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Email, Direct Mail and the Punchy Postcard Mailing

Direct mail is back… but then, did it ever actually go away? Not really and the reason is simple; physical mail can do so much more than an email and without all of the ghastly GDPR implications that have haunted us over the last year or so. 2019 is seeing a steady increase in direct mail marketing campaigns and in particular the use of postcard mailings.

Before we take a closer look at the versatile little gem that is the postcard, it’s important to understand just why physical mailings are on the increase again. It’s not only down to the headache of GDPR. The reason why postal campaigns have weathered the storm of digital influx is down to a few key factors:

Email overload

While email marketing has its merits (and it does) it also has some issues that you simply don’t get with physical mail. The sheer volume for one & can you even imagine!?

Managing your inbox can seem like a never ending task that is impossible to get under control. It’s a free for all channel that covers everything from important work tasks, enquiries and schedules to doctors appointments, delivery notifications and newsfeeds. Add to that, offers, cross-sell, abandoned shopping cart reminders, and a zillion marvellous products that you really must buy and it becomes one of the busiest places in your virtual world. A place that needs sorting in the most efficient way possible which usually means a mass deleting session of anything even remotely ‘salesy’ plus if there’s time – a good bash at unsubscribing from a few lists as well!

Delivering a presence

Your direct mail piece IS going to get into your recipients home and it IS going to be more noticeable than a mailbox entry, waiting patiently to be opened on whatever is your device of choice. A postal mailing has a physical presence that cannot be ignored. It’s delivered direct to your home and the likelihood is that it will have far less competition from surrounding mail than your inbox does. Chances are, that at the time the recipient sees your mailer they will also have far less distractions than when they are sat at the computer juggling a myriad of apps and tasks.

“People said they are likely to give mail (65%) rather than email (35%) sent from companies their full attention. In the same study, 72% of people said they often read and review some of their mail at a time when they can give it their full attention, even if they have already opened it.” Royal Mail

Spam, hackers and scams

Sadly, these are an everyday part of email activity, while some may be just a nuisance there are some pretty nasty schemes out there set up to con even the most savvy user. Think about the last time you opened a physical letter from your long lost great uncle Augustus in Nigeria, who happens to have a gift of £500,000 waiting for you, just as soon as you send him your bank details… it’s never happened has it? A physical mailing takes far more effort that sending an email, an effort opportunist criminals simply won’t make. By the same token we also tend to take physical mail more seriously because of that same effort that’s been made.

We’ve taken a brief look at the ‘whys’ of direct mail in 2019, now lets look at the the ‘whats’ and in this article we want to focus on the trusty postcard.

Postcard Mailing

“57% or respondents said that postcard marketing makes them feel more valued and creates a more authentic relationship” Royal Mail

Postcard mailings are one of the most versatile and effective forms of direct marketing, they are also one of the most economical and can yield a high return on investment. Let’s take a look at why.

Affordable

Possibly one of the biggest benefits of mailing a postcard is the cost, both in terms of postage and production. There’s no envelope so you will save not only on the purchase cost but on the insertion too. Postcards are cheap to print too, you can opt for pre-printed and have the personalisation overprinted, or for smaller mailings of up to 5000 you can have the whole card printed bespoke for no additional cost!

Attention grabbing

Being a one piece mailer means a postcard will stand out amongst a pile of plain or boring envelopes on the mat. A well designed postcard is a real attention grabber. The best designs will manage the limited space well and focus on a clear and concise message, keeping it short and sharp is key. In terms of style and imagery go wild, go bold and make your mailer demand to be read!

Concise

There’s no need to make a huge time commitment to read a postcard. While having limited space could be seen as a draw back, it really isn’t. Postcards are all about a quick and easy communication, which is one of the reasons so many people are happy to read them.

Versatile

Postcard usage is only limited by your imagination; special offers, announcements, invitations, reminders, refer a friend – if you have more to say why not use a postcard to direct the reader to your website? The possibilities really are endless. That goes for the design and feel too, not only can you make a bold visual statement but you can play around with the finish too – think gloss lamination, die cut shapes, embossing and foiling to really make your mailing pop!

Easy to handle

Handleability is actually more important than you may realise, nobody likes to have unnecessary piles of paper hanging around the house or office; a postcard is neat, sturdy and easy to pop into a bag or clip to a memo board. All meaning it’s likely to hang around for a while and have more than one view.

Whatever you want to say a well designed postcard does it quickly and efficiently.

Dos and don’ts of postcard mailers

Do

  • Ensure you have the right target audience for your campaign, no matter how fabulous your postcard, if you aren’t sending it to the right people its not going to work for you.
  • Consider splitting your campaign to test the performance, or for different demographics. This can be a useful exercise in getting more information about your prospects, don’t forget you’ll need a measurable call to action to make this work.
  • Have clear and measurable objectives in mind and ensure your required actions are easy to follow.
  • Send them out a series, as with all marketing communication, it pays to be persistent.
  • Plan around your mailing and make sure your other channels are in place, so check any discount codes and contacts etc are working.
  • Use postcards as part of a bigger campaign, a multi channel approach can bring in big rewards.
  • Make a visual statement with strong and relevant design to help you stand out.

Don’t

  • Expect one postcard to change the world, these mailings are like a relationship – you’ve got to work at it.
  • Try and pack too much information in – keep it short and sharp.
  • Scrimp on print and design quality this is your chance to shine.

So if you are aren’t already using postcard mailers as part of your campaign strategy then perhaps now is the time to start!

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