Years ago the only way we had to reach consumers was through the post office. Then, along came Cyberspace and email. Suddenly email was the cure-all and billed as the snake oil of the 21st century for large scale communicating. For virtually zero cost you could contact thousands of people. It was cheap, but today it's back to being just one of many vehicles you need for effectively communicating your marketing message.
Think about how much email we dump before we even turn on a computer? My phone is set up to show me all my my email and anything I don't want is dumped without ever being opened. Companies are spending millions of dollars to be in my mailbox and yours, but we make them disappear every day with just the push of a button!
Even more ironic is the US post office, one of the many government organizations we all love to hate when they raise the price of a stamp each year, is back in the driver's seat. Often a well-designed post card will help you get your message out there better than email.
If you're going to design an effective marketing campaign then my suggestion would be to design your post card as the foundation and then spin off various components for email, social media, your website and blog. You need all of these components for success. Then, "accessorize" your campaign with some publicity and cross-promotion with other companies or photographers. The whole idea is to weave a web around your target audience so that your promotion/message really is everywhere.
Your goal is to build top-of-mind awareness. In other words, the minute the thought of needing a professional photographer comes into your target's head, your name is right there, because they just got your postcard, read about you in the paper, heard somebody mention your name or read something on line.
But, don't underestimate the importance of having a good looking message. The challenge in postcard and printed material is developing an effective design. I'm always amazed that photographers are the worst offenders when it comes to forgetting a picture is worth a thousand words. They insist on long worded boring descriptions of their promotions when they could be hitting their audience hard with some great images and a few snappy one liners.
Unless you have a degree in graphic design, you don't need to do this all by yourself. Here's a suggestion, look for vendors who have talented design staff ready to jump on projects like this, but you have to make the call and then take the time to think through your message or promotion. You're the only one who can make effective decisions about how your work is being presented.
The timing right now could not be better! Yes, I said "better". Think about how many of your counterparts are caught up in the challenges of the economy. What better time for you to make an investment in yourself and promote your business when so many companies are pulling back?
Illustration Credit: © zukhrufeya - Fotolia.com