How to Design and Mail Postcards That Convert

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When it comes to print advertising and promotion, few mediums are as powerful or profitable as postcards. Yet, as simple as they appear to be, there are a lot of unique challenges that come with designing and mailing postcards that convert.

5 High-Converting Postcard Marketing Tips

Over the past few decades, countless marketing mediums have run their course and been replaced by newer and better tactics. But through it all, postcards continue to be popular and high returning (for large brands and small businesses alike).

Postcards are engaging, low-cost, and effective. They have a way of rising above the noise and engaging modern consumers in very definitive ways. To this point, research shows that direct mail requires 21 percent less cognitive focus than digital marketing materials and advertisements

But it’s not enough to hastily throw together a postcard and send it on its merry way. To reap the full rewards of direct mail, you have to be mindful of how you design your marketing postcards. Here are some suggestions:

1. Keep it Simple

This KISS acronym is well known in the design industry. It stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. It’s something every designer knows is important, yet few are ever able to fully perfect.

From a design perspective, it’s tempting to want to prove your skills by developing intricate visualizations and graphics. However, this is not what people respond to. The average customer – whether online or offline – will get lost in the details. They want beautiful yet simple designs that remove friction and focus on what truly matters.

We’ll explain more of what we mean by simple in the following tips, but it’s important to set this expectation from the start.

2. Personalize (When Possible)

The average person receives dozens of pieces of mail per week. And in many cases, people stand over the trashcan when they go through their mail – tossing anything that looks generic and undesirable and setting aside anything that looks interesting or valuable. It’s your job to make sure your mail looks interesting and valuable.

Personalization is arguably your best tactic. While there are limited options for personalization in mass mailings, you should do your best to narrow your mailing list down so that you can enhance the quality of your postcard design and, subsequently, enhance engagement.

3. Choose the Right Size

Not all postcards are created equal. Size is one of the first things to consider. According to Printing Center USA, which specializes in postcard printing, standard sizes include 4×6,” 4.25×5.5,” 4.25×6,” 5×7,” 5.5×8.5,” 6×9,” and 11×6.”

The size you go with depends on your desired outcome, budget, and design. Since this article is about postcard design, we’ll focus on this latter element.

Consider whether you want your design to be displayed in portrait or landscape orientation. If you want landscape orientation, a bigger postcard may be better. If you’re fine with portrait, smaller postcards can still pack a pretty powerful punch. 

4. Choose the Right Color Scheme

Color is one of the best design tools you have in postcard design. You can use it to grab attention, evoke emotion, or draw a correlation between the card and your brand. Spend some time studying color psychology and consider the different ways in which colors, tones, and combinations of colors and tones communicate messaging to customers. 

5. Use Original, Relevant Graphics

People don’t respond well to generic graphics and stock photos. If you’re going to include visualizations on your postcards – and you should – make them original and relevant to your brand. People should understand your offer and call-to-action without even reading the written copy on your postcard. 

As you design postcards for direct mailing, consider whether your graphics communicate your message on their own (without written copy). If they don’t, you probably need to shift your approach.

Analyze and Optimize

The beauty of marketing is that you get to observe customer behavior and make changes based on how they respond. Are you getting lots of positive feedback? Or are you failing to gain much traction? Analyzing and optimizing according to the data will help you be successful. This is why most direct mail campaigns tend to see increased conversion rates over time. If you don’t get the results you’re seeking with your first campaign, stick with it. Make the necessary tweaks and see what happens.  

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