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Direct Mail Postcard Size and Design Guide

Free Guide to Postcard Design and Sizing

Postcard marketing has a higher response rate than display ads, email marketing, and paid search combined. Which makes you wonder, why isn’t everyone utilizing the power of direct mail postcard marketing? It’s extremely affordable and exceeds the responses you are looking for, so what better way to promote your brand? On top of that, postcards are extremely versatile, you can utilize them in any marketing strategy. And thanks to technology, it’s become easier than ever to track responses, personalize your messages, automate campaigns, and combine with other marketing channels.

So, what do you need to know about direct mail postcards before you get started on your effective postcard campaign? Of course, you’ll want to choose the best marketing strategy that fits your goals and budget, and then you’ll need to decide on the size and design. Luckily, we’ve got the details on each postcard size and the complete guide to designing your postcards.

Postcard Sizes, Which Size Should Your Choose?

There are a few things you need to consider when choosing the size for your direct mail postcard. To start off with, to qualify for bulk mail postage rates, like First-Class postage, the USPS regulations state that your postcard must be at least 3.5” x 5” and no more than 6.125” x 11.5”.

It’s important to plan your marketing message out before choosing a size. This is because, depending on your message and how much information you need within your postcard design, a small postcard like a 4” x 6” may be too small and your design may come off as cramped and overwhelming. On the other hand, if you have a simple and direct message to deliver to your audience a 6” x 11” can be too large. The most recommended sizes are 5” x 7” and 6” x 9”. This is because these postcard sizes are big enough to grab your audiences’ attention and provide room for enough information while also being small enough to still get an immediate and effective message to your audience.

Choosing a postcard size for your marketing message. 

The results you get from a slightly larger postcard, when well designed, includes higher response rates compared to the same message on a smaller postcard. So, unless you have a quick and attention-grabbing message along with an eye-catching design, it’s a good idea to stick with the slightly larger direct mail postcards.

When choosing the right size for your direct mail postcard, be sure to choose a size that is big enough to include your design elements along with enough room for a stamp or mailing indicia in the top right corner on the backside. And enough room for the sender’s and receiver’s addresses which includes a 4” x 2.25” space for this mailing info. This space is usually placed in the bottom right corner of the backside of the postcard.

Postcard sizes also depend on your direct mail campaign. For Standard or First-Class mailing, you can utilize any of the standard postcard sizes offered by your printer. However, for Every Door Direct Mail, or EDDM, you must utilize a 6.25” x 9” or 6” x 11” postcard size. EDDM postcards are considered “flat EDDM mailers” which can go up to 9” x 12” in size. For marketing solutions like Postcard Commingling, where you can send as little as 10 postcards with bulk mailing discounts, you must use a 6” x 9” direct mail postcard.

All in all, there are three things you need to consider when choosing your postcard size that best fits your direct mail campaign. Consider what you marketing goal, marketing message, and marketing strategy is. This will help you decide which size to choose so that you follow each strategies guidelines, and choose the best one that will market your message successfully.

Direct Mail Postcard Design Guide

Direct mail postcards do in fact have a higher response rate than online advertisements. However, to gain exceptional responses, you’ll need a postcard design that stands out and entices your audience to respond. This of course includes eye-catching colors, a proper design flow, enough negative space, and more. But a good design also focuses on the marketing goal and message to ensure a successful outcome.

Plan Your Marketing Strategy

Depending on what your marketing goal is, will determine what the best strategy is. For example, are you looking to convert more web traffic, introduce your brand to a new audience, or promote a big sale?

This first step is crucial to your postcard design. For example, if you are looking to convert your web traffic, you’ll want your design to intrigue your audience to return to your website and buy or sign up. While if you’re introducing your brand to a new audience, you’ll need to include some details about who your brand is while persuading your audience to visit your store or give you a call.

Use a Design Template

Using a design template for your direct mail postcards, will ensure that every design element included is printed perfectly.

Download one of our PDF templates for your selected postcard size below:

Design templates include:

  • Correct size and orientation for your postcard design
  • Built in bleed, margin and trimming parameters
  • Guidelines for stamp placement, mailing indicia and mailing information
  • Formatted as a PDF for easy placement within your design platform

Keep it Simple

Unlike a catalog, where there are pages and pages of room for content to be marketed on, a postcard has limited room. The goal for a postcard is to simply promote your message and get a response. Their purpose isn’t to list products or share your company’s history, their goal is to grab the attention of your audience and quickly reel them in. So, keep the design simple, just like the goal.

Think “less is more” when it comes to your postcard design. You don’t want to cram your images and messaging into a 4” x 6” or even a 6” x 11” postcard. Instead, you want your postcard to have some breathing room and for your audience to get enough information to take action but not too much that they are overwhelmed by a tiny material covered in images and text.

Postcard Headlines 

Make a Big Impact with an Effective Headline

The headline of your postcard is the largest text on your printed material and should be on the front side. It needs to be clear yet creative and attention-grabbing. It should be what hooks your audience and intrigues them to learn more or take action on your offer.

If you are promoting a huge sale, include it in your headline. For example, “50% off everything” or “buy one get one free” is much more compelling than “visit us today.”

Make a Big Impact with Your Subheadline as Well

You should include an effective subheadline on the backside of your postcard that emphasizes the headline on the front. The backside where your subheadline is, is also where the mailing information or addresses are displayed. Because postcards are often delivered in your recipients’ mailboxes with the mailing information side up, it’s important to make sure that your subheadline is just as impactful as your headline. This will ensure that no matter what side of your postcard is viewed first, your audience will still respond in a positive way.

Make Sure Images are of High-Quality

One of the most unappealing things you can do for your postcard design is to include low-resolution or blurry images. Your postcards images will be printed clear and crisp if they are of high-resolution, at least 300 dpi.

Choosing images for Your Postcard 

You also want to choose images that are authentic to your brand and message. When you choose great imagery your marketing message is enhanced and can generate a more positive experience and response from your audience. Think about including images of your products, or people that evoke the emotion you want your audience to have when taking you up on your offer. For example, if you are promoting your real estate business, include an image of a happy family who just bought a new home. Or, if you're promoting your restaurant's grand opening, it’s a great idea to hire a professional to photograph some of your dishes. You can include an image of your delicious entrée that will have your audience wanting a taste.

Don’t Forget the Copy

Once you have the perfect headline, subheadline, and imagery, you can’t forget about the copy. The copy of your postcard needs to give enough details about what your message is but also be short and concise so there isn’t too much information on your postcard.

If you're reaching out to customers within your CRM or marketing automation platform, it’s a good idea to include a more personal message that includes the “to” and “from” lines. While if you are promoting a new product, service, or sale, give a quick detailed overview of the benefits your audience will gain if they take you up on your offer. Additionally, if you are introducing your brand to a new audience, give a brief story about who your business is and share with your audience that you care about what is important to them.

Include a Compelling Call to Action

You want to make sure you include a single call to action or CTA that tells your audience exactly what they need to do. The goal for your call to action is for your audience to take action, so make sure your CTA is irresistible and direct.

“Act now before it’s too late,” “learn more today” or “start your free trial now” are all straightforward messages that evoke a sense of urgency. Be sure that your postcard design also includes a unique URL, phone number, or QR code so your audience knows how to take action and that you direct them to the right place. For example, if you’re promoting your free trial for your company’s new service, you don’t want to direct your audience to your home page. Instead, include a URL that directs them to the sign-up page like www.yourwebsitename.com/freetrial.

Personalize Your Message

It has been proven that when you personalize your marketing message to be tailor-made for each of your recipients, you gain more responses.

Personalized printed materials. 

With variable data printing, you can do just this. So, when you are designing your postcards, consider leveraging data with variable data to print custom content like your recipients’ names. “Here’s an offer for you Chris!” is far more compelling than “here’s an offer.” You can print other variable data as well, including images or unique QR codes for your audience to easily scan and access your website or app right from their phone.

At Conquest Graphics we offer many direct mail marketing services, including data-driven solutions, EDDM, and more. And with every service we offer, we almost always recommend postcards for your direct mail material. That’s because they’re extremely cost-effective and generate a major, positive impact on your ROI. So, get started on your direct mail postcard campaign today and promote your brand successfully!

Get Started on Your Postcard Campaign Today! 

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