The Perfect Direct-Mail Postcard, Part II: Copywriting

June 8, 2015

Direct-mail postcard marketing can be one of the most powerful strategies you adopt for your business, but it’s critical to get everything right in order to maximize your return on investment. This is the second of a multi-part series that shows you how to print postcards destined for success. In Part I, we covered planning your postcard marketing campaign. Now we turn our attention to crafting powerful postcard copy.

Write a great headline

Many copywriters say they spend 90 percent of their time working on headlines and ten percent on everything else. That alone should emphasize the importance of your postcard headline when it comes to motivating customers to take action. If you can write a great headline, your postcard recipients will take notice and they’ll read the rest of your postcard. A great postcard headline:

  • commands attention with a bold statement
  • solves a problem, hints at a solution, or reveals a desirable benefit
  • might include a special offer statement (could be a sub-head)
  • might include a deadline statement (could be a sub-head)
  • might include a guarantee
  • motivates customers to keep reading

A great postcard headline might read: Eliminate allergies forever [bold benefit statement] with AirPure 2000 SAVE 50% when you order by June 1 [time-limited special offer] Or: Increase lead conversions by 10% – Guaranteed! Turn more leads into sales with proven system used by the top industry leaders The ultimate goal of your headline is to command attention and get customers interested in learning more. Read: 3 Secrets to Killer Postcard Headlines

List benefits

Once you’ve drawn customers into your postcard copy, briefly list the benefits of your products or services. Make sure you understand the difference between features and benefits. For example, the fact that your AirPure 2000 includes a filter with microscopic fibers is a feature; the fact that the fibers eliminate airborne allergens by 99.9 percent is a benefit. Always highlight benefits to create desire. Tell customers how your product or service will make their lives better. Also, don’t forget the back of your postcard – since that’s the address side, postal carriers often deliver postcards address-side-up, so it’s the first side many customers will see. Next, sweeten the deal with your special offer. Read: Market on the Back of Postcards

Create a special offer

You might have mentioned it in your headline, but you need to do it again: your special offer is what will motivate customers to take action now. Your special offer should  be compelling; it could be a discount, freebie, buy-one-get-one, or anything else your customers are likely to take advantage of. Place a deadline on your offer so customers know they need to act now in order to get the great benefits you can provide at the best deal possible. Keep in mind the 40-40-20 rule of direct marketing states that 40 percent of your success is contingent entirely on your offer, so make it good (yet profitable) to boost response.

Include a powerful call to action

Your call to action tells customers exactly what they need to do next in order to take advantage of your special offer. You might want customers to visit your brick-and-mortar location, log on to your website, subscribe to your email newsletter, call your phone number, or like/follow your social media page. Make it exceedingly clear what customers should do next, and reiterate your benefits and offer. For example: Offer expires June 1 – Visit now to get your AirPure 2000 and stop suffering from allergies forever! Now, you can put your postcard all together. Using our AirPure 2000 example, a great postcard might read: Eliminate allergies forever with AirPure 2000 SAVE 50% when you order by June 1 AirPure 2000 is the #1 filter recommended by allergists worldwide, featuring:

  • microscopic fibers that remove 99.9% of airborne allergens, including dust, pollen, and pet dander
  • simple, quiet operation that won’t interfere with your lifestyle
  • 100% money-back guarantee

For a limited time, get your AirPure 2000 for 50% when you order online Offer expires June 1 – Visit now to get your AirPure 2000 and stop suffering from allergies forever! Notice how this postcard copy also includes third-party validation (allergist recommendations) and a guarantee, which helps customers feel good about buying from you. Of course, this might not be the absolute best postcard copy for the example product -  you’ll need to test copy variations against small segments of your list to identify which performs best (we’ll cover that in a later installment).

Great postcard copy can be the difference between a successful postcard marketing campaign and one that flops. If you’re not comfortable writing your own postcard copy, consider hiring a professional copywriter. Even though a professional copywriter will cost more upfront, the resulting increase in ROI can be significant. Start your postcard marketing campaign now

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About Brian Morris

Brian Morris serves in various capacities as a freelance writer, content developer and public relations specialist for growing small businesses. When he’s not writing, he can be found on the racquetball court - usually getting his tail kicked by guys 20 years older.

Anonymous's picture
January 07, 2016 03:22 am #

[…] headline is the most important part of your sales copy, whether you’re writing copy for direct-mail postcards, emails, or website landing pages. In fact, some copywriters report at least half of the time they […]

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The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.