How To Make Your Direct Mail Postcards Stand Out

by | Sep 18, 2020

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The postcard is one of the most basic types of direct mail. It’s right up there with letter mail or the catalog in its ability to capture the attention of your intended audience. 

And because it’s a simpler format than those other two, designing and mailing one must be easy-peasy, right?

Well, it may be, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing it well enough to get good or even great ROI.

Not just any old postcard will do.

You might have accurate data, smart strategy, and a good offer. But if your postcard design doesn’t work, you’re wasting your money, and worse, your prospect’s time. 

Your postcards must cut through all the messaging clutter your prospects deal with every day. That’s the only way you can engage your target audience successfully and turn them into your newest and happiest customers. 

Even if you’ve used postcards before, think hard about your creative elements. 

Do they really get your audience’s attention? How?

Do they keep them interested enough so they don’t toss it into the recycling? (Be honest.)

Do they get them to respond?

Here are some design tips that will help take some of the stress out of creating and mailing a successful postcard marketing campaign.

1. Keep It Simple

Don’t try to make your postcard do too much.

It’s tempting to crowd it with lots of flashy sales copy and images, to try to cover as much ground as possible.

Don’t do it.

Your customers should learn a few key points with just one glance and a quick read. So unless you’re mailing some coupons, stick to just one offer. Maybe it’s about that sale you’re holding in two weeks for “valued customers.” Or maybe your insurance office is reopening for limited appointments and you want to talk about your COVID-19 safety measures.

And limit the amount of small type to a minimum. Use space around the edges of your postcard – whether it’s white, blue, or whatever, to focus your customer’s attention on the most important information. Let your website do the heavy lifting of explaining the details, and much more.


2. Get the Front and Back to Work Together

No matter whether your prospect sees the front or back of your postcard first, each side must support the other.  

For example, you can put a simple heading like “FREE Shipping on ALL orders” on the front. Use the address side to list two to three few bullet-pointed benefits. 

It’s all about keeping it simple, which makes it easy for your customer to figure out what you’re offering, and then, take action.

3. Go BIG

Under USPS regulations, a postcard has specific dimensional and thickness requirements to mail at a special rate. So a postcard that measures 8.5”x5.5” gets a lot of bang for the buck. And a larger size, like the jumbo 11”x5.5”, really stands out to your customer when they look through their mail. 

But hold on a moment. Remember what we said above about a crowded postcard?

Avoid the temptation of filling up all of that extra room with content. Instead, remember the white space, and make your offer, your call to action, and other elements shine. 


4. Use Great Pictures

It’s 2020. The right images – whether it’s professional-quality photographs, graphics, or logos – boost your message as well as your unique identity and credibility.

So your pictures should be: 

Clear, crisp, and high-resolution (no fuzzy or blurry images)

Authentic and true to your brand


5. Make a Strong Call To Action

Postcards aren’t subtle. They can’t afford to be. 

Tell your prospects what action you want them to take next. Don’t make them read through your copy to figure it out. Instead, set your call to action apart with a larger font, maybe in a different color of ink. Some CTA examples:

“Jane, contact us for your 2019 Subaru’s oil change appointment today.”

“Visit our website to learn more.” (And post the link with just “www.”)

“Stop in – We’re now open longer AND keeping you safe!” 

Notice the use of variable data printing (VDP) in the first example? A personalized CTA is more relevant to the consumer because it uses their data. Here’s something else you could try: if you want them to visit a physical location, draw a customized map showing the route from their house.  

Another idea: go with a PURL or QR code for easy response.


Wrapping it Up

Your audience, budget, and schedule all have certain advantages that have to be weighed against each other when planning your postcard printing and mailing. 

Knowing what to do, even for a simple piece of mail, isn’t easy.

Contact our postcard experts at! We can help you choose the right postcard and tailor a campaign that meets your specific needs.



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