Who Knew a Delivery Address Could Be So Hard to Locate on a Postcard?

Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

Who Knew a Delivery Address Could Be So Hard to Locate on a Postcard?

Thanks to Barbara Todaro I have been doing a lot more direct mail marketing, particularly when it comes to my listings.  And last year, I decided to step up my efforts and go with a jumbo postcard to get more attention.  

My hands down favorite design was this one that I found on VistaPrint.  

My Favorite Property Postcard Design
What's not to love?  I get to show off the property photos, which is one of the things that many would-be sellers find as the focus of marketing.  We know there is a lot more to it than photos, but if you have to put a worm on a hook to catch a potential seller, photos are key.  

More important than the photos, especially to me, is creating a message with something that makes a seller want to pick up the phone and call me.  I started from scratch with a blank back and created a place where I could check off all of my state's legal requirements for brokerage name, address, etc and have a place to type a blurb about this sale.  Here's what I came up with:

Self Designed Back


Just like you would address an envelope, the return address is in the upper left corner, the stamp goes in the upper right and the delivery address is the lower-mid right.  You may notice that there is a bordered box and words "Please Deliver To" in bold there.  That was done after many of my first attempt at this mailing were delivered to the address in the upper left.  Frustrating, but after talking with the post office where I drop the mailings, I was assured that this new fix would avoid confusion, but was likely unnecessary.

Ha!  This Bristow real estate agent is about to go postal.  Even with the change, about a third of my last mailing was delivered to the return address.   Grrrr.

One thing I hate is seeing the postal employees at the Bristow post office verbally abused.   While waiting in line the week between Christmas and New Year I heard a woman lay insult after insult on a staffer.  It made me cringe to witness.  Of course, I was in line to register a second complaint about a piece of mail I put in the box outside that was still stuck after two cycles of that box being emptied.  I was poo-pooed by the same staffer who had just been verbally assaulted.  

While it is never my style to verbally assault and throw out random insults, I could feel my frustration rise and understood why this woman might have been driven to that.  This employee was not taking her job seriously.  She had also been the one that poo-pooed my concern over these postcards.

Last week, I got to chat with this staffer yet again.   Evidently her bad attitude is coming from the post master, who refused to come out and speak with me about my concern over my mail not being delivered properly.  My tax dollars at work.  (sigh)  They both have an issue with the FRONT of my postcard.  They don't like the address being there for property advertised.  Funny.  It has nothing to do with where the card is being delivered.  All of that is on the back where the stamp is.  And boy did the post master have things to say about the back of my card.  "Good grief!  She has too much going on here."  

Really?  The post master is now a marketing critic?  You've got to be kidding me.  When the staffer came back, she started to tell me what the post master had said, but the whole post office heard it and I let her know.  I wasn't nasty, but I definitely let her know I was not pleased.  All I wanted to do was figure out the point of failure.  Was it a machine not reading this properly?  Was it carriers?  What was happening?

Let's just say there are no critical thinking skills at the post office.  In the absence of professional guidance, I've been left to trouble shoot this one on my own.  I'm moving the office address to the front and the ONLY address that will be on the back will be the one in the box marked "Please Deliver To."  If that doesn't work, I may have to hand deliver them or hire someone to do that.  At least they would get there. And this marketing is only going to be effective if they are delivered.



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marti garaughty
garaughty.com - Montreal, QC
a highly caffeinated creative type...

marti garaughty, abstract art, graphic design, marketing, WordPress consultant

Jan 08, 2018 11:03 AM #1
JL Boney, III
Coldwell Banker - Columbia, SC
Columbia, SC Real Estate

Great looking post card, sorry to hear you're having so much trouble with it. I try to avoid the post office for the same reason I do not go to fast food restaurants. When you complain to an employee at either one, you are the only one that cares.

Jan 08, 2018 11:05 AM #2
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Chris Ann Cleland that's crazy.... it's absurd...I'd be chewing someone a new one!!! my blood's boiling just reading this.... ugh.... 

I need to tell you, the 4 x6 postcard trumps the "BIG ONE"....  they keep the small one... it's small... doesn't take up much room... they've kept a dozen of mine and showed us.... all small ones... I wouldn't spend that extra money....it gets noticed... you're not sending to the visually impaired....

and I'd be contacting the office of the postmaster.... you should not need to rearranged your postcard....make them get it right.... and tell them to spend less time reading your postcard and focus on their job of getting it out the door....

I would write one "shake 'em up" letter with copies to everyone including those at the very top.... send the letter to the office of the postmaster general.... let him know his ship is sinking with the heavy weight in the mailroom....

ugh... I love my postal workers.... they do such a good job.... 

Jan 08, 2018 11:07 AM #3
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Chris Ann Cleland, I'm beyond frustrated with the "mail delivery" but don't want to hijack your post. For the postmaster to find fault at your marketing rather than solve the problem is unacceptable, however, what can you possibly do about it? 

Jan 08, 2018 11:09 AM #4
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Sorry to hear you had some post office frustrations. It sounds so frustrating - hope you get it resolved though. D 

Jan 08, 2018 11:23 AM #5
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

If the postal service had done that to my mailing, I would have gathered it up and taken it right back to the post office.  I would have gone postal too!

Jan 08, 2018 11:29 AM #6
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Hi Chris Ann... now that is a new one on me... that the postal service delivers to the address in the left hand corner. But now that I think about it, on occasion I've had mail returned to me which was destined to a totally good address. Maybe that was the reason.

Jan 08, 2018 11:32 AM #7
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Hello Chris Ann: While I don't have any post office tips for you -- my sister, a postal employee, would just say it's too busy over the holidays and that's why people seem impersonal -- I can say that KISS is the way to go with the post office.

Also, you might want to reconsider the sentence: You would be wrong. Nobody wants to hear they are wrong, in my opinion, it's too negative. Maybe you could say your friends might tell you, blah blah and THEY would be wrong, but don't ostracize the recipient.

Jan 08, 2018 11:44 AM #8
Tim Maitski
Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage - Atlanta, GA
Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal

Chris Ann,  You're never going to be able to change their system.  It is what it is and you have to make your stuff work with the system that they currently have.  It sounds like that is what you are trying to do but the postal staff isn't being helpful in the troubleshooting process. Unfortunately, you will have to do some changes and then test it out to see what eventually gets the job done.

My first thought was that you were going to say that many of the postcards were being delivered to the address of the home that you sold.  The front of the card shows that address in a format that a computer scanner might identify as the deliver to address.  Your picture and name and broker name kind of look like it might be a return address.  If you could, maybe put the pictures up top and then put the address in a single line across the bottom of them.  Is it really necessary to put the town, state and zip code for the sold property?

On the front of the card, I think the problem with the return address is that the address is the 9th and 10th line down.    I would put all of your credential information after the address.

I understand that you are using an online template so you probably can't make those changes.    I never can find a template that is 100% of what I want.   So I've been learning Adobe InDesign so I have can have total control of getting it just like I want.  I find some designs that I like and then use them as inspiration to come up with a custom design that works exactly how I want it to. It's a pain in the butt but it allows me  control and flexibility.


Jan 08, 2018 01:40 PM #9
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Chris Ann, I think you designed a very pleasing card. I also like the text on the back side, it's much more personal and property related than the usual canned statements that the card companies produce. 

Jan 08, 2018 04:48 PM #10
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,

Chris Ann - I had the return address in the lower left corner one time on a post card - and the same thing happened to me - ALL the cards went to the return address  - You might want to move the return addres right up to the top left corner immediately under your name - and then put your license number, phone numbers and email etc under the return address so that it is hidden away from the scanners.  

I just mailed my new year's cards out - I had gotten red envelopes from the Note Card Cafe (they do a really nice note card for 25 cents - with envelope) and then I labeled them - they were going to past clients and I wanted to use the pre-canceled 10 cent stamps since I have thousands of them.  I have a bulk mail permit and I have been going to the Gaithersburg MD bulk mail station for years.  The guys there (and gals) have been great - and very tolerant of me.  I never know how many postcards I have so they always weigh them for me and they have been patient with me when some of my cards are upside down in the stack - etc etc etc. I would get hugs there and bring candy - I really liked the people who worked there - one even said if he retired and moved away he would hire me to list his home!  well all my friends are retiring now and it is a new group who have come in - they are not nice at all.  I had to stamp "Or current resident" on every envelope - even though they were all to past clients and sphere and someone else who wasn't even waiting on me complained about the red envelops.   UGH! I have always done my own mailings and defended the post office, but I am really concerned about this new group in Gaithersburg. 

Jan 08, 2018 07:20 PM #11
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

Hello my Chris Ann Cleland  . . . now you know that I was until very recently a 20-year postal wife with postmaster friends/clients in 3 states . . . (I still have those!)
1-800-ASK-USPS is your answer here.
That postmaster NEEDED to see you, and you had a RIGHT to be seen.
There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with that postcard, and the staffer was completely out of line opining about its design. There was room for address, the return was in the right place, bite me!
There are mystery shoppers, regionals and bean counters whose sole purpose in life is to improve the image of USPS and that means improving customer service. They won't suffer fools, but a calmly registered complaint will get traction.
That staffer needs to be spanked, and the postmaster taken to task.
Make the call and get a Regional. Trust me, I have raised holy hell . . . and results were forthcoming. 

Jan 14, 2018 03:17 PM #12
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

How frustrating, but not at all surprising. It's just so hard to get good service for anything any more. You did a nice job on the postcard. It's beautiful!

Jan 15, 2018 02:35 PM #13
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire

Chris Ann

All I can say, you are the most persistent agent I know here and if anyone can find a solution, it will be you. Thank God it wasn't me for I don't think I could be as calm. cheers cvc

Jan 23, 2018 09:15 AM #14
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Chris Ann Cleland

Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
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