My Marketing Thing

Promotional material tips: bookmarks, postcards, coasters

Marketing bookmark, postcard and coaster cartoon

Okay, still on the topic of printed promotional material: We’ve talked about business cards and we’ve talked about promotional magnets….

‘And you’re about to talk about bookmarks, postcards and coasters,’ Mavis, my inner-blog-critic, says while rolling her eyes.

‘Well done,’ I reply with forced gusto.

‘Pretty obvious,’ Mavis shugs, ‘you mention them in the title of this post. I wouldn’t go there, personally.’

‘You don’t like booksmarks, postcards and coasters?’

‘They’re a bit hokey,’ Mavis says while looking over my shoulder at something more interesting. ‘Particularly the postcard thing.’

‘Postcards – if designed well – can be found on people’s fridges, along with the promotional magnets,’ I explain. ‘It’s even better if they are used as an actual postcard, posted to a friend. They can be great viral marketing tools, inspiring others to refer your business to their friends.’

‘Come on, isn’t sending a postcard more than a little old-fashioned? Don’t most people refer by email these days?’

‘Some do, some don’t,’ I reply testily.

‘And why would someone keep a coaster?’

‘I don’t know yet!’ I yell, then temper my tone. ‘Read the post and, by the end, we’ll both find out.’


At this point, you want to ask why I don’t know how my own post is going to be written. But you decide not to ask. Very wise.

Yes, people still real actual books, the paper kind. If you design an attractive bookmark with your promotional information on the back (or cleverly incorporated in the design) the receiver is more likely to keep it and use it.

Of course, bookmark promotion works particularly well if you’re promoting a book!

A bookmark is a little different from the standard business card or flyer. They are handy for distributing on networking tables, leaving in cafes and inserting in presentation packs.

Best of all, bookmarks are cheap to print on card – unless you want to go fancy-like and do something with fabric, plastic or metal.

Idea: Build a tear-off coupon into design promoting a time-limited opportunity.



Again, good design is the key to maximising this baby. If you have a visually striking ‘cover’ (that’s also in sync with the values and ‘look & feel’ of your business) a postcard will not only be read but also has a chance of being displayed somewhere – an office pin board or at home on the fridge. This means more people will see it.

As mentioned, the idea behind the postcard is to encourage others to post it on. So give people the chance to write on the back of it.

There are too many promotional postcards out there that use up ALL the space on the back. There’s no room to write a personal note – sometimes there’s no room to even write an address and stick on a stamp! Talk about an opportunity missed.

Note: Stick to standard postcard dimensions if you want your postcard to be displayed in postcard racks  



I’m talking about coasters that are square format card. If you design one that’s a little funky and different it will stand out on networking tables. Your promotional information can still be on the back.

Consider creating a pack of four or eight (with four different designs) as giveaways.

Perhaps you can create a co-sponsorship relationship with a cafe or club – i.e. they let you have your coasters at their premises if you hold an event there that will raise their presence (putting their logo on your event invitation and on your website).

What do people do with coasters? They put their drinks on them. But if it has an interesting design they might take a closer look at it. Your coaster could become a talking piece. People also use coasters to scribble notes on the back (or phone numbers…). Sometimes they use it like a stress-ease squeeze ball, folding it and un-folding it.

Tip: Use content to incite visit to your website for further information/lime-limited opportunities – call to action!


Okay, we got through to the end.

Mavis? …Mavis?

I think she’s gone. Phew. I thought that post went quite well, don’t you?


This post was written by Megan Hills.  Megan is a writer, cartoonist, marketing consultant who is conflicted. She loves trees and birds. She also thinks that certain printed promotional material is damned handy. Her best resolve is to also strongly recommend printing on local recycled paper and card. Find out more about Megan.

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One Comment

  1. Veronica

    Yay Megan for persevering past mavis. Great info Thanks

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