I've put together a quick introduction to postcard marketing for mortgage professionals. This article will highlight the pros and con's of postcard marketing and will briefly touch on production, copywriting and mailing lists.
Pros: Low Cost, High Visibility, Easy to Do it Yourself, Targeted
Cons: Limited Space, Crowded Channel
First of all, postcards are a low cost way to get your message in front of prospects. It is also an excellent and affordable way to get started in direct mail. First class postage for a standard sized postcard (4.25 x 6 inches) is $0.24 vs. $0.39 for standard first class mail. That's a savings of 38% on postage alone. An added benefit of mailing a first class postcard to your mortgage prospects is that it will be returned to sender if it has a bad address. This will allow you to keep your mailing list clean and up to date.
Postcards put your mortgage marketing message front and center in the cluttered mail pile. In most cases, when dealing with letters, the bulk of your message is contained within the actual envelope. Put another way, envelopes can create another barrier between you and your prospect. You are almost guaranteed that someone in the household will at least read the headline on your postcard.
Do it Yourself or Outsource
And, possibly the best reason for postcards, they are easy to create and send. A postcard doesn't need licked envelopes, folding, assembling, or letter stuffing. A postcard can be as simple as designing, printing, and stamping if you choose the do it yourself route.
If you want to go the do it yourself route, you can use an 8 in by 11in, 110lb cardstock and a laser printer. This can produce four cards per sheet by cutting the cardstock in quarters. Cardstock comes in virtually any color. For small mortgage shops and individual loan officers and mortgage brokers, the simple do it yourself postcard can be a great, low cost addition to your marketing mix.
For just a few cents more per card, there are many services that will even do that for you. All you need to do is create/approve the design and message and they will print and mail the postcards for you. There are tons of full service shops out there. Simple postcards work. You don't necessarily need a full color front / back glossy UV coated masterpiece to get a good response. Printing charges can add up quickly. If your card "upgrades" are costing 25% more than a basic card, might it make sense to send out 25% more cards?
A great postcard is useless if you aren't sending it to a good list. One of the greatest benefits of direct mail is the ability to craft and send a message to a targeted list. Self generated lists typically outperform rented lists. If you are buying/renting a list, be sure to call a number of providers or brokers.
Once you've subtracted the space necessary for postage and the mailing address, space becomes a premium on a postcard. However, this one "con" does force you to make sure your message is tight and on target.
Despite the time and effort put into any direct mail piece, it will still be considered "junk mail" by the overwhelming majority of recipients. As such, many of your prospects will proceed to file your correspondence in the circular file with barely a glance. Additionally, the odds are good that you will be competing with a number of other financial officers in the same day's mail as well as numerous other non financial direct mail pieces.
Crafting the Message
Whichever route you choose, you will still need to create or at the very least approve the message and design of your card. Don't be afraid to keep it brief. Give your prospects just information to take the next step and contact you. You are not trying to close the transaction with the postcard, you are simply to motivate the prospect to take an action that will convert them from prospect to a lead. Your headline is key as that is what will grab your prospect's attention. A good headline is arguably the most important part of your entire postcard. Use the valuable space on your postcard to give the reader an irresistible urge to take the next step. Make the website or phone number you are directing them to as clear and as big as possible.
Overall, marketing by postcards can be a relatively low cost method to reach a large number of targeted prospects.