In this age of websites, blogs, social media and numerous other electronic vehicles to get messages to a larger public audience, you may be asking yourself if there is still a need for an old-fashioned, hand-delivered postcard. To this, I answer with a resounding YES!
Postcards can be used not only as pre-and post-show advertising, but also as business cards and all-purpose correspondence. A postcard that is well designed with clear information and a good photo representation of your studio’s work is a wonderful marketing tool for all artists.
Here are some useful tips in designing a postcard:
- A standard size postcard (approx. 4” x 6”) is good if your intention is to use the card for a variety of purposes (distributing by mail or in person). However, cards that are designed to be oversized or unconventional formats tend to stand out from the dozens — or even hundreds! — of cards buyers receive leading up to a trade show. Check USPS guidelines before you print. Unusual sized items have a surcharge but are often effective enough to be worth the additional cost for handling, if your budget allows.
- Postcards with good “branding” can distinguish you from other exhibitors at the show. Branding is used to define the visual experience that your buyer associates with your studio’s work. Consistently using these visual cues in your marketing efforts will help connect your work in buyers’ minds at the show.
- The colors that you choose should complement the work you are presenting at the show and on your postcard. The colors and font style should be used on all things that are used to present your work. This includes all print material, web campaigns and your booth design.
- Choose a clear photographic image of your work. In most cases I suggest not using more then 1 to 3 pieces of work. The images should be clear. Make sure to use high enough resolution (300 dpi or greater) so details are visible and that it accurately reflects the real piece.
- Text on the front of the card should be short and simple. Keep the style and size of the font that you choose easy to read.
- The back of the postcard is used for contact information and perhaps a short artist statement. General messages will allow you to use the cards longer. You can order larger quantity to save on the print cost per unit.
- Use stickers to customize the card for specific events. Always include the show name, dates, location and your booth number!
- Everything you send should have your full business contact information, including phone, email, mailing address, etc. If you want to appear professional to buyers, a website only just doesn’t cut it.
- Special promotions requiring buyers to mention or bring the card will help increase foot traffic and allow you track the success of your campaign. Examples include product giveaways, free shipping new customers or contests for prizes. (Get creative; promotions don’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money: A Buyers Market exhibitor once raffled off a weeklong stay at her family’s summer vacation home!)
- Remember to leave space in the design for a stamp (or printed pre-sort code), processing by the postal service, address labels, show-specific promotional stickers. If you have the room, or if the card won’t be mailed, an area for jotting notes can be very handy to both you and buyers.
Make sure your mailing list is as accurate as possible and appropriate to the card’s purpose. Research stores before you add them to your list. Know whom you’re mailing to. It’s better to mail fewer cards to the right audience than to waste time and money mailing to hundreds of people who are not likely to place an order.
Finally, remember that postcards should be clear and concise. What is the overall message? What action do you want card recipients to take? Postcards, like your booth design, should not outshine or compete with the work that you are selling. All the marketing aids that you design and use should complement your work and speak to the audience you are hoping to attract.
Stacy Simbrom (Angels With Attitude) has been professionally selling her folk-inspired creations in wood and metal for nearly 20 years. A longtime exhibitor with the Buyers Market of American Craft, Stacy became a mentor to new exhibitors to provide honest advice and support to emerging artists. She shares her boundless energy and enthusiasm with her husband, son and two dogs from their home in East Northport, New York.