Your image choice when creating marketing postcards is critical. They’re your way of conveying a world of meaning in just a few seconds which can translate directly into sales. Choosing the wrong images on the other hand can have the opposite effect, and it can seriously hamper your campaign’s effectiveness.
With postcards, you’re inherently limited to what fits in their mailbox and that’s actually a good thing because having those constraints actually inspires greater creativity. If you could include as many images as you want you’d end up bombarding the customer with too much (like so many busy websites) but by forcing you to choose just 2 or 3 photos from all of the available options, you end up having to whittle it down to the very best ones. It takes work, but the end result is far better.
How do I choose the best images for Postcard Marketing?
First and foremost, let’s start by getting your objectives straight. There’s a big difference between a good photo and an effective photo. A good one may be pretty, but if it’s of a tulip and you’re an insurance agent and there’s no discernible connection, it doesn’t necessarily inspire action. It’s not effective. A truly effective photo is both pretty AND gets people to realize that they need what you offer.
How does it do that? Sometimes by showing what they’re missing, like a newer car. Sometimes it’s by helping the customer realize that what they have today just isn’t cutting it, like a broken down lawn mower. And sometimes by conveying the feeling that they’re supposed to feel once they do have your product or service, like someone smiling with a diploma. All of these can be accomplished through careful photo selection and lucky for you, we’ve sent a few postcards in our time (several million, but who’s counting?) and here are our tips.
Here are four types of photos that you should include in an effective postcard campaign:
Engaging faces: All too often people search for a photo that shows a subject doing something up to the neckline. Maybe the idea is that it could be anyone, maybe even you, but that ambiguity kills the effectiveness of your image! Just as every customer needs to be greeted within the first 10 seconds of entering your place of business so that they don’t leave, every postcard recipient should be engaged with a good old fashioned smile and eye contact. Research shows that simply using a smiling subject over a non-smiling subject can increase the effectiveness of ads by as much as 50%.
Here are two postcards. Both have similar subjects, but in the second one there is smiling and eye contact. See the difference?
Completed work: Very often, people don’t really know what they’re missing out on by paying for a service until it’s shown to them. Most often, this happens by chance. Maybe they see that their neighbor got a hot tub, their cousin is enjoying her perfect teeth after braces, or a friend of a friend was able to rebuild their house on a fantastic insurance policy. But do you have time to wait for that sort of serendipity? Of course not! It’s your marketing’s job to make them aware of what they’re missing today with a market dominator campaign and an image of their dream backyard, dental work, or financial security! Do this with a carefully selected photo of the dream item that they need.
Here’s an example of two postcards. One shows an X-ray (not everyone’s favorite part) versus the beautiful, completed smile that they could have! Which one engages you more?
Before and after photos: These go a step beyond the completed work photo and use the principle of contrast. A dream yard picture may look very appealing but we promise that it will look ten times as appealing next to what the yard looked like before it was fixed. There’s reason that cheap infomercials use this technique: they only get a few seconds to communicate the impact of their product and so they choose photos like these. You can do the same (only in a much less corny way), and when the customer gets your postcard, sees the yard that they want and then realizes that their current one is more accurately represented by the “before” photo, you’ve got yourself a qualified caller.
Here is a great before and after photo. See how clearly this spells it out for them?
Black belt level tip: use metaphors. While the tips above are you speaking directly to your prospect’s conscious, metaphors can speak volumes to their subconscious. A visual metaphor is a way of conveying the feeling that your service will give them, not just necessarily a picture of the service. Modern billboard advertisers rely heavily on this. Below is one from Mitsubishi. Do they actually expect us to presume that there’s a real rhinoceros under the hood? Of course not. But we take the things we associate with the animal like toughness, strength, and invulnerability, and associate them with the car. That, is a metaphor done well.
To create your own metaphor, think of how your happiest customer feels when they buy your product. Now, take it to an almost absurd level. Will they literally be in heaven once they see their newly manicured lawn? Will they cause car accidents with their new blinding white smile? Take that image and craft you own metaphor that speaks to their subconscious!
Now you’re off to the postcard marketing races!
And there you have it, that’s your primer to choosing the right image for postcard marketing. To recap what we’ve gone through, your options are to engage them with a smile and earnest eye contact, show them the finished product, really drive it home with a before and after story, or go for the gusto with a metaphor that’s both funny but effectively conveys your message.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the hardest part is behind you and you’re clear to create your postcard campaign today! Or, if you have a question, pick up the phone and give us a shout at 877-222-6010 because we’d love to hear from you.
And of course, this blog post wouldn’t be complete without our own metaphor for what happens when you starting sending campaigns with ProspectsPLUS!