I was wondering if any of you print up your own direct mail postcards? What are the advantages of doing this? What equipment would I need?
It makes no fiscal sense to try to print your own post cards, as you can buy them for just pennies & the quality is 500% better than you could produce - unless your were a 4-color print shop
Generally commercial printing is your best bet…
I printed my own for a long time, but just recently stopped. I don’t have the time anymore, quality 4-color printing has gotten ridiculously cheap, and doing them myself led to procrastination (because it was a PITA) and therefore delays in advertising.
When I printed them I did them on yellow card stock with a cheap laser printer - that’s all the equipment you need.
For a run of 5,000 pieces I could save about $40 doing them myself, but that did not compensate me enough for the time doing it (at least 4 hours of babysitting the printer, feeding paper, clearing jams.)
A major benefit of printing them myself was that I didn’t have to print massive quantities at once when I was first starting out. I could do 500 one week, 500 the next, etc. If you have expiration dates on them, printing 10,000 at a time can be a problem if you have a limited advertising budget. The printing isn’t going to be much, but you have to send them too. With expiration dates you don’t have the option of holding them and sending a few hundred each week.
Printing them myself also gave me the ability to code them individually by carrier route and track which areas of towns were doing the best for me.
I started doing that 5 years ago and I guess I just kind of stuck with it until about 2 months ago. 4-color printing was also much more expensive just 5 years ago and that helped make the decision.
Another issue that just arose is that the USPS changed their thickness requirements for bulk mailed post cards. They have to be at least .009" thick now - and most cheap home laser printers will not feed that thickness of paper very well.
So, from someone that did it myself for a long time - my advice would be to not do it yourself. It’s so much easier to point and click and have the cards arrive at my house 3 days later!
An alternative to putting an expiration date on them is to put “Expires in 14 Days” or something similar.
We found that not putting an expiration date on things didn’t work out as well. Five years ago we did a printed flyer and put “hurry offer expires soon” and five years later we still get an occasional call from someone wanting to use those coupons. Can’t believe that people would still have them after all this time – must have stuck them in a drawer somewhere. Now we put a expiration date on all offers.
Depending on how you mail the postcard -
it can become more costly than it is worth, especially if you are using stamps for postage.
Can I please send you a quote on targeted direct mail for postcards and menus?
Still receiving responses from a flyer from 5 years ago? Thats great! Better to have them call you with an outdated special than find your flyer with a 2004 expiration date and throw it away and not call you, or worse yet, call your competition.