UPrinting Design How-To Series: Designing USPS-Friendly Postcards

by Arthur Piccio on 03/27/2013

by Arthur Piccio  |  March 27, 2013  |  Design, Print Tips

Postcards, once a widely used medium for personal correspondence, have gained second wind as a marketing tool. Thanks to extremely competitive USPS rates, postcards are now one of the most popular promotional print products. The main advantage postcards have over other similar-sized print products such as flyers or brochures is that they can be sent to a specific target audience on a mailing list.

Not only are postcards an affordable way to get in touch with a specific group of people, they tend to have better response rates compared to e-mail when it comes to getting in touch with new customers. Plus, with no envelope to open, they’re extremely convenient. No wonder postcards are consistently among our top-selling products!

Here are a couple of things you’ll need to know before you design postcards for a mailing campaign.

USPS Postcard Dimensions

The USPS’s First-Class Mail services allow for postcard mailing at very low rates. As a matter of fact there are no lower postcard rates  in Standard Mail. The caveat though, is that you’ll need your postcards’ dimensions to be within specific ranges. To qualify for mailing at the First-Class Mail postcard price, postcards must be:

  • Rectangular
  • At least 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inch thick
  • No more than 4-1/4 inches high x 6 inches long x 0.016 inches thick
All of the stocks UPrinting offers are within the specified thickness necessary for USPS First-Class postcard prices. However, we offer sizes that will be too large to qualify for these rates.To qualify for USPS First-Class rates, your postcards must be no bigger than 6-1/8″ x 11-1/2″. Postcards larger than those dimensions and will mean you have to pay large envelope postage prices.

The diagram below is for 6 x 11 postcards, but you could scale it down for other sizes.

postcard diagramTo keep your postcards from being rejected, make sure to refer to this diagram before you send in your design for printing. Please remember that this only applies to standard flat postcards. Folded postcards will need to be either tabbed or kept in a separate envelope.

Other tips

Design according to context! You’ve gone through the trouble of compiling a targeted mailing list. Make the most of it by making sure your postcard *really* speaks to the recipient.

Use eye-catching images. Keeps your cards from getting thrown out right away. Make sure the images reinforce your points.

Keep it to just ONE main idea per card. Save your essays for your blog. You don’t want to waste any time. Multiple messages in such a small piece might lead to ambiguity, leading to a weaker overall impact.

Integrate Social Media Channels. Postcards can be an avenue for helping extend your reach online. That way, you may be able to indirectly reach your recipients contacts.

Always have a  Call to Action! You’d be surprised how many more people will respond just because you tell them to.

 

Even as we move away from traditional print marketing techniques, postcards can still pack a punch — so long as they’re used in the right way. With these tips and reminders, you should be well on your way to a leaner, more effective mailing campaign.

 

Love/Hate this article? Questions? Insights? Just head over to the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!

Please answer our Small Biz Survey for a chance to win $500 worth of UPrinting products! Offer end on March 31, 2013.

 

Other articles in the UPrinting Design How-to Series:

Vinyl Banner Design Checklist

Choosing Booklet Design Options

Choosing Poster Sizes, Stocks, and Finishes

Run a Better Marketing Campaign With Flyers

This post was written by

Arthur Piccio is UPrinting.com's Small Business and Public Relations Coordinator.

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