Forget designing a beautiful postcard. Create direct mail large postcards for impact instead.
One of the most common mistakes business owners make when they design their direct mail postcards is to go for aesthetics over anything else. While it’s intuitive to want to equate beauty with your business, that’s not always the right message to send.
Is ‘Beauty’ Your Message?
If your goal is to impress your recipients with your design skills, then go for beauty. But for anything else you’d like to achieve, ditch that perspective and think in terms of impact, instead.
If your goal is to get people to call you after seeing your direct mail large postcards, then a beautiful design will be a non-performer. People may think “oh, how nice” when they see it, but that will be the extent of your postcard’s impact.
It’s rather like sending a baby to a courtroom trial: he will get noticed, but he won’t make your case for you. He may be memorable, but the impact won’t be targeted, controllable, or predictable.
Direct Mail Large Postcards Should Do More Than Just Look Good
To have impact, a postcard should be designed with a call-to-action in mind. Whether it’s a phone call, a website visit, or the use of a coupon code, start with the impact you want, and design backwards from there.
That’s easier said than done, so we’re offering a few guidelines to help you get started with designing your own direct mail large postcards. And keep in mind: the large format gives you room to really make a larger impact, so if you get this right, expect results.
Here’s how to design for impact, the real driver of successful results in a direct mail campaign.
Step Inside Someone Else’s Shoes for a Moment
To design for the impact you want, you must first understand your target market. If you can step inside the shoes of the people you’re targeting, then you may uncover insights that will help guide your design efforts.
You’ll need an active imagination for this!
For example, If you’re a dentist and you need to drum up business, what are your options? You can’t exactly encourage cavities in your neighborhood so you have more fillings to put in. You probably can’t convince people to get their teeth cleaned more than twice a year, either.
But if you offer whitening services, there’s an entire segment of the population still sitting on the fence about getting their teeth whitened. You decide those are your target audience.
Step inside their shoes- “I know my teeth could be whiter, but will it really make life better to have them whitened? What’s wrong with my teeth anyway? Nobody was whitening their teeth twenty years ago and nobody thought twice about it!”
Now Make Your Postcard Answer Their Questions/Fulfill Their Needs
You’ve stepped inside their shoes, so now you realize they may be wondering what all the fuss is about, and why people whiten their teeth at all. You now realize they’re not wondering who should whiten their teeth, they’re wondering WHY they should even go for such a thing!
Large firms invest tons of time and money into market research for precisely this sort of insight about their prospective customers. If you don’t have the budget for that, stepping into your ideal customer’s shoes may help you along these lines.
The job of your postcard is to push them over the fence into the field where your product or service is the solution that fulfills the need (or the answer to the question) of your prospectives.
In the dentist example, your postcard will have to demonstrate that teeth whitening is an absolute necessity.
One way to do that and to have the right impact might be to scare the prospectives. Use the word “STAIN”. Make them think that rather than just having normal, regular old teeth, they have stained teeth. See how terrible that feels?
With a large format postcard, there’s a lot of room for a nice big visual- how about a coffee stain on someone’s nice white shirt? That drives home the idea that stains on teeth are as unsightly as stains on clothing.
We hope you’re getting the picture here- designing for direct mail should be done for impact, not aesthetics. Think of the impact you want to make, then work towards that goal with your design. And if you get stuck or run out of ideas, Las Vegas Color Graphics is always there to help!