14 Tips for Producing Postcards with Pizzazz
The following is an excerpt from the new Direct Marketing IQ report, “Design & Formats for Boosting Direct Mail Response.”
Recently, designer Patrick Fultz and I talked about what’s working in direct mail creative, and postcards were part of this discussion. Just this past week, I received 35 postcards in my own mail.
But I wonder how many of these actually worked in achieving their marketing goals. Here’s why:
They all looked pretty much the same—ho-hum 8.5x5.5˝ cards printed on white stock with a standard indicia. Too many of them stacked together too nicely—some even sticking together. Oops!
While postcards are faster, easier and less costly to produce than other mail formats, they can be very expensive if they don’t produce results. Here are 14 tips for making sure yours stand out and generate response, whether it’s a click, call or store visit.
1) Size—Mail a non-standard size that doesn’t stack nicely. Even if you have to pay a bit more in postage or printing, this could be a sound marketing investment.
2) Color—Rather than printing on white stock, how about using neon green or hot pink? Any color will stand out from the plethora of white postcards.
3) Weight—The heavier the card stock, the more important and valuable your postcard “feels” as your reader or mail screener sorts through the mail.
4) Texture—Add a bit of luxury, mystery or even fun by using a textured card stock. If you can’t find the right textured paper, ask your printer about using a special varnish that’s more tactile.
5) Perforations—Build in a retention device with a perforated coupon, business or appointment card
6) Peel-Off—Include a peel-off reminder sticker to place on a calendar or computer monitor. Or how about a peel-off sticker that reveals a private discount?
7) Diecut—With 99.9 percent of all postcards perfect rectangles, make yours stand out by investing in a die-cut. I once wrote a postcard offering a free piece of pie with a “bite” cut out of it.
8) The Unexpected—How about affixing a peel-off magnet—perfect for getting your phone number on your reader’s refrigerator. Or what about a scratch-off that reveals a surprise discount for Web-only orders? Or a Post-It note with a PURL offer?
9) Picture Postcard—People love getting picture postcards from faraway places. Find an appropriate reason to send one. They look more personal—especially when you use a live postage stamp.
10) Short Copy—You’ve heard this from a copywriter: Don’t try to say too much on a postcard. Keep copy short and offer-focused.
11) Eye Flow—Use type and design to move the reader’s eye wherever you want it to go, especially your call-to-action.
12) Get Over It—Give readers a reason to turn your postcard over and read both sides. Reinforce your “get over” message with an arrow or teaser, “See back for discount.”
13) Postage—When appropriate, invest in a live stamp vs. printed indicia or metering. It’s a small detail that can make your postcard look more important and personal than others in the stack.
14) VDP—Use variable data printing (VDP) to not only personalize but also customize postcards—making them individually relevant. Consider individualizing headlines, offers, even images.
Remember, it’s not just another postcard. It’s your direct marketing piece responsible for generating response.
Pat Friesen is a direct response writer/creative strategist who writes for direct mail, email, blogs, catalogs, the Web and other direct response media. She’s also a sought-after copy coach, workshop presenter and columnist for Target Marketing magazine. Contact Pat at 913-341-1211 and Pat@PatFriesen.com.