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By Marcia Yudkin
Realistically, you’re not going to sell cars, houses, executive coaching or cruise vacations with a one-postcard campaign. But when you are selling something that goes for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, postcards can certainly get the selling process going.
The key to using postcards to effectively initiate interest in high-priced products and services is creating a series of actions for the interested prospect to take. Each action in the series gradually and inevitably moves him or her closer to a buying decision. Here’s how to make this strategy work.
First, get very clear on who you are targeting. Direct mail lists enable you to zero in on bald-headed husbands who hunt and fish and make more than $100,000 a year, or women executives at technology companies with more than 50 employees, within 25 miles of San Francisco. Be as specific as possible in who you’re trying to reach for each marketing campaign.
Second, identify a problem or desire with which you are going to connect. Again, be specific. Perhaps the hunters want a new way to keep their skills in tune out of seasons. Perhaps the executives need someone they can trust to guide them confidentially through the jungle of office politics.
Third, decide on a low-risk action you want those interested to take first. Here’s where the average marketer gets greedy and pushy, instead of being strategic. The first action should involve a relatively small commitment of time, energy or attention, such as requesting a free sample, free assessment or free information piece of some sort. This request enables you to capture their contact details and begin the marketing process.
Fourth, write and design the postcard to induce them to take the action you identified. The pitfall to avoid here is trying to sell the car, house, executive coaching or cruise vacation instead of simply pointing the postcard recipient toward that first action. You certainly don’t hide your company identity, but do not focus on anything but the action you want the recipient to take and how he or she will be better off for having done so.
Fifth, before sending the postcards, have a sequence of at least two other steps mapped out. Interested prospects will download your report, then receive a phone call inviting them to an open house, then get a discount certificate in the mail, then receive another call, then receive a series of four postcards if they haven’t purchased the expensive item, for example.
Postcards can not only initiate the selling process, but also help you keep prospects interested and informed until they are ready to buy. Postcards later in the sequence can focus on a new feature of what you’re selling, a success story, an answer to a common doubt or objection, persuasive statistics, etc.
According to a study by the Thomas Publishing Company, most sales to businesses occur only after at least five contacts. For expensive consumer items, that statistic holds as well. Unless you carefully plan your selling strategy, you’re probably giving up way too soon! Use postcards to begin the selling process and keep buyer interest going.
About the Author: Veteran postcard marketer/author Marcia Yudkin is the creator of The Mighty Postcard Marketing Course, which teaches the strategic, logistical, design and copywriting secrets of postcard marketing. Download her free 1-hour audio interview on marketing with postcards: http://www.yudkin.com/postcards.htm
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