One of the hardest tasks for many business owners is direct mail designing. This process can be very complex at times, and many business owners are not marketers so they lack the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to create mailers that sell and impress. One obstacle is a lack of understanding about the entire process and each step that is involved.
9 Steps for Direct Mail Designing
Step 1. Brainstorm and Get Creative
The very first step in the direct mail designing process is to brainstorm and start your creative juices flowing. This will help you come up with ideas and start you in a specific direction for the marketing campaign. You can look at samples and mailers that can help you decide what you like, and which elements you want to use in your own mailer.
Encourage people to look at how other businesses do things, even those in other sectors, and consider how they can be adapted or improved.
Source: The Marketing Donut
Step 2. Set Campaign Goals and Objectives
Once you are finished brainstorming and you have some of the basic facts and elements for your mailer in mind it is time to get down to business. You need to identify the goals and objectives that will be set for your campaign so that you know where you are going and where you want to end up. Do you want to gain brand recognition, launch a new product, or drive sales?
Step 3. Determine the Campaign Budget and the Time Line Involved
The next step in the process of direct mail designing is to figure out a budget and a time line for the project. Will you spend a few hundred and send out mailers in two weeks? Will you spend thousands and plan a campaign that takes months to implement fully? You need to make smart use of your available resources but you also need a realistic budget to be successful.
Step 4. Identify your Target Audience and Ideal Consumer
One important part of direct mail designing is identifying whom you are trying to appeal. You need to identify the target audience and determine who your ideal consumer will be so that you can tailor the campaign to these factors. Don’t try to reach everyone in the world because this is not possible. Instead base your final design on the audience you are targeting.
Learn more about target markets for direct mail in our article, Which Direct Mail Demographics Should You Target?
Step 5. Do Your List Research and Identify Highly Effective Lists
List research is also part of the direct mail designing process. You want lists that are highly relevant, and the data on the lists must be current. One of the biggest money wasters with any direct mail campaign design is using one or more lists that contain errors, duplications, and information that is outdated and obsolete.
Step 6. Identify Your Value Proposition
In order to appeal to the consumers or companies who will receive your mailer you need to identify a compelling value proposition. If the recipient does not feel that what you are offering them has value then your message will be lost and your mailer will be tossed without being examined.
Step 7. Create the Copy
Creating great copy is another step in the direct mail designing process, and a crucial element of the final mailer. If you are not an expert at creating copy that is noticed or at selling, then you may want to consider hiring a professional copywriter to handle this step of the design. A professional copywriter can add to your costs but you will usually get better copy and better campaign results.
Copy that is stiff, boring, or uninspired will turn the reader away instead of drawing them in and generating interest in what you are offering. Let your emotions about the products come through and give your copy a human touch.
From our article here about catalog copywriting.
Step 8. Design the Final Mailer Piece
Now that you have covered the basics of direct mail designing, it is time to develop a final design for your mailer. This is the act of placing the various text and images on the template, selecting any special techniques, and even choosing the paper stock and inks that will be used on your mailer. At the end of this step you should have a product that is printer ready.
Step 9: Order the Printing
Once the direct mail designing process is complete, it is time to place your order with the printer that you have chosen. It is always a good idea to get a price and delivery date quote before you actually place the order and make any payment or deposit. This will ensure that your campaign will go smoothly and you don’t go over your set budget.
Do you outsource your direct mail designing to a professional or do you handle this yourself? Why?