July 24, 2014

Illustrator Nick Iluzada’s Postcard Promo

Learn the Takeaways of His Postcard Promo

Trifold Postcard Promo - Self-Promotion by Freelance Illustrator Nick Iluzada. Click to visit Nick's online portfolio!

Nick Iluzada is a NYC based freelance illustrator who has worked with clients like AT&T, The Oprah Magazine, ESPN and The Wall Street Journal. In early 2012 Nick sent out a trifold postcard promo to 1,000 people. The Lab featured Nick's postcard as a good example in Going Postal. What to Consider when Designing a Postcard Promo:”

“[Nick's trifold promo postcard folds] out to be a really beautiful presentation which any art director would love to hang on their wall … [Nick] also took the time to write out who he has worked for, some award's he's won, and also briefly talk about what he does specifically. This serves to legitimize him beyond simply writing ‘Nick Iluzada: Illustrator.'”…”

However, let's turn to Nick himself to get his own takeaways from the promo:

Freelance Illustrator Nick Iluzada. Click to visit Nick's online portfolio!Hi Nick, why did you do this postcard promo?

I wanted something flashy and unique enough to attack new clients as well as being compact enough to be a reminder for ones I'd already worked with.


Who did you send the promo to?

I sent out 1,000 to various art directors and designers at magazines, book publishers, design agencies, and large advertising firms. I have a small personal list and then I use a list service for client contact information.

Why did you design the promo postcard in this particular way?

Trifold Postcard Promo - Self-Promotion by Freelance Illustrator Nick Iluzada. Click to enlarge!

The size and shape was important to me since I wanted art directors to like it enough to hang it up on their wall. The colors needed to pop a bit more than usual so it just felt harder to throw away.

I wanted to showcase a number of different pieces and approaches to editorial work. Having a mini-portfolio to quickly reference is helpful for designers to pitch to editors and the like.

How much time and money did you invest?

I think around $2,000 ($2/unit.) I made a mistake and didn't count on the postage being regular first-class instead of postcard, since it's more than one sheet of paper thick.

It took about 2 months to get everything out to prospective clients.

Illustration by freelance illustrator Nick Iluzada for women's clothing brand Aritzia. Click to visit Nick's online portfolio!

Did you do other activities in connection with the promo?

I emailed most of the people on list after a few months.

Generally speaking, I've been emailing my contacts somewhat regularly, though I could definitely be more consistent.

What were the results of the promo?

Direct results are a bit hard to measure even if you ask people. A fair amount of work came in soon after I did the mailing, but it's more of a building process than anything else. I hope art directors still have them laying around!

” … postcards are the long game … a lot of art directors have spaces (some large, some small) where they like to hang postcards they received from prospecting freelancers.  It's a visual reminder for them while they are working that you exist.

Daniel Fishel, illustrator

Magazine cover and GIF-illustration for FM Magazine (about bitcoins) by freelance illustrator Nick Iluzada. Click to visit Nick's online portfolio!Was this your first postcard promo?

This was the first mailing I did of this size (I've since sent out larger quantities.)

Before this tri-fold I sent out a promo package containing a half-letter zine and a 4 half-letter postcards. It had a pretty high success rate, so I might try that one again.

Sometimes sending someone that much stuff is overkill but it can be a nice justification for giving an illustrator a feature or a larger project.

Is there something you could done better?

It's all a bit relative, The only was this could've really been “better” was if the work was stronger. The medium is somewhat locked in and that's why I chose this sort of printed material so the only real way to make it better is quantitative (more cards, better art, more targeted approach).

Magazine cover for ComputerWorld by freelance illustrator Nick Iluzada. Click to visit Nick's online portfolio! Click to visit Nick's online portfolio!Other experiences to share in regards to this promo?

Generally Creative/Design Directors have been less likely to hire since it kind of falls on editorial designers to pitch a look for a section. It really does depend on the size of the team though. Taking that into consideration is important if you're not doing a blanket mailer.

Look up what the postage will be for folded items! It could push you over budget quite quickly.

I found that considering the way it feels in your hands is quite important when sending out printed matte.

How successful have promo postcards been compared with other self-promotion?

Speaking to people in real life trumps everything in my humble opinion. Good work begets more work and promotion is one potential avenue to start building that up.

That being said, I've had a more positive impact with physical mailers than mass-emails. I don't think people like those very much.

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