If you utilize postcards and mail them to your clients and prospects I am sure you are always trying to think of ways that will differentiate you from the pack of the other entire postcard printing jobs that your competitors are doing. There are a number of ways you can accomplish this so let’s look at some of the creative yet cost effective ways in order to do so.
Size matters, especially when you are trying to get the attention of the person you sent the postcard to. The potential sizes that could be available to you are as follows: Your standard size is 4 x 6” and most real estate postcards mail as 5.5 x 8.5”. The only advantage of the 4 x 6” postcard is that it mails at the best rate and first class as well. A standard size postcard printing of 6 x 11” has the benefit of being larger than most yet still be within the standard postage bulk mail rate. There are larger size postcards such as 8.5 x 11” and 9 x 12” for printing postcards and they fall into what is known as the “flat rate” at the post office for postcard printing and mailing. Postcards larger in size than the prior ones would be the “jumbo” postcard which is anything over 15”, such as the 17 x 11” or 14 x 8.5” sizes. In addition to the larger size card you can either go tall and skinny with an 8.5 x 4” or a completely square card, but a square card, such as 8.5 x 8.5” and comes with a surcharge on the postage in addition to the final size you choose.
Essentially there are two basic choices in paper, coated or uncoated. Coated lets the ink sit on top of the postcard paper and is coated so that images can look as crisp as possible. For short runs, price will dictate that gloss be used, but for longer runs you can also utilize dull or matte coated stock. I nice effect for images is to print on dull and even a matte natural (light tan) and then use spot varnish or UV on the images which can highlight your photos and give them an amazing contrast to all else on the paper. Uncoated can also work, but uncoated stocks allow the ink to sink in and spread and thus not as crisp, but it may offer you a nice look if appropriate. Coated stocks can be readily available to 16 pt whereas the average postcard ranges anywhere from 10-14 pt in thickness. That slight edge on the paper weight may be just the thing that you need. There are thicker weights to 25 pt as well as laminating stock together for even thicker stock but you will be asking for additional surcharges on postage and it is good to check in advance with the post office as to how thick they will even accept. Also keep in mind that if you are using an uncoated stock or UV that you will still need to be able to inkjet on it, as linens or felts will not laser and may even affect the quality of how the inkjet address performs, so test to be sure. If using UV, you must make sure it is not on the addressing side or that it is spot UV so that you can inkjet.
Try something different such as duotones on any size run, providing you create them from process inks for smaller gang run postcard printing or if large quantity runs OK to mix in PMS inks. Another nice effect can be tinted varnishes, which would be applied as a spot effect using dull paper. Needless to say, quality design kicks in when ever using inks as that always set you apart.
Die Cutting and Folding:
Something as simple as rounded corners gives a nice finishing touch to your postcard printing. You can also have a die cut effect on the card itself but be sure to check with the post office before proceeding. Folding a large size postcard can work especially if it contains a die cut opening that cat let the recipient peek inside to see what the die cut space reveals for an effect. You can also consider an uneven fold, or an accordion fold using a longer piece. Another nice fold idea is the “double gate” and it would work well with a die cut viewing area with its dramatic “curtain opening” effect.
This is one that most people ignore; great and compelling copy. Don’t write about what you offer as people only want to know how they can benefit from your product or services. Therefore stop describing your product or services in that fashion and describe the benefits, however obvious, such as the use of the word “guarantee”, to your prospect. Pose questions such as “are you seeking someone who will represent your interests when buying a house”? Then answer the question and at that point offering your expertise within.
Whatever you decide to do, hopefully we have provided you with some food for thought about how to best accomplish your needs with postcard printing and direct mail. Remember be creative, don’t do the ordinary as you will get ordinary results. Think outside of the box and separate yourself from the pack.
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