Posted By Seamus Barton
8 Important Things to Know Before Printing a Postcard
Ready. Set. Print! You’re ready to buckle down, design your postcard and send it off to the printers, but before you go ahead and print your postcards, there are a few things you need to consider before that can take place.
Postcard advertising campaigns are proven to be very effective ways of marketing your brand. Direct mail postcards offer a simple card with all the information that your recipient needs to take action, and hopefully purchase your product or service.
These one-page advertisements are designed to be eye-catching, simple to access, and sometimes double as coupons or promotional offers, so your recipients are more likely to hold onto your postcard. A well-designed postcard can be a very effective tool to help raise awareness of your brand and improve your overall sales in a very cost-effective way.
This will be even more apparent if you thoroughly research your target demographic and personalize your printed postcards to create a stronger impact on your recipients. Once it includes all these important features, your postcard is on the road to success.
If you’ve got a postcard marketing project in the making and will be gearing up to send it off to the printer soon, you may want to step on the brakes. There are a few things you have to keep in mind before you begin the printing process. If this sounds unfamiliar to you, there’s no reason to worry, because we’re here to share 8 important things you should know before printing your postcard.
1. Pick a purpose for your postcard
The main focus of your direct mail postcard will vary depending on the purpose it is trying to achieve. If you are encouraging people to buy your specific product or service, then it’s important to include an appropriate image — something that stands out — as the main focus of your postcard.
Rather than include your whole inventory on your postcard, try to include a single image of the style of item you are trying to promote. Zoom in or use crop features to create a closeup of your central image so your recipients can get a good idea of what you are offering and whether they are actually interested. Make things easy for your potential customers, and convey your offer with clarity.
The background of your postcard can also be used to help focus your reader’s attention on the main image or focal point of your postcard. If your background is too busy, it will make the other, more important elements of your design, harder to see. Try using a neutral background to make the images and contents stand out well.
2. White space will enhance your postcard
Irrespective of the size of the postcard, as the direct mail designer, you may be tempted to utilize every inch of space on your postcard. Although this may seem like the best way to convey your message, overloading your postcard with text and images can be overwhelming for your recipients.
Rather than navigating through all of the information, your recipients will be more likely to avoid a complicated postcard altogether — and put it straight into the trash. By leaving some empty white spaces on your postcard, you will be able to better focus your reader’s attention on the main messaging of your postcard.
3. Include all the important information
To avoid having your postcard thrown into the trash, make sure you include all the concise important elements so that your recipients understand what you are trying to convey. Ensure you include a catchy and informative headline, a clear call to action, and an offer that your recipients simply cannot refuse.
There should be a sense of unity among all of the components of your design. Remember always to put your most important information on the front of your postcard so your readers will come across it first.
If you choose to include a coupon on one side of your postcard, it could be advantageous to include a perforated line into your design to help your recipients tear and hold onto your coupon.
4. To coat or not to coat
The image of someone on the phone scrambling around for a piece of paper to write a message down is common and often a very realistic situation. Your postcard advertisement may end up serving the purpose of a notepad to jot down messages or numbers.
The type of stock used to make your printed postcard can affect its ability to be written on. Uncoated stock is easier to write on using pens, markers, or pencils. Alternatively, you could leave only one side of your postcard uncoated to include the best of both worlds.
5. Select thicker cardstock
Take a second to picture the last time you received a postcard on thicker card stock versus a thinner piece of stock. Generally, thicker and heavier cardstocks appear more valuable and important compared to thinner and lighter ones. When creating your postcard, consider having it printed on thicker cardstock like 14 point or higher to make it feel more important to your recipients.
Additionally, thicker cardstock is stronger and tends to last longer as it goes through transit and handling. Your recipients will notice the difference between your thicker cardstock and other thinner postcards they may receive in the mail. Although thicker cardstock is usually more expensive, if your budget allows it, it can be a worthwhile investment.
6. Understand UV coating
UV coating is one of the options available for one or both sides of your direct mail postcard. If you are considering using UV coating on your postcard, make sure you weigh the pros and cons before making your decision.
UV coating is a great way to make the colours on your postcard appear more vibrant and resist fading. However, lots of UV coating can make it difficult for your postcard to be written on, and most permanent markers will smudge when they are still wet.
7. Avoid rounded corners on machineable postcards
If your postcards are intended to be mailed out at machineable postage rates, avoid adding round corners to them. Rounded corners can become jammed in automated machinery, and the best way to avoid this is to use standard corners on your postcards. Rounded corners and other die cuts are perfectly fine and highly valuable for Neighbourhood Mail (formerly known as unaddressed admail), and also for Special Handling Personalized Mail (formerly known as addressed admail) for a premium.
8. Preview your final product with a proof or e-proof
There’s nothing worse than printing thousands of your postcards, only to find that some of your content has been trimmed, or the final product just isn’t how you pictured it. To avoid this situation, print a single preview of your final product by requesting an e-proof. If it’s exactly what you had in mind, then onwards with direct mail printing! If it’s not, then back to the designer for a couple corrections.
When you’ve invested time, money, and energy into designing your postcard mailer, holding the final tangible product in your hands can be exciting. However, before you can jump to that final step and start your direct mailer, make sure all of your essential content and formatting components have been appropriately included.
Designing your postcard mailer to include all the key information, an eye-catching and informative image, and a good balance of white space and background colours, is the best way to help your advertisement connect with its readers. Ensuring correct formatting and keeping in mind your postcards’ purpose will help save time and money spent correcting simple mistakes.