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Plum Says

Postcards or Letters: Which Perform Better?

Posted by Plum Says on Sep 27, 2016 10:05:00 AM



Direct mail can be a powerful marketing tool, whether you send letters or postcards, you are still using a personal touch to peak interest. Both formats have pros and cons, but is one format better than the other for direct mail marketing? Does one format have the advantage, garnering more attention from recipients? Or do they get the same amount of attention from recipients, are they equally effective? While these answers may remain elusive as behavior patterns are in constant flux, ascertaining whether direct mail postcards are a better marketing tool than letters may be a bit simpler with a closer look at the pros and cons of each.

Postcard Pros

One of the main benefits of using postcards over letters is that information you wish to convey is seen immediately. Most consumers will look at both sides of a postcard as they thumb through their mail. Before actually sitting down to read, your direct mail target has already read the information you wished them to know. Some readers may even give the postcard another look after reading the rest of their mail.

Another advantage the postcard has over a letter campaign is presentation. The recipient will see the presentation since they don't have the option of not opening the direct mailing; it's already open, which is very convenient. Your targeted market has no choice but to at least glance at the postcard and in that moment, your direct mail message has been received.

Postcards grab the direct mail recipient's attention. Explosive graphics and eye catching colors aid in completing your goal, which is to get noticed. Post cards are easy to send and their bulk rate postage is the most affordable rate for direct mailing. Postcards in bulk, are much easier to handle than other direct mailing choices such as letters.

The cost of a great marketing direct mail postcard will vary depending on whether it is made in house or from a vendor. While having your customer’s names pre-printed onto your postcards is easy, taking time to hand address your direct mailing adds a personal touch that can elicit a positive responsive from the recipient.

Direct mail postcards can include a coupon to show your target market there is value in the postcard. Everyone loves to save money so having the recipient see that immediately helps peak interest. Already your direct mail has your recipient wondering if they need your product or can afford it with the discount your postcard offers.

Postcard Cons

Postcards let it all hang out, so if you want to keep your information confidential, the postcard is not the direct mail option to choose. It is easier to dismiss a postcard at a glance than a letter. The letter may take investigating but using a direct mail postcard will allow the recipient to see immediately they have no need for Bob's Bikes and simply toss the card.

Postcards have limited space, limiting the information you can send. If you have a complex offer for your consumers, you should select a different form of direct mail.

Letters Pros

Selecting letters for your direct mailing lets you send confidential communications to your target group. Perhaps you are sending certain details or account information to your mailing list. A postcard would broadcast it. Letters are more discrete and a better choice for this situation. They allow you to create anticipation as the recipient must open the letter to find out what sort of invitation they have received via direct mail.   

Using letters in your direct mail campaign elevates your presentation. It's a touch of class that gets noticed. The recipient automatically feels the formality that letters deliver, especially if you select a nice stationary to deliver your direct mail campaign. By adding a special seal, you elevate your message and your recipient will notice that this isn't a burger and fries type of letter. 

Selecting letters as your direct mail conveyance lets your clients know you care enough about their privacy to go to the trouble of composing the letter and then protecting it inside the envelope. While bulk mailing postage may be a bit more for the letter than the postcard, the cost of the materials to create the correspondence is close to that of the postcard.     

Letters Cons

Many people may ignore a letter if they don't recognize the sender. This means that all your time put into your direct mail letter campaign may be for nothing if the letters don't get opened. Because this happens so often, many direct mail letters are upgrading to inviting stationary and printing previews of what is inside, such as "free wildlife calendar enclosed," as a way to ensure the recipient opens the letter.

Letters are bulkier than postcards and may be more difficult for some to send. Their added weight makes it harder to transport to the post office and to send off the direct mail. If you are not working with a company like Plum, you may need to ask for help from the neighborhood high school kids.

The Choice Is Yours

Both letters and postcards have their place in direct mail, and it is up to you to decide which one works best for your direct mail marketing campaign. It may be that you need to use postcards for one direct mail campaign and letters for another. Either way, your direct mail campaign will be well served. Keep in mind what you want to accomplish with your marketing campaign and how each format can benefit or hinder that goal.



Topics: Mail, Direct Mail, Marketing

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