Postcards have long been an important part of commerce…and collecting. According to www.emotionscards.com, deltiology, the official name for postcard collecting, is thought to be one of the three largest collectable hobbies in the world along with coin and stamp collecting.
It notes, “By 1907, European card publishers began opening offices in the United States and accounted for over 75% of all postcards sold in the United States…the hobby of collecting picture postcards became the greatest collectible hobby that the World had ever known. The official figures from the U.S. Post Office for their fiscal year ending June 30, 1908, cite 677,777,798 postcards mailed. At that time the total population of the United States was only 88,700,000!”
With the rampup of digital marketing, all things print—including direct mail postcards—declined in popularity. Then a curious (some would say, inevitable) phenomenon occurred: postcards started to rise in popularity again, due in part to the “what’s old is new again” perception of marketers. Plus, postcards embrace the concept of message brevity, which has become the mainstay of much of today’s marketing world.
A February 2015 Entrepreneur.com article helps drive the point home: “If you want to stand out to your prospects, you must do something different than what your competitors are doing. Everyone can send an email, but direct mail is something special these days. Not only that, research shows that direct mail connects with customers on a deeper emotional level and provides a much higher response rate.”
There also have been enhancements in an area touted constantly in the digital world—personalization. Through the development of variable data printing technologies, postcards can now be personalized both in content and image—without substantially affecting printing costs. Digital printing enables use of this technique. (And evolution of high-performing inkjet presses will expand the scope and quality of these efforts—see page 2.) Just as with any other personalization program, it’s a matter of providing information/images desired and a target recipient list…and away you go.
What kind of personalized information? While possibilities are limited only by the imagination, such criteria as gender, industry, size of company, geographic location and status in the sales cycle can be used to provide some broad-brush distinctions.
Printing and postage costs, long used by digital marketers to pooh-pooh postcards and other print marketing, also are proving more competitive for a variety of reasons. Among them are the highly efficient nature of digital printing for quantities both small and large and the fact that response to print marketing is improving while digital marketing (now often considered “junk mail” as print once was) is stagnating, and in some cases dropping. This makes print ROI look much more attractive vis a vis its digital counterparts.
Other reasons to consider postcards include:
- Interface with digital. Through QR codes and other print-to-digital technologies, recipients of postcards can now connect easily and quickly with digital resources to further enhance chances of a sale.
- Staying power. It can keep gathering attention while sitting on a desk; and is still there when someone comes back to give it another look.
- Attention-getting attributes. Oversized and visually impactful postcards especially can cut through messaging clutter, get to the point, and plant a message firmly in the recipient’s mind—something that both print and digital messaging can fail to do quickly.
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Use postcards for direct mail results…
It´s time to stand out using postcards. You only have a few seconds to get the attention of your prospect. The simplicity and impact of a well-designed and well-written postcard can do that faster than just about anything.
Plus, it keeps on messaging as you lay it on the desk and come back to it because of its appeal.
Postcards get attention. While there are times when you need a larger piece or multiple pieces in an envelope to detail your message and offer, postcards are a great marketing tool to cut through the clutter more often than not. Your printed message competes with all media…not just printed media. Postcards stand out among all this “noise.”
It has been said that most people open their mail over the waste basket. A postcard doesn’t need to be opened so the message, or at least the headline, is read inadvertently prior to discarding whether the recipient wants to or not. An oversized, full-color postcard will many times attract more attention than an envelope. Let the recipient read your message while they are deciding which envelopes to toss into the waste basket.
Use postcard marketing to send your message both literally and visually while the reader is deciding what other pieces they want to discard. Don´t hide your message, broadcast it.