Postcard marketing is a form of advertising that utilizes a small space for a big impact.
These advertising postcards can be distributed through mailings sent directly to a list of customers or addresses to which the company wishes to market. Postcards are also stocked at high customer traffic areas such as nightclubs, bars, or restaurants. Postcard marketing has been around for over a hundred years in different forms. The present day manifestation performs the same function it did from the beginning, but with drastically different technology and, thus, drastically different prices.
The first marketing postcards were published in 1870’s Great Britain.
These postcards were black and white, or sometimes a single color. Multi-colored postcards appeared in 1889, but the costs of production kept many businesses from using this form of advertising, even black and white postcards, to its full potential. Over time though, the technology used to create postcards and the paper used in manufacturing became cheaper. Since that time, postcard production has become an inexpensive and efficient form of marketing.
Besides the low price of manufacturing and mailing postcards, there are marketing advantages to advertising postcards.
The small size of the postcards means a small price for reaching a large market. The benefits of this size means it is easier for the customer to carry and to pass along to friends, as opposed to mailed letters. The message of the advertisement is immediate. The customer does not have to open an envelope; the information is right at their fingertips.
The message a business is attempting to get across must be eye-catching, concise, and intriguing.
Non-mailed postcards must be designed to make the potential customer want to pick them up and save them or show them to a friend. Many of the best advertisement postcards can be kept as a kind of work of art, or interesting showpiece. The advertisement should be informative, but this medium is conducive to the less-is-more style of marketing in which the customer must go to a website or call a phone number in order to find out more.
Having the customer interact with the postcard creates intrigue. Having them fill out information or check off a box is an interaction that engages the customer, and creates an interaction with a company. Finally, this format is inviting to customers. People associate postcards with friendly, personal communication.
Postcard marketing has some drawbacks as well.
The small size means less visibility and less room in which to get information across. The public nature of the postcard means that privacy and security are a concern for certain business types. Also, many postcard marketing campaigns are centered around a time sensitive sale or promotion, and the business has no guarantee that the postcard will arrive on time. If a postcard is not designed as eye-catching or enticing, hard work could easily just be disregarded or thrown away as junk mail. It can be difficult to maintain up to date and error free databases. Money can be wasted on changes of address or just plain wrong information.
Most of these drawbacks are not unique to postcard marketing, but are seen as the malaise of direct mail marketing as a whole.
Postcards are a viable alternative to direct mailed letters. Postcard marketing has been used as a tried and true method of advertisement for almost 150 years. It’s a classic utilization of a little space and a little money for a large effect. When considered as a supplemental marketing tool alongside other traditional or non traditional advertising plans, postcard marketing is an interesting and effective method of generating new business and bringing back repeat customers.