Direct Mail Effectiveness: Why Are Postcards So Successful?

Posted by Dave Olesen on May 8, 2018 3:05:04 PM

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According to the USPS, postcards are immediately read 78% of the time when received by  businesses previous customers.  Have you ever wondered by postcards are so effective for customer communications?

Postcards have been around a long time and a comprehensive annual survey reports they are quite effective for marketing communications.   The extensive Household Survey from the USPS consistently shows that postcards are read more than 51% of the time followed by 36% for flyers and 32% for regular sized envelopes.  What's more, postcards are considered to  be more useful than all other mail besides magazines. 

What is it about a postcards that cause consumers to believe they are more useful?  Two key items: The convenient size of the mailing piece and the immediacy of the message.   As a result, consumers respond more favorably to postcards. The USPS has it right when it  says “Postcards are an inexpensive way to get an immediate  message to customers. When they arrive in the mail, there’s  the message -- no envelope to  open.”  

Postcards are more likely to be read immediately than nearly every other type of mailing.  This is increasingly important when trying to reach out to customers after a recent interaction or when "time is of the essence" for an offer.  

Believe it or not, mailing piece sizes and shapes do exert an influence on consumers' initial screening and intended response.  According to the USPS, postcards evoke the highest "Intended Response" rates. When adding their high “May Respond” rate, postcards have a significant lead over all other types of mailing pieces for consumer intentions.

Postcards have two additional features that shouldn't be overlooked.  First, postcards have their own postage rate.  It is lower than First-Class Mail but it still provides all First-Class Mail benefits.  This means postcards are delivered faster, are forwarded to homes that have a forwarding address on file with the USPS and are returned to your business if undeliverable to help you update customer information. 

Also, postcards can be personalized with variable text and images.  Personalized mailing pieces have been shown to be read more immediately and found to be considered more useful than those simply addressed to occupant or resident.  This is especially so when marketing messages are personalized with names and specific interests.   

Postcards are relevant with digital marketing and are  a popular direct mail choice to use with marketing automation.  As such, they are an increasingly integral part of a multi-channel marketing strategy.  

In short, postcards are cost effective and demonstrate real value for marketing communications.  We think they'll be around for a long time in the future.  

Topics: Direct Mail Marketing, Direct Mail Tips, Marketing Strategy