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A client recently asked us to produce a postcard mailing as she’d seen it done in the States.

While I’m confident it worked well for the Americans the high postage costs in the UK renders it uneconomic over here. About 3 years ago we needed to get a mailing out very quickly and resorted to a postcard mailing – surprize, surprize, it worked.

However, that was due to the great offer rather than the postcard, as when we split tested it against a full conventional mailer the postcard was quite a way behind response-wise.  In the full mailing we included 10 times the copy for less than double the cost.

However, postcards in the form of loose inserts can work well especially if the cost of insertion is based on weight of the insert.  Inserts can work if you follow these rules:

1.       See if the publication regularly carries direct response inserts. If it doesn’t leave alone.

2.       Try and take the subscriber copies only so 100% will be seen. Loose inserts on newsagent floors or those in returned, unsold copies have to be paid for but will offer you very few sales.

3.       If you include reply paid postage make sure the responders address is not confused by the post office and returned to the responder rather than you. Sounds unlikely but I’ve seen it happen several times.

4.       Negotiate hard on price and never make a series booking in order to keep the price down.

5.       When space is limited focus your copy on benefits and your incredible offer.

6.       Don’t try and be too clever or humorous with your copy, you haven’t the time or the space.

Some lesser known magazines over claim on circulation. Use different key codes for each 5000 inserts and monitor the response. In a 25000 circulation if you get response from only 3 key codes you have a strong case for with-holding the payment.

So don’t be frightened of postcard mailings just as long as they are distributed by loose inserts rather than the Royal Mail.

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