Since the beginning of postal services, postcards have been the staple to send messages and dispatched to individual addresses.
According to a recent study by Inkit, up to 90% of direct mail gets opened as compared to only 20%-30% of emails. Furthermore, around 70% of consumers prefer traditional mail for unsolicited offers, and 79% of consumers find reading mail more useful than going online.
All age groups have been generally observed to be interested in direct mail, and the majority of Millennials have been influenced to make a purchasing decision swayed by direct mail.
How Postcards Have Evolved Over Time
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at how postcards have changed over the years.
Pre-Postcard Era, 1840 – 1869
The first-ever commercially produced postcards had no images. In 1861 John P. Charlton of Philadelphia patented a private mailing card and sold the rights to Hymen Lipman that had decorated borders and endorsed as ‘Lipman’s Postal Card’.
By February 1861 the United States government allowed privately printed cards and in 1870 postal cards finally began their journey for commercial viability. In October 1869 the Austro-Hungarian Empire mailed 3 million cards within the first three months.
Pioneer Era, 1870-1898
By 1870 to 1874 many countries began to issue their own postal cards. In 1874 postcards began to be sent internationally after the First Congress of the General Postal Union which met in Bern, Switzerland. From there on we finally move to an era of the first postcard with an image on one side that was created in France at Camp Conlie by Leon Besnardeau.
Undivided Back Era (1901-1907) & Divided Back Era (1907-1915)
The US Government allowed for the first time to use the term ‘Post Card’ to be printed on private mail cards. The use of divided back was permitted, meaning that the front could be used for the design while the back side was divided for writing the message and the address.
The divided back became universally accepted by 1907. During World War I, the American postcard hobby badly affected.
The Golden Age
This opened a whole new set of opportunities for postcard usage, and it wasn’t long before the first advertising card appeared in 1972 in Great Britain. After that, there was simply no stopping, and the Golden Age of Postcards began in 1890 and lasted up to 1915.
Throughout this time various styles were introduced, and while demand for postcards decreased after the First World War due to usage of telephone, in 1939 the Photochromic postcards were introduced. These glossy and colorful postcards are the most common variants that we encounter today.
Different Types of Postcards
Postcards have been an indispensable means to market a business and used by various industries including Real Estate Brokers, Medical Offices, Solar Companies, Automobile Dealerships, Schools, and Marketing Agencies, to name a few.
Here are five different types of postcards that you can use today for your next direct mail campaign:
One of the most basic and popular choices when it comes to printing and mailing. The Regular Postcard is an A6 size which has a width of 4.1 inches and a height of 5.8 inches. However, size comparisons can vary from UPU (Universal Postal Union) compared to US Postal Service.
First-class printing and mailing of such postcards can cost you as little as 52 cents per postcard. The reduced price incorporates various factors as less space to include big pictures (so less printing cost) and minimalistic design that gives you just enough room to include call-to-action and contact information.
Moving up a notch in size, the Jumbo Postcard is neither too big nor too small. It measures 11 inches in width and 6 inches in height. This size has also become a natural selection for those companies that are looking forward to getting maximum attention and attract potential clients through the use of eye-catching imagery.
This size is also adequate enough to include business-related events and showcase other listings. In fact, there is enough room even to add your social media accounts/pages, and graphical content.
The Jumbo is no doubt the best contender while still remaining within an affordable reach of 68 cents/card to print and mail them.
Comparably bigger in size to the Jumbo variation, the Block Postcard measures at 12 inches wide and 15 inches in height.
Therefore with a Block Postcard, you can include more than just one large photo, a personal headshot, and your company logo all on the same side. Block Postcard sizes also qualify for EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) by the US Postal Service.
However recommended sizes for marketing campaigns are best using the dimensions of 12 inches in width and 14 inches in height to get the most visibility. Through EDDM you can generally incur less cost as compared to First Class and Marketing Mail making it a relatively budget-friendly option.
Panoramic Postcards are a variation that sits nicely between the Jumbo and the Block Postcard sizes. Their dimensions are usually 11.25 inches in width and 5.75 inches in height.
Due to their widescreen and highway billboard similarity, Panoramic Postcards have a ton of loyal following as they provide you with ample space to create mesmerizing designs and add terrific visuals.
Dynamic photos with bold verbiage are best to the get the most out of these types of postcards, especially for marketers who want to promote their business. Furthermore, these postcards also qualify for all options, including First Class, Marketing Mail, and EDDM.
Thus you can choose which service to use according to your finances and budget limitations.
The grandest of them all, the Gigantic Postcard comes with no limitations only with the fact that they disqualify for all previously mentioned mailing options. In fact, these postcards are sent with an additional flat fee and can be roughly the size of a letter flyer.
The Giant Postcard is thus a specialty postcard, only for your most dedicated and loyal customers whom you want to treat lavishly and luxuriously. There is more than enough space to include a heap load of information as it is the big daddy of all postcards.
Ways to Make Your Postcards Influential
There are certain aspects that you can tweak and workout to maximize the potential outcome of your postcards, and this can indefinitely add to their ROI (return on investment). Here are some few tips that you can utilize to make your postcards more powerful and influential for your audiences.
Headlines That Grab Attention
The headline must inspire, create desire, offer a solution to a pain point, and deliver a strong or noteworthy benefit. To write down the best headlines, you must focus on answering questions like:
- What does my client want from me?
- What problem can I resolve for them?
- To which statement, they are more likely to respond?
- How can I sweeten my deal?
- What makes this postcard special?
Appealing Visuals & Aesthetics
Adding visuals that relay the context of our text and complement your message evidently attract your reader’s attention as well as make your postcards all the more attractive and appealing.
However, you need to make sure that your images are not too dark and that they offer good pixel quality such as 1875px by 1350px or greater.
This will ensure that your pictures look bright and neat without breaking up, thus leaving a good impression on your recipient that is pleasing to their eyes. Low pixel quality, blurry, or darkened image may offend your customers to create a wrong impression for your business.
Deliver Strong CTAs
Without a call-to-action, your postcard is as good as a leaflet to be kept as a bookmarker for someone favorite novel. Your business goes through all that investment of time, money, and effort to create something memorable and then forgets to add a call-to-action. Then all of that endeavor simply goes to waste.
Your CTAs have to be invigorating, and they must stir up the audience to make them feel like doing something. Not only should your CTAs be visually compelling, but they must have the ability to boost conversions. So offering them something in return is a good idea.
Guide Eye Flow to CTA
Eye flow is defined as the natural path that your eyes take while going through the content. These actions are heavily influenced by the visual hierarchy as well as natural tendencies.
Most commonly, English readers will follow a Z eye flow path when going through published material. You can use the eye flow to guide your customers to the CTA.
Additionally, one can also make use of arrows or similar symbols to direct customers to your CTA and the benefits section. Hence it would be best if you design your postcard in such a way that it facilitates the reader to look towards your CTA rather than going against it.
Choose the Perfect Size
It is common knowledge that bigger sizes work best when it comes to postcard printing. Large postcard sizes also help you to stand out from other mails and thus there is a wee bit of increase in probability to get noticed.
While there is nothing wrong with using smaller options, a larger postcard simply implies that it is not only more visible from the rest but also has much more space to offer additional information.
Furthermore, a non-standard size also doesn’t stack nicely along with other mail. This means that those who pick up their mail will notice the odd one out and grab their attention. Hence in short one can view it as a sound marketing investment even though larger-sized postcards can cost you more in printing and mailing expenses.
Personalized & Customizations
People nowadays prefer to be provided with personalized messages and customized outlooks that somehow represent their likes and general inclinations. However, deeper customizations and personalization factors depend on really how well you know your customers.
Apart from their demographic knowledge, you need to be accustomed to their habits, lifestyle choices, and much more. The more you know your customers, the more intimate you can get without offending them, of course, or coming in too strongly.
Customer personas and customer journey mapping are grand ways to segment your niche market and targeted audiences. However, only through lasting engagements and customer interactions can you truly get the insights you need to provide them with a customized or personalized experience.
Never Forget Contact Information
Allowing your customers to contact you is like fulfilling the need for sending out postcards in the first place. Plus there is always a chance that you can score big with one of your recipients who finds themselves delighted with your gesture and would like to give you call back.
Just imagine how you would feel if you receive a postcard with a terrific offer but no further contact information? Pretty useless right!
So never miss out on presenting your contact information on your postcards. It is the most appropriate element on your postcard even if you send them out with nothing else on them. Your contact information itself is doing the job of marketing your business on its own.
Benefits Should Speak for Themselves
What is good marketing or advertising postcard that doesn’t talk about benefits? These are the selling points that can help you move customers along the sales funnel.
The idea is to grab their attention and propose to them a deal which they simply cannot refuse. Many postcards are now informing customers about more than just a single benefit.
They include multiple benefits, and to do this, they follow a list format. This leaves quite an impression on readers as they get to understand the multifaceted advantage of doing business with you. Apart from CTAs, benefits are the most important part of your marketing and adverting centric postcards.
One Message/Purpose at the Time
You must plan out your postcard theme, subject, or topic that you want to address. Also, make sure to stick to a particular message rather than adding more messages since that will only dilute the effect and impact of your postcard’s original intention.
You cannot simply decide on delivering a news tabloid that cramps up space and provides them with various bulletins regarding your company.
In the end, such a messy concept would only deliver an information overload for your recipients which no one likes to go through. Instead, remain steadfast to a singular objective and develop or design your postcard around the main goal.
Informative vs Adequate Self Promotion
Postcards by essence are intended to deliver information, but over the years their commercial use has made them more comparable to the likes of brochures and pamphlets.
However, many critics still argue that there is a fine balance between shameless self-promotion and the need to provide customers with valuable information. Striking this balance is an art which only some are able to master.
Postcards have been known to offer instant results when used for marketing a business. Not only are they extremely efficient, but they are also quite a flexible market tool that can fit quite nicely into stringent budgets.
Apart from being cheaper in bulk quantities, making postcards are easy, and there are tons of online services available that can help you get down with the design and layout for your very own postcards.
As a business, you should not consider leaving out on the potential of postcards to promulgate your business image. Postcards work well with other advertising and promotion channels.
Samantha Kaylee is presently occupied for providing her role as an Assistant Editor at Crowd Writer. She has come across various students who have requested for professional assignment help UK from experts. In her free time, she likes to indulge herself in playing indoor sports with badminton being her favorite.