You’ve figured out whom to target. Your brand assets are all ready to go. You’ve got a great product or service to promote. You’re down with direct mail in a marketing postcard as part of your blended channel strategy. Now it’s time to get your creative together and begin the campaigns.
However, before you do, I want to talk about why you’re bothering at all: your Call To Action (CTA).
Many marketers make the mistake of leaving the CTA till last when pondering their marketing postcard design. They spend their whole time working on images, some copy, font faces and all the rest of it and figure if that’s all perfect, their prospect will easily find a way to get through to them and buy their stuff.
If perfection in your ad were enough to promote action, we’d all be on the phone all day ringing everyone to try and buy off them. Look around – near perfection is everywhere – but you still don’t act.
There are a few possible routes your prospect can take upon receiving your card:
1: Recycle It
We don’t want this, not good for anyone. Of course, if you’ve sent a card advertising motor trade insurance to a beauty salon owner, there’s not much you can do. BUT even a minor level of interest/usefulness will keep your piece on the desk or tucked away in the notebook.
2: Call A Number
It’s easy enough these days to get a trackable phone number where you can measure response rates. Use a service like Twilio, and you get your number to redirect back to your switchboard or mobile and grab some stats. The number must be prominent, preferably not premium, and should be manned. Few things are worse than making the shift from a passive consumer of advertising to the excited buyer and be faced with a useless message on the other end. Obviously:
- Make sure the number works
- Test it with someone awkward phoning it, the type of person who gets annoyed at IVR systems
- If it’s not 24/7, make sure it’s clear how and when to get called back
- Make sure you do call back
Assuming the call is in business hours, and you connect – you’re golden – there are no more steps between you and the client.
3: Go to a Landing Page
With trackable links, you can measure response and even personalise landing pages for your prospects. Ideally, you send people to a landing page, not a homepage, unless you have good reason to do so. A specific landing page provides continuity to the imagery and message that has drawn people in in the first place.
Think of it like this – you’re walking along the high street and stumble across a cool looking new interiors shop with a great display of lighting in the window (= your marketing postcard). You’re sold – it’s about time you updated those table lamps with something modern. Deciding to move from prospect to lead, you cross the threshold (=open door, CTA) expecting to find a bigger selection, knowledgeable sales staff and inspiration abound. Instead, you’re met with a thousand random pieces, no new lamps and rather dull people who aren’t sure why you’re here (=homepage link with generic sales bot).
- Make sure it works
- Make sure there’s campaign continuity
- Make sure the CTA on the landing page is clear
Unlike a phone call, a landing page still keeps you 1+ steps away from your customers; but with the right design, you can move someone onto your e-lists and grab another usable touchpoint in the funnel.
3: Use your marketing postcard to trigger a different CTA
Some marketers ascertain that 30 touch points with a prospect will convert them to being a client. So you use your marketing postcard, your social, a second follow up in the automation, your salespeople.. etc.. in a blended marketing strategy.
One of our clients sent a very successful campaign to do just that – a series of four cards spread two weeks apart with the sole purpose of welcoming their prospect to the industry and sharing useful information. The prospect was almost sure to come across their brand during the first eight weeks in business, so no CTA was needed.
It’s just a warm and fuzzy backup to other brand activity where CTAs were better defined.
Rarely do TV ads ask you to do anything – they’re just there to increase the likelihood of triggering a CTA at a different stage.
4: Use your marketing postcard as an extension of Content Marketing
Some of my favourite and most infuriating mailing lists send me the beginnings of their story via email in such a way that I can’t help but click through to read the end. Naturally, there’s a LOT that goes into setting up a good content marketing strategy to work on this – but if you have one in place, consider building the list and distributing your pillar content in this way.
What CTA to use on your Marketing Postcard?
- Different prospects need different CTAs.
- Different markets need different CTAs.
- Different sales styles need different CTAs.
There’s no easy answer, and you should test. However, there are things to think about carefully:
1: When will your marketing postcard land?
Is your prospect likely to be picking up your message in their home, at their desk, early morning, late night? It’s tricky to know, but if you have a feel for how your target market process their post it might provide a clue. For example, beauty salon owners are on their feet all day dealing with staff and customers with admin pushed to the evening. If you’re using a phone number, help them remember to call you in the morning, or work the desk till 8 pm.
2: Is your offer transactional?
A quick transactional interaction might need a different CTA than a more drawn out one. If you’re selling something for £30, then you need your prospect to get on the phone/buying website and buy, or they’ll forget.
3: Is your offer dependent on time?
If a marketing postcard is being used to sell insurance, for example, there’s some consultation needs to happen, but the buyer has a long lead time in which to purchase. If you’re using our automated direct mail system to sell to startups, you’re in that window naturally, but if you were mailing a different list, you could be anywhere from 0 to 12 months away from their buying position.
Long and short: think hard about your CTA and test test test!