Direct mail campaigns still create personal, one-on-one connections that few other channels are able to compete with. The average American household gets between 2 and 3 pieces of direct mail per day, however, and that makes it essential for your mailing campaign to stand out among the others. This means that the size you choose is just as important for lead generation as the layout, design, color and paper stock. Here are the most commonly-used sizes and the purposes for which they work well.
#1: A4 (297 mm x 210 mm) or Letter Size (8.5” x 11”)
While these two sizes are marginally different, they are the accepted size of a business letter and that makes them ideal if you want to send, well—a business letter. Provided you use suitable paper, it’s easy enough to fold the letter into a standard sized envelope, which is the usual method of delivery for this type of mailing. It’s also a good finished size for a brochure, which can either be A3 (11” x 17”) folded in half or a flat A4 folded down using a gate- or Z-fold option.
This size mailing is popular because it carries a fair amount of information, and is used for:
- promoting trade shows and conferences
- advertising a range of in-store and retail specials
Be prepared to spend quite a bit of money if you print in full color on quality stock in this size, however; unless you’re doing a print run in excess of 10,000 copies it’s likely to generate a high unit price and take a chunk out of your inbound marketing budget.
#2: A5 (210 mm x 148.5mm)
At half the size of the A4 of letter size paper, A5 is popular for direct mail flyers and leaflets carrying a smaller quantity of information. It’s still big enough to provide a fair amount of detail, especially if you print it on both sides. A5 can be folded into a card and made small enough to fit into an envelope, a purse or a pocket, provided the stock used isn’t too thick or stiff. This size is mostly used in inbound marketing to promote businesses such as home or office services, which require potential customers to contact them for an estimate because it isn’t really practical for printing extensive price lists or multiple special offers at one time.
#3: A6 (148.5 mm x 105 mm)
Direct mail campaigns using post-card sized A6 stock are popular because of the lower production costs, which makes it possible to print large quantities at one time at a reduced unit price. They can be inserted into envelopes or packages to support upselling and cross-selling initiatives, distributed via postal services or placed on a display counter for customers to pick up. A6 is suitable for promoting a maximum of two offers, one on each side. Anything more than that and the content is likely to be too small to be adequately readable. This size is popular for promoting entertainment and leisure events, because they can be carried easily and presented on arrival at the venue.
#4: DL (210 mm x 99 mm)
DL stands for “Dimension Lengthwise” and is the size of an A4 sheet tri-folded into three sections. A DL envelope is slightly larger at 220 mm x 110 mm, which comfortably accommodates the folded A4. For this reason, the size is ideal for direct mail campaigns using the business or persona letter approach. The format is popular for inbound marketing mailings listing a limited number of items such as a restaurant menu, because they offer enough room for a fair amount of detail but can still be folded and carried easily in a purse or pocket.
Choosing the Right Size
Selecting the right size paper for your direct mail campaign depends largely on two things:
- how much information you need to display on it, and
- the budget available for the mailing
Larger mailers tend to attract more attention, while smaller ones typically have a longer shelf life because they are more portable. You need to decide what sort of response you want from potential customers to get the highest return on your investment, and let that determine your choice. Whatever option you choose, standard sizes are likely to be more economical to produce and carry a lower unit cost, so take this into account before making your final decision.