Postcard Marketing: Is Yours “Just Right” or “Not Quite?”

I was thinking about postcard marketing today because of two pieces of direct mail that I got. One of the them was just right. The other, well, didn’t quite make the cut. What was the difference?

Item 1 is an email I saw in my inbox this morning as I drank my coffee and perused my emails.

Subject: “Happy Birthday!” – but who was it from? I didn’t recognize the sender, but I was curious, so I opened the email, which was in plain text. “In a few days, there is a special birthday to celebrate in your household.”

So, naturally, my first thought was, “if they know my birthday isn’t for another two days, why did they send the email today?” In Germany (my location and that of the email’s origin), this is a borderline faux pas, because it’s considered bad luck to wish someone “happy birthday” before the day actually comes.

Then, “We would like to thank you with a €5 birthday gift certificate.” Well, that’s nice enough, but what exactly does this company sell?

I scoured the email and saw the company name, address, and telephone number, even their company registration number at the local court. The only thing missing was some sort of clue as to what you can buy from them. It wasn’t until I clicked the link that I remembered.

Unfortunately, it was an unhappy memory. I had tried to order urgently needed supplies for a new cat once, foolishly believing the ads on their page promising “next day delivery.” When I tried to call them during the business hours listed on their webpage, the phone rang and rang and rang, and no one every picked up. So, I emailed an order cancellation, and three days later they replied with a simple, “Your order has been canceled.”

Do you think I bothered with their €5 gift certificate?

Item 2 is a piece of direct mail that came the old fashioned way – postcard marketing.

I almost threw it away without opening it, but then something caught my eye – “Test Our Best – Premium Cat Food at a Try-It-Out Price,” then I saw “Free Test Package.” So, this company, which I had used once before and been satisfied with, remembered that I buy premium cat food.

Furthermore, they are offering me a “premium” gift that they can be fairly certain I actually want.

That is a piece of direct mail I acted on!

Here are some lessons Realtors can draw from this tale:

1. Before sending any communication to clients, make sure that it clearly expresses your brand – your promise to your customers. Example 1 made no promise at all. It was essentially unbranded. Amazingly, I actually get marketing emails fairly frequently from people, and I can’t remember who they are. Example 2 reminded me that I chose them because they promise premium cat food at a reasonable price.

2. Follow up on your promises every time. A client you annoyed the first time you can contact is very unlikely to bother dealing with you again.

3. Offer your clients something very specific that they really want. “Free test package of premium cat food” made me think, “oh yes, I want that!” because I have a cat and she eats expensive food – and this company knows that because they’ve already sold me some. A €5 gift certificate to a shop I couldn’t even remember led to a “huh? Who are they?” reaction.

4. Sometimes, little details can make a big impression. Do you send out communications that say “Dear friend”? Ouch! Do you puzzle your clients by sending them “happy birthday” emails several days before their birthdays?

Have you experienced any postcard marketing lately that prodded you to action? What was it that did the trick?

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