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.

How Big Businesses Market Themselves — And What Small Businesses Should Do Differently

English: Copy of a 1905 Studebaker Electric Ca...

1905 Studebaker Electric Car Ad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you watched TV lately? It’s almost Memorial Day weekend here in the US and the airwaves are full of ads from large businesses promoting big sales. The department stores, the appliance stores, and the car dealers are all running non-stop ads shouting at people to shop now!

It seems every big business is marketing themselves the same way: buy now! low low prices! Are you tempted to market your small business the same way?

The trouble with those ads is that it’s kind of hard to tell one from the other. The car ads are especially bad. They tend to fall into one of two categories.

Look at us!

The first big business ad approach is what I call “isn’t our car pretty” ads. They tend to feature the car perched on a mountain. Or, driving down a twisty road. They sometimes talk about mileage or horsepower, or “best-in-class” accolades. These are the big business branding ads.

We have experience!

The local dealer ads are a bit different. They star the owner, or sometimes, what appears to be his daughter (not a professional actor). They usually spend the entire ad talking about how long they’ve been in business, or their great service, and great prices. Sometimes, they shout (this is New York, after all).

I call these the “me! me! me!” ads.

Either way, they all tend to blend into each other. You really can’t tell the Honda dealer ad from the Lexus dealer ad or the Ford dealer ad. The only difference is the strength of the “New Yawk” accent. It would be easy to switch them around, without noticing a change.

Generic isn’t remarkable

Small business marketers often do this too. The marketing all looks pretty much the same. You could swap the logos on their web sites and not notice much of a difference between business A and business B. They fail the remarkability test.

Be memorable, not broken

Back to the car dealers for a moment. What if, instead of the same old, boring, interchangeable ads, they decided to do something a bit different. Something that would be memorable, rather than dull and “broken.”

And involve the viewers, rather than encouraging them to hit the mute button. I don’t know about you, but I can find the mute button without looking. And it’s the most worn-out button on the remote.

Smart small business marketers tell a story instead

All businesses need stories.  Stories and emotions are what really sell people, not shouting, or ‘rational’ arguments, or long lists of features.

There are so many stories associated with buying cars. The first car you ever bought. How excited you were. Maybe a little nervous too. It seemed like such a grown-up thing to do.

Imagine if the car dealer showed a college grad buying her first car.  Saving her money, going in to the dealer, choosing the car, and the joy on her face when she bought it.

Or, what about a couple buying a bigger car because they’re going to be parents (and need more space).  Put it that way, and the ad practically writes itself.

Much more interesting than yelling about years in business or big discounts if you buy a car before next Tuesday.

You can do this too

Take another look at your own marketing.  Is it generic? Or is it memorable? If it’s generic, do you have stories to tell?  They can be your own stories of success, or even better, your clients’ success stories.

You could share the story of how your product design skills turned someone’s dream of selling the ultimate tomato slicer into reality.

Or, how your ghostwriting helped an all-star athlete rocket to the top of the bestseller lists.

Or, even the “$75,000,000 hello” (a true story).

What stories can you tell?

Are You Marketing the Wrong Way?

A reverse-colors "Wrong Way" sign on...

A reverse-color “Wrong Way” sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People try to sell you a lot of things nowadays.  There are ads nearly everywhere you look.  Subways, billboards, TV, even elevators and bathrooms.

You see it whether you want to or not.  Most of it is unfocused and rather random.  Ads for diapers, followed by one for beer, and then one for grass seed.

After a while, you start to tune it all out.  Rather than paying attention, you fast-forward, walk faster, or head to the kitchen for a snack.

Indundating isn’t marketing

They don’t seem to know, or care, what you want, so they bombard you with messages, hoping something sticks. Often, they repeat the same tired ad over and over (as if repetition will make it more interesting).

None of it is remarkable.

None of it is memorable.

GM just pulled its advertising from Facebook.  Nobody was buying cars from their ads.  None of the ads started a conversation; they just shouted.

It’s all failed marketing.

Trying to sell your services that way (a barrage of me! me! me!) doesn’t work. Customers aren’t there for you, you’re there for them.

Stop the failed marketing

Skip the “me! me! me!” and talk about “you! you! you!” instead.  Tell a story about previous customers used your products or services.  Describe how your customers feel after they buy from you.  Talk about what they will get from it and how your previous customers (and other people like your prospects) felt after using your services.  

Rather than “I’m a video trainer, hire me”, try “become a video star” or “go viral on Youtube.”

Notice the focus on emotions, rather than hard, cold facts.  People don’t make decisions based on facts; they make them based on feelings. Then they use the facts to justify their emotional choice.

Sell the hole, not the drill

It’s an old, old saying in marketing that you sell the result, not the how you got it: the hole, not the drill.

Processes are hard.  Results are fun. Many people want to lose weight, for example, but few people want to diet or exercise.  Exercising and dieting aren’t a lot of fun. Looking and feeling better (after you’ve lost those extra pounds is.)  Ads for diets never sell the process, only the result. What are  you really selling? Fame?  Money? Pride?  Happiness? Figure that out and your marketing will succeed.


What Do You Really Sell? Why Your Marketing Should Be More Like Bacon

bacon rasher from pixabay

Most  business marketing doesn’t focus on what they’re really selling.

It’s full of vegetables (with not nearly enough bacon),

Most people like bacon, in fact they like it much better than say brussels sprouts.  Or kale.

The trouble is that many businesses sell the kale, which is good for you (instead of the bacon, which is delicious).

What is  your business really selling? Kale or bacon?

Here’s what I mean.

Say your business is growing and you need a part-time bookkeeper.  You hate working with numbers, and wrestling with them is taking hours out of your day. If you’re going to think about numbers, you’d much rather figure out how to buy that new Macbook you have your eye on.

So you talk to some people and get some recommendations for bookkeepers.  The first one highlights his twenty years of experience, several certifications, and a long list of services (bookkeeping, bill paying, checkbook reconciliation, etc.).

The business that’s really selling kale

At your first meeting, he looks at your books and advises you in the strongest terms to reduce your debt.  Sound advice, but it’s not  “fun” or appealing.  Rather like being told to eat kale.  You know it’s something you should do, but you’d much rather reach for the bacon.

The business that’s really selling bacon

The second one does something a bit different.  She listens carefully and finds out how much you hate number-crunching (and all the time it takes).  She also finds out how much you really want that laptop.

Rather than going on about her credentials, she promises to get you an extra two hours a day.  Except for a monthly report, you’ll never have to look at numbers again. Just send her all the paperwork, and she’ll handle it.  She says she’ll make the entire process easy and painless, so you can focus on your work, rather than your books.

And, instead of trying to “sell” you on debt reduction (vegetables), she shows you how to get the money to pay for that laptop (bacon!).

Which one do you think you’d hire?

What you really sell

Think about this for your own business. What is it you’re really selling?

A ghostwriter isn’t selling words; she’s really selling fame.

The authors of get rich (online or off) books aren’t selling books, they’re selling hope.  So is Weight Watchers.

Disney doesn’t sell theme parks, they sell happiness.

What people really buy

What people really want isn’t the service or the product. They really want the result.  What will they get by buying from you or hiring you?  Happiness?  Hope?  Money? Glory?

Rational arguments (like the first bookkeeper’s advice to save money and cut back), aren’t nearly as powerful as emotional ones (new toys!).

Think about your own business. Go look at your web site or your other marketing materials.  Are they selling vegetables? Or bacon?

A Ridiculously Effective Marketing Technique from Two Chinese Potato Players

Russet potato

Potato image via Wikapedia

Playing a potato? I’m sure you (and I) never thought of a potato as an instrument.

Baked as a side dish, yes. Turned into french fries, absolutely. A basis for potato salad, sure. You can even make a science project that uses a potato as a power source for a lamp.

But not an instrument.

Same thing for carrots and leeks.

Music? Or soup?

Put those things together and they don’t really sound terribly musical. In fact, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t music, but soup.

It can be done though.

Nan Weidong and Nan Weiping, two brothers in China, have become known for just that. They drill holes in the vegetables, and tune them with an old electronics tuner.

The result: music.

Think different

Sure it sounds a bit odd, but it works.  In fact, they’ve  become very popular performers, and and earn up to $8,000 per show.

Being a musician, that’s ordinary. Playing the potato; that’s different.

They’ve found a way to clearly and absolutely differentiate themselves from every other musician on the planet. Who else plays the potato? Nobody.

Find your edge

Some call it an edge, others a “game-jumper”, still others a USP (unique selling proposition). Whatever you call it, it’s something that makes you stand out. and makes you different enough that people will talk about it.

If you have no musical talent (or vegetable carving skills), there are plenty of other ways to do this.

You could make something complicated really simple (like Gary Vaynerchuk did with wine – he talks about it like a layman, not like a wine snob). Or, you could do something slowly, or by hand, that most do very quickly or by machine.

Be worth talking about, and your fame will spread.  It might even spread all the way to China.