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Old 06-15-2010, 10:50 AM   #1
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Postcards


Does anyone have any postcard (direct mailing) services that they use and recommend?

I've been looking into and am not to sure where to look to get started. I have found certain sites that offer the service, but am unsure about it.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:02 PM   #2
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Re: Postcards


I won't recommend any particular service, but I can make a few notes that might help you choose.

First of all, postcards are one of the more expensive ways to direct mail, so you want to be careful. They have the advantage of not needing to be opened, so done correctly, they can generate excellent response. If you grab the attention of the people you mail them to, you could be getting work from them even months after mailing.

What I would advise against is standard template designs, and the reason is they generally lack the attention grabbing element needed for best results. The templates I've seen simply hawk your services. You swap in your name and pics, and voila, you have the same postcard someone else has used. It's me too advertising.

Keep this principle in mind: You WILL NOT make a sale with your postcard. The only thing you can hope to achieve is to open the door. A postcard that uses the same old tricks as everyone else won't do well. I've said this before on the forum, but don't try to sell your service, solve a problem.

If you're planning a July mailing, think about what your potential customer needs in July. A postcard offering a free guide to successful outdoor entertaining will yield much better results than one that says, "Call us so we can sell you new siding." Create a "teaser" on the postcard that makes the recipient want more info you offer on your site. Offer more info on your site that makes them want your free guide. Give them instant access to the guide when they provide an email and you now have a list of potential customers. Just be careful not to abuse that list. Keep providing useful info, maybe even give away something each month (that will be cheaper than continuing to send more postcards), and your opt out rate will be low.

Over time, that postcard could earn you tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds. Go the "traditional" route and your response rate will be less than 1%.

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Old 06-15-2010, 02:13 PM   #3
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Re: Postcards


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Old 06-16-2010, 06:50 AM   #4
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Re: Postcards


The attached is the front & back side of a postcard that we will soon print & mail to a targeting mailing list. I would like to hear everyones "critique" especially cbscreative before we go to print.

CBS: I have read several of your posts & feel that you are a great asset to CT. Even though I designed this mailer myself, please feel free to critique the crap out of it...

The selects on our mailing list are: 65+, 20 mile radius, home value $100,000+, persons with known ailments (diabetes/arthritus/etc.)
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Last edited by Home Services; 06-16-2010 at 06:57 AM.
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:16 AM   #5
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Re: Postcards


Quote:
Originally Posted by Home Services View Post
The attached is the front & back side of a postcard that we will soon print & mail to a targeting mailing list. I would like to hear everyones "critique" especially cbscreative before we go to print.
For me, too wordy, right in the recycle bin. For your target of geezers with nothing but time to kill, might be appropriate.
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Old 06-16-2010, 08:02 AM   #6
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Re: Postcards


I am in the middle of setting up a campaign and found a company BUT, I will not recommend them until I am sure they are worthy.

I don't think its too wordy at all, the key is to have a headline that stops you in your tracks and makes you want to read more. You have , what, 2.5 seconds to get your message across. Headlines are the key.

Once you have their attention you better have something good to say or you will loose them in the next 2.5 seconds. A well thought out and plain english text will allow the reader to relate. If we use words or lingo that only we understand then the message is lost on Joe Homeowner. You don't expect them to know exactly what you are talking about with fascia, soffit, rake, pump jack, gusset, birds mouth, plumb cut, backer rod, cripple jack, ledger, tapcon, pex, T&P, ect.

A low pressure offer where the can take the next step will get much more of a reaction rather than just a phone number where a salesman is perceived to be waiting by the phone for the next victim.



Check out the set I am about to send.
I lowered my home count and increased the number of times to each house. Each owner will get 1 card every week for the next 3 weeks. This is not how we used to do it but I am trying new things. I was stuck on the count, the higher the better, more people more leads...right? No, now each person will see another version of my card 3 times, hopefully that will get attention because the card from last week is remembered, maybe not for the message but at least for the size, 6x11, and color scheme. Which will help them to give me that extra few seconds to get my message across.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:20 PM   #7
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Re: Postcards


Home Services, thank you for the compliment. I also agree that with your target market, you can get away with more text, but I'd still not try to push it too much.

The headline is good, and though I could maybe do something different if I think on it long enough, it does have the advantage of getting right to the point. The use of a qualified testimony (full name and city adds credibility) is very good.

There's something that bothers me on your "experts" blurb though. It could just be the generic nature of the statement. I also realize you need to be careful what you say on something like this, so I don't want to recommend anything that doesn't clear your "legal dept." Condensing it down and using "power words" could help.

I don't know the facts without research, but I'll use your existing blurb to illustrate what I would do to tighten it up and make it more persuasive:

"Clinical studies have shown hydrotherapy reduces pain and inflamation, improves circulation, allieviates stress, headaches, and promotes good sleep, and, even reduces symptoms from many skin irritations and blood sugar disorders. Learn more about these benefits at PeoriaSafetyBath.com."

That leads to the next point about placing stronger emphasis on your site. The above illustration is not fine tuned, but it does demonstrate how I would create the desire to know more and direct them to your site than try to do too much on the postcard.

In fact, the last statement in my rewrite above would be best isolated from the text box and put in bold white text on a dark blue rectangle across the bottom. By shortening your blurb and moving the other text up, you would have enough room to do that. You didn't mention the size of the card, but when mailing to elderly, make it large.
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Old 06-16-2010, 05:09 PM   #8
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Re: Postcards


Larger Text Please
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:17 PM   #9
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Re: Postcards


cbs, good points & much appreciated. I like your rewrite on the "experts say" verbage.

I also agree with you on promoting our website heavier, but as of right now, that section (Safety Bath section) of our site needs to be re-worked, so I purposly didn't highlight it.

Thanks for the input & more suggestions are welcome from you as well as everyone else.
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:52 PM   #10
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Re: Postcards


The post card looks very professional, and for those of us with "A.D.D.", I didn't think it was too wordy. But... I think the card emphasizes hydro therapy and not enough about your company and all the things you do.

Just my opinion.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:13 AM   #11
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Re: Postcards


Sorry, I forgot to mention the size of the card which is 8.5" x 5.5".

Flashheating: Thanks for your reply. Let me tell you our experience & then please tell me if it changes your mind.

When we sell a regular bath remodel job, the customer does focus on the quality of the job, quality of our company, etc. But... we have been selling (& installing) walk-in tubs for almost 2 years now. With a walk-in tub prospect, their focus is most definatly on the tub itself & the benefits of having a tub in their home.

Their focus on "what will my bathroom look like" becomes secondary. Also, oddly enough, the credibility of our company doesn't seem to be much of an issue.

I should probably add that we have a nice portfolio of finished jobs. My guys do a nice job of "trimming out" the tub after installation so their bathroom does not look like a hospital upon completion.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:24 AM   #12
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Re: Postcards


Quote:
Originally Posted by BamBamm5144 View Post
Does anyone have any postcard (direct mailing) services that they use and recommend?

I've been looking into and am not to sure where to look to get started. I have found certain sites that offer the service, but am unsure about it.
http://www.postcardmania.com/?cpao=1...FQuB5QodIH6oTA

I have used them and was very happy.
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:46 PM   #13
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Re: Postcards


Quote:
Originally Posted by Home Services View Post
Sorry, I forgot to mention the size of the card which is 8.5" x 5.5".

Flashheating: Thanks for your reply. Let me tell you our experience & then please tell me if it changes your mind.

When we sell a regular bath remodel job, the customer does focus on the quality of the job, quality of our company, etc. But... we have been selling (& installing) walk-in tubs for almost 2 years now. With a walk-in tub prospect, their focus is most definatly on the tub itself & the benefits of having a tub in their home.

Their focus on "what will my bathroom look like" becomes secondary. Also, oddly enough, the credibility of our company doesn't seem to be much of an issue.

I should probably add that we have a nice portfolio of finished jobs. My guys do a nice job of "trimming out" the tub after installation so their bathroom does not look like a hospital upon completion.
I don't dispute your credentials or the benefits of hydro-therapy. However, with a post card, you don't have the luxury of trying to change an opinion. It's a quick read, and it's probably in the garbage (any promotion). The lasting impression was hydro-therapy, not Home Services (opinion). Wouldn't you rather promote that you do things to make bathrooms easier on the elderly? Once you get your foot in the door, then sell the tubs.

If I want to promote the tubs, I would try to hook up with doctors, physical therapists, senior centers...etc. Places where you can get referrals. But, with the cards, I would want people to know about me so that should a situation arise in which they need something done to their bathroom, they can call you anytime.
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Old 06-18-2010, 06:22 AM   #14
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Re: Postcards


flashheating:

You bring up a good point. Our brochures do show all of the modifications we do, but, your right, the postcard does not. The problem with postcards is that you have limited space.

Also, for this target, when you increase font size, you reduce space even further. As far as (as some here have suggested) using the postcard to send prospects to our website (for unlimited info), I'm not sure if that is a good idea either - I could be wrong, but I think with our target (65+) computer and internet usage/savvy is somewhat limited. Again, another issue.

You guys are giving me some really good ideas, please keep them coming - once this thing is printed - it's printed!
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Old 06-20-2010, 07:13 PM   #15
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Re: Postcards


Quote:
Originally Posted by flashheatingand View Post
I don't dispute your credentials or the benefits of hydro-therapy. However, with a post card, you don't have the luxury of trying to change an opinion. It's a quick read, and it's probably in the garbage (any promotion). The lasting impression was hydro-therapy, not Home Services (opinion). Wouldn't you rather promote that you do things to make bathrooms easier on the elderly? Once you get your foot in the door, then sell the tubs.

If I want to promote the tubs, I would try to hook up with doctors, physical therapists, senior centers...etc. Places where you can get referrals. But, with the cards, I would want people to know about me so that should a situation arise in which they need something done to their bathroom, they can call you anytime.

I have to disagree with you on this this one. The customer could care less what your name and laundry list of services are. You need to be able to solve a problem for them. In this case the ease and/or safety of using a traditional tub. Just because you do plumbing or remodeling does not make them stop and read your postcard. I would guess that some if not most of the target audience may not even know that this product was an option. Edit-just reread it and maybe we are saying the same thing


Home Services,
Did you know that a 6x9 and a 6x11 postcard cost the same postage and only a few dollars difference in printing costs? Since the target market is aging, those extra few inches could be used to bump the font to borderline huge to make it easy to read.

Last edited by HSConstruction; 06-20-2010 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:18 AM   #16
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Re: Postcards


HSConstruction,

Thanks for your input & I will check out a 6” x 11” size. You bring up a good point about “solving a problem”. In our experience, the customer is more interested in “will this bathtub serve my needs” than “quality of craftsmanship/company service”

Although, maybe it is a good idea to list some of our other products that may be of interest to them. A senior receiving this postcard may not be interested in a walk-in tub, but might need something else that we do. I can see where it could lead to ancillary sales and additional leads.

I’ve created and attached another version of the postcard for everyone to “critique”. It’s a challenge with limited space to put 10 pounds of s**t in a 5 pound bag!

Another challenge I should mention: The obvious goal is to get people to call us or come in our showroom. A good portion of our customers do not want to admit that they need any type of safety modifications and/or want to spend money on themselves.

We have had several occasions where the customer/prospect has already injured their selves due to a fall in their tub (sometimes more than once) & they think that it “won’t happen again”. If anyone has an idea for a “text blurb” that would help prompt someone to call – I’m all ears!

Thanks again everyone for your input, you’ve given me some good things to consider. Targeting the senior market has some unique challenges.
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:54 AM   #17
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Re: Postcards


I tossed it in the trash when I read Instlattion available....If you offer 300 bucks off install it mmakes me happy.
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:25 AM   #18
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Re: Postcards


I think the revised copy will help in getting recognized. It focuses more on you.

I certainly am not an expert on marketing, and if I sound like Mr. Knowitall, well, I do not. My comments are only how I react, and there is no scientific data to back me up. I don't think postcards will directly sell something (unless you have a killer deal), and that isn't the purpose of them. This card, for example, makes me feel as though Safety Bath is the place to go for any medical re-modeling issues. If I receive post cards on a regular basis, it will be ingrained in my head were to go.

There is a guy in town who sends out letters on a regular basis (Quarterly) trying to sell furnaces and air conditioners. He may sell a few furnaces and a/c's from this letter, but, he really cashes in when the appliance breaks down and they find him in the phone book. I believe he gained "legitimacy" by sending people letters on a regular basis.

Personally, I am trying to find out a way to send a message on a regular basis without spending a lot of Money. Nobody minds spending the $$'s, if they can be sure it will pay the rent, but we all know that there are no guarantees.
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:02 AM   #19
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Re: Postcards


The reason for this post is to help you with your "original" question, however I will also give my 2 cents on the card and postcard design in general.

The blue one is MUCH better, but I really have to say that it is VERY wordy, and very crowded. You mentioed having brochures. That is where you should have ALL the wordy text. I do not claim to be a marketing expert by any means, but I try (when the customer allows) to apply the old adage KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) to all direct mail pieces.

Think about when you go through your mail. Most of us stand over the trash can in the kitchen. If you ask ANYONE why all effective billboards are short, sweet, and to the point... 99.9% will say because you only have a few seconds to read them. NOW I ASK YOU... The next time you drive down a highway... Take notice to how long you look at the billboard. I would be willing to bet you look at the billboard longer than the mail you are flipping through in your kitchen. Again, just a observation, but something to think about.

Now to your original question. There are many places online that do direct mailing, and if you are doing very high volume you may save money. I am the first to say that the internet made the world a smaller place and with it, it killed a lot of local businesses. However, local mail houses are still a very cost effective way to go. You can still get your printing done online and save money. Most local printers can't come close to the price. But the mail house can ink the addresses on for you, mail them out, offer discounted postage. If you don't have a mailing list they usually can usually get one for you. Some even will "rent" you a list which is cheaper.

The BIGGEST reason for the "local" place for me is the convenience. I can stop by every month with new postcards, and say... "mail these to my list." Becuse its' local, it just seems so much easier than dealing with..Uploading the list, confirmation emails, etc. With this, you just drop off the cards, and go! I also like that I know the mail is being sent locally and won't take any additional days to get there. Even though I do graphic design, I also own a lawn care company. In the spring I have mailings all the time, but for the "big" mailing I watch the weather, predict within a day or two when the dandelions are going to pop, and I want my mail there that day. MUCH easier to do when you use a local mail house.

Ironically this is the only time i recommend the yellow pages also... Look under "Mailing Services" and you should have a few or even lots, of places in your area.

Good luck and feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:36 PM   #20
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Re: Postcards


I am the definition of simple, and that card is it. At this point, I don't see the card, but I recall an older lady by a tub, something about a loved one with falling or something?, safety bath, grab bars, Save $300, and a phone number. The testimony thing does make a good filler (opinion),

If you get that card, on a regular basis, the head will keep Safety Bath in the long term memory bank. Mission Accomplished.

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