We once knew a youth soccer coach who was 10–0 in her first season and knew it was the coaching. Then she went 0–10 in her second season and knew it was the players. Consistent success depends upon bringing all the elements together. Here’s how to trounce the competition with your next postcard campaign.


  • Grab attention with a bold headline—postcards have to work fast.
  • Focus on one big idea and one main point per card.
  • Emphasize what the recipient will get by taking the next step.
  • Include all the elements of a direct mail package in short form—letter, brochure and reply.
  • Use tracking identifiers to know what’s generating inquiries.
  • Include a strong, crystal clear call to action.
  • Make the card interactive with QR codes and other devices.
  • Use a personal message style over a display ad approach.
  • Increase the card size to 6” x 9” if possible—higher response rates and more marketing space usually justify the costs.
  • Approach your database work as carefully as you would any other mailing.


  • Get spooked into ultra-short copy—the billboard notion is a myth.
  • Use technical words or jargon—this isn’t the place, if there ever is one.
  • Forget to include incentives for taking the next step.
  • Think that color and graphics will outperform personalized content—put them together for maximum results.
  • Try to make the sale on the postcard—they are multi-step marketing vehicles.
  • Use smaller than 8 pt. type anywhere on the postcard.
  • Neglect direct mail basics—get your lists, offer and creative right in that order of priority.
  • Accept any old paper—your stock selection is a visual element too.
  • Think that postcards are just for small companies—check your mailbox.
  • Settle for your office printer—ditto for “gang runs” unless elements like your logo color aren’t that critical.

By Larry Bauer

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