About Larry Bauer

Larry Bauer is a highly skilled, experienced writer who brings an extensive marketing background to his copywriting. You’ll notice from the questions he asks that Larry understands business, how companies get to market, and how to communicate to customers. His ability to think strategically, combined with an appealing, conversational writing style, makes his copy both reader-friendly and effective.

Posts by Larry Bauer:

Using Illustration to Cut Through Visual Clutter.

brushOff-ink-250When  Julia and I first began discussing this topic, we were determined to take an illustration vs. photography approach. But the more research I did, the less I wanted to talk about photography. It’s not a competition, really, but rather a matter of making a choice based on which form will best accomplish your marketing objectives.

The Illustration Edge

According to the AIGA, the professional association for design, here’s what illustration can do for you: “Illustration can provide a unique sensibility to certain projects. Illustration brings spontaneity, freshness and a unique point of view to the design of content. It helps to communicate both simple and complex messages while enhancing a design through the unique vision and skill of the selected illustrator.”

“A Rationale for the Use of Illustration” published by Creativebusiness.com, offers further insight by noting that the new way of communicating in an age of tech-driven sameness is often the least technical and most unusual. Illustration cuts through today’s visual clutter to get ideas and products noticed. Illustration can:

  • Provide the best solution to a problem. There often is no better way to capture and manipulate emotion, atmosphere, flavor and mood to validate an idea or maximize a product’s allure.
  • Offer more flexibility. Reality has distinct limitations, but illustration can give personality and form to intangible ideas and concepts for which there are no practical photographic solutions. Think about:
    • Presenting products not yet built
    • Bringing back people and events long past
    • Revealing hidden sections
    • Communicating products that are in the works
    • Adding, moving or eliminating surroundings
    • Emphasizing details
  • Reduce costs. Not only are there a growing number of stock illustration sites, but also keep in mind that virtually 100 percent of the costs of a commissioned illustration go directly into the creativity. There aren’t always travel costs, elaborate sets and other costs often incurred with a custom photo shoot.

If you’re considering stock—or just want to get inspired by the great illustrative styles that are out there—check out these sites:


When working directly with illustrators, we recommend creating a standard form that outlines your licensing requirements. For example, having a contract that says, “We pay $X for Y license for Z time or Q medium,” makes it really easy to accept because the illustrator knows how much, for what, for how long and where.

Illustration Meets Technology

Keep in mind that illustrators haven’t been lost in a time warp. In fact, many illustrators use Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and other programs to create artwork that may include photography and other graphic elements. Ben Heine, a Brussels-based artist, combines photography and illustration to generate interesting images and new spaces that are comic, fun and a surreal. A new visual concept invented by Heine in 2010, the “Pencil vs. Camera” series encourages an expanded view of an otherwise normal subject. This technique has many possibilities for use in advertising, packaging and graphic communications.

Technology can also be used to animate illustrations in order to tell a story or convey an idea. Animated GIFs are a way to add animation to email campaigns (with caveats for newer versions of Outlook*) and Flash banners can be used in many magazine websites.**

This banner ad for Prinova is a perfect example of using illustration to creatively communicate how customers can use Prinova’s ingredients in their food manufacturing solutions. Photography also would not have worked as well to introduce the new company tagline. If you’re reading this from a smart phone, the backup JPG is displayed.

Remember that Original Artwork Belongs to the Illustrator

AIGA points out that an artist’s copyright is owned by the artist and is protected by the 1976 Copyright Act from the moment it is created. This protection covers the work for the artist’s lifetime plus 70 years. If agreed to in writing, the copyright may be assigned elsewhere, usually for an additional fee.

But original artwork is provided only temporarily to licensees for reproduction. Even the purchase of “exclusive rights” represents rights to reproduce the artwork only. The original illustration remains the property of the illustrator unless it is purchased explicitly and separately from the rights.

Original artwork also cannot be changed without the creator’s approval. Changes to an illustrator’s work must be made by the illustrator, unless you secure permission from the illustrator first. Many people are simply not aware of this law and unintentionally violate it. Please take the time to learn the rules of the road.

Call an Illustrator Today

There you have it—lots of reasons to incorporate more illustration into your communications.  So get moving. Or do I have to draw you a picture?

By Larry Bauer

*Outlook 2007/2010/2013 and Windows Mobile 7 will display the first frame of an animated GIF so keep that in mind when building animations for email use. Most other email apps will indeed take advantage of the full animation.
**While Flash is often an accepted format for website advertising, always provide a backup JPG in the event that users are viewing the website without Flash, such as via iPhones or iPads.

Do’s and Don’ts of Using Illustration.

reFereez-MVBA-250Original and distinct communication materials with the right illustrations can help boost your product or service in a crowded marketplace. These do’s and don’ts will help you get the most return on your investment.


  • Obtain exclusive rights for any illustration representing your brand.
  • Experiment with different types of illustrations to find out which types work best for your brand.
  • Use manual illustration to add a classic charm to your materials.
  • Use digital illustration to combine media, programs and techniques for very unique artwork.
  • Create a licensing agreement form to expedite direct transactions with illustrators.
  • Have a clear idea of what you want an illustration to convey or express.
  • Work with the illustrator to create a specific set of art review and approval stages.
  • Specify what individuals need to be part of the art review and approval process.
  • Educate yourself about copyright ownership vs. licensing agreements. US Federal law applies copyright ownership to the artist while you are free to negotiate licensed usage agreements for the copyrighted illustration.
  • Trust your artist to be the artist. If the illustration conveys your message, let the artist decide the details of the artwork.


  • Dismiss illustration because you think it’s too expensive—it’s often not.
  • Treat typography as an afterthought in the overall design—awful type can ruin great artwork.
  • Alter any illustration without getting the creator’s permission.
  • Think that illustration is a low-tech medium of a bygone era.
  • Try to illustrate materials yourself if you’re not a professional artist.
  • Reject the use of a certain color just because it isn’t one of your favorites.
  • Edit the life out of the illustration. Nitpicking the position of a character’s thumb or the shape of a chair corner (yes, people do it) won’t likely improve the artwork.
  • Forget that hand-drawn style illustrations can be a unique way to add character to digital deliverables like video, banner ads, and websites. Just because the deliverable is digital doesn’t mean the illustration has to look like it.
  • Ignore the nature of your brand personality. Illustration style, like photography, should support your brand, not fight with it.

By Larry Bauer and Tom McCain

Business Gift Giving on a Budget.

  1. Give a donation with a twist. Donations in honor of your customers aren’t novel, but getting them involved in the act is a fun twist. Select four or five charities and establish a pool of money (you don’t need to reveal the size of the pool). Send a letter explaining the program and ask them to designate the charity of their choice from the list. Customers can respond through a postage-paid postcard, an email or a personalized URL that takes them to their own landing page. You simply divide the money by the percentage of votes and have the charity send a recognition letter to each participant without stating the amount of the gift. Low cost. Multiple touches. Customer involvement.
  2. Send a product. This doesn’t work so well if your product is cement, but lots of companies make consumer or business products that are appropriate for gift giving. Or perhaps your company makes a range of products where the customer can make a choice. One of our favorite examples was an ad agency with a client that manufactured a line of high-end “arty” coasters that looked really cool on your table. They came in a wide range of choices, and the agency let each of their customers select a set from the brochure the agency had created for its client.
  3. Get intellectual. A popular business book (especially one on marketing) can make a thoughtful, moderately priced executive gift that doesn’t break the bank. It also gives you an opportunity to personalize the selection based on what you know about your client and provides future opportunities to discuss the content. If you’re not sure what book they would want or you’re afraid you’ll buy something they already own, then give them a few choices and benefit from the interaction.
  4. Gift the group. You can save money by sending a share-the-gift food item to the entire department in care of your lead contact. These types of group gifts tend to fly under corporate radar and can save you money if you’ve been providing a lot of individual gifts. You might also score points by paying attention to your customers’ employee health objectives. If they’ve been making a big push on the health and wellness front, try to find foods that are tasty but are also reasonably good for you.
  5. Do a service day. Don’t have any budget at all? Donate a service day (or morning or afternoon) to an area charitable organization. Your local homeless shelter, food bank or no-kill animal shelter are especially appropriate for the season and the economic climate. You can add to your time by having employees collect items from the organization’s urgent needs list. Whatever you do, be sure to take your camera along and share the story with your customers. Communicate that you performed the service in their honor in lieu of business gifts.

So what’s our holiday gift to you?

mb-2010-do-dont-v22bWe’ve made all of The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts tip books available for download! The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts is a collection of the most viewed “Do’s & Don’ts” published by our MondoBeat newsletter including:

  • Taglines
  • Print Advertising
  • Referrals
  • Trade Shows
  • Corporate Brochures
  • Direct Mail
  • Thought Leadership
  • White Papers

Simply visit our SlideShare page to download your complimentary copy.

The Growing Case for Video Marketing.

Everything today is about adding value, and that’s the number one reason to use video marketing. It plugs interaction — including face-to-face interaction — into your website, print promotions and events. You get a unique opportunity to blend your company’s personality and message into either an online or offline experience.

Still not sold? Here are 10 additional reasons to use video marketing:

  1. Raises your website’s search engine results — web crawlers recognize video.
  2. Improves the potential for your message to go viral through the social networks.
  3. Increases the average amount of time visitors spend at your site.
  4. Makes you stand out as an expert since not as many sites use video.
  5. Offers opportunities to provide a tremendously rich offline media experience — stuff a disk with MP3s, video, personal messages, mobile apps, high-res product photos, web links and free downloads.
  6. Augments and supports your existing online strategy when used with direct mail, providing a seamless physical/digital experience that encourages double-digit response rates according to research studies.
  7. Appeals to people who like to see something before they read it.
  8. Provides an opportunity to educate customers about a product or service.
  9. Puts a face on your company and builds your brand.
  10. Engages your customers’ senses, triggering emotional reactions that influence buying decisions in ways that static content can’t.

Professional vs. Homegrown Video.

The nice thing about digital video is that it doesn’t always have to be high end and expensive. The key is to know when you can use your flip camera and when you need a professional team.

And really, the rules are pretty simple:

  • Homegrown video is fine for website demos, new product intros, how-to presentations, brief commentaries and the like. For example, interLinkONE, an integrated marketing solutions provider, has a media page that features short videos covering topics ranging from using QR Codes in a printed catalog to live reports from their booth at a trade show. Homegrown solutions work great for these purposes where immediacy is important and viewers don’t expect premium content with high-end production.
  • Professional video is a must when the production represents the official, animated face of your brand. That’s when you need a quality script, title slides, smooth transitions, excellent lighting and sound, multiple shooting perspectives and top-notch editing. It can also be a good investment when the video will have multiple purposes — website, direct mail, trade shows—and a longer life span. You also need to consider professional video whenever your audience is more sophisticated and has high expectations.

What’s the Right Length?

Everyone wants to know how long is too long. And the general consensus for the appropriate length of online video is one to four minutes. Attention spans seem to grow shorter everyday, especially online.

But purpose means a lot, too. So a one- or two-minute product intro is not the same as a four- to six-minute in-depth case study.

You can also cut longer videos into segments that allow people to access only the parts that interest them. In general, you need to think of the video as an overview from which you can then link buyers to more detailed information in print or electronic form.

Regardless of length, relevance dictates how long people will view the video. Provide information that people want to know, and they’re far more likely to stay for the duration. When you’re trying to keep their attention, it pays to be tactical in selecting content and forget the broad-brush stuff.

Video Media Types.

Video is definitely an evolving medium, and different media types are emerging including video:

  • Product demos
  • Product overviews
  • Testimonials
  • News releases
  • Case studies
  • White papers
  • Corporate presentations
  • Commercials
  • Trade show and event previews
  • “How-to” demos
  • Blog posts

As these media types mature, more specific standards for length and other factors will emerge as well. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to experiment. Viewership will tell you quickly enough what’s working and what’s not.

By Larry Bauer

Want Expert Advice?

MondoVox Creative Group can help you create online video, DVDs and CDs that result in more customer interaction and sales. For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

You can connect with Julia Moran Martz on LinkedIn. Or follow her on Twitter.

Do’s and Don’ts of Video Marketing.

Take advantage of video’s remarkable ability to add value to your marketing program. Here’s how to ensure that videos will gain the positive attention that helps set your organization apart from the competition.


  • Display your brand logo occasionally throughout the video to help build recognition.
  • Offer both low- and high-resolution options to accommodate different connection speeds.
  • Select content with a tactical perspective.
  • Experiment with different media types.
  • Break longer videos into segments with the ability to move from one section to the next and to jump between sections.
  • Connect people to more in-depth print and online information.
  • Include rich media video with direct mail packages for added lift.
  • Invest more in videos that will serve multiple purposes and have a longer life.


  • Assume that everyone has the video player you choose—offer a link to a free download.
  • Forget that relevance rules in keeping peoples’ attention.
  • Overlook the value of a DVD to support your online strategy.
  • Use homegrown videos for corporate branding purposes or with sophisticated audiences that expect more.
  • Hesitate to use homegrown video for a product, service or event that has a short timeline and lower ROI potential.
  • Neglect to post your videos to YouTube and other video sharing sites in addition to your company’s website.
  • Fail to take advantage of the many free and low-cost video publishing, editing and post-production services that are available online.
  • Make excuses for not creating videos—go out and do it.

By Larry Bauer

Drumming Up Leads with Dimensional Mailers.

The best thing about a small target of high-potential customers is that you can afford to spend more money on them. In fact, you better, because everyone else is trying to reach them too. If you don’t have something different to say, and a different way of presenting yourself, you’ll get quickly tossed aside.

That’s why elusive, premium prospects are perfect candidates for three-dimensional packages. So put on your creative hat for a few minutes, and let’s look at how you can make dimensional packages pay off for you.

Why Dimensional Packages Work.

One of the big challenges in moving up the prospect food chain is getting your marketing materials past the admin-assistant gatekeepers. The odds of a postcard or self-mailer making the cut are pretty slim. And electronic alternatives such as email are almost unthinkable unless you’ve established a personal relationship.

What you need is a package that looks personal and stands out from everything else that hits an executive’s desk—or tries to. A box, a tube or other dimensional package that comes personally addressed to the executive, along with a really good headline, is very likely going to get opened. Human curiosity gets the best of all of us, no matter what position we hold. And everyone likes something that seems like a present.

So How Can You Miss?

Easily. Dimensional packages might seem like no brainers (How can you fail with a cushy budget, right?) but just the opposite is true. They need lots of thought and solid creativity to work effectively. To avoid a disaster, let’s look at the two main ways that marketers bring dimensional doom upon themselves:

  • Getting caught up in clever. Your dimensional campaign can go down the tubes (no pun intended) just like the entertaining TV commercials that people like but then don’t buy the product. Remember that there’s a business point to be made, and it can’t get totally lost in the fun.

    None the less, a dimensional mailer is a big opportunity to be creative. Just remember that you still need to make a case for people wanting to do business with you.

  • Coming across as a bribe. This can be a really fine and dangerous line, but error on the side of caution. My personal guideline is $25. As soon as someone perceives the contents to be inappropriately expensive for a promotion, you’re in trouble. Sometimes it’s best to stick with things that relate directly to your business.

    For example, I did a dimensional package for a major printer that wanted to reach marketing executives in different sectors. The campaign was multi-stage and went out during the summer with a “grilling” theme. Sales reps got to pick a certain number of prospects that were high potential but contact resistant. Here’s how the program worked:

    • Prospects received three envelope mailings over a short period of time with each consisting of a personalized letter and a one-page case history appropriate to the market and service being promoted. The mailings also included a favorite grill recipe from an executive at the printing company, including a picture of the person and a little personal history behind the recipe.
    • The final mailing came in a box set and included the popular How to Grill cookbook by Steven Raichlen, a product the printer also happened to print and distribute for its publisher client. So the campaign offered a little fun, came across as executive-to-executive and included a useful tie-in premium that demonstrated the printer’s capability. It also was dynamite at getting the attention of difficult-to-reach executives without overstepping the gift-value component.

Are Dimensional Mailers Strictly for Business-to-Business?

Most are, but that’s primarily a function of being able to more easily whittle down your target in the business sector. But again, dimensional mailers are all about creativity, so don’t necessarily think they’re out of the question if you’re in the consumer space.

A quick simple example is the Republic of Tea catalog, which always includes (or at least mine does) a sample tea packet attached to the cover. It gives the catalog a third dimension, puts it at the top of the pile and gets people to try teas they might never have bought otherwise.

Companies with high-ticket products are also obvious candidates. Manufacturers of luxury automobiles and other premium products can afford to spend more on customer acquisition and have smaller target audiences.

The Time for Dimensional Packages Has Never Been Better?

Although it might sound contradictory, slow economies are ideal for dimensional packages. They force you to do the all-important database work and follow up, help you stand out even more as companies cut back on marketing expenditures and tend to have much higher ROI than conventional direct mail and other marketing efforts.

So start working on that creative brief today.

By Larry Bauer

Want Expert Advice?

MondoVox Creative Group can help you develop dimensional packages that result in sales more ROI. For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

You can connect with Julia Moran Martz on LinkedIn. Or follow her on Twitter.

Do’s and Don’ts of Dimensional Packages.

You can create a buzz with dimensional packages, to say nothing of generating valuable leads. Here’s how to ensure that recipients will not only open your dimensional package, but will open it first.


  • Put something inside that is valuable, fun—or preferably both.
  • Make the sales message simple, to the point and easy to find.
  • Use a parcel delivery service rather than the USPS, if possible.
  • Tie the contents into what you are selling, though you don’t always need to be literal—copy can make a strong tie-in.
  • Use a standard size box if you want to minimize costs.
  • Think beyond paperboard if you have the budget and really want to stand out—try wood or fabric, for instance.
  • Incorporate other channels—a pURL or a QR Code on an enclosure can add more involvement and personalization.
  • Demand accountability from the sales force—involve them as much as possible.


  • Use a dimensional package with the intention of closing a sale—it’s a lead generator.
  • Make the contents so expensive they look like a bribe, though you can get by with a bit more if your target is owners of independent businesses.
  • Think that boxes are your only alternative—tubes as well as lumpy mailings or sturdy, gusseted envelopes can also work.
  • Get lost in cleverness at the expense of an action-generating message.
  • Do anything that would make your package look potentially dangerous or prankish.
  • Forget to use a stringent pre-qualification process—dimensional mailers are too expensive to waste.
  • Send more mailers than your team can follow-up with promptly.

By Larry Bauer

mb-2010-do-dont-v22bMissed Getting Your Copy of The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts? Not to worry. We’ve made digital versions available via SlideShare. The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts is a collection of the most viewed “Do’s & Don’ts” published by our MondoBeat newsletter including:

  • Taglines
  • Print Advertising
  • Referrals
  • Trade Shows
  • Corporate Brochures
  • Direct Mail
  • Thought Leadership
  • White Papers

Simply visit our SlideShare page to download your complimentary copy.

Envelopes—Your “Get Opened” Tool.

You have a lot of direct mail formats available—postcards, self-mailers, dimensional mailers and, of course, the good old envelope. Many factors from budget and objective to the nature of your offer and audience enter into your format decision. So let’s begin our discussion with when you should use an envelope package.

Four Reasons to Choose Envelope Packages.

The first and most obvious is that envelopes provide an ideal solution when your offer requires more space for multiple components such as a cover letter, brochure, buckslip and reply envelope. After all, something has to keep the components from falling on the ground.

Second, envelopes better accommodate the fact that people buy in different ways. The letter-brochure combo provides alternate ways of presenting information—one more verbal and fact oriented, the other more visual.

Third, real people send things to real people in envelopes. Recipients feel more catered to when they receive an envelope package—especially a personalized one—and that’s essential in today’s marketplace.

Fourth, envelopes tend to look less promotional than postcards and self-mailers, so they have the ability to lift you above the marketing fray with a classier presentation.

Then There’s the Offer Thing.

Some types of offers just beg for an envelope. After analyzing lots of tests and studies, most direct marketing authorities consider envelopes more effective for these types of offers:

  • Financial products—loans, credit cards, securities, insurance
  • Magazine and newspaper subscriptions
  • Continuity/membership clubs
  • Charitable solicitations
  • Professional services
  • High-ticket consumer goods
  • Technology products
  • Telephone services

But perhaps the most important and often overlooked reason to use an envelope is that it can contain a letter. A real, honest-to-goodness personal letter. Oh, I know we don’t write so many of them anymore, but that’s not because they don’t work.

If fact, letters are incredibly powerful either as a standalone component or as part of a package. Many direct mail authorities still believe that a letter is the most important single element in a direct mail package. And many tests show that letters can hold their own or even exceed the performance of postcards and self-mailers.

Consider including a letter when your message needs to:

  • Come from one person by name.
  • Be addressed to an individual by name.
  • Requires added credibility or confidentiality.

And the more personalized you can make the content, the higher the letter’s impact will be.

Sealing It Up.

Well, I suppose I digressed a bit from envelopes. But perhaps it highlights the most important point of all. Nothing really stands alone in marketing. We talk about integrated media while sometimes forgetting the integrated relationship of components within a single element like a direct mail package.

Now about that envelope….

By Larry Bauer

Want Expert Advice?

MondoVox Creative Group can help you develop direct mail packages that result in sales. For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

You can connect with Julia Moran Martz on LinkedIn. Or follow her on Twitter.

Do’s and Don’ts of Envelopes.

Creating effective envelopes doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money. To the contrary, it means understanding your audience and offer and then creating an appropriate fit. Here’s how to ensure that recipients welcome your next envelope package.


  • Ensure your envelope is at least ¼” larger than the inserts.
  • Put your company name on the envelope if you’re confident it will cause a positive reaction from recipients—otherwise leave it off.
  • Match images, graphics and copy appropriately to your audience.
  • Use postage stamps if possible, especially for small mailings or anything that requires a personal touch.
  • Use metered mail as a second choice, but avoid the dreaded indicia—studies show that Fortune 500 companies route 30% of Standard Mail to the wastebasket immediately.
  • Personalize—that can mean anything from variable-data messaging to using a legible script font or actual handwriting—non-profits read this again.
  • Include teaser copy that is compelling, intriguing and invites curiosity.
  • Test envelope color, size, style and paper—differences might attract people who pitched a mailing before.
  • Consider an enclosure that creates an envelope lump—people can’t resist them, but be aware that it will add to postage costs.
  • Play the angles—an angled teaser line or even a slightly angled stamp can make your envelope get noticed.


  • Use form letter or bill formats—they typically either get tossed or put with the bills.
  • Use a window envelope—possible exceptions are if it’s the only way to get killer personalization inside or if it’s a full view that shows a compelling graphic.
  • Put your offer on the envelope—especially to a cold list.
  • Underestimate the power of envelope tone—official, fun, etc.
  • Neglect to plan well in advance if you want to use a specialty envelope—custom envelopes take longer to produce.
  • Address your B2B mail to generic titles if at all possible—nothing screams mass mail louder than generics.
  • Skimp on any element of address accuracy—Cathy with a “C” might tune you out in a heartbeat if you spell her name with a “K.”
  • Dupe recipients into thinking your envelope contains something it doesn’t—tone needs to fit the actual contents.
  • Use statements like “Open Immediately”—see above.
  • Forget to order 5–10% more envelopes than you need—you’ll likely lose some in setup.
  • Time your mail to arrive on Monday, the heaviest mail day of the week—aim for Tuesday, the lightest day, or Wednesday, the second lightest.

By Larry Bauer

mb-2010-do-dont-v22bMissed Getting Your Copy of The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts? Not to worry. We’ve made digital versions available via SlideShare. The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts is a collection of the most viewed “Do’s & Don’ts” published by our MondoBeat newsletter including:

  • Taglines
  • Print Advertising
  • Referrals
  • Trade Shows
  • Corporate Brochures
  • Direct Mail
  • Thought Leadership
  • White Papers

Simply visit our SlideShare page to download your complimentary copy.

Are You Still Mailing Your Father’s Postcards?

Postcards are more popular than ever, though many writers and designers run for cover when they hear the word. Some don’t like condensing the message into such a small space. Others dismiss them as low-end, low-value promotions for companies that can’t afford anything else.

But savvy marketers know better.

Postcards can be performance powerhouses when done right. In fact, they sometimes do remarkably well even when done poorly. One of the reasons they continue to work is that postcards come “pre-opened.” There’s no decision to make. The offer is right in front of you. Postcards draw immediate attention and give you more than a fighting chance to entice the prospect even when you’re unknown.

Perfect for today’s over-messaged marketplace.

Understanding Postcard Basics.

Although our intent is to take the form to its highest level, there are four postcard basics that you need to get right no matter what technology you integrate into your campaigns:

  1. Attention-demanding Headline. You only get a few seconds to gain attention, so make your headline big and benefit oriented.
  2. Involving Visual. Draw in the recipient by making the visual and headline work as a team. Visuals should be as large and involving as possible. Showing a product or service in action is always effective.
  3. Persuasive Copy. Maintain interest with strong, feature- and benefit-oriented copy. Since you are likely using a multi-step approach, write your copy to entice and qualify.
  4. Call to Action. Be sure to tell the recipient exactly what action to take and don’t assume anything. Direct the person to “Call toll free today for a free sample and information kit,” or whatever is the appropriate action for your program. Multiple, user-friendly options tend to work best.

Adding Some Technology Juice.

Separate your postcards from the competition by taking advantage of today’s technology.

  • Do Your Database Work. From variable data digital printing to inkjet imaging, print technology provides a lot of opportunities to personalize and customize your postcard mailings. There’s a strong likelihood that you have plenty of existing data to elevate the performance of your postcards. Start simply if you must and work your way up, but do use your data. Every personalization step you take will deliver better results. Keep in mind that there’s also worthwhile demographic information you can append from outside sources while you’re building your internal database. Seek help if you need it.
  • Personalize. Get past the “name thing” quickly. It’s not that using someone’s name isn’t worthwhile—it is—but today’s variable technologies allow you to do so much more with photos, graphics and copy if you know anything at all about your target. You can create postcards that are variable in every respect with digital presses or do something as simple as offline- inkjet imaging a store location map when you’re doing the addressing. You can also create postcards with personalized URLs (pURLs) that connect recipients to a personal landing page where they typically receive an incentive for their effort. Many times there are additional offers beyond the original promise, such as an opt-in newsletter or club membership, available at the personal landing page. Besides the personalization effect, the big benefit of pURLs is that they provide a reliable method for tracking postcard recipients who went online as a result of the promotion, whether or not they took advantage of the offer.
  • Involve. Postcards can now be more involving than ever. QR Codes, which are hotter than hot, are two-dimensional barcodes that enable smartphone users equipped with the correct reader software to scan the code. This causes the phone’s browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL. A real estate company, for example, could offer a property on the postcard and the QR code might take the recipient to a video tour of the home. But don’t dismiss other involvement devices such as scratch-offs, repositionable notes and other proven techniques.

The bottom line is that postcards not only work, but also are evolving tools that can achieve virtually any level of marketing sophistication your program requires.

By Larry Bauer

Want Expert Advice?

MondoVox Creative Group can help you develop postcard campaigns that take advantage of today’s technology. For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

You can connect with Julia Moran Martz on LinkedIn. Or follow her on Twitter.