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Think Outside The 4"x 6" Postcard

Posted by The Boingo Graphics Team on Oct 1, 2019 9:42:00 AM

When you consider just how many virtual notifications we're all getting in a day, you will realize that there is still something valuable about creative direct mail today. When your customer has the chance to feel the message in front of them and see it without the interference of a digital glow, they may be more likely to use the information to their advantage.

However, if you're using the wrong-sized postcard with the wrong message and the wrong graphics, it's easy to set yourself up for failure. A 4" by 6" card might be perfect when you want to tell someone how much fun you're having on vacation, but you might need something bigger to really catch your customer's attention.

Why Should I Use a Different-Sized Postcard?

A small postcard is certainly budget-friendly, but that doesn't make it cost-effective. Most businesses have to compete with a number of other companies that are all vying for the same demographic of people. So unless your target demographic is a tiny sliver of people, you need to think outside the tiny rectangle.

How Will Customers React to My Message on a Small Postcard?

Too many marketers put in all of their time and energy into the design and the wording of their postcard without considering the scope they need to properly convey their message. It's immaterial how beautiful your artwork is or eloquent your words are if people can't actually see it! Some marketers can get away with smaller postcards if their message is simple enough. A short announcement for creative direct mail advertising can easily fit onto a 4" x 6" postcard and still spark enough interest to be effective. However, most marketers have more to tell their customers.

What's a Jumbo Sized Postcard?

A jumbo-sized postcard is technically the next step up from the regular size of 4" x 6". At 6" x 8.5", they're recommended for businesses who have steady competition. Let's say you're a marketer for a music store with just one other competitor in the neighborhood. You've noticed that your competition has really stepped up their marketing game, both online and in print. A jumbo-sized postcard can give you the chance to remind your customers of the value of your store.

Is There Anything Larger Than a Jumbo Postcard?

Yes. The colossal size keeps the same length but dramatically increases the height. At 6" x 11", businesses can truly say what they need to say. The colossal sizes are highly recommended to businesses that are practically drowning in the competitor. So maybe you market for a pizza place that's trying to stand out among both the well-known chains and the mom-and-pops. A colossal-size postcard can give your customers a reason to try your colossal-size pizza for their next event.

What If My Postcard Is Just a Teaser?

Some marketers will use postcards as a prelude to their other creative direct mail ideas. For example, you may send out a postcard about a new service one week, and then send out a more detailed brochure the week after that. If you're going this route, you may want to consider a jumbo-sized card with a simple font and logo. You don't want to bombard your customers with a loud (and large) postcard that ultimately cancels out the efforts of the brochure.

What Should My Postcard Say?

Brevity is the key when it comes to a postcard, so you may need to experiment with a few messages before you find one that actually captures the heart of the matter. Ideally, it needs to connect with the customer immediately, which means it may prove harder to write five words on the topic than 500.

Experts recommend highlighting the action you want the customers to take before filling in the rest of the space with essential contact details. The customer should know exactly what to do and where to go after a brief glance. Using power words like 'new', 'call now' and 'personalized' can make a customer sit up and take notice, which can have a direct impact on your revenue.

Should I Fold My Postcard?

Direct mail creative examples can get pretty elaborate for marketers who want to show off their design chops. They may opt for a postcard that resembles a greeting card and hold it together with a sticker that the customer then has to break. This creates intrigue and gives the business more space to print their designs and words.

Other businesses may create a covering for the postcard that is similar to an envelope except that the right side is open. Customers will need to slide the interior postcard out of the exterior covering to read the message. This tactic isn't right for all businesses, but it can help you make a splash if you're looking to expand or promote a new product or service.

What If I Can't Afford a Larger Size?

It's difficult for any company to quantify the ROI of any marketing campaign if they aren't testing it against anything. If you've only ever used 4" x 6", then it will be easy to dismiss another size. However, think about how much you could be missing if too many people are squinting at the card before tossing it in with the recycling. No one wants to get out a magnifying glass or read an epic list of benefits from such a tiny surface area.

While it may be difficult to allocate funds, you should at least experiment with how a different size impacts your response rate. Consider sending out half your mailers in a standard size, and the other half in the next size up. Try to mix your demographics a little so you aren't sending too many standard-size postcards to those most likely to respond. Measure the response from each household to see which mailer stands out.

Should I Use Die-Cuts to Enhance My Postcards?

Die-cuts can give any print collateral more personality, with the idea being that customers will look twice at this unique aspect of your marketing material. There are endless ways to use die-cutting on a postcard, especially if you're willing to stretch your creative talents as far they go. If you market for a real estate agency, you can use die-cuts to produce an intricate rooftop, one that practically demands the customer to run their fingers across to feel how the paper was cut to fit the pattern.

Is Bigger Always Better?

Not necessarily, but it is worth noting the underlying message you send to your customers when you choose the biggest size. Regardless of what's printed on the card, you're sending a subtle reminder to your customers that you're not like other businesses in the area. Instead of opting for budget materials and sizes, you took it a step further because you really wanted to say something important. This same concept can be applied to all the extra attention and care you put into every square inch of your marketing materials.

Will the Post Office Accept a Colossal-Size Postcard?

Yes, but you will need to shell out a little extra cash to make it happen. In fact, you technically bypass the post office's definition of a postcard when you send both the jumbo and colossal sizes. These sizes are now considered a letter, so you will need to account for the additional price of postage. For example, it would cost about 29 cents to send each colossal-size postcard.

The post office has other rules in place about how each postcard should be labeled too. The address must use proper capitalization and the postcard should avoid excessive periods or commas. Companies should use the full zip code if they have it, including the four digits that clarify the delivery route of the postcard. Place the customer's address at the bottom center and the company's return address in the bottom right.

Should I Tack on Adornments?

Sending your postcards with stickers or magnets can be a fun way to help your customers remember you. Instead of tossing your mailer in the trash, they can stick it to the fridge until they actually need to reach out to you. These adornments may cost you more than extra postage fees though, especially if you happen to run across the wrong post office employee. If your postcard flirts with the restrictions of the post office too heavily, you may run into carriers who point-blank refuse to deliver it. If you're not sure about a marketing tactic, check with your local post office to clarify their rules.

What If I have a Truly Unique Idea?

Most marketing professionals will tell you that a colossal-size postcard is the way to put your best foot forward if you have a unique idea. So if you're starting a business where you give custom massages for people's pets, you'll want to share that message in a memorable way. Creative direct mail marketing examples can really help a person pay attention to a service they never realized they needed.

How Can I Craft My Headline?

The idea behind the headline is to draw the reader's eyes in with the words rather than using eye-catching shapes to make your message stand out. In other words, you don't necessarily need to put your headline in a bright box or inside a pyramid.

It may seem like an overused gimmick, but customers are still susceptible to offers that are limited-time or ones that guarantee their satisfaction. You can make the colors of the headline bold, but it's more important to make the headline valuable and pair it with a clear takeaway. You're trying to motivate your customer to take action, which isn't necessarily a given when every other company is trying to do the same thing.

How Do I Create a Visual Theme?

If a postcard is too busy, it's just going to annoy the customer. They'll end up throwing it away before they even notice the name or the purpose of the company. You need to have some type of white space to balance out the colors you use. Try using just one main color (say, the color of the company logo) and then supporting that primary color with accents.

If you're looking for good color combinations, try orange and blue or yellow and purple. The former practically shouts for attention while the latter will help you stand out in a more understated way. Or, take a page from our traffic signs and ink your message in orange and black.

Just remember that it's your marketing promises that matter more so than the accoutrements. The die cuts, drawings, and branding are important back-up singers, but they're not the main event.

 

Should I Print on the Back?

Postcards are usually first viewed from the back, giving marketers a tremendous chance to do something a little different. If you can draw in the customer with a little intrigue, you can coax them to turn over the postcard to see why they should pay attention.

Do I Need a Permit to Send Postcards in Bulk?

Yes. Bulk mail requires companies to sort their postcards by zip code prior to mailing them to a central mailing facility. You'll need both a permit and a postage meter to imprint the stamp on the postcard. This is only recommended for companies with large mailing lists.

If you're looking for a little help with your creative direct mail design in Charlotte, NC, Boingo Graphics is here for you. We give you all the advice you need (and can warn you of the pitfalls to avoid) if you're looking to improve the reach of your direct mail marketing campaigns. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with everything from die cuts to ink to post office requirements.

Topics: Direct Mail, Marketing

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