Buddy System

Postcard Power

By Leigh Schindler Powell

Good things come in small packages, and the diminutive postcard is no exception. Not only are they easy and inexpensive to produce, postcards do what bigger marketing missives can't: They get through to even the toughest direct-mail customers.

Once relegated to appointment reminders and changes of address, these smart marketing tools are taking on jobs far larger than their size. Sales messages, invitations, coupons and correspondence adorn postcards as small as

4 inches by 6 inches. These days, every small business with a computer and laser printer can create winning postcards for just pennies apiece.

To integrate postcards into your marketing mix, all you need are mailing lists of customers and prospects. Design your offer with customers in mind. Here's how:

  • Headline: Think of your postcard as a miniature billboard--fit the main idea into one short, attention-grabbing sentence, such as "Five shortcuts to greener grass."
  • Body copy: Keep it short and simple--only one idea per postcard. If it can't be read in the time it takes to walk back from the mailbox, it's too wordy.
  • Call to action: Emphasize the urgency: "Sale ends Tuesday."
  • Response: Make it easy for customers to reach you. Include your phone and fax numbersand street and e-mail addresses.
  • Design: Remember, it's a tiny billboard--use uncluttered, easy-to-read, clever graphics.
  • Postage: Bulk mail is the least expensive, but it requires presorting by ZIP code and mailing a minimum of 200 postcards at a time. Regular first-class rates apply to smaller quantities.

Need help? Check out the book How to Market With Postcards, by Markus Allen (Mailshop USA, $15, 800-618-6050, ext. 9122), or the software program MyProfessionalMarketingMaterials from MySoftware Co. ($79.95, 800-325-3508).

Contact Sources

Complete Consulting, 1817 Trout Run Rd., P.O. Box 511, Decorah, IA 52101, (319) 387-0702

Guaranteed Resumes, (612) 825-7262, http://www.gresumes.com

Stuart Communications Group, 37440 Hills Tech Dr., Farmington Hills, MI 48331, (248) 489-5595

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