The Great Debate: Postcard or Letter?

Posted by Ryan Neufeld on March 22, 2018 at 9:30 AM

Chocolate ice cream or strawberry ice cream? Red vines or Twizzlers? Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? Coffee or tea? And lastly.... postcard or letter?

Everyday we have to make decisions where we pair two things side-by-side, and then decide which one we’re going to choose. Now granted, it’s a little easier to make a decision when you’re deciding between two chocolates. But how do you make a decision when you’re planning a direct mail campaign that costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars?

Let’s take a look at the age-old question: should I send a postcard or letter?

Postcard or Letter

Before we dive into this discussion, I want to bring your attention to three different questions. It would be wise for you to answer these, before making the grand decision.

  1. Who is your target audience?
  2. What is your goal for the mailing?
  3. How do you want your recipient to respond?


Who Is Your Target Audience?

Before starting any mailing, regardless if it’s a postcard, sales letter, newsletter or something else, you should always finalize who your target recipient is. This is critical for developing an effective and pointed mail piece.

The first place to start with, is this mail piece going to be B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer)? This is an incredibly important factor. If it’s B2B, then that probably means you’re trying to persuade a business owner, or higher-up executive. So, will you have a better chance with a multiple page sales letter or a 6x11 postcard? There’s no doubt that the sales letter will be more effective. Especially if you’re trying to sell someone on your services, there’s little chance you’ll be able to do it on a postcard. Because, you don’t have enough time or space on the postcard to give your entire spiel.

One other thing to think about is the delivery of your piece to the recipient. If it’s a postcard, will it even reach the desk of your target? Remember, nearly every business has a “gatekeeper” that determines if your mail piece is worth the time to read it. However, if you’re mailing to a consumer who doesn’t have someone screening their mail, it’ll be a lot easier for them to receive your message with a postcard.

Postcard or letter 2

What Is Your Goal For The Mailing?

Second, what’s your goal for the mailing? Are you just letting your customers know about the new location you opened up or are you running a special on one of your services? In these cases, a postcard is definitely more than suitable for the job. However, if you’re trying to sell a monthly service they sign up for and have to commit to for six months, it will probably prove beneficial to write them a sales letter. Determining the goal of the piece can provide great insight on how you want to send your message.

How Do You Want Your Recipient To Respond?

Lastly, how do you want your recipient to respond to your mail piece? Are you wanting them to bring the coupon into your store to redeem? Postcards would be an easy and cost effective solution. Maybe you’re trying to drive them to your website to order something, a postcard is the way to go. However, if you’re trying to capture more referrals, this is when a letter could be most beneficial.

As you can tell, there are a hundred factors to consider when deciding between a postcard or letter. But a general rule of thumb is this: if you’re mailing B2B, go with a letter, but if you’re mailing B2C, go with a postcard. And just remember, you can always test with a smaller quantity, before going big. Keep on testing until you find something that works, then stick with that for as long as you can.

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ultimate checklist for mailing a postcard 

Topics: Mailing Services