5 Tips for Outstanding Direct Mail Design

With any direct mail piece, the goal is to entice people to respond to your offer. But with great direct mail pieces, you can hook them before they even get to the offer. Engage people’s curiosity from the moment the mail piece gets into their hands. Here are seven tips for capturing readers at the outset: 

1 Use the upper right-hand corner.
This is a tip lifted from the playbook of highly effective catalogers. The upper right-hand corner is where our eyes go first.  Then our eyes proceed along the top of the page, then continue down to the rest. Use the upper right-hand corner to place teaser copy or compelling data such as “99% customer satisfaction rate!”

When the layout is cluttered, it’s hard for people to focus on any one thing. Use white space to draw the eye and make information easy to absorb. Instead of heavy blocks of text, consider using bulleted or numbered lists. 

The following techniques use brain science to capture attention and engage
your audience:

The Zeigarnik Effect is when information is left unfinished. Leave people hanging and they feel compelled to open the envelope, turn over the postcard, or click through a link to find out the rest. 

The Van Restorff Effect is the use of content that is out of place to capture attention. Old Spice used this to great effect with its “Smell Like a Man” commercials.

The Noble Edge Effect taps people’s desire to be associated with positive social or environmental causes.

People trust other shoppers more than marketers, so use customer testimonials to let other buyers promote your product. Use QR Codes or AR to bring those endorsements to life by taking shoppers direct to mobile video. 

How many direct mail pieces have unfulfilled potential because someone forgot to include a call to action? Don’t assume readers will automatically know what you want them to do. Add urgency or additional value by giving a deadline, providing an extra discount for early response, or providing some other motivator to encourage people to respond right away. 


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