Choosing the Correct Direct Mail Design for Your Business
Your customer’s first impression of your business happens through your advertisements. Because direct mail is a paper, visual advertisement, you have fewer ways to catch your customer’s attention than a video or online ad, where components of the ad can move or make sound. Therefore, it is important to choose your mail design carefully, as certain aspects can make or break your response rates. You will need to consider many different variables when choosing your mail design such as color, font, content, and more.
Why Direct Mail Works
Direct mail is a favorite among U.S. consumers according to multiple consumer preference studies. In fact, according to a 2012 Epsilon channel preference study, 73% of U.S. consumers stated that they prefer direct mail for brand communication. However, this statistic may change by age group. Surprisingly, studies have shown that young people prefer direct mail advertisements, presumably due to an oversaturation of online or digital ads. Additionally, direct mail has a longer shelf life, lasting up to 17 days while email advertisements may last only a few seconds. Direct mail lead generation can be extremely effective if executed the right way.
Designing Mail Based on Your Industry
Different companies have different goals and audiences, which means each business will have a unique branding style. Since many of your potential customers will not know about your business until they come in contact with your direct advertisement, it is important that your ad makes a good impression and represents your business properly. By choosing the correct design components and text, you can ensure that your target audience understands the benefits of working with your business.
Additionally, certain government requirements may affect what you can or cannot include on your mail piece. For example, agents who are trying to generate life insurance leads through direct mail may face more restrictions than a retail outlet or restaurant.
Things to Consider
Each business is different. A mail design for Medicare leads will look very different from a grand opening announcement for a new bakery in town. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing your direct mail design to ensure that you are getting the highest response rates possible.
Humans are visual beings, which means a lot of what we learn and experience is based on sight. Many studies have shown that different colors can evoke different emotions and possibly make a customer more inclined to purchase a product. For example, many fast-food restaurants base their brandings on warm colors like red and yellow to invoke feelings of hunger. Additionally, a company that wants to associate itself with tranquility or the outdoors may use green or blue branding.
Have you ever walked into the living room of a home to find that the walls were painted bright red? Although bright-red walls might make a strong impression, the color choice may seem distasteful or even shocking. You may even find yourself asking: “What kind of person would choose this color?” Similarly, whether they know it or not, customers will analyze your company through the colors you choose for your branding and direct mail ads.
Hue is also important. A direct mail advertisement for a spa may include pale greens and blues, giving the customer a feeling of tranquility. However, an action-filled ad for a karate instructor may include more vibrant colors, giving the customer an intense and actionable feeling.
Making the choice to use a full color mailer over a simple black-and-white design can affect your business. Studies have shown that black-and-white advertising allows the customer to focus on functionality and purpose, while color advertisements lead the customer to focus more on visuals or aesthetic design. If you are selling an intangible object such as mortgage protection insurance, a simple black-and-white design might work best. This leaves more opportunity for fine-tuning the content on your direct mailer.
Additionally, it is important to consider how the color of your font will contrast with the color of your mail piece. Generally, lighter fonts work better with dark backgrounds and vice versa.
Although the artistic elements of your mail advertisement matter, the words on the page are what ultimately bring customers. Therefore, your content should be carefully crafted based on your company goals, demographics, and product.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the content that will go on your advertisement:
Keep it Concise and Eye-Catching
It is well known by marketers that customers do not want to read an essay in advertisements. Keeping your text short, sweet, and to the point while still providing the most information possible can be challenging at times. However, a good place to start is a catchy headline.
Begin by considering what will interest your future customer the most about your company, or what separates you from your competitors. For example, many towns have bakeries, but if a specific bakery specializes in wedding cakes, that should be advertised.
Make Your Business an Easy Choice
After the headline, choose the most important information your customer needs to know about your business in order to get in contact with you. This may include a street address, a phone number, or an email address.
If your headline does not include a call-to-action, this is your next step. Make sure to give a reason why your potential customer should call, email, or visit your business.
Here is an example of a call-to-action:
“Call Lead Concepts today for more information on exclusive direct mail leads!
Visuals and graphics can also count as “content.” For example, a lawn mowing company may want to include a picture of a freshly cut lawn on their advertisement to show the customer a tangible product that could be theirs.
Another element to keep in mind is whether to include a company logo. For insurance direct mail lead generation specifically, including the logo of an insurance agency or broker may affect response rates negatively. Lead Concepts can provide more information on how response rates may be affected by adding a company logo.
However, for other businesses, it is important to include a logo so that potential customers know who is contacting them, especially if a company’s logo is an important part of their brand. In fact, it can be argued that your logo should be one of the main focus points of your advertisement. Even if a targeted customer does not interact with your direct mail advertisement when they receive it, they may recognize your logo later on social media, your website, or your storefront, creating a sense of familiarity.
Another focus when designing direct mail is your demographics. For example, studies have shown that Gen Z-ers appreciate a more individualized message over usual corporate branding. Similarly, a senior demographic, which is often targeted by scammers, may value a sense of trustworthiness within their advertisements.
Here are a few other demographics to consider:
- Marital Status
- Education Level
- Number of Children
- Homeowner Status
It is important as a business to step into the shoes of your ideal customer and gain insight into their lives in order to market to them.
Here are a few questions to ask when trying to understand the mind of your ideal customer:
- What does their everyday life look like?
- How much disposable income do they have?
- What might they spend their disposable income on?
- What do they want out of my product?
- What are their worries about my product?
- What are their hopes about my product?
Based on these insights, you can figure out how to change your mail design and overall branding to fit the needs and wants of your customer and make your product more enticing to buy. For example, if a new daycare is advertising to parents of small children, the mail piece might be bright and colorful and include pictures of the amenities they offer.
Font choice can play a role in the way your business is perceived. Some fonts may seem more professional and classic, modern and futuristic, or fun and playful. Like other design choices you will have to make, the fonts you choose depend on your demographics and the message you are trying to send as a company.
The envelope of your mailer is the first portion of your direct mail campaign that your customer comes in contact with, so choosing the right font to represent your business can be crucial. However, the USPS has certain requirements on what fonts can and cannot be used on an envelope. First, sans-serif fonts are preferred by the USPS, or fonts that do not have “feet.” Additionally, all text has to be larger than 8 pt.
It is important to refer back to your demographics when making design choices like these. For example, a younger generation may prefer a sleek or modern-looking font, while an older generation may prefer a font that is larger, classic, and easy to read.
While there are other requirements for your envelope, such as color and paper type, there are less restrictions on design choices on the mail card itself. However, note that restrictions may vary based on the subject matter.
Inside the Envelope
Although what is inside the envelope allows for more creative freedom, the same general design rules should apply to both your envelope design and your actual advertisement. As well as considering the contrast between your font and background, ensuring that your font is simple, easy to read, and fits the theme of your advertisement is crucial. If you are unclear on which fonts to choose you can back to the general rules set by the USPS to ensure that your customers can read the text on your mail card.
It is important to research and consider your state’s requirements for direct mail advertisements. Certain requirements may apply to only certain types of businesses. For more information on your state’s requirements or requirements based on your business sector, call Lead Concepts.
Choosing Insurance Direct Mail Designs through Lead Concepts
Lead Concepts specializes in direct mail marketing, meaning that we have many resources on hand to make the design process easier. Here are a few ways Lead Concepts can help you:
- Lead Concepts can offer your company advice and guidance on the correct marketing strategy for you through our extensive research and strategic planning. This also means we can guide your design choices based on what will get you the highest response rates. For insurance agents, we have templates for each sector of the insurance industry that have been crafted specifically for what gets the most customers interested in your product. For example, we offer different types of mailers such as tri-fold letters and self-sealing bi-fold cards based on each industry.
- We also offer the Every Door Direct Marketing service through USPS. This service allows us to be in close contact with the USPS and stay updated with their changing mail regulations. We always make sure that our client’s mail is approved and shipped in a timely manner, meaning that we cannot fall behind on regulations. For more information on our USPS EDDM services, visit our EDDM page.
Although there are many factors that can change your consumer response when it comes to direct mail marketing, there are a few common-sense rules companies should employ when designing their mail pieces. While it is important to keep certain design elements in mind, the most impactful part of your advertisements are the words you include. Creating a perfect mix of aesthetically pleasing colors and enticing words will ensure that your ad is built for success.
- The design of your direct mail is important because it may affect how much business you do or do not get during your ad campaign.
- There are many factors to consider carefully when choosing your direct mail design including color balance, font styles, graphics, state regulations, and even your businesses’ target demographic.
- Lead Concepts offers professional services that can make the design process easier for some companies.