Sunday, May 24, 2009
Explore the opportunities of postcard marketing!
Postcard Marketing Model #15: Influence Big Shots
by Marcia Yudkin
Return-on-investment math often unnecessarily turns away marketers of low-priced products from using postcards as a promotional vehicle. Yes, if the goal is to sell copies of a $24.95 paperback book, sending even the most exciting, irresistible postcards about the book probably won’t garner enough sales to earn back the expense of a postcard campaign.
(Roughly, sending 2000 postcards would cost nearly $1800 in list rental,
printing and mailing of the cards. If you assume the book costs you $3 in
manufacturing costs, and you charge buyers the full cost of shipping a book,
you’d have to sell 82 books to break even, which represents a highly
unrealistic response rate – 4.1 percent of postcard recipients purchasing the
However, when you shift the premise and imagine pitching a low-priced item to
key individuals who each are in a position to influence thousands or tens of
thousands of others to buy it, the picture brightens. Here are three scenarios
illustrating smart, strategic marketing of a low-priced product to influential
players using postcard marketing.
1. Media pitches. If an editor or reporter writes about the product or a talk
show host mentions it on the air, it gets exposure to thousands upon thousands
of potential buyers – many more than you could cost-effectively reach sending
postcards to them one at a time. Also factor in the credibility provided by
media coverage that can be put to work in all kinds of promotions.
Most people approach media people via email or by using news release
distribution services, and in that context, a colorfully designed, enticingly
worded postcard arriving by mail stands out.
Companies like Easy Media List (www.easymedialist.com ), Media Mailing Lists
(www.listsyoucanafford.com/media.html ), and others sell targeted contact
information for media folks. For instance, contact information for 1,290 editors
at African-American publications costs $149 from the latter source. Add the
cost of printing and mailing postcards to them, and then conservatively assume
that a lucky 13 of the recipients (1 percent) publish something about the $24.95
book that each triggers at least five purchases. Now the postcard campaign is
2. Influencers. Other professionals besides journalists have great sway with
those in their sphere. Imagine them as the hub of a bicycle wheel, with spokes
extending from the center to dozens of points on the rim of the wheel. Here too
approaching the influencers involves a multiplier effect, since each might not
only purchase a copy of the item for themselves but also recommend it to their
patients, clients or customers.
For example, when I published a book for small business owners, it wouldn’t
have made sense to target them individually in a postcard campaign, even if
I’d been able to afford mailing cards to millions of people in that category.
However, I happily sent postcards about the book to more than 500 executive
directors of Small Business Development Centers throughout the United States,
who were each in a position to hand the postcard to their in-house librarian
and/or recommend it to workshops full of their small business clients for years
to come. Again the math becomes favorable in this scenario.
Influencers for real estate agents would be mortgage brokers. Influencers for
parents would be pediatricians. Influencers for wine producers would be
restaurateurs. Got the idea?
3. Bulk purchasers. A third scenario in which unfavorable postcard math turns
favorable is where you pitch a low-priced product not as a one-off purchase but
as something to buy in a large quantity. To take the book example again, this
might mean sending postcards to parent-teacher organization leaders to purchase
copies for all the board members, to human resource executives to suggest buying
hundreds of copies for employees or to private school administrators about
buying one for each graduating senior.
When it comes to postcard marketing of a low-priced product, success comes from
Veteran postcard marketer, consultant and author Marcia Yudkin is the creator of
The Mighty Postcard Marketing Course, which teaches the strategic, logistical,
design and copywriting secrets of successful postcard marketing
( www.yudkin.com/postcardcourse.htm ).
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