Martha Retallick

Article Summary:

Three postcard design tips for your next direct mail marketing campaign.

Postcard Design for Direct Mail

Here's three tips for designing postcards for your next direct mailing:

TIP #1: Aim for "Refrigerator Door Mindshare"

By this, I mean that you should create a card that someone would be proud to display on his or her refrigerator door.

The image on the front of your postcard should be simple, but attractive. I've found that brightly colored cards pull a better response than dark, moody cards. Save your artistic angst for some other medium.

You should also create an image that's easily comprehended. Why? Because your recipients will only give your cards a one- or two-second glance before deciding to keep them or throw them away.

Think billboard. A billboard must get its point across quickly because people are driving by at high rates of speed. It also must be memorable.

So, the next time you're out and about, look at the billboards. Advertisers are paying good money to put them up, so why not use them as a source of free design ideas?

Now, ask yourself a couple of questions:

1. Which billboards are memorable?
2. Which billboards are forgettable?

You can also do the same thing with advertising you see in bus and train stations, or in airports.

You may have noticed this when you've been sending postcards, or doing some other form of marketing. Your responders will fall into one of the following groups:

1. People who respond right away.

2. People who respond several weeks, months, or even years later.

You may get a lot of "right away" responders, which is the desired result of most marketing activities, but you'll still get replies from people who've saved your postcards.

And "keeper cards" are a good thing. Why? Because if your recipients are keeping what you're sending out, chances are good that they'll eventually do business with you.

TIP #2: Avoid the "Too Much Information" Syndrome

I've seen many a marketing postcard that just has too much information on it. Too many words set in tiny type is an all too common problem.

And the poor recipient, who only has limited time in his/her day, feels overwhelmed and gives up. Into the trashcan your card goes.


The solution? Let that postcard sit for a day or so. Then, when you're feeling grumpy and argumentative, go back and edit that card copy.

When you're in a bad mood, you'll be merciless with all of those "fluff" words that seemed so indispensable before. And those sentences that just ramble on and on? They'll be trimmed down -- way down.

TIP #3: Back Before Front

Chances are good that your recipients will look at the back of the card first. Think of how your mail gets delivered to you each day. It probably goes into your mailbox address side up.

This means that the back of the postcard shouldn't be an afterthought.

Yes, you do have to squeeze the sender's and recipient's addresses and the stamp or mailing permit in there, but you do have a lot of extra room for creativity.

You could even employ elements of your front design on the back. Like your logo, your photo and your website address.

Or try this idea: Let's say you're a real estate agent looking for listings, and you'll provide a free market analysis to those who request one. Make the same offer on the front and back of your postcard. That way, your prospects will see it, coming and going.

Martha Retallick, "The Passionate Postcarder," hails from Tucson, Arizona, USA. She is the author of Postcard Marketing Secrets, a downloadable PDF manual that will show you how to put postcards to work for your business profitably. Learn more about it at: PostcardMarketing

Read all advice by Martha Retallick; Find more Postcard Marketing experts

More advice on Postcard Marketing
» Postcard Marketing: Top Ten Advantages
» Postcard Direct Mail Marketing Tips
» all Postcard Marketing articles