Rocking the Mailbox: 9 Steps to a Direct Mail Design That Performs

Rocking-the-Mailbox-9-Steps-to-a-Direct-Mail-Design-That-PerformsGreat direct mail design doesn’t happen on its own. It takes planning and effort, and the design of the mailing material is the axis on which it turns. A good design strategy offers limitless opportunities for creativity and variety, whether you’re designing your mailer yourself or outsourcing the job to a mailing house or graphic designer. Follow these nine steps to develop a direct mail design that rocks the mailbox, generates sales leads and brings you the ROI you want:

Step 1: Choose an “Aha” Moment

Getting your prospect’s attention takes art. The exterior of your direct mail is like a store window—if it doesn’t make readers stop and look, they won’t be able to see what’s it in for them. They’ll just move on by. Make it your goal to stand out—visually and conceptually. Get the reader to take notice and open the mailer. 

Step 2: Look with Fresh Eyes

When you know your product well, you stop seeing it. Try looking with fresh eyes. What’s unique about your offer? What’s the difference between you and your competitors? How does that benefit your customer? Take one of those answers as the hook to hang your campaign on.

Step 3: Keep it Simple

It’s all about accessibility. Unless you know your target audience are all rocket scientists, don’t use wording in your mailer that sounds like they need a degree to understand it. Use everyday language and keep the message simple and direct. Don’t use more words than you need to.

Step 4: Limit the Copy

Have you ever received a letter that was just a solid slab of text? Did you read it? Probably not. Limit the copy in your direct mail design to just the absolute “need-to-know.” You can tell prospects the rest when they come to your website or sign up for your offer. For now, the purpose of your mailer is to get them to respond.

Step 5: Use Action Colors (and Words)

Bright colors and action words might not be businesslike, but that’s why they work for direct mail design. Shades such as brown, buff, grey and cream convey a sense of quality but they don’t excite. Go for reds, oranges, yellows and bright blues. Use action verbs like:

  • Discover
  • Find
  • Give
  • Enjoy
  • Learn

Don’t be shy. Don’t be conservative. Be loud, exciting, and invigorating—but remember to keep it respectful. 

Step 6: Focus on Benefits

Features vs. benefits is Marketing 101, but you’d be surprised how many companies still focus on what their product can do, what it encompasses, how many gadgets it boasts. Guess what? Your audience doesn’t care. They want to know what the benefits are, how it will help make their life easier, what problems will it solve. Scrap the features. Limit your copy, keep it simple. Focus on benefits! 

Step 7: Replace “We” with “You”

This is another Marketing 101 principle that gets largely ignored. Don’t make it about yourself. If any of the sentences on your direct mailer begin with “we” it’s probably too many. Turn them around and make them about your customer. Instead of “we can do X for you” make it “you can get X by doing this.” You’ll see the difference.

Step 8: Have a Clear CTA

A call to action (CTA) is the written equivalent of asking for the order. You can have a direct mail design that draws your audience in, convinces them and gets them ready to buy. And then what? By the time they come to the end of the mailer, they needs to know how to respond, how to order, who to call or what to do. So tell them. Clearly.

Step 9: Make Response Easy

Don’t make it work. No prospect wants to employ effort to give you their details. If you’re expecting them to pick up the phone and call you to make an appointment, you’re losing half your potential customers already. How can you make it easier to reply?

Enclose a differently-colored reply card that stands out in the package. Pre-address and stamp it, and pre-fill the recipients information so it’s ready to send back. Give recipients a simple URL—not one that’s long and difficult to type—where they can share their information with you easily.

Follow these nine steps and you’ll be rockin’ your direct mail campaign. For more on direct mail best practices, click the e-book link below.

Direct Mail Best Practices