Choose Your Words: Writing for Limited Space in Direct Mail

By: Andrew Glover
December 30, 2019

A great mailer is straight to the point. Many organizations make the mistake of sending mailers covered in overwhelming colors and an overload of information. It’s a mistake to believe you need to cram direct mail with detail. A jumbled appearance turns people away. Your mailers will succeed when you keep the message short and your imagery straightforward.

Direct mail is a highly effective marketing strategy when done correctly. It targets prospects differently than digital marketing and has a high response rate. Prospects are more likely to trust an ad on a piece of direct mail than a marketing link online. Play to the strengths of the medium when you create a direct mail piece. Use a professional and straightforward aesthetic to create a strong campaign for your organization. Member loyalty will follow.

Less Is More

Simple is best. Direct mail is not the medium for too much information. It’s limited by nature. A piece of mail has minimal surface space. When marketing campaigns choose to crowd this area, recipients are likely to throw the letter away instantly.

If you’re struggling to produce an effective direct mail piece that doesn’t appear crowded and messy, try these design strategies.

Call to Action

Keep your call to action (CTA) short and easy to understand. Choose only one call to action. Multiple calls to action will confuse your reader and muddy the purpose of the campaign. Think about how quickly you go through your mail. It takes most people a few seconds because they skim the headlines and images to decide if it’s relevant to them or not. A single, standout CTA is easier to comprehend for the receiver and more likely to grab their attention than multiple messages scattered throughout the mailer. Keep it simple!

American Literacy

About 52 percent of all Americans have basic or below basic reading skills. Most people won’t read long-form text. Your marketing campaign will draw in more readers and interest by keeping your word choice simple and your messages short. Complicated words may draw your members away, and long messages will lead to many unread words. With so many Americans preferring text at a more reader-friendly basic reading level, your campaign will benefit more by keeping your message straight to the point.

Numbers and Statistics

Keep numbers and statistics to a minimum. It’s best to provide three or less of these figures. Providing too much statistical data overwhelms the reader. Keep the numbers to a minimum to more effectively share interesting information and to avoid bombarding your members with too many facts.

Icons and Pictures

Icons and pictures often work better than words. Images stimulate the brain at a conscious and subconscious level. In direct mail campaigns, you need to do everything possible to stimulate the reader and increase response and conversion rates. Using images is an easy way to grab the reader’s eye and gain their attention.

Font Selection

Choose the right font to transform your mailer from good to great, and to help attract more people to your organization. In the print world, there are two families of fonts, serif, and sans serif. Serif fonts have small embellishments or “feet” on both the base and the tip of each letter. The feet allow the reader to distinguish each letter. Sans serif fonts don’t have the feet, and most digital formats use this font. Some people believe sans serif fonts appear cleaner, and they are easier to read in print since everyone is used to reading online now.

Font Size

Depending on the message, you may find that bigger font is better! You want to instantly grab the reader’s eyes and a large font helps accomplish this goal. Use attention-grabbing words or phrases and place them front and center on your mailer. Include large font throughout your mail piece to ensure the member reads your message while glancing through their pile of mail.

Choose Your Words with Valtim

Valtim will help your organization design simple and straightforward direct mail pieces. Your design will include large and eye-grabbing fonts, appealing icons and images, and an easy to understand CTA. Your message is more successfully interpreted when you keep the details short and sweet. Let us assist you in your next marketing campaign and provide you with the tools you need to ensure a great response rate.

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