postcard marketing direct mail campaigns

Is it time to bring back the postcard?

We think so.

It might sound old school, but direct mail marketing is still an extremely effective way to carry out a targeted marketing campaign. If you’re not already implementing postcards as part of your marketing plan, you should consider it.


They work — way better than several alternative marketing methods. They’re simple to execute, cost-effective and on average more consumers will view physical mail than emails.

What marketing research says about direct mail marketing

Think about it: Our inboxes are saturated with marketing emails, making it much easier to miss incoming emails. But physical mail? Between 80-90% of direct mail gets opened, compared to 20-30% of emails, according to the Data & Marketing Association. The average person will at least scan all of their mail before discarding it.

Research suggests that direct mail postcards require less cognitive effort to process than email and people who receive direct mail purchase more than those who do not receive direct mail. According to Small Biz Genius, 73% of American consumers say they prefer direct mail because they can read it whenever they want.

And it goes beyond whether a consumer will simply view the postcard. A lot of people still get excited about checking their mail every day — especially when we’ve all been “locked up” during COVID-19. According to Marketing Sherpa, 76% of people trust ads they receive in the mail. Have you ever seen Blues Clues and the “Mail Time” song?

That’s pretty much how anyone who’s been stuck in a house/apartment for months by themselves feels when they receive a piece of mail that isn’t a bill.

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Businesses can launch direct mail campaigns that add to this excitement

Try creating a postcard that is more personalized — and intent on spreading joy. Direct mail postcards come in a variety of sizes — 5 by 7 inches, 6 by 11 inches and even 8.5×11 inches.

We know it’s common to send postcards or email greetings for clients’ birthdays and holidays (and maybe even include a promotional/discount code or coupon), but why not send this kind of greeting when it’s not a special occasion? Creating postcards with a motivational quote, a cute graphic or even just a “thinking of you” could bring a smile to your consumers; and we know how much we could all use a smile these days.

Aside from spreading joy, postcards are a great way to step up your marketing in a safe way while we’re all practicing social distancing and trying to stop the spread of COVID-19. We know a lot of your typical in-person marketing practices aren’t viable right now. There aren’t very many events, festivals or networking events at the moment. People aren’t as likely to shop or dine in-person. People are traveling less. But there’s one thing that people are still doing: Checking their mail.

So what kind of marketing campaigns could you launch using postcards?

It depends on what type of business you have.

If you’re a REALTOR or real estate agency, “just sold” postcards featuring a house that was sold quickly and for a good price let homeowners know that the market is hot in their area.

A restaurant could send a direct mail card that promotes:

  • a discount code for placing a pickup/delivery order
  • new menu items
  • Happy Hour or other specials
  • new pickup/delivery options
  • safety protocols are in place if they’re open for dine-in

Similarly, a retail store could send postcards featuring new items or sales. Stores could also offer a discount to people ordering items for curbside pickup.

Another idea for any business? A “we want you back” campaign for existing customers. You don’t have to use those words on the postcard. Use a targeted greeting — maybe with a promotion code or coupon, sent only to customers who haven’t purchased any products or services in a while.

And, of course, any business can send out a birthday, holiday or “just because” postcard greeting.

You get the idea.

Basically, any business can send postcards featuring sales, promotions or new products/services. And right now, any business can use direct mail promotional materials to let customers know they’re doing whatever they can to keep people safe during COVID-19.

The costs fluctuate and range from 30 cents and $10 per recipient, according to Media Space Solutions. According to estimates by Inkit, a direct mail campaign sending postcards to 1,000 recipients can cost about $1,150 or $1.15 per recipient.

Need some inspiration?

Check out these postcards:

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