Efficient and effective calls to action for direct mail

A quick guide to help you choose the best call to action for your mail piece.

Using contrasting colours
We’ve already done a brief piece on the meanings of the colours in direct mail – now it’s time to see how to use colours against each other so that they can stand out.
In the English language, we naturally read from left to right, top to bottom. As such, placing your text and primary call-to-action on the left-hand side of a mail piece is the best way to ensure that it is read by your recipient. Space afforded on the right can be used for images.

Presenting an incentive
Sometimes your customers just need an extra push to help encourage them to take up your offer – and a good incentive can go a long way. Incentives can take a great many forms; they could be linked to your product or service, such as a discount on quotes or a free trial. They could also be totally separate, such as a free promotional offer that can be taken up.

Showing product
Pretty self-explanatory, this one. When you’ve got an interesting and exciting product, putting it front-and-centre in your mail piece is almost always beneficial. A good call-to-action with a snappy message placed directly below the image of the product can reinforce key values.

Using great text
While good graphic design can always boost a mail piece, remember one of the oldest and truest marketing mantras – “content is king”. Writing good, fine-tuned copy for your mail piece remains the most important aspect; your recipients will want information on what you have to offer, and nothing gets that information across better than good text.

Using spatial effect
Less is often more. Separating your call-to-action from the rest of the mail shot can give it more attention, rather than having it crowded out by text or images. When your call to action is strong enough to be a draw on its own, giving it some space can be really beneficial.

Creating sense of direction
Directing your recipients elsewhere on the mail piece can be achieved by something as simple as a series of arrows leading from your text down to the call to action or incentive. Arrows aren’t the only way to do that – studies have found that if there’s a picture of a person looking at something on a page, the eyes of the recipient will naturally follow. Guiding your recipients across the page can be useful when you want to prioritise a call-to-action.

Primary and secondary options
Sometimes you’ll have several calls to action on the same mail item. For example, you may be providing different options, like large, medium and small versions of the same service. You can prioritise these by varying the size and colours each option’s call-to-action is depicted in. As a general rule, brighter colours like orange stand out more and should therefore be used for your primary call-to-action, with your less favoured call-to-action being given a colder colour.

Facilitating Segmentation 
Direct mail is the most targeted form of marketing available, but naturally there will be times where you won’t be able to clearly identify who your target is, or what options they will go for when given choice. Consider the layout of your mail piece – perhaps options can be laid side-by-side, or listed one after another vertically in order of hierarchy.

Unorthodox shapes 
Making your call-to-action stand out can be achieved by making it an unusual, eye-catching shape and style. Some of the most interesting mail pieces we’ve seen have been die-cut – placing your call-to-action on the jagged edge of a mail piece can make it really stand out. Or if you’re working with paper, creatively folded mail pieces that open out to reveal different offers or stages can be really innovative and memorable.

Reducing recipient anxiety
Including authentication badges to your mail piece can increase trust and between yourselves and your customers. Badges (like our ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications) confirm that a business or service is reputable.  Another way of generating trust is to ensure that your call-to-action reassures your recipient that they won’t see common pitfalls or problems with products or services – if you’re offering a free trial, and they don’t need a credit card to get started, make sure this is clearly stated with the call-to-action.

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