We’ve written extensively about the benefits of including a promotional card in your direct mail piece. In fact, one of the first suggestions we typically give to clients looking to boost their response rates is to include a card. The inclusion of a plastic or paper promotional card has been shown to consistently give a double-digit lift in response, which more than makes up for the additional cost of the card when you factor in the return on marketing investment (ROMI).
There are a lot of benefits a card can provide when it comes to a direct mail piece. For starters, the rigidity and extra weight often compel the recipient to open the envelope, thinking that it’s time sensitive, contains important information, or includes a gift. Once the mailpiece is opened, the promotional card also acts as a point of entry for the recipient, as well as a becoming take-away item, which prolongs the life of the mailpiece beyond the first impression.
With so much importance placed on such a small element, it’s crucial that the card’s design be on point and captivating. But before you can start designing, there are a few considerations you should take into account.
- Choose the best material. As production capabilities grow, so does the potential for cards. The material used and personalization process will depend on your budget as well as how “life-like” the card needs to be. For credit card offers, a high-quality plastic card with personalized embossing may be the best way to go. However, peel-away paper cards with static copy could be more appropriate for other campaigns.
- Consider the content. All promotional cards should have the call to action (CTA) on them so the recipient is still able to act on the offer if they keep the card but toss the other components of the mailpiece. The card should also mention the product or biggest benefit, depending on the offer, so there’s a certain amount of recall to what is being offered. At the same time, it’s crucial to make sure that the card isn’t overloaded with copy—keep it to a few lines of text with a font no smaller than 10 points. If personalization is being used, ensure there’s enough space for the longest name or PURL in the mailing file.
Once you understand these aspects of the mailpiece, designing can begin:
- Use graphics and images carefully. There are times when the “perfect” background simply doesn’t work on a promotional card. It’s either so small that the details are hard to make out, or it makes the copy next-to-impossible to read. Determine if graphics make the copy hard to read or if the image gets distorted by the words before committing to any one background.
- Keep it clean, but impactful. In general, cards work better when they’re clean and easy to read. But clean doesn’t have to mean boring. Color is a great way to draw attention to a card, and gradients or other design elements can help attract the recipient’s attention and guide their eyes to the all-important CTA.
- Design around the package. Even if the card is meant to act as a stand-alone marketing piece, it should still be designed to fit seamlessly with the mail package in which it arrives. If the piece leans towards the “official” end of the design spectrum, a funky card is only going to confuse the messaging and tone. Carry design elements used on the form into the card to tie the elements together and promote better message recall.
Designing a promotional card for a mailpiece can be just as in-depth as designing the entire package. Because of the importance of the card and its impact on ROMI, strong thought and careful consideration should be given to ensure the card is doing all it can to drive higher response rates. If you’re looking for great ways to add promotional cards to your direct mail campaign, or if you’re hoping to spice up a card you’re currently using, contact me today.
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