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What Is Postcard Marketing? The Small Business’ Guide to Local Awareness

If you own a local business, you can’t sit around waiting for people to discover you. Just opening your doors or obtaining a business license and a custom-painted service van isn’t enough. Getting out and meeting people isn’t enough. Even if you’re a real estate agent, spa or salon technician or personal trainer that works under a broader business umbrella, you have to take deliberate steps to gain and grow awareness. You need postcard marketing.

In some ways it’s harder for a small, local business to gain awareness than it is for a big company.

Traditional advertising methods – magazines, television and even radio in many locales – have far too broad a reach, and a cost that reflects that. They simply aren’t viable options for a local business. Traditionally “local” methods — newspapers, the phone book, etc. – also have little value to generate business awareness because fewer and fewer people even pay attention that kind of advertising any more. In fact a significant percentage of people go out of their way to avoid it.

Generally speaking, the smaller the business the smaller the marketing budget. That also reduces your options, and it makes it all the more important to zero in on marketing techniques that will bring you the highest possible return on the money you invest.

With most traditional marketing avenues closed to you, how can you get the word out about the services you offer or the merchandise you carry or the food you serve? Postcard marketing.

People prefer to do business with people they know.

In some ways, it’s easier for a small local business to gain awareness. You’re a neighbor – you see and talk to people every day. If you’re a savvy marketer, you make sure those folks associate you with your business name and what you do or sell. But you can’t be too pushy about that, or you’ll turn people off.

You can sponsor local events, kids sports teams, etc. to broaden awareness of your business, but that rarely generates sales. You need that revenue to keep your business alive and growing.

Postcard marketing has your back.

It offers right-size scope to match your local service area, whether it’s an entire community or a limited area within a larger town or city. With the right targeting, you can deliver your message right to the mailbox of your top prospects. That might be virtually everyone, if you’re a general practice dentist, a church or a restaurant. But it could be narrower group – parents of school-age children, seniors, new residents or new homeowners. With postcard marketing, you don’t waste effort or resources. Right away, you’re generating a valuable return on your investment.

Over time, postcards go beyond awareness to build familiarity and reputation — the intangibles that make people like you personally and trust your business. Once you’ve established that familiarity, people are even more excited to get your postcard marketing in the mail. They know it’ll be something good, so they’ll respond even faster.

Postcards augment your online marketing.

A useful website and a Google+ presence are vital ingredients for success if you’re a local business. They help people literally find you and learn more about what you do or sell or the food you serve. Facebook and other social media can be good marketing tools, too. Postcard marketing reaches your best prospects in an entirely different way, delivering something “real” they can touch and hang on to.

That makes postcards ideal as your primary marketing tool or as a component of your multi-channel marketing campaigns. Postcards can present tempting special offers, reinforce your online messaging and drive traffic to your website, your social media profiles, your phone or your front door.

That’s versatility you just can’t get with other advertising media. It’s exactly what you need to generate local awareness and build a thriving business.

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