13 Platinum Ideas
About Post Cards & Self Mailers
Post cards and self-mailers are "hot". Recently I returned from a 20 day business trip. My mail box had 27 post
cards and self-mailers waiting ... more than 1 per day.
Why is this style in? Well, based on the myth that "nobody reads
anymore", the thought is you 'grab' your audience quickly, pull them
in, get a decision. And besides, they're much less expensive to create,
Problem is a good portion of this theory is wrong - not based on fact.
People, both you and me at home as well as on the job, are reading. Yes,
we are more selective. And most are reading a different way ... speed
reading. Scanning vs .total absorption seems to be how it is.
Yet, the key word is still interesting. If your message is interesting
your audience will read it. If it's not, they move on. No matter the
method of delivering the word.
So, here are 13 Platinum Ideas About Post Cards & Self Mailers.
To get yours to work better. The opening 8 share ideas on when
to use a post card or self-mailer. The balance talk about the creative
process to get these tools ready for the marketplace. And thus to get
them to perform for you.
#1). Use to "talk" to your customers
Your customers know you. They know who you are. They know what you offer.
They recognize your name, your logo.
You're most likely "talking" with them already, maybe even
seeing them every so often. And mailing to them already. Because they
are your customers, they are going to at least look at, and probably read,
almost anything you send.
Self-mailers and post cards, maybe as part of a series, can work well
in communicating with your customers.
#2). Timing matters - use as part of a continuity program
Most campaigns work best with both multi-media and multi-efforts. It
is rare a single shot sells much of anything to anyone. In this environment,
when you've scheduled a series of contacts, self-mailers and post cards
can work well.
Your audience - prospects and customers - have heard from you before,
they will hear from you again. And they know it. The example we're most
familiar with are the "Clubs". They reach their audience every
3 to 6 weeks, every 30 days ... some cycle. "Anything of the Month"...
such as the book, music, gift people ... have made continuity a way of
life. When this is your approach, including a card or self-mailer in the
mix, maybe both, makes good sense.
The format also works as part of a series for lead generation. If you're
reaching for new business with, say, 8 contacts to your marketplace, 2-3-4
of these might be a post card of self-mailer. As part of the total mix
#3). When your message is very, very short
Sometimes you don't have a lot to say. Something. Not much.
Could be a quick announcement. A retailer having a week-end sale. A restaurant
offering a mid-week seasonal special. A trade show exhibitor inviting
you to stop by for a visit. A travel agent with a cruise close-out opportunity.
A company picnic. An anniversary event. A seminar featuring a new product
It might be important - yet, simple. Details are not necessary. A fast
message will do it ... and thus a post card or self-mailer will work for
#4). When you expect a low response
You have a product or service that is truly a "commodity".
Or - on the opposite end - something so new, different, unusual that
very few people will need it. Either way ... if you're competition is
fierce, or if it is non-existent - you may expect a low return.
In each example a self-mailer or post card might work. i.e., you're a
popular fast food restaurant or a brand name automotive service station
- the entire marketplace knows what you offer. You can be quick about
On the other end, you know you are way, way ahead of the pack. Yet, you
also recognize a fact; before anyone is going to buy your new widget,
you need to demo it. So, you're looking for those chosen few to raise
their hand and say "yes", talk to me. You're into lead generation.
Self-mailers and post cards work at each of the scale.
#5). When it's tough to find the right audience
Although this should not happen, let's be real; sometimes both identifying
the right audience, and then reaching them, is not easy.
Marketing is successful when your message reaches those who can buy what
you sell. And it is not when you talk to people who are not interested
in your offering. Yet, sometimes a mini-shot gun is the way to
go. Particularly when you launch a new product or service.
Sure, "guts" gives you a direction as to who to talk to. Still,
that may not be enough. I recall looking for the best way to get to taxi
cab drivers in the western USA. Never was able to effectively and efficiently
reach that group.
All of this leads to the idea that a simple post card or self-mailer
may be an efficient (translate, less expensive) way to get to a
tough to get to group.
#6). If you have a huge volume
If your audience is huge - maybe wide spread, too - the economies of
scale may dictate a post card or self-mailer. As any other format may
be too costly to bottom-line justify.
In marketing it is not how many contacts you make. It is response - what
happens at the back-end. Fast track; do you make money is the only question
to ask and answer.
Sooo, you may be penny wise / pound foolish in looking at costs
first. Sure, costs are important. Yet, just reducing expenses is
not the best way to be profitable ... sales is what earns rewards.
Still, when you have big numbers it may be a good idea to look at the
small post card or self-mailer format.
#7). When you have a very easy & simple offer
If you know your marketplace"gets it" ... they understand what
you offer ... a post card of self-mailer may work well for you.
This is often the case with supplies. Paper products for a restaurant.
Office supplies for a company. Medical supplies for a health care facility.
None of us need a lesson in paper clips, band-aids or napkins. We know
what these simple, easy to understand day-to-day tools are. So, make the
offer and move on.
#8). When your product "fits"
Some products and services fit a small, simple, easy format. Plus, they
"look" just fine on a self-mailer or post card. Rolls Royce
is not one of them.
No matter your product, you need to look like what you are. If you're
a tabloid newspaper, you need to look busy. If you're Jack-in-the-Box
fast food hamburger joint, you need to look "faaast". If you're
The Dollar Store you need to look crowded. In each case a self-mailer
or post card can work for you.
Ditto most conferences and seminars, sports events, music festivals and
the like. A self-mailer can and does work well here.
Yet on the opposite side, if you're Rolex , you need to look like what
you are ... "rich". If you produce high-quality personalized
annual reports for the top 100 companies, you are expensive. Or if you
sell a luxury automobile you need to come across to your audience as "luxury".
And these are each a tough sell on a post card or in a self-mailer.
Your marketing message must fit your product and service message.
#9). Size matters
Some like "big" ... some like "small". The thought
being "different" gets attention.
Well, size does matter. And most of the time large overwhelms
regular or small in response and results. No matter what you may like.
Plus, today, automation has a lot to say about the size of everything.
Machinery to print and mail on one hand ... and the post office on the
other. With nearly 600 million pieces each business day flowing through
the United States Post, automation is a must. And bar codes are a fact.
This means your size, design, shape must work with production. More often
than not that dictates larger.
Translation; a bold presentation in a jumbo post card or self-mailer
format is most likely to not only give you the best results - it will
work within the system.
#10). Format matters
Most people - right handed or left - unfold a piece from right to left.
And then bottom to top.
Just as most people spin from back to front when they first pick-up a
magazine or book. Right to left. Know this as you think about format for
your self-mailer. When you decide how many folds, if there are any windows,
perforations, peel-off labels ... i.e., how your audience will look at
Double and triple post cards have been popular for several decades. Introduced
originally by the publishing industry, today they are used by many to
generate leads and build traffic. Are they glue-spotted? Or are tabs used?
Is there a common edge?
Make your self-mailer and post card easy to "open" and read.
#11). Layout & Design matter
The idea behind using a post card or self-mailer is to get quick attention.
Thus, the layout and design is very important. One could say an envelope
is an envelope is an envelope. We know, more or less, what to expect.
And, more or less, what to find once we open it. No matter the size or
shape - our expectations have been pre-set from eons of experience with
Not so with self-mailers. Not because they haven't been around for a
while ... they have. Instead, because the message that comes in pieces
in an envelope package is "stuffed" into a single piece with
a self-mailer. And even more "stuffing" if it's a post card.
This takes real design work to overcome.
What is the offer? What are the benefits? What do you want the reader
to do? Questions for every program. They must be considered with your
post card and self-mailer layout, too.
#12). Color matters
Life has blessed me with a pair of granddaughters. One 20 something.
The other a teen-ager. They do not know black & white ever existed.
The message is, ladies and gentlemen, we live in a color world. And that
is not going to change anytime soon. My guess is not in your grandchildren's
Next "fact": when you don't use color you look cheap.
Not frugal, cheap. What is almost as bad is full color on one side of
your piece, with black & white on the reverse. Why do people do this?
Oh, and this is not me speaking ... this is what the marketplace says.
They expect color. That's the way it has been for a while, that's the
way it is today, that's the way it is going to be.
Color truly matters. On post cards and with self-mailers, too.
#13). Copy matters
Copy is still king. Has been. Will be.
Not long ago I heard an effort to reverse the thinking about copy and
art. Making the graphic portion of our business more important than copy.
It is not going to happen. Period.
For advertising, sales promotion, merchandising ... yes. In fact, absolutely,
graphics and design will continue to rule. Outdoor posters, much television,
floor displays in everything from convenience stores to up-scale boutiques
- they all need the graphic to get your attention. To S T O P the prospect.
Before you send hate mail, know I want copy and art to work "Two-Gether".
To play off each other. To become a team.
Still, in marketing it's copy that sells. Has been. Will be. This means
you must have strong copy for your post cards and self-mailers, too.
That's it. The 13 Platinum Ideas About Post Cards & Self Mailers.
Use these tools creatively, and enjoy much marketing success.