Where does boring direct mail go? Nonstop to the trashcan. But never fear, designing direct mail that grabs attention isn’t as difficult as you might think.
A Dozen Tips for Designing Direct Mail
- Get to know your audience and target market.
Before you start designing direct mail and picking out the right copy and graphics you need to think about your intended audience. This is the very first step, even before you think about size, paper stock, or ink choices. If you want a great design the first step is identifying whom it is that you want to attract and what these individuals want and need in their life.
Different demographics have different wants and needs. If your audience is senior citizens, your graphic design should be vastly different than if you are mailing to a young tech savvy group of recipients.
- Make contacting you easy.
Part of your graphic design should be making it easy for consumers to contact you, and try to give them as many contact options as possible. Some may prefer to contact you by email, others by phone, and some still prefer to fill out an order form and send it to you by snail mail even in the modern world. Provide email, address, phone, website, and even fax contact information on your item.
- Make it personal.
Get personal when you are designing direct mail, nothing turns readers off faster than text that is dull, dry, or boring. Add a little humor and emotion into your item while keeping it professional at the same time. When you reach consumers on a personal level, they are more likely to trust your brand and products or services, and to buy from you when they need something that you offer.
Variable imaging will do wonders for personalizing your direct mail. The possibilities are practically endless.
- Pet related businesses can tailor mailing pieces with images of the type of pet owned and even the pet name.
- Casinos can include images of the recipient’s favorite restaurant.
- Department stores can offer discounts for particular brands previously purchased.
- Including the recipient’s name throughout the piece makes it much more personal.
- Change the images by gender.
- Varying images for different age groups.
- Bring in the professionals.
If you are not a pro at graphic design or you find yourself unsure in some areas then pay for professional assistance. A poorly designed piece is worse than just a waste of money; it can call into question the reputation and quality of your brand and your products or services. It is better to send nothing at all rather than to send out a low quality piece with blurry images or poorly designed graphics.
If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.
Quote by Red Adair
- Make your envelopes unique.
Don’t forget the envelope when you are designing direct mail that pops. You can have a fabulous piece, but if you put it in a plain envelope, you may never get the recipient to open the envelope and marvel over your marketing material. Make sure that you design an envelope that also stands out and is noticed, so your mail is opened. You can use graphics, text, and colors to do this.
Envelopes don’t have to be standard flat envelopes. Think out of the box with three-dimensional or die cut envelopes. For example, opticians could have direct mail envelopes shaped like a glasses case. Unusually shaped envelopes easily catch the eye of recipients and beg to be opened.
- Size matters.
Size is important when designing direct mail, so why not go for an unusual size that stands out among a stack of mail? Make your item oversized, or go the other way and make it smaller than usual if this is also a possibility. This will make your marketing material one of the first to be noticed when the mail is brought in and sifted through.
Even though postage costs can be higher with envelopes that are not standard size, your open and response rate can easily make up for the extra cost.
There are different prices and different standards for preparing your mail depending on the size of the mailpieces.
Source: United States Postal Service
- Use custom printing techniques.
Include some unusual techniques or patterns when you are designing direct mail, so your item has a unique or unusual feel to it. Nothing sparks curiosity in a recipient more than feeling similar envelopes and then coming across something that is different. Stamping, die cutting, and other specialized methods and techniques can help provide more pop.
Adding foil, embossing, or UV coatings is a spectacular way to show that your business is special. Use these custom printing techniques in strategic areas. There doesn’t have to be an overabundance of these techniques to make your mailing piece a showpiece.
- Be bold.
Go bold with your graphic design, using bold fonts and visual images that are vibrant and colorful. These features grab the eye and cause the reader to pay attention to your item right away. If your mail is drab or uninteresting it will be tossed away unopened and unread, and this is what you want to avoid. It is a waste of your marketing budget and financial resources.
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.
From our article, Does Your Direct Mail Graphic Design Sell or Fall Short? Read the full article here.
- It’s not complicated.
Keep it simple when you are designing direct mail and avoid over complicating things unnecessarily. Think about the main message that you want to get out and then stick to it. A small postcard is not the place to put all of your product features and specifications, and you do not need 25 images in a small space to have an impact on your readers.
- Test your design.
Always test out more than one graphic design version before you start a full scale marketing campaign. This testing will help you get the best results possible, and identify which version is more effective with your targeted market.
Adjust your materials, message, approach, graphics, and other components as needed.
Read more direct mail design tips here.
- No need to shout.
If you are designing direct mail and you want to convey confidence then do not use all caps, this can seem like you are shouting to the reader. Use mostly lower case letters, and choose a font that is visible but not overwhelming for any headings and subheadings.
- Avoid too much copy.
Avoid being long-winded with your copy when you are designing direct mail that is effective. If you drone on and on then you will lose the reader’s interest before they reach the end. You also want to put the best towards the beginning or no later than the middle of your copy to ensure that the reader gets to it before they tune out.
Las Vegas Color Graphics has sent literally millions of direct mail pieces. If you need help designing direct mail our team is standing by to help. We are a one stop for all your direct mail needs. Get started now by calling us at 702-617-9000.