Your daily mail will almost always contain at least one postcard – for the simple fact that postcards are great performers for marketers. Direct mail is easy to track, so marketers can know what types of pieces are performing the best for certain campaigns. Well-designed postcards are a smart and economical choice for your next direct mail offer because of their high impact, lower cost, affordable postage and outstanding ROI.
Exploring the Impact of Postcards
With a constant influx of media messages of all types, we have to find creative ways to produce the ones that will really stand out. Consumers switch tv channels, close browser tabs, switch radio stations, and use ad-blockers to snuff out mundane advertising. In today’s age, we have shorter attention spans than ever before – we skim through news stories and web content, often reading only the first paragraph of an article post before moving on to the next. Print advertising has a high-impact, tactile, even interactive presence, and that is where direct mail fits. Direct mail almost “demands” that the recipient make a conscious choice to read it. Well-designed postcards are able to capture attention quickly. They don’t hinge on the decision whether or not to open something like an envelope or self-mailer, so the offer and the message are immediately visible with a postcard. Census has shown that 50.9%¹ of postcards received are read by at least one member of the household. That number is higher than other direct mail formats studied for comparison.
Why do postcards usually cost less?
Direct mail postcard printing typically costs less to produce than other direct mail formats. A creative designer is able to produce a postcard design in much less time than it would take to construct the components of an envelope mailing package (often consisting of the outer envelope, a letter, a buckslip or brochure and sometimes even a reply envelope). Fewer components to design and print equates to savings on the cost of paper and ink, production setup time and time on press. With a postcard, the only bindery finishing step is trimming the cards to final size, which is often done in-house. Postcard personalization is usually performed on high speed inkjet addressing systems, the least expensive method of addressing for postal acceptance. Postcards also save on postage because they can be sized as large as 6-1/8“ x 11-1/2“ and still qualify for letter postage rates.
Postcard Performance vs. Other Pieces
While direct mail postcard response rates might not be as high as uniquely shaped dimensional mail or oversized envelope mailers, the average response rate of 5%, house mailing lists and 3.6%, prospect lists, offset by the lower cost of production still equates to postcards scoring the lowest cost per response in comparison to other direct mail formats. Postcards provide a cost per response of approximately $17 for house mailing lists and $30 for prospect lists².
Even with all the available outlets, direct mail still remains the leader in multi-channel marketing efforts. Print does cost more than email and web based advertising, but higher response rates justify the expense in comparison to other marketing channels. Postcards are top performers because they boast a high impact, placing messages and offers in front of the recipient without requiring a decision to open an envelope or not. Postcards cost less to produce, which makes them attractive for marketers with limited budgets for direct mail printing. Favorable response rates plus low cost make postcards difficult to top for new customer acquisition and consumer retention.
2. DMA Response Rate Report, 2016