11 Shades of Direct Mail Color Strategy

The use of color in direct mail is very important. The right colors can increase your response rates. Why is direct mail color so important? It is a powerful communication tool, because color evokes feeling within us and ignites emotion.

The use of color in direct mail is very important. The right colors can increase your response rates. Why is direct mail color so important? It is a powerful communication tool, because color evokes feeling within us and ignites emotion.

In direct mail, we want to use the right set of colors to drive response. It does not matter if you are sending a letter in an envelope, a postcard or a self-mailer, all direct mail pieces are affected by color choices. Color is what people notice first without ev,en realizing it. So how can you use colors to increase your direct mail response rates?

Direct Mail Color and Feelings

  1. Red: When you choose to use this color, you are conveying messages that are exciting, passionate, dangerous, energetic, or action-oriented.
  2. Blue: This color invokes feelings of harmony, peace, stability, calm, and trust.
  3. Green: This is the nature color, so it gives off feelings such as growth, generosity, fertility, and health.
  4. Yellow: The sunshine color is happiness, positivity, optimism, and fun.
  5. Pink: This color gives feelings of femininity, playfulness, immaturity, and unconditional love.
  6. Orange: This interesting color gives people the feelings of creativity, adventure, success, balance, and enthusiasm.
  7. White: You may think of white as a non-color, but it invokes emotions such as innocence, goodness, humility, and cleanliness.
  8. Purple: This royal color makes us feel power, nobility, luxury, spirituality, and wisdom.
  9. Black: This color gives the feelings of mystery, power, sophistication, and elegance.
  10. Brown: This color feels like comfort, security, and being down-to-earth.
  11. Grey: This less commonly used color represents neutrality and balance.

There are a few things to note in selecting colors for direct mail campaigns. First, colors can be perceived differently, and some people are color blind. Second, the meanings listed above may vary from person-to-person, based on their own experiences. However, the vast majority of people see the meanings listed above when they look at the colors. Also, keep in mind that these meanings are based on studies in the United States. If you send mail to other countries, you should check to see what the colors mean to them.

Do your current mail pieces convey the feelings you intended? Brighter colors are more energetic and can invoke a quicker response. Make sure you are incorporating white space in your design to give the reader a less-crowded look and a less-anxious feel. When contrasting colors, make sure they complement each other.

As with any direct mail design changes, test your colors. Split your list in half and send half of your list one prominent color, while sending the other half another color. See which one gets a better response. Did you know that 93% of buyers focus on the visual appearance of your direct mail pieces and they base a big chunk of their decisions on it? So choosing the right color and the right offer will really drive response. Are you ready to get started?

Visually Appealing Direct Mail

With all of the election mail this year, we have been overexposed to many mailers with too much going on. Yes, images are necessary, as is text, but when you oversaturate a large mailer, it turns into only noise — and noise goes in the trash. So I would like us all to consider: How can we get our message across while using blank space to our advantage?

beach and tropical seaWhy are we afraid of blank space in our direct mail? More and more of the mail I receive is crowded with text and images. I am overwhelmed visually, and I am willing to bet that most people are. With all of the election mail this year, we have really been overexposed to many mailers with too much going on. Yes, images are necessary, as is text, but when you oversaturate a large mailer, it turns into only noise — and noise goes in the trash. So I would like us all to consider: How can we get our message across while using blank space to our advantage?

Rather than call it blank space, I prefer to think of it as the space in-between, because really that’s what it is. It’s between images, between copy and between your call-to-action. It opens up our mind as a peaceful place between thoughts. It’s calming and refreshing to have that in-between space for a breath, as preparation for what is to come next. Our brains need that little downtime to organize and digest what we see.

Here’s how to create the space in-between:

Images

Select one or two images for the mailer. When sizing them, make them large enough for comprehension while allowing for space between the image and the copy.

Copy

Do not put copy over the images. Use bullet points and bolding to draw attention to your concise copy. Mailers are not letters — do not get too wordy. Allow for space between lines and use an open font instead of a compressed one.

CalltoAction

This needs to be in its own area with plenty of space around it to stand out. Get right to the point: What do your customers/prospects need to do? Make sure to tell them.

Color

The color(s) you choose for your mail piece is very important. You need them to work together with your copy and images to convey your message. Don’t go crazy with a ton of colors — pick a theme and have that guide your choices. When trying to create blank space you can use color, but keep it mild so when it is combined with open-spaced copy you are not overwhelming the visual senses.

The whole point of your mailer is to get people to respond. When you turn people off with too many images, too much copy or over-the-top colors, your mailer is ineffective.

With digital marketing always in our faces flashing images and endless pop-ups, it is refreshing to get mail pieces that are not scattered all over the place, but focused on one clear message. These mail pieces get acted upon. Create these pieces for your next campaign.

In no way am I saying that your mail piece needs to be boring — in fact I believe the opposite. You need to grab attention in a good way. By adding space between your attention-grabbing images and focused copy, you are able to draw attention to the right areas of your mailer. No one is getting lost or confused by what they see.

Still not swayed? Sample a test piece with added space against your current piece to see what works better for you.

You want people to remember your message and act on it. Have you had really successful direct mail? What has worked really well for you?