Postcard Marketing Ideas

We recently pointed out the effectiveness of direct mail marketing: a Canadian study found that direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media. Physical materials are more memorable, and offer a sense of immediacy. That's why postcards have remained a staple in many business' marketing materials.

So what type of content should you include in your postcard marketing campaigns? Here are a few ideas:

Special Offers

Create a limited-time offer or a special discount code. By using a special discount that is contingent on the customer receiving your postcard, you’ll create a sense of urgency.

You can also use the postcard space to print coupons, or offer a free gift to get people in the door, potentially winning them over as loyal customers.


Demonstrate your expertise, tell your business’ story, or explain what makes you unique. Establish trust so that when they’re in the market for your services or products, you’ll be the one they call.

Customer Appreciation

Create a sense of loyalty and excitement for your brand by rewarding your current customers. You can include special discount codes or limited-time offers. 

Event Promotion

Direct-mail postcards can serve as mini flyers. They’re a great way to get the word out about an event or other time-sensitive information.

The Emotional Effects of Print vs Digital Marketing Materials

With everything going digital, printed materials offer some distinct advantages. A number of studies have been conducted over the past few years showing that when it comes to emotional impact and memorability, print beats digital. 

Here’s why: 

A study conducted in 2015 by TrueImpact, a Canadian neuromarketing firm, compared the effects of direct mail marketing with email and display ads. According to the report:

"Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than digital media (5.15 vs. 6.37), suggesting that it is both easier to understand and more memorable. […] When asked to cite the brand (company name) of an advertisement they had just seen, recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to a direct mail piece (75%) than a digital ad (44%)."

Another revealing study was conducted by Bagnor University and Millward Brown, a branding agency, in 2009. They used fMRI to study the effects of paper and digital media. Some key takeaways, according to Forbes, included:

  • "Physical material is more “real” to the brain.  It has a meaning, and a place. It is better connected to memory because it engages with its spatial memory networks.
  • Physical material involves more emotional processing, which is important for memory and brand associations.
  • Physical materials produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater “internalization” of the ads."

So what does this mean for your business? 

Your branding efforts should include a mix of digital and printed materials. Digital should not replace print; they should work together. Put together some well-designed print materials that leave an impact of your brand, such as business cards, letterhead, brochures, envelopes or direct-mail postcards.


How to Create a Brand Style Guide
Why Business Cards Are Still Relevant

Brochure Design Tips

How to Create a Brand Style Guide

A style guide is a reference sheet that defines the visual aspects of your brand, such as your logo, fonts and colors. It’s an essential tool for maintaining consistency throughout all of your branding materials, and is particularly helpful if you’re working with an outside designer or printer, or have multiple people creating new things for your brand. It can also help save time, so you’re never scrambling to find a new font or color to use.

Style guides (also referred to as "brand bibles") can get really in-depth and cover everything from your mission to your target audience, values and brand personality. Below we've outlined some of the more basic, visual design-related to include.

1. Your logo

Consider all the ways it might look in different places, and include multiple versions if necessary. For example, you might have different versions for your website homepage, business cards, letterheads, etc. You should also include any alternate color options you have (reversed, black and white, etc.).

whatsapp style guide logo examples


WhatsApp offers several options of their logo to use for various layouts and occasions. (View the rest of their brand guidelines here.)

Specify the minimum size your logo should be displayed at, and whether it should be surrounded at a certain amount of empty space.

penguin logo style guide

2. Your colors

This will typically be the colors from your logo, as well as a few complementary colors. This section should include HEX codes for web use, and CMYK values and Pantone colors for print. Conversions from RGB colors (using HEX codes) to CMYK can be dramatic sometimes, so be sure to test all of your colors. (Learn more about the differences between RGB, CMYK and Pantone colors.)

Coolors is a great, easy source for generating color schemes. You may also want to try Adobe Kuler and Paletton.

3. Your fonts

Specify which fonts go where — such as which fonts will be used for headings, subheadings, body text, etc. You can also specify sizes, weights, styles, etc. 

from Mailchimp's style guide

from Mailchimp's style guide

4. imagery

Include any graphic or web elements and icons you might use. You might also want to describe what style of photography should be used, and if there are any visual elements that should be avoided.

Skype's style guide  includes its own illustrations

Skype's style guide includes its own illustrations

Why Business Cards Are Still Relevant

While many networking and marketing tools are going digital, the traditional business card doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Here are three reasons why it’s unlikely to be replaced, and why you should always keep a stack with you.

business card example
business card example

1. They ensure a smooth transaction.

When you’re meeting someone new, fumbling with your phones to exchange contact information can be awkward. Handing off a business card is quick and smooth — you don’t have to break eye contact or interrupt the conversation. 

2. They show that you're prepared.

When someone asks you for a business card, make a good first impression by being prepared. Searching for a pen and paper can interrupt the flow, so don’t miss an opportunity to connect. A business card will convey legitimacy and professionalism.

3. They'll make the meeting memorable.

Digital information may be stored and then forgotten; business cards stick around. Furthermore, people will have important information about you at their fingertips. Instead of just a name and email, your card might have your title, website, social media, and any other pertinent information that you choose to include.

Related: 7 Tips for Designing Your Business Card