Postcard marketing has a higher response rate than display ads, email marketing, and paid search combined. 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, and you can utilize them in any marketing strategy. Plus, thanks to technology, it’s become easier than ever to track responses, personalize your messages, automate campaigns, and combine with other marketing channels.
While direct mail postcards are an extremely successful marketing tool, you need to choose the right postcard size, and create an effective postcard design to ensure you generate the best results. Luckily, we’ve got some postcard design guidelines for you to follow, direct mail postcard templates to make the design process easy, and tips for how to choose the right postcard dimension for your goals and budget.
Direct Mail Postcard Design Guide
While direct mail postcards have a higher response rate than online advertisements, to gain exceptional responses, you need a postcard design that stands out and entices your audience to act.
A great postcard design of course includes eye-catching colors, proper image-to-text ratio, high-contrast, and enough negative space. A good postcard design will also reflect your marketing goals and appeal to your target audience.
Here are a few postcard design guidelines to follow to ensure you create a direct mail postcard that generates a successful outcome:
Determine Your Marketing Goals and Define Your Audience
Depending on what your marketing goal is, it will determine what the best direct mail strategy is, and it will determine how you need to design your postcard. In addition to determining your goals, you also need to define your audience so you can easily design a postcard that appeals to them.
For example, are you looking to convert more web traffic, introduce your brand to a new audience, or promote a big sale? Are you looking to target a specific demographic, your current customers, or individuals within a certain geographic location?
Determining your goals and defining your audience is crucial to your postcard design. For instance, if you’re looking to drive traffic to your website, you need a design that intrigues your specific audience to visit your website while also providing clear and easy to follow steps on getting to your website.
On the other hand, if you’re introducing your brand to a local audience, you need to include details on who your brand is while also persuading your audience to visit your store or give you a call.
Use a Direct Mail Postcard Template
Next, you need to use a direct mail postcard design template to ensure that every design element is printed perfectly, and the area for the mailing information is in the correct spot so that it follows the USPS design requirements.
Luckily, we have stunning postcard designs you can customize for yourself as well as annotated PDFs so that you can easily follow the direct mail postcard design requirements.
Click on your selected postcard size below to access free postcard templates and sample design files:
Check out our free postcard templates below:
Our direct mail postcard templates include:
- Correct size and orientation for your postcard design
- Built in bleed, margin, and trimming parameters
- Guidelines for mailing indicia, stamp, and mailing information placement
- Customizable packaged InDesign postcard design samples
- An annotated PDF postcard design template for easy placement within your design platform
- Blank InDesign templates that already include your desired postcard size’s design specifications
Keep it Simple
Unlike a catalog, where there are pages and pages for content to be marketed on, a postcard has limited space for design elements and messaging.
The goal of a direct mail postcard is to simply promote your message and get an immediate response. Instead of listing products or sharing details about your company’s history, your postcard design needs to grab the attention of your audience and quickly reel them in.
Keep your postcard design simple, and the saying “less is more” in mind. You don’t want to cram your images and messaging into a 4” x 6” or even 6” x 11” postcard. Instead, your postcard design needs breathing room, and your postcard content needs to give just enough information to intrigue your audience to respond to your message.
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. Your postcard headline needs to be what hooks your audience and intrigues them to flip over your postcard to learn more.
If you’re promoting a 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.”
Add Emphasis with A Great Subheading
For a successful direct mail postcard, include an effective subheading on the back side of your postcard design that emphasizes the headline on the front.
Because postcards are often delivered in your recipients' mailboxes with the mailing information side up, it’s important that your subheading or 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.
Use High-Quality Images
The last thing you want for your postcard design is to include low-resolution or blurry images. The images you choose for your postcard design should be at least 300dpi and never scaled up more than 20% to ensure clear and crisp images when printed.
You also need to choose images that are authentic to your brand while also reflecting who your audience is.
When you choose imagery that follows those two things, your marketing message is enhanced and will generate a more positive experience for your audience thus generating a better response rate.
Consider including images of people that reflect your target demographic while also evoking the emotion you want your audience to have when taking you up on your offer.
For example, if you’re promoting your real estate business and your target audience is potential first-time home buyers, include an image of a happy couple, who just bought their first home. If you’re promoting your family-style restaurant, include an image of a family enjoying your amazing dishes together.
Don’t Forget the Copy in Your Postcard Design
While the perfect headline, subheading, and imagery are incredibly important, you can’t forget about the copy. The copy of your postcard needs to give enough details to add context to your marketing message but it also needs to 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. If you’re 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. This will also help you easily track your direct mail responses.
Personalize Your Message
It’s been proven that when you personalize your marketing message to be tailor-made for each of your recipients, you gain 135% better results.
With Variable Data Printing, you can do just this affordably and easily.
When designing your direct mail postcard, 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 personalized content as well including images, colors, or unique QR codes.
Which Postcard Size Should You Choose?
There are a few things to consider when choosing the right size for your direct mail postcard. To start off with, to qualify for bulk mail postage rates, the USPS regulations state that your postcard must be at least 3.5” x 5” and no more than 6.125” x 11.5”.
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 1 postcard with bulk mailing discounts applied, you must use a 6” x 9” direct mail postcard.
In addition, as discussed above, it’s important to plan out your marketing message before choosing a direct mail postcard size. 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 across 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.
Each direct mail postcard size has it’s own purpose. Some sizes are suitable for thank notes, or appointment reminders, while others, like oversized postcards are ideal for making a huge and immediate impact.
At the end of the day, the postcard size you choose should be determined by your goals and how much information you need to include. If you’re promoting a sale, a grand opening, or looking to increase brand awareness, choose a larger postcard like a 6” x 9” or 6” x 11” postcard. If you’re sending a thank you note or a holiday card to encourage repeat business, a smaller postcard like a 5” x 7” is a great option.
Keep in mind, however, 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. 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 like a 6” x 9” postcard to ensure your message stands out from any other mail piece in your recipients’ mailboxes.
For help on choosing the right postcard size, check out our blog “Postcard Sizes: A Guide to the Dimensions.”
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 your marketing goal, marketing message, and marketing strategy is. This will help you decide which size to choose so that you follow the correct direct mail postcard design guidelines and choose the best one that will market your message successfully.
At Conquest Graphics, we offer many direct mail marketing solutions, direct mail postcards that come in several standard as well as custom postcard dimensions, and direct mail postcard templates to help you design the perfect postcard for your next marketing campaign. Check out our postcard product page to explore your options and to get started on a successful direct mail postcard campaign today!
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