You’re holding out your hand. Someone places a large dictionary on your open palm. It weighs a few pounds.  You can easily deal with it for a while.

Then they take away the dictionary and they stand a golf tee up in your open palm. It remains there, vertical. Then they balance the dictionary on that.

The dictionary weighs the same but you probably can’t deal with that weight for very long while it’s balanced on that golf tee.

The weight of the dictionary, laying across the area of your hand has some impact, but not much. The weight of the same dictionary, concentrated down into a single point. Oh, now that has much more impact.

If you could apply this concept to your postcard headlines it would blow up your response.

The Power of 9

You can apply this concept by keeping the number 9 in mind when you write (or edit) your headlines.

When you use a lot of words in your headline, you dilute the power of the idea in the headline and increase the time it takes for the reader to “get” it. It’s the dictionary across the open palm.

When you express the same idea in fewer words, it increases the power of the idea and shortens the time it takes the reader to “get” it. It’s the dictionary on the golf tee.

Top direct response copywriter Bob Bly recommends keeping your headlines to nine words or less. (To be completely accurate, he recommends keeping your marketing email subject lines to nine words or less. But we believe this to be applicable to postcards as well, due to their small size factor.)

It can take a little time and practice but you can concentrate a big idea down to nine or fewer words. And those words will have much more power than a headline that uses 20 words to express the same idea.

Oh, But Wait—There’s Less!

Bly also suggests that you keep each word in the headline down to nine or fewer letters. Remember, postcards are not literature. People will more readily understand a short, simple word. So keep a thesaurus handy and replace those big, “impressive” words with short ones.

And don’t limit this concept to your headline. Try using short sentences (12 words or less) and short paragraphs (one to three sentences).

It will result in copy that is understood fast.

This is not esoteric. It’s not beyond you. Here’s an example to show you how simple this can be:

Example A: Get a free pizza when you buy a medium pizza

Example B: Buy one, get one free (We’ll take for granted that the postcard has a picture of pizza, so that people know what you’re suggesting they buy.)

Which one do you “get” quicker?

In this way, less is more: less wordage, more understanding, and more response.

Try it and see.


Editing your headlines down may take a bit of work but creating your next postcard is as easy as logging on to There you’ll find all you need to design a postcard you’ll be proud of. Then you can target prospects (or upload your own list) and mail, all from your computer.

Or, if your extra time is a thing of the past, call Opportunity Knocks at 1 (866) 319-7109 and have a quick chat with one of our marketing and design pros. They’ll handle everything for you, from design to mailing, so you can concentrate on becoming legendary.


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