As marketing trends highlight the effectiveness of direct mail marketing campaigns, marketers everywhere are turning back to traditional postcards to reach out to customers. But deciding to send direct mail is just the first step. In order to have a successful campaign, your postcards must convert. Whether that's directing customers to your storefront, calling your office, or visiting your website, your postcards need to drive action. To do that, getting the design right is crucial. Great postcard design is what separates award-winning direct mail campaigns from "junk mail," and can make all the difference in your ROI. Here are eight rules to help you design the best possible postcard for your business.
Use Attractive Imagery
The overall effectiveness of your postcard’s design (and the success of your marketing campaign) relies on the right imagery as the foundation of your postcard. Humans are visual creatures, so the first thing they'll notice is your imagery. To grab their attention, the images and graphics you use must be eye-catching.
Use images that are pleasing to the eye, full of color, and if possible, align with the interests or values of your customers or target demographic. You can use shading and highlighting tools to accentuate the best elements of your image, but remember not to use an image that’s too busy, has too many color elements, or doesn't fit overall with your brand.
Hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your products and services can make a huge difference in image quality and keep your brand consistent, but sometimes this isn't always feasible. If you're short on time or money, consider using stock photos from websites like IStockPhoto.com (paid) or Unsplash.com (free).
Write in Short, Simple Copy
Years ago, marketers would crowd their direct mail designs with as much information as possible in the hopes of convincing customers to choose their business. Often, too, they would "shout" at customers with aggressive headlines and excessive exclamations.
But in today's world, those tactics are no longer effective. Consumers are overwhelmed with information and won't spend the time to read your lengthy sales pitch. They also don't want to be yelled at.
If the goal of a postcard campaign is to quickly hook prospects and push them to the next stage of the sales funnel, then you don't need to crowd your design with excessive amounts of copy, distracting text or copy in a complex typeface.
Choose a bold but clean typeface and use it only enough to communicate what is most important and necessary, especially on the front of the card. Quick lists of benefits are helpful and easy to read. Using words like “Discount” or “Rewards” will also draw attention to your postcard. One caveat: If you need space to present a longer message, the back of your postcard can afford you a place to do so. But still try to keep paragraphs short and sweet with only the most essential information.
Consider a Larger Postcard
Remember, postcards don’t have to adhere only to the 4” x 6” size. You want your piece to stand out over other mailers and correspondence, so increasing the size is one of the easiest ways to do this. 6" x 8" and 6" x 11" postcards are extremely effective, so if you have some flexibility in your budget, we recommend sizing up to one of these options.
Quick note: Going with a larger size may incur a higher postage cost, but bulk or EDDM mailings can help you save money. This opens up the door to larger postcards that are sure to stand out in the mailbox.
Don’t Forget Your Logo
You want recipients to quickly identify who you are, so don’t forget to afford space in your design to place your company’s logo and important contact information. If you're a local business, place your phone number near your logo. If you operate nationally, including your website URL near your logo can be effective. You can also include other information like social media handles on your postcard. Overall, your customers should be able to readily connect your smart, attractive design with your brand and be able to contact you.
Include a Call to Action
This is a crucial step, yet it's often overlooked. Be sure to include a strong call to action on your postcard. For financial and professional services, something as simple as "Call Today" with your phone number works well. If you have a physical location, tell your recipients that you want them to visit your storefront. (Don't forget your address and simple directions!) Or, if you want them to complete an online purchase, include a unique promo code that you can track through your website. With any calls to action, ask yourself: have I given them a reason to act? Have I provided them with a special discount, benefits, or an attention-grabbing offer that will incite them to choose my company?
Keep Design Simple Overall
If there’s one rule that’s most important, it’s the umbrella rule that all these rules fall under: Keep designs attractive, but simple overall. It’s all too easy to ruin a great design by including too many elements, contrasting elements or elements that confuse or distract viewers from the message the postcard delivers. Employ attractive design elements, but err on the side of a simple, clean design.
Follow USPS Regulations
If you're mailing your postcards, then you must follow USPS regulations. Remember the spaces on a postcard that are devoted to postage indicia, return addresses, and the mail panel. Try to keep your design from interfering with those spaces, and vice versa. Also remember how different sizes affect postage costs and the rules you need to follow regarding postcard size.
Rely on Quality Printers
You can design the most attractive postcard in the world, but if it's printed poorly, then you've wasted your efforts. Great design deserves great printing, which means gorgeous color, high quality paper, and expert finishing. U.S. Press prints postcards on 130# gloss-cover cover stock with high gloss UV coating, by expert pressmen who have have nearly 40 years experience in full color printing. We also provide direct mail services to make sending postcards as easy as possible. From the intial stages of design to printing, addressing, bundling, and delivering them to USPS, U.S. Press is standing by, ready to bring your design to life and help you succeed with your direct marketing campaign.