Postcard Marketing Tips for Restaurants

Restaurant owners use GrowMail to execute effective marketing campaigns. Our specialty is helping restaurants acquire new patrons by marketing to the right audience at the right time. Postcard marketing campaigns are capable of checking all those boxes for restauranteurs hoping to earn new patrons. Even the greenest restaurateur knows how tough, and expensive acquiring new patrons is. Maybe you’ve tried using a clever chalkboard, or an online aggregator (hopefully after doing your due diligence), or applied every SEO or social media trick you could grasp to your website.

But have you ever considered using direct mail?

Postcards are perhaps the last remaining secret in direct marketing, and you should be paying attention to them. After all, postcards confer a few key advantages to the restaurant owner savvy enough to use them:


  1. They’re not used as much as direct mail letters. That means they instantly stand out more. Especially if you use an attention-grabbing headline and design.
  2. They’re more affordable than direct mail letters. Since they weigh less, the post office charges less to mail them — which allows you to mail your prospects repeatedly, dramatically increasing the chances of persuading them to visit your restaurant.
  3. Unlike direct mail letters — often derisively dismissed as “junk mail” — people actually like receiving postcards. Since there’s nothing to open or sort through, there’s a much higher chance your recipients will actually read your message.


That doesn’t mean you can slap just anything on a postcard and expect customers to magically start lining out your door though. Direct mail is a science perfected by marketers throughout the decades. They’ve discovered what tips and tricks work better than others.

Now, we’re about to give share them with you.

The Offer

Copywriters (the people who write marketing materials) love citing the “40/40/20” rule: whether a marketing campaign succeeds or fails depends 40% on the list (more on that later), 40% on the offer, and just 20% on the actual words you string together.

This means you cannot neglect the offer. Not even an ad written by David Ogilvy himself could make a postcard marketing campaign succeed if the offer was lousy. The offer is so important, because the offer is what makes your customers care.

When formulating an offer, make sure it’ll be one that will greatly benefit the customer. A compelling enough offer will get any customer to drop what they’re doing and go eat at your restaurant (even if they’re not hungry).

So think: what can you offer diners that will make them not only read your postcard, but also decide to dine at your restaurant after?

Often, restaurant offers come in a tried-and-true form: that of the coupon, or special. Offer to take a percentage off the reader’s final bill, or offer them a free dessert. Offer two-for-one drinks, if you have a liquor license. Just make sure you’re offering enough of a saving for them to take notice.

Also, do not clutter your postcard with multiple coupons; it will not only look cluttered and unprofessional, it could also lead to the “choice paradox” (also known as the Netflix Syndrome), where users are so overwhelmed by choice that they opt to not pick anything at all.

Resist the temptation to pack on the coupons, and instead try to follow what copywriters call “The Rule of One”: one reader, one offer. Come up with an irresistible offer, based on your target audience, and stick to it.

The Photo

We’ve all heard the saying “a photo is worth a thousand words.” Although we’re all sick of hearing it, there’s a reason we keep hearing and saying it: because it’s true! In the restaurant business, a picture might as well be worth a million words.

Postcards are a great place to show off your signature dish, or a new menu item. Same for seasonal offerings or specials. Whatever you decide to showcase, placing a high-quality photo of your food on a postcard is one of the best and easiest ways to send customers your way. If you need help designing your postcards, affordable graphic design services from GrowMail are just a click away.

The Details

Even if you’ve made a customer very hungry with a nice photo of your food, that doesn’t mean anything if they have no idea how to get that food in their belly.

Customers need to know how to place an order with you, or at least ask questions about the menu. At the same time, space on a postcard is limited, so keep it simple. Only include the most critical information a customer needs.

This includes details like your physical address, phone number, and website URL. You should also include restaurant hours and delivery information (if applicable).

Source Tracking

Compared to the photo and ordering information, this may seem expendable. It isn’t. It’s important to learn the source of each customer, so that you know how many leads your postcard campaign is generating (and therefore, whether it’s working or not). That way you keep doing what’s working, and scrap what isn’t.

To track where your customers are coming from, you can use card tracking, or landing pages (with a URL you only give out through postcards). GrowMail makes tracking the success of your postcard campaigns simple by providing barcode scanning to every available address that receives your postcard.

The Optimization

Closely related to tracking is what it enables you to do: optimize your postcard marketing campaign. Using your source tracking data, you can analyze your campaign’s results and see what works best.

Try testing different variations of your postcard, to see how well they perform. Try using different headlines, pictures, or calls-to-action. Really take the time to analyze the results and see what you can learn from them, too.

The List

Now, let’s take a look at the other 40% of the formula: the list. Naturally, your message needs to speak to your audience’s needs. If you craft an incredible offer, but send it to the wrong audience, your campaign will fail. You wouldn’t send an ad for a snow blower to people in San Diego, would you? If you did, your response rate likely wouldn’t be very high.

That’s what makes compiling an accurate, up-to-date list so important. Spending valuable time and crafting a mailing list that consists of an audience that doesn’t find your message relevant or worthwhile would do your restaurant business no favors. Fortunately, GrowMail provides area mail targeting, along with targeted mailing lists. Regardless of who your target audience is or how you define it, GrowMail has the resources in place to ensure that your message is received.

Running a Postcard Marketing Campaign

Creating an effective postcard marketing campaign for restaurants doesn’t have to be complicated. Using these tips will allow you to create an effective marketing tool to grow your business. Ready to start designing your first postcard? Grow Mail’s team can help you craft the perfect postcard marketing campaign today.