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What is Postcard Marketing?

Build It Into Your Direct Marketing Plans

Postcard marketing is an effective marketing tactic. Your direct marketing plans need to include using a creative direct marketing group to design unique one-to-one direct marketing postcards. This marketing tactic has a high response rate if done well; engaging prospective customers and existing customers in your communications (make sure you include a call to action on the card).

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Do you presently do any form of direct mail marketing? (If you asked yourself, 'what is direct mail marketing', it is likely that you do not.)

Direct marketing is where your marketing promotion piece is targeted to a specific individual on a one-to-one basis. You need to have (or be able to build) a good client list or a potential client list to run a successful direct marketing campaign.

When you send a promotional piece to a targeted client, you have a much higher likelihood of getting your most wanted response: at best, a sale and at least, an action (returning the call, attending the event, booking an appointment).

Postcard marketing is direct marketing by using postcards as the promotional piece or vehicle. This can be particularly effective (especially if designed and produced by a creative direct marketing group).

Direct Marketing Plans Need to Include Postcards

The Marketing Concept Behind Why Postcard Marketing is Effective at Getting a Response:

When you receive the dreaded 'junk' mail, if you are like most consumers (business to consumer selling) and most customers (in a business to business selling environment), you will toss that mail in the garbage.

But if you receive a postcard, you will typically turn it over to see who it's from and what it's about (the marketing concept is the psychology of human behavior; postcards lead the receiver to turn the card to see who sent it and what it says).

Direct Marketing Postcards: Examples

  • My local veterinarian sends me the greatest postcard at regular check up times: it's got a picture of my own dog on the front (one that they took the first time we brought her in to see the Vet; she was only 8 weeks old).

    I always turn the postcard over (even though I now know it's from my vet) and read what he has to say. It is usually a message about how my dog needs to go in for booster shots, or some other message. Do I throw that card out? Nope. It goes into my to-do pile; to book the appointment.

  • My financial planner sends me birthday postcards, event cards, meeting updates. My dentist sends me reminders for family appointments. And so on.

In each of these cases, I read the card, I keep the card until I take action and only then do I discard it (and actually I've kept a couple of my dog's puppy postcards; one's up on my fridge door).

When Should You Use Postcard Marketing?

Postcard marketing is most effective as a scheduled tactic in your marketing mix promotion program (which needs to include your direct marketing plans, such as postcards, email marketing, and more) when you are asking the recipient to take action (this also makes it a very measurable marketing tactic).

  • So, as a small business owner, you might want to send an invitation to select (or all of your) clients for a special after hours sales event.
  • Or you might want to invite clients to an open house.
  • Or you might want to communicate a special training session you are hosting for a segment of your clients, or for a new product launch.

Do you see how you can apply this type of marketing? (If you need more ideas or would like some help in developing this type of marketing program, use the Contact Us form to request direct marketing services consulting help or a referral to a good creative direct marketing group.)

The Cost of Implementing a
Postcard Marketing Program?

Each geographic area will have different pricing. However to give you an idea of the cost of a program I ran, here is an example: (prices in Canadian $)

  1. Photography: $100 (stock photography);
  2. Design (pretty basic) and printing of 2000 cards (on glossy, coated stock); printed 4 color process on front, 1 color on back: $817.00;
  3. Postage: (US/Canada mailing destinations; 4 separate mailings) $982.52.
  • The total cost per postcard was just $1 for each postcard (and the fact that it totaled just under $2000 is coincidental).
  • Depending on your printer and your desired print and paper quality, you could pay a lot more or somewhat less than $817.
  • Postage isn't negotiable in any country.
  • The stock photography cost was cheap and when I do that promotion again I'll probably spend more because for 4 separate mailings I'd rather have 4 separate images (higher response rate).

I personally wrote and addressed each targeted customer; with a similar but personalized message. Yes, I know, 2000 post cards is a lot of writing but hand writing (or hiring someone with great hand writing) is more effective than having the card imprinted with a message - customers can tell the difference.

But the point is that postcard marketing is one of the most cost effective programs you can run: I had a 26% response rate on this mail-out! That is a very good number (average direct marketing response rates on overall direct mail marketing considers 5% to be a good rate).

How to Implement Your Direct Marketing Plans?

So hopefully, you can see that the effectiveness is high and the cost is relatively low. The next step if you decide to go ahead and develop and implement a direct marketing postcards program, is to test it on a small sample size first.

If you have a client and target client list of 5000, select 500 or even a 100 and develop a very targeted program with that much smaller group. Assess what works, what doesn't work, measure it, adjust your program, and then launch it to all of your contacts. Use the same strategies in this targeting of clients and potential clients, that you would use in your marketing segmentation and target marketing efforts.

If you are a startup business with little to no contacts, buy a contact list but make sure it is really targeted.

Postcard marketing can help you grow your sales and grow your business; it is a highly effective direct marketing tactic and strategy - if done right.

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Additional Reading:

More about the 4 Ps of Marketing (place - the forgotten P), product, price, and an example of promotion: postcard marketing.

Build strong Market Strategies to win more market share.

Return from Postcard Marketing to the Definition of Marketing.

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Marketing and Life–Cycle

Marketing is a requirement for all businesses: without marketing strategies and tactics your business will struggle to survive.

Not all marketing activities are planned: you might be building your brand recognition through a social media campaign (that's marketing); you might be conducting market research to analyze your competitors and/or segment and target your potential market or to develop the most desirable features, advantages and benefits of your products or services (that's all marketing).

Marketing is pretty all–encompassing; and a challenge for many business owners. The additional challenge is recognizing that the different stages of your business life–cycle: start–up, mid–cycle, mature or late–in–life.

During start–up you need to develop your marketing strategies to grow sales; for example, you might want to use a market penetration pricing strategy to build sales quickly.

During mid–cycle, you need to grow your customer base (often through lead generation) and that need requires different marketing strategies, such as cold calling on prospective clients, email marketing, newsletter and blog sign ups and distribution (all to grow your list of prospects).

During the mature cycle, you need to build your marketing efforts around your brand; your competitive advantage can be in your reputation, history, and identity and on what differentiates your business from your competitors.

Marketing your products and services is not something that you do once (such as a marketing plan) and then never change or do again. You need to be continually researching and building your strategies and tactics to be ahead of the market, and ahead of your competition.

The market is constantly evolving; ever more rapidly with the impacts of globalization and technology. You need to invest resources into marketing to ensure that you build and sustain your business.

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