Design Guidlines

Mail Piece Design Guidelines


These mail piece design guidelines apply equally to both EDDM and TDM mailings.

⇒ Define Your Audience


Who is most likely to be interested in your product or service? Chances are, they’re a lot like your current customers. Use their characteristics as a model for a mailing list.Start with your customer base.

    • Conduct a simple survey to learn about customers’ tastes.
    • Pay attention to characteristics such as age and income.
    • Look at your records, sales slips, invoices and delivery information. These tell you who your customers are, what they buy, how often they shop, and how much they spend.

⇒ Target Your Audience


Save money and reduce environmental impact by pursuing your best prospects-why spend money on people not likely to buy? You can carefully determine the characteristics of your audience, tailor your message to match their needs and interests, and increase the chances that they’ll act on your offer.

⇒ Design Effectively


The design of your direct mail piece gets attention and helps prospects understand your message. Keep these elements in mind…

    • Visualize your audience: picture your ideal customers and how your product or service fits into their lives when looking for images.
    • Keep your layout clean, airy, and simple.
    • How does my product or service benefit these customers?
    • Keep in mind — how is my product or service unique?
    • Choose a standard format size-these are more cost-effective to print and mail.
    • Allow only one element (headline or visual) to dominate the page.
    • If you have a logo, give it prominence so people know the message is from you.
    • Limit yourself to one or two fonts: Use large, bold type for headlines and smaller, easy-to-read type for text.
    • Call attention to benefits or important information with bold statements or bullet points.
    • Make a compelling offer (see below).
    • Make sure the call-to-action is easy to find and read (see below).
    • Make it easy to respond – prominently display your phone number other contact information.

⇒ Include Relevant Images


A strategically positioned photo or illustration can work wonders for your mailpiece, and it’s a great way to show off your featured product or service. Grab a digital camera and photograph your product, buy illustrations and photos from stock photography web sites for reasonable rates, or consider using royalty-free art.

Try using related-but still relevant-images to create a mood for your mailing. For example, instead of just showing a bouquet, a florist could show a smiling couple admiring a bouquet to express the joy flowers bring.

⇒ Write Clearly


Get the point across with the right delivery.

You’ve got a great story to tell-now all you need are the right words. While you don’t have to be a professional writer to develop your message, there’s a subtle art to fine-tuning what you say in order to make it sell.

Follow these steps to craft an effective message:

    • Visualize your audience. Who are they? How does your product or service appeal to their needs?
    • Write to this individual in a conversational tone; your message should sound as if it’s coming from a friend.
    • Make the message about the recipient; use “you” more than “I” or “we.”
    • Focus on benefits: What will this person or business get from using your product or service? How will it make them feel?
    • Highlight your offer.
    • Include a clear and compelling call-to-action: What you want your audience to do.
    • Create a sense of urgency by including an expiration date on an offer.
    • Use proper grammar and avoid jargon.
    • Write clearly and concisely.
    • Proofread.

⇒ Make a Compelling Offer or Important Announcement


The right incentive is hard to pass up.

To increase responses rates, your mailing might highlight a special offer. An offer will not only help you track the number of calls you get because of the direct mail, its expiration date will help create a sense of urgency. Base the offer on who you’re targeting, whether it’s existing customers you’d like to see again, potential new customers who can benefit from your products or services, or a whole new market. Look through incentives you’ve received in the mail, and check out offers in newspapers and stores. Which were appealing and memorable; which seemed too good to be true?

Examples of Compelling Offers or Important Announcements…

      Discounts
    • $10 Off Dinner of $35 or more
    • $10 Off a PC Tune-up ($75 Value)
    • 10% Off Any Service
      BOGO-Type Offers
    • Buy One Get One Free
    • Buy One, Get Second For Half Price
    • Buy 5 Hot Dogs, Get 1 Free
    • Buy 3 Tires, Get the 4th Free
      Free Offers
    • Free Stump Grinding With Tree Removal
    • Free Quote With Ad

      Reduced Price Offers
    • $6 Child’s Haircut with Coupon (Normally $9)
    • $7.99 Large Pizza With Ad (Normally $10.99)
    • 1 Month Unlimited Tanning – $15.95
      Announce Special Events
    • Grand Opening Sale – June 1st
    • Spring Merchandise Closeout Sale – July 1-15
    • Save The Date — Special Event with Discounts
    • Watch For Our New Website and Welcome Offer
      Announce New Services or Hours
    • Now Offering Handyman Services
    • Open Saturdays 8AM-1PM During Summer

⇒ Include a Call-to-Action


The call-to-action tells your audience how they can respond to your offer. Once a customer is interested, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to do business with you.

The components of your call-to-action are the what, where, how, and when of your offer:

    • Relate to the audience.
    • What are you offering or selling?
    • Where is it available?
    • How can a customer acquire it?
    • When does the offer expire?
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