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Dove Direct Print & Marketing Blog - “Best Design Practices for Postcard Marketing”

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Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today’s post, “Best Design Practices for Postcard Marketing” uncovers the leading design strategies for creating postcards that will generate maximum engagement. Direct mail is undergoing a resurgence as of late and with iconic brands investing more dollars into direct mail marketing, of the many types of print collateral available for direct mail, postcards stand out. For one, postcards are one of the most affordable print products available to the marketing community, which makes the postcard design strategies all the more important.

Most postcards tend to resemble some sort of advertisement. That said, it is unclear how many of those advertisement style postcards actually work. In an effort to maximize the postcard’s effectiveness and increase response rates, the design of the postcard is where the rubber meets the road.

In case you missed it, Google, one of the world’s top technology companies, is also the number one user of direct mail postcards in the United States. Marketing 101 teaches us that we need to observe what the leading companies are doing when it comes to marketing. Therefore, if your content marketing strategy is limited to online apps, websites, blogs, videos, white papers and infographics, you could be missing that piece of the marketing mix that actually drives prospects to those online destinations! Now, let’s get started with best postcard design considerations.

Postcards that Look Like an Advertisement

Make no mistake. All direct mail marketing is for the most part an advertising initiative at the end of the day.  That said, all marketing is really advertising, whether it’s online or offline. The difference today however, is that prospects and customers have a say, and will comment either positively or negatively talk about products/services including the subsequent marketing/advertising efforts these brands are using to bombard consumers 24/7.

Add to the mix, the new marketing buzzword, ‘personalization’ which suggests that advertising and marketing collateral that fail to communicate with targeted recipients on a personal level will most likely increase the odds of low engagement and low ROI. Translation? Postcards that miss the mark by being ‘un-personalized’ are for the most part a waste of money. Eliminating this personalized challenge through post card design will make the postcard more personal.

Postcard best design practices begin with messaging created in a manner that is more intimate, for example, the way you would communicate with a family member or an old acquaintance. Use a bit of what would appear to be tidbits of imperfection, such as imperfect lines, handwritten type fonts, embedded sticky notes, etcetera. Whatever the design, it should not look like an ad.

Arouse the Curiosity

Best of class postcards should be inspiring, motivational and arouse curiosity. Postcard designs that evoke the most interest typically put closing sales on the back burner so to speak. Trying to close the sale too quickly can be a turn off for a vast majority of consumers. Today’s consumers are adamant they don’t want to be sold to right off the bat. Instead, great marketing collateral should provide information for consumers to sell themselves.

Postcard messaging content is critical in establishing curiosity and interest. For example, take the following headline examples:


  • Purchase lead automation software today for under $200
  • Learn how you can get lead automation software today for under $200

Both of those two headline examples are actually offering the exact same deal. However, there is an understated distinction. The first headline example is inferring ‘Buy Today, and the second headline directs the recipient to “Learn about this great offer today. A softer inviting tone encapsulates the second headline approach.

The Testimonial

One of today’s main marketing attributes lies in the power of customer endorsements and referrals. In fact, web design best practices state that sites that contain a testimonial section are more likely to increase ROI potential above those that fail to include testimonials. A common purchasing ideology these days is that consumers shy away from products and services that fail to demonstrate an endorsement from like-minded consumers.

In short, testimonials validate that the brand can deliver products/services on the level of the promise or value proposition being imparted to the public. Testimonials should include consumers that can be located online, either through their websites, social media, or blog posts. Consumers and prospects are motivated by real people they can find, who really exist. Conversely, providing shady testimonials can have a significant affect that negatively impacts brand equity and trustworthiness. In short, best postcard design practices need to have testimonials included.

The Postcard Pitch

Let’s be clear. Every single piece of marketing collateral, digital or traditional is asking for the business and as a result, a sales pitch is always included somewhere in the messaging. Sales managers have pretty much coined the term “always be selling,” and to that end, where you place the sales pitch in the messaging content matters.

Postcards typically come with the address side up or facing front. And more notably, the addresses are printed on the back. Therefore, it is advisable to start the sales pitch on the front side, with indications for consumers to visit the back of the postcard to view the remainder of the pitch.

URLS and Landing Pages

Direct mail marketing in general is one the main contributors that direct consumers to online destinations. Brochures, Catalogs, Flyers, and of course postcards all can share the implementation of QR codes, PURLS and specific online destinations for consumers to visit.

In addition, it is common knowledge that in many cases direct mail recipients fail to visit online destinations immediately after receiving direct mail collateral. Typically, a good amount of consumers will visit the brand at a later date, and sometimes will visit the overall site versus the direct mail’s specific landing page.

Postcard best practices regarding online destinations should be created with care to make it easier for folks to remember them. As a result, long urls are often forgotten due to the url being overly long or complicated. For example, instead of creating a url like, sniperauto.com/promotions/automation-software-for-200.html, a better and more memorable url would be sniperleads.us. The creative possibilities are endless, however, the more memorable your URL or PURL landing page addresses are, the more consumers will find their way to that destination to take advantage of that special offer.

The Net-Net

Direct Mail postcard marketing is one of the most efficient and productive marketing mechanisms, particularly when best practices in postcard designs are followed. Remember, messaging content that sounds like you’re speaking to a friend or family member goes a long way with incorporating the personalized aspect so necessary in today’s marketing strategies. Enjoy Creating Postcards with Best Design Practices!

Let’s have a conversation about direct mail strategies, printing, print software, transactional documents, variable digital printing, brand equity and unified marketing collateral during our next Open House. We invite you to join us on Thursday, August 30th, 2018, for an hour or two, anytime between 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization’s printing, letter shop and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct does have an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. And, if you bring us your files, we will create a demo file for you. For more information call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider offers organizations end-to-end data, printing and mailing solutions: Data Management, Variable Digital Printing, LetterShop and Fulfillment, Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau, Marketing and Production Management Support and Secure Data Life Cycle Management.

If you don't want to wait for the Open House, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the contact form for Dove Direct.

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Leland Hicks is the CTO of MatterMax Media, a digital marketing agency that provides business strategy, web design, social media management and training.  He can be reached at lahicks@mattermaxmedia.com