In both consumer and business-to-business mailings, it’s tempting to plan a postcard campaign. After all, a postcard has a much lower cost.
Test: Cell phone service provider NEXTEL sent out an offer for a pre-approved service plan that came with a top-of-the-line phone for 99 cents. They sent out an oversized postcard with a graphic on one side and the offer on the other.
They also sent out the same offer in an envelope. The envelope had “You’re pre-approved. Do more. Save more.” On the outside and a single-page description of the offer inside.
Results: NEXTEL reported the envelope offer received double the response of the postcard offer. The image of exclusivity presented by the “pre-approved” offer was received much better in envelope form rather than the disposable feel of the postcard.
Let’s look at why the envelope campaign generated higher response:
In a letter mailing, you have added space and can say more about why it’s in the self interest of your prospect to respond. You also have the boos of the envelope exterior to tease the prospect’s interest and involvement. The postcard limits you with too little space and you can’t say quite enough.
Also, a postcard is treated differently. A letter is treated with much more respect and curiosity than a postcard. This is especially the case in a business environment, where gatekeepers in the mailroom frequently dump postcards but allow letters to go forward.
As always, it’s a good idea to test, but most tests come to the same conclusion. One exception would be sending a follow-up series to an existing database of customers, clients or prospects. In those cases, a postcard is almost as effective.
Have you tested your offer in different formats? If you need help finding the best method of presenting your offer, email me at and we can discuss different ways to mail out your campaign.