The Ultimate Guide To Postcard Marketing – Getting Direct Mail Right

If you run a business, you’ll know that finding effective ways to advertise your product or service is tough. Potential and existing customers are constantly bombarded with emails, sales calls and social media advertising. To capture and hold their attention, you need to stand out from the crowd. Our friends over at The Mailing Company have given us some top tips when it comes to postcard marekting, read on!

Most small to medium enterprises rely on digital marketing to engage with new customers and build brand loyalty, but it’s so easy to delete an email or scroll by a Facebook post. Recent research, carried out by Royal Mail, has shown that people are beginning to miss the postman’s knock. Snail mail is viewed by many as an outdated method of communication, but mail in hard copy form is still taken more seriously and makes a customer feel more personally valued than reading an email or tweet.

In fact, the same research has also shown that direct mailings are one of the most effective forms of business generation for small to medium enterprises.

Surprising Statistics

Royal Mail discovered that 39% of people have a place in their home that’s reserved for displaying mail, anywhere from a kitchen noticeboard to the mantlepiece. This area can be seen as quality real-estate for direct mail advertising. It’s seen by both family members and visitors to the home and is often a family taking point as people as ‘what came in the post today?‘ The research also showed that the average household keeps an item of mail for 17 days, so that’s over two weeks visibility for free!

There are many ways to use physical mail to sell your product or service, raise awareness of your business, extend customer distribution or encourage take up of free trials and promotions. But perhaps the most creative and cost effective way to stand out from the myriad of leaflets, flyers and letters that plop on UK doormats each morning is to send a postcard.

Wish You Were Here…

Postcards act differently on our imaginations than letters, flyers and catalogues. They put us in a good mood, making us more likely to respond favourably to them and act more spontaneously and generously. Most of us hate junk mail. Many of us try to limit how much of it we receive, if any. But we all love receiving a ‘wish you were here’ from granny at the seaside. With a bit of clever design, your postcard marketing campaign could get the cash rolling in like a Blackpool arcade!

Top Five Pros Of Postcard Marketing:

  • A postcard doesn’t have to look like an advert. Personalise your sales message by designing your card like a message from an old friend – you can even add a postage stamp instead of franking your mailing.
  • Postcards are cheap to print and easy to design; one side for an eye-catching image, the other to promote your product or service.
  • Postcards remind us of family and friends. They’re nostalgic, making us smile and think about holidays and good times.
  • Postcards feel good in our hands; chunkier and more substantial than flyers. There’s also no need to tear open an envelope or throw any excess materials away.
  • Postcards deliver your message instantly. The second they arrive through a letterbox they’re working hard to promote your business.

Top Five Cons For Postcard Marketing:

  • Postcards offer only a small space to deliver your message, so keeping it simple and choosing your words carefully is vital.
  • Postcards aren’t private. If the information you want to convey is sensitive or confidential, you may want to consider a different method.
  • It may be more difficult to track the results of postcard marketing when compared to digital marketing. Adding a unique code for special offers may be one way to combat this.
  • With space so limited on a postcard, you may need to plan and implement a campaign rather than sending out a one-off design.
  • Get a postcard design wrong and your company will be memorable for all the wrong reasons!

Getting It Wrong

The biggest and most costly mistake made with postcard mailings is selecting the wrong target audience. You may have worked hard on a memorable and creative design, but if the audience it reaches is irrelevant to your product or service, you’ve wasted our time and money.

Choosing The Right Audience

The most effective list is one you’ve put together yourself, consisting of customers who’ve made a general enquiry or purchased from you before. But it’s also possible to buy mailing lists online which will pull together your target audience, giving your mailing a good chance of success.

There are numerous online list brokers that can sell you a mailing list in one of two formats.

  • A response list consists of people that have made a purchase or enquiry in a certain area or who have given their permission to be contacted about offers relevant to their preferences. If they’re on a response list, they’re likely to have some interest in what you’re selling, but they may know nothing about your company so are unlikely to feel any brand loyalty.

    2) A compiled list is made up of people who are selected due to meeting certain criteria. Having given your broker a list of characteristics (age, sex, location, income level etc.) they come up with a mailing list of only those people, within a certain geographical area.

Go With Who You Know

Warm contacts, people who already know you and your business and have some level of trust in what you’re selling, will always prompt the best response. But for small businesses, this may only result in a mailing with a very limited reach.

As postcard mailings are so cost-effective, it may be possible to test several different ways of selecting recipients and to test several different designs. Response statistics are hugely positive, with 50% of recipients visiting a website, 37% visiting a store, 33% making a phone call and 7% following a company on social media (according to Royal Mail.)

The next time you’re planning a marketing campaign for your business, why not give postcard design a try. You may be surprised at the results…