How postcards perform compared to more specialty pieces of direct mail is the $64 million question. As agents, we guide the talent we represent to do a wide range of marketing and direct mail is always part of the equation.
The big question always comes up: Should we do more frequent mailings with postcards, or a specialty piece that only goes out once or twice?
We find that consistency is the most important factor in direct mail, so if a special piece can be designed in a cost-effective way and can be mailed out at least three or four times during the year, then it will have a bigger impact than postcards. But if the special piece is so expensive to produce and mail (postage is a big part of the overall budget in direct mail) that it only goes out once, then in our experience it’s not worth the cost.
Specialty pieces are often very effective because they do stand out in all the direct mail being delivered daily. But how that piece performs is based on several aspects of the piece itself:
When you’re sending a reminder, remember that your audience is inundated with other postcards, mailers, etc. What is going to make yours stand out? Image is always No. 1, followed by making sure that whomever you’re targeting buys what you sell. You have to do your homework and use appropriate imagery. It’s not always about the biggest and the best piece; it’s about a well-designed piece that clearly reflects you.
With that said, an overall direct mail campaign designed with one or two unique/special pieces and supported with similarly designed postcards can be the best all-around option. It allows for a more cost-effective campaign and also addresses the frequency need. A kick-off specialty piece supported by four postcards throughout the rest of the year will be very effective because the specialty piece will grab attention and the postcards will help maintain it.
One final thought that can’t be emphasized enough: The most important part of any direct mail campaign is the imagery. The photography featured has to be the hero, whether the piece is a specialty piece or a simple postcard.
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