In our hyper connected, digital world, printed postcards, brochures and newsletters feel like yesterday’s marketing. However, they do serve a purpose no other marketing tool can fill in quite the same way for some companies.

We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t talk to clients about adding print back into their marketing mix to help them stand out in the crowd. I don’t always like letters in envelopes, but an over-sized postcard with a clever graphic and a specific call to action gets noticed.

It’s time to seriously consider investing in printed marketing materials.

Why Print Makes Sense Now

Printed promotional pieces and advertising make it easier to stand out. With so many competitors switching to email exclusively, your postcard makes for a breath of fresh air. On-demand printing has set small business owners free by providing affordable production.

Today, you aren’t tied to minimum run quantities of 1,000, 500 or 250. On-demand technology allows a small business to design and print in quantities of 5, 10 or single sheets.

Budgeting for Print

Though the cost of printing is decreasing, small business owners must be conscious of design costs and postage. To make the most of your print budget, start with a comprehensive game plan. Here are all the parts to consider:

Objective: What are you trying to accomplish with your print materials? Will they generate sales or leads? Will they be used to remind existing customers of your services or reach a new audience?

One piece of direct mail won’t work miracles. Pick one objective and set it in your cross-hairs. There is always time for another postcard.

Part of clarifying your objective should be defining success. If your goal is to generate inquiries, how many calls do you need to consider the print piece a success? If you are reminding existing customers about your service contracts, how many appointments or plan renewals do you need to make?

Set goals, match your budget to your goals and measure your results.

The Offer: If you are designing a postcard, treat it like a billboard. You want to make an impression quickly before the reader tosses it in the trash. Keep the message simple and the call to action clear.

Cluttering up the card with “vital facts” won’t help you sell more. Most likely, it will increase the chances your card won’t be read at all.

Invest In Good Design

I say this not because we do design work at Roundpeg. I say this because of how I feel every time I see a product designed with Publisher or Word. Readers won’t take businesses seriously if they use Word Art and Clip Art in their printed materials.

Have a Follow Up Plan: Don’t just mail a postcard and wait for the phone to ring. Set aside time to call your prospects or customers. Ask if they saw your card. Was it enough to keep them interested?

Afraid you will have too many prospects to call? Don’t mail all your materials at once.  I learned this from HVAC contractors but it can apply to many industries.  With a weather dependent business, the area might experience a heat wave or cold spell just as the postcard arrives. The postcard will drive up demand, leaving the business swamped and managing a backlog of unanswered calls.

You can manage the sales process more effectively by sending your cards in waves. I like to print cards with an offer that doesn’t expire so I can drop cards in the mail when business slows down.

Test, Test, Test!: Take advantage of  your ability to buy short print runs. Print 25 to 100 “tester” cards and see if they net results before committing to 500 or 1000. Compare different messages and offers across your material types.

Don’t forget to test your follow up strategy. See what happens if you call someone before they get the card or how they respond after reading your messaging. Both of these strategies work, but it’s up to you to figure out which one is right for your audience.

Email marketing is still the most cost effective way to reach a large audience, but supplementing with direct mail for a select audience can make a huge impression.

Want to explore what print marketing can do for you? Give us a call.