Bold postcards for Office Max drive both traffic and leads effectively

Rising prices and a tough economy are hurting everyone. But the answer isn’t to stop mailing — rather, the answer is to mail smart.

For many businesses, mailing smart means turning to postcards, which are more economical for printing and post­age. Unfortunately, some businesses waste their money and effort on pretty photos and clever copy. But not Office Max — in this postcard, it gets it right.

On the front, the copy boldly identifies the store and screams the offer in 300-point type. On the back, the postcard provides a strong call to action with three coupons, each with a deadline.

Because postcard recipients are either customers or businesspeople within a few miles of the store, there is no need for extra details. People know and trust the brand. All they need is a strong offer that hits their hot button — which, in this case, is the chance to save money on office supplies and equipment.

Postcards are powerful and economical if used the right way. Even with a large postcard, there is little real estate to work with, so copy must be simple and direct. Visuals must be both eye-catching and rel­evant. People spend just seconds to decide if a postcard offers something of value.

More importantly, you must under­stand the limitations of a postcard. It’s a quick hit format that works well with familiar brands, simple products or ser­vices, and clear offers. It’s good for such things as generating store traffic or sales leads. Selling products with a postcard is harder, although not impossible if the price point is low. Postcards are especially economical when mailing to your current customer base.

Consider these postcard best practices:

First, use them for “two-step” sales, to drive traffic or inquiries. This includes driving traffic to Web sites.

Next, focus on one big idea per card. If you have two or more goals, use two or more postcards.

Get instant attention with a bold head­line. You’re competing with other mail, so you have to communicate quickly.

Make a simple, compelling offer. If people don’t understand the offer in two seconds, they’ll trash the card.

Finally, provide a clear call to action. Recipients must understand what you want them to do, or they won’t do it.

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