Getting the Right Message Across with Your Direct Mail Design


Getting-the-Right-Message-Across-with-Your-Direct-Mail-DesignUnlike email and other forms of digital marketing, direct mail has a physical presence that’s hard to ignore. Once it arrives at the recipient’s address, it has to be handled – either opened and read or, heaven forbid, put straight in the trash. Your message needs to come across loud and clear if you want to avoid the second category.

Design Matters

Direct mail design is the first thing people notice about your campaign. Does the envelope look interesting; does it build intrigue and make people wonder what’s inside? The colors, the printed font, the positioning of elements or graphics, all make an impression. The printed matter inside will inform readers of your offer, but the outside design is what attracts them to open it. Do a little work with color and font, layout and space to get a feel for what looks good.

Content Quality

After good design has tempted your recipient to open and peek inside the envelope, your choice of written content will either draw them further into your world or rocket them straight back out again.

So, what constitutes “good” copy? It must:

  • Contain clear, straightforward wording
  • Present factual information without hyperbole
  • Use appropriate language and tone
  • Solutions to their problems or answers to their needs
  • Put them (not the offer) first
  • Pique their interest
  • Call on them to take action

A Focused Message

Often, businesses try to incorporate too much into a single piece of direct mail. Avoid this by being completely clear about the message you intend to convey. Once you’re certain about the purpose of your message, include only relevant information.

A few things to NOT do:

  • Don’t use more words than you need to get the message across
  • Don’t cram every product image you have on the page
  • Don’t use an inappropriate font

All of the above create a cluttered appearance that looks hard to read. Keep your direct mail design clear, clean and simple so your message shines through. If you have more information than will comfortably fit in your mailer, invite readers to visit your website or ask them to get on the phone to you.

Accurate Targeting

A scattergun attack with direct mail might get you blanket coverage in a location, but the best results come from taking more of a sniper approach. Start with your own mailing list, digging out those customers who’re the best match for your offer. It could be a location match, an income match, be age-based or any number of other demographics. Knowing your customer and how they’ll likely respond to your offer will help you communicate more effectively.

Speak Directly to Readers

Variable data printing lets you send out personalized messages via direct mail. For recipients, it’s more like getting a letter intended for you than a piece of marketing mail. You can tailor your message to match exact customer situations, especially those that already have accounts with you or have purchased from you in the past. Even though we know deep down that the company secretary didn’t type a letter just to us, personalized messages make everyone feel a bit special. It’s a purely psychological thing, but it works.

Direct Mail Best Practices