Direct mail has a proven track record of being an effective marketing tactic, even in today's digital age. One reason for its effectiveness is that mail is more likely to be seen. It physically arrives in a mailbox rather than being easily missed on social media or email in-boxes. The tactile nature of direct mail also adds to its appeal, making it stand out and feel more personal. In addition, direct mail can be a great way to drive consumers to websites or personal URLs to get more detailed information.
Designers play a crucial role in this process by creating visually appealing and engaging pieces, but they can be even more effective if they understand the fundamental strategies of successful direct mail. Some designers have plenty of direct mail experience, others do not. Here are some ways printers can assist designers working on their first direct mail projects.
The printer and the client may understand the objectives of the campaign, but did anyone inform the designer? Layout, color, image, and copy decisions can be more relevant if everyone on the team knows the goal. It’s better to give designers this information up front than to request re-work when initial designs don’t coincide with the overall aim of the project. Tracking the impact of direct mail will also depend on how pieces are designed.
The audience will affect the designer’s choice of colors, images, and other design elements. The more designers know about the target audience, the more tailored their designs can be to the recipient’s needs and preferences.
The design approach for a sixty-year-old grandfather will differ from the mailpiece designed to attract the attention of a young first-time homebuyer, for instance. Include as much audience detail as possible in the design brief.
Leverage the Power of Personalization
Digital presses and data processing software can create highly personalized mailings that can be customized for segments or individual recipients. However, designers may not be familiar with the best way to set up their variable data files to take advantage of this technology. Consult with designers or furnish them with guidelines for how to build files that will work best in your prepress and production workflows.
Coatings and Embellishments
Print service providers can help designers get creative with their printed materials. Physical mail engages the senses in a way that digital media cannot. Keeping postal regulations in mind, recommend different sizes and shapes of postcards or envelopes, or experiment with paper stocks or textures. Discuss finishing options and costs for treatments such as embossing, coatings, die cutting, and foils, as well as a wide range of inks. Augmented reality (AR) may also be an option in certain circumstances.
Samples and coupons can also be effective ways to engage the audience and stand out. And don't forget about the envelope itself! If your operation supports envelope personalization, suggest ways envelopes can spark curiosity.
Focus on the CTA
Print service providers should emphasize the importance of the call to action (CTA). Graphic designers may wish to focus more on other visually appealing design elements of the mailpiece. The CTA is the most crucial component of any direct mail piece, as it conveys the desired action the recipient should take. It should be bold, memorable, and given proper prominence so that mail recipients can easily see and understand what to do. Designers should also check all links to ensure they are functioning properly. A broken link or a website that doesn't work can damage trust in the brand.
To make the CTA even easier for the recipient to execute, designers can consider interactive elements like QR codes. These codes allow the recipient to access a URL quickly and easily, without having to type or copy it. Their convenience makes QR codes an appealing option for direct mail pieces.
Designer Education a Good Investment
Direct mail is a powerful marketing tool that can be highly effective when executed correctly. Designers play a crucial role in creating visually appealing pieces, but they can be even more effective if they understand the fundamental strategies of successful direct mail. This includes understanding the campaign goals, knowing the audience, adding personalization, and paying close attention to the CTA.
Print service providers can help designers by providing guidance on these strategies and recommending techniques and ideas that can make the materials more impactful and effective. By following these tips, designers can create successful direct mail campaigns that drive results for their clients.