Once a business decides to embark on a direct mail campaign, there are a number of important questions to answer. Who is the target audience? What is the campaign’s message? Will this campaign be aligned with a larger omni-channel marketing effort? Be sure to know these answers before considering the final printing option of marketing materials.

After that hard work has been put in, it’s time to get to the fun stuff. What the final direct mail item looks like and feels like will determine what lasting effect will has on recipients.

There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to different direct mail campaign printing options. Postcards, letters, and even inserts each bring unique things to the table. However, they also each have their own costs. Read on to learn more and decide which printing option is right for your business.



First up are the well-known promotional postcards. Postcards are graphically attractive and easy to pass on to friends and family members. They are often the quickest way to get the word out and see results fast. Conveniently, the delivery vehicle (the postcard itself) is the actual message. Thus, they are the high-impact billboard style of direct mail. It’s less likely that a postcard will get set aside with unopened mail.

Postcards work especially well for offers with a deadline, including event promotions. A well-timed postcard delivery with a large, visible date encourages recipients to act fast or mark their calendars. Also, postcards are very affordable; they’re usually the cheapest direct mail printing option.


Plastic Postcards

Plastic postcards are arguably the most effective direct mail piece when it comes to response rates. However, they are also one of the more challenging methods to utilize. This is because the USPS no longer allows new companies to offer them.  Only grandfathered providers, such as PropeloMedia, can offer this uniquely responsive postcard.  

Especially beneficial for retail based businesses, plastic postcards receive up to a staggering 24% response rate.  This strong response rate is driven by the plastic postcard’s noticeably heavy feel and thickness. Additionally, key chain and credit card punchouts really put this printing option over the top. These are great for offers or loyalty cards.


For a more personalized message, especially in the case of existing customers, letters are often the best choice. Keep in mind that strong customer relationships lower the risk of envelopes left unopened. This creates opportunity to form a more detailed and complex message to share with readers.

Letters also impose a different impression on recipients: one of formality and professionalism. A well-written letter can weave a story, better explaining the benefits of the product or service being promoted. It can also include a call-to-action on the outside the actual envelope.

However, the benefits of letters come at a cost. More expensive than sending postcards, some businesses must consider their budget and weigh printing options carefully.


If letters are the best choice and budget allows, you can enhance your direct mail campaign with inserts to maximize on your relationship with your customers. From membership renewal cards to buck slips with special offers, there are many ways to include something special for your audience to enjoy.

Buck slips, for example, offer an opportunity to meld the graphic benefits and shareability of postcards with the personalization of a letter. Draw attention to a special deal or new product to encourage existing customers to get more out of doing business with you. Inserts with letters give your business the best of both worlds.

Whichever printing option you decide on, PropeloMedia has all the tools you need to ensure your direct mail marketing campaign, boosted with their proven omni-channel approach, is a success. Reach out today to find out how.

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