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Digital marketing insights, ideas, and tips
for business and non-profits

Postcards Plus Online Marketing—Really!

Postcards—yes, postcards—can play a significant role in generating leads or prompting purchase. In today’s digital marketing world, they can help drive home your online strategy. And, since many advertisers have abandoned them, your postcard will stand out in a stack of mail.

Hi, I’m Perry Alexander, and today, let’s shed some light on the unexpected roll that postcards can take to leverage your digital marketing.

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When you target a postcard promotion as a follow-up reinforcement to a digital campaign, it can boost your conversions—to grow your list or provoke physical visits or actual purchases. With short-run digital printing, or even variable data printing, you can keep quantities and costs in check as you test and refine your strategy. And, if you’re a non-profit running a fundraising campaign, don’t rule out the power of follow-up, reminder postcards to your core givers—right at peak giving season.

The Latest Wrinkle in Postcard Marketing

I’ll get to a few, general postcard best practices in a moment, but first, let’s take a look at an intriguing new use case for postcards. You see, one of the biggest email platforms, Mailchimp, has rolled out a program that lets you choose postcard recipients, the same way you slice and dice your email recipient list. For instance, you can send a postcard only to people who have inquired, or who have recently purchased, or who have abandoned your online shopping cart. That pinpoint capability keeps waste—and mailing costs—to a minimum.

Two capabilities of the Mailchimp postcard program stand out. First is their “Address Finder,” which can find a missing postal address, based on an email address. It won’t find a hundred percent, but it’s still worth looking into. Second is their ability to send to “lookalike” audiences. That is, people not yet on your own list, but who share a similar set of behaviors or criteria to those in your existing client base.

Mailchimp will send postcards for between seventy-five cents and a dollar a piece, including postage, depending on quantities. Send these just to an audience of very warm prospects, and  you could see an uptick in conversions, or sales. Mailchimp can send one time to your target audience. Or, a recurring campaign mails a series of cards to the same group over a span of time—days, weeks, or even months. And, as I mentioned earlier, they can also send only to people who have abandoned their shopping cart. In this case, your online store has to be connected to Mailchimp. But, if your website is hosted by Shopify, Magento, Squarespace, WordPress, and several others, you’re in!

By the way, I have no relationship with Mailchimp, but I’ve been pleased using their email platform for my clients and my own email promotions.

Postcard Marketing Best Practices

Now, back to postcard general best practices. The key to any postcard campaign is honing in on the right message, optimal timing, and a targeted audience.

And, on the limited space on a postcard, your message and graphic design has to be simple and to the point. The strongest messages almost always solve a problem for the reader—and they don’t try to make a sales pitch. You can’t afford to get into the weeds about your widget or service. Let your website or your salesperson take care of that. And, with the precious few seconds you have to get their attention with a postcard, stick to the basics of the problem you’ll solve, with short, tight language focused on enticing them to want more, by going to your website or your physical place of business.

Really focus on the headline on the front face of the card—that is the non-address side. If possible, refer to a concept or promotion the reader has already seen or heard of. Cut out every bit of non-essential fluff. Use power words and phrases like “how to,” “save,” “free,” “expert,” “personalized,” “guarantee,” “act now,” “first come, first served,” and so on.

And, include a call-to-action. That is, offer a reason for the reader to take action now. This could be a discount, a time-limited offer, something free with purchase, or limited quantities. Consider using an attention-grabbing, button-like graphic that might say “call now,” “buy now,” “order now,” “get your free (whatever you’re offering) now.”

Define your audience as narrowly as possible, and use language that’s specifically relevant to them. Rather than saying “new models have just arrived,” say instead: “As a previous customer, get your exclusive sneak peak today.”

More and more postcard printing shops offer variable data printing, which allows each individual card to include text, images, or graphics directed to or about that recipient—on both sides of the card. It could be their name in the headline or a reference to something they recently purchased. It’s all driven by what data you have about the members of your list. And, it doesn’t cost much more than traditional mass printing, particularly in smaller quantities.

Finally, capitalize on the potential of the back—or the address—side of the card. That’ll be the first thing your recipient sees, because the postcard will most land in your mailbox, address side up. Use the left half of that address side to tease or reinforce the message on the front face.

Bonus Caution

Oh, and one more bonus caution. Steer clear of sending postcards, leading up to an election—primary or general. You don’t want to be lost in the flood of campaign postcards.

So, if postcard marketing is something you might like to explore, I’ve produced countless such campaigns that reinforce clients’ online marketing goals. Check out my digital marketing company website and let’s talk about how we might work together to leverage your digital marketing with postcards.

Leave a comment below or even a quick question, and I’ll be sure to answer.

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