A few days ago, my colleague Marcus Johnson provided seven tips to make direct mail marketing copy more engaging. I think you’ll find that many of those tips cross over from copy into design, and that’s for a good reason: The effectiveness of direct mail relies heavily on how well the marketing copy and mailpiece design work together to engage the audience and prompt them to take action.
The text admittedly has the bigger job of communicating the benefits of a product or service, alleviating fears or barriers, and answering the question “What’s in it for me?”. The primary job of direct mail design is to grab the recipients’ attention and direct it to the most important aspects of the copy. In essence, the main job of design is to find a way to make the copy work as hard as possible. Here are three tips to make that happen.
1. The Envelope is the First Design Opportunity to Engage Recipients
The first thing a recipient sees when they open their mailbox is your direct mail’s outer package. Envelope design can make or break a campaign by either standing out and grabbing attention or blending in with the others—and ending up in the recycling bin. There are a lot of options when it comes to outer envelope design, and choosing which stock, finish, size, messaging, color, and opening device to use depends greatly on what you’re selling and to whom you’re selling it. (For more information on designing envelopes and self-mailers, check out some of my previous blogs on those topics.)
2. Use Color and Graphics in Mailpiece Design to Control What’s Featured
Once a package is opened, the copy increases substantially and can sometimes overwhelm the recipient. It’s at this stage that design becomes more about highlighting the copy and controlling where the recipient’s eyes go to feature top benefits and selling points. These design aspects can also work double duty by engaging the recipient with images, icons, graphics, and more. Color can also be used to emphasize key points and add some variety to the mailpiece design to keep it visually stimulating.
3. Above All, Highlight the Call to Action
The most important thing a direct mail piece can do is drive response, which is why the call to action is often highlighted, bolded, or otherwise emphasized with some sort of graphic treatment. Outside of that, the call to action is often reinforced with images that depict the positive outcome of buying the product or getting the service. Images of happy customers, pleased clients, or graphic treatments on testimonials drive home the answer to the recipient’s question: “What’s in it for me?”
Regardless of what you’re selling or what the copy says, it’s important to follow direct mail design best practices and make informed design decisions using personalized data. If you need a refresher on what makes great direct mail design, or if you’d like to see how to make your design more engaging, contact me today.
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