© 2005 Eileen P. Parzek, SOHO It Goes!
Contributing Writer, Smallbiztechnology.com
One of the best marketing strategies a business or organization can use is postcards. Even before the arrival of online postcard printing and mailing services, postcards had a good reputation amongst guerilla marketers because:
- They are fast, easy and relatively cheap – making them a boon to small business owners who are short on cash and time, yet need to build their brand and stay in front of their customers.
- A beautiful, full color glossy postcard is not going in the trash without first being read.
- You can add a personal note. Plus, postcards create a pleasant emotional response because they are usually received by friends and family.
- When you advertise your business anywhere else, your competition knows it. But when you use postcards to communicate with your customers, it is direct to them and your competition will have no idea.
Now, with web technologies like AmazingMail for sending postcards, it’s super-convenient to
develop a postcard campaign for your business. The way this service works, you can either use a design of your own or one of the many images that are available, for the front of the postcard, upload your contact list, create a message and then send cards right from the site. You don’t need to apply postage, address cards, or even go to the mail box – and within a week, your customers and prospects get a gorgeous glossy postcard in the mail. Even better, with a service like this, you can send one today, and two tomorrow, and twenty next week, and it automatically deducts from the number of cards you’ve purchased. You can have many different postcard designs and messages saved in the system, as well as maintain and categorize your contact database for postcards through the site.
What is particularly nice about postcards is that nearly any business or organization can benefit from a structured, targeted postcard marketing strategy. Take a look at some of the ways postcards can be used.
Thank you notes. You can send a quick thank you to anyone for any reason and they will be so surprised and pleased that you took the time. If someone sends you a referral or business lead, gives you some information you needed, mentions you in an article – send them a note
that shows you appreciate it!
A follow-up offer or service. Within 30 days after a purchase of a product or completion of a service, send them a discounted offer for a related service or product. Don’t miss the opportunity for an after-sale contact.
Gift certificates or coupons. Show your best customers that you appreciate them by sending a gift certificate that they can use any time in the next year. Even better, leave a space on it for them to fill out a friend or colleagues name and give it to someone else to introduce them to your business.
Announce a new project or completed work. Postcards are perfect for photographers, web designers, architects, graphic artists, or anyone else who wants to keep their clients in the loop on what they are working on, with something visual and tangible.
Secret sales and pre-sales for preferred customers. Treat your existing and favorite clients to a sale that no one else knows about – or give them an advanced peak at your new product line.
Introduce products or services. Postcards are an economical way to inform people about your product or services, or announce new ones.
Announce a new web site. Create an announcement of your new web presence and invite everyone you know to come check it out.
Remember special days. Send your contacts a holiday greeting or thank you note for Thanksgiving. If you keep track of special dates in your customer’s lives like birthdays or anniversaries, you can send them a colorful postcard letting them know you are thinking of them.
Reminders. Businesses that rely on repeat business can take advantage of postcards to send reminders and its not just for dentists any more! Why not remind your past customers of upcoming birthdays or anniversaries, or special holidays like secretaries’ day or thanksgiving, at just the right time? Or perhaps your database tells you when they have likely run out of whatever they bought so you can send them a reminder that its time to visit you again.
Just staying in touch. People like to be remembered and postcards are an economical and easy way to say "thinking of you."
Recognition. Send out a postcard to let people know your good news about accomplishments and awards or reviews you have received.
Invitations to an event. Postcards can be used to announce seminars you are speaking at, open houses, book signings, and any variety of special events.
Think about all the ways you can use postcards, and then explore the many ways that you can automate the process of sending them out quickly and cheaply. This is one of those marketing strategies which looks much more costly than it really is, and will return more than you put into it. The best part is, practically any small business can benefit.