Postcard Sizes & Dimensions and Tips to Benefit From The Right Size.
Postcard Sizes: When it comes to postcard printing, size does matter as it is not just a matter of picking the right designs and paper. Postcards are a popular direct mail tool. To best make use of USPS rates, they have to meet certain requirements, one of which is size.
A postcard is probably what first comes to your mind when you think about direct mail. Postcards can be used for multiple purposes – from personal communication to marketing promotions – and are among the cheapest types of direct mail. It’s a great option to tell the recipients what they need to know right away. No envelopes or bulky packages.
What Is the Standard Postcard Size?
The standard postcard size is about 4″ x 6″, which is a typical, fairly rectangular-shaped postcard. Also, it fits within the U.S. Post Office’s regulations to receive the special postcard postage rate.
However, many postcard makers use slightly different sizes for a variety of reasons. Some people prefer how a slightly more boxy postcard looks. Some printing services just want to maximize the number of postcards they can print on a large sheet of paper.
Whatever the reason, you’ll find that the standard postcard size will often vary by as much as a 1/2 inch from a standard 4″ x 6″ postcard.
Here are some popular postcard printers’ sizes:
Hallmark: 4.3″ x 6″
Postcards.com: 4″ x 6″
Cafepress.com: 4″ x 6″
Zazzle.com: 4.25″ x 5.6″
Other Postcard Size Options?
Beyond the standard postcard size, there are many options available that serve different design requirements.
A postcard can be any size between 3.5″ x 5″ and 6.125″ x 11.5.” As long as your postcard is thick enough (but less than 1/4 inch thick) and fits within the above dimensions, it will be able to be processed by the Post Office machines.
If you want your postcard to stand out from the rest, or if you just have a lot to say, you don’t have to be restricted to the standard size. Instead, you can make a bigger postcard!
Some of the typical larger sizes available for postcards are:
4″ x 9″ (long and narrow—like a sheet of paper folded in half the long way)
5.5″ x 8″ (just a big postcard—like a sheet of paper folded in half the short way)
6″ x 11″ (pretty much as big as you can get)
If you’re designing your own postcard, make sure to find out which size options your printer offers before you start designing. You don’t want to waste time making the perfect postcard if you can’t print it.
Also, remember that these larger postcards will cost you more to mail. And if you try to mail something larger than 6-1/8″ x 11-1/2,” you’re going to pay a lot more!
Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) Dimensions
EDDM is a program launched by the United States Postal Service for more affordable postcard postage rates and convenience. You can either create postcard design on your own or use any of USPS’s affiliate vendors for design, printing, or drop-off.
The United States Postal Service claims that EDDM is suitable for small businesses that target a certain mailing area. Here are the most common EDDM postcard dimensions approved by USPS:
11’’ x 17’’
8.5’’ x 11’’
6.25’’ x 9’’
4.25” x 11’’
Although $0.18 per EDDM piece is a very good price, apart from specific sizing, USPS imposes a lot of other restrictions.
You will need to have a USPS.com account
The batch size must be from 200 to 5,000 mail pieces/day per zip code
You will need to drop off the mail pieces at the USPS Postal Office
You are tied to a mailing route and don’t have many customization options
Because of these constraints, every door direct mail may not be suitable for entrepreneurs who need flexibility. They should look for a third-party mail service that offers more freedom and creativity.
Flats and Large Envelope Sizes
First, let’s clarify what mail falls into this category. According to the official page of the US Postal Service, flats comprise newsletters, large envelopes, and magazines. Boxes and tight envelopes filled with boxes aren’t flats. There are also certain requirements regarding flexibility of such mail. According to the standards, 1-inch minimum flexibility is required.
Speaking of direct mail sizes, there are maximum and minimum dimensions defined for flats:
How Can You Benefit From the Right Postcard Mailing Size?
For marketers, understanding direct mail sizes and formats, as well as their benefits and limitations, is more than a necessity. Hence you need to clearly define your goals before choosing any kind of a direct mail piece and estimate its pros and cons. Make sure to pick the right mailing size to get the following benefits:
Outperform Competitors Thanks to the Right Postcard Mailing Size
The Unied States Postal Service has strict limitations for every type of direct mail. They rightfully set such standards to manage the mailing process and support a single system for all mail pieces.
Unfortunately, such standardization also makes most mail campaigns trite and plain. Bombarded with flyers from numerous companies, people start paying less attention to the content. You can use this to distinguish yourself from competitors and be unique.
Provoke the Necessary Emotional Response
Any type of direct mail is an excellent way to connect with your customers on a more personal level. Still, certain formats of mail marketing generate better results since they appeal to certain emotions. Postcards with a strong call to action and a QR code stimulate an immediate response. Also, postcards are more likely to be checked than letter-size envelopes. Take time to analyze them and build strong relationships with your target audience.
USPS offers a range of mailing programs for individuals and companies that print and mail marketing materials in large volumes. Every program defines what postcard mailing size, form, or flexibility is allowed. Based on these factors, the cost of the final delivery may significantly vary. Therefore, if you have a limited budget and need to cut expenditures, pay attention to postcard dimensions. Don’t exceed 4.25’’ x 6’’ to fall under the First Class Mail category and benefit from the lowest charges.
Reduce Postcard Damage
Unappealing postcards with scuffs and smudges can undermine the effectiveness of your mail campaign. When mail is processed, it goes through numerous scanners and automated sorters that may leave unappealing marks. Understanding this process, you can better prepare your mail postcards to the future handling.
Help to Create the Most Effective Mail Design
Before choosing the mail type and size, you have to understand what information, images, or call to action you want to add. This preparatory stage is crucial in picking an optimum option. A small 4’’ x 6’’ postcard cannot always include everything you want. It may be more effective to invest in a larger mail or catalog if it offers a higher ROI and response rate.
Also, remember that postcards approved by USPS must meet stringent requirements. There are specific places for the repecient mailing address, barcode, post office marks, and clean area. Take them into account while creating a mail design and choosing postcard dimensions. Make sure your mail piece looks convincing and stimulates people to purchase your products and service.
Understanding Mail Classes and Size Classifications
Mail classes determine how quickly recipients will receive your postcard. The two primary USPS classes of direct mail that drive different postage costs and delivery times are First Class Mailand Standard Mail (now known as Marketing Mail):
First Class Mail offers a quicker delivery time (1-5 days) but is generally more expensive.
Standard Mail is slower (3-14 days), but is generally less expensive.
The two main size classifications for direct mail postcards are “postcard” size and “letter” size:
To qualify as the technical “postcard” size by USPS, your piece must be at least 3.5” x 5”, but no larger than 4.25” x 6”, and rectangular in shape.
To qualify as the “letter” size by USPS, your piece must be larger than 4.25” by 6” but no larger than 6 ⅛” x 11.5”, and rectangular in shape (So, if your postcards fall into this range, the Postal Service classifies them as letters, not postcards. Yes, we know this is confusing. We don’t make the rules, though.)
Quick note: USPS also has thickness requirements for postcards and letters to prevent thin sheets of paper from getting jammed in their machines. However, when you print with U.S. Press, all of our postcard stocks already meet these requirements, so you don’t have to worry about this part.