Marketing response rate benchmarks and U.S. postal rates for 2017 both favor continued use of postcards for cost-effective cross-media campaigns. On average, direct mail generated a high response rate of 3.7%, beating social media, email, and web display ads, all reportedly 0.1%, according to statistics from the Direct Marketing Association. In their survey of 500 direct marketers, successful campaigns used a cross-media combination of direct mail, email, and social media.

Response rates for postcards are second only to oversized envelopes. Postcards garnered a 4.25% response rate in 2015. While oversized envelopes top response rates at 5.0%, postcards beat “dimensional” mail (box, tube or other shape greater than ¾ inches thick) at 4.0%, as well as catalogs at 3.9% and letter-sized envelopes at 3.5%.

To keep pace with inflation, postage will return to $0.49 for first-class letters effective in January 2017, after a temporary two-cent reduction to $0.47 since April 1, 2016.

The postage reduction coincided with record-breaking spending on political mail in 2016, a 50 percent increase since the previous presidential election in 2012. According to the Postal Service, spending on political mail increased from $176 million (October 2011–July 2012) to $268 million (October 2015–July 2016).Pricing for Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services will also be adjusted January 22, 2017. However, postal rates for 2017 on the following will not change:

  • $0.21 per additional ounce on first class letters
  • $0.34 per postcard*
  • $1.15 per letter to international destinations

* at standard sizes.

Postcard Rules Leave Room for Creative Design

The postal service does have some rules for a mailing to qualify for postcard rates:

  • Rectangular shape
  • At least 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inch thick.*
  • No more than 4-1/4 inches high x 6 inches long x 0.016 inches thick.*

*postcards exceeding these must use letter or large envelope postage

However, there is room for high-impact creativity within these rules. A fold with a sticker closure could reveal hidden value. Stand out with one or two rounded or specially-shaped corners or inset die cut shapes. Add shiny surface texture to highlight specific graphic elements on the postcard.

Marfield Can Help Your Direct Mail Campaign

Whether it’s a commercial campaign or public fundraiser, Marfield can help you:

  • Design and Print your direct mail campaigns and related marketing collateral.
  • Impress with unique cuts, folds, textures, designs and promotional items.
  • Meet Requirements for brand integrity, sustainable printing and supplier diversity.
  • For your expert consultation, describe your direct marketing needs in the form at right.