Marketing Postcards Vs Self-Mailers – Size Matters

OK, previously we’ve discussed the price vs. timing issue of the postcard vs. self-mailer or oversized postcard. Now, let’s go to the inevitable question — does size matter?

The answer, once again, is…it depends on your goals!

If you have an audience-specific offer that needs explanation in any detail, I would spend the extra money on the larger format. A postcard is 4 1/4 by 6, but a self-mailer (letter rate) can go clear up to 6 1/8 by 11 1/2. That is more than twice the surface area of the postcard.

A postcard can suffice if you are mailing to a multi-faceted audience and want to quickly get across a ‘brand-building’ message. A photo/headline combination on the non-address side of the postcard can be very powerful, with a short general message and your company logo/tagline on the address side. Here you are building brand-awareness and quickly trying to make an impression on your prospect. You are not trying to get the prospect to act, other than to remember your name and company and start to build an emotional bond with the prospect.

But what if you really want to create an action on the part of the recipient? If you have a super-stunning, easy to understand offer, the postcard can work, especially if you are running other media, such as print or TV. If you have strong brand awareness already, and are just jolting the person into take a simple action, like “Save 1/2 off on all suits at Acme clothing this weekend” and you are sure the prospect knows your brand and your location, then the postcard can work well.

But for most direct mailers the prospect does not know your brand, is not familiar with your product, and needs some explanation of what they are supposed to do. Even with a compelling offer, you need some extra info to explain to that % of the population that wants more in-depth explanation of “what’s it all about”. The oversized card or self-mailer allows you to present a greater level of detail.

Remember, you need to tell the story graphically on the oversize card. Yes, copy is always king, but here the king speaks loudest if he speaks least. But, you can include small graphics that instantly convey loads of information such as maps to your retail branch, order information, link to your guarantee on your website, mini-synopsis of your guarantee (we will not be undersold!), or a few testimonials.