The postcard below from Excelsior Springs Hospital arrived in a mailbox of a 50-year-old living in a subdivision with mixed housing.
For the recipient, it was off message. They were not interested in comparing residential care homes quite yet being that they are only 50 years old. I live in a subdivision designed for people to progress through life from the townhomes, to single family homes to raise a family, to the patio homes to enjoy one-level living prior to advancing to a nursing home or residential care center.
So the question begs, what did Excelsior Springs Hospital use to compile a target rich list? Zip codes, type of home, age, mortgage balance, employment? If I were their marketing director, I would have specified 55 to 75 years of age living in ranch homes with a zero balance so to hone in on people most likely to be ready to move from their downsized ranch or maintenance-free patio home into an independent living center or assisted living.
Fatal Flaws Made in Senior Living Postcard
As you see, Excelsior Springs Hospital has thrown everything and the kitchen sink into this simple 5×7 postcard. It’s packed, yet pulseless. Here’s where they fell short.
- The headline is a snore.A better headline/offerwould have been, “Join us for a 4-Course Lunch and 4-Course Resident Panel.”
- The photo a bore.A picture of Paul Kemp gardening or playing cards would have been more engaging. Having him looking at a book, not the camera, is too passive.
- You don’t know where to start.They have three tiers of living centers to offer. Why not chronologically take the prospect through each one with numbers (1) Independent Living (2) Residential Care (3) Convalescent Center.
- Information overload.There is way too much copy. This is a postcard, not a brochure or website. Give them the highlights and move them down the funnel to get more information.
- No continuity. The bulleted list on the left is flush left while the list on the right is centered. Some headlines have serif fonts while some are san serif.
- There is no offer.With the competitive senior living market, why should the receiver of this postcard call the number or visit the website (which should be a landing page instead of a general URL (GURL).
- It’s features-not benefits-oriented.The front and back of the card “focuses on,” but doesn’t describe WIIFT (what’s in it for them). Better copy points out never feeling isolated or being excited to receive the calendar every month because there are so many fun things to pick to do each day.
- Meaningless elements.Everything in a good design has a reason for being there. It serves a purpose of pointing someone’s eye down the piece or to the next section. This card shows two blue starbursts that just further add to the clutter and a silky blue background that seems out of place. The two design blocks on the front of the card appear like the tablets from the ten commandments, but again I don’t understand the point.
- They called their customer a name.According to Britt Brouse, Associate Editor of Inside Direct Mail, you should never use the word “senior” when marketing to seniors. Instead, focus on your services and how it meets their needs without pinpointing a life stage.
- They missed their target.The postcard was addressed to the male of the house, instead of me. One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is mailing to the male head of household, or to “couples,” when half of all households with people 65 or over are led by one person, and 80 percent of those are women.
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