Advice about promotional postcards?
August 6, 2010 5:51 PM   Subscribe

Any advice on designing/ordering promotional postcards?

I have a book coming out in a month and want to have promo postcards printed up.

I'd welcome any advice from any angle, especially of the "I wish I'd known before placing my order" variety. Some examples might be how to get crisp type, specific info to include on the back, digital vs. offset, or a great print company.

I haven't decided yet whether to design the postcards for mailing (with room for address/stamp) or just handing out at readings, conferences, etc. If someone has thoughts about those approaches, I'd love to hear them, too. Many thanks!
posted by roxie110 to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I use Low Price Print a lot for business cards, but they also do postcards. Just follow their file preparation guidelines and you'll be fine.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't like digital printing. The color always looks off to me, and the paper always feels cheap.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:29 PM on August 6, 2010

Also, postcards are cheap enough to print that you could conceivably do several runs with different backs (or no back at all) depending on what you want to promote (signings, special sale offers, wholesale, etc.) and how you want to distribute them (mailing or personal giveaway or bookstore leave-behind).
posted by MegoSteve at 6:35 PM on August 6, 2010

For even better prices, have a look at the postcard prices for Got Their quality is excellent and they have great service.

Their prices are also inexpensive enough that you could do several versions of your postcards, even in different sizes for specific events or occasions.
posted by Jade Dragon at 6:54 PM on August 6, 2010

I've printed a lot of promotional postcards, and never found a use for the ones with space for an address and stamp on the back--because I don't want to pay the cost of buying a mailing list and postcard postage to send them out into the world. However, people are usually happy to pick up a free postcard if it looks cool, though what they do with it after then I couldn't tell you. If you have a lot of information you want to convey, definitely use the space on both sides.

But if you are just thinking of a postcard because of the general size and shape, you might be happier with a tri-fold rack card, which will be cheaper to print than postcards (thinner stock), make better bookmarks--you might just want to make bookmarks!--and can convey significantly more information through six discrete zones. You can find downloadable templates for various kinds of printed matter on the websites of all the online print shops.
posted by Scram at 7:02 PM on August 6, 2010

Know your demographic. Choose your font and font size accordingly.
posted by bilabial at 7:08 PM on August 6, 2010

Regarding printing:

1) You really, really, REALLY want to view the proofs before things go out, no matter how rushed you are or how confident you are in the capabilities of the printer. They are as capable as the next company of overnighting things, if that's the turnaround time you need.

Regarding the mailing end of this project:

2) Understand the timetables involved in different mailing rates. Mail doesn't all move at the same pace. Make sure your printing schedule is sufficiently advanced that even if they screw up the first time & have to redesign & go through the proof process again, you still have the time necessary for the card to travel through the mail system.

3) Put some plants into your mailing list if you are not mailing them yourself: Yourself at home, your business, and someone they won't know that you can check up with. You want proof of the mailing's performance. When everyone you know is going, "nope, don't rember seeing any such thing in the mail," a postmarked postcard in your hand can be very reassuring ...or it may be grounds for heading down to the printers' office for a few well-chosen words on the subject of "making things right."
posted by Ys at 7:12 PM on August 6, 2010

If you get them designed for mailing, who will you send them to? Do you have a list? Are the people on it worth the postage in terms of potential sales?

Making postcards for authors is part of my job and i've never found a use for the mailing ones. Include cover art, your name, ISBN, price and a website or contact information.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 10:05 PM on August 6, 2010

Seconding viewing the proofs and if you care about the weight and feel of the stock get samples. I've gotten some pretty flimsy cards before.

I've never actually mailed out the postcards but I liked having the space to write a little note or thank you.
posted by ljesse at 10:25 PM on August 6, 2010

if you know who you're going to mail them to, and have your address list and what not, i've always gotten really nice postcards from amazing mail. i don't THINK you can get a shipment of blank cards, but that may have changed or i might not know about it.

at any rate, i was always pleased with their quality and rates.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:24 AM on August 7, 2010

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