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DIRECT MAIL TIP : BOOST RESPONSE RATES

Postcard Marketing Tips --
Boost Response Rates with a Stronger Message
by Brandon Cornett

Postcards can be an effective and affordable part of your marketing program. So don't let a lack of writing experience stop you from using them. This article will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to write effective messages for your marketing postcards.

Before You Begin Writing

Before you write a single word of your message, you need to figure out your audience and your goal. These are critical steps, because later you'll be using words to bridge the gap between your audience and your goal.

Start with your audience. Make a list of the things that might be important to them. Then narrow it down to what you think is the most important element. Use that item for your headline and all throughout your copy.

Professional Experience Not Required

Persuasive writing is more about human understanding than writing skill. The most successful copywriters didn't get to where they are by being literary wizards. They got there by understanding what motivates people, and being able to write to those emotions.

The most effective marketing copy uses clear, simple language and avoids complexity altogether. Complex language just gets in the way of emotion.

Pick up any Sharper Image catalog and see what I mean. These catalogs sell extremely well for three reasons. They have neat products. They have great photos of those products. And they have straightforward descriptions that aim for the reader's emotions.

One Idea Per Postcard

You won't have a lot of space on your postcard, so don't spread your message too thin. One fully developed topic is a hundred times better than five half-developed topics.

By focusing on one product (or service, or idea, or topic), you can develop it in a way that is more likely to generate a response. You could mention the primary benefits, give a testimonial or two, show some photos, make a strong offer and provide a call to action.

But you can't do all that while covering several topics. So save the multi-topic approach for your brochures and website.

People request brochures, but they don't request postcards. For that reason, they give postcards a lot less attention. A quick glance may be all you get. So keep your postcard focused and to the point — one idea per postcard.

Use Strong, Clear Headlines

Headlines can make or break a marketing postcard, depending on how they're used. Remember, you want to capture your prospects' attention based on their initial glance. A glance is all you get, so don't waste it. Tell them right away what you're offering and what it can do for them.

Sell the Next Step

Before you can begin writing your postcard message, you need to figure out the next step in your sales process. If your goal is to convince the reader that your product or service is superior to all others in its class, your postcard will probably come up short. That's a lot to ask of an 8" x 5" piece of card stock.

People will learn about the quality of your product or service by experiencing it firsthand. They won't learn it (or believe it) from a single postcard.

There is a sales path to be followed, and the marketing postcard is the first (or sometimes second) step along that path. That's the job it should perform — moving the reader forward in the sales process. For example:

  • If you're selling software, the postcard could point to a free 30-day trial available on a web page somewhere.
  • If you're selling your real estate services, the postcard could mention a free report about area schools.
  • If you're in the financial services industry, you could use postcards to invite people to a money-saving seminar.

Write Naturally

When creating your postcard marketing message, try to write in a natural tone that reflects the way you speak. That doesn't mean your message should be full of slang, but that it should sound like one person talking to another (not like a professor talking to his class).

Test, Rewrite, and Test Again

 Eugene Schwartz, the author of Breakthrough Advertising, said it best: "There are no answers in direct mail except test answers." Following the best practices of postcard marketing will put you on a base level of success.

But to rise above that level, you have to test every aspect of your postcards — and that includes the message.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brandon Cornett is the editor of PostcardSmart.com, the Internet’s largest website dedicated entirely to direct mail marketing with postcards. For more expert articles on postcard marketing, visit http://www.PostcardSmart.com

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