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Quarter 1, 2013


10 Ways to Boost Postcard Response Rates

Postcards are the most inexpensive form of direct-mail marketing, yielding high response rates when designed effectively. Unlike sales letter packages and even brochures, postcards are delivered at face-value and have the highest likelihood of grabbing attention before they hit your prospects' trash cans. The key to earning a high response rate with postcards is to grab attention fast, then compel your prospects to take the next step in the purchasing process.

The following are 10 ways to boost response rate with direct-mail postcard marketing:

Important seal 1. Use an outrageous photo on side A
Side A is your attention-grabbing side typically containing a headline or question with an evocative photo to compel prospects to take a closer look. Try picturing someone benefiting from your product or service in an obscure, funny or emotional setting to intensify the attention level. For instance, you could show someone using their cell phone camera to take a photo of a co-worker who has torn their pants while bending to pick up papers. The headline could read, "Capture all the rip-roaring moments forever."

Special Offer 2. Create desire on side B
Side A works to compel prospects to turn your postcard over, so side B should focus on the features and benefits, introduce or elaborate on your offer and present a call to action. This is where you make your pitch and persuade your prospects to take the next step.

Contact Us 3. Give personal contact information
In today's e-world, most postcards send prospects to online landing pages and websites to continue along the path to purchase. You could boost response, however, with a toll-free phone line to field responses or - even better - give them your direct number. This is a particularly useful method with real estate agents, insurance brokers and other professionals who often deal with clients in a one-on-one, face-to-face setting. Imagine a postcard with your photo and number one it: "Are you really covered? Call me today to find out." No matter what, make it easy for prospects to take the next step in the purchasing process by prominently displaying your phone number and website URL.

Coupon samples 4. Make it a coupon
If your offer includes a discount or free gift, ask your prospects to bring the postcard in with them to redeem it. Even better, include a short survey they must fill out to redeem the prize to help you collect demographic information - such as spending habits or whether or not they own a pet - that you don’t already have. Not only will you be able to track your results, you'll discover new emotions and lifestyle attributes you can tap into with subsequent direct-mail campaigns.

Save Big 5. Present your offer in big, bold letters
If your offer is truly great (and it should be if you want your prospects to respond) then make it known right away. Some effective postcards without photos simply emphasize the copy.

Invitation card 6. Send an invitation
The most effective direct-mail postcard mailers don’t attempt to sell prospects straight from the postcard. Rather, they compel your readers to take the next step in the purchasing process. Try designing and writing your postcard as if it were a formal, personal invitation. You could host an event or seminar that would interest your audience, or simply invite them to visit a website. In either case, the next step is where you'll make your sales pitch.

Question mark 7. Ask a question
A great way to get your prospects to turn from side A to side B is to ask a question on side A, then bury the answer toward the end of side B. Make it an evocative question that they’ll want to know the answer to, and then force them to read through your side B copy to get to the answer.

Comparison tag 8. Demonstrate performance and product differences
When comparing your product or service to the competition, try using an evaluation of some sort to emphasize that your stuff outperforms the competition. You could incorporate this into the overall theme of your postcard. A good graphic designer can suggest ways to do this.

Meet Me 9. Flip flop side A and B
Traditionally, side A is reserved for your photo and headline, while side B contains the pitch along with the stamp and address. A relatively new idea in direct-mail postcard marketing is to put your photo and headline on side B. The theory is that most postal carriers look at the address before delivering mail, and therefore place mail with side B facing up in the mailbox. This means your prospects will see your attention-grabbing side first.

Paper roll 10. Don’t skimp on the paper
When it comes to postcards, the paper they’re printed on is just as important as the design itself. If you use low-quality paper that is flimsy or worn, your prospects will equate that with your products and services. Make sure your paper is thick, and try using a gloss or matte finish for a credible, professional touch. This grade-A appearance of your paper can build trust and increase your response rate dramatically

Marketers have tried many variations of the aforementioned techniques to boost response throughout the years. Don’t forget that the foundation of your success is in your mailing list and in your offer. If you’ve got those things right, it’s time to incorporate these other elements with persuasive copy and sharp design to boost your direct-mail postcard marketing response rate.


Why Is a Strong Brand Important For Your Business

Ever wonder why some logos are memorable and others are not? The simple answer is: branding. Branding is about impression. Find out more about building your brand and a positive reputation through the use of a strong logo, successful, yet simple, advertising and quality customer service.

Many otherwise savvy business people take a far too narrow view of what a brand means to a company. Beyond just a memorable logo, good branding increases the value of a company, provides employees with direction and motivation, and makes acquiring new customers easier.

What is a Brand?

The short, unhelpful answer is: everything. To expand, it is the sum of people’s perception of a company’s customer service, reputation, advertising and logo.

There are companies that have excellent products and services that people avoid due to poor customer service. As acquiring a new customer is far more difficult than retaining an existing customer, customer service should be at the forefront of the concerns of any company with an eye on the future. In addition to remaining a financial asset, happy customers also serve as the most highly converting free advertising available. While a person may or may not buy based on an advertisement, their purchase is a near certainty when they receive a heartfelt testimonial from a trusted and respected friend.

Another large factor in the creation of a brand is the company's reputation. This reputation encompasses both the impressions of consumers and other businesses and is an ongoing concern. "What do you think about Nike?" Asking this question from the mid 80s to the early 90s would fill a person’s mind with images of Michael Jordan flying toward the hoop and that would affect the answer. Asking the same question from the late 90s to the early 2000s would bring to mind allegations of sweatshops and worker abuse also affecting the answer. This is why building the image of a company that is scrupulous in its operation, both legally and ethically, is crucial. Advertising is another component of the brand. Both the medium chosen and demographic targeted for advertisements builds a brand. Too narrow an advertising focus, and a company risks being "pigeon holed" and losing their ability to expand into new markets. Too broad a focus, and the company fails to create a definable impression of the company in the minds of would-be customers.

The last major component of a brand is the logo. Is there a person alive who doesn't instantly recognize the golden arches of McDonalds? How about the simple but powerful eagle of the USPS? As the "face" of a company, logo design is critical because that simple graphic will be on every piece of correspondence and advertising the company uses. Logo design is an art that enables the resulting logo to be simple enough to be memorable, but powerful enough to give the desired impression of the company.

Surprising Benefits That You May Not Have Thought of

How Does a Powerful Brand Help a Company?

Building a powerful brand increases a company's value, it provides direction and motivation for employees, and it enables customers to easily choose that company for a business relationship. Companies who publicly trade on a stock exchange are valued at many times the actual hard assets of the company. Much of this value is due to the branding of the company. A strong brand guarantees future business. Whether a company is in the position to borrow funds for expansion or rolling out to an IPO, being perceived as more valuable will make the process advantageous for the owner of the company. The greater a company's devotion to building its brand value, the better the financial return from its efforts.

For getting the most out of employees they need more than just work, they need something to work toward. Companies with a strong brand have established a direction that employees can follow without being told in minutia exactly how to do so. For example, knowing the company is devoted to build a happy client base through extremely responsive customer service inspires employees to make that happen. Having a strong brand is like turning the company logo into a flag that the rest of the company can rally around. The greatest companies got where they are by pointing their people in the same direction, working toward the same goals.

The Power of A Strong Brand to Generate New Business

Branding allows a company to get referral business. Would it be possible for you to tell a friend about the new shoes you love if you couldn’t remember the brand? A large reason ’brand’ is the word used for this concept is that the goal is an indelible impression. As the most profitable advertising source word-of-mouth referrals are only possible in a situation where the company has created an unbreakable link between the fine product or service and the company that provided it.

Branding also allows a company to pick up easy new business by standing out from the crowd. Imagine that a person needs to buy a baseball bat but has never actually held one. There are many, many manufacturers out there, but it is a near certainty that the person has heard of Louisville Slugger. While the person may go with a different bat based on individual needs, the advantage of being the first company to enter a person’s mind in a given industry is simply impossible to overstate.

The most profitable companies in the world all have a single thing in common. They have established themselves as a leader in their particular industry – they have built a strong brand.