Five Pro Tricks for Marketing with Postcards

The Ultimate Guide to Postcard Marketing (Like a Pro)

Marketing with postcards continues to be one of the most popular and successful ways to build your business for a lifetime of profitability. In fact, postcard marketing has even emerged as one of the single best ways to bring highly targeted buyers to your website; thus, postcard printing represents the pinnacle of mixed marketing strategies by combining the proven powers of print with the digital convenience of the web.

Why use postcards in marketing? Consider these direct-mail postcard marketing statistics:
  • ]]>Direct mail boasts ]]> the best household response rate of all marketing channels: 5.1% versus 0.6% for email and paid search, 0.4% for social media, and 0.2% for online display advertising. In fact, more than $2,000 in goods are sold for every $167 invested in direct-mail marketing (a 1,300% return)
  • ]]>57% of people ]]> say postcard marketing makes them feel valued and creates authentic relationships
  • ]]>More than 60 ]]> of people are influenced to visit a website after receiving direct mailers, most of which are first-time shoppers
  • ]]>Brand recall is 70% ]]> greater for direct-mail than digital marketing efforts

There’s no doubt postcard printing is a powerful strategy for business growth, but only if you do it right.

Our guide to postcard marketing includes:
  • How to plan a postcard marketing campaign
  • Postcard copywriting tips
  • Postcard design tips
  • Postcard printing tips
  • Postcard mailing tips
  • Postcard marketing follow-up

Use these postcard marketing tips to craft a compelling direct-mail postcard marketing strategy that propels your business to the next level.

How to plan a postcard marketing campaign

It might be tempting to dig right in to your postcard design, but first you need to plan your postcard marketing campaign for success. Determine the goals of your direct-mail campaign, identify your audience, create your offer, and decide what action your recipients should take. Here’s how to plan the perfect postcard marketing campaign.

Set postcard marketing goals

The first step is to set goals for your postcard marketing campaign. What, exactly, do you want your postcard to achieve?

Your postcard marketing goals can be general or specific. General postcard goals might be to:

  • Introduce customers to a new product
  • Influence sales with a discount offer
  • Generate qualified leads
  • Attract new customers
  • Motivate existing customers to buy again

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It’s best to convert generalized goals such as these into specific goals that can be measured, which will lend insight into how successful your postcard marketing campaign is. Examples of specific postcard goals include:

  • Get responses from 50 qualified leads
  • Make 100 sales
  • Generate a $5,000 return on investment

Once you’ve established goals for your postcard marketing campaign, you can more easily make decisions that will help you achieve those goals.

Creating a Control

Marketers often create a “control” postcard, which is a postcard that generates a predictable, reliable and profitable response rate. In subsequent campaigns, they’ll A/B test different versions of the postcard against the control. The idea is to consistently seek ways to improve your response rate. If a new version beats the control, and does so consistently, it becomes the new control.

In addition to setting campaign goals, you should also decide when you want to send your postcards. For example, if you’re gearing up for the holiday rush, you’ll want to plan ahead so your postcards arrive right when people are ready to buy.

Identify your audience

The next step is to identify your audience. You might send postcards to a house list comprised of existing customers; or, you might create or rent a new mailing list. You can also print EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) postcards to send to every address in a defined geographic area.

If you’re sending postcards to a house list, all you need is your existing customer contact information. If you’re sending it to a new list to attract new customers, your list should be comprised of people who match your customers’ demographic data, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Location
  • Marital status
  • Whether they have children
  • Whether they own or rent their homes
  • Buying habits
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Occupation, business or industry
  • Job title (if you’re a B2B company)
  • Number of employees
  • Annual revenue

If you’re A/B testing different versions of your postcard, you might want to segment your list. For example, you might create two small lists to see which postcard performs best, then send that version to the larger remaining list.

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Develop a compelling offer

By now you know what you want your postcards to achieve and who you’re going to send them to. The next step is to figure out how you’ll get those people to respond, and that means you need to create a compelling offer.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and answer the questions:
  • What problems do they have?
  • What do they want?
  • What is your unique selling proposition?
  • How can you solve their problems or otherwise make their lives better?

Next, determine what you can offer customers to motivate quick responses. Perhaps your solution is enough, but you can improve postcard response rates with a time-limited special offer: a discount, a freebie, or a buy-one-get-one-free deal, for example. Don’t forget: a deadline can influence quick response. Your offer needs to compelling enough to make customers want to respond right away. Think like your customers: is your offer good enough to motivate action today? Right now?

Set your budget and predict return on investment

It’s a good idea to set your postcard budget during the planning phase. Some costs are static, while others depend on the number of postcards you’ll send.

Static postcard costs include:
  • Copywriting
  • Design
Dynamic postcard costs include:
  • Postcard printing services, based on printing options and quantity
  • Postcard postage fees, based on size and quantity

Next, you can predict your return on investment. If you’re offering a 50 percent discount, for example, you need to determine how many sales you’ll need to make for your offer to be profitable.

Let’s say you sell a product that costs $100 after a $50 markup, and your postcard promotes a 20 percent off coupon. Your cost of that product is $50, so at $80 every sale is worth $30.

Now, let’s say you want to send 10,000 postcards, and it costs you around $4,000 for postcard printing and mailing.

If we assume a 2 percent response rate, which isn’t too difficult to achieve, you’ll yield 200 sales. Multiply that times the value of each sale ($30) and you’ll gross $6,000. Now, subtract your printing and mailing costs, and you’re left with a profit of $2,000. In this scenario, your postcard marketing campaign will pay off, even if you invest, say, $500 in copywriting and design.

Determine what action customers should take

Finally, you need to decide what customers should do when they respond to your postcards. Options include:

  • Calling a phone number
  • Visiting your brick-and-mortar location
  • Visiting your website
  • Liking your social media page

No matter which action you have customers take, you need to be prepared for their response. If they’re going to your website, you should have a landing page or catalog ready for them to view. If they’re visiting your brick-and-mortar store, staff need to be ready to help them cash in on your offer (you might additionally print flyers, hang tags or stickers to help them locate your offer in-store). Make sure the experience is cohesive, so you don’t lose customers who respond!

Postcard copywriting tips

Your postcard copy, or postcard wording, must deliver a compelling message to motivate recipients to take action. Here’s how to write postcard copy that generates responses.

Craft a strong headline

Your headline is the most important part of your postcard text: It must command attention, create desire, and inspire recipients to read the rest of our postcard. Some postcards even convey special offers and sum up the entire message in a single line.

Example postcard headlines include:
  • Act Fast to Get 50% Off the Hottest Summer Fashions
  • Eliminate Headaches Forever
  • Increase sales by 15% - Guaranteed!
  • Are you paying too much for car insurance?
  • Get fit fast with GymX

You can see how each of these headlines works to generate interest in your message. The first one offers a discount on popular merchandise – and suggests a deadline. The second touches on a pain point and promises a solution. The third creates excitement and promises a benefit. The fourth asks an intriguing question and suggests the answer is in the text below. And the last makes a promise and presents a benefit.

These examples illustrate different approaches you can take with your headline:
  • Create excitement
  • Solve a problem
  • Promise a benefit
  • Intrigue with a question
  • Deliver a special offer

Think about your target audience. What do they want? What do they fear? What problems do they have? What are they likely to respond to? How can you sweeten the deal to increase response? Use the answers to create your own winning postcard headline.

List your benefits

Your headline draws customers into the rest of your postcard copy; next, you need to list benefits to create desire or reinforce the message you present in your headline.

You can reveal your benefits as bullet points, which makes them easy to read and understand. Succinctly tell your customers how your product will solve their problems or otherwise improve their lives. Highlight your unique selling point to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Be sure to understand the difference between features and benefits. For example, let’s say an auto repair shop wants to market new tires with a postcard marketing campaign. A feature of the tires is that they grip the road better during rainy conditions. The benefit is that drivers and their families are safer.

Deliver your offer

You have your recipients’ attention, and you’ve created desire; now, you need to make your pitch. Deliver a special offer that motivates them to take immediate action. Your offer might be a discount, a freebie, a buy-one-get-one, or some other incentive to buy now.

Be sure to add a deadline to take advantage of your offer. Doing so will encourage more responses, faster, and help reduce the number of people who put your postcard aside and forget it about it later.

How important is your offer?
The 40/40/20 rule of direct marketing
states that:

If your offer isn’t up to snuff, your postcard marketing campaign will yield less-than-ideal results; however, if your offer is compelling and aligns with your audience’s needs and desires, your postcards will be primed for success!

40%

of your success is contingent onthe perceived quality of your offer

40%

is dependent on the quality of your mailing list

20%

is dependent on everything else

Add a call to action

Last but not least, your postcard copy should feature a powerful and compelling call to action. Your call to action can:

  • Reiterate your primary benefit and/or your unique selling proposition
  • Deliver your deadline
  • Restate your offer
  • Tell customers exactly what to do next to take advantage of your offer
Examples include:
  • Save 50% when you sign up by Dec. 1 at YOURWEBSITE.com!
  • Don’t delay – offer expires Dec. 1 – call 555-555-5555 to boost your weight loss today!
  • Use coupon code FREEBIE at YOURSITE.com to get your free sample today
Other postcard copy considerations

There are three other considerations for your postcard copy. The first is to consider adding a guarantee. A 100 percent money-back or satisfaction guarantee can boost response rates by eliminating risk.

The second is to add a tracking mechanism, such as a coupon or coupon code. This will help you measure your response, so you can determine how successful your postcard marketing campaign is. It’s not perfect – some people will forget to use the coupon code, and others will contact you via other channels – but it can certainly help you judge whether a given postcard campaign is successful.

Finally, consider how your postcard copy will read on both the front and back of your postcard. The back of your postcard can be prime real estate, especially since mail is typically delivered address-up. Don’t miss this opportunity to draw people in to your message!

Postcard design tips

Though you’ll create your postcard design after your draft your postcard copy, your design is the first thing prospects will see and notice. For that reason, your design must stand out from the rest of the mail. A good postcard design accomplishes three things:

  • It commands attention
  • It helps create desire through visuals
  • It visually guides your customers to your offer and call to action

Here are some tips for designing a successful postcard.

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Command attention

If your postcard doesn’t stand out, nothing else you do will get noticed. Postcard design ideas include:

  • Large, bold headlines draw people in
  • Bright, contrasting colors stand out
  • Unique and interesting images are impossible to ignore
  • Bullet points, bold text, and symbols make your message easy to read
  • Strong typography and easy-to-read fonts are easy on the eyes and contribute to (instead of distracting from) your message
  • Clean design with plenty of white space helps your important text and images stand out
Create desire

You can use design to reinforce your postcard copy and create desire for your products and services. Here’s how to do it.

  • Showcase unique and interesting images that demonstrate product benefits
  • Use images to convey emotion, satisfaction, and positive self-image
  • Include charts or graphs that illustrate why your product is better than the competition
  • Use postcard colors and bold typography to make key points, USPs, and calls to action stand out

Don’t be afraid to search the web for postcard marketing examples that serve as springboards for your own inspiration.

Visually guide customers to your CTA

Think about the visual hierarchy of your postcard and use visual cues to guide customers through your benefits and on to your call to action. Carefully consider how eyes will naturally follow along with your use of color, typography, layout and spacing. Ideas include:

  • Make your headline and CTAs visually compelling
  • Use arrows and symbols to direct customers to your benefits and CTA
  • Incorporate images to work with the copy, not against it

Again, checking out postcard advertising examples online can provide inspiration. One good way to determine whether you’ve crafted a good postcard design is to blur the image. Without being able to read your postcard text, can you get a general idea of what the postcard is promoting? Do your eyes naturally move toward your call to action, even if you can’t read it? If so, you’ve developed a winning postcard design!

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Postcard printing tips

Your choice of postcard printing options has a direct impact on the success of your direct-mailing campaign. Use these postcard printing tips to improve your chances of success.

Bigger is better

When it comes to direct-mail postcard printing, large postcard sizes stand out from other mailers, so they’re practically guaranteed to be noticed. There’s nothing wrong with 4-inch by 6-inch postcard printing or 5-inch by 7-inch postcard printing, but a 6-inch by 11-inch postcard will undoubtedly earn the attention of your audience.

Paper stock matters

Your choice of postcard paper stock works with your design to set the tone of your message. Glossy postcard printing is great for exciting, cutting-edge brands, for example, while matte postcard printing is perfect for elegant brands.

You can add an ultra-glossy UV coating to protect your postcards during mailing and make them brim with brilliance. Want to project an eco-friendly image? Opt for 100 percent recycled matte paper stock.

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Paper weight is important, too. In fact, studies have shown that heavier paper stocks can lend a sense of trust that influences purchasing decisions. So, it makes sense to print postcards on thick, heavy paper stocks.

For the ultimate combination of visual impact and tactile sensation, consider printing ultra postcards, which are triple-thick and feature an attention-getting band of edge color.

Best Postcard Paper Stocks

These postcard paper stocks are perfect for postcard marketing campaigns:

16-point C2S gloss cover 15-point velvet with soft-touch coating 15-point velvet 14-point C2S or C1S gloss cover stock 13-point matte cover 13-point 100% recycled matte Ultra postcard stock
thick, durable, with a glossy finish on both sides a soft-touch coating gives this paper stock an air of elegance velvet, , without the soft-touch coating, offers a semi-matte finish thick and glossy on both sides or just one (perfect if you want customers to be able to write on the back) matte finish makes your postcards seem sophisticated for eco-friendly postcard printing triple-thick with two outer layers and an interior core paper that gives your postcards a band of color around the outside
Save with discounted postcard printing

Take advantage of several strategies to save on postcard printing. They include:

  • Print postcards on digital presses if you have low quantities. Digital presses do not require plates to be made, so you will save on setup fees
  • For large quantities, opt for offset postcard printing. Even though setup fees are greater for offset postcard printing, the cost-per-piece is cheap. Once you reach a certain quantity, the cost to produce plates is absorbed by the lower price-per-piece, so offset is cheaper than digital printing.
  • Print postcards at discount prices. Look for discount postcard printing to and postcard printing sales to make your marketing dollars stretch farther or to reach even more potential customers. PsPrint often offers postcard printing discounts up to 60 percent off

If you have questions about postcard printing, don’t hesitate to contact PsPrint’s friendly printing experts!

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Postcard mailing tips

We’ve already covered the importance of your mailing list (40 percent of your success depends on it!), so here we’re going to cover postcard mailing options you can launch the most effective postcard marketing campaign possible.

Understand mailing lists vs. EDDM postcard printing

There are two different ways to mail your postcards: to a mailing list or via Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM).

Mailing lists are best when your audience is spread out; that is to say, the people you’re sending postcards to do not live in the same neighborhood (they might not even live in the same state). Good candidates for mailing lists are businesses that want the ultimate in targeting options.

EDDM postcards are best when you’re sending postcards to every person in a neighborhood or ZIP code. EDDM postage is cheaper, but your options are limited. Good candidates for EDDM postcard printing include local businesses that want to reach everyone in town and businesses that can target by neighborhood demographics.

Bulk rates, Indicias and mailing houses

If you’re sending 200 or more postcards, you can qualify for a bulk rate from the U.S. Postal Service. You’ll need to purchase an Indicia to take advantage of the bulk rate, unless your postcard mailing house provides one (PsPrint’s does).

In fact, using a mailing house to send your postcards can streamline the entire process. A postcard mailing house will:

  • Process your mailing list and address your postcards for you, so you don’t need to apply address labels
  • Send your postcards with their own Indicia, so you don’t need to get your own
  • Take advantage of the best USPS rates to save you money on postage
Print postcards with a one-stop postcard marketing shop

If you want an easy, streamlined postcard marketing experience, consider choosing a one-stop postcard marketing shop such as PsPrint, which can handle your postcard marketing from start to finish:

  • Postcard design
  • Mailing list generation
  • Addressing
  • Postage and mailing

All you need to do is add or create a mailing list, choose your printing and delivery options, then send your postcards to print. You can get a free PDF proof to make sure your postcard looks amazing before you send. Postcard marketing companies such as PsPrint make it easy to quickly launch a custom postcard marketing campaign, practically hands-off.

Postcard marketing follow-up

Once your postcards have been mailed, you’ll be excited to see what kind of response you get. But your postcard marketing campaign doesn’t end there. The next step is to plan your postcard follow-up.

Marketers know that repetition sells, so it’s important to begin planning your next postcard campaign. You’ll want to send it to the same people who receive your first postcard to increase the amount of exposure you have with your target audience.

You should also consider launching cohesive campaigns that feature the same offer in other marketing channels. For example, you might schedule your postcards to be sent at the same time you deploy an email or social media marketing campaign.

Plan to send anywhere from three to seven (or more postcards), and your response rate will increase with repetition.

Remember to take advantage of your tracking mechanism to determine whether you’ve achieved your postcard campaign goals. Track response, conversions and return on investment; then, adjust future postcard campaigns accordingly. If your first postcard knocks it out of the park, make it your control; then, A/B test other variations to try to beat it with your next campaign.

Postcard marketing isn’t rocket science, but the strategic approach outlined here will vastly improve your results. The best part is you can print cheap postcards without sacrificing quality. Maximize your return on investment with discount postcard printing today!

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