Direct Mail Postcards: How to use them to grow your sales

by Ben Delp

by Ben Delp

Marketing, Little Mountain Printing

Table of Contents

1. Why direct mail works

Digital fatigue is here. People are bombarded with social ads, google ads, and emails from every direction. And though these marketing channels are still effective when used properly, how can your business bypass the digital overwhelm and connect with customers in a meaningful way?

Do what Amazon has done: invest in direct mail marketing. 

For the last few years Amazon – a mega online company – has turned to direct mail to boost sales. 

Why? 

They know in a world of “screen burnout,” a printed marketing piece is a welcomed form of communication. 

Mom blogs raved how fun the Amazon Holiday Wish Book was for their children. Parents were asking how they could opt-in to receive their own catalog. Amazon, a company that conducts all its business through an online platform, delivered an advertisement their customers could touch.

The catalog grabbed parents by the eyeballs and sucked them into a world of childhood bliss. They could see with vividness what fun their children would have. They could imagine smiles from ear to ear as their little ones ripped open the gifts on Christmas day. The catalog launched these parents to Amazon.com where they joyfully made their purchases.

You too can use direct mail to deliver a tangible message your customers won’t ignore and grow your business. 

For many customers, we recommend a direct mail postcard

2. What is a direct mail postcard?

A direct mail postcard is a rectangular printed piece at least 3-1/2” high X 5” long X 0.007” thick. But they can get as big as 6” high X 11” long. Here at Little Mountain Printing, most of our customers choose the 6”h X 11”w. They like the larger postcards because these stand out in the customer’s mailbox. And the larger postcards have plenty of room to display pictures alongside a message without looking cluttered. 

3. How much does a direct mail postcard cost? 

Three main variables make up the cost of a direct mail postcard: 

  • Printing Cost
  • Design Cost
  • Mailing Cost

Printing Cost

The printing cost of a direct mail postcard is determined by size, paper quality, coating, and of course, quantity. 

If you do a small mailing of 2,500 and choose the 6”h X 11”w size, you’ll probably spend around $.22 per postcard.

Design Cost

The cost of designing your postcard will depend on whether you do it yourself or have a professional design team do it for you. If you have a background in design and messaging, there are many tools you can use to create a stunning postcard for free. (Such as Canva.) 

But be warned, if you are not experienced in design and messaging, your postcard will not have the impact you hope for and you could end up wasting a lot of money. 

Most of our clients are too busy running a business to slow down and design their own postcard mailer. That’s why we have a full house of professional designers who can craft the right postcard that will grow your business. 

For most businesses in the Lancaster PA area, you can expect your postcard mailer to take 2-5 hours of design at about $75-$150 per hour. 

Mailing Cost

Mailing your postcards will make up the bulk of your total cost. 

Here’s the cost breakdown for a typical mailing: 

  • Postage (About $.29 each)
  • Inkjetting addresses (About $.05 each)
  • Mailing list ($225 +) 

If you want to target new customers who fit specific demographics, you’ll need to buy a mailing list. If you want to reach everybody within your area, you can skip the list and do what’s called an EDDM mailing – which stands for Every Door Direct Mail. 

If you choose to do an EDDM, your postage rate may drop to as low as $.16 per piece. 

4. Targeted mailer vs. EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) – which is better?

Targeted mailers and EDDMs are fantastic ways to grow your business. When you get your message into the mailbox of every potential customer, you’ll see your sales increase. And we’ve seen our clients grow with both types of mailers.

Targeted Mailing

Go after a specific group of customers who are interested in your products or services. This option allows you to narrow your audience down by property size, income, age, and more! 

“We have been using Little Mountain Printing as our partner in printed advertisements and mailings for years and they have always done a great job. They have good graphic designers and the final printed product has always met or exceeded our expectations.” – Eblings Service Plus

Every Door Direct Mail

Flood an entire zip code (or two or three!) with your message. If 85%-100% of the people within a zip code or carrier route are possibly interested in your products or services, a saturation mailing to every door is the way to go. 

“Direct mailers make a difference for us. We get a good audience with these cards!” – David, Special Needs Auction

5. How effective are postcard mailers?

For many of our customers, postcard mailers are effective when done right. It’s more than having a good mailing list though. It’s getting the design, messaging, and photography right too.

You can expect to see a response rate of 5.3% for mail sent to your own house list and 2.9% for prospect lists. Depending on how many postcards you mail out, this could be a widely successful campaign.

I remember talking with Horning’s Hardwood Furniture (located in Myerstown PA) shortly after their big sale. They sent a direct mailer to 10,000 homes promoting this sale. Afterward, Horning’s shared how overwhelming the response was. They didn’t have enough sales reps to keep up! 

6. Postcard mailer examples

Here’s an example of a postcard mailer we did for Nolt’s Electric Motor Service. 

Problem

Matt – the owner of Nolt’s Electric Motor Service – needed a way to reach new potential customers. He does quality work and felt ready to expand his market share. An EDDM wouldn’t do well since he doesn’t appeal to everybody in the community. He is B2B. 

Solution

Instead of an EDDM, we recommended a highly targeted direct mailer. We selected very specific types of businesses within a radius around him. This ensured everyone who received his direct mailer was a potential customer and there would be no waste of his advertising budget. Then we designed his postcard with a simple and clear message and a picture that represented the types of customers he services. 

Result

Matt’s first time sending a direct mailer yielded strong results. Here’s what he had to say: “We had our best year yet in business and attribute it to the targeted mailer we did!”

Here’s an example of a postcard mailer we did for Boulder Ridge Reclaimed Lumber.

Problem

Boulder Ridge Reclaimed’s best customers are contractors. But contractors can be difficult to reach. And once you find a good advertising medium, knowing what words and photos to use is no easy task. 

Solution

Lester from Boulder Ridge immediately saw how a direct mailer could help him reach contractors. We customized his list. And we took professional photography and wrote compelling copy to draw his customers in like a magnet. 

Notice how his message passes the 5-second rule. Within just a few seconds their target audience knows what they do (reclaimed building materials), how it benefits them (for your customer’s next project), and what they need to do to purchase (call or stop by). 

There’s even a coupon at the end to push those thinking of buying right over the proverbial cliff. 

Result

Here’s what Lester had to say after running one small mailer: “The direct mailer we did with Little Mountain Printing brought in close to $15,000 and we gained 10 new clients.” 

Ready to grow your business with direct mail postcards? 

Direct mail marketing is vital to the health of many businesses – including ours. If your marketing plan doesn’t include direct mailers, you’re leaving money on the table. Let’s turn this around together and make your marketing plan more robust today. 

Here’s how it works: Give us a call and we’ll discuss which kind of direct mailer is right for you. Then our design team will begin working on a proof. After you approve your design we’ll print and mail it. It’s that simple. 

If you’d like a quote, click here and let us know. 

7. Direct Mail FAQs

What is the best day for direct mail to arrive?

A Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday are the best days for your direct mailer to arrive. These are the most favorable days because your customers are well into the flow of the workweek and are not as distracted by events of the weekend. 

What is the average response rate for direct mail?

Expect to see a response rate of 5.3% for mail sent to your own house list and 2.9% for prospect lists. However, Data & Marketing Association has seen average response rates as high as 9% for house lists and 4.9% for prospect lists. Depending on how many postcards you mail out, this could be a widely successful campaign.

How do I calculate the response rate for my direct mail campaign?

To find out how well your direct mail campaign did, divide the number of people who responded by the number of mailers you sent.

Do I need to put a return address on my postcard mailer?

No, it’s not mandatory to include your return address on your postcard. But by placing your return address on the mailing, you make it easier for the post office to return undeliverable mail to you. This helps you know if your list is up to date and allows you to account for undeliverable mail so you can accurately evaluate your mailing’s effectiveness. 

Ben Delp

Ben Delp

has studied business across Europe, China, and India and smiles when he sees clients thriving under good marketing.

Free Marketing Tips

We’ll help you move mountains.

Boost Your Sales.

Learn how in our free PDF.

Name*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.