Successful Direct Mail by Design

When done professionally, direct mail is not an expense but an investment in your business and its future.

Direct Mail provides a perfect opportunity to get your advertising message into the hands of prospects and customers who want to hear about your latest products, services, special offers and of course coupons.  The basic elements of successful direct mail remain unchanged:  Target your audience, connect with them, and offer them what they want, make it easy for them to respond, measure your response and learn from the results to improve on the next mailing.  Sounds easy, right?  It is, with a little effort.  Following these simple guidelines and avoiding common mistakes can help make your next direct mail campaign a success.

What determines success?

The recipient of a mail piece will always see the overall presentation of your mail piece before reading its content.  A well designed mail piece captures the reader’s attention and provides them with a reason to contact your business.  Here are a few things to think about while designing your mail piece:

Headline & Message

The headline is responsible for 75% of the response so MAKE IT COUNT!  Consider including You, Yours, or Free.  Use the headline to tell a story that makes the event a unique opportunity for example “Factory Surplus Sale” or “50th anniversary sales event”.  Make the reader feel they are part of a select group with wording such as “For our valued customers”, “By invitation only” or “You qualify for…”.  Your headline should tell the story, capture the reader’s attention, and encourage them to read further.  Once you have them hooked, be clear and concise with your message.  Appeal to the reader’s self-interest and present a clear, quickly apparent, and easy to understand benefit.

Offer & Call-to-Action (CTA)

Offers matter!  On a scale of 1-10 your offer must rate a 7 or higher in order to have the best chance of generating results. A general discount offer in dollars towards any purchase works well. Special pricing or package deals are great too.  If you’re providing price points, include the retail price, the retailer’s everyday discounted price, and then show the special or final sales price. Always show the full value, then, the total savings.  Remember to include the benefits of your products or services, not simply features.  Benefits tell the prospect “What’s in it for me?”

What do you want people to do when they read this piece?  Call or visit your store?  Redeem a coupon? Visit your website? Make it clear what the next step is and easy for the reader to take this step.  A strong CTA should also create a sense of urgency to encourage the reader to take this action sooner rather than later.

Visual Elements

Always use high resolution images that relate to your business, product, or service to tell your story.  Low resolution images (such as those found on many websites) will not print clearly and are often unusable.  Don’t fear the white space!  Less is more when it comes to a visually appealing mail piece.  Avoid clutter by limiting the number of images used and simplifying other design elements (such as multiple or unique print fonts) to increase the readability of your piece.  Don’t make the company name bigger than the headline or primary offer, and communicate the offer first, before other copy.

Include Important Information

Today there are multiple ways for your prospects and customers to reach out to you.  Including all of them might be too much information to include on a mail piece.  To determine what is most important, think about your call-to-action and what you have asked the reader to do.  Did you ask them to visit your website to learn more?  Be sure the web address is featured prominently.  Did you include a coupon or ask them to visit your store?  Your physical address must be included and possibly a map.  Don’t waste space with information that is not relevant to the success of the mail piece or can be provided after the initial contact has been made.


Design is just one of several components to direct mail that work together to determine its success.  Falling short in any of the components could lead to a less than stellar performance.  The knowledgeable sales and creative teams at TMM have the marketing and direct mail expertise to help you design a successful and profitable mailing campaign.

Are you ready to begin your successful direct mail campaign?  Contact us today!



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