a lack of consensus about how to spell it, much like the in early days of ecommerce. In this guide, we’ll explain what omnichannel marketing is, look at what is involved in an effective campaign, and explore the benefits of omnichannel marketing for your business.

The Most Common Customer Objections and How to Overcome Them

October 7, 2014

Overcome Customer Objections in Postcard Marketing

John E. Kennedy, a groundbreaking copywriter considered by many to be one of the forefathers of modern advertising, once described the art of advertising very simply: “Advertising is nothing more than salesmanship in print.” Kennedy believed that far too many advertisements tried to be intelligent instead of effective, and that a great piece of marketing didn’t necessarily need to be “charming or amusing or necessarily pleasing to the eye.” Today, many marketers focus almost entirely on making their ads as pleasing to the eye or amusing as possible. At the same time, they ignore many of the most valuable lessons learned by salespeople. One of these lessons is how to work out your target customer’s objections ahead of time and overcome them. In this blog post, we’ll share five objections your prospects likely have to your offer and the techniques you can use to neutralize them.

5 Ways to Use “Free” to Write Better Copy

September 30, 2014

Free offers in direct mail

“Free” is one of the most powerful words in marketing. When used well, it can make your direct marketing offer appeal to an audience that otherwise wouldn’t respond, massively improving your results.

When used poorly, however, free offers can be a disaster. From people that claim your free offer yet have no interest in your product or service to deceptive offers that alienate potential customers, using “free” poorly can hurt your campaign.

In this guide, we’ll cover five ways that you can use free samples, buy-one-get-one-free promotions and other free giveaways in your copy to attract interested people and avoid the potential downsides of a poorly designed free offer.

5 Tips to Write an Effective Call to Action

September 23, 2014

How to Write a Call to Action

Whether your goal is to encourage readers to visit your website or to drive to one of your stores, a well-written call to action is the key to getting readers of your direct mail postcards to respond to your offer.

Writing calls to action for direct mail is slightly different to writing calls to action for the web, but the key principles remain the same. In this guide, we’ll share five tips to help you write a call to action that motivates your target audience to respond.

5 Ways to Make Your Postcard Offer More Appealing

September 19, 2014

How to Create a Postcard Offer

No matter how eye-catching your headline or persuasive your copy, your direct mail campaign will likely fall short of achieving its goals without a compelling, interesting offer that your audience make your target audience respond.

Coming up with an enticing offer isn’t always easy. Even the world’s best direct marketers sometimes struggle to discover the perfect offer for their target audience until their second, third – or tenth – campaign. If you find yourself frustrated and staring at a blank piece of paper, start here first: 6 Ways to Deal with Writer's Block.

In this post, we’ll share five techniques that you can apply to make your offer – from a free sample of your latest product, to a lucrative discount on your service – a more appealing proposition for your target market.