Postcard Marketing: Inexpensive Way to Market Your Business
Postcard marketing has been around since Day 1. But is it really worth it to use this marketing tool in the age of e-cards and email? You bet! Postcards, quite frankly, are "new," smart, flexible, cheap, clever and, most of all, effective!
Let’s backtrack for a moment from postcard marketing. We have always been amazed when we walked into an automobile dealership to see car salespeople, when they were not with customers, sitting at their desks studying their fingernails. We are amazed because one of the greatest salespeople of all times—Joe Girard—made his mark selling cars. Legend has it that Joe could sell six cars a day, every day. How did he do it? He must have had some really slick sales presentation or perhaps he sold cars at cost or perhaps he was just plain lucky, you know, some people are just plain lucky.
When it comes to Joe Girard, however, his secret was not price or luck. His secret was the humble postcard that he raised to truly a great level. Read his great book on selling "How to Sell Anything to Anybody." Joe developed his postcard marketing system during his first couple of years of selling cars. He had a designer create 12 cards for him, one per month. What did Joe’s cards say? Some great selling line, no doubt? Not at all. He sent out his January card that basically said "I like You," "I wish you a Happy New Year," and "Joe Girard." February was more of the same: "I like you," and "Happy Valentines Day." March: "I like you," and "Happy Saint Patrick’s Day." You get the picture don't you? Nothing all that complex. Joe kept in front of his customers every month and, of course, Joe's customers knew that he liked them. He sent out 16,000 postcards a month. By the time he left selling and went into book writing and sales motivation speaking, you had to have an appointment with Joe in order to buy a car from him. That’s the power of postcard marketing.
Back to those car salesmen mentioned earlier. Why wouldn’t they take postcard marketing, a proven system in their industry, and do likewise? Why wouldn't the car dealerships be falling over themselves to set up postcard marketing systems? Why wouldn't the car manufacturers want all of their dealers and all of their salesmen to do postcard marketing? We don't know; some things are just a mystery.
You know from Joe Girard that his postcard marketing system works and can work in many businesses, probably yours. If you want more proof, definitely buy some of Joe's books or attend his seminar.
Postcard Marketing Tips, Ideas & Examples
Here are some postcard marketing tips and ideas you can employee should you wish to pursue this marketing tool in your new business.
- Postcard shapes and sizes. You can send out anything from a traditional size postcard to a gatefold postcard that could double as an inexpensive and effective brochure for you. Small businesses that we have discussed postcard marketing with feel that they save considerable money by going on the internet and finding printing services that specialize in various business printing, such as postcards and letterhead. Check out the prices of local printers as well to determine if they can compete or will meet the internet price. The benefit of dealing with a local company is that turnaround is usually quicker and you keep your dollars in the local economy.
- An attractive postcard may get more face time with your recipient than a direct mail piece inside an envelope. Even when you are quickly going through the mail to separate out what you want to keep, an eye-catching postcard does, in effect, catch your eye and make an impression.
- Check postal rates on postcards and the services offered through the U.S. Postal Service. You can choose from an image gallery and a template gallery. The Postal Service promises that you can do individual messages to recipients, protect postcards with high quality finishes (which also makes them stand out in the prospect's mail), it iseasy to mail your entire address book and they offer you a chance to get your first postcard for free.
- Use postcard marketing to give your prospects just a little information on your company but enough so that they will want to know more about you.
- Use postcard marketing as a way for your prospects to get to know you. If you plan to send out a postcard every month, change the message, expand the theme and tell your prospect more about you.
- Solve your prospect's big problem on the back of your postcard. (Don't give him the solution; tell him you have the solution.)
- Give your prospect a checklist on the back of the postcard to figure out his or her own solution.
- Your prospect is probably going through a lot of drab mail sorting out the keepers (the bills) from the throw-aways. Make your postcard marketing system stand out in some way. Have a designer, like Joe Girard did, design 12 postcards for you a year. The cards can be themed and have a similar look to promote your brand. Make them simple but elegant. Don’t go off the deep-end. If you do, the postcard will get noticed but possibly not in a positive way.
- Postcard marketing design concepts: use color to attract the eye of your recipient. Don't do drab. You have little room on the front of the card, so you must motivate them on the front to turn the card over. Make sure you are explicit in what you are selling to get the prospect to turn the card over. On the back of the postcard, make sure you furnish the prospect with clear, concise points of your offer. Don’t blow your own horn on the back of a postcard, tell your prospect what you can do for him or her. Like we always say, when someone goes into a home center to buy a 3/4" drill, they don't want a 3/4" drill, they want a 3/4" hole! Give the prospect a number of ways to contact you—phone, fax, email, text messaging. Got a website? Make sure it is on there.
- You can use the humble postcard marketing system as a central and quite inexpensive part of your marketing campaign. With the postcard marketing system, you can make announcements of all sorts, you can introduce the prospect to a new product, invite the prospect to a special showing of the new product, invite them to a wine and cheese part, invite them to a seminar, offer them something special to solve their problem. Use postcards for birthday cards, holiday cards, graduation cards, thank you's.
- You can send out various size postcards from the traditional 4” x 6” card all the way up to 6” x 11”. The more standard, the less the cost. Postcards beat First Class letters by a lot!
- There is a huge array of mailing lists you can use and there are contractors out there who will handle the whole process for you. Get at least three competitive bids for such a project and make sure you are comparing apples with apples. Whose mailing list is it? If all three bidders are coming up with different mailing lists, ask each of them about the other two lists. This might be quite eye-opening to you because list quality, like everything else, varies dramatically and you get what you pay for. A cheap ineffective list is money down the drain. If, for example, we want to do a mailing to electrical contractors, we would go for the list of the top professional association in that business rather than some of the other lists that would be available. To our way of thinking, those belonging to that association are probably the best, most substantial firms in that business. Also ask printing, postage, design fees, time frame and much more. If your business is strictly local, you may be able to handle much of this yourself.
- Do not use black and white on your postcard, unless you are a black and white photographer announcing a show that you will have or a fashion designer designing in black and white. Use color and separate yourself out from the drab mail.
- Some reasons to send out postcards include thank you notes, coupons, special sales days, special night time sales events, parties, birthday specials, before holiday sales, just thinking of you. If you sit down and brainstorm, you can come up with 20 or 30 great opportunities closely tied to your business.
- Consistency is the key to getting noticed with postcard marketing. A manufacturing company uses postcards quite effectively for the big annual trade show. For three months before the show and three months after, the company sends out postcards, first with various teasers about what will be shown at the trade show, an invite to a wine an cheese party and then follow ups after the show with some of their products and specials.
- Don't try to "sell" a customer with a postcard. Postcards are meant to get a customer interested, to get him or her into your store, to call you or to be vaguely familiar with you when you call them.
Postcards are a great marketing tool and one you should consider carefully for your business.
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