By Ryan Cote, Director of Marketing, The Ballantine Corporation
1. Customers prefer the look of foil over paper by 16%. Increase your response rates by using silver or hologram labels.
2. Choice depresses response. People are already faced with the choice to respond to a direct mail piece or not, so to give them a choice of offer, a choice of premium or any other thing that makes them stop and think, they are that much more likely to set the piece aside to deal with it later and never get back to it. You have 15 seconds as they are poised with their mail over the trash can to make an impression, so if they take the time to actually read your piece, you want them to immediately say “YES!,” not “I wonder which would be better?” That being said, the one place where choice does help close a deal is to give the recipient a choice of how to respond –via mail, phone, online, or even fax. Make it convenient for them to say YES and your response rate will improve!
3. Many clients come to us with existing corporate identity that is limited to one or two pantone colors contained in their logo. When designing 4/color work for these clients, it is helpful to “extend” the palette. Using their existing chips as the core for the primary palette, arrange additional chips which extend this primary palette to 4 – 6 colors. These should match the core colors in balance and intensity. Lastly, find swatches that compliment one another and envision this palette working within your design.
4. Some of the most attractive designs are built around a great photo or illustration. When selecting imagery, good designers will always read the copy. Images should support the copy and visually communicate the concept. Gratuitous imagery, while adding visual interest to a design, will usually “muddy” the communication if not tied in some way to the copy. The one exception to this would be the use of backgrounds to add depth and texture overall. Lastly, try to
find different and interesting ways to crop photos/illustrations in a layout, i.e. get out of the “box.”
5. White space is your friend! Yes, it’s true… When your audience’s attention needs to be captured within seconds, there’s nothing like a message or image that’s crystal clear and easy to read. Try expanding a piece to multi-page rather than cramming everything into your design. Less visual noise = more visual power.
6. Create your own brand guidelines. Consistency and frequency is key to successful design and marketing. Start with a general set of rules that define even just the basics: color palette; font style; and size and the type of imagery used. When used consistently over the long haul it becomes an extremely important and effective tool.
7. Be inspired. When you see something that is visually appealing – clip it, bookmark it, file it, and remember it. Realize what made you stop when you first saw it…did it make you smile? Did it get you thinking? Don’t be afraid to use your emotions in your design tactics to create your own inspiring piece.
—Source: Ballantine Corporation Direct Marketing Tip Sheet (www.ballantine.com/tip-sheet/ballantine-pdf.pdf). Ryan Cote is the Director of Marketing for the Ballantine Corporation. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.