There is no question that, in order to drive leads and make sales, your postcard copy has to be great. But “great” is relative, rather than absolute. Some of the following styles may be effective for a certain industry but not for others (Then again, sometimes you might want to throw your audience a curveball….).

    We hope it gives you some ideas of how to strengthen your own copy.

    1.) The Velvet Rope

    “Velvet rope” copy means positioning your product or service as being for the exclusive, like actual velvet rope outside a swanky nightclub holds back the “little people” while allowing VIPs to enter. Using this approach in your copy (when your postcard is sent to the correctly targeted audience) creates a feeling of inclusion. It got snob appeal. But it can also work on a less qualified public, as it plays on their desire to be in that group.

    2.) The Best

    If your company is indeed the best in your market or industry, then don’t be bashful. Tell your customers and prospects you’re the best…but back it up with proof: awards, statistics, testimonials—or all three, otherwise your marketing efforts are nothing but hype and will be duly disregarded.

    3.) Corner Office

    Getting a direct, down-to-earth communication from the owner or CEO of the company can make the recipient feel a little bit important and it makes the executive seem like a regular guy or girl. As long as it’s written in plain language (not “corporat-ese”), it can give the recipient a bit of that warm ‘n fuzzy feeling for the company.

    4.) Nothin’ Fancy

    Sometimes, just telling your customer or prospect the basics—what it is, what it does, the benefits, etc.—is enough to generate interest. Skip gimmicks. Skip flash. Nothin’ fancy copy means giving them enough information to be able to make an informed decision.

    5.) Case Study

    With case study copy, you set up a story about one of your customers. Describe their problem or challenge. Tell how they overcame it. Include some quotes from them. Obviously, you will position your product or service as having been the thing that solved their problem.

    6.) Two People Chatting

    This is another way of saying “conversational” copy. Write it as if your customer or prospect is a friend that you’re having a casual but somewhat intimate conversation with about whatever troubles them. Show them that you understand. In an easygoing way, come around to how your product/service solves it.

    7.) The Disclosure

    Telling your customer or prospect up-front what the potential negatives of your product or service is, before introducing the benefits, can actually get your customer’s or prospects’ trust because the honesty makes you transparent and authentic to them. They believe what you say about the downside and this produces continuing agreement when you tell them about the benefits.

    8.) Imagine That

    With this style of copy, you ask your customer or prospect to imagine themselves in a different situation or condition. It could be something better, such as greater wealth or health, or it could be something worse, such as imagining yourself facing the same hard circumstances as the less fortunate in society (as used by some non-profits).

    9.) Like a Poet

    Poetry is aesthetic. It’s beauty and people respond to it. This one isn’t for all businesses but those who do it well can get their message into the poetry, educate the customer or prospect and create an enhancing experience that is reflected in interest.

     

    If you want put some new copy log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei where you can design your next postcard with our custom templates or upload your own design to produce stylish, professional results.

    If you feel like you need some help figuring out which style of copy to use, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109. Our design and marketing pros will work it out and create great-looking, highly effective postcards (They can help you with the list and mailing, too.).

      Everywhere you look in public these days—on the street, in coffee shops, even at the stoplight—it seems that people have their eyes on their phones. Nowhere does this seem to be more true than for 19- to 34-year-olds—the millennials. The prevailing thought in marketing circles is that this phone fixation has rendered direct mail ineffective, unwanted, and untrusted by this group. Fact is, nothing could be further from the truth.

      They are not (entirely) smartphone-dependent.

      They may gazing at their phones a large percentage of the time but, marketing-wise, this does not appear to translate into action, as 50% of millennials said that they ignore digital advertising and have a greater trust in printed advertising. Supporting this preference for print is the fact that millennials make up a significant percentage (20 to 31%) of newspaper and magazine readers.

      They like to receive direct mail. 

      Millennials overwhelmingly like the mail. A report by the U.S. Postal Service (where all of the stats for this story came from) found that 97% of millennials said they like to receive mail. They are more likely than non-millennials to sort and scan their mail, more likely to read it and show it to others, and less likely to thrown mail away.

      They trust it.

      Based on the previous paragraph, this might be completely obvious but we mention it because it’s not merely that millennials trust direct mail; it’s that they trust information they receive in their mailbox far more than they trust digital media…or any other kind of traditional media. Statistically speaking, a full 90% deem direct mail a reliable source of information and deals.

      They respond to it.

      It would follow then that millennials also trust direct mail and…that is exactly what the U.S. Postal Service’s study (called “A Look at How Millennials Respond to Direct Mail,” if you want to Google it) found. Despite a general non-existence of direct mail campaigns targeted at millennials, just a few short years ago, more than 28 million of them made a purchase from a printed catalog—y’know…the kind that you get in the mail.

      It works.

      In short, despite what some people are saying—everything from “direct mail is dead” to “millennials don’t care about it,” direct mail works on millennials. A giant 84% of them check their mailboxes on a routine basic and 64% of them prefer to direct mail to email for finding useful information.

       

      We hope “everybody knows” that they can log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei to produce professional-looking postcards (using your own design or our customizable templates) and fully targeted mailing lists. Then mail them out…all with a few mouse clicks.

      We know how busy small business owners are (no generalization there), so you might prefer to call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and tell our design and marketing pros what you need. They create great-looking, high-response postcards all day long and help with list-building and mailing services too.

        Wow! Thank you to all our amazing contestants this past month!
        We had some terrific entries – and we thank you all so much for sharing your ProspectsPLUS! and Opportunity Knocks experiences! If your name wasn’t drawn – no worries! We’ll choose another winner in November!
        Congratulations!

        Our $150 winner is Gina Pearce from Decorating Den Interiors who shared:

        “Andy Kidgell and the whole group at Opportunity Knocks provide excellent service and have deep knowledge of our specific industry in addition to marketing. That is not a combination that most agencies offer. My first mailing already resulted in one lead and it just landed in mailboxes a couple of days ago. I have heard multiple comments about how professional the flyer is. It has definitely legitimized my brand new business. Thank you Opportunity Knocks!!”

        Thank you to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy! Simply share your ProspectsPLUS! experiences on our Google+ Page or Facebook Page and you’ll be automatically entered. We’ll give away $150 ProspectsPLUS! credit. Next drawing is the first week of November!

          We are going to assume that the majority of people reading this blog own and drive cars but are not auto mechanics. Even if you’ve never looked under the hood, you will probably appreciate the following fact.

          Here it is: When a car’s engine won’t start, the problem can only be due to a maximum of three things:

          (a) air

          (b) electricity

          (c) fuel

          Engines need all three of these things to start and operate. It won’t start if (a) something is preventing enough air from getting into the engine, (b) power is not reaching the starter or the spark plugs, or (c) fuel is not reaching the engine. (Did you remember to fill up?)

          Not a million possibilities; just three. Doesn’t that make cars seem a lot simpler?

          It’s the same thing with your marketing.

          There Is No “Fail”

          Perhaps you’ve tried some different marketing methods—email, postcards, a website—and were underwhelmed by the response rate. A common reaction to such results is to conclude that the method “doesn’t work” for you.

          Don’t jump to that conclusion. The “fail” has actually provided you with a starting point. It tells you what didn’t work. Now, to get it working—like the car that won’t start—there are only three things that you need to check:

          (a) data

          (b) offer

          (c) design

          Again, not a million possibilities; just three. Review your marketing piece for each of these three items, then change/adjust/improve just one of them, and try again. (This is how you test your marketing, by the way.)

          Let’s take a closer look at each one.

          Data

          “Data” refers to your mailing list. Ideally, you should have a clear picture of who actually buys your product or service. Isolating to the buyer persona, with demographic and psychographic data, is often the key to improving response. Or it may be a matter of wide vs. narrow: If you’ve mailed to a very specific audience, perhaps you should broaden it. Likewise, if you’ve mailed to too general an audience, perhaps you should narrow it. Testing your audience can produce some startling results. 

          Offer

          Let’s assume you know your audience well but your promotion is not producing sales. Chances are good that your offer is not “wowing” them. There are a few aspects of an offer that you can check and test:

          • headline
          • copy
          • call to action

          For instance, you review your copy and find that it doesn’t emphasize the benefit to the buyer well enough. Improve the copy and test it against the original copy. See if it produces an improved result. If it does, great; if not, still great because you’re still getting valuable feedback on what doesn’t work. Keep checking and testing aspects of your offer and you will hit on something that produces an increase in response.

          Here are some ways to produce irresistible offers. But remember to only test one aspect at a time. That’s how you figure out what works.

          Design

          Your copy is killer and is getting delivered to a 100% correct audience and it’s still falling flat. In this case, have a look at the images and layout of your postcard (or other marketing piece). An otherwise great piece of direct mail with an image that turns your audience off won’t produce the results you want. Here’s four tips for choosing perfect postcard marketing images.

           

          You can put yourself in the driver’s seat when you log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei where you can design your own postcards. Use our customer templates or upload an existing design to produce professional-looking results…all with a few mouse clicks.

          If you prefer to turn the job over to the experts, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and have our design and marketing pros create great-looking, high-response postcards. They won’t fail you.

            The success of your business—of any business—is the ability to give customers what they need or want.

            Continued success is the ability to continue to give customers what they need and want.

            That means you have to survey.

            Survey with Direct Mail

            Before we get into the indications of when you need to do a direct mail survey, let’s answer the question, “Why direct mail?”

            The answer is simple and well-documented: statistics prove it’s a far more effective way to communicate with customers than than email or other digital advertising methods:

            • 57% of people in a UK study said that direct mail created a more genuine relationship and made them feel more valued (than digital communications).
            • 60% of people in the same study said that direct mail created a more lasting impression.
            • A U.S. study found that direct mail generated a higher new customer rate—34% vs. 24% for email.
            • The Direct Marketing Association reports that direct mail averages a 3.4% response rate to existing customers, compared to 0.12% for email.

            This is backed up by scientific evidence: a 2015 study using brain imaging and eye tracking arrived at similar conclusions as the U.S. and UK studies.

            Now you know why to use direct mail. So let’s take a look at when.

            Signs You Need to Survey

            There are certain less-than-ideal circumstances that call for a survey. By being aware of them, you can move quickly to obtain the information from your customers to turn the situation around.

            And know this: a survey is not always a questionnaire. You can survey with a postcard, like this and your customers won’t even know they are being surveyed.

            Here are the four signs that you need to survey your customers:

            1. You have a lot of negative reviews. Sites like Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and others have given consumers a way to publicly celebrate or condemn a business. The solution is a customer satisfaction survey, which gives your customers an opportunity to communicate directly to you rather than resorting to a third party platform that can damage your reputation.
            1. Your sales figures are slumping. Your reviews may be great but down-sliding numbers is a more important datum to take note of. Survey your customers. Tell them about your product or service. Ask them if they know about it, why they would/wouldn’t buy it, if there is a particular objection to it or how they think it could be improved.
            1. You’re guessing or assuming what customers want. You either know or you don’t and your “know” has to be based on current, reliable data—not information from a few years back, gathered from a sketchy source. So don’t go off and launch another Ford Edsel. (Google it if you don’t know what we’re referring to.) Survey first.
            1. Your customers are going to your competitor. You can largely prevent this from happening if you send customer satisfaction surveys. That way, you will quickly know if there is something your customers want that they are not getting. And you can provide it before they go off looking for someone else to do the job. 

            The Wrap

            When things are not going well, don’t freak out. Don’t cave in. Don’t quit. Don’t make rash decisions. Instead, survey. Then look at what you customers are telling you and act on it.

            And do it with direct mail because it’s more appreciated and more effective than email.

             

            At www.prospectsplus.com/pei we regularly survey our customers, so we can provide the products and services they want, like a platform where you can design and mail postcards, right from your computer.

            For customers who tell us they don’t have time or design skills, we say to call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109. They design bright, effective postcards and mail them to prospects who want what you’re selling.

              We’ve noticed a disturbing trend over the last couple years. It’s the “Why your _____ sucks” trend. You see it in titles of supposedly helpful articles, blogs and videos: “Why your marketing sucks,” “Why your ‘great idea’ actually sucks,” “Why your metabolism is slow and how to fix it,” and on and on. It was even in the title of the 2005 book Why Your Life Sucks.

              Maybe these things are actually helpful but the use of “sucks” is too much of a put-down for us. So, instead of implying that anyone here is a loser, we’re going to concentrate on what the successful postcard marketers are doing.

              1.) The postcards they send out don’t look like advertisements.

              It’s a marketing truism that people don’t like to be sold. When you send out a post card that looks like an advertisement, it can push people’s “sales aversion” button. That doesn’t stop some companies from sending out “salesy” postcards that look like ads. Some of them even work. But something that the pros do that can definitely improve your response rate is they design postcards to look like a note from a friend. You can go so far as to use casual “handwriting” fonts, graphic sticky notes and anything else that gives it a more friendly, less “ad” feel.

              2.) They “work with the Post Office” to deliver their pitch.

              The next time you get your mail, take note of how it comes out of the mailbox: address side up. This is the result of mail carriers sorting the mail. And because postcards have the address on the back, they come to you backside-up. For this reason, the pros start their pitch on the backside of the postcard. When you do this, you motivate your customer/prospect to turn the card over and read the rest.

              3.) They use only authentic testimonials.

              Pros always use testimonials from real customers. If you don’t have any yet, start asking your customers for them—and the more authentic, the better. They shouldn’t be long but should contain the actual results the customer achieved. In B2B, the ideal testimonial would be from someone that your prospects can look for and find online—either their company website or social media. In B2C, the customer’s real name or initials and their actual city and state are usually enough.

              4.) They give people an easy-to-remember URL.

              While, it’s likely that a prospect is going to go from their mailbox to their computer and look you up from the postcard you sent, it’s more likely that you will come to mind the next time they are online (and don’t have your postcard handy). The pros know this, so they always put a relevant and memorable URL on the card. Rather than directing people to www.yourcompanyname.com/promotions/get-a-great-deal.htm, create a new landing page like www.GreatDeal.com.

              5.) They try to open, rather than close.

              Marketing pros know better than to try and close a sale with a postcard. Rather, they use it open the sales cycle. You can do this by putting copy on your card that intrigues the prospect, develops their interest, and moves them to make the next move. For instance, your postcard could say “Buy two months of Service X, get the third free” (close) or “Find out how to get a month of Service X for free.”

              That’s five things that marketing pros do to get professional results. Try just one of them and see what it does for your results.

              Log on to www.prospectsplus.com/pei to produce professional-looking postcards (using your own design or our customizable templates) and fully targeted mailing lists. Then mail them out…all with a few mouse clicks.

              Or, if you want, you can call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and tell our design and marketing pros what you need. They create great-looking, high-response postcards all day long and help with list-building and mailing services too.

                There is a lot of information on the Internet for businesses looking to improve their marketing results. Sometimes it can make marketing seem like a deadly serious undertaking, best left to the experts.

                We’d like to put you a bit more at ease on the topic, so consider this: If you’re doing any kind of direct mail marketing, give yourself a pat on the back. Any kind is better than none at all.

                But there’s always room for improvement, right?

                Here we have seven little goofs that reduce the effectiveness of your postcard marketing. Be aware of them and you’ll never make the same goof again (and your results will improve):

                1.) Not Proofreading the Copy

                Did you know that a single error in your copy may cost you half of your sales? This is based on a report of a UK lingerie company whose sales doubled after they found and corrected a spelling error in their marketing copy. Typos, such misplaced or omitted apostrophes (writing “it’s” when it should be “its”) reduce your credibility and the prospects or customer’s trust. Solution: Hire a proofreader (it’s not expensive) or get someone who is sufficiently literate to proofread all marketing copy and ensure it is free of errors.

                2.) No Headline or a Bad Headline

                The headline is largely what grabs a person’s attention. If that communication element is missing or is too long and dispersed, expect poor response. Solution: Always have a headline that sums up your offer or its major benefit to your customer. And keep it as short as possible. “Smile with Your Mouth Open” is much better headline than “Cosmetic Dentistry That Enables You to Smile Un-Self-Consciously.”

                3.) Not Choosing Complementary Images

                A good headline with a correspondingly good image will do more than a good headline and a carelessly chosen image. Solution: Choose images that are bright, easy to comprehend, and support the message in your headline. For example, a postcard from an automotive repair shop might say “10% Off All Repairs in July.” An image of a smiling, satisfied-looking person looking out their driver’s window would be much more effective than a shot of the outside of the shop.

                4.) Not Targeting the Right Prospects

                A lawn care company mailing their postcards to apartment dwellers can expect to have quiet phones. Solution: Your own mailing list, of current and past customers, is the most reliable avenue to response. If you haven’t got a list yet, or want to build up your existing one with targeted prospects, you can do so easily with services like USPS’ Every Door Direct Mail or Nielsen PRIZM.

                5.) Not Keeping It Simple

                The function of good postcard is to grab your prospect’s attention and increase their interest—quickly. It isn’t a place to be clever or long-winded, explaining everything you can do. Solution: Present one offer. Use simple, direct language—short words and short sentences. Employ bullet points to make it a faster read. Tell them what to do next (call to action).

                6.) Not Giving Complete Contact Information

                Sounds ridiculous that a business would neglect to put all their contact info (including company name) on a postcard but these things get overlooked enough times that it’s worth mentioning. Solution: Include your telephone, email, website, fax, and return address, as well as the name(s) of anyone the prospect should ask for, if applicable.

                7.) Not Repeating the Message

                It would be great if you could go to gym just once, pump some iron and stay ripped for the rest of your life, right? But that’s not how it works for your body or for your marketing. Repetition is the absolute key to sales and more sales. Solution: Prepare to send out your postcards to your list regularly. Repetition makes your company real and legitimate to your prospects. It establishes credibility.

                Keeping an eye on all of these small details will result in better postcards that get better response.

                 

                Visit www.prospectsplus.com/pei for the most goof-proof postcard design experience. Use your own design or our customizable template for a totally professional look. Then mail it to a targeted list, right from your computer.

                Or you can call the experts at Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and tell them what you need. When it comes to designing and mailing highly targeted postcards for you, these guys are not goofing around.

                  Wow! Thank you to all our amazing contestants this past month!
                  We had some terrific entries – and we thank you all so much for sharing your ProspectsPLUS! and Opportunity Knocks experiences! If your name wasn’t drawn – no worries! We’ll choose another winner in October!
                  Congratulations!

                  Our $150 winner is Jack Wingate from All Choice Insurance who shared:

                  “I have worked with Andy & Jim for a number of years on some smaller projects. This year I decided to set up some larger campaigns. The whole team took time to find out what i wanted to accomplish and set helped set up a campaign to best suit my needs! Their Professionalism is outstanding!”

                  Thank you to everyone who entered! Ready to throw your hat in the ring? It’s easy! Simply share your ProspectsPLUS! experiences on our Google+ Page or Facebook Page and you’ll be automatically entered. We’ll give away $150 ProspectsPLUS! credit. Next drawing is the first week of October!

                     

                    When deciding how to spend your marketing dollars, it would help if you could get a little bit of reassurance that you’re doing the right thing—something (anything!) that would reduce the gamble and shows that one marketing channel is more effective than another, right?

                    US and UK Studies

                    In years past, a couple of studies have been published which found that people preferred direct mail over digital.

                    The UK Royal Mail’s The Private Life of Mail analyzed the reasons for the resurgence of direct mail and why it still works. They concluded that though the internet has changed the face of marketing, “What digital media hasn’t changed is people. Giving, receiving and handling tangible objects remain deep and intuitive parts of the human experience.”

                    Further, 57% of respondents in this study said that direct mail makes them feel more valued. It creates a more authentic relationship. Sixty percent said that, when done well, mail advertising make a last mental impression on the receiver, making it easier to recall later on.

                    A similar study, Enhancing the Value of Mail: The Human Response, sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, found that postcards create a more substantial and enduring effect than digital.

                    And get this: it found that 79% of postcard recipients act immediately, compared with only 45% of email recipients.

                    For a lot of people, these two studies are sufficient proof that direct mail outperforms digital and thus is the obvious choice. But there are people who simple won’t be persuaded by anything less than actual scientific proof.

                    Well, it exists. And we can thank the Canadians for it.

                    Recent Canadian Study

                    Canada Post partnered with a neuromarketing research and strategy firm to understand “the neuroscience behind the response-driving power of direct mail” for its reports, A Bias for Action.

                    The study relied on brain imaging (analyzing changes in the patterns of brain waves) and eye-movement tracking to measure a person’s engagement with various kinds of both digital and direct mail.

                    The results show that direct mail is easier to understand and remember than digital media. This is based on scientific evidence that shows that direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process and provides for a 70% greater degree of recall than for digital.

                    Oh, but it gets even better: It found that direct mail has a 20% higher “motivation score” than digital. Motivation is “the feeling of wanting that drives urges and decision-making.” It’s a measurement that correlates with future behavior, such as buying decisions and action.

                    And, if that were not enough, the findings also shows that people visually process direct mail quicker.

                    So, the message gets in quicker, stays longer, and creates greater want and thus, action.

                    Thank you, science!

                     

                    Speaking of science, great-looking, effective postcard campaigns needn’t be rocket science. At www.prospectsplus.com/pei you can design and mail one using your own design our one of our customizable postcard templates—all from the comfort of your laptop.

                    Or, save time. Call the mad marketing scientists at Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109. They’ll design your card and even create a targeted list and mail it for you, too.

                      Have you ever felt that people knew what you were thinking? Did you ever wish that a particular person actually could read your thoughts?

                      We’re going to guess that you answered “yes” to at least one of those questions. It’s natural.

                      But, as a business owner and a marketer, you can never expect or rely on people—customers or prospects—to read your mind.

                      Anything you want them to know, you must tell them.

                      Anything you want them to do, you must direct them to do it.

                      The Expensive Visitor

                      Imagine if you sold life insurance or did home renovations or any other kind of business that often required you to meet with prospects at their home. (Maybe you already do run a business like that.)

                      Imagine you spend a half-hour or hour with your prospect, going over their current situation and the best solution for their concerns or problems. Then you just sit there, waiting for them to read your mind: “Buy this product or service right now.” You wait for them to say “Okay, let’s do it,” and reach for their checkbook or credit card.

                      It’s not going to happen. Rather, the prospect is going to hesitate. They’re going to say “I’ll think about it” or give you some other objection. And you—a businessman, a salesperson, a marketer—will slowly or quickly become nothing more than an expensive visitor—expensive to you, in terms of time spent vs. sales (not) made.

                      You don’t always have to personally visit a prospect or customer to become an expensive visitor. Sometimes, your postcard or other direct mail does it for you.

                      Ask for the Sale

                      As was famously said by hockey great Wayne Gretzky (or basketball legend Michael Jordan or others, depending on who you ask): “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

                      If you don’t ask for the sale, it’s all but sure that you won’t get it. The “sale” isn’t necessarily a financial transaction but any action which you “sell” the person on—get them to agree to do.

                      In the same way, when your postcard has no call to action (or a really weak one), it’s as good as not taking the shot. Your direct mail pieces end up being “expensive visitors.”

                      Tips for a Strong Call to Action

                      Regardless of what you are trying to get the customer/prospect to do (buy, call, log on, etc.), here are some things to keep in mind:

                      1. Have a single call to action, rather than several. Choices invite questions and confusion. One call to action gives only one choice.
                      1. Eliminate risk. Don’t expect people to purchase high-ticket items from a postcard. It’s too much risk. But you can get them call or log on for information or some lesser risk call to action.
                      1. Keep it simple and short. Don’t use a lot of industry jargon in your call to action (or any of your copy). Use the kind of language that your target audience would use in relation to your product or service. Keep it to eight or nine words maximum, and a short subhead at the most.
                      1. This is more of a design point. Ensure that your call to action text is of a color that contrasts sufficiently with the background colors of the card. Make sure it stands out.

                       

                      And while we’re on the topic of standing out, visit www.prospectsplus.com/pei where you can create and mail postcards that will really stand out in your prospect’s mailbox—use your own design or our custom templates.

                      You can also call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 they’ll go right into action, designing your postcard, creating or expanding your mailing list with targeted prospects and even handling the mailing for you, too.