Webinar Recap: How To Design Direct Mail For ROI & Success
Need Help? Call: 1 (866) 482-2412
Get Help: 1-888-561-1764

Webinar 2 Recap: How To Design Direct Mail Campaigns For ROI & Success

Wondering how to design direct mail that works? When it comes to direct mail design, there is more to think about than aesthetics. In fact, there are three critical factors to consider if you want to design direct mail that gets results.

In Webinar 2 of our Direct Mail for Small Business Webinar series, our mail experts discussed how to design direct mail campaigns for optimal ROI and success. If you could not attend this informative webinar, don’t sweat it! We have put together a recap so that you can access this valuable information.


Prefer to watch the full Direct Mail Design Webinar? Check it out below.


How to Design Direct Mail that Stands Out

The first question most people have when contemplating a direct mail campaign is - how do you create a compelling direct mail piece? Luckily, there are several best practices that can help you create a successful direct mail campaign.

These direct mail design best practices will help you elevate your next direct mail campaign:

  • Create (and include) a solid call to action
  • Avoid clutter on your mail piece
  • Use simple and bold visuals
  • Integrate campaign tracking tools to measure the campaign’s effectiveness

Here’s what our experts had to say about how to design direct mail using these best practices.

Woman reads direct mail letter with strong call to action

Create a Strong Call to Action (CTA)

When developing your CTA, focus on making it clear and straightforward. A call to action doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, the less complex, the better. The goal is to have your audience take action. For example, to visit your website or download your app.

Avoid Clutter

Don't include too much information when creating your direct mail piece. If there is too much detail, there will be nowhere for your reader's eyes to rest - a big problem for attention! Ideally, a consumer should be able to look at your mail piece and, within a few seconds, determine if it interests them. Therefore, you must keep your layout and design as simple as possible.

Use Simple and Bold Visuals

Similar to our point about avoiding clutter, the visuals on a direct mail piece should be clean and easy to look at. When designing your mail, stick to simple, bright, bold visuals for maximum impact.

Integrate Campaign Tracking Tools

Gauging the success of a direct mail campaign is much easier than most people think. Thanks to advancements in tracking technology, direct mail interactions and outcomes can now be monitored - just like email and other digital advertising.

For example, you can evaluate the success of a direct mail campaign using call tracking tools, QR code analytics, and more. These tools will tell you about the response rate, how many people are looking at the mail piece, etc.

Learn more about the various options for tracking direct mail here - Tracking Direct Mail.


As you can see, how to design direct mail is about much more than looks. So, let’s examine some other essential elements of direct mail design.

Red mailbox at a home in Canada

The 3 Essential Elements of How to Design Direct Design

When planning your direct mail campaign, there are 3 main factors to consider.

  1. Targeting (i.e. your audience)
  2. Offer (e.g. promotions, coupons, etc.)
  3. Design (i.e. creative execution)

When addressing these elements, remember the golden marketing rule - the 40/40/20 rule.

The 40/40/20 rule says that to create a successful direct mail marketing campaign, you should focus your efforts in the following way:

  • 40% on targeting the right audience
  • 40% on developing the perfect offer
  • 20% on the visual design of the mail piece

Here’s what our direct mail experts shared about how to design direct mail using the 40/40/20 rule.

How to Design Direct Mail Involves 40% Targeting

The first step in developing a successful direct mail campaign is defining your target audience. If you don’t target the right audience, your direct mail campaign will not resonate. As a result, you will not get the results you want.

To target the right audience, be sure to consider the following characteristics.

  • Demographics - e.g. age, income
  • Geography - e.g. city, neighbourhood
  • Life stage and lifestyle - e.g. new family, retired, etc.

For example, if you are a high-end travel agency or cruise line, you’ll likely want to reach a particular subset of people. More specifically, people who are interested in travel and have enough money to buy the services and experiences you offer. In this case, you may want to target the following homes with your direct mail campaign:

  • Married households
  • Age 50+High-income bracket
  • Interests that include travel

Man reads direct mail promotional offer sent using PostNow

40% Offering

How to design direct mail also relies heavily on the offer you include in your mail piece. More specifically, including a high-value and relevant offer is crucial to receiving a response from your audience. Craft your call to action carefully to ensure you hit it out of the park on this one.

To develop a strong CTA, ask yourself:

  • What action would you like consumers to take after receiving your mail? For example, you may want your audience to visit a website or scan a QR code.
  • Why should they take this action? This is why your CTA is so important - it must entice readers to do what you ask them to do.
  • How will you reward your customers for taking action? In exchange for taking action, you must offer your audience something in return. Unfortunately, many people forget this last part. But luckily, there are many different ways to encourage action. For example, you can offer your audience:
    • Discounts and specials
    • Exclusive info
    • Free gifts or samples
    • Loyalty points and more

Just remember, when creating an offer, don’t be a spammer! What we mean by this is - make sure that your offer is strong and relevant to your audience.

That said, it is also important that your pricing can sustain the offer. For instance, a buy one get one offer is great (and enticing) if you are promoting a pizza shop. However, it’s not such a good (or sustainable) offer if you are a realtor.

20% Design

Only 20% of your efforts should go towards creating an eye-pleasing visual design. This is surprising to many people learning how to design direct mail! Most believe design should be at the top of the list. However, that is not the case.

To help you develop the perfect mail piece, here are some design tips to keep in mind:

  • Create something that will resonate with your customers. For example, use images that they can relate to.
  • Design a mail piece that stands out in the mailbox. These days, mailboxes are full of promotional material. Thus, you want to make sure your mail piece will stand out. You can do this in several different ways. For example, by using high-quality paper and/or personalized messaging.
  • Be sure that the branding of the piece integrates well with your other marketing materials. This means using colours and visuals similar to your other marketing collateral. And, don’t forget your logo!

Mailbox in Edmonton, Alberta

Why is Design Only 20% of the Equation?

Now, you might be wondering why design is only 20% of the equation. To put it plainly - pretty goes far, but good targeting and enticing offers go farther.

Design is an important factor in how to design direct mail. However, if your targeting data is wrong or your offer is irrelevant, it doesn’t matter how pretty your mail piece is - you won’t get the results you’re looking for. Thus, design alone does not make for a successful mail campaign.

In fact, in the world of direct mail, even an ugly visual design can get results! That’s because the real key to success is to force engagement and action. Therefore, even if your direct mail looks ugly, if you have a solid offer and targeting that is on point, you’ve succeeded in developing a direct mail campaign that will stand out in the mailbox.

Woman familiar with how to design direct mail creates a mail campaign online with PostNow

Put Our Winning Direct Mail Design Strategies into Action with PostNow

Now that you know how to design direct mail successfully, it’s time to put words into action.

PostNow is an easy-to-use online platform for creating and sending top-notch direct mail campaigns. At the touch of a button, you can target the perfect audience, create a compelling offer and design your direct mail piece. Once you’re done, just hit order - and we’ll do the rest, including delivering your mail campaign to the homes you’ve specified.

Don’t have the time to devise a successful mail campaign yourself? Our direct mail design experts can create and send the perfect campaign to get your desired results.

Want to learn more about direct mail, see successful direct mail examples, and view a step-by-step demo of how to design direct mail using the PostNow tool?

Watch our full webinar on YouTube - Designing For Success & ROI.

Table of Contents
Primary Item (H2)
© Copyright PostNow 1997 - 2023
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram