Postcard Mailing Options
"Of course a postcard printing company will mail my postcards for me. That's what they do, right?"
In most cases, yes, a postcard printing company will print and mail your postcards for you. But there are some that do the design and printing, but not the actual mailing. Don't assume -- just ask.
Another consideration: what if you only want your postcards printed, but you'd rather stamp and mail them yourself (for a more personal touch)? Some postcard companies will print and mail your postcards to your list, but they won't print and ship them directly to you. If you see yourself needing both delivery options, ask about it in advance.
Postcard Pricing Structure
You would think postcard pricing would be straightforward. But in truth, there are a number of variables to consider and questions to ask.
For example, some postcard printing services have "base pricing" that does not include things like two-sided color or postage. In such cases, you have to do a bit of math to figure out the true cost per postcard. Other vendors have an "all included" price that accounts for postcard design support, full color on both sides, and postage (no math!).
You should also inquire about volume discounts. Some postcard companies charge less per postcard the more you order. These "volume tables" should be published on their website so you can easily calculate your costs based on quantity.
Other postcard printers have a set price per postcard, regardless of how many you order. With these vendors, there is no reward for larger jobs. Always do your homework to see if a company's pricing supports your postcard marketing budget.
Ease of Use
Even if a postcard printing company scores well in all other areas, it won't matter if you can't figure out how to use their service. The technical term for this is "usability."
From websites to hairdryers, everything has some level of usability. When usability is high, you don't have to think too hard about completing your task. When usability is low, you'll get a headache at best and be unable to complete your task at worst.
First and foremost, find out if the postcard service is entirely web-based or not. After all, the whole idea of using a postcard printing company is to pass the logistical burden over to them, right? You should be able to place a postcard marketing order from your home or office computer. In this age of Internet commerce, there's no reason not to have this ability.
A good way to gauge a postcard company's usability is to visit their website and poke around. Move about the website and read the information you encounter. You'll get a pretty good feel for how easy and efficient the system is.
Direct mail marketing with postcards can be an affordable, effective part of your overall marketing program. But to get the most out of it, you need to find a postcard printing service that's just right for you. So use this guide to evaluate postcard companies. Choose wisely, and your direct mail postcard program will be easier to manage, more effective, and more professional.
* Copyright 2006, PostcardSmart.com
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