Catalogers turn to postcards

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In the wake of the postal increases, catalog mailers are increasingly turning to creative solutions to keep the volume and integrity of their marketing messages intact, while keeping costs down.

One solution is postcards. Women's clothing catalog Lady Venus went to Clearwater, FL firm PostcardMania in a bid to increase the number of its qualified leads, cost-effectively. The company wanted to get sales from the leads as well.

Many catalog mailers are now using postcards ahead of a full catalog mailing, inviting prospects to request a catalog.

"Mailing a catalog can be outrageously expensive," said Karla Jo Helms, vice president of PR for PostCardMania. Sending a prospect a postcard costs much less money and if that person requests a catalog, they are much more likely to buy. For Lady Venus, the results were strong. "My ROI is very good," said John Sauer, owner of the Lady Venus catalog. In fact, Sauer received immediate orders for the item advertised on his postcard.

Sheila Heil, office manager of Heil Enterprises which publishes religious music catalogs, used postcards to clean up the company's database of customers whose addresses were no longer valid. Since Heil's product is so specialized, it does not work for it to mail to "or current resident."

"An important tip is getting a clear, defined list before you even start planning the postcard; analyze the database," Helm said. "Pick one product that sells a lot and feature it with a clear headline so that when people see it, they are motivated to buy."

In designing a postcard mailing, clear bold headlines, eye-catching color, clearly stated benefits from a product or service and an offer with a reason to "call now" should be clearly displayed.

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