Postcard Examples

Postcard Marketing Example: San Francisco’s Department of Elections can do a better postcard

As another segment in our postcard marketing example series, let me first applaud San Francisco’s Department of Elections for sending postcards to people to get them to participate in our democracy. It’s a laudable goal. Furthermore, they did so in multiple languages! How great is that… it’s great.

But, they could have done a much better job at conveying a core message. Let’s dive in.

Postcard Marketing Example 101, Don’t Mix Messages!

Here’s the card.

Postcard Marketing Example: San Francisco Elections Postcard Front

What do you suppose they want me to do? Take another look. Actually, the day of the election is not the primary message, that’s a secondary message. But, it’s the biggest thing here. What this card wants me to do is register to vote and I can’t seem to do that on the 7th based on this card, I have to do it in May. So, make the secondary message much smaller.

I know technically it’s not a good postcard marketing example, but these are the things they could have done better:

  1. Made the primary message about updating registration much bigger.
  2. Focused a second mailer on voting later, or make it the secondary message with a smaller font.
  3. Removed the multi-language call-outs and make a single callout that was repeated in various languages with smaller text in proportion to the % of language speakers in the area.
  4. Put a map with directions on where I need to go to update my registration, or tell me where.
  5. Create a clear call to action “Register To Vote Now.” HURRY, registration ends May 23rd.
  6. Got rid of all the social media stuff. Just the URL and a phone number is best.

What the department should have done is focused on the key message, added in some personalization so that I knew exactly what to do and where, and updated the multi-language call outs to be proportional to the number of people who speak those languages in the area they are sending to… maybe even in places like Chinatown where Mandarin or Cantonese should have been bigger than the English fonts based on how many people speak those languages there relative to English.

Postcard marketing mistake 101! Don’t cram text.

HOLY HOLY HELL. What the heck is this??!? Might as well have just scribbled on the back. There’s so much text. I’m writing a blog about postcards and I’m loathed to read this.

Postcard Marketing Example: San Francisco Elections Postcard Back

Ok, I’m going to take a deep breath and try to get through this postcard marketing example. So they wanted to send a message to four groups of people. Great goal. They also seemed to want to convey that voting is important, also a good goal. It’s amazing they have different phone numbers for other languages so no one has to press any buttons to get help in their native language. I love this.

But man, people can’t be bothered to read tweets and this is just a big ole’ wall of text.

Maybe the front should have focused on English and the back on other languages. The key messages are “Voting Matters” and “We Support You” (as in your language). So let’s see how SF Department of Elections could have made this back side shine.

  1. Make “Voting Matters” the headline on this side and the subtext, “May 26th is your last day, call xxx-xxx-xxxx” Maybe this is in English or just repeated in other languages to make it short and sweet.
  2. The rest of the card should say in each of the various supported languages:  “Vote in {language} Your vote matters. Call xxx-xxx-xxxx for help in {language}. Hurry, you only have until May 23rd!”

Less is more on a postcard

You work on your thing a lot, so you know it. You know it’s great, you know everyone should feel like you do, and you just assume everyone wants to know about the 100 awesome things your product can do. But, they don’t. And, it’s time consuming to know all of a product. So, focus on the thing that will be easily understandable and that conveys the most important message.

For San Francisco it’s VOTING and in so many different languages. Voting is super important and everyone should be part of the process. So, instead of sharing all of the tons of details on one postcard… focus on the one thing you need me to do… register.

What’s your one thing? Show someone your postcard design for 4 seconds on each side and snatch it away. Can they tell you what your product does? Why they would need it? If not… your message is too complex.

Do this test for me… scroll down and look at each image for 5 seconds. No longer. Now you tell me which one you understand, which one you want to learn more about, which one entices you…







ONLY 5 SECONDS:Postcard Marketing Example: Postcard Front













ONLY 5 SECONDS:Postcard Marketing Example: Bed Bath and Beyond Postcard Front



Now the raffle postcard marketing example should inherently be more appealing, right? There was a house and a Tesla and what looked to be some pretty exciting things. But, honestly, 20% OFF 100,000+ ITEMS! Wow. I got it instantly.

If the raffle team just said “WIN A DAMN HOUSE!” OR “WIN $6,000,000” you had bet I’m going to be reading that card. But, instead they said LOOK HERE, AND HERE, AND HERE, AND HERE, AND HERE… and it goes right into the trash. It just is too much and that house isn’t even real. You get some house-drawing. I love a good lottery, but this just seems so scammy.

So, when it comes to making the perfect postcard remember our motto at Scout… DELETE, DELETE, DELETE!

Until next time. Remember, same bat time, same bat channel.

P.S. I’m just one guy writing these and so if you notice any typos or something wrong… please email me. It’s my first name at the domain you’re reading on. I’d sure appreciate it.


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