Postcards - get personal with direct mail

Postcards – direct mail gets personal

As a graphic designer, I’ve seen a steady rise in the number of people asking me to design postcards for their businesses, as part of their marketing material. For me, postcards always offer an interesting project; for business owners, they have many advantages over other forms of direct marketing.

Although we now have mobile phones and the internet, we still love to receive holiday postcards from friends. Postcards from a business aren’t all that different – they’re a quick message, jaunty and colourful, reminding you that you’re important to someone. If they’re well-designed, they’ll also come across like a personal message, just like that Niagara Falls postcard your sister sent you recently.
There’s a practicality about postcards. They don’t require envelopes, which means that your recipient can absorb the message almost without noticing, and certainly without having to open anything. Not using envelopes also saves paper, with obvious financial and environmental benefits.

Postcards are a sensible size too. If the card includes a special offer, it’s easy to pop in a pocket or handbag as your customer heads out to buy your product. And if they have to surrender the postcard on claiming the offer, you’ll also know how and where that particular customer heard of you.

Lastly, any kind of posted communication allows you to target specific locations and demographics. If you’re sharing a promotion for your new café, an internet marketing campaign will probably reach too wide an audience to attract customers, but sending postcards to everyone in the neighbourhood is much more likely to yield results.

A well-designed postcard can be very effective, but it’s not just a case of reproducing your advert on A6 card.
To achieve a personal touch, it can be a good idea to use a “handwritten” font, and a layout similar to a holiday postcard, with address on the right, text on the left and a single image on the other side. This engaging, real-person feel is much more likely to convert people than a replication of your billboard might.

This conventional layout also has the advantage of being more eye-catching. I don’t know if you’re the sort of dynamic and interesting person who thoroughly examines which way letters are posted through doors, but if you are, you will have noticed that they usually all arrive address-side up. This means that the left-hand side of a postcard is the best place to write your key message – this is the section that the recipient will see first. We also know that people like their marketing messages to come in familiar packages – they know where they’re expecting to find the right information, but they’ll quickly lose interest if they have to hunt around for it.

It’s also a good idea to choose a strong, memorable URL to include on the postcard – postcards aren’t clickable (!) and your potential customers are going to want to type only a simple URL into their search bars.

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