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How to Capture Your Audience with Direct Mail

Carefully considering these five components of your direct mailer will help captivate your audience and lead to a successful integrated direct mail campaign.

Face it. If your direct mailer doesn’t catch your recipient’s attention and also provide real value, you can bet your flyer is getting tossed, along with your marketing dollars. This flyer is just one tool in your entire integrated direct mail campaign, but it has many essential components which need to be planned in advance and firmly executed by taking the following five steps.

1. Mail intelligently. A good campaign starts with comprehensive market research and data analysis. After all, you don’t want to go shooting in the dark (unless you have night vision goggles, of course). By conducting simple surveys and questionnaires, you’ll be able to gain valuable insights into your target market (demographics, likes/dislikes, and interests) which can then be used to purchase mailing lists encompassing these same demographics.

2. Strike with design. First impressions are everything. Even if you’re offering the deal of a lifetime in your mailer, no one will ever know unless your flyer grabs their attention within the first few seconds of contact. Here’s how.

  • Collaborate with a talented graphic designer or use pre-formatted templates. If you’re seeking a designer, your designer must possess a variety of traits. He/she must have extensive knowledge and experience in design, boast a creative mind, be technically skilled in manoeuvring software editing programs such as Photoshop, communicate thoroughly and effectively, and must also understand your brand and goals. If you don’t have the resources and funds for a graphic designer, don’t fret. There are many tools and programs to be a graphic designer without having to actually be one. Do your research, compare and contrast, and ask those in the industry for recommendations.
  • Captivate with striking images. A picture says a thousand words. So, be a show-stopper with your imagery. Use only one to two sharp images (photographs or illustrations), but make sure they are clear, crisp, and unique. It’s about quality, not quantity. Consider your image’s focal points, colors, size, and shape as well as its relationship to your brand. It’s also vital to decide how your image will be displayed. Will it span the entire flyer incorporating your message within it? Or will the image surround the message? Perhaps you want your images to be unique and relevant to each recipient? That’s possible with printed variable direct marketing. One last tip, don’t be afraid to be bold (it’s encouraged), especially when used in conjunction with humor, nostalgia, or even controversy.
  • Pop with color. Don’t stray from your branding, but incorporate colors that stand out in someone’s mailbox. Bright or contrasting colors will attract attention. Consider the color of your images, font, and fill. Stick to using two to three main colors and be mindful that your printing costs increase with color quantity. Remember to use cohesive colors among your entire integrated direct mail campaign – print, email, and online. Your direct mailer will be printed in CMYK color, but you’ll be viewing the online proof in RGB color; we suggest using color swatches to verify the exact color of your direct mailer before printing.
  • Find your fonts. There’s no room for magnifying glasses in your integrated direct mail campaign. Be bold and use large fonts. The same motto – quality, not quantity - applies. Limit yourself to two to three different serif fonts based on your header, message, and call-to-action. The size of your fonts will depend on the size of your flyer, images, and length of your message.
  • Size matters. And so does shape. There are a few different standard dimensions that the USPS recommends for mailing purposes. Typical post card dimensions include a minimum of 5 inches (length) by 3 ½ inches (height) and a maximum of 6 inches (length) by 4 ½ inches (height). The size of your mailer will affect price, but it may make sense to choose a non-traditional post card size while paying a higher mailing price to make a great impression. It’s not every day you receive a direct mail piece in the shape of a car, animal, or whatever product your company offers. Think outside the box (literally).
  • Weigh your paper stock options. Not only does the look of your direct mail piece matter, but so does its feel. Make a physical impression with your recipient by choosing a finish, weight, and coating that resonates. Most likely, you’ll want to opt for coated stocks versus uncoated stocks. If your flyer is image-heavy, choose a gloss coated stock which will reflect light and draw attention to the graphics. Other options include matte and dull coated stocks which are primarily used for text-heavy flyers. A variety of factors go into the weight of your stock including your budget, the purpose of the flyer, and perforation. Finally, finish off your mailer with varnish, aqueous, or UV coating to protect your mailer and enhance its overall look.

3. Make the message matter. The message behind your direct mailer is the reason you’re sending it in the first place. Your mailer must speak to your recipient and serve a purpose. Catch your reader’s attention by addressing him by name, all possible by leveraging variable printing, and giving him a personalized URL (PURL) which directs him to his own unique online landing page. Now, think about the purpose of your direct mail campaign. Is it to inform or remind? Request an action or offer value? Highlight a product/service or invite him to an event? Don’t forget to craft a catchy headline with a bold statement or pondering question. Similar to your imagery, choose humor, nostalgia, or controversy to convey your message. Again, remember quality over quantity. Your flyer should serve one purpose – don’t try to communicate multiple messages or it won’t be effective.

4. Offer up the goods. Often times, you have to give in order to receive. Including a special deal in your direct mailer serves a variety of functions such as: grabbing and keeping your audience’s attention, giving a new customer a reason to try your product/service, incentivizing your loyal customers to keep coming back, and serving as a measurement tool to calculate ROI. The kind of offer depends on your overall goals and your capacity. It could be a percentage or dollar amount off, buy one get one, receive a free widget with purchase, free admission, or whatever you can imagine (and afford). Be creative and offer something unique and of value.

5. Create a call-to-action. Make it easy for your recipient to understand what the next step should be. It should be simple and intuitive, and it will depend on the purpose of your campaign. “Call this number.” “Scan this QR code.” “Redeem at these locations.” “Visit your PURL (personalized URL).” “Become a Facebook fan.” “Follow us on Twitter.” “Complete this quiz.” “Enter this code at checkout.” “Join our contest.” “Donate here.” “RSVP.” Once they’re committed and follow-through with your call-to-action, you can start tracking their purchase behavior (to be discussed in a future post).

Taking the time to follow these few simple steps early on will greatly benefit your campaign in the long run. Stay tuned for our next blog post which guides you through creating a successful e-newsletter within your integrated direct mail campaign, and contact us for further assistance.