Postcards can be an effective and
affordable part of your marketing program. So don't let a
lack of writing experience stop you from using them. This
article will give you the knowledge and confidence you
need to write effective messages for your marketing
Before You Begin Writing
Before you write a single word of your message, you
need to figure out your audience and your goal. These are
critical steps, because later you'll be using words to
bridge the gap between your audience and your goal.
Start with your audience. Make a list of the things that
might be important to them. Then narrow it down to what
you think is the most important element. Use that item for
your headline and all throughout your copy.
Professional Experience Not Required
Persuasive writing is more about human understanding
than writing skill. The most successful copywriters didn't
get to where they are by being literary wizards. They got
there by understanding what motivates people, and being
able to write to those emotions.
The most effective marketing copy uses clear, simple
language and avoids complexity altogether. Complex
language just gets in the way of emotion.
Pick up any Sharper Image catalog and see what I mean.
These catalogs sell extremely well for three reasons. They
have neat products. They have great photos of those
products. And they have straightforward descriptions that
aim for the reader's emotions.
One Idea Per Postcard
You won't have a lot of space on your postcard, so
don't spread your message too thin. One fully developed
topic is a hundred times better than five half-developed
By focusing on one product (or service, or idea, or
topic), you can develop it in a way that is more likely to
generate a response. You could mention the primary
benefits, give a testimonial or two, show some photos,
make a strong offer and provide a call to action.
But you can't do all that while covering several topics.
So save the multi-topic approach for your brochures and
People request brochures, but they don't request
postcards. For that reason, they give postcards a lot less
attention. A quick glance may be all you get. So keep your
postcard focused and to the point -- one idea per
Use Strong, Clear Headlines
Headlines can make or break a marketing postcard,
depending on how they're used. Remember, you want to
capture your prospects' attention based on their initial
glance. A glance is all you get, so don't waste it. Tell
them right away what you're offering and what it can do
Sell the Next Step
Before you can begin writing your postcard message,
you need to figure out the next step in your sales
process. If your goal is to convince the reader that your
product or service is superior to all others in its class,
your postcard will probably come up short. That's a lot to
ask of an 8" x 5" piece of card stock.
People will learn about the quality of your product or
service by experiencing it firsthand. They won't learn it
(or believe it) from a single postcard.
There is a sales path to be followed, and the marketing
postcard is the first (or sometimes second) step along
that path. That's the job it should perform -- moving the
reader forward in the sales process.
* If you're selling software, the postcard could point to
a free 30-day trial available on a web page somewhere.
* If you're selling your real estate services, the
postcard could mention a free report about area schools.
* If you're in the financial services industry, you could
use postcards to invite people to a money-saving seminar.
When creating your postcard marketing message, try to
write in a natural tone that reflects the way you speak.
That doesn't mean your message should be full of slang,
but that it should sound like one person talking to
another (not like a professor lecturing a class).
Test, Rewrite, and Test Again
Eugene Schwartz, the author of Breakthrough
Advertising, said it best: "There are no answers in
direct mail except test answers." Following the best
practices of postcard marketing will put you on a base
level of success. But to rise above that level, you have
to test every aspect of your postcards - and that includes
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