“Basic” is all too often code for boring and outdated. When it comes to a direct mail campaign or integrated marketing that includes email and blogs, you wouldn’t want either of those terms to apply to you.
However, breaking away from basic designs that have seemed to work for years can be tough. Here’s a guide to seven easy ways to stop those bad habits for good.
1. Customize, customize, customize
Customization is the key to doing away with basic. Every software that offers templates also provides opportunities to customize. Use them!
When creating a print campaign, it’s important to spend some time on the layout, colors and font choices. This is often the job of a marketing pro, however, it’s too easy for non-professionals to get carried away and end up with something that stands out in the wrong way.
2. Hire a professional
Professional marketing agencies are an entirely viable option, even on a budget. At least once a year, hand over your mail design templates for a mini-makeover.
To choose the best marketing company, spend plenty of time looking over their portfolios. A great agency should have an eclectic mix of traditional, experimental and everything in between. They’ll also work with the client to ensure the perfect end product.
3. Less is more
Too many people get obsessed with cramming as much information, text, pictures, color and everything else into their brand design as possible. This is especially true for companies that send out regular mailers to publicize their products and services.
Remember that less is more, even with marketing and it’s better to soothe the eyes than overwhelm them. The impact of white space cannot be underestimated, even on something the size of a postcard.
4. Think outside the box (or square)
There’s no rule that says direct marketing has to fit onto a postcard, 8 x 11 sheet or door hanger. If you get creative with shapes, you have an instantly modern look.
People are drawn to things with texture and a unique shape—anything they can run their fingers over. Have you observed how many people touch things while they shop? They’re looking for something that’s interesting to the touch and not just the eyes.
5. Invest in quality materials
Almost no one needs to be a wedding planner to sense instinctively when something is either cheap or dripping with luxury. Quality paper, perhaps with a distinctive texture, says loads about a business.
Everyone has had flyers made of printer paper slapped on their windshield. The ink is fading, the paper is already wrinkled and everything else about it says “shoddy operation.” In contrast, quality papers and rich inks instantly make print advertising stand out.
6. Be funny, sexy or mysterious
There are a million ways to advertise something. People will take notice, however, if it makes them laugh or is too tantalizing to pass over. This doesn’t mean that sex sells all the time—after all, it’s probably not appropriate for a church function or diaper ad. But you should always look for opportunities to entertain your readers. Catch their attention appropriately.
7. Watch the garbage bins
Depending on the type of mail campaign, it may be easy to spot your flyers littering the ground, stuffed in garbage cans or filling up the recycling bins. If people don’t hold onto a piece of direct mail advertising, that’s a clear sign that it’s not working.
A lot of people instantly put tired direct mail efforts straight into the trash, which is a huge waste of money for the business that circulated it. Watch the results: if your material is being quickly discarded, take that as your cue that it’s time to shake things up.