The Tips and Tricks of Design: Elevating Your Direct Mail Campaign

Creating a lasting impression on potential and current customers is what truly counts in today’s fast-paced world of marketing. Direct mail has cemented itself as a powerful tool, with 35% of consumers having made a purchase, a payment or donation in the past year as a result of receiving a piece of direct mail. Its commendable success is often attributed to effective design strategies.

David Beasley, director at Washington Direct Mail said: “Direct mail has a significant advantage to digital marketing in that it’s tangible, and marketers can play with the design in a more captivating way while offering customers something they can keep, especially if executed right.

“From allowing hyper-personalisation to investing in high-quality digital printing, there are many ways to elevate your direct mail campaign and entice customers to engage with your brand.”

Choose the right format and size

Before you start designing the content of your direct mail campaign, it’s important to match the goal of your campaign with the right format. If you wish to promote a short message that generates immediate responses, then a postcard will be ideal. Catalogues and brochures promote multiple products and services or share lengthier information.

After that, it’s time to choose the right size, as it will impact the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign. While smaller postcard sizes will generate results and are more budget-friendly, a larger postcard will likely be more attention-grabbing and drive better conversion. This applies to other formats too.

Personalisation is key

According to McKinsey & Company, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions, and faster-growing companies generate 40% more of their revenue from personalisation than others. When it comes to direct mail, personalisation can come in many ways, from tailored messaging to addressing recipients personally.

Using variable data printing (VDP) enables a high degree of personalisation in direct mail by customising individual elements within each printed piece. You can personalise the recipient’s name, images, and graphics, including tailored promotional offers, QR codes, and URLs based on recipient-specific data.

Taking customers’ purchasing data into account has become so key in the realm of marketing that 84% of customers in a recent study would no longer buy from a company that didn’t consider their preferences and purchasing history.

Beasley said: “Businesses can no longer afford to deliver poor personalisation in their marketing efforts, and variable data printing allows them to tailor their campaigns to individual customers’ data, addressing each point of the personalisation journey.”

Choose colours based on colour psychology

Colour plays a key role in consumers’ purchasing behaviour. According to research by the Seoul International Color Expo, 92.6% put the most importance on visual factors when making a decision, and 84.7% of respondents say that colour accounts for more than half of the factors for choosing products.

Incorporating eye-catching colours and high-quality imagery in your direct mail design can significantly enhance its visual appeal. Use colours that align with your brand and turn to colour psychology when it comes to evoking specific emotions with your marketing campaign.

According to a recent study, red is the most commonly used colour to attract attention. In marketing, it increases heart rate, thus serving as an incentive to buy. That’s why it is often used for discounts and advertising that require immediate action, similar to orange. If conveying important information is your goal, then lemon yellow is ideal as it promotes communication, activates memory and increases concentration.

Green has a calming effect and is associated with nature and sustainability. White is a colour that exudes elegance and luxury while also being associated with a minimalist style similar to black.

Choosing the right colour and visuals to match your brand and specific message will help elevate your direct mail campaign.

Invest in high-quality printing

Beasley said: “To achieve outstanding effect with direct mail campaigns, marketers need to invest in high-quality printing. It encourages recipients to pick up the direct mail piece and read the message, especially when paired with the right format, size and colours.

“What will make your message stand out even more is if you go for glossy, luxurious paper with quality bindings and ink. Customers are more likely to remember you and build positive associations with your brand. First impressions do count, and excellent print and mail services will spell the difference between success and failure.”


In the world of direct mail marketing, design plays a pivotal role in capturing attention and driving customer engagement. By choosing the right format and size, incorporating eye-catching colours and visuals and personalised messaging, and investing in high-quality digital printing, you can create a direct mail campaign that not only stands out but also compels recipients to take the desired action. As you plan your next direct mail marketing effort, keep these tips and tricks in mind to maximise the impact of your design and create a lasting connection with your audience.