Posts tagged direct mail design

Tips for Writing Irresistible Direct Marketing Content: Part 1


Keep it Short and Sweet:

178163372 250x166 Tips for Writing Irresistible Direct Marketing Content: Part 1Resist the urge to cram every bit of information into one marketing piece, whether it is an email, flier or direct mail piece.

  • Simplicity is Better: Provide pictures to help your customers visualize the products and services. You can also include a QR Code, taking the user to a mobile site that further engages them in your brand.
  • Ask Questions: Pique interest by asking your prospects a thought provoking question. This method not only raises awareness about your products or services, but encourages customers to read more of the content. Example, “Did you know that Mail Print offers a Marketing Communications Portal?”

  • Highlight Benefits: Do not just write about your products and what colors or versions they may come in. Your content should focus on the benefits of your products and services. Customers want to know how your product will influence their lives.

Follow these simple tips to convert more readers into customers.


10 Ways to Get Your Direct Mail Read by the Millennials

Y1 10 Ways to Get Your Direct Mail Read by the Millennials

SOURCE: Jason Ryan Dorsey; Y-Size Your Business

Look around the next time you’re in a coffee shop, airport, bookstore or public area and you’ll see Millennials (often called Gen Ys) pecking away on their smart phones or iPads like there wasn’t another human being around for miles.

However, just because Generation Ys are completely absorbed in technology that doesn’t mean the only way to reach them is through social media or integrated email campaigns.

Lamont Swittenberg, managing director at Luminosity Marketing, says, “Sending something by direct mail is a way of breaking through the clutter because they receive so much communication that comes digitally, and you still can’t replace the personal touch from direct mail.”

To engage Gen Ys most effectively, marketers should recognize that Gen Ys read printed materials with a different “lens” than baby boomers.

Jason Ryan Dorsey, author of “Y-Size Your Business,” explains that Gen Ys (born between 1977 and 1995) prefer pictures and directions to an online video rather than long blocks of text or explanation or background info.

10 Ways to Engage Gen Ys with Print:

  1. Personalize it. Use variable data printing to ensure you’re speaking to Gen Ys personally.
  2. Keep it visual (infographics are received well among Gen Ys).
  3. Treat them like a VIP.
  4. Make them feel deserving.
  5. Connect them to a cause or part of a community for the greater good
  6. Believe in them.
  7. Add a QR Code® or drive them to your social media sites.
  8. Make it interactive.
  9. Create a daring but relevant appeal. Read Gen Y targeted whitepaper, No Guts, No Glory, for bold ideas from Joeri Van den Bergh, Gen Y expert.

Chances are your office is at least half filled with Gen Ys. So run the copy by an associate before finalizing your multi-channel campaign. Believe me, they will tell you exactly how they feel about your message and if it resonates with them or not.

QR Code is a registered trademark of Denso Wave.

Are You Part of the 73%?

percent1 Are You Part of the 73%?


Mail is still first class in the eyes of 73% of consumers in America who still prefer to receive direct mail for brand communications. So despite all the press and pixels that social and email marketing get, direct mail is still tops in the eyes of consumers.

Despite the exposure of digital channels, direct mail is expected to grow 1.4% annually for the next five years to $13.8 billion.

Personalization Makes Direct Mail Even Hotter

Companies that gather data on customers who segment the information into relevant marketing communications delivered via variable data printing win big with double-digit responses.

If you are a marketing leader who invests in direct mail as a channel, do you consistently ensure what you send out is variably printed and designed? Consumers expect communications to be relevant across all channels, including direct mail.

Discover credit card company targets its list based on different customer attributes and then tags each piece with a personalized invitation number. “Direct mail is a great way for us to target consumers,” says Laks Vasudevan, Discover director of acquisition. “It’s our most targeted platform.”

Pull the Trigger

DSW sends personalized birthday postcards with offers to its 20 million plus rewards members. Who wouldn’t want $10 off a new pair of shoes as a gift to self?

And there’s something special about getting a real card with physical value versus a mass email with fashion tips, according to Kelly Cook, DSW’s Senior Vice President of Marketing.

When the company tested sending birthday coupons via email, it didn’t perform nearly as well as direct mail.

Give Your Customer What They Want When They Want It

Long gone are the days of sending one universal offer to everybody. For instance, I recently received a special offer for a college loan for my children from my bank. Yet, I don’t have children.  I know the marketing team at my bank and I know they have access to some very sophisticated database tools to monitor my account activity and have done a lot of data mining, they failed to connect with me as a valued customer.

Give your customers the perks they want when they want and don’t delay. With today’s 24/7 marketing automation systems, there’s no excuse.

SOURCE:Direct Mail Advertising in the U.S., October 2012, research report by IBISWorld.

SOURCE:“Direct Mail, Evolved,” by Dianna Dilworth of Direct Marketing News, March 01, 2013.


Do Your Direct Mail Envelopes Bring the Pain Home?

The article below is admittedly a personal review of some direct mail I received.  I am not privy to the strategies of any of these pieces or to the metrics associated with the return on investment for these campaigns. As a direct marketer I know that all that really matters is the testing matrix and campaign ROI; neither of which do I have any knowledge of.  With that said, let’s critique!

After sorting through a huge box of direct mail I collect, I was amazed to find such poor use of the outer envelope for pain-filled call to actions (CTAs). Out of this 20-pound box of direct mail, I only found one organization that was nailing pain-focused CTAs while dozens of others were missing the mark completely – most failing to have a CTA on the envelope at all.

You can see by the two outer envelopes below that the Salvation Army clearly understands driving response through pain and strong CTAs. Pella Windows and JCP on the other hand, do not. These for-profit giants neglected to include anything on the outer envelops to persuade the recipient to take the next step and open the envelope. No CTA, no compelling photograph, no pain. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Many organizations have found that raising the level of a pain surrounding a problem to the point that the inflicted one wants a solution and is willing to act on it is a viable messaging tool.

With all the pain in today’s trauma filled world and with overfilled email boxes, getting to the pain via an envelope with a strong call to action may be the best route to new customers or donors.

Cutting-edge marketing technology company, Dukky says, “There’s no better time to spend dollars in direct mail, especially since everyone is saturated with e-mail marketing campaigns.”

no address salvation army1 Do Your Direct Mail Envelopes Bring the Pain Home?


Pella’s Envelope Is Void of Pain

We are certain that Pella Window’s marketing department has tested their envelope copy strategy to the hilt, but we spent a little time playing with possible headlines… Tell us if you think these are strong:

  • Did you know windows can leak 25% of your heat during the winter? That’s a lot of heat.
  • Daddy always complained about heating the outside.
  • Might as well just leave the window open, don’t you think?

no address pella Do Your Direct Mail Envelopes Bring the Pain Home?

When we look at Pella Window’s letter we also feel like we want more.  We would love to see some content on a replacement cost vs. return on investment calculation to demonstrate how quickly a homeowner can recoup his costs over time just through energy efficiencies throughout all seasons.

coffee girl Do Your Direct Mail Envelopes Bring the Pain Home?Not sure it would work, but it might be worth a test, but imagine retrieving an envelope out of your mailbox with the photograph above on it if you just got an extremely high gas bill earlier that month and the thought of new windows was in the back of your mind. What if the envelope had, “Quit making your family wear down vests and stocking caps to watch a movie in your drafty house.”  Would you open the envelope to read more?


JCP Counts CEO Clout to Earn the Open

Lucky me, I received a letter from JCP’s CEO Ron Johnson! I wondered what’s up. Opening this generic, highly digitized very personalized letter, I learn that JCP is making changes in their store to bring back the fun of shopping.  If you know me, you know I don’t really enjoy shopping.

no address JCP Do Your Direct Mail Envelopes Bring the Pain Home?

Fun of shopping, huh.  Funny, this envelope and letter aren’t very fun. In fact, they’re kind of boring.

Johnson goes on to say he doesn’t want me to have to wait for a sale or coupon so I’ll now find low prices every day, which sounds a lot like Wal-mart, but wait. There’s a $10 coupon at the bottom of the letter if I get to JCP in the next few days. Isn’t that kind of a mixed message? No more coupons but here is a coupon?

And here’s another kicker, the letter from the desk of Ron Johnson is signed Ron – now not really. It’s just his typed name. No signature blue ink, cursive writing. Just a corporate looking letter, with a convoluted message and a non-personalized signature at the bottom and no pain or CTA on the outer envelope.

Come on JCP – if you’re trying to be warm, value driven, fun and shift from a couponing strategy to every day value you are delivering numerous conflicting messages.

Now keep in mind, they did send me this letter to my work address.  I wonder was the appeal of one more formal letter supposed to get through to me and entice me to use a $10 coupon because I absolutely had to run out in the next four days and buy something.

Add to the confusion.  I’m not a JCP shopper.  Frankly, I don’t remember the last time I walked in to a JCP.  I don’t have kids so I’m not in that “holy grail” of consumers.  I rarely use coupons.  Heck, I rarely even remember to use the gift cards I get for presents.  Bigger problem for JCP – they are spending money with a strange message to try and lure me to their store.

With all these comments I’ll admit the marketer in me is uncomfortable sharing my anecdotal observations. I would love to see the data.  I would love to see the testing matrix. I would love to see the ROI and consumer analytics reports, but alas I get to sit back and observe my experience with a mail piece.

I guess this is what a Monday morning quarterback feels like.

Have you received anything from an organization that made you want to take action because it had a great CTA, personalized URL, or magnified some pain that drove you to take action? Let me know in comments.


Why Your Direct Mail is Really Being Thrown Away

If your last several direct mail campaigns didn’t pull the results you wanted, perhaps it wasn’t because your competition one-upped you. Perhaps it was because your execution stunk (or deserved a thumbs down).

Direct mail works every time when executed correctly, as you will learn in our Behold the Power of Postcard article.

Pat McGraw, experienced marketer and adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University, agrees. “Yes, direct marketing works. It works in any industry when properly executed. Direct marketing is an interactive system of marketing which uses one or more advertising media to affect a measurable response and/or transaction at any location.”

According to the recently released 2012 Marketing-GAP report, fewer than 2% of people are “happy” to get marketing messages via text messaging and social media. In fact, marketers continue to “massively overestimate” the popularity of these channels.

Before you plan another Twitter, Facebook, SMS, or mobile media campaign, check out these additional findings from the eighth annual survey.

2012 marketing, direct mail, direct marketing,

Source: fast.MAP Marketing-GAP

  • One in 5 throw away direct mailings pieces without opening them.  Direct mail gets tossed unopened most often because:
    • 55% are not interested in the product
    • Not interested in the company (49%)
    • Object to being marketed to (44%).
  • 32% do not open mail that is not addressed to them (up from 23% just one year ago). Design and color was only noted by 2% and 4%, respectively, as a reason for not opening a marketing piece.
  • When asked why consumers toss their direct mailings without reading it, marketers overestimate by more than 300% the importance of lack of time (40% v. 11% as reported by consumers surveyed), by 600% the design; (17% v. 2%) and by 300% the envelope’s color (13% v. 4%).  Marketers’ estimations of two of the three most important reasons for disposal – “no interest in product” and “object to being sent marketing” – are more accurate, within 6% and 3% respectively.
  • The top direct mail pieces that are opened almost immediately: grocery stores (40%), travel/holiday (24%), credit card offers (23%).

The report states: “Marketers remain deaf to consumer demands and preferences by overestimating, frequently by hundreds of percent, people’s desire to be contacted via mobile, social media and Twitter. In fact, a sure way to alienate customers and prospects is to only provide information and offers through these routes. Only a minority of consumers can imagine a purely virtual retail world where real shops no longer exist and most think such a world would be a worse place.”

About: Conducted in August 2012. fast.Map partnered with The Institute of Promotional Marketing and The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM). The research was sponsored by the Royal Mail. The consumer panel comprised 1,140 adults recruited from the 30,000 fast.MAP wholly-owned, closed panel whose profile echoes that of the UK’s population profile in age and gender.  Only people who are both mail and Internet responsive were selected for the panel. The marketers panel comprised 353 marketers, drawn from the fast.MAP marketing professionals’ panel and the IPM and IDM’s membership.

Source:, 2012 fast.Map Marketing GAP report, accessed October 10, 2012.


Fault-Filled Postcard Teaches You Avoidable Design Mistakes

With the ease of acquiring marketing materials today even small businesses can look like a Fortune 1000 company. But simple design mistakes can make your company look amateur and waste valuable marketing dollars. Avoid making little mistakes, hire a professional designer, and follow these ten postcard design and copy rules. They will help you keep your professional look for better impressions and stronger results.

  1. Use a high resolution stunning image to grab attention on the front of the card.
  2. Don’t use more than two typefaces as it looks unprofessional.
  3. Embrace white space and don’t fill the entire card with content, images and color.
  4. Use a compelling headline. What’s in it for the reader?
  5. Include a strong offer that creates the action you want (call, email, RSVP)
  6. Follow your company branding guidelines and corporate colors for continuity.
  7. Try to avoid using typefaces smaller than 10 pt.
  8. Go big.  Postage is your biggest cost in mailing a postcard.  We suggest using a card that is close to 6” x 11”.
  9. Use high quality paper that will endure the mailing process and look good on arrival.
  10. When in doubt, hire it out. You get one chance to make an impression.

Those small businesses that throw these guidelines to the wind and have their cousin or secretary design their postcards create doubt in the minds of their prospects. A poorly designed, flimsy card leaves a prospects thinking…

  • Did they print this on their home computer?
  • Did they shoot the photos themselves?
  • Should I trust them with my business when they look like they operate on a shoe-string budget?

roofingpostcard Page 1 1024x793 Fault Filled Postcard Teaches You Avoidable Design Mistakes roofingpostcard Page 2 1024x793 Fault Filled Postcard Teaches You Avoidable Design Mistakes

Bigger is Only Better When You Nail the Design

Skyline Roofing invested in mailing full color 8.5 x 11 postcards. And while it stood out in a pile of mail, it did not stand out for the right reasons in regards to design. Here are the reasons Skyline Roofing’s card looks more amateur than professional.

  1. While the picture on the front may be compelling, it looks out of focus and like a cellphone took it. The photo includes too many distractions such as full and empty glasses of beer, milk crates, charcoal bags, buckets, and what appears to be a drill or calking gun by the window.
  2. The image isn’t sized properly to bleed off the page and wastes 1/6 of the oversized postcard layout.
  3. The front of the card headline is too small. It uses a serif font in white, which makes it difficult to read. Serif fonts (with the feet) can be hard to read when reversed white on black.
  4. The designer had typeface ADD. There are at least five fonts used on the back of the card.  This creates too much distraction for the reader.
  5. The offer is buried and open ended. Putting a deadline on the chances to enter a drawing creates a sense of urgency. Moving the offer to the front of the card is also an improvement.
  6. The body copy is centered instead of flush left. Maybe this is a personal preference, but I just think it looks bad.
  7. The placement of the company logo and Better Business Bureau logo appears random. Images, logos, etc. should always have a purpose with where they are located.
  8. When I visited the landing page I found the message “Whoops Page Not Found.” Skyline must have removed it shortly after the mailing rather than leaving it up for at least 12 months for those prospects who keep the card and call many months later.  I don’t know about you, but just because I got a postcard doesn’t mean I need a roof TODAY.
  9. Spot color usage of red, yellow, purple, green, and blue appear random. Determine a brand color guide and then stick with it.
  10. Personalizing the front of the card with the prospects name via variable data printing could have pushed response into the double digits.  Adding other variable elements – like age of people in the photos or types of homes may have helped drive results.

My postcard assessment either makes your feel really good about your direct mail efforts or perhaps you learned something to correct in your next mailing. Let us know what your takeaway was in the comment box below.