“The world has moved to digital.”
That’s what a lot of agencies, companies, and marketers say. As a result of the push first towards personal computers, then to smaller mobile phones, our email boxes are stuffed full. We’re overwhelmed by digital messages everywhere we turn — ads play before YouTube videos, and banner ads compete for our attention.
But the digital wave has had unintended consequences.
For example, mailboxes that were once stuffed full of direct response mailers and daily circulars are now emptier than they have been for years.
As a result, some marketers are moving back into the mailbox and reclaiming the empty space. With fewer competitors, they’re finding huge success — to the tune of $57 billion in 2016 with expected growth.
But that isn’t all. Despite digital’s advances, studies suggest that people remember messages accompanied by tangible, physical sensation more. Combine that with a median ROI of 29%, and you can see why mail is making a comeback.
If you’re looking to harness direct mail for your own company, here are a few tips to help your campaign achieve success.
1) Visuals Matter
As a direct mailer, your first job is to capture your audience’s attention. With less competition, this is easier than it was in the past, but it’s still crucial to make your mailer look interesting. You shouldn’t turn immediately to stock photos; according to many marketers, people have already trained themselves not to respond to them. In other words, leave “diverse people smiling in an office” behind and find unique visuals that really represent your business. You can score big with unusual color combinations, too, as long as they’re readable.
2) Test your Typefaces
Typefaces can also have a huge effect on the success of your mailer. Using recognizable, outdated fonts like Papyrus or Bleeding Cowboys can actually make your ad a laughingstock among younger audiences. Meanwhile, if someone has to work to try and decipher your message because your font is too ornate, they have a higher chance of setting the ad aside (or tossing it into the garbage can). Finally, typefaces can look a little different between designing your ad and the actual printing. Be sure to look at physical proofs to ensure that the fonts haven’t lost any of their readability.
3) Shoot for Simplicity
Even though visuals and type-faces are important, mailing experts suggest that you should keep your mailer simple. That means bold, attractive colors and images, paired with easy-to-understand copy and highly readable text. By having a message that can be absorbed in seconds, paired with high interest visuals, your customers will be more likely to act on the content of the ad.
4) Use the Medium
When it comes to designing a digital banner ad, your options are fairly limited. Sure, you might try to push the boundaries of the medium, but you’re often limited to your ad-serve network and space constraints.
Mail is also limited by size, but there are many different ways to engage with your customers using the uniqueness of the medium itself.
- Die-Cuts — Take advantage of negative space by having shapes cut out of your mailer! The uniqueness of the shape will catch people by surprise and make them more likely to absorb your message.
- Texture — Texture options can be pricier, but they have a big pay-off. Because customers are more likely to remember messages accompanied by tactile sensation, having raised ink, rough patches, or satin-like finishes can increase customer engagement.
- Folds — You don’t have to create your own fold to engage with customers. Instead, endless folds, booklet-shapes, brochures, and other classic fold-types have been helping boost customer engagement for years.
- Scratch and Sniff — Love them or hate them, they get results. Scratch and sniff ads have long been a favorite of perfume companies, but have also seen success for tire companies as well. Does your business have a unique smell?
- Scratch Offs – Have a special offer you can’t wait to share with your customers? Hide it beneath a scratch off section on your mailer! While it might be counter intuitive to hide your best offer, customers actually are more likely to remember your brand if they spend time interacting with your advertising.
5) Size Matters
According to the Direct Mail Association (DMA), flat mailers have the highest response rate, at 6.6%. Postcards follow closely behind, trailed even further by letters. You might consider using size to catch your customers’ eyes. But be careful when doing so — make sure to consult your mail service provider to ensure you don’t end up paying more than you expected for thinking outside of the box.
Direct mail can seem difficult to get into, but businesses have relied on it for years to get results. If you’re interested in harnessing the power of direct mail for yourself, get valuable guidance our experts. We have over 25 years of experience in the direct mailing industry, we know the ins and outs, and can help businesses like yours find real results