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Standard vs. Oversized Postcards: Choosing the Right Size

French fold vs. half-fold brochures.

Postcards come in a variety of sizes, including small postcards, medium, large, and extra-large postcards.

Each one has its own purpose and is better at delivering certain marketing messages than others.

Choosing a postcard size for your marketing message. 

Many companies stick with a 4” x 6” or 5” x 7” postcard to save a few cents no matter what their goal for their postcard campaign is.

However, this is a mistake. Smaller or standard-sized postcards are extremely effective but only when it makes sense to use them. In certain situations, a larger postcard can generate a much higher ROI than if the same design elements were printed on a smaller-sized postcard.

Let’s take a look at the differences between standard and oversized postcards along with the benefits of each to ensure you choose the right size for your marketing campaign.

Standard Postcard Sizes

The term “standard” can be defined as either postcards that are eligible to mail at the USPS First Class Postcard Rate or postcards offered by your printer as standard instead of a custom size. Some also refer to “standard sizes” as the smaller postcards and even some refer to a 6” x 9” postcard as the standard size.

In this blog we are going to focus on the standard, smaller postcards, 4” x 6” and 5” x 7,” however below gives a brief overview of other standard postcard definitions.

To qualify for First Class Postcard Rates your postcard must be 4” x 6” or 4.25” x 6”. For any postcard that is larger than these sizes and no larger than 6” x 11” letter-size postage is charged. However, for USPS Marketing Mail or Standard Mail, there is no separate price for postcards if you mail at least 200 pieces or 50 pounds.

The sizes your printer offers on their postcard product page are your printer’s “standard sizes.” This includes 4” x 6”, 4.25” x 6”, 5” x 7”, 5.5” x 8.5”, 6” x 9”, 6.25” x 9”, and 6” x 11”. Any size not listed would be a custom size which is typically more expensive.

6” x 9” is often considered standard as it's the most recommended postcard size (which we will go into more detail about shortly.) 6" x 9" is also the required size for certain direct mailing services like Postcard Commingling which is where you can mail a minimum of 10 postcards with bulk mailing rates in place.

Standard 4” x 6” Postcards

Being the smallest standard postcard size, this postcard is perfect for straight-to-the-point messages and simple designs.

The 4” x 6” postcard is the cheapest postcard size available. However, many avoid using this size for direct mail marketing and use it as a handout or insert, within packages for example, as it doesn’t stand out in recipients' mailboxes as much as a larger or oversized postcard does which can affect your ROI.

Postcard sizes with mailing information space. 

Keep in mind if you do decide to use a 4” x 6” for direct mail marketing, you need to include a blank space for the mailing information on the back side of your postcard design. For every postcard size, this space must be at least 2.25” x 4” which is a good portion of a 4” x 6” postcard. If your design begins to feel a bit cramped and your budget doesn’t allow for a larger size, you may want to consider upsizing to a 4.25” x 6” postcard to allow for a little more breathing room which is also only about $0.02 more per postcard than a 4” x 6”.

Standard 5” x 7” Postcards

A 5” x 7” postcard is one of the most used postcards. This is because it’s less than $0.10 more per postcard than a 4” x 6” yet is larger than every day mailbox items which makes it perfect for companies who have limited budgets but want to really make an impact.

4x6 and 5x7 Postcards 

This standard postcard size is perfect for a variety of messaging including thank you notes, holiday cards, promoting a sale, or updating customers on upcoming events.

For smaller sized postcards, you may want to consider using variable data printing to provide a personalized message for each of your recipients to make your campaign stand out even more.

Oversized Postcard Sizes

Oversized postcards (or anything larger than a 4.25” x 6” and no more than a 6” x 11” postcard to be exact) qualify for letter-sized postage which is the same price for each size and is only a couple cents more than the postcard postage rate.

5.5” x 8.5” Postcards

5.5” x 8.5" is the perfect postcard size if you are looking to promote with a smaller sized postcard but want to include a good amount of design elements without overcrowding.

Oversized postcard sizes. 

To visualize this size, take a piece of loose-leaf paper (8.5” x 11”) and fold it in half. This amount of space gives you plenty of room to highlight images and provide a few details while still being relatively small.

6” x 9” Postcards

6” x 9” is the perfect size for your postcards if you are looking for something bigger than a 4”x 6” or 5” x 7” but still want to stay on the lower end of printing costs.

Because of this, 6” x 9” postcards are the most recommended size. There postage rates are the same as a 5” x 7” and their printing costs are only a few cents more.

Due to its larger size and affordable price, 6” x 9” postcards are the one size that makes sense for every type of industry and size of business. Whether you’re a small business or a large franchise, if you aren’t sure whether you want to go small and effective or large and impactful, a 6” x 9” is a good size to choose for your postcards.

Use a 6” x 9” postcard to promote a sale, send a happy birthday message to your audience, introduce your business, and more. You can even send a 6” x 9” postcard as easy as sending an email out of your CRM or marketing automation platform.

The best part about a 6” x 9” postcard is you are able to use Postcard Commingling to send them. This service allows you to send as few postcards or as many as you want while still taking advantage of bulk mailing postage rates.

EDDM Postcard Sizes

For Every Door Direct Mail or EDDM, there are some guidelines to follow. If you aren’t familiar with EDDM, it is a bulk mailing option that allows your company to reach potential customers without knowing their address and who live in a certain ZIP code or carrier route.

EDDM eligible postcards, also known as Flat EDDM Mailers, include 6.25” x 9” postcards and 6” x 11” postcards.

So, keep in mind if you are looking to use EDDM, you need to choose a postcard that is EDDM eligible.

6x11 postcard design in portrait format. 

6” x 11” Postcards

6” x 11” postcards are the largest sized postcard offered by printers. Anything larger would require a custom quote or fall under a brochure or flyer product.

This size of postcard is perfect to use if your marketing campaign requires a lot of room for design elements or if you are looking to really make a huge impact. While it is the largest postcard offered, it remains extremely cost-effective as it stays within the letter-sized postage rates. Meaning you would spend the exact same postage for a 6” x 11” postcard then you would for a 5.5” x 8.5” postcard. The only price difference is the price for printing the product itself.

These jumbo-sized postcards are perfect for really making a statement about your brand and what your company has to offer. Because the width is so much longer than the height, try designing your postcard in portrait style instead of landscape. This creative technique can help your oversized postcard stand out even more!

Which is Better, Standard or Oversized Postcards?

With so many options, it can be difficult to decide which size to choose. However, choosing the one that is best for your marketing campaign is pretty simple.

First, determine your marketing strategy. If you’re promoting a grand opening, a huge sale, or tapping into a new audience, a larger postcard like a 6” x 9” or 6” x 11” will make a bigger impact and help your brand become more recognizable.

Postcard sizes and choosing the right one.  

Overall, the message and design elements should dictate the size you choose. If you feel as though more images or text would enhance your postcards message, then choose an oversized postcard. If you have a minimal design a 4” x 6” or 5” x 7” standard postcard can help promote your message in a tiny but powerful way.

Second, although no matter what size you choose, postcards are extremely cost-effective. However, a 6” x 11” postcard will cost you more than a 5” x 7” postcard. Make sure to outline your budget, and then figure out your goals and consider the messaging and design elements you are including. Will a 5” x 7” be too small for the details you want to include, or will it simply not make a big enough impact compared to how big the sale you're promoting is?

Determining your budget, and then considering how your postcard will affect the responses you receive will help you choose the right postcard size for your marketing campaign.

Postcards are amazing direct mail materials that can really maximize your campaign results. Now that you have gotten a rundown on standard vs. oversized postcards, you’re ready to choose the right one for you. Click below to get started on your postcard campaign today! Still not sure or need some tips on designing your postcard? Explore some of our related blogs below or chat in through the Live Chat pop-up!

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