Direct Marketing Postcards in the Mail in Just Five Days

By: Janet Holian

You have a plan for your direct mail campaign but it is going to take 5-10 days to get it produced, a full day out of the office for you along with your graphic designer, and it will cost a lot of money. The worst part? You're not even sure if it will work. This is the quandary of nearly every direct marketer today. Everyone wants to test other channels such as postcard mailings, but production timelines and costs make that nearly impossible.

All of these issues limit the ability of any great direct marketer to test offers, never mind test other channels that could impact your bottom line. Today's world demands that direct marketers move at warp speed and do so by spending less money.

Pitfalls of Postcard Marketing Production

Sure you have to make certain that the color is right, the print quality is up to snuff and there are no typos or marks on the pieces. You also want to ensure that there is consistency throughout the print run so the first postcard looks as fantastic as the last one. And of course, every direct mail campaign needs to meet postal regulations. But these are mechanical issues that don't get to the root of the problem.

The biggest production pitfalls of any direct mail campaign surround the time, money and sheer effort it takes to produce just one postcard marketing campaign, never mind testing. For every campaign, you have to determine the strategy, hire a creative team to produce it, work with your local printer, ensure the set up and proofing process goes off without a hitch and be on-press to ensure each and every piece comes out as originally planned. Not to mention that you also have to print thousands of pieces to get a reasonable price.

It can take weeks for the design to be finalized, another 5-10 days before the postcards are actually printed and more time for the mail house to get everything into the mail. In total, it could be up to seven weeks-hardly warp speed-making testing the success of any direct mail piece extremely difficult. In addition to hurting the direct marketer's ability to test, this long production process limits learning. Last minute opportunities or the ability to take advantage of timely events are nearly impossible.

Test for Success

So why is testing so important? Testing is every direct marketer's best weapon. It lets us determine what works and what doesn't so we can learn for the next campaign. In fact, every direct marketer should learn from every single mailing so each consecutive one becomes more successful.
How does testing work? Start with an audience by testing to see if they are the right target for your product or service.

Once you have a good list to work with, test the offer to see if a discount works better than say a free product. Then, test the format of the piece to determine, for example, if envelopes work better than self mailers.

Good testing methodology makes a difference and because of this, it is critical to look for production options that enable the quick printing of direct mail pieces in cost-effective, small print runs. Once this is achieved, sophisticated testing programs can be run quickly and efficiently for more effective direct mail campaigns.

Open Up the Creativity

In addition to practicing good testing, many direct mail pieces lack creativity. It is no one person's fault unfortunately the current lengthy process of any direct mail piece stifles campaigns. Many just stick with what works instead of finding something that works better. And who can blame them?

The fact is, it's critical to find out what enables your organization to stand out from the crowd. Consumers and businesses everywhere are inundated with direct mail pieces that get thrown into the garbage. Creativity can mean the difference between the trash bin and success. Why not use it and test a more creative campaign against a standard one? You might be surprised by the results.

Finally-Direct Marketing at Warp Speed

Once a faster, more efficient design and printing process is in place, direct postcard mailings can become the norm because they are cheap to produce and easy to test and learn. The power of the internet takes the traditional design and printing process and turns it into a cost-effective tool for direct marketers of all types and this is available today. The result is a direct marketing machine that can turn on a dime and quickly and easily produce, test and deploy cost-effective direct marketing campaigns that make a difference to the bottom line.

Follow this link for information on postcard printing services.

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