design elements make postcards stand out 1

Direct Mail Design Elements That Make Your Postcards Stand Out

The thing about direct mail postcards is that people don’t even have to open anything to receive your marketing message – it’s right there in front of them. But that’s both good news and bad – an opportunity and a warning when it comes to design.

On the one hand, direct mail postcards are far more appealing than something your recipients have to open. Even an envelope that’s decorated in some way just doesn’t seem tempting. Bills and other boring items come in envelopes. Colorful postcards have the ability to grab immediate interest in your mailbox, because they stand out physically and visually.

But that means you have to use those first nanoseconds to secure your prospect’s full attention. Otherwise you’ve lost your initial momentum – and maybe a sale.

Direct mail design holds the keys to successfully transforming that first glance into the urge to buy, because done right, your postcards will not only open your recipients’ eyes but motivate them to keep reading.

Each of these direct mail design keys unlocks part of the transformation process:

  • Headline. Big and bold, the headline makes your first impression on recipients. You have just a few words – 3 to 8 is a good rule of thumb — to convince your prospect it’s worthwhile for them to look further. Your headline has to quickly convey what’s in it for them.
  • Body text. Postcards are surprisingly roomy, but you want to keep text to a minimum to avoid a cluttered look. Focus on the main reasons a prospect should want to do business with you – what makes your company, products or services different from competitors – and list those benefits in succinct bullet form for easy reading.
  • Offer. While postcards are an excellent way to get the word out about your business and reinforce your branding, your real goal is to convert recipients into leads or customers. You’ve made it worth their while to keep reading with your attention-grabbing headline and short list of specific benefits, now make it worth their while to follow through by rewarding them with a discount or something free (everyone’s favorite offer). Giving them a “deal” can clinch the sale, and including an offer on your postcard also makes it easy to track response.
  • Sense of urgency. To generate the fastest response, limit your offer in some way. Give it an expiration date, or say “available while they last” or “offer limited to the first 10 callers.” Of course not everyone will respond immediately to any type of marketing, that’s why repetition is so important to keep you top-of-mind until prospects are ready to take the next step. Those who failed to follow up with your first postcard will be reminded when they receive the next one.
  • Build confidence. Third-party verification tells prospects your products are great and your company is reliable, giving postcard recipients the confidence to buy from you. You can use short quotes from testimonials or online reviews, include names or logos of professional organizations you belong to, note special accreditations or awards or offer a money-back guarantee.  
  • Contact information. The whole point of your postcard marketing is to inspire a response. That means you have to provide every possible option for people to learn more as well as take advantage of your postcard’s offer. Regardless of whether your call-to-action specifies “call now,” “visit this URL,” etc., include your phone number, location address, web address, social network insignias and tags, even an email address. The easier you make it for people who have questions or aren’t quite ready to buy yet, the more likely they are to connect with you. That gives you a chance to start building a relationship with them.

When all these direct mail design keys come together properly, you’ll produce eye-opening postcards that convincingly persuade recipients to respond quickly. No envelope necessary.

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