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November 2, 2016

Create Better Postcards: 5 Easy Tips

When it comes to direct mail, marketers not only want to send out postcards that encourage action, but they also want a process that reduces headaches. A successful direct mail strategy requires you to do more than just print out postcards and slap on some stamps. Today, we’re sharing our best postcard building tips, so that you can send better postcards that do their job. Keep in mind that your recipients are often buried in spam, both via email and direct mail.

Here’s how to send perfect postcards.

1. Keep it simple. You might be tempted to cram everything into a postcard, but your audience is sifting through a large stack of mail. Simple messaging, as well as a straightforward design, is going to catch their eye. Take a look at this postcard from Spring. It offers recipients 20% off, which encourages them to act, but keeps it simple. It's easy for a recipient to understand this message, which also increases the odds of conversion.

Highlights of Spring’s postcard:

  • Simple, uncluttered design stands out in a pile of mail
  • The value proposition (take 20% off) is loud and clear in largest text
  • Easy to understand copy makes postcard accessible to any recipient

Takeaways:

  • Keep your design super-simple
  • Test your offers regularly to determine your optimal value proposition

2. Send relevant offers. Your audiences don’t have time to read through messages that aren’t tailored to their specific needs. Instead of sending a generic message, show your recipients that your company cares. Give them a reason to pay attention. Take a look at the following postcard from Meineke, an auto shop that specialized in oil changes and mufflers, which speaks directly to a recipient and his needs.

Notice how Meineke mentions Thomas by name, refers to his specific vehicle, and then gives a relevant offer. The postcard will feel like a personal offer to Thomas-- and that’s because it is.

When creating your own tailored offer, try to include:

  • First names
  • Relevant services (based on information you already have)
  • Custom information (such as make of vehicle, neighborhood, address)

3. Make sure your messaging matches your audience. Make sure that your look, feel, and communicated information are on point with what your target audience wants to read. Demographic factors will influence visual elements, as well as copy. If you’re looking for an in-depth guide to personalization for direct mail, check out this guide here.

Take a look at this example from Foxtrot, which uses direct mail to promote it's service to a millennial audience. Foxtrot uses an image that would appeal to a millennial audience (a bunch of young people enjoying an outdoor party).

4. Use the right technology. Managing a direct mail campaign seems straightforward. After all, you’re just sending out some postcards. But if you want to run successful campaigns, and get better at running them, then you need technology that can back you up.

With the right technology, your direct mail strategy can be as easy to manage as your email campaigns. You can run A/B tests on postcards, just like Amazon Fresh does with the example promotion, below.

The key is to use an API that automates processes such as design, segmentation, form field completion,and A/B testing. No more manual processes or spreadsheets. You should also couple this technology with a high quality list to ensure your outreach will be successful.

5. A clear and concise call to action. Your audience is sifting through a lot of mail. What do you want them to do when they receive your postcard? Do you simply want them to remember you next time they make a purchase, or are you trying to drive them to complete an action soon? When creating a perfect postcard, you need to make sure your call to action (CTA) is clear. Make sure to have a clear set of instructions, and remember that your audience doesn’t know your products or services like you do.

Take a look at how Instacart, a grocery delivery service, creates a clear CTA. The CTA is put in a box at the bottom of the postcard, and the eye naturally falls on it.

Some more ideas:

  • Encourage recipients to search for you online or in an App store
  • Make sure that your CTA is clear and obvious (like it is in Instacart’s postcard)
  • Create an incentive with a promotional code
  • Create a sense of urgency, reminding recipients that promotions will expire if they’re not used

It’s all about the process you build

Sending postcards is a great way to encourage people to get to know your business better. It’s a great way to share what your business does. While online marketing still dominates, marketers who send out postcards are getting results.

In a perfect world, you would have infinite time to test different postcard options rather than iterating on the fly. But you don’t. You need to focus on building (and growing) your lists, optimizing your conversions, and reaching the right audiences with the right messaging.

Behind the scenes of a successful postcard campaign is a growth engine. Using an API, you can take the grunt work out of launching a triggered direct mail promotion. Since you can build easily testable processes, reaching your target audiences becomes a matter of <em>when</em> rather than <em>if</em>.

It all starts with having the right technology in place. For instance, you can integrate your direct mail campaign with your CRM. You can also run A/B tests to trial different CTAs. You can make physical mail your most efficient and highest-yield marketing investment.

Do you regularly send postcard campaigns? Are you looking to make improvements? Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Lob team if you have any questions.

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