Direct mail is one of the world’s most respected advertising programs, a spin-off from hard text ads from magazines. Taken aback by almost all pure science through focused list management and refined copying techniques, it remains an incredibly effective way of branding, discovery and storage.
Advertising agencies know what works and what doesn’t. Those who specialize in direct email production often work specifically with direct email, and have teams of writers, art directors and designers working together to produce comprehensive campaigns.
Non-Agency Design Design Tips
For a lonely freelancer who may have no agency experience, there are some guidelines for removing your design and helping your client see solid results.
1. Color – Use It, But Use It Well.
A buyer who opens an envelope to obtain a white sheet of paper with blocks of black text on a circular file invitation. Consider using the color scheme in the articles. Try borders, gradients, and even images if the design is full color. It would make the piece look limited to “direct email,” but 99.99% of the time, the buyer knew how to open a book anyway.
2. Check Beyond Character Size.
To make the piece more interesting, and if you can not squeeze a few dollars into the budget, try exceeding the 8.5 “x11”. Maybe a little better – 7 “x10”? Or push harder – go to the official size and distribute the items even more.
3. Smart Typography.
This point is really different. First, make the copy of the article interesting and second, make the copy of the body more readable. Reading is very important – people need to take a paper and quickly understand the content by scanning. Getting the student to roll his eyes, turn the paper over, or often force him to think of words will quickly put them off. Serif fonts are best for physical reading. Keep the point size decent, about 11 or 12, with good leads to help scan without interruption.
4. Murmur Points. Divide the sections into short, dotted points that highlight features and benefits. Students will receive this information better than categories.
5. Break it. If the document goes back and forth, it breaks the copy in the middle of the sentence. This helps to repeat that there is more to learn, and makes them more inclined to continue reading.
6. Change the text. Use italics and bolds to highlight key words. Don’t go for less that your full potential – at least three or four bold ones.
7. Make the copy of the PostScript final and readable.
Try handwriting font to be more confident.
8. Get rid of Clipart. Unless the image confirms an important point in the copy, avoid it. Do not use random shinies or tacky clipart. It distorts what is important (copy) and can confuse the masses. Save stock photos for your next PowerPoint presentation.
9. Pay attention to logging. If it works with a title, or if it belongs to a home company (Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson), it may be appropriate in advance. However, a logo or alphabet cannot compete with the title, as the title – not the logo – will lead the reader to a physical copy.
For projects like these, the content is king. This is important to understand. Even the best design can’t save a bad copy, and the best copy can’t save a bad title.
There are also many, many important points about copying specific email characters that designers should know. Short sentences, short words, clear and concise language, clear call to action (most importantly) and a copy showing the benefits to the customer, not telling them about the company, are all very important. If you are self-employed, you may find yourself being asked to review or edit a copy, and raising a client’s concerns before the piece is presented will be more beneficial than a failed project in the real world.
As a designer, your job is not to copy. But staying aware of what constitutes an effective sales copy will enhance your delivered product.
Final Tip: Three Most Readed Things (in Sequence):
2. First sentence
Making working characters requires something I like to call “ninja design.” The design should improve writing but convey clarity; the design should make the reader aware of the content, not the avant-garde color palette and intricate theme font. It should not appear when it is present but it should not be present when it is removed. It should be used for commercial purposes, but not for glorification.