It can be difficult to put parameters on something creative like how to create a postcard. Isn’t it all up for interpretation? While it’s true that creativity blurs the line between what is “good” and “bad”, there are certain things that work better for creative direct mail marketing. We’ve got you covered with the strongest ways to successfully present your postcards.
Work From the Outside, In
Generally, the number one goal for any sort of direct mail package creative is simple: you want the customer to get inside the package so they can see your marketing message.
With envelopes, this can be difficult because your customer has to physically open the envelope to get to the message. Postcards, however, display your message on the outside of the piece, so you can entice the customer with your message without them having to open an envelope. The content is forward-facing on the front and back of the postcard, making postcards a very effective marketing strategy.
Rethink Traditional Sizes
Additionally, the size of a postcard is important. A 4.25 by 6 is traditional, but also rather small. Due to postal regulations, you need to dedicate a certain amount of clearance on the address side of the postcard for the outgoing address block. This leaves you with a very small amount of space on the other side for your marketing message.
Because of this, the most effective postcard marketing sizes are either 6 x 9 or 6 x 11. The best part is the postage is the same for either size. And, those all fit fairly efficiently on a press form. This way, your production is efficient and you’re maximizing the postcard rate — whether you’re commingling the mail or drop shipping it. A good rule of thumb here is to get a template for either size, so you know exactly where the address block needs to be and where all the postal regulations fall in.
Add A Finishing Touch
Special finishing can be very efficient on postcards. They can be done in one press run and increase the impact your mail has. You have many options when it comes to finishes. For example, you can add a UV coating for a glow in the dark effect, go with a grit coating, include something on the back of the postcard, or add any sort of embossing to make your postcard stand out.
Finishes can enhance your message, but they are also an effective piece for variable data. If you’re going to address the postcard with some sort of ink jetting, you can put a personalized paragraph copy within the same line of the address block to maximize the effectiveness of the postcard campaign.
Dare to Stand Out With Postcard Design
One thing you can try to make your postcard stand out is to change the landscape of the piece. Often, postcards are horizontal, so a vertical landscape can make your mail stand out. Something as simple as changing the layout can have a huge impact on your piece, like it did for Dollar Shave Club.
Another thing to consider when you make postcards is the stock you are using. Postcards tend to get abused in the postal sorting equipment, so it is recommended that you go with a heavier stock to protect your creative. Try not to go any lighter than a 120# cover to keep the postcard rigid and the message prominent.
Send to the Right People
The production side of creating postcards is often less expensive, as the postage is the same whether you do a 6 x 9 package with a bunch of components or just a postcard. With this said, it’s a very effective way to win back customers or advertise a sale to existing ones. If someone already knows your business, you don’t have to sell them with a lot of marketing copy and imagery; you can just sell them on what’s new, present a coupon or advertise a giveaway.
You can also target your postcards to your audience. This postcard for HomeAway changed based on where the person’s property was. So, if their house was in a ski setting, the imagery showed a picture of Aspen; if it was in a mountain setting, it showed a picture of a mountain range; if it was a beach setting, it showed a picture of a beach. This type of specific marketing is cost-efficient and has a high impact, and it can be very effective with postcard mailings.
Laundress did a piece that was an Every Door Direct Mail piece, and it was larger than an average postcard.
East Coast Toyota’s postcard featured four cars, advertising a new program they were offering. It was a 6 by 11 format, designed to hold all the copy needed without looking overcrowded.
The way that Dollar Shave Club laid out the copy was much different than anyone else, giving it a fresh look and making it stand out. See the piece featured in a Marketing Minute below!
Need Help With Postcard Ideas for Marketing?
Ballantine designs postcards in-house, and can help create postcards that work for your business. Check out some of our work, and contact us today!
I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!