Steps to Create and Mail an Effective Postcard
1. Start with an Idea
You can’t build an effective postcard if you don’t have an idea of what you want
it to be about. Why are you creating a postcard? Are you looking to invite
new residents to your neighborhood business? To increase attendance at an
event? To sell a particular item? Figure it out before you start.
Decide On an Offer
You know why you’re sending the card. Now what exactly are you going to
offer up to your recipients to get them to take action? Is the item,
service, event, etc. compelling enough on its own? Or are you going to
offer a discount or provide some other incentive?
Identify Your Audience
Is the idea a good fit for your entire client or prospect list? Or do you
want to reach out to only a certain segment based on their interests or
We can also supply you with a targeted mailing list for direct mail postcards.
Select an Eye-Catching Image
An eye-catching, relevant image could land your card on a recipient’s
refrigerator for the next three months, or, even better, make them want to flip
the card over and see what you’re offering them.
Write Your Headline
The headline on the front of your card is like the subject line of an email.
It should usually be short and interesting, and (in conjunction with the image
on the front) make recipients want to flip the card over and read what you have
Clarify Your Message
Your offer should be easy to read and understand in the time it takes a
recipient to go from their mailbox into their house. Otherwise your card
could end up in the garbage without it having achieved the impact you wanted.
Keep the design simple and
easy to scan, because you have 5-10 seconds to get your point across. If you can
say what you need to say in a sentence, then don’t say it in a paragraph.
Once your card is designed, you’ll obviously need to print it and mail it. That is where we come in. We can print, address, and mail your
postcards (or any other mail piece design) quickly and minimize your postage
costs at the same time.
Using QR codes
QR codes like the one shown to the left help drive traffic to your website and link offline print to online. They can be printed on all kinds of printed marketing material (business cards, brochures, postcards, brochures, newsletters, magazines, newspapers, or even T-Shirts) and give your clients or prospects an easy way to visit your website using their QR-enabled cell phone. When the recipient scans the QR code with their phone, they’ll connect to a landing page or website where they can make purchases, get more information about your company or organization or register for an event.
Why are QR codes important? Because within 2 years, more people will go online using their cell phones than using a desktop or laptop computer. So you want to be able to drive traffic to your website from a cell phone quickly and easily.
Email Marketing Best Practices
Things You Should Avoid
- Renting Lists: Don t send email to rented lists. Recipients on these types of rented lists did not opt-in to receive information from you specifically, therefore, it may result in you being flagged as spam - or even worse - blacklisted by the ISPs.
- Making it Free: Avoid punctuation such as “FR EE” or FR^E. The use of punctuation in the middle of words causes many blocked messages since ISPs and filters are screening for this. In general overusing the word FREE should be avoided as well.
- Punctuation: Avoid overuse of punctuation. Too much punctuation,!!!! or too many “Click Here!” references raises suspicions and may result in blocked messages.
- Capitalization: Avoid overuse of capitalization. Abundant capitalization “ANNOUNCING A GREAT NEW PRODUCT” can be difficult to read – if it even reaches the inbox in the first place. There s a good chance the excess punctuation will land your email in the junk folder.
- Attachments: Avoid sending attachments. Sending attachments with bulk email increases the chances the receiving ISP will block it and/or your list members will flag it as spam. ISPs don t have the bandwidth to support getting a large number of emails with massive attachments.
- Type of Email: Avoid sending offers your audience did not request. If your list members opted-in for specific information, don t send them unrelated offers. Doing this will only upset your list members, and result in a higher unsubscribe and/or complaint rate. If you have created new offers or want to get people in the door by signing them up with your newsletter. Than send them an email saying we would like to send you more info, please opt-in here to be added to an additional list. Create opt-in forms for each new type of email.
Whether you are new to email marketing or a savvy veteran, working for a company that sends 500 emails a week or 500,000, there are certain policies you should follow to optimize your campaigns. Call them the commandments of email marketing or call them best practices; here are 18 ideas to improve your delivery, open, and response rates.
Things You Should Do
- Opt-in: Start by being granted permission to email your recipients through an online opt-in process or being provided explicit permission offline. Developing a positive relationship with your recipients is the most important step you can take to help your mailings reach their inboxes, so don t jeopardize it – and your company s reputation - with overly aggressive tactics. In addition the more dedication you have to building a quality list the stronger results you will see in the long run.
- From Label: Ensure the mailing is clearly labeled as coming from the person or company that has a relationship with the recipient. If you use a from label that a recipient does not recognize, it may prompt them to unsubscribe or worse complain to their ISP about you, even if they are actually interested in your services. Once you decide on a from label don t change it for every email send, you want to continue to build a relationship with your customer and you can’t do that if you keep changing their contact.
- Unsubscribe: Give your recipients an easy and obvious way to opt-out or unsubscribe from your mailings and remove them quickly from your mailings if they have already done so. It’s the law and it reflects favorably upon your company when you act in a responsible manner. You don t need the negative publicity that accompanies the “spammer” tag.
- Subject Line: Make sure your subject line reflects the content of your email. When recipients think they’re being tricked into opening the email they often become resentful - and unsubscribe in mass numbers. Don t forget subject lines should be 40-50 characters in length with the most important information at the beginning. Anything longer will get cut off by your customers email reader.
- Your Address: Provide a valid postal address in each email message, as well as an easy way for recipients to contact you or the company responsible for sending your email. It’s the law, and it provides another avenue of communication with the customer, which is another opportunity to prove your worth.
- Content: Only email your recipients content that is relevant to what they have requested. If you start emailing irrelevant offers, they re more likely to unsubscribe. Be creative, this is what keeps your audience coming back for more.
- Reminders of Sign Up: Remind your recipients where you obtained their contact information and why they are receiving your message. Sometimes people forget that they signed up to receive your email, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve last communicated. This will help decrease your complaints and increase your reputation as an email sender.
- Frequency: Create an ongoing relationship with your list members. Building a mutually beneficial email relationship – like all relationships – takes time and care. Mail to your list on a regular basis. Every list works responds differently. Some enjoy daily messages, weekly messages, bi-weekely or even monthly messages, find out what works for you.
- Address Books: Ask your recipients to add you to their address books so they recognize your messages when they arrive. In many cases, once you’re entered in an address book, your images will display properly and your emails will be directed straight to the inbox, not into the bulk folder.
- Testing: Test, Test, Test: Segment your list, try presenting different offers, using different subject lines, and mailing on different days of the week to determine when you receive the best response.
- Images: Combine both images and text in your emails. Then, if graphics are stripped from your emails due to the recipients’ preferences, at least they are left with text they can read. If you must use an image as the dominant form of communication (we know, some graphic designers won’t have it any other way!), then insert a link at the top of the email that lets people read the message without interference. Also provide a link that directs your recipients to a “hosted” version of your email as well. And don t forget Alt Text, the text that shows even if the images are turned off. For example if you have an offer in an image like 10% Off, then make sure to included 10% off in the alt text so people can still get that information.
- Spam Filter: Run your email through a spam filter before you launch your campaign. If words get caught in the filter, replace them with alternatives that will pass the test before proceeding with your mailing. This easy-to perform trial may dramatically reduce the risk of your email being mislabeled as spam.
Development and Fundraising for Non-Profits
Development and fundraising can be both fun and challenging in the non-profit environment. If done well, your effort generates contributions of time and money, and furthers a worthy cause. If done poorly, the campaign jeopardizes your financial footing and fails those who need what your organization provides the most.
Print newsletters are one of the default communications tools for non-profits. Printing and mailing costs can be significantly reduced by designing your print communications properly. Review your mail piece design with us before you print it to make sure it qualifies for all available postage discounts and can be processed efficiently by the Post Office.
You may also consider sending permission-based, opt-in email communications to coincide with your direct mail communications as a tool to boost response rates. Direct Connection can design, personalize, and send your opt-in email campaigns for a nominal fee. Reply to this email to request a free copy of our “Email Marketing Best Practices” guide or get more information about our Email services.
A strategic communications strategy with messaging grounded in what makes your cause truly exceptional will give your organization a competitive edge. Working with a marketing communications partner like Direct Connection will also help you realize your development and fundraising goals.