The Power of Postcards

In a world where the number of digital advertisements and emails continues to increase, direct mail is an opportunity for marketers to stand out. In this presentation, we will share ideas on how to improve your postcard’s performance.

Marketers and designers might get a smile out of the Wikipedia description of a postcard. A postcard is a piece of thin paper or thin cardboard, typically rectangular, intended for writing and mailing without an envelope.

These thin pieces of paper called postcards have been around since the 1800s. At Lithographics, for fun we did some estimating. On average, we have produced postcards for 45 years, printing a minimum of  12 million postcards per year. That adds up to printing more than 550 million postcards since we opened our doors.

There are two big reasons why postcards are a popular direct mail option. First, messages on postcards can be easily seen and read. And secondly, postcards are economical to produce because they only require three production operations: Printing, cutting, and mailing.

At Lithographics, we use three different printing processes for postcards: digital, offset, and web. Having all these options ensures we have the right equipment to produce your postcard economically.

Though postcards are the simplest piece of direct mail to produce and mail, they can seem complicated, like everything subject to government regulations. If you have questions about sizes, where to put address information, or anything else, please reach out. Lithographics is always happy to be a resource for you.

Along with the fact that your marketing message is instantly visible, there are other reasons why postcards are effective.

Most people enjoy getting mail. And, many people prefer direct mail from brands over other types of marketing, like email communications.

Direct mail also has a longer shelf life than other communications. When we are interested in an offer,  we hang onto mail for an average of 17 days.

Postcards are an excellent vehicle for marketers, and here are some ideas to make them even more effective.

Let’s start by thinking about your trip to the mailbox. You grab your stack of mail and scan the contents.  When you get a postcard, you look at it. But when there is too much information crammed into a small space, people quickly lose interest.

Choose a size for your postcard that makes it easy for potential customers to comprehend your message. Sometimes bigger is better.

We have all received credit card mailings. Credit card mailings are the result of years of testing to see what works best. Running tests could pay off for you. The simplest type of test is an A-B test. In this type of test, you change one element. It could be a picture, the headline, or the offer.

The cost to run an A-B test is minimal, and testing improves the return on investment for future mailings – a win-win for you.

For an easy option to stand out, change the paper! Consider using super heavy stock or an ultra-white shade. Or maybe a paper in a bright color. Paper choices guarantee your postcard stands out in the mail stream.

When producing small quantities of postcards, you could even print on something crazy like wood or plastic. We can print either option on our HP Indigo digital press. When you want a specialty stock, be sure you allow enough time for us to order the material.

Many marketers have invested heavily in video content. Postcards are the perfect vehicle for directing potential customers to your online content with a QR Code. Today, most phones have built-in QR Code readers, so it will be easy to scan the code and watch.

By linking to a video, you increase a postcard’s value for customers. And directing people to a video educates them and gives buyers more reasons to act.

Postcards usually include a call to action. Look for ways to enhance your call to action with an ACT NOW incentive. This could be a limited time offer. Or a special deal to social followers or the first 100 callers.

Consider using a segmentation strategy or data about your audience to increase relevancy through personalization. Including a name is one of those simplest personalization strategies. Consider placing a name in the headline or as part of a question to ensure copy will be read.

Engagements strategies can also increase response rates, and there are plenty of options for postcards. For example, you could have a tear-off coupon. Or a scratch-off discount, or a prize code. Augmented reality is creating a lot of buzz in the marketing world, which is another option to consider.

Mail tracking can improve both a postcard’s performance and overall campaign performance, too. Tracking is a low-cost, high-value tactic. It lets you know when your postcard will arrive in your customer’s mailbox. This information allows you to time other campaign elements, like email and digital ads, to improve overall performance.

Informed delivery is a free post office service. Participants get daily emails showing images of their mail. At this time, a small percentage of the total population has registered for informed delivery, but participation is growing. And there is no additional cost for mailers who participate. Talk to us to learn more.

People like to get mail. Postcards are your most economical direct mail option. There are many ways to improve postcard performance, too.

After producing over 550 million postcards, Lithographics has plenty of experience to help you improve results. When you want to say it in print, say it with Lithographics!