Blog Post

27 August 2015

Direct Mailing – Make a Great First Impression

In my previous blog about direct mailing, I discussed the role that timing plays for your mailer to go straight from the mailbox to your recipients’ eyes. Now, let’s talk about the design of your mail piece. Along with timing, this is a crucial aspect in not only getting your audience to keep your postcard, but also actually read it and take action.

Obviously, knocking on doors and personally introducing yourself to all of your potential customers isn’t an option, so think of your mail piece as your proxy. If you were going to introduce yourself to a client in person, what impression would you want to give? How would you dress? What main points would you want to leave with them?

With a mailer, you have just a few seconds to grab your audience’s attention, so what you say and how you present yourself are very important.

Chances are that when you meet with clients or potential clients you aim to look professional and trustworthy. You want people to know they are in good hands when they do business with you. You also want your customer to feel at-ease and welcome. Let’s take a look at how you can portray these values through the design and content of your printed mail piece.

Design
A printed piece that isn’t designed well can give the wrong impression about your company’s capabilities. Keep the following in mind when designing your piece to ensure your company is accurately portrayed:

  • Follow your company’s brand guidelines. This includes using your logo properly and using appropriate colors and fonts. Sticking to brand guidelines ensures that your company has a cohesive look, which portrays professionalism. For more on this topic, refer to What Not to Wear: 3 Rules for Company Branding. Branding also helps your clients learn to recognize your business. They may not need your services now, but they’ll be more likely to remember you when they do!
  • Make sure the photos and graphics you use are high quality. Nothing ruins a good postcard faster than a grainy, low-resolution photo stretched across the front. When you use images that are pulled from a website, the photo is likely to print poorly, making your mailer look sloppy.
  • Use photos that you have the rights to use. Just because an image is on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s free to use in your marketing. An image must be royalty free or you must purchase it in order to use it in your marketing.
  • Utilize custom photos when possible and effective, preferably professional shots that express your message. If they include your customers/clients, make sure you have their written consent to use their pictures in your marketing.
  • If possible and appropriate for your field, include your headshot to add a personal touch. A photo really gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself to your audience or reinforce yourself with them. However, if you do include your photo, refer to the earlier bullet and ensure that it is a high quality, professional headshot.
  • Keep it simple. Mailers with multiple photos, fonts and colors can make a reader feel overwhelmed and may give the impression that the sender is disorganized or lacks focus.

Content
Looking the part when you meet your client is vital, but the message you convey is equally significant. The key is to provide your audience with the right amount of information to catch their interest and make it easy for them to take the next step. Here are some tips for determining what content to include in your direct mail piece.

  • Again, keep it simple. There are probably a lot of things you feel are essential for your client to know, but just as it is important not to overwhelm your audience with too many design elements, you want to pare down your message points so that your piece is easy to read. Keep your focus on who you are, what you do, where you are, how to reach you, and why you are advertising (your offer).
  • What aspects set you apart from your competition? Do you have convenient hours or a great turn time? Do you offer free consultations? Include up to four bullets that highlight why working with you is going to be easy and hassle-free for your customers.
  • Speaking of making it easy, don’t forget to include your website address on your mailer. If someone is interested in doing business with you, your website is the first place they’ll go to size you up. Ideally, your website and mailer will have cohesive branding, and your website will provide more in-depth information about your services. Your online presence offers a second chance to make a good impression before the client has even entered your office or contacted you!
  • Think of your mail piece as an invitation to learn more about your company and the services you provide. The goal isn’t necessarily to make an instant sale based on your mailer; the goal is to generate awareness and motivate customers to visit your website and/or contact you for more information. From there, you make the sale. In person, a warm smile may help you build a personal connection with your customers. In print, a clear and concise message with a welcoming tone can have the same effect.   

Final Checklist
Now that you’ve settled on the design and content for your mailer, have someone unfamiliar with your business review it and ask them to answer the following questions:

  • Is it easy to see who the advertiser is and what product or service is being offered?
  • What would their next step be if they were interested in your services or wanted to learn more about your company? Ensure that you have supplied all the information and that it is easy to read.
  • If this person visited your website to learn more, what information would they like to find? Be sure to update your website accordingly.

Your direct mail piece can reach a lot of clients on your behalf. With a professional look and carefully crafted content, you can be sure that it’s sending the right message about your business.