April 21, 2010

Direct Mail Marketing Design Checklist


Hostway Team

By Joyce V Harrison

A four-color brochure, a simple postcard, or a flyer all fall under the heading of direct mail marketing. These cost-effective pieces, especially attractive to very small businesses, can also do double duty by serving as handouts. But there are some critical features in direct mail marketing design that can help make your mailing more successful.

Basics: Contact Information

Check that your contact information is easy to spot. Make your primary choice (either Web site, email or phone number, but not all three) prominent in the design.

Color: Brand Image Appropriate

Use color in type and graphics that supports your brand image: blues and pinks if you design baby clothes, green if you do lawn care, white if you have a cleaning service, so on. Be sure a background color doesn’t interfere with readability.

Message: Direct and On Target

Take a postcard, for instance. It has to do the job of getting attention in a glance. Look at yours as if you are receiving it for the first time. Will the prospect instantly know you have a plumbing service or that you’re a chimney sweep? Your message should be direct and promote the major benefit of your business in everyday language. Cramming of information or images is a no-no. One central design element is plenty.

Offer: Attention Getter

If you offer a coupon, don’t forget to include your contact information on the coupon too, so if it’s removed, the customer knows how to get in touch with you. Also remember to add an expiration date. If you’re not sure, make it a limited-time offer. Free is a strong incentive that you can use for free trial, free information, free quotes, etc.

Call to Action: Motivation

Check that you haven’t omitted those important call-to-action words. Call us now at. Visit our Web site at. Go to this address. Come see us at.

Consistency: Brand Recognition

The idea of direct mail marketing is to build your brand. Don’t expect one mailing to do the trick. Every direct mail piece needs to consistently focus on your main selling point, whether it’s unbeatable price, guaranteed quality, or customized solutions, for example. Words can be changed and the design altered, but the overall look should remain recognizable as your company by color, typeface and message.

Mailing List: Beyond Design

Although this isn’t a design element, it’s important not to overlook the need to keep your mailing list up to date. On a limited budget, you can’t afford to send a direct mail piece to an address with no potential customer for your product or services.

About the Author

An independent freelance writer, Joyce has had a long career in advertising, broadcasting and music. Her Web site is www.joyceonthekeys.com.

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