Designing Postcards That Get Read, Not Recycled

In the weeks and days ramping up to Election Day yesterday, many people have been feeling inundated with postcards from every politician imaginable. Lots of those postcards never even got a glance and went straight into the recycling bin. Sadly, this is the fate of so many postcards. After all the expense and design time and planning that goes into them, it's really a shame. Postcards are very cost effective and they do work very well, but they have to be done right or it's into the bin they go.

Here's how you can make postcard marketing work for you!

Does it really work, GLAD WORKS or are you pulling my leg?

Yes! It really does work. In fact, many companies and nonprofits use them to great effect all of the time. High quality postcards are still among the most efficient and effective direct-mail marketing methods out there and they have many benefits. They are affordable to print, and depending on their dimension, can be very inexpensive to mail. They are also easier for recipients to read because they don't have to be opened like a letter. It's all out there in the open as soon as it reaches your audience.

That can be both a blessing and a curse. If a postcard is not designed well, people will decide they're not interested in it before they even read it. The catch is to get their attention and pique their interest through careful design and great copy.

Elements of a well-designed postcard 

  • Headlines are a biggie. They need to be big, bold and impossible to miss 
  • An oversized postcard is also a good attention getter when paired with unique design and concise copy
  • Put a spotlight on your features and benefits, keeping copy short and to the point. Make sure your customer knows how you can solve their problems—this is about them and their pain points, not a chance to tell everyone how awesome you are (even though you are awesome, they're about to find that out for themselves).
  • Include a strong call to action so that your recipient knows exactly what you want them to do
  • Do some research and make sure your postcards are falling into the right mailboxes

Get help

Think about hiring a designer and copywriter for help determining the best way to make sure you've got all the elements you need on your postcard. They can work together and advise you on the most effective way to get your message across in a clear, concise, attention-grabbing manner, making the most of your investment.

It can't be all loosey goosey 

A tremendous amount of thought goes into the creation of a successful postcard marketing push. First, you have to decide what you want to put out there and focus on the most important elements of that. How can you help your customer? What are the most important benefits that you can provide? Once you have established that, you need to work out how many postcards you can afford to mail, who you're going to mail them to, how big they can be depending on your budget, and what the design and copy will be.

It's a lot of planning and you may go through several revisions before you land on something that achieves all of your aesthetic and messaging goals. 

The next time you get a postcard in the mail, take a look at it and think about all of the thought that went into its creation. Even the ones that aren't so attention grabbing went through a lengthy process before landing in your mailbox. Start studying them all and you'll soon see how a well-designed postcard can grab your attention quickly and motivate you to action!

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