When designing your direct-mail piece, you want to be as user- or recipient-friendly as possible. You also want the post office to find the address easily and expedite your mail. Following are a few things to consider when planning your mail package.
- Will the address show clearly? Black or dark type on a white or light background is the best option.
- Is there space for the nine-digit (carrier route) ZIP code?
- Keep the envelope size within the post office limits so you don’t need to put on extra postage.
- If you’re using a letter, does the paper match the envelope?
- Are you folding the letter copy-in or copy-out?
- Make sure any response or order form fits easily in the reply envelope.
- Are any perforations easy to tear and positioned correctly?
- Does any personalization line up perfectly with the envelope window?
- How does the piece look when it’s folded?
- If you’re using a window envelope, make sure there’s enough room for the postal barcode.
- If you’re doing a larger mailing, does your design conform to most inserting machines?
- Is there a return envelope for any remittance? Who pays the postage?
- Is your envelope easy for the recipient to open?
- Did you check and recheck all copy for spelling and grammar mistakes?
- Did you check and recheck any prices?
- Are your headline and hook phrase easily seen?
If you’re sending only a few hundred to a couple thousand pieces, you can design your own copy on your computer. For larger mailings, you may want to hire a graphic designer with experience in direct mail. You should talk to more than one and review some of their work. Fees can vary quite a bit, but the cheapest is not always the best. See how many other projects the designer is working on and whether he or she can meet your mailing deadline.
If you like two different designs, consider using both and dividing your target list in half. Answering all these questions and checking everything in advance will save you headaches and mailer’s remorse in the future. So, do your preparation before you spend any valuable marketing money.