You could say that simplicity is the key to success with direct mail postcards. In a world where customers are increasingly impatient, you have to make your marketing point clearly and quickly – and convincingly enough to thoroughly engage your audience.

The mere arrival of a postcard in someone’s mailbox is engaging. It’s simply impossible to ignore postcards because they are inherently intriguing – hey, what’s this? Is it from someone I know? Is it a special offer on some product or service I’ve been looking for? Your recipient automatically wants to know more. Even so, they won’t bother to look more closely unless you take specific steps to make that happen.

Here are 6 simple ways to engage your audience with direct mail postcards:

1. Make it big enough to really stand out among other mail.

The smallest 4×6 inch postcards can sometimes be a perfectly good choice for marketing purposes, but for most businesses and campaigns, larger 5.5 x 8.5 or 6 x 11 sizes perform even better. They literally offer a larger presence that says “pick me, pick me!” And they provide more space to include additional important information or more/larger photos, which can be a distinct advantage for certain businesses such as yard care services or restaurants where photographic “evidence” of your great work is essential.

2. Use bright colors and a bold headline.

In order to engage your audience, you first have to get their attention. Once they’ve picked up your postcard, you have only a fleeting moment to convert them to a reader. Bright colors and a bold headline give them an instant idea what your postcard is all about. Are you a pool service, a dentist, a bar and grill or a health club?

3. Use bullets to make scanning easy.

Imagine reaching into your own mailbox and retrieving a postcard covered with a sea of type. Would you read it? Of course not. Because we’re all impatient these days, we’ve become an audience of scanners. Make your direct mail postcards scanner-friendly by using bullets to deliver multiple salient points as concisely as possible.

Bullet benefits – why your products or services are superior or other characteristics of your business that set you apart from others — in other words, what’s in it for your postcard recipient to choose you over someone else?

Along that same line, other types of quick-reference visuals can validate your professionalism and credibility – short testimonial quotes, social media icons, logos of the professional or business organizations you belong to, professional accreditations or awards, etc. No one wants to be a guinea pig, so the more “proof” you can offer as to your business stability and value, the more engaged your audience will be.

4. Clean design.

It’s tempting to cram too many visual elements onto a postcard, out of fear that you have to tell your entire story to your audience all at once. Unfortunately, visual overload makes it impossible for the human eye to focus on any one thing. It’s as off-putting as too much text. You’ll engage a lot more prospects with simple design that presents key elements in a layout that’s inviting and easy to follow.

5. Make sure you’re using the right mailing list.

You can’t engage anyone if you’re mailing to people who aren’t part of your target audience.

6. Make them an offer they can’t refuse.

This is really the bottom line when it comes to engagement, because it’s a step-by-step process. You’ve engaged appropriate recipients by delivering useful information about your products or services, in a way that makes them want to take a closer look. They’re interested, but they may be waffling. Convince them to respond now with an incentive and a deadline. If they don’t act now, they’ll miss out. What could be simpler than that?