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Why Your Last Postcard Mailing Failed

Your postcard mailing failed. Now you’re depressed, and you’re somewhat miffed, because you read that postcard marketing is hugely successful for all sorts of local businesses. Businesses like yours. So what went wrong? Did you misread all that data, or is there some other reason your postcard mailing failed?

Hint: it’s not the data.

You saved money by doing it yourself.

The whole thing. You started saving money by designing the postcards on your office computer using Publisher or something similar. We’re betting it looked pretty primitive. Then you saved even more by printing your postcards on your office copier. And you cut them apart with scissors. They weren’t quite straight, but – hey! – they weren’t bad considering you had to bribe your teenager to do the job. (Consider that an expense, by the way.)

You made your assistant address the postcards and take them to the Post Office on her lunch hour. They got mad at her because she filled out the paperwork incorrectly, but she’s pretty cute so they relented and accepted your mailing. She’s looking for another job, by the way.

This is all so wrong. Your postcard mailing failed because . . .

You didn’t study the elements of a successful postcard mailing.

Postcards have amazing appeal, and they can help you achieve amazing results, but you can’t just wing it and expect great results. Like any form of marketing, you have to think through what you’re trying to achieve and create something entirely focused on that. You have to know that postcards that deliver WOW impact have:

  • A bold headline that grabs attention and instantly makes your key point. “Hi, I’m a local dentist” doesn’t cut it. “Free X-rays for new patients” or “50% off whitening” grab attention.
  • Relevant, impactful images. That woman in your stock photo is certainly a looker, but what does she have to do with your carpet cleaning business?
  • An irresistible special offer. Your postcard didn’t include a special offer? No wonder you didn’t get much response. You have to give people a solid reason to pick up the phone or visit your store or restaurant.
  • An obvious call to action. You forgot to include your address and phone number, didn’t you? How were people supposed to follow up?
  • Quality. You can’t expect people to be impressed by a crummy postcard. You have to demonstrate professionalism and reliability in every respect. That means you need postcards that are custom-designed by a postcard expert and printed with professional equipment on high-quality stock.

You mailed to the wrong people.

The Post Office said you could get this ultra-cheap rate if you sent your postcards to everyone. That’s easier for them because there’s no sorting involved. But you failed to remember that your business doesn’t sell to everyone. Your lawn service sells to homeowners, not apartment residents. Your dental implant specialty practice sells to older adults with a certain income, not 20-somethings.

It may have been cheap, but you still wasted the money, because you sent your postcard mailing to people who didn’t care. Of course they didn’t respond.

Now, here’s the thing. Some businesses do have a very broad audience – restaurants, for instance – so mailing to everyone makes perfect sense. But if that’s not you, targeted mailing lists are the way to go. You can choose any number of criteria, from demographics like age, gender and income to more in-depth details like homeowners with pools or households with children. Success depends on mailing to your most likely prospects, not just anyone.

You didn’t ask for help.

What were you thinking? You wouldn’t dream of doing your own business tax returns, you get help from a professional. And you can do that with your postcard mailing, too. When you get expert assistance from an experienced, full-service direct mail company, you’ll be saying, “My postcard mailing is a winner!

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