In this age of blogs, email newsletters, and social networking, many companies have moved away from sending printing marketing material. This could be a big mistake because as we become more and more inundated with electronic communication, the effectiveness of such communication decreases.

Postcard marketing is a good alternative to bombarding your contacts with email. It is also a great way to reach thousands of potential new customers without violating SPAM laws and best practices.

Postcard marketing essential entails three steps:

  1. making or renting a good mailing list,
  2. designing a postcard with an effective marketing message, and
  3. tracking results.

Making or Renting a Good Mailing List

The decision of whether to make rent or make your own mailing list depends on your budget, time frame, future mailing needs, and your market. If you want to target the dentists in your relatively small town, it is probably easiest to make your own list. When you make your own list, you own it and can use it over and over; most commercial mailing list providers only rent their list and charge more for multiple mailings. If at all possible, make your own list to avoid the cost of repeatedly renting a list.

Renting a list will save a lot of time, as you can literally have a huge postcard marketing campaign initiated in a matter of minutes. The cost per address is usually $.10 to $.20 per address. Add about $.10 for the mailing list company to process and mail the postcards for you. Postage is in addition to the mailing list and processing costs.

Designing a Post Card with an Effective Marketing Message

Many postcard designs tend to be over-written; that is, too much text. Keep the message simple and clear and try to avoid the pitfall of trying to go into depth about your products or services. Your goal is to compel the recipient to take the next step and call or visit your website. Think bullet lists and not paragraphs. A postcard is unlikely to make the sale; its goal is to get a large number of people to make contact with your company.

A “call to action” is essential. Give the reader a reason to contact you. Good calls to action include a limited time sale price or product giveaway. One way to add urgency to your call to action is to include a limited time offer or a limited availability offer. A good, compelling reason for the recipient to contact will raise your response rate dramatically.

Tracking Results

If you are going to do any extensive postcard marketing, tracking results will save money, time, and help refine your marketing messages.

One the most fundamental level, be sure to include a return address on your postcards so that you can prune your mailing list when items are undeliverable. Over time, you should try to get your non-delivery rate to about 5%. A typically commercial mailing list might have a 15%-20% non-delivery rate.

Ask new customers where they heard about you and keep track of how many have seen your postcard. This information is invaluable in determining what marketing messages are the most (and least) effective.

The keys to postcard marketing success include having a good mailing list, designing an effective postcard and tracking results. Just as with any other form of marketing, postcard marketing takes time and perseverance.