Postcard Marketing Secrets: How to Market Effectively with Postcards

English: "The Landing," Ipswich, MA;...

English: “The Landing,” Ipswich, MA; from a c. 1912 postcard. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’ve got 400 emails in your inbox, and you think if you see another one you may tear your hair out.

You’re a bit tired of email marketing and you think your customers are too.

You want to add a personal touch, something that your potential customers can hold in their hands, that’s addressed directly to them.

Postcard marketing is a great solution to this.  But how do you use them?

Find the right people

As with any marketing, consider what your audience wants, and offer something that will help them (not you) solve a problem or feel happier about something.

Someone who is technically challenged and desperately needs your help setting up a blog. Or, a company that wants to get on Google+ and has no time (but plenty of money) to figure out how to use it.

Mail your card to people or businesses who tightly and closely fit your ideal. Don’t try to reach everybody; try to reach your ideal client.

Tackle the copy

The beauty of a postcard is that you don’t have to click on it, or open it. It’s immediately visible. Write the copy first (then decide on colors, size, and images, more on that further down).

A postcard is pretty small. So make every word count. Write an irresistible headline that gets them to stop and look. Put the headline on both sides – you never know which side they’ll see first. Keep your offer short. Lots of words will be hard to read in a small space. Keep it to something simple (like a free consultation).

Create desire

Know what their problems are, what they need, and how to appeal to them. Will it be humor? In-depth studies? Lots of technical specs? (Incidentally, don’t lean on these too heavily though, people buy based on emotions.

However you do it, you need to do it quickly. Whether it’s a postcard, or an ad, or even a landing page, you have to get attention right away, before that card goes in the trash or their hands move to their mice and click somewhere else.

Solve their problem

Are you solving a problem that’s been driving them nuts? Will your marketing help them believe you can fix it? Are the results credible? Something that looks too good can actually drive people away!

Make it worthwhile

Will it be worth it for them? Will they save more time, money, or effort than your solution costs?

I recently (stupidly) struggled for hours trying to get WordPress to do something. I finally had the bright idea of calling someone with better skills. He did it in an hour or so for a reasonable price.

Was it worth it? Yes! I sat back, he worked. I got what I wanted, and sent him some money. The reward (from my point of view) was much greater than the cost.

Ask for an action

Now that you’ve got the right people, offered them something they want, and convinced them that it’s worth every penny, you’ve got to call for them to act. Make it absolutely clear what they should do, and how they should do it.

Do they call? Enter a URL? Email you?

“Call XXX-XXX-XXXX for your free Surround Sound installation guide.”

Replies should be simple. A phone number or an easy-to-remember (and type) website or email address. The easier it is to respond the better.

Design the card

There’s no single perfect design (or copy, or call to action), but there are some ways that you can make your postcard more likely to get noticed.  First, make sure to include an eye-catching photo, preferably one with people in it.  People love looking at other people.  Another trick is to use a larger card (like 6 x 9).  They will cost a bit more to print and mail, but the size will help them stand out from the rest of the mail.

Full color postcards used to be expensive, but not any more. Use all those colors for a full-color photo. The text on the back of the card can be plain black (it’s easier to read).

Refine and test

Do it once, see how well it works, then do it again.

What Today’s Marketers Can Learn From Victorians

Victorian, 1885

It’s a simple thing really.  It’s not even hard to do. And, we can still use this old-fashioned personalized marketing technique today.

In Victorian times, if you wanted to call on someone nearby you walked, took a carriage, or sent a servant (if you had one).

If the person lived far away, you had to rely on the mail, which could take weeks, even months.

Letters and cards were rare then, so they were treasured, and kept for years.  We can still read them, hundreds of years later.


Is faster always better?

Now, we have email, text messages, social networks and lots of other ways to contact nearly anyone – instantly.  Communication is fast, and largely disposable.  We can delete emails, edit posts, plus, like, and forget about it.

But sometimes, the fastest way isn’t the best way.

A few days ago, I got a belated holiday card from a friend.  I’d been about to toss all the cards, but kept them for a few days so I could enjoy them all.

Yesterday, my friend emailed asking if I’d gotten the card, and saying she was thinking of going entirely electronic next year.

Reach out and touch someone

It’s certainly faster (and cheaper) to send cards electronically, but they’re not as much fun. It’s marketing, sure, but it’s not really personalized marketing, especially if you’re sending the same message to hundreds or thousands of people.

When I get an e-card, I look at it, smile, and forget about it.  The physical cards get propped up on a shelf  where I can look at them, and smile throughout the entire holiday season. They make a much better impression than the electronic cards do.

A company that unexpectedly sends stickers, or a handwritten note, or a small gift will seem much more approachable and more “human.”

Have you tried this?  Or has anyone sent you something you didn’t expect?  An extra gift in your order?  Or a handwritten note?  What was it?

How Postcards Can Help Your Email Marketing

What’s a postcard got to do with email anyway? You can’t send those things through the internet!

Postcards and email marketing may seem to have very little in common, but it turns out imitating a postcard can be a successful way to run an email campaign. Actual postcards can also be a great way to follow-up on an email campaign or website visit, but more on that later in the post.

Postcard-style emails get more clicks

If you’re not sure what that means, a postcard email looks like a postcard.  It’s landscape (meaning wider than it’s tall), and doesn’t have very much text.  Just your logo and address, a headline (or a salutation), a few lines of writing, and a signature.

Bacon photo by cyclonebill (Bacon) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Bacon photo by cyclone bill via Wikimedia Commons cc 2.0 sa

A newsletter style email looks more like a newspaper (portrait, or longer than it is wide), like a portrait of a person.

newsletter style email

It’s a lot more text-heavy, and it’s generally longer, and has fewer graphics.  Think The New York Times, but in pixels instead of print.

The postcard style is more effective in certain situations than the newsletter style.  The important thing is to tailor your text and design to your audience and their needs.

If they want a list of “top five backpacks for hiking” and a quick list is all they need to make a decision to buy one, then a postcard format is ideal.

If your sale (or offer) is something more complex, such as a design service, then you’ll need more time and space to explain the benefits.

According to Marketing Sherpa, one non-profit used the postcard technique for their year-end fundraising campaign. They sent a series of emails that looked like postcards, with a headline, a photo, and a few short sentences.  Then one link, leading to a donation page. It boosted their response by 50%

One-two punch: paper postcards and email marketing

Or, you can even use actual postcards.  Make it part of a two-step campaign.  First, mail a paper postcard to drive potential new users or existing users to your site for a special offer, a free analysis, or a report.  Then, ask them to enter their email addresses on your site, in order to get that offer. Once they’ve signed up, follow up electronically.

This is a also good way to build your email list (make sure you use double opt-in (signup plus confirmation). SInce many good rented lists don’t include email addresses, sending a  paper postcard can help you reach prospects you might otherwise miss.  And, since postcards are low cost, it won’t blow a big hole in your marketing budget.

A third (and brand new) option comes from PebblePost. They’re using using information from website visits to send a customized follow-up direct mail piece highlighting exactly the items that web visitors were looking at.

It’s currently only working for web visits, but they say it can be adapted for use with email too. It’s less intrusive than retargeting and following people around the web with your ads, but far more targeted and relevant than a generic mailing would be.


Is Paper Obsolete in a Digital Age?

Is paper old-fashioned?  Are we stuck using analog thinking in a digital world?  I usually agree with Seth, but I’m not so sure today.

This antique "letter-box" style U.S....

Image via Wikipedia

He said,

“The simple thank you note, for example, is a long tradition based on the technology of couriers and then the postal service. Of course it arrives three days later, because that’s how long it takes. At first, the email thank you note seems too impersonal, too easy, too digital. Then, we begin to appreciate the speed and it become[s] ubiquitous and then expected.”

I’ve received two notes in the mail recently – from people I’ve never met.  Both thanked me for helping them. They were thanking me for my “virtual” gifts (this blog and being a friiiend on triiibes), but I felt that I was the one who had received the presents.

I think in a digital age, paper is, dare I say, remarkable.  I have both notes on my desk where I can see them. I’d never print out an email note and keep it – and if I did, it would look and feel like every other piece of paper on my desk.

What if you sent your clients a thank you note (in the mail) occasionally?  Or a postcard for no particular reason?  Would that stand out from an email?

What do you think?

Are You Making the Right Connections?

A connect-the-dots image in the shape of User:...

Image via Wikipedia

I got a postcard in the mail the other day.  At first, I was puzzled.  I hardly get postcards any more.  Nobody has mentioned a vacation. Then I turned it over.  It was from one of my readers (thanks Tom Allebach).

He sent me a postcard telling me how much my blog inspired him.  It made my day.

I only know Tom slightly, but he took the time to reach out and send a physical, tangible card, rather than an email.

It was delightful (and memorable). In fact, I am going to save it.

Make a tangible connection

We get so caught up in tweeting, snapchatting,  and facebooking, that we forget that having something you can hold in your hands can make a much stronger connection.

I talk about marketing a lot, but really good marketing doesn’t try to sell at all.  It tries to make connections. And that’s exactly what Tom did.

Try postcard marketing

Go on, send your clients a postcard. Make a human connection.  You don’t have to try to sell something. In fact, it’s better if you don’t even attempt it. Just say hi and tell them you appreciate them.  Send one to a blogger you admire.  Or a podcaster you like to listen to.  Bet they’ll notice that more than an email or a tweet.  They get lots and lots of those.

They may even keep the postcard. Nobody prints out emails or Facebook posts and pins them to their walls.

In fact, I bought a card yesterday which I’m going to send to someone I know online, but have never met.  Shhh, don’t tell.