Direct Mail Strategy: A Plethora of Postcards
After years of being ignored as an effective direct mail format, the postcard finally is center stage. Marketers send postcards touting everything from pizzas to office equipment. It’s also the format of choice for generating retail, Web and trade show traffic.
While postcards once were thought too small to tell the whole story—not compelling enough to grab the reader’s attention and loaded with creative limitations—today, on any given day, my mailbox holds two, three or more.
In fact, recently I found a stack of seven postcards nestled in my usual stack of catalogs, solo mailings and self-mailers.
Here’s my concern: All seven were the same size. They all were four-color on at least one side. And they all were ineffective at using the format to communicate a compelling message and generate response. So, why had these marketers chosen to mail postcards?
Undoubtedly, they thought they were being smart. After all, they had saved money on printing, paper and postage when compared to the costs associated with a self-mailer, solo mail piece or catalog. They also had probably jumped on the postcard bandwagon thinking, “Everyone else is using them, why shouldn’t we?” But when I looked at that stack of postcards, they all looked very similar, and I was concerned.
Before I go on, a little background: I’ve long been a major fan of the postcard format—when it’s used appropriately. Here’s why:
• It’s an immediate read. There’s no envelope to open; it’s like a mini billboard in the mail.
• It’s a fast read. You can read a typical postcard in less than a minute.
• It’s faster, easier and more affordable to produce than other formats, so you can be in the mail quickly and within most budgets.
• You can get First-Class delivery for just 23 cents—or as little as 17 cents per postcard when postal-automation discounts apply.