In a digital world constantly bombarded with shiny new tech, it’s easy to assume that postcards are irrelevant. But direct mail statistics show that they definitely aren’t. (Case in point? Even big email marketing names like Mailchimp are going back to basics with print postcards.)
Hop on this not-so-new bandwagon—or polish up a rusty direct mail strategy—by following the simple business postcard guide below.
We’re covering the essentials from start to finish:
- What sets business postcards apart
- What to include on an effective business postcard
- Creative postcard ideas for business use cases of all kinds
- How to make a postcard in a few simple steps
What Are Business Postcards?
We’ve all seen postcards before—small, two-sided pieces of card stock designed to be sent by post. (Turns out, postcards are aptly named.)
Business postcards are the same as any other postcard you might find at a tourist attraction or in an airport gift shop, only they’re sent by a business to its customers.
Businesses send postcards for all kinds of reasons:
What really differentiates a business postcard from any postcard you could create is one thing—return on investment.
Unlike personal messages, business postcards are ultimately designed to drive revenue. In fact, thanks to the low cost of sending postcards, ROI is one of the biggest benefits to this print marketing strategy.
Design your postcards yourself, and you’ll improve that ROI even further.
7 Must-Haves for an Effective Business Postcard
1. Correct Sizing
If you’re sending your business postcard by mail, it’s best to stick with standard postcard sizes:
- 4” x 6” in the United States
- A6 (105mm x 148mm) internationally
Alternatively, you could skip the cost of mailing altogether and send your postcard as part of an engaging email marketing campaign—in which case, any size works.
2. Something of Value
Your business postcard should offer something valuable to the recipient. Why should they care about this postcard? Why should they be happy to receive it?
Your “something of value” could be anything:
- A discount
- A coupon code
- A loyalty bonus
- A free gift
- A referral incentive
- A special membership offer
- An exclusive invitation
- An especially kind or memorable message
3. A Compelling Headline
Every successful business postcard will have a snappy, easy-to-understand headline that relates directly to the valuable offer being made. The best postcard headlines tend to be either very clever or very clear. (If you’re on the fence, stick with clear.)
4. Attractive Imagery
Words are important, but images are often what catch people’s attention while sorting through piles of mail.
Whether you go with a surprising visual pun or a straightforward photo of a happy customer, make sure your postcard imagery strikes the right mood and is high-resolution.
5. Just Enough Detail
Postcards are small, and you don’t want to overwhelm the recipient with visual clutter. Pare down your text to the essential details, using just enough words to explain your offer and lay out the next steps.
5. A Clear Call-to-Action
Speaking of next steps . . . don’t make the reader guess what to do next. Spell out your postcard’s call-to-action in the most obvious terms possible:
- Bring this postcard to [this place].
- Call us at [this phone number].
- Go to [this website page].
- Email [this person] and ask about [this topic].
- Stop by [this location] at [this time].
- Use this QR code to [take this action].
- Add [this coupon code] online.
Pro tip: Add a light sense of urgency, like a deadline or expiration date, to get people to act.
6. Your Brand Identity
With the offer clearly explained and the call to action impossible to miss, there’s one big thing left: your brand. Avoid any potential for competitor confusion by including:
- Your logo
- Your brand color palette
- A tagline, if you have one
- Essential contact information
Don’t have a logo you love? Learn how to create a small business logo you’ll be excited to put on a postcard.
7. A Way to Track
Since business postcards are all about ROI, tracking their effectiveness is critical. Here are some easy ways to monitor your various postcard responses:
- Asking people how they heard about the offer
- Displaying a unique website landing page for each postcard
- Having recipients bring postcards in person
- Using a unique QR code for each postcard
- Creating a unique discount code for each postcard
Business Postcard Ideas and Examples to Follow
Postcard Ideas for Realtors
From open houses to new listings, real estate agents have plenty of uses for business postcards. For example, this real estate postcard makes a valuable offer for anyone looking to sell.
Copy this awesome headline by speaking directly to readers’ concerns with an eyebrow-raising question.
A modern geometric design perfectly mimics the architecture of the property that this postcard is aiming to lease.
Gorgeous photos and spa-worthy colors capture those California vibes while striking a refined tone.
Like many of the best postcard ideas for realtors, this one features an impressive statistic along with a smiling face to build trust.
Postcard Advertising Ideas
If you’re advertising a special deal, make sure your headline is clear and your offer is compelling. For instance, gold-textured dots perfectly frame a 40% off deal in this postcard design.
This business postcard design uses vibrant reds and yellows to grab recipients’ attention.
Pacific pink, trendy photography, and bold text make this business postcard feel especially on point. (The 15% off doesn’t hurt either.)
Cute animals are always one of the best postcard advertising ideas. This stylized puppy is an adorable way to advertise $25 off.
This restaurant postcard raises awareness for a grand opening with coupons to entice recipients to stop by.
Postcard Marketing Ideas
Looking to raise general brand awareness, spark curiosity, or build up some buzz? Take notes on this understated postcard that establishes a mood rather than directly sells.
Put your gorgeous photographer logo on an equally stunning postcard like this one, and you’ve got a marketing winner.
This dental practice postcard set shows how carefully curated visuals can create a delightful brand experience (even when that experience involves pulling teeth).
Saying happy holidays is a good way to have a positive impact and to stay top of mind for your customers.
This thank you postcard serves a dual purpose of building goodwill by showing appreciation and offering a discount to encourage a future purchase.
How to Create a Business Postcard
With the inspiration above—and perhaps these other personal and business postcard ideas—you’re ready to get designing.
Start from scratch if you’re feeling creative, or go with a template that’s ready to customize. Either way, you can start and finish in just a few minutes through PicMonkey.
Creating Business Postcards from Scratch
Even when starting from scratch, it’s quick and easy:
- In PicMonkey, click Create new > Blank Canvas. Then scroll down to Formats and choose Postcard.
- Using graphics, fonts, and other tools from the side panel, bring your own ideas to life or easily recreate any of the postcard marketing ideas above.
- Click Download at the top to export a JPG or PNG. (PicMonkey Pro subscribers can also download a PDF for professional print—just be sure to turn on bleed settings if you want to print to the edge.)
Using a Template to Create a Business Postcard
If you prefer to use a template to kickstart your creative process, start from PicMonkey’s postcard template library. You can also get there by clicking Create new > Template and searching “postcard” to choose your favorite. Then customize, perfect, and export—same as above!
The best part about knowing how to make your own business postcards? It’ll now be easier than ever to create a postcard, track its performance, and then adjust your next design to improve ROI.
Rinse and repeat for a direct mail marketing engine that you can completely DIY.
Cover image via MicroOne and Molibdenis.