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Improving Readership in Post Cards — Part II of III

Improving “Glance Readership” in Post Cards — Part II of III

by Jeffrey Dobkin

Glance Readership is the 2 seconds you get when someone first picks up your post card. 
In this time they decide to either read it — or throw it out (along with your money).

In part one of this article…

We discussed creating a great headline to drive readers into reading the rest of the post card text.  This was by creating an unusually G-R-E-A-T headline using the Jeff Dobkin 100-to-1 Rule: write 100 headlines, go back and pick out your best one.  Hey, I didn’t say you’d like it, I just said it was effective.

Here’s how to continue to drive readers further into the copy of your postcard to fulfill your post card’s objective.  You do know what your post card’s objective is, don’t you?  Or… do you?

So at first glance your reader reads your headline.  Bam.  Kapow.  Zzzip.  Your reader was instantly dazed, dazzled and driven to continue reading.  Yes, just like that.  In under 2 seconds.

OK, don’t lose him now — to sustain readership, use bold sub-headlines.  You know, the couple of sentences scattered throughout the body copy to break it up——with bold, large type that’s not quite as large as your headline. Yea, use two or three of them.

Today’s skimming readers will pass over smaller type to read the bold subheads before going back to read the regular text.  Man, those subheads need to be G-R-E-A-T, also.  And, just like the headline, this is NOT the place to sell your product, either.  It’s the place to further increase readership.  That’s the only objective of the subhead copy.  Keep the reader interested, keep him reading.

Your post card’s sub-headlines create a fascinating but short storyline of brief bits, bullets and bites of boundless bulleted bullshit… er, information.  Sorry, I got caught up in my own alliteration.

The subheads, as we call them in the business, continue to fascinate your audience and make that final push to get readers to read the rest of the copy, the dreaded “tiny type” us older folks can’t really see without bifocals; the meat of your post card.

The tiny type is the last holdout, the final frontier for selling on your post card.  And… do you actually sell anything here?  No.  This is still NOT the place to sell your product.


“EXCUSE ME!” said the client, “I paid good money for the creative, the printing and the mailing.  What’s this guy talking about?  When do I sell my product?”  Sorry. The entire post card — that isn’t the place to sell your product either.

My client was mistakenly correct. “That’s exactly right!” I reply. “YOU sell your product.  The post card does not sell your product.”  The post card is not the place to sell your product.

Your post card is simply the place to ask for someone to call you.  That is the objective of the card: generate a phone call.  If I send you a post card and you call me, damn – that post card worked really really well.  It did its job, 1000% successful. Any questions?  And now, it’s time for you to do your job, to sell your product.

How to get someone to call

While you can get high response rates by making a great offer to your own hand-carved specific list, I’ll make a generality here: To get readers to call, you can be most effective by offering something for FREE.

Face it – when you wrote your post card, you kept bitching “Oh, there isn’t any room to sell anything to anyone!”  Good thing I was listening – because you were right, first time this year, isn’t it?  The limited space of your post card really isn’t enough space to sell anything.  And frankly, it isn’t the place to sell anything.

The Objective.  

Remember the objective?  All writing is drafted to fulfill a specific objective.

There is only one objective of your post card: make the reader pick up the phone and call you.  That’s all. If the reader makes the call, the card succeeds.  If he doesn’t, the card fails.  If the reader calls, YOU sell your product.

One final thought: to make the reader call, offer something FREE.  What you offer is the last piece of the puzzle.  And here’s what it is: a FREE BOoklet.  Fulfillment cost is under a dollar – and it works better than anything else in its price range.  Here’s another hint: “Get our FREE Booklet: The BEST offer you can make to increase response from your post cards! Call 610-642-1000 for your FREE Booklet.”  Know how many people called me to get this booklet?  Lots.  See how this works. But don’t call – this was just an example to demonstrate how well it works.  Any questions?

Jeff Dobkin will now take your questions.

This is the second part of “Glance Readership,” A 3-article series written by Jeffrey Dobkin.  Click Here for Part Three!

Dobkin is a speaker (blah blah blah, yip yip yip) and a marketing consultant (marketing plans, pr, market strategy, plan analysis: audits and review, media review) who happens to be an amazing writer (corporate literature, articles, brochures, ads, collateral, annual reports, technical material), specializing in direct-selling print and web (DR Ads, catalogs, TV scripts, web copy) and direct marketing material (letters, direct mail, mailing packages brochures, catalogs, web copy and did I mention post cards?)  He’s also pretty darn good at analyzing catalogs, ads and campaigns and direct mail packages.  He has written over 250 articles and 5 books on direct marketing including the cult classic, “How To Market a Product for Under $500.”  Call Jeff Dobkin at 610-642-1000.   Visit our bookstore – click here!