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Should I Change Up My Business Postcards or Keep Sending The Same Ones?

October 16, 2013

How Often to Mail Business Postcards

Before you tackle this question there is one higher-level question you might want to consider. That is, are you sending your postcard marketing to the right mailing list or audience?

Finding the right audience or having the right list is cited as the single most important element when using direct response postcard mailers. According to direct mail gurus like Richard Benson (and many others), “lists are the most important ingredient to the success of any promotional mailer. The offer is the second ingredient, followed by the creative look and feel.” I tend to follow the direct marketing industry 60-30-10 success rule when doing our own postcard marketing. Sixty percent depends on the list and audience. Thirty percent depends on us making the right offer. Ten percent depends on our creative and copy. In other words, no matter how great your offer/promotion/copy are and how long you campaign is, if the list isn’t correct than your mailings will probably flop. Bottom line—pick your list with care.

Once you feel you have the list right, it is good to think repetition. Make your business postcards a series of touches. Stand-alone mailers (solo efforts) are fine, but sending repeated rounds of postcards is typically more effective. If you mail repeated rounds, your offer and brand have a better chance to get what we call in marketing “memory real estate” in your prospects. Repetition and regular exposure are required to create a lasting impression. We think direct mail postcards are a good medium to use because they have what we call a 100% open rate (meaning a postcard can quickly grab the attention of the reader because it is already opened). We also like them because it is an easy-to-use and concise format that delivers quick tidbits of information to an already overloaded world.

Repetition. Repetition. Repetition. Marketers like Steve Morris, CEO of Exit Realty, believe “it takes four mail repetitions to create a memorable recognition, but it takes a least nine mail repetitions to actually stimulate the memory. This is what you need for the reader to take action. If you think this way, you will upstage your competition every time.” What Steve and the other direct mail pundits mean is that direct mail and effective business postcard marketing success comes from the cumulative effect of repeat mailings.

It does make sense to change up elements of your postcards so that each mail round is different. Postcard marketing is more science than art. To know what is working will require you to test your message, offer and creative. Testing is an important element of direct response marketing because it helps you pinpoint what works and what doesn’t.

With testing in mind, if you think your business postcards are stale and need a quick buff and shine, keep these eight tips in mind.

  1. Always have one clear call to action (Don’t try to sell two things at once). 
    • A good call to action will motivate the reader to do something, to take action. 
    • Structure your offer to be so compelling it is difficult to refuse. 
  2. The more credible and believable the offer, the better it is. 
  3. The colors red and black tend to grab attention. 
  4. Free is a magic word and tends to work well. People love freebies. 
  5. Make it easy for the reader to contact you. 
  6. Past customer testimonials can improve your response rates. 
  7. Always tell the reader what to do next. 
  8. If you have a guarantee, present it. 

Find what works for your business and then stick with it. Strange as it seems, the majority of people still like to get mail and postcards from their local businesses. According to USPS Household Diary Study, “81% of households still read and scan some or all the advertising mail they receive. It is still the only way to touch the actual home owner or renter.”

As I like to say to my own staff, “given that our postcards have a 100% open rate, they give us a unique advantage and opportunity we won’t find anywhere else.”