What Are the Different Types of Marketing Postcards?

Alicia Sparks

Unsurprisingly, there are numerous different types of marketing postcards. For their marketing techniques to both appeal to their target customers and stay relevant, businesses have to keep up with the changing times of marketing approaches. The Internet has brought a new wave of virtual advertising, but common postcards, such as those found in mailboxes and within catalog and magazine pages, still exist, too.

Marketing postcards are often stuffed between the pages of a magazine.
Marketing postcards are often stuffed between the pages of a magazine.

Perhaps the most common kind of marketing postcards are the kinds of loose, stand-alone postcards. Generally, potential customers find these marketing tools in their mailboxes or on the checkout counter of a retail store. Sometimes, businesses mail these postcards themselves. Other times, they hire specialty businesses to mail them to current and potential customers. When these kinds of postcards are on the checkout counters of retail stores, usually it is because the two businesses have some sort of contract, or the owner of the first business gave permission to the second business.

Marketing postcards may be mailed to former customers.
Marketing postcards may be mailed to former customers.

Some marketing postcards are part of a leaflet marketing campaign, and are inserted into other pieces of mail, such as catalogs or magazines, or are included in the kinds of magazines customers can purchase from newsstands. Sometimes these postcards are directly related to the catalog or magazine in which they’re inserted. For example, they might offer readers a discount on yearlong subscriptions, or they might advertise other kinds of catalogs and magazines published by the same company. Other times, these postcards aren’t related to the catalogs or magazines. Usually, these postcards are the marketing techniques of other companies who have, in most cases, some working relationship with the company that owns the original catalogs and magazines.

Door handle advertising is another way companies use marketing postcards. These postcards are actually door hangers, and employees or contractors of the company hang them on the doors of local homes, apartments, and sometimes even other businesses. Overall, these door hangers are more visible than traditional marketing postcards because they’re not lumped in with other pieces of mail or advertising materials.

The Internet era brought virtual advertising, and marketers are constantly coming up with new ways to deliver virtual marketing postcards, digital brochures, and other types of online marketing approaches. Sometimes these digital postcards show up in e-mail inboxes, and sometimes they act as pop-ups when people visit certain websites. Just as businesses have to be careful about sending out traditional postcards, they must also be careful with too much virtual advertising. An overload of marketing e-mail, pop-ups, banners, and other kinds of virtual marketing strategies can harm a company’s reputation and actually cost it customers.

Although they’re not actual postcards, greeting cards maintain a significant niche in the overall area of marketing postcards. Some companies choose greeting cards over traditional postcards because they allow them to send a more personalized message to their customers. For example, some companies send greeting cards with discount coupons or codes to past customers during holiday seasons or for their birthdays. Sometimes, a business will send greeting cards simply to stay in touch and keep their names present. For instance, doctors, dentists, and even veterinarians will send greeting cards to past patients, or their owners, to wish them a happy birthday, remind them it’s time for a checkup, or simply to say hello.

Marketing postcards might be used to advertise upcoming products, such as makeup, that are part of an established brand.
Marketing postcards might be used to advertise upcoming products, such as makeup, that are part of an established brand.

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