Postcards vs Letters in Direct Mail Marketing

Postcards vs Letters in Direct Mail Marketing

You’re getting ready to start your next direct mail marketing campaign. You’ve decided on your targeted demographic and why you’re running the campaign, now all that’s left to do is decide on the creative aspects. One question you’ll likely be asked when creating your campaign is if you want to send a postcard or letter mailer.

To help you learn the differences between postcards vs. letters in direct mail marketing, we at Aspen Automotive have created this helpful guide. Ready to learn more? Keep reading!

Postcards: The Smaller, Eye-Catching Option

Postcards vs Letters in Direct Mail Marketing Postcard mailers are one of the popular choices when it comes to direct mail marketing. Let’s take a look at some of the requirements, benefits, and possible setbacks to choosing postcards as your chosen mailer size!

Requirements for Postcard Direct Mail

According to the USPS, postcards are a single sheet of paper sent to an address.1 They must also meet certain size requirements:

  • Rectangular in size
  • At least 3.5 inches by 5 inches
  • No more than 4.25 inches by 6 inches
  • No more than 0.016 inches thick

Anything larger than these dimensions are considered letters.

Benefits to Choosing Postcards

When someone goes to their mailbox, there’s a chance that your postcard will automatically stand out from everything else. That’s because there’s no envelope encasing the bold colors and unique design of your postcard. This way, it’s likely that your postcard design will stand out from the otherwise white contrast of the other envelopes.

Postcards are also relatively inexpensive. Most postcards cost less than 35 cents to send out, and depending on the size of your order, you may qualify for machinable or automation rates, which lower the cost of mailing.

Setbacks to Choosing Postcards

Due to their size, you have less marketing space to work with. If you want to talk about the features of a vehicle that just landed in your inventory or the benefits of routine maintenance, you may not have a lot of room to do so.

If you have a lot of information you need to share with recipients, postcards may not be the best route to go.

Letters: The Larger, Personal Option

Postcards vs Letters in Direct Mail Marketing Letters are another popular choice for direct mail marketing. Similar to postcards, letters have their own set of requirements, as well as their own pros and cons. Let’s take a look!

Requirements for Letter Direct Mail

Letters are larger or are multiple pieces of mail folded to fit inside an envelope.2 Since there are many different envelope sizes, letters offer a little more flexibility in terms of requirements:

  • Rectangular in size
  • At least 3.5 inches by 5 inches
  • No more than 6.125 inches by 11.5 inches
  • No more than 0.25 inches thick

Anything larger than this may be charged extra.

Benefits to Choosing Letters

Letters allow you to go into detail about certain features, thanks to the ability to send folded pieces of paper inside. In addition to having more room to explain your services, letters give you space to share a more comprehensive message about your dealership.

Letters also allow you to personalize the direct mail by handwriting the recipient’s address, signing the letter yourself, and much more.

Setbacks to Choosing Letters

Because of their size, sending out letters will cost more than postcards. Typically, sending a letter will cost somewhere around 50 cents per letter. Depending on the size of your campaign and your budget, this may affect your marketing campaign.

When to Use Postcards vs Letters in Direct Mail Marketing

Still unsure whether you should use a postcard or letter in your next direct mail campaign? Here’s a breakdown on when each mailer size is most effective.

Which mailer should I use if…



I want to take advantage of USPS mailer specials

I want to include exclusive financing information

I want to encourage website traffic through personal URLs (PURLs)

I want to stand out from the crowd

I want to receive information in return

I want to include additional materials

If You Want to Use EDDM®: Use Postcards

The USPS makes sending direct mail easier than ever by including several rotating and permanent specials and offers, one of which is Every Door Direct Mail® (EDDM®).

EDDM® is a way for you to send a mailer to every door in a certain zip code. Typically, EDDM® is used for general coupons and sales information or to draw attention to your dealership without needing to get into specifics. When using EDDM®, not only will more people and businesses see your mailer, but you’re also saving money on your campaign.

Postcard Rates:

  • Per Postcard: $0.36 per piece
  • EDDM® Postcard: $0.192 per piece

If you’re looking to take advantage of this program, we recommend sending a postcard.

If You Want to Add Financing Information: Use Letters

Postcards vs Letters in Direct Mail Marketing Since information is protected by the envelope, letters are a great option when you want to include private information to an individual. Letting someone know they’ve been pre-approved for financing on a car they continue looking at on your website is a perfect example of this.

Sending this information in an envelope not only keeps the recipient’s information safe, but it also makes the information feel more personal.

If you’re sending information about a unique sale or promotion to a long-term customer, sending this information in a letter format can also appear more personal.

For financing and other confidential information, we recommend sending a letter.

If You Want to Create Something Fun & Engaging: Use Postcards

If your goal is to make an eye-catching design that gives recipients no choice but to scan both sides of your mailer, sending a postcard is the way to go.

Since there’s no envelope with this type, you need to pull out all the marketing tricks to capture the attention of the recipients. Consider how color plays a subconscious role with our emotions, how serif vs. sans-serif fonts change the mood of the mailer, and how the material of the mailer—matte vs. glossy, for example—can enhance your mailer.

Postcards also give you the option to create cutouts for a more geometric look.

If you’re looking to send a highly creative piece of mail, we recommend sending a postcard.

If You Want to Add a Mail-in Rebate: Use Letters

Anytime you send a piece of mail that requires the recipient to send something back, sending a letter is the best option. Thanks to the envelope required with letters, you can include an already-paid-for return envelope. Everything can stay neatly organized and together, making it easier than ever for the recipient to send info back.

A great opportunity to send return envelopes to individuals is with mail-in rebates for service or purchases, satisfaction surveys, requests to update client information, and more.

When you want the recipient to send something back to your dealership, we recommend sending a letter.

Postcards vs Letters in Direct Mail Marketing: Which Will You Choose?

When comparing postcards vs. letters in direct mail marketing, both are viable options that offer several benefits. Because of the numerous benefits each option provides, you may find yourself going back and forth between options, depending on your campaign.

Having someone by your side always helps when making decisions. Our automotive marketing experts are here to help you decide whether postcards or letters is the better option for your campaign. Ready to get started? Simply give us a call or send us an email today!