How to Design a Postcard Marketing Campaign that Stands Out in the Mailbox: 5 Attention-Grabbing Tips

By Bob Baldridge October 1, 2021 direct mail

We love postcards, and that’s because they work! More than half of all recipients say they find postcards useful, and postcards get an average 4.25% response rate

The beauty of the postcard is that its message is out in the open rather than hidden behind an envelope, which means postcards are almost always read. Still, there is an art to a great postcard campaign, and we’re here to help our clients not only get read but get a response. For those who work with us on a postcard campaign, these are our top tips for success.

 

1. Add interactivity.

There are many ways to add interactivity to a direct mail campaign, and it’s never been easier thanks to improved technology and increased user adoption. For example, QR codes are now free to create and inexpensive to customize, and virtually everyone knows what they are and how to use them. Augmented reality has also become much more accessible and no longer requires a dedicated mobile app — users can simply scan a print piece with their mobile phones to experience web-based AR interactivity in their browsers. 

But interactivity doesn’t have to be super-technical. A good old-fashioned call to action can also provide a feeling of interactivity, if the message is compelling and personalized enough. There are also ways to create interactivity through your design, including unique form factors, premium paper, or finishes that turn the piece into a tactile experience.


2. Cut the copy.

Postcards are, by their very nature, small. Trying to cram a ton of copy onto a postcard is a one-way ticket to the recycling bin. Give your message a shot at being read, understood, and remembered by crafting a simple, straightforward headline that gets the main point across. Our rule of thumb is to keep the headline under ten words and to pair it with big, bold imagery for maximum visual impact.

3. Supersize it.

Yes, we just said that postcards are small, but another way to help your postcard stand out is to size up. The standard size for a postcard is 4” x 6”, give or take a little, but larger sizes have become popular because they’re pretty much impossible to miss in the mailbox. 

For the everyday mail user, larger postcards (anything above 4.25” x 6” x 0.016” thick) are considered by the USPS® to be letters and are charged letter-size postage. But this doesn’t matter to you, because you’re running a marketing campaign! If you are sending 200 or more pieces, you qualify for Marketing Mail® bulk prices as long as you keep your postcard under 6.125” x 11.5" x .25" thick — anything larger than that is considered a flat, and then your postage rates will go up. Even then, if you really want to get attention, you might consider paying more postage to send a truly jumbo-size postcard.

 

4. Get personal.

We’ve covered how to supercharge your direct mail personalization using variable data before, but it’s worth repeating here: true personalization can increase your direct mail response rate by up to 500%. When we say “true personalization” we don’t just mean adding “Hi <First Name>” to your message and moving on. We mean leveraging the data you have — name, location, demographics, purchase history, and more — to tailor not only the message on your postcard but the imagery, the call to action, and even the URL you’re asking the recipient to visit. Personalization tells the recipient that you took the time to reach out because you understand who they are and your product or service is perfect for them. It makes people feel heard, feel special, and feel positive feelings toward your company or brand.

 

5. Make an offer they can't refuse.

A valuable offer is key to driving action from a direct mail campaign, whether it’s a postcard, a letter, or a package. How can you make the recipient’s life easier, save them money, or add something of value to their day that wasn’t there before? Sometimes this is as simple as a coupon or promo code. In other cases, it makes more sense to provide educational content or valuable information. No matter what, make sure you’ve thought about your offer from the recipient’s point of view — is it worth taking action on? — and communicated it in a clear, concise way. 

Finally, once you’ve put all this thought and care into your postcard campaign, make sure you’ve thought about tracking and analytics. We’re betting these tips will improve your response rates — but there’s only one way to find out. 

Ready to pilot your next postcard campaign? Send us a message to get started.