Postcards can be one of the most profitable (and cost-effective) types of direct mail that you can use. However, in order for your postcards to be the most effective, you need to only have the most important information and leave off anything superfluous. It’s definitely important to give the customer enough information about your business that they want to work with you, but remember less is more. Bombarding the customer with clutter or too much text is overwhelming and will give them reason to put your postcard straight in the garbage.
Here are 6 things you should NOT include on your direct mail postcard:
1. Confusing Headlines
A catchy headline is certainly important, however, they also need to be fairly obvious. Jokes and cleverness can be great for attracting attention but you need to make sure they aren’t going to go over people’s heads. No one is going to put in ANY extra amount of effort trying to figure out what your message is, not even an ounce of energy, so your message needs to be clear.
2. Too Much Text
Speaking of having a clear message, the easiest way to lose your message is to bury it in too much text. Once again, your customers aren’t going to put in ANY amount of effort to see what you’re selling. No one wants to read paragraphs of text on an advertisement. Try to stick with short, easily digestible copy. You don’t need to list every service you provide, or every detail of your business’ history–just the important parts.
3. Bad Images
Photos can be very useful in capturing someone’s attention. However, that attention can be bad if you are using low-quality (pixelated, blurry) images. These will come across as unprofessional, and that is the last thing you want your company to be seen as. Also, make sure that your photographs make sense. If you are advertising a special for the fall season, you shouldn’t still be using last season’s beach photographs.
4. Unnecessary Images (or Graphics)
Sure, using flashy graphics can be a great tool for capturing attention, but make sure it’s not at the expense of getting your message across. Function is more important than form. It is definitely important to have a good design and layout, but this layout should help make your message clear, not deter from it.
5. Too Many Offers
Having a coupon or promotion is one of the best ways to promote your business. However, you want to stick to one or two GREAT offers, not 4 or 5 just okay ones. Having too many offers can be overwhelming, and distracting. A customer doesn’t want to sift through too much information to see which offer may be the best deal for them.
It is also important to note that sometimes the best solution is to mail out different versions of the same postcard with varying offers on them. This can help for multiple reasons; you can test to see which offers garner more attention. You can also differentiate between new customers and returning customers. You may insult a current customer by sending them a “first time shopper” coupon.
6. Bad Grammar and Punctuation
It should go without saying, but please make sure that you are using correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. There are other common mistakes that appear in the advertising world that shouldn’t be common practice. For example, using “unnecessary” quotation marks. Make sure that you know what quotation marks should be used for. There are other ways to emphasize a word. For example: you can italicize, underline, or change the color, size, or weight of just that word. Also Try To Avoid Using Random Capitalization and excessive punctuation!!! This style of writing comes across as unprofessional.
In short, you want your message to be as clear as possible while also being as easy as possible for the customer to read. Keep this basic motto in mind and you’ll have no problem remembering what should NOT be on your direct mail postcard. For a reminder of what SHOULD be on your postcard, check out our other blog post, “Five Tips for Creating a Stand-Out Direct Mail Piece.“