Postcards Make Great Direct Mail

Credit: Pexels by Kaboompics

Why do I love postcards? They are really versatile and allow you to grab attention quickly. There are also many sizes to choose from. Best of all they are cost effective. Color images and headlines are really important to postcards. They make your piece unique and help convey your message.

When do postcards work best?

  1. Sending to Consumers – Consumers like to get postcards. On the other hand, businesses tend to sift through mail before it gets to the designated person so many times postcards are tossed before they are ever seen.
  2. You have great images – Images drive attention and response, so if you don’t have good ones to use, skip doing a postcard.
  3. Coupons – When you have a postcard with a coupon, it is easy for people to see and keep to use.
  4. Coatings – You can use fun coatings to give special texture to your images or message. Remember that the sense of touch is enormously impactful with direct mail.

There is no one best format, as a matter of fact the more unique the format the more engaged your prospects and customers will be. Think beyond the standard layouts. As with any type of direct mail there are some pitfalls you need to keep an eye out for such as:

  • Size – The maximum letter size is 6.125 x 11.5. This gives you tons of room for your design and message. If you want to mail at first class postcard rate, your maximum size is 4.25 x 6.
  • Paper stock – You will need to use at least 90# cover weight stock to meet mailing requirements, but in many cases you want to use something thicker in order to prevent tearing during processing.
  • Aspect ratio – When selecting your final size you need the length divided by the height to be between 1.3 and 2.5. Anything less or more will be a problem.
  • Scuffing – Many times when postcards are printed digitally they scuff in the postal sorting machines. You can prevent this by adding a coating after printing.
  • Addressing – There are requirements on postcards for where the address can go, and when you are barcoding you need to make sure you also have room for that. There are two locations where you can put the barcode. First you can place it with the address block which needs to be a minimum of 5/8 from the bottom of the card and 1/2 from the right. The second place you can put the barcode is in the barcode clear zone. This is located on the bottom 5/8 of the right side of the card. This needs to be clear of any print items so that the post office can read the barcode.

There are so many creative things to do with postcards that just don’t work for envelopes. Test out some new ideas and see what your prospects and customers think. Be unique. You can really take your postcards to the next level with coatings and foil. You might want to consider holographic foil to get a rainbow look on an image, text or logo.

You can also do a soft touch, people love the feel! There are fun ways to grab attention on a postcard that people do not see every day. Not all of them will fall in your budget, but if you take time to research options you will find something that you can afford and helps increase your ROI. Are you ready to get creative?