Read This Before You Mail Another Postcard
Don't get me wrong. I admire the postcard as a direct mail format. Used appropriately, postcards can more than pull their weight in generating response.
Marketers on tight budgets love postcards. They cost less to print and mail than other direct mail formats. They're also fast-and-simple to produce and quick-and-easy for recipients to read. But fast and cheap aren't necessarily sound reasons to mail thousands postcards without even considering other direct mail formats.
After pulling stacks of 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" postcards from my mailbox, I've been wondering if marketers and their creative colleagues have forgotten (or simply don't know) there are other direct mail formats
So here's a quick refresher.
Solo. It's called a solo package because it focuses the reader's attention on a single (solo) product or service ... or a group of similar products such as a line of skin care products. The solo gives writers and designers the opportunity to build a comprehensive sales story using an assortment of components such as a letter, brochure, product sample or swatch, varying inserts and a response device — all inserted into an outer envelope or carrier. This classic package is a workhorse and one of the original formats that made direct marketing famous.
Solo advantages include:
- Higher perceived value that gets it past the mail screener
- More personal/confidential in nature because it arrives in a sealed carrier
- More opportunities to show and tell a multi-faceted benefit story with a compelling letter and brochure
- The flexibility to include multiple inserts of varying sizes to highlight offers, customer reviews, guarantee, product samples and freemiums.
Insurance, credit card, and travel-related services remain big believers in the solo. To confirm this, simply look in your mailbox or check out the biggest archive of direct mail anywhere, Who's Mailing What!
On the flip side, these same advantages increase production and postage costs and add time to a production schedule. That said, I've written solos that included actual product samples and outperformed much less expensive postcards and self-mailers. The solo was an effective investment in getting the prospect's attention and addressing buying objections in a way less expensive formats didn't.
Related story: 11 Tips for Creating Subject Lines That Get Opened