7 Typography Mistakes You Can Easily Eliminate

Okay it’s true; I’m a typography nut. Now, I’m sharing with you what I consider the top seven type mistakes. Identifying and correcting these issues can help anyone improve the quality of their marketing materials and improve readability.

Setting typeOkay it’s true; I’m a typography nut. While attending Parson School of Design I had a type teacher, Margie Jones, who was fanatical about everything type — especially when it came to proper design and use of typography.

You could always tell who had Margie because our type in our other classes was always just a little better. Not from the obvious typography elements, but from the more subtle ones. So of course, when I started teaching at Parsons, I was equally crazy with my students about proper type design and use.

As my career progressed, I always found myself teaching not only my young creatives, but also my clients about type and its proper use. Now, I’m sharing with you what I consider the top seven type mistakes. Identifying and correcting these issues can help anyone improve the quality of their marketing materials and improve readability.

1. Double Space After a Period
This is one of my biggest pet peeves and a battle with many of my writer friends. We almost all grew up learning to place two spaces after a period/full-stop, but that practice is now considered outdated and unnecessary, and here’s why:

Back in the old days of typewriters the output was “fixed-width,” meaning every letter took up the same amount of space. The letter “l” took up the same amount of space as the letter “m” even though the “m” was much wider. This required the addition of two spaces after a period to visually make it clear you were at the end of a sentence.

Use one space after a period, not twoToday, almost all fonts are proportional. Each letter only takes as much space as it needs, thus, there’s no need to add the extra space as fonts are designed to have enough space.

2. Hyphens and Dashes
Hyphens and dashes are one of the most incorrectly used elements in written text. Most of us are not taught their proper use.

  • The hyphen ( – )
    The hyphen, or dash, is the shortest of the three and is used to combine words (e.g., road-side, well-being and short-term) and to separate numbers that are not inclusive (phone numbers and Social Security numbers, for example) or to hyphenate a word that does not fit on one line. Hyphenation is a topic for another day, and really deserves a post of its own.
  • The en dash ( – )
    The en dash is slightly longer than the hyphen. It’s actually the width of a typesetter’s letter “N” and simply means “through.” This through that.For example, to indicate inclusive dates: May 5 – June 7. Or for numbers: Chapter 16 – 20. Many people aren’t even aware the en dash even exists, as typographers used to set them automatically for us until the advent of word processing.
  • The em dash —
    The em dash is significantly longer than the hyphen and slightly longer than the en dash. The em dash is used to create a strong break in a sentence usually to emphasize what’s after it. It can also be used in pairs similar to parentheses — to highlight a word or phase — again for emphasis. However, you need to be careful not to overuse the em dash as you take away the importance you are trying to give that part of a sentence or phase.

While you should not use spaces before or after a hyphen, whether you do or don’t for en and em dashes is a bit more subjective. For instance, Target Marketing’s house style uses spaces before and after, but different publishers, and possibly even your clients, may choose not to. When in doubt, check the house style.

3. Quotes and Apostrophes
Many times when we copy and paste copy from one program to another, quotes and apostrophes will come across as straight marks or prime marks (see sample below).

Prime Marks or Inch and Feet Marks

Misuse of measurement marks instead of quote marksProper Typographic Quote and Apostrophe Marks

Proper use of quote marksThese marks are actually meant to indicate inches and feet. They’re not proper typographic quote and apostrophe marks — or as some call them “curly quotes.” But remember, you still should use prime or straight marks for indicating measurements of inches and feet.

Email Creative March Madness: Final Four

By now, you’re familiar with my Creative Cage Match posts, in which I throw two emails into the cage and one comes out a winner. Today, I’m going to mix up my sports metaphors to bring you: Email Creative March Madness.

By now, you’re familiar with my Creative Cage Match posts, in which I throw two emails into the cage and one comes out a winner. Today, I’m going to mix up my sports metaphors to bring you Email Creative March Madness.

March Madness Email Creative FInal Four competitorsSince launching Sass Marketing, I have hosted four Creative Cage Matches, which makes for a perfect mini-bracket. The winners from those four matches — the Final Four — are competing today head-on with NEW creative in two separate games. Then next Tuesday I’ll host the Email Creative March Madness National Championship.

There are five areas to score points, and scores are as follows:

  • 0 points: Dude you missed!
  • 2 points: Nice shot!
  • 3 points: You’re totally going pro!

Game 1: Food vs. Makeup
GrubHub was the winner of the first Creative Cage Match. Hailed as the “nation’s leading online and mobile food ordering company,” GrubHub’s original CCM performance impressed me with it’s multi-part drip campaign, sassy copy, entertaining design, and well-written subject lines and preheader text.

Gruhub St. Patrick's Day Creative Cage Match: March Madness EditionThis email, sent March 13, starts with the subject line: “Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Grubhub.” It’s to the point … and not much else. Surprisingly, despite preheaders of the past, this email skips it altogether. The St. Patrick’s day icons are whimsical and eye-catching, while keeping things from being too busy.

Possibly the best part of the email is that Grubhub identified a handful of restaurants near my apartment, and gave me a brief overview, including: restaurant name, cuisine, delivery charge, minimum order and address. Following each is a “View Menu” call-to-action button, as well as a photo of a menu item. I appreciate the quick “snapshot” that lets me make my ordering decision that much easier.

Grubhub’s Points
Subject line: 0
Preheader text: 0
Copy: 2
Call to action: 2
Overall design: 2
Total: 6 points

Up against Gruhub is Birchbox, the most recent Creative Cage Match winner who swept with its solid content marketing via email. This beauty subscription box loved by millions kept things simple and straightforward with its original winning email, letting the tutorial video do all the talking.

Birchbox April Box Preview Creative Cage Match: March Madness EditionI received this email on March 16, with the subject line: “Sneak Preview! Your April Box Options?” (Trust me, the hibiscus emoji wasn’t as huge as it’s displaying here).

As a Birchbox subscriber, this is exactly the kind of subject line I look for every month. The inclusion of the emoji was cute, and also a nice way to make the email stand out in a sea of black text (especially since it’s a brightly colored flower).

The preheader text echoes the subject line, but is personalized with my name: “Melissa, we’re revealing the customization options for your April Box.” It’s also a clickable link, taking you to the Web page that includes the monthly reveal video. The email design borrows a border from the Rifle Paper Co. Botanical Notebook + Notepad Set —  an April featured item — and includes a image of Lorelei and Rachel, two Birchbox ladies who subscribers are very used to seeing in our inboxes.

Birchbox’s copy, as usual, gets to the point, supporting the “Reveal My Choices” call-to-action button. I mean, seriously … who’s going to pass up clicking through and finding out more info?!

Birchbox’s Points
Subject line: 2
Preheader text: 3
Copy: 2
Call to action: 2
Overall design: 2
Total: 11 points

Gruhub vs. Birchbox Final Score: 6 to 11

Oh wow … we have a clear winner in Game 1, with Birchbox wiping up the court with Grubhub. It was the subject line and preheader that provided the clear advantage in this situation.

The Order Card: It’s Your Cash Register

The order card is your close, your ring of the cash register. Your design should maximize revenue and/or response potential. Order cards need to be simple, clear and single-mindedly focused. And in print, especially, give people enough space to fill it out. We’ve all had that form that required us to write in a microscopic space.

My previous post discussed how many people often do not put enough time or creativity into their order cards and landing pages.  I hear too often “it’s just the order card.” It’s a shame. This is a critical component — think of it as your cash register, where the sale is closed. You can easily lose a sale if the order device is difficult to figure out, hard to complete, and unclear what to do next.

The order card is your close, your ring of the cash register. Your design should maximize revenue and/or response potential. Order cards need to be simple, clear and single-mindedly focused. And in print, especially, give people enough space to fill it out. We’ve all had that form that required us to write in a microscopic space.

13 Design Considerations to Optimize Your Order Cards
Some of this will sound familiar as they are similar to what I suggested you do on a landing page — but paper is not a screen and requires even more effort to get it right and make it easy.

1. Roadmap the page: The layout is even more critical in print. Create a clear path for your customers to follow. This could mean numbering your steps (probably the easiest way) to lead a person through the process. It should be obvious where to go and what you want them to do step by step.

2. Give them enough space to write: This is one of my pet peeves. One of the fastest ways to stop a sale: don’t give enough room to write. If you need to squeeze an order card, your first thought should be why. If it’s because of the format you are using, seriously consider changing it.

Are you asking for unneeded information? Remember, giving enough space will also help you to process the order as you’ll be able to more easily read what they write.

Planner Pad Order Card3. Clear headline/label: Have a headline that makes it clear it’s the order form. This could be as simple as calling it the “Order Form” or “Reservation Certificate.” It’s also a great area to test. Trying different headlines or labels could help lift your response rate.

4. Auto-complete/personalize forms: I’m always surprised that this is not a standard. If you have to give up personalization on a piece in your package, lose it on your letter. Use your order form as the addressing vehicle and personalize the order form. The less work recipients have to do, the sooner they’ll have their order in the mail.

5. Use check boxes: Make it easy to make selections. Check boxes or circles indicate prospects might need to make a choice and helps people through the form. I go out of my way to find a way to do this. On a complicated order form, this can be a great way to make it feel simple.

6. Use contrasting colors: Color can be a powerful tool to help roadmap your form and make it clear where they need to pay attention. It can also be used to help with choice selection, highlight upsells and emphasize bonus areas — all of which can dramatically improve responses and order size.

12 Design Considerations for Optimized Landing Pages

“It’s just the order card.” I hear this all the time from young creatives and marketers alike. This can be one of the most overlooked parts for a campaign, direct mail package and/or landing page. Yet it shouldn’t be.

“It’s just the order card.” I hear this all the time from young creatives and marketers alike. This can be one of the most overlooked parts for a campaign, direct mail package and/or landing page. Yet it shouldn’t be. That’s your cash register — where you can lose a sale if the messaging is difficult to figure out, hard to complete, and unclear what to do next.

Let’s dive into digital order forms and explore some best practices for how you can design landing pages that will help close the sale instead of frustrating your page visitors.

12 Design Considerations to Optimize Your Landing Pages
1. Roadmap the page:
The layout is critical. Create a clear path for your customers to follow. It should be obvious where to go and what you want them to do step by step.

2. Hit them in the face with a frying pan: Don’t be clever or cute. Be obvious. You have only a few seconds before they get confused, frustrated, lost or simply change their mind.

3. Deliver a clear page headline: Have a headline that clearly spells out the purpose of the page. Place it at the top as the start of your page roadmap.

4. Use visual cues: People “read” pictures faster than words. So be sure to include your logo, a picture of your product, your call to action (CTA) button, color blocks and containers.

Critical Mention Landing Page5. Remove the clutter: Ask yourself “Does it really need to be there?” Is it helping the customer or simply confusing them? Is it visual clutter? It’s either a yes or a no. “Maybe” is always a no.

6. Use contrasting colors: Color can be a powerful tool. It can help you roadmap your page and make it clear where users need to pay attention. This is most important when it comes to your information collection and your CTA.

7. Remove navigation: Don’t give them an out, or a chance to navigate elsewhere. You want them to focus on your landing page.

8. Add sharing: Add your social media links and/or a share button. This can definitely increase your traffic and results. Be obvious, but subtle. You don’t want these icons to overpower your call to action.

9. Use credibility and trust symbols: If you have TV or media endorsements, use their logos on your page — but remember to keep them small and subdued. They are valuable as credibility and support, but are not the point of your landing page. Same with a testimonial from a credible client. Use them sparingly and as a support element.

Smart Sheet Landing Page10. Use normal conventions: Do not reinvent the wheel. Visitors understand normal conventions and look for them. It will help them move quickly through your forms and get to your CTA.

11. Remember mobile is taking over: Your landing page must be easy to view and complete on a smart phone and tablet.

12. Test. Test. Test. These are just guidelines. You need to continuously A/B test the elements of your design for maximum results. As they say, your mileage my vary.

Remember the key to effective landing pages is simplicity and clarity. The design of your landing pages must lead the visitor through the page, culminating on them hitting the CTA button.

Creative Cage Match: Bicycling Magazine vs. GrubHub

There’s a reason that pro-wrestling is so popular — and it’s not just the juicy drama and bespangled costumes. People love a good fight, and have for millennia, dating back to the gladiators of Rome and beyond. For the inaugural Creative Cage Match, let’s see how a consumer cycling publication can fare against a food service app and website.

There’s a reason that pro-wrestling is so popular — and it’s not just the juicy drama and bespangled costumes. People love a good fight, and have for millennia, dating back to the gladiators of Rome and beyond.

So, once a month I’m going to select two marketers and toss them into a Creative Cage Match. I’ll be looking at everything ranging from email to direct mail, website to mobile site. It’ll be a mix of objective and subjective, and each time a  marketer will walk out of the ring triumphantly.

For the inaugural Creative Cage Match, let’s see how a consumer cycling publication can fare against a food service app and website.

In this corner, weighing in as the “world’s leading cycling media brand since 1961,” you have Bicycling Magazine, published by Rodale. Providing 1.9 million magazine readers and 1.6 million-plus website visitors with top cycling news, reviews, tips and more, Bicycling Magazine is a pretty hefty contender.

In the opposite corner, hailing as the “nation’s leading online and mobile food ordering company,” stands GrubHub, connecting millions of hungry diners with more than 35,000 restaurants in 900+ U.S. cities and London. This powerhouse processes close to  220,100 orders daily, on average (that’s alotta hungry people!)

Email vs. Email
Bicycling Magazine offers a plethora of digital products, ranging from Bicycling Newsletter to Mountain Bike Newsletter, as well as Bicycling Special Offers and Bicycling Partner Offers.

I personally receive Bicycling Newsletter and signed up for the special offer promotional emails. While the newsletter contains good articles, the look is pretty … blah.

Bicycling's Oct. 23 E-newsletter
Note: This email is cropped since it’s a bit of a scroller, but trust me, you’re not missing much.

Don’t get me wrong, I like white space, but this is … stark. And the border boxes with rounded edges are a bit dated. There’s only a few images, which I feel is another letdown. This is cycling! There are lots of great images of bikes, and even a few well-placed stock photos would be fine.

A Tale of 3 Speaker Promos

After a little bit of a rant in my last entry, I’m going to reel it in this week with something a little more objective: the stages of one of our virtual event HTMLs, and a simple creative test.

Target Marketing and its sister publications do a number of events each year, both virtual and physical. Often, at least one of our promotional efforts will focus on the lineup of speakers featured at the event.

While we always enlist highly qualified expert speakers for our events, we were finding that these emails didn’t seem to pull in the highest registration numbers. Clearly, a re-design was in order.

Design 1

Design 1 was nice, but it was a little cluttered, a little busy, and didn’t really let our speakers shine. This promotion earned a .5 percent click rate and only 1.2 percent of those who opened actually registered for the event. Not the most effective.

Design 2

For our next round of events, we tried out design 2. We opted for a cleaner design, a little more to-the-point for sure. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to dig up the exact stats on this guy, somehow I let them slip into the void. (Bad marketer, bad!) Suffice it to say, it did a little better than its predecessor, but not by much. Enter re-design number 3….

Design 3

This year, we rolled out design 3. We made a series of improvements this time: we brightened the colors, eliminated the dead space, ix-nayed the pre-amble at the top, and most importantly, we blew up the headshots to make them the undeniable focus of the promotion. You can’t see it here, but we also had each separate headshot linking to the speaker’s bio page.

Just before we dropped the email, a colleague had a thought: why not also include the topic each speaker will cover at the show? Brilliant. We decided to do an A/B test to find out if the extra info would make a difference. Version 1 just listed the usual name/title/company under each speaker, while version 2 listed their session topic in orange.

Overall, this promotion absolutely did better than the ones that came before, even the “losing” version. The results?

Version 1 (no topics) earned a .6 percent click rate and 5.5 percent opens to registration conversion.

Version 2 (with topics) was the winner by a hair, with a .7 percent click rate and 7 percent conversion. A clear victory for the design itself, and another small nudge thanks to giving the recipients a taste of what the speakers would be presenting.

Of course, there’s always room for improvement. I’ve noticed that it isn’t immediately clear exactly what the orange text is referring to– it takes a few extra seconds of scrutiny to make the connection, which as we all know, can be a crucial window of time. Things to adjust for next time.

In the meantime, chalk this one up as a successful evolution. Third time’s a charm!

Get Your Direct Mail Noticed

Direct mail is not effective if recipients do not read it. The first thing that your direct mail needs to do is to get noticed in the mailbox. This can be a real challenge. Direct mail is a very effective tool when done correctly. The golden rule is list, design, and offer, generally in that order. However, if you stop to think about it, there is a reason for the golden rule. You need to send mail to the people who will want it, so there is your list. You then need to design an appealing piece and you need to provide them with a good offer. So assuming that you are mailing to the right people, you now need a design to get noticed.

Direct mail is not effective if recipients do not read it. The first thing that your direct mail needs to do is to get noticed in the mailbox. This can be a real challenge. Direct mail is a very effective tool when done correctly. The golden rule is list, design, and offer, generally in that order. However, if you stop to think about it, there is a reason for the golden rule. You need to send mail to the people who will want it, so there is your list. You then need to design an appealing piece and you need to provide them with a good offer. So assuming that you are mailing to the right people, you now need a design to get noticed.

Here are five ideas to get your direct mail campaign noticed:

  1. Variable Data Messaging: Target your message to the individual or to grouped personas. The better targeted the message the more likely they are to respond. This can be as simple as a tagline on an envelope or as complex as variable images and text.
  2. Use Color Envelopes: Color is inviting and not used often enough. Your envelope will get opened because it is unique. There are many standard colors available that do not drastically increase your costs. Keep in mind some colors are not USPS approved, so contact your mail service provider to make sure you stay within postal regulations.
  3. Use Stamps: Many direct mail pieces use indicias for postage. There is a stamp available for each postage class. In most cases they can be affixed by machine so you should not see a drastic increase in cost by using stamps. Stamps are seen as more personal and therefore more important.
  4. Use Larger Pieces: You can use up to a 6 x 10.5 self-mailer or a 6.125 x 11.5 postcard and still pay the lower letter size postage rate. Take advantage of that. Larger pieces get noticed. If you do not mind the postage cost increase, you can go even larger at a flat size postage rate. Your mail service provider can help you choose what will work best for you.
  5. Add Fun Taglines: Get your recipients excited about what they are going to find in the envelope. You can use color ink to make the tagline pop and even change the angle. It’s okay to be funny if you can do so while keeping with your brand image and the theme of your marketing piece.

Remember to change only one thing at a time, so that when you are analyzing your results you will be able to see if the change you made has increased your response. It would be best to have a control group of what you always have done, and then split off a segment to try the new piece with. This will give you the most accurate results and allow you to make adjustments with each campaign.

Direct Mail Design: Copy

At this point, after you have looked at the layout and color/images in the last two blog posts, you should have a general idea of what you want your direct mail to look like. There is another important factor that goes with your design, and that is the copy. Words have the power to inspire, empower and create desire

At this point, after you have looked at the layout and color/images in the last two blog posts, you should have a general idea of what you want your direct mail to look like. There is another important factor that goes with your design, and that is the copy.

Words have the power to inspire, empower and create desire. Direct mail marketing is especially vulnerable to a bad choice of words. The visual design catches their eye, but if the words do not convince them to take action, you will not get the desired response.

With that in mind, let’s look at the top five list of the best words to use in direct mail:

  1. Free: Who doesn’t love free stuff? This is very eye catching and sucks people in. We all want a good deal and nothing is a better deal than free.
  2. Amazing: We all want the best things, and if it’s amazing we have to have it!
  3. Discover: This is a challenge to find out new information. It makes us curious and we want to know more.
  4. Easy: These days we all need easy. There is just not enough time in the day to get things done. Whenever it can be easier it’s a good idea.
  5. You: It’s all about the recipient! What is in it for them? There should be lots of “You”s in the copy to show them all the great things that will happen to them when they buy from you.

On the other end of the spectrum, do not use these top five words to avoid in direct mail:

  1. Expensive: Duh! Who buys expensive stuff? We all want a deal!
  2. Charge: This word just makes me cringe! I don’t want to be charged! I want a positive, charge is negative.
  3. Price: It is never about the price! Do not even speak of it! It is about what you are doing for the recipient, like saving them time, money, headaches and so on.
  4. Cost: Just like price and charge, this is a turn off because you are focused on a negative.
  5. Sign: This is a real commitment it we have to sign for it. What if we are not ready? Think of ways to attract people, not scare them off.

These are by far not the only best and worst words to use, but they’ll give you a good start. When creating the copy for your campaign, be sure to consider how each word builds toward your message and call to action. Your call to action is the most important part. You need to give the recipient a reason to respond and how to respond.

Wonderful words mean nothing if they don’t drive the correct response. Tell your recipients exactly what you want them to do. Then provide them with multiple ways to do it. Keep in mind that we all have mobile devices with us 24/7, so you should allow for responses from tablets and cell phones. You will need your landing pages and website to have responsive design to accommodate this, but it will pay off for you big time. You can contact your mail service provider for help with the design, copy and pitfalls to avoid.

Direct Mail Design: Color

Designing for direct mail can be broken up into three segments: layout, color/images and copy. Since these can all be real challenges, we will take on each section in depth in separate posts to give you a better understanding and some ideas, as well as tips to get you started on the path to a great direct mail piece. Now let’s look at Section 2: Color.

Designing for direct mail can be broken up into three segments: layout, color/images and copy. Since these can all be real challenges, we will take on each section in depth in separate posts to give you a better understanding and some ideas, as well as tips to get you started on the path to a great direct mail piece.

Section 2: Color
Color, imagery and texture can greatly enhance the mail piece experience. Sometimes picking colors and images can be a challenge as well. How do you know what colors to choose? How should you pick the right images?

Here are eight colors and some of the meanings behind them:

  1. Red: Commands attention, alerts us, creates sense of urgency, risk, danger and aggressiveness.
  2. Yellow: Sunshine hue, spiritual color, represents warning, happiness, warmth, bright shades can be irritable to the eye in large quantities, often used to highlight or draw attention.
  3. Green: Money, nature, environmental concerns, freedom, healing and tranquility, is calming, refreshing, easy on the eyes.
  4. Blue: Suggests fiscal responsibility, inspires confidence, darker shades are authoritative, dark and bright shades represent trust, security, dignity, paler shades imply freshness and cleanliness.
  5. Orange: Warmth, instills sense of fun and excitement, implies health, cheer, makes product seem more affordable.
  6. White: Associated with innocence, purity, peace and contentment, considered clean and sterile, cool and refreshing, can have a calming, stabilizing influence.
  7. Black: Ultimate power color, suggests strength, authority, boldness, seriousness, stability and elegance, distinguished and classic, too much can be ominous.
  8. Brown: Associated with nature and the earth, associated with warmth and coziness, suggests richness, politeness, helpfulness and effectiveness, solid, credible.

Now that you have a basic idea of what the colors can mean, sit down and decide which colors and combinations are going to add impact to your layout. We discussed the layout in section one, feel free to review that again by clicking here.

After picking your colors, you need to decide on your images. Carefully consider your message as you approach design. The images you choose should not conflict with your message or your brand. Make sure to show the images to people outside the organization to see if they make the same associations you do.

Here are five things to consider when selecting images:

  1. Do not use images of just the product. Include people and real settings for a more realistic and connected approach.
  2. Match the emotional tone of the design to the emotion conveyed in the image.
  3. Images should not conflict with your color scheme.
  4. Select images that convey your message so that you can use less text.
  5. Include your logo. You need to always reaffirm the brand by using the logo.

So by making color and image choices that complement each other you are on your way to a great mail piece. When conflicts arise between different elements in the design of direct mail it can be a confusing message for the recipient. This ultimately means you mail is going in the trash and you wasted your money. Clear and concise elements that work together to for your message are key to getting the increase in your ROI.

Direct Mail Design: Layout

Designing for direct mail can be broken up into three segments: layout, color/images and copy. Since this can be a real challenge, we will take on each section in depth to give you a better understanding and some ideas as well as tips to get you started on the path to a great direct mail piece. To start, let’s talk about the layout.

Designing for direct mail can be broken up into three segments: layout, color/images and copy. Since these can all be real challenges, we will take on each section in depth in separate posts to give you a better understanding and some ideas, as well as tips to get you started on the path to a great direct mail piece.

Section One: Layout
So you need to design your next direct mail campaign and are having trouble with ideas. Sometimes the best ideas in direct mail design have already been used.

The first thing you can do is look at the mail that comes to your home or business (or check out some mailpieces at WhosMailingWhat.com). Are there examples that stand out to you? There is no shame in taking a direct mail piece that you received and making it your own. Of course, sometimes the opposite is true and you get inspired by a really horrible piece.

Here are eight questions to ask yourself as you are contemplating design layout:

  1. What pieces do you like best? What about co-workers and family?
    This base will provide you with enough information and perspectives to start.
  2. Does a certain design function better than another?
    Practicality and mail ability are both big factors here. Making sure ahead of time what will work for the post office and what won’t is a real time and money saver.
  3. How were images or color used to draw your attention?
    Note each one and how you feel or interpret what they are trying to convey. Does it compliment the message or detract from it and why?
  4. What language was used to get you curious?
    Analyzing the word structure and your reaction to it is a great way to identify what your word choices should be.
  5. Was the offer compelling?
    Sometimes the offer may be compelling, but if it is not what you are interested or already have it, you will not buy it. Targeting your messaging to the correct audience is key.
  6. Were the important points and call to action organized and clear?
    This is very important, you can really learn what to do and not to do by looking at the offer you receive.
  7. What types of response mechanisms were available?
    The more the better. Include as many as you can and make sure some of them are mobile. People are using tablets and phones for most of their search and buying needs. Plus, you will benefit from instant gratification. They want it now!
  8. How can you make this piece better?
    Make a list of all the things you would change and why. Have others do the same and compare notes. You will gain insight into how your piece should look.

When designing your mail piece, are you taking all of these factors into consideration? Have you looked at your piece through the eyes of your recipient? Remember there needs to be a very strong “what’s in it for me?” for your prospects/customers.

Have someone outside of your organization look at your layout to make sure the message you are trying to convey is coming through. Direct mail is very visual and tactile; you need to capitalize on that.