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Postcard Power

The humble postcard is an influential communications vehicle thanks to its place in history. Long before advertisers and marketers began using them, they were an inexpensive way to let the folks back home know who was on vacation. So when the average consumer is confronted by this unassuming rectangular piece of cardstock, the first reaction is usually a smile and a fond memory.

Unfortunately, the postcard has been abused by many advertisers, yet it is still a potent tool in the arsenal of savvy marketers. Here are a handful of tips to help make the best of this versatile and appealing medium:

1) How is a postcard different than an envelope?

With an envelope, your potential customer can’t see your message. Example: Think about how you go through your mail to weed out what you want to keep. Does it go something like this: “bill, bill, bill, junk mail, bill, junk mail, letter…and so on.”

With a postcard, even if it gets trashed, your message has been seen. And the next time someone gets that same postcard in the mail, they’ll see it again — even as they throw it away. Although considered junk mail, postcards get read no matter what – even when thrown away, they get seen.

2) Once is not enough.

Mailings cannot be repeated too many times. A one-shot mailing is not going to change your business, your bottom line or anything. Everything must be repeated. How many times have you complained about seeing the same TV commercial over and over again?

3) The two sides are not equal.

Question: what do you see on one side of every postcard? Right. A mailing address. That’s usually on the business side of the card. On the other side, there’s a wide open space for a beautiful photo, illustration or other captivating graphic treatment. Each side has a purpose. The business side has a half for mailing and a half for information. The other side is for inspiration and excitement. Don’t confuse the two sides.

4) One card – one idea.

Even if you offer a wide selection of different products and services, promote ONLY ONE of them. Okay, you can mention the others on the back of the postcard, but your main focus on the front of your postcard needs to be ONE product, service, item, or whatever. A single idea will be strong and has a chance of being remembered. Add more and you dilute the strength of your effort.

5) Size matters (where have we heard this before?) Postcard can be made in all different sizes. But whatever size you choose, you must make sure it meets postal regulations. Visit and reference their handy chart. Your budget will be a major factor in choosing the size you end up with. But the postage will also play a significant role in your decision. Choose the size that qualified for bulk rates and automated handling and you’ll save. Ignore the guidelines and you may wind up with something that requires first class postage and can blow your budget sky high.

Okay, with all that out there to ponder, here are some brilliant designs that will stimulate the other half of your brain.

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