Ever wish there were a simple way to condense a wealth of marketing wisdom into a nice, neat package? This five-point marketing checklist is a handy resource to have in your back pocket. Use all five “checks” with every campaign, every time, and you’ll get outstanding results.
Although postcards are one of today’s beloved print pieces, they had a humble beginning. Direct Mail Postcards followed a little later.
The earliest postcard dates back to 1840 when an English man named Theodore Hook sent one to himself. By 1861, the US Congress allowed privately printed cards, weighing one ounce or under, to be sent through the mail. That year, John P. Charlton copyrighted the first postcard, and by 1901 postcards were a regular part of mailed communication.
When email marketing began around 1978, its low cost, speedy delivery, and great response rates made marketers wonder if direct mail would disappear forever.
Today, that couldn’t be further from the truth. An overload of digital messages has caused open and click-through rates to decline substantially. Many spam filters and firewalls block emails altogether.
It’s crucial to the company’s survival to be able to create niche marketing materials but more importantly, to be able to get those materials in the right hands.
If you’re looking to maximize the return on your investment, knowing the different types of mailing lists can make certain that your efforts in content and quality materials won’t go to waste.
Here are four main types of mailing lists to consider when beginning a targeted direct mail campaign:
Consumer Mailing List
If you’re looking to sell your product and/or services directly to specific individuals and families, a consumer mailing list can pinpoint your ideal consumer or buyer persona.
By using economic, demographic, and psychographic information, this list will provide the profiles you need to maximize your ROI.
When creating a consumer mailing list, you’ll be able to filter the data by choosing:
- Marital Status
- Home Value
Just like that excitement you feel when receiving handwritten notes or letters of encouragement, a well-timed postcard can be a great way to surprise your customers, while offering tips, coupons, or discounts to encourage their next purchase.
In addition to timing, adding an unexpected element to your postcard can make it stand out from the rest.
A Visual Competition
With any kind of direct mail campaign, it is always a visual competition for attention.
Spend the time to make sure your graphics and overall design is strong.
You want to create a power-packed, professional, attention-grabbing design that makes your readers want to take it to the next level and actually read the copy.
Without that, your postcard just won’t do its job.
The right color can give the impact you need to excite and lure in your customers.
Pictures alone will help ensure your customers notice your mailing, but when those photos are in color, your postcard will become a welcome site in the sea of ordinary mail.
Tie your headlines and copy in with the color as well and make sure to add hierarchy to the design to capture their attention.
Remember to choose an appropriate font for the postcard as well.
Be sure it is clean typeface that is easy to read to keep the reader’s interest.
Wow with Words
Now that you’ve grabbed their attention with color, you want to wow them with words.
Be clever. Be creative. Be strange. Be anything but ordinary.
Never be afraid to add some humor to your piece.
Remember, you’re trying to capture their attention and encourage them to read on.
And be clear about what information you want them to take from your postcard.
Whether you want to provide a discount, advertise a new product, announce a new team member, or give some helpful tips, keep your message simple.
Onwards and Upwards
Once you get the hang of designing and mailing postcards, create a schedule to stay consistent.
Ultimately, your goal is to develop a top-of-mind awareness, which is what your postcards can be.
You want your readers to always think of you first when your industry is mentioned.
Postcards give you a better chance of standing out in the crowd.
You won’t be competing for attention in a newspaper filled with other text and graphics or against noisy beeps and alarms going off on their electronics.
If your information is powerful enough, who knows, it may end up taped to someone’s refrigerator, also known as the ultimate point of attention in the home.
The United States Postal Service is no exception.
Mail volume was already declining with the introduction of new technology in computers and email.
And to make matters worse, some of the worst economic times seen in decades came with a furry.
All types of mail saw a dramatic drop in a significantly short amount of time.
The USPS website showed that the total mail volume in 2006 was approximately 213.1 billion pieces.
In 2015, only 154.2 billion.
That is still a lot of mail but a drop of that magnitude is, well, staggering.
So what the heck happened?
The Exigent Rate
In effort to survive, the USPS called for an Exigent Rate Case.
This case stated that due to the circumstances they were in, the Postal Service had permission to raise the market-dominant prices above the CPI-U, or consumer price index price cap for a certain amount of time.
After the submitted proposal and a long hearing, which was conducted on record and gave the opportunity for the public to comment, the case was granted.
Ergo, the very high rates we were seeing a short time ago.
A Drop in Rates
As mentioned, the Exigent Rate Case was only granted for a certain period of time.
That time is over.
The emergency rate expired on April 10, 2016, which was the first postal rate drops we’ve seen since 1919.
Maybe the first for some of you in your life!
And the good news just keeps getting better — for us, anyways.
Mail volumes have recovered significantly, especially for packages due to online shopping.
But as for the Post Office, it’s still not all rainbows and sunshine.
The current Postmaster General, Megan Brennan, says multi-year revenue declines are still a big concern and were in excess of $7 billion in year 2009 alone.
She also said in an USPS article that “removing the surcharge and reducing our prices is an irrational outcome considering the Postal Service’s precarious financial condition.”
For starters, the United States Postal Service isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
But we still don’t know how these rate decreases will affect their bottom line.
It goes without saying, for those of you considering a direct mail campaign, this is the best time to experiment!
Now that mailing and shipping rates are low, it’s time to move away from digital and use this opportunity to take another stab at traditional marketing.