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Organic Postcards to Raise Consumer Awareness

Postcards are an easy way to help increase consumer knowledge about organics

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CCOF Farmers' Market Postcard - side one

Photo courtesy California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF)
Updated October 31, 2013

Postcards are one of the better DIY marketing ideas around. Some key benefits of postcards include the following:

  • Double-sided advertising - great for businesses to place facts on one side and a visual on the other.

  • Can be sent in direct mail campaigns or slipped into bags at the Farmers' Market or shop.

  • Postcards can cost less than full size letterhead.

  • A nice postcard will be kept, and often hung up.

  • If you run out, you can quickly print some at home on your printer.

  • Postcards can generate new sales.

  • Postcard information can be used to either promote your business or to educate consumers about organics and keep organic integrity strong.

An Excellent Organic Postcard Example

California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), a nation leader in organic certification, recently launched their “Why Buy Certified Organic?” consumer awareness campaign. This new campaign, beyond being a killer consumer education plan, shows off how well postcards can be used to market organics.

The CCOF campaign includes distribution of easy to hand out postcards (see included images) that help explain what “certified organic” means and how to find products that meet these standards at Farmers' Markets in California. CCOF Executive Director Cathy Calfo, notes:

"We want to help shoppers who may encounter confusing labels such as ‘pesticide free,’ ‘natural,’ or ‘sustainable. We want consumers to know that when they see the CCOF or USDA certified organic logo, they are truly getting organic products because our farmers must meet strict, verifiable farming practices to be allowed to display that label."

As most organic producers and handlers know, consumers today are often confused when it comes to real organics, which not only reduces sales, but lends to poor integrity, such as when consumers buy a product labeled, "natural" vs. "USDA Organic." Conflicting labels and signage make it complicated for consumers to buy real organics, but the new CCOF postcards help clear some of that confusion up.

If you take a close look at the CCOF postcards (pdf), you'll see that the cards clearly define "certified organic" and tell consumers how to find organics easily. Additionally, the postcards offer tips on the back about why consumers should purchase organics. The postcards are attractive, but not overly busy and would look just fine on a fridge, making them, combined with their organic facts, a great marketing tool.

How Much Will Postcards Cost You?

Postcards are a less expensive paper form of advertising, but not as inexpensive as say, most online marketing or email. The cost will depend on some various factors, such as if your cards are colored or black and white, professionally designed or home designed, glossy or matte and so on.

It's best to look around and see how much various postcard types may cost. One thing to be aware of is that home printed postcards, while good in a pinch, may cost more than pre-printed postcards. For example, you can buy a decent pack of ready-to-print postcards at any office supply store, but remember, you'll also have to pay for a ton of ink cartridges in order to get them printed.

Often it's simply more cost effective to go with a postcard printing service, either through your local office supply store or through an online printer provider like Vista Print.

Some Handy Postcard Tips

  • Pretty is nice, but informative is WAY better. I can't tell you how many business postcards I've seen that have beautiful design aspects and glossy images, yet sadly, say absolutely nothing about the company. Your postcard should look great, but don't forget that the card is actually for informing your customers (or potential customers) either about your business or about organics. Make sure you include your business address and other contact information as well as any pertinent facts like the hours you're open.

  • If you're using the postcards as a consumer education tool, be sure to state organic and business facts clearly, without going overboard. Consumers want to scan your postcard, not read it like a book.

  • White space is good! An overcrowded postcard is less attractive and less likely to make its point. Err on the side of caution and leave more white (or empty) space then you think you should.

  • Spring for color if possible. Colored postcards make a much larger impact than black and white. Unless black and white happen to be your specific business color scheme, go with some color.

  • Use great images. A business postcard is no place for clip art. If you have a photographer pal, ask them to take a nice shot of your farm or a product and use it for the image side. Or you may want to speak with a professional designer.

  • Get creative! You can really use your creativity when it comes to postcards. Make one with a full image on one side and facts on the other. Have half of one side text and the other half words. Whatever else you dream up, make sure your postcard is unique to your business.

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