Create Impact with Direct Mail

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Tips to maximise the impact of your Direct Mail campaign

Direct Mail remains an effective marketing tool. Recent stats indicate that Direct Mail activity delivered the strongest return, with an ROI of £4.60 and that the public perception and value of Direct Mail remains high, even in our digital age – with 62% of people saying they like to receive mail telling them about new offers.

But there is Direct Mail and there is effective Direct Mail and we’ve got some great tips to maximise the impact of your Direct Mail campaign.

Shapes and sizes

Most Direct Mail uses traditional A-sized paper formats. It is recognised as the international paper size standard, ISO 216 and ranges in sized from A0 at 841mm x 1189mm to A10 at 26 x 37 mm with perhaps the middle range – A4 to A6 – being the most popular size. The standard nature of A-sized print is one reason for its popularity – you can take it (in theory) to any printer, anywhere in the world, and the printer will understand what you require. This standardisation contributes to the main reason for the extensive use of A-formats – cost. Printing presses are designed for A-formats and they are the most cost effective use of paper without wastage and printing time so the costs will be lower.

However, other shapes and sizes are becoming increasingly cost-effective and even High Street printers can offer a standard range of shaped mailers. One of the first non-standard campaigns following their approval by the US Postal Commission was run by a Krispy Kreme franchise. It was a big success as a recent study confirms:

The first to test the market with CMM was Great Circle Family Foods, a Krispy Kreme franchiser in Los Angeles. Great Circle targeted 10,000 Orange County residents, living within three miles of three store locations, with a high-gloss, nonrectangular mail piece employing an image of an open box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The piece dropped Aug. 11, two days after the CMM classification took effect, with a simple, but effective offer: Buy a dozen doughnuts and get another dozen for a dime. The campaign concluded Sept. 30 and fetched an 8.5-percent response rate from consumers.

An unusual-shaped mailer is not a guarantee of success but it will help to get the piece noticed in a crowded market. It can reinforce elements of the brand and use humour or strong visuals to boost sales and brand recognition.

If you have a distinctive design in mind, talk to your print or print management company first – it can save a lot of wasted design times if the print cost is too high. Most designs can be Die cut relatively easily, so here is a chance to let your imagination run wild! Try sites like Pinterest for some inspiration too.

Colour me successful

The use of colour can have a big impact on the success of your Direct Mail – and once again the latest developments in print technology can allow those on even a moderate budget to add unusual effects with colour and print finishes such as varnishes, laminations and spot UVs for example.

As in so much of life, first impressions count and recent research has suggested that:

  • Consumers make their mind up within 90 seconds of seeing a Direct Mail piece
  • 84% cite colour as the primary reason for buying a product
  • 80% believe colour increases brand recognition

There are many years research on the psychology of colour, but most companies don’t begin with a blank slate. They will use the colours of their logo, livery, uniforms and interiors as the basis for their Direct Mail designs and marketing. It is worth thinking about using an experienced designer or Design Agency who will use their expertise to maximise the effectiveness of colour and design, as well as help create joined-up marketing campaigns that can also boost effectiveness. But if you want to go it alone, then there is plenty to inspire on the internet.

Pushing the envelope

Including an envelope as part of your Direct Mail can be another way to boost your Direct Mail success. Printer giant HP have researched the use of envelopes and reported as follows:

  • Passalong : The personal nature of the envelope means it’s less likely to be passed on to someone other than the intended customer.
  • Time spent : If the offer is of interest, the reader might decide to hang on to the envelope a few days longer than if the same offer were put on a self-mailer.
  • Retention : Is higher than for a self-mailing piece.
  • Response: Typically between 1% and 3%, making it the format of choice, depending on its cost.
  • Cost : In between self-mailers and catalogues due to additional paper content and cost of inserting the components into the envelope.

Creating effective envelopes is also becoming easier thanks to developing technology. Adding colour is becoming more cost effective and increasing the level of personalisation is also easier and more-cost effective. Now you can add not just a name but a really bespoke offer that will make sure the envelope is retained and the offer inside is read.

The big finish

As mentioned earlier, adding a great finish is also becoming more cost-effective but be aware that this can add time to the print process. High quality finishes will add cost so perhaps they are best for higher-value campaigns but they will add interest and support brand for a wide range of products and services. There are so many to choose from we can’t name them all but is a guide to the most popular:

  • Varnishes are applied to paper stock to give the page a smooth and consistent texture as well as having the added benefit of sealing the printed material to help preserve it better. Can be glossy or matte.
  • Lamination adds a layer of protective coating (usually some type of plastic), often glossy or matte, to the printed surface while also improving its sturdiness and water resistance - again gloss and matte options are used.
  • Spot UV varnishes are paper varnishes applied to the printing surface and is hardened by UV light during the printing process to create a surface coating.
  • Foil stamping adds malleable metallic material to the print surface by using heat and pressure.
  • Embossing raises parts of the page for emphasis and texture.

Design is not enough

Hopefully we’ve given you some reasons to add colour and shape to make your mailer standout but pretty colours and a great design will not be enough - they have to be used in conjunction with great copy, a compelling offer and clean data. An expert in Direct Mail fulfilment can help with all aspects of the campaign – from design to delivery.

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