National Clothesline
Powerful advertising with postcards
Direct mail postcard marketing is one of the very best ways to drive return on investment and increase business profitability.
Full-color postcards are affordable and earn high response rates when used correctly. The 40/40/20 rule of direct-mail postcard marketing states that 40 percent of your success is in your mailing list, 40 percent is in your offer and the remaining 20 is everything else.
Make sure you have compiled a highly targeted mailing list and developed a postcard with an offer that meets the needs of your targeted audience.
The remaining 20 percent is what will make the difference between you and your competition. While it is a good thing to emulate the efforts of a successful business, you should also work to differentiate yourself through benefits only you can offer.
Among all the methods businesses use to generate new customers, direct mail marketing continues to be one of the best.
The United States Postal Service estimates that in 98 percent of all U.S. households, the mail is brought into the home on the same day it is delivered. That means your potential new customers see your name and product within days of sending out the promotional material.
But simply getting a postcard to the people won’t necessarily produce the best results. You need the right strategies to make the best use of direct mail marketing.
Here are eight proven tips for creating powerful postcards to market your business and which I apply to every drycleaning client’s advertising.
1. Make a great offer. As with all direct mail marketing, your postcard should deliver a valuable offer to your customers. Discounts, coupons, promotional codes, free products and free services all drive response.
Think like your customers — what would you respond to? Don’t be just like your competitors. Don’t just say you’re the best and offer high quality. The fact is, every cleaner is offering that.
2. Go big. Oversized postcards, such as the 6-inch by 11-inch full-color postcards, make a huge impact in the mailbox and almost always get a first look. They cost slightly more than traditional postcards, but the increased return on investment is almost always worth the small investment.
3. Be bold. Your postcard design and copy should be compelling and offer-focused. Address the needs of your target audience and demonstrate how you are the only solution. Hire a talented graphic designer to create a bright, bold postcard that attracts immediate attention, and employ the talents of a copywriter to craft a headline and message that drives response. Talk about why you are the best and why prospects should use drycleaning in the first place.
4. Send quality. Don’t settle for cheap postcards which cheapen your company’s image. Instead, invest in cost-efficient high-quality postcards printed full-color on 16-point gloss or 13-point recycled matte paper stock to demonstrate that you’re in the business of delivering quality products and services.
Customers trust a company that can afford quality marketing materials, so skip the desktop design and go through a proven drycleaning advertising agency.
5. Print on both sides. Most mail is delivered with the address side up. Most postcards have nothing printed on this side, which is why many direct-mail postcards end up in the garbage.
Printing a short but compelling message on the address side of your postcards more than doubles the chance that customers will turn it over to learn about your offer, which in turn fuels response and your return on investment. If you can, design your postcard so that the offer is on the address side.
6. Know your customers. Industry assessments estimate a business gets one response for every 100 recipients. Yet according to the Direct Marketing Association, the long-term return is much greater than those numbers indicate.
In fact, they claim that the financial return is more than 1,000 percent when factoring in the lifetime revenue earned from a loyal customer. So the key here is to locate customers with the greatest potential to be loyal in the long run.
Good mailing list hygiene is probably the single most important direct mail strategy of all.
With tens of thousands of lists available for purchase, business owners need to be selective. Mailing lists should be chosen based on criteria that best suit the type of customer being sought. So make sure you choose a reputable agency that understands the prospects and customers of the drycleaning industry.
7. Focus on the ‘direct’ idea. It’s obvious that the word “direct” in “direct mail marketing” is a reference to getting information directly into the hands of potential customers. But successful marketers employ a strategy that takes “direct” to a new level. They know that today’s consumer has a much shorter attention span, and is less likely to read extensively than previous generations. It is imperative that literature be concise and direct in presenting a company’s products and services.
One effective method is through the use of bulleted lists and graphics. Business owners need customers to understand what they offer as quickly and thoroughly as possible. A short, concise presentation of the facts will go much farther than glitzy promises of product potential.
8. A call to action. As any successful marketing firm knows, a call to action is vital in creating new customers. You want the recipient to clearly see a reason to act now rather than set the material aside for later. That’s why, as cheap as they might appear, coupons are still highly effective. They present the opportunity for potential customers to immediately choose to try your business.
We understand drycleaners not wanting to look like “discounters,” however, if you give your prospects no reason to keep your marketing piece they simply won’t.
Surveys and free offers are another way to set the hook. Everyone likes “free,” and the opportunity to provide personal feedback about products and services is a motivation to a good number of people.
The idea with the call to action is to engage customers in communicating with a business. The more communication taking place, the more likely a customer will become a long-term
Neil Schroeder has been in the marketing industry for the past 15 years. He is president and creative director of the Golomb Group, developing direct response, social media, in-house promotions and web site campaigns for drycleaners throughout the nation. He can be reached by phone at (800) 833-0560, by email at neils@golombgroup.com or on the web at www.golombgroup.com.