Postcards have been around for a long, long time. And maybe because we see them every day, they’re not “sexy” anymore. In a world of websites, email marketing and social media, the lowly postcard gets overlooked as part of your small business marketing mix. Photo: A postcard marketing campaign that Visual People designed for local business Smith Glass.
But postcards, when designed correctly and printed on high-quality paper stock, can be a good way to get your message out on a budget.
Why postcard design is so important: If you do it wrong, there will be problems once it’s mailed. The post office is very clear about the way a postcard should be set up and mailed, and yet still we get dozens of postcards that don’t follow these regulations. As a result, marketing messages or text is cut off, unattractively presented, or covered by a postal scanning sticker. Or worse, postcards aren’t delivered at all.
But done correctly, you can save time and money. A knowledgeable designer will make sure the cards are the correct size and proportion to receive postcard postage rates, help you with the right mailing permit imprint and make sure the cards are postal machine friendly.
Some things to consider about postcards:
- Your targeted customer doesn’t have to look at it very long to take away some part of your message. Even if they are in the process of transferring it from the mailbox to the recycling bin, they’ll see something on it.
- You must distill your marketing to one easy-to-grasp message. Postcards don’t have the room nor do they get careful analysis to use them for detailed messages.
- Postcards should request a response of some kind. Recipients should be asked to stop by a store, shop at a sale, visit a website or take some other action. For the right promotion or event, postcards can be used as a coupon or an entrance ticket.
- The visual message on the postcard should be bold and simple. Small images, too many images or dull images won’t get a second look. Bright, clean, compelling images will grab attention.
- Do you want to write messages on your cards? A quick word or two in your handwriting can make an impact. But if you want to do this, be sure not to get your cards coated on both sides so you can easily write on the unvarnished side. (Or, use a Sharpie or other permanent pen to write your message.) If there’s a reason for your recipient to write on the card, such as filling out a response or noting an appointment, don’t use a coating.
- Postcard templates can give you some basics, but may not have the creative touch you need to stand out. Templates from printers are focused on keeping printing costs low. Templates from the post office show you how to incorporate mailing guidelines correctly. And templates from software layout and design programs are widely used and may not incorporate the necessary standards for mailing. In fact, some of the most popular programs don’t adhere to best mailing practices at all.
- Get creative! Postcards can be used for other things besides mailing. A postcard can be an appointment reminder, sales flyer, coupon, bookmark, or calendar notice.
Visual People is your partner for creating a valuable and visual postcard marketing campaign! Contact us today for a free consultation on your project.