Postcards – The Tweet of Direct Mail Marketing
Direct Mail Marketing and Twitter may have more in common than you think. If you’ve used Twitter, you know it’s limited to 280 characters. Do you know why? The postcard. As the story goes, the character limit was dreamed up by Friedhelm Hillebrand (father of modern text messaging) who came up with the original 160 characters as the “magic number” needed to convey something.
When the deciding committee looked at postcards and found most of the messages were around 150 characters – voila – the 160 character limit was born (Twitter keeps those extra 20 characters for usernames). Fascinating, right? So, how can you use the currently oh-so-popular Twitter logic and apply that to your Direct Mail Marketing?
Think Vacation Postcard, not Marketing Postcard
The day of the forceful “I’m selling you something” marketing is gone to be replaced by relationship-driven marketing. If you don’t care about your customers, they’re not going to care about you. Remember those vacation postcards your friends have sent you over the years? “Hey, wish you were here?” That’s the feeling a Tweet gives you and the feeling you want to replicate with mailers today.
Keep it Short and Conversational
We are so deluged with information, it is a good idea to squeeze the important aspects of your message into as few words as possible because you’ll have a better chance at getting people to read and respond. The nature of both Twitter and postcards forces you to keep things short and get right to the point. Amen.
Be Personal – Don’t Automate
Even though there are ways to automate your Twitter responses experts say that it’s best not to do that. The same goes for postcards. Give your postcard campaigns a chatty personal feeling, use names whenever possible, and create copy that is more like talking to a friend.
Updates & Invitations
Use postcards to keep your customers updated on events, promos, etc. Just like you would with Tweets. For instance, send out a “mark your calendar” postcard for important events. Twitter is a good forum for generating quick invites to your blog or site – so are postcards. Use them to generate a quick phone call or for “driving people to your Web site” (or to your Twitter site).
The Postcard Tweet Me
One of the cool things about Twitter is the “you talk I listen, I talk you listen” thing – you know, a conversation. You can imitate this feeling with direct mail by sending out a mailer with a postcard the customer can return. A conversational, “Hey, what did you think of the red shirt you bought from us? Send in this card and let us know.” Then when they send the card in, respond to them by sending an email or other communication, “Thanks for letting us know how you liked the red shirt” and then invite them to follow you on your blog or Twitter.
Twitter is about people. Make your postcards and other mailers about the people you are connecting with – not about what you want to tell them. Postcards may not be quite as instantaneous as Twitter but with (shameless plug) a company like Next Day Flyers, you can have them in the mail tomorrow.
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- Short Is Sweet: Postcards Begat SMS Begat Twitter by MG Siegler
- Nine Twitter tips for business by Jason Snell
- Five Inexpensive Direct Mail Tools to Generate Sales Leads Fast by Dean Rieck