iStock_000004794479XSmallIf you want direct mail campaigns that produce consistently amazing results for your business in 2014, the first thing you need to do actually doesn’t have anything to do with direct mail. You need to nail down a Unique Selling Proposition. Without one, the message you present on your postcards won’t have the clarity and power it needs to convince people to take action. Don’t get me wrong… there are countless successes we can show where a mailing does not have a USP but, those that do have one perform even better.

What is a USP? How did I come up with one for my business when clearly postcards are a commodity? How can you create one for your business? I’ll tell you…

A USP is phrase that simply and clearly explains why your business is a better choice than any of your competitors.

When you take the time to identify and designate your USP, you give yourself an exclusive benefit that serves as the focal point of all of your marketing campaigns, including direct mail.

1) Have an Honest Conversation
Is there anything you offer that prospects cannot get anywhere else? This is the core of an excellent USP. If you don’t have a unique benefit at the moment, don’t worry. You can make one!

2) Brainstorm Possible USP Benefits
Get your key advisors together and brainstorm new ways to offer a benefit prospects can’t get elsewhere. Maybe you can offer a guarantee of some kind? Maybe you can stay open later? Maybe you can offer free delivery? No idea is too crazy at this point.

Note: You will almost certainly need to make changes to your operation or revenue model to accommodate the new benefit, but the increased effectiveness of your marketing should more than make up for the implementation costs if you have truly hit upon a desirable and exclusive benefit.

This is what I did with PostcardMania: After starting in 1998 others could see our growth and success and began to copy us. I loved that, actually – BUT, they also started undercutting our already low prices, and therefore took ‘postcard printing and mailing’ and made it a commodity.

I needed something new to differentiate PostcardMania from the pack again. So I went back to basics and asked myself what the biggest pain point was for customers. I realized it was failure. People spend all this money on direct mail and when they don’t see a good return on investment they are not only thoroughly disappointed – they vow never to mail again. How could I overcome THAT??

I looked at the barriers to a successful campaign:

A) Every business is different, so a campaign that works for Business A may or may not work for Business B.
B) The factors surrounding success of a campaign include:

  • Location – (we can’t control this)
  • Customer service– (we can’t control this)
  • Number of nearby competitors– (we can’t control this)
  • How well those competitors market– (we can’t control this)

C) Some clients will listen to us and some won’t
D) We are not always right, because direct mail is not an exact science due to the above variances.

So how could I ease the pain point of the customer? I concluded I had to be able to assure them that direct mail had worked in a large number of situations similar to their own. And so PostcardMania’s Results Manager was born!

I hired a new staff member whose sole responsibility is to track the results of every campaign we send out. And today PostcardMania can rightly claim that we are the ONLY postcard marketing company that builds your campaign based on the proven results of our 60,000+ clients (hundreds of thousands of campaigns).

3) Choose a USP Benefit
From your list of unique benefits, eliminate any that you are unable or unwilling to offer. Then choose from the remaining benefits on the list! What is best in your particular case is for you to decide, since you know your business best.

4) Write Your USP
The key to writing a good USP is to clearly state the benefit, and that it is exclusive, as quickly as you can. Here is a useful example formula:

[Business Name] is the ONLY [Business Type] that [USP Benefit].

Now that you have an amazing USP for your business, it is time to let people know about it. Make sure your USP is on every piece of marketing material you send out. For example:

  • Business cards
  • Emails
  • Postcards
  • Letters
  • In-Store Signage
  • Etc!

Do you have an amazing USP for your business? I want to hear it! Leave it in the comments…


Direct Mail 2.0