Postcard Power

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I talk a lot about the Internet and I would love to tell you that along with my passion for online marketing tools I am a “paperless” person but…that would be a bold-faced lie. I love paper. I do use Google Calendar and I have been known to have a meltdown if Tom does not sync his calendar with mine on a regular basis. However, I also take that Google Calendar and print it out every couple months and punch holes in it and put it in the binder that I carry with me everywhere.

I travel a lot. Mostly for work but sometimes for fun and I would not dream of showing up in, say, Las Vegas for the recent AOPA Assembly without a printout of my room reservation, car rental and airplane reservations. Having those hard copies just makes everything easier.

It is not just my calendar pages that I like to keep close by. I also am a collector of loyalty cards. Like I said, I travel a lot so I am a member of most domestic and international frequent flyer, frequent stayer and frequent renter programs as well as most stores. Do I like getting “special” emails from my travel vendors? Sure I do. How about “member only” emails from stores I shop at all the time, like CVS or Macy’s or J. Crew? Of course I do. Do you know what else I appreciate? Their postcards. 

Postcards are the least expensive form of direct mail today. They are:

• Easy to create

• Generate a high rate of response

• Did I mention least expensive form of direct mail?

Because they are easy to use and economical, people do not always give them the respect they deserve. To maximize their effectiveness, you will want to avoid making these mistakes.

Elizabeth Mansfield


Not repeating yourself. Postcard mailings should not be a one shot deal. Repetition is the key to sales. When you are creating or ordering your postcards, the costs go down as the numbers go up. Do not get 500 when you can get 2,000. Now you have the opportunity to send 500 out every 3 months. Repetition is the key to sales.

Not using a stamp. Imprinted postage means “junk” mail to most people. Take a little bit more time and a tiny bit more money and use a first class stamp. It looks friendlier and you will get all the benefits of first class mail. Benefits include a “return to sender” if your address list is not up to date. Just make sure you actually update the list before you send the next batch of cards.

Not being frugal. Have a laser printer or a high quality ink jet printer? You do not need a fancy printing service to do your postcards. You can print a perfectly acceptable postcard yourself or using a design online service. Just make sure you comply with postal requirements.

Not proofreading. Read it. Read it again. Have someone else read it. Have someone who knows how to spell read it. Send it to me and I will read it. You do not want to send it out with spelling, punctuation or typographical errors. If you send out an e-card, it is incredibly easy to send an “Oops” e-card immediately after. In fact, the open rate on an “Oops” e-card is almost always better than the original but we are not talking about e-cards. We are talking about postcards. Hard copies. Copies that stick around and you certainly cannot send out an “Oops” postcard immediately following the first card. The mail just does not move that fast.

Just because postcards are “old school” does not mean they are not worth their weight in new sales, new referrals or new leads. Make sure to avoid the “nots” and you will have a powerful, easy to use marketing tool in your toolkit.

Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing Solutions. She can be reached at

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