Designing a new direct mail campaign? Let the creativity flow! However, the basics still need to come first. Before setting your designer loose, take a step back and make sure you’ve covered the fundamentals.
1. Mailing list
Is your mailing list current? Are you mailing to the right people? Are the names up to date? Are there duplicates (or even triplicates) that need to be culled?
Whether or not you are doing full personalization, your mailing should still use basic segmentation. If you’re selling homeowners insurance, for example, you’ll speak differently to families with children than you will to retirees.
3. Data accuracy
Especially if you will be personalizing, it’s a good idea to cross-reference your data. You can assume that customers purchasing infant formula have young children, but maybe they are grandparents picking up necessities for their grandchildren, too. If customers subscribe to “New Baby” magazine, however, you can have confidence that they have young children at home.
4. Call to action
Too many mailings suffer from not having a call to action. CTAs are critical to moving people to action, so make the CTA visible. Make it bold, or use brightly colored lettering. Readers can’t respond to a CTA they don’t see.
5. Multiple response mechanisms
Consumers’ lives are cluttered and over-scheduled. The more ways you can give them to respond, the more likely they are to do so. If you are using personalized URLs, include a personalized QR Code in case they want to respond via a mobile device. Give people a general URL, but also a tear-out card and a phone number. Pre-fill as much information as you can.
6. Bullets and white space
Busy consumers don’t have time to read. When designing for direct mail, think “infographic.” Use bullet points, numbered lists, and graphic elements—anything that makes the information accessible with a quick visual scan.
7. Include a PostScript
Did you know that the P.S. is the most read part of a letter? Use this area to reiterate your key points and CTA. If people don’t read anything else, they’ll read that.
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