HOW TO: Mailing a Postcard

Postcards can be an easy, affordable way to reach your customers. Use them to generate leads, close sales, or promote your new products and services.

Postcards are an excellent tool for any business because:

  • Affordable Marketing, postcards are an easy way to manage and control your marketing budget.
  • Interruptive Marketing. This is a great way to stay in front of your prospects and clients regularly.
  • Time-savers.  Potential customers can quickly get to your message without opening an envelope.
  • Great for meetings. Great way to promote your presentation or meetings.

HOW TO: mail your postcard step by step

  1. Figure out your list
  2. Decide on the size of your postcard
  3. Process your list and get the postage costs.
  4. Content and design
  5. Proof Read
  6. File output for print
  7. Decide on digital or inkjet
  8. Find a printer / make sure they will deliver your postcards to a local mail house where the indicia is from for addressing.
  9. Pay the mailing/postage fees

Postcards can come in various sizes ranging from the standard 3.5″ x 5″ to as large as 6.125″ x 11.5″ and even up to 8.5″ x 11″ with paper stocks ranging from 80# cover to 16 pt. There are various finishes such as; Glossy, matte, and scuff-free, to name a few.

Quantity of postcards you are sending out for bulk mailing

There are 2 types of mailings that have a minimum mailing requirement from the USPS. Standard mail requires a minimum of 200 pieces for the bulk rate discount, and First Class will require a minimum of 500 pieces. If you are sending a postcard under these quantities, they will need first-class stamps, and the price of the stamp will be dictated by the size of your postcard. 

The size of your mailing postcard

  • Minimum: 5 inches long, 3-1/2 inches high, and 0.007 inches thick. For letter-size pieces 0.009 inches thick if more than 4-1/4 inches tall or 6 inches long, or both.
  • Maximum for First-Class Mail card prices: 6 inches long, 4-1/4 inches high, and 0.016 inches thick.
  • Maximum for letters and other cards: 11-1/2 inches long, 6-1/8 inches high, and 1/4 inch thick.
  • Rectangular, with four square corners and parallel opposite sides. Letter-size, card-type mail pieces made of card stock may have finished corners that do not exceed a radius of 1/8 inch. 

The USPS postcard size is

Postcards that are bigger than these sizes will receive letter rates ( marketing mail prices ).

  • At least 3-1/2″ tall X 5″ long. 
  • No more than 4-1/4″ tall X 6″ long.
  • Single Postcard is .35 Each
  • Presorted is .285 Each
  • Automation can be as low as .260 Each
  • Prices are calculated First Class

Standard or First Class

First- Class bulk mail rates range between .285 to .260 for various reasons. Such as how many of your postcards fit into 5 digits zips, AADC, and Mixed AADC. The postcard rates also depend on if they are automation letters or machinable letters, and lastly, it depends on the destination entry where you plan on dropping your mail off. 

First Class offers a few perks that Standard rates don’t. You can track First Class better, and you get a better return to sender options. You also get priority over standard when being mailed from the mailing warehouse.

Standard rates range between .305 to.233 for the same reasons above minus the perks. The truck will be filled with First Class, and depending on how much First Class there is, it will leave less room for Standard mail for the next day.

USPS states that they will deliver standard mail within 2 – 5 days, and I would guess a little longer during the holidays.

Mailing List

Your mailing list is the core of your postcard mailing. Your list will need the minimum of a full name and a complete address ( First Name, Last Name, Address, City, State, Zip ) each in their own columns within an excel sheet. If you don’t have a list already, you will need to purchase a mailing list from a reputed company.

No matter who you acquire it from, the list needs to be processed through the USPS server. This is typically done with a mail house. You will need a few things before sending your list to be processed.

Size of the postcard

The thickness of the postcard ( ask the mail house the best way to do this for them )

Mailing Standard or First Class

The weight of the postcard

The Design

There are some basic requirements for the design of your business card. The address box needs to be white and a min of 4 inches wide. For the height of the address, the box is usually a good idea to half the postcard’s height and placed in the card’s bottom right side corner.

The indicia should be placed during the printing process and placed in the top right corner of the postcard and visible. Typically a .25 inch from the edges of the card. The indicia will need to be acquired from whomever you are planning to process your list and mail.

Digital Printing vs. Inkjet

Digital printing is the quickest and easiest printing process to print and address your postcard. A digital press has the ability for variable printing. Meaning, each card that passes through the printing press can be different. The printer can deliver you a fully mailable postcard with the design, address, barcode, and whatever else you would need to mail your postcard.

The cons of using a digital printing press are the cost when running high volume postcards. Typically, in the printing world, the more postcards that you order at once the less each postcard would cost you. This isn’t true with a digital printer.

Inkjet addressing

Inkjet addressing is a post-press process. After your postcard is printed, it will be delivered to a mail house where they will apply the address from the list supplied by you to each card via an inkjet printer.

Typically, the same mail house will be the ones who processed your list through the USPS server with their indicia.

Check this article out if you need help with figuring out the design process and the requirements your postcard design needs for printing.

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