The Art of Direct Mail
The performance of direct mail, like any other advertising medium, can be drastically altered through its design and creativity. Long gone are the heydays of cookie-cutter rebate offers and coupon books. Modern direct mail is now being held up to as high a standard of design as a full page spread in TIME magazine. Audiences are constantly getting more intelligent at sifting through the mountain of advertisements they face every day, and are adjusting to expect a higher standard if they are to be reached and impacted by them. So in this new premium level of direct marketing, how can you ensure that your pieces make the grade?
Audiences are bombarded with literal pounds of direct mail advertising each year. To stand out in the pile, you need to imagine your postcard in that stack. How does it stick out? Traditional direct mail sometimes just doesn’t cut it; you need to think outside the box. These key factors below will help you break the mold and drive your direct mail straight to the top.
Make a statement with your direct mail. Bold headlines. Bold colors. Big sizes. Anything to cut through the clutter. Use size and contrast to draw the audience’s eyes exactly where you want them to: onto the piece and into the content. Modern printing technology has allowed for mail design to be limited only by your imagination. Utilize custom sizes and shapes or even 3D elements. If you’re thinking smaller sizes, go for thicker cardstock – the feel is important too. Sorting mail is often done within minutes of bringing it inside, and often over the recycling bin. In that split second anything different can grab attention just long enough to peak your audience’s curiosity to read more.
Know Your Audience
Who is the piece really intended for? This targeting information should set the tone for the entire piece. Match your color scheme and fonts to the audience as well as the content. A feel-good piece about the holiday season might require a warm color palette and serif fonts, while a hard business offer might suit better to sans-serif and a cool scheme.
Making a connection with the audience is key. You not only want to grab their attention, you want to hold it, and assure that your company’s name sticks in the back of their head for reference later. Making that connection can be as simple as personalizing the message. Consider variable data printing, an affordable option that will customize mail pieces to match the consumer’s name, or even switch around themes and imagery based on their information. Also, try to get them involved as much as possible. Add-ons such as pull tabs, tear-offs and stickers are a great way to foster a genuine interaction and generate a genuine lead.
A Call to Action
A proper and engaging call to action is perhaps the most important part of the entire piece. What do you really want the audience to do? Visit your website? Take a certain action? Make a request for information? It needs to be made as clear and prominent as possible. To have a meaningful effect, direct marketing demands an action be made by the audience and accepts nothing less. It is no time for grey area and half-hearted requests; you need to make an impact.
With these elements combined, your direct mail can and will have the effect that you want. Direct mail has been elevated to a high artistic and strategic standard, and should be treated as such. Design your pieces to be something that you would want to read and hold on to, and your audience will follow suit.
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