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With Direct Mail Design, It’s Only Creative If It Works

Mike Dietz

There’s a saying at IWCO Direct that direct mail is “only creative if it works.” In other words, a test package might look and read great, but underperform when it comes to what matters most – open and response rates. In fact, from time to time we will see dynamic mailpieces with a lot of imagery and lengthy copy. Our experience tells us these design elements, while often eye-catching and fun to read, simply don’t deliver the results that are expected.

Even though many of our customers understand the ineffectiveness of flashy designs, it’s easy for someone unfamiliar with direct mail to get caught up with bold visuals. But the key to a successful campaign is simple, clean packages. They may not be the most exciting, but mailpieces that are easy to navigate with an official, non-promotional feel tend to deliver the best results. Consider the following time-tested concepts that have proven to boost open and response rates:

  • Don’t give the offer away on the outside of the envelope or self-mailer
  • Make your mailpiece stand out in the mailbox by changing the size or feel
  • Always lean toward simple and clean

Just remember, direct mail is far from an exact science. Even the most well thought-out formats, design and copy don’t necessarily guarantee that a package will be successful. Many elements are just as important as the physical mailpiece itself. Data, analytics, offer and lists all have a dramatic influence on results. And if you believe your creative approach is a good one, but the initial results fell short of expectations, test it again. We have seen dramatic differences in ROI when packages were retested after a disappointing first effort.

But we’re perfecting this imperfect science every day. And our strategy at IWCO Direct is simple. We conduct a creative review for each of our customers to gain an understanding of the types of formats that have been tested and how the offer and call to action is being positioned. We also get a sense of how the brand and copy tone are impacting the overall package. For customers new to direct mail, we create a wide variety of potential solutions to their marketing challenges and walk through the pros and cons of each.

It’s important to realize direct mail is different from every other channel. We have experienced success in multiple verticals and can help build a successful campaign. If you’d like to learn more about our approach, or discuss the vision for your next project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to challenge (or champion) your control packages.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2013/10/11/creative-direct-mail-design/
Mike Dietz

Author

Mike Dietz

Executive Creative Director, graduate of St. Cloud State University and IWCO Direct team member for more than 18 years. Personal business philosophy: “Beautiful design is fantastic, but if it doesn’t work it doesn’t matter.” Proud father who enjoys spending time with family, golfing and is a life-long Minnesota Vikings fan.

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