Great direct mail graphic design sells, but unfortunately much of the direct mail that is delivered every day across the United States falls short. This is true whether a campaign involves mailing postcards or magazines. Fantastic mail that grabs the attention and the eye of the recipient is incredibly effective but this is not what many company sends out, and the results are usually less than ideal.
When you first start planning a direct mail campaign it is never too soon to think about the graphic design that you will use for your pieces. Trying to come up with a finished design a day or two before you need to start printing is a big mistake, and it will cost you in the long run. You will end up with direct mail that hits mailboxes, and then trashcans as soon as it is received.
Seek Out Feedback on Your Direct Mail Graphic Design before Printing and Mailing
Before you send your finished direct mail graphic design to the printer to be printed up and mailed out, seek feedback from those that you trust. You can ask friends and family members what they think, or you can arrange for a focus group or other type of feedback from people you do not know personally. This feedback may point out design flaws or content issues before the mail represents your business.
Focus groups are just that … a group of people brought together to “focus” on a topic or subject, and give their opinion.
Source: National Mail Order Association
Just Mailing Postcards One Time is no Longer Enough to Stay Competitive
If you are only mailing postcards, and especially if you are only doing this on an infrequent basis, then you should not be surprised when you get a poor response and your business is not staying competitive. In order to get attention your design has to be creative and engaging, and if you cannot do this then your campaign results will typically fall short.
Are You Using the Right Colors in Your Material?
Color is a big aspect of direct mail graphic design, and certain colors can actually boost your response rates and get your direct mail noticed right away. You want materials that pop and catch the eye, but if you use too many colors then your piece will end up looking crowded and unprofessional instead of making consumers think positively about your business.
Choose a few colors that are complementary. But adding too many shades can be a mistake.
Control Mailings are Important
The best way to identify an exceptional direct mail graphic design is with control mailings. The control can be mailing postcards or other material types, and it will help you determine just how effective a piece will be in a larger mailing. You can decide whether to make changes or leave the final design as is, and whether the control mailing results make the design cost effective or not.
Tracking Changes and Response Rates is Critical
Once you have a good direct mail graphic design in place it is critical to monitor your results, and to track any changes and the corresponding response rates. This will show you where you are doing well and what components of your design are not as effective and should be adjusted. If you do not do this then you will have no idea how well the campaign is actually going, or what should be changed.
A Decent Budget is necessary for Exceptional Direct Mail Campaign Materials
One of the biggest mistakes with any type of direct mail graphic design, whether you are mailing postcards, printing brochures, or sending out sales letters, is to try to keep costs as low as possible. It is important to set a realistic budget for the quality and campaign results that you expect. The printer should offer competitive pricing, but you do not want a lower quality just to cut costs.
If You do Not Have Graphic Design Experience Hire a Professional
Experience with direct mail graphic design is essential if you want your finished marketing materials to reflect positively on your company and products. If you do not have this experience then you may want to hire a professional. Remember that the reputation of your business is on the line, and now is not the time to be cheap if you want your company to succeed and interest consumers in your products.
Do you handle your own direct mail graphic design or hire a professional? Why?