Postcards seem simple. Just a small flat card with some brief information, probably not the most elaborate piece of print collateral you've ever seen. But printed postcards, if done right, can make a big impact on potential customers and can be very cost effective in terms of postage savings. Simply tweaking a few parts of the graphic design, as well as making sure your mailing list is as accurate as possible, can end up saving you a ton on your next bulk mailing.
Let's start with design. Did you know the design of your card can affect the postage rate? The USPS has specific guidelines for postcard mailing, from the size of the card itself, to where certain printed elements are placed on the postcard. In order to make sure you receive the cheapest postage rate available, it's important to pay attention to these rules. First of all, make sure you keep any design elements that print outside the necessary clear zones. The image above shows a standard 6"x 4.25" postcard with the clear zones specifically marked in red for the barcode, indicia, and recipient address areas. In the area marked in blue there should be no addresses, including the return address. A return address, if desired, may be placed in the white area. Designing your postcard with this information in mind will allow you to take advantage of low bulk rate postage.
What is bulk rate? Bulk rate applies to mailings of 500 or more pieces, for first class mail, that are pre-sorted by zip code, typically at a mail house. For more information about bulk mail and rate visit the USPS website. Be sure to work with a printer who understands how to save you the most money by taking advantage of the bulk mail discount rates that you may be eligible for.
Another important thing to consider when looking for savings on postcard mailings is your list. Have your mailing list NCOA & CASS certified. Certification will standardize your mailing list, update outdated addresses, and verify that addresses are valid and complete. You are able to obtain greater bulk postage discounts if your list is NCOA & CASS certified. Your printer and mail house can do this for you.
How much can these simple postcard tweaks save you? Just ask our new client, Nift. They recently came to us with a need for several large postcard mailings for their summer kick-off event, Nift Giftfest. After working closely with their designer and in conjunction with our mail house the savings on postage has been a significant, a 25% savings for each mailing! For a growing start up like Nift, those savings add up! Learn more about Nift on their website and see how they're helping small local businesses connect with each other.
We hope you've found these postcard tips helpful for your next mailing. Need help designing your postcard? Check out our FREE postcard templates set up specifically to meet postal regulations. What else would you like to know about designing for the mail? Let us know in the comments.