The Power of the Postcard in Direct Mail

Woman reviewing postcard at her mailbox.

Here’s the good news for marketers seeking a viable alternative to crowded digital channels: Postcard direct mail programs are a simple, cost-effective way to create personalized marketing communications that can speak to highly targeted audiences in ways that drive robust response rates and meaningful ROI.

However, with millions of direct mail pieces sent in 2022, the trick for marketers is to unlock creative, strategic ways to make their print communications stand out, and also create an engaging experience for current and prospective customers.

 With this in mind, let’s look at a couple of things marketers should consider when an effective direct mail postcard campaigns that optimize their print marketing budgets — and also creates a meaningful connection with their target audience. 


Emphasize the tactile experience of a postcard

Part of what can make a postcard direct mail campaign so effective is that print is tangible. A postcard is something you hold, touch, or feel, and that tactile sensation can be a powerful one for your recipient — in fact, a survey of millennials found that 75% of participants said receiving print mail made them feel special

Postcards provide marketers with some unique opportunities to double down on the impact of tactile or sensory print. For example, different paper stocks or substrates, finishings, textures, and specialty inks can help enhance the tactile experience of a postcard and stimulate greater engagement with a print piece. 

Using these types of design elements to better grab and hold your audience’s attention can also pay dividends in helping them remember important information about your brand, product, or service. Reading in print as opposed to on a digital device is more conducive to comprehension and retention, and print also makes it easier for recipients to connect or associate more complex ideas.  

Emphasizing the tactile nature of a postcard can not only open up interesting opportunities from a creativity standpoint, but it can also help marketers experience discounts on their postage through the USPS incentive program, which rewards innovation and ingenuity in print. 

Make your postcard personal

We know personalized communication is more likely to get results, and the ability to create specific, highly targeted messaging via digital marketing is part of what makes that method so impactful. There was a time when personalized print was an extremely labor intensive and costly process that marketers often avoided, but the development of digital print technology has made personalized print quick, easy, and nearly essential for truly effective print campaigns.  

For example, a recent survey found that 76% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that personalizes their messaging or communication. Plus, a USPS survey found that millennials prioritize authenticity and meaningful conversation when engaging with a brand. Variable data printing (VDP) gives marketers the ability to create personalized postcards that speak to highly targeted audiences in a way that creates the kind of meaningful conversations consumers seek. 

Leveraging detailed customer data such as browsing history, lifecycle stage, purchases, or location, VDP can help marketers build postcard direct mail campaigns that directly address a customer’s specific challenges or positions individualized offers with an eye toward driving robust response rates.

Think in a more interactive way

Today’s consumer wants informative, engaging content that creates an immersive experience — for example, 47% of consumers said interactive, immersive content makes them feel more connected to brands, which can be key in nurturing prospective customers and retaining existing ones. 

On the surface, a postcard might not seem like the best platform to create an interactive experience, but marketers can actually use postcards as a launchpad for interactive experiences that provide insightful data on how customers respond and engage with your brand. 

Designing a postcard with calls-to-action that incorporate URLs, hashtags, social media handles, QR codes, and even augmented reality experiences bridge the print and digital worlds to build an omnichannel experience where customers can explore and discover in greater depth who a company is, what they have to offer, and why a customer should purchase a product or service.

For example, imagine a regional health care system that sends a personalized postcard to current employees that outlines the benefits of regular exercise with a QR code that, when scanned, prompts recipients to download a fitness tracking app where employees can record their workouts and earn rewards for their efforts. 

Not only does this interactive postcard offer more value to the recipient, but the digital component can help marketers better understand in more granular detail how effective campaigns are via reporting that includes web traffic, downloads, time on page, social media shares, and more.

Taking these factors into account when conceiving a direct mail postcard campaign can not only help you create a more meaningful piece of print communication, but it can also help you evaluate the effectiveness of your messaging and how well you really know what your customer wants and needs. 

Are you ready to experience the power of the postcard? Our current postcard promotion can help you get the most out of a postcard mailing of any size, including oversized and jumbo postcards to really help you make an impact. Still not sure? Learn more about how our direct mail services can help you create effective print campaigns.