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Simple Postcard Generates High Returns

With no envelope to shield it or dense copy to weigh it down, the proud postcard bares it all, simply and efficiently. And you can mail them for about half the cost of an envelope and letter.

Here are five ways these little workhorses can help you capture new customers or retain existing ones:

  1. They drive targets online. Your mailer can be the starting point for a longer conversation. For example, in 2010, Goodman Marketing Partners in San Rafael, Calif., created a glossy postcard featuring a Bugatti, the fastest car in the world, for client Riverbed Technology. It promoted the company's ability to improve data transfer speed and invited recipients to visit a website to download a whitepaper, and it offered an incentive—a $50 gas card to the first 50 responders—to drive them there immediately.
  2. They're an integrated touchpoint. Postcards are flexible enough to work in any stage of a multitouch effort, like ahead of a dimensional mailer to pique interest, for instance, or after a sales letter to spur a response. Postcards can offer a way for clients to send graphic-rich advertising to recipients who text in a printed short code.
  3. They create instant brand awareness. "The classic postcard is a vehicle that delivers instant brand awareness into the hands of the recipient," says Lesley MacDonald, senior account executive at Full Steam Marketing & Design in Salinas, Calif. In December, the agency designed an oversized postcard used by The National Steinbeck Center to convey museum information to educators and youth group leaders. Incorporating the Center's vibrant new brand identity, the billboard side features strong images and a bold headline, while the back side highlights museum specifics and contact information.
  4. They're great for prospecting. Food photographer Teri Campbell keeps copy light on the oversized postcards he sends to clients and prospects every six to eight weeks. On one side there's a single food image, his studio's name and URL, and the name of his photography agency. The flip side has only address information. "Consistent marketing via postcards is what supports the rest of my marketing efforts," says Cincinnati-based Campbell.
  5. They quickly demonstrate product attributes. In 2009, Goodman Marketing Partners chose to showcase Autodesk's 3-D design software on a lenticular postcard with 3-D imagery. "Since Autodesk wanted targets to learn more about its 3-D design tools, a lenticular provides demonstrable proof of how cool it's going to look on your screen," says Carolyn Goodman, the agency's president and creative director. "Why would I hide that image in an envelope?"