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  • AMi Direct

AMiable Solution #419: Renovating Your Direct Mail for Flow

If you watch any home renovation shows, you’ve probably noticed a few recurring trends and themes. Sure, some of them—like the use of shiplap—will be praised on one show and shunned on another, but overall, these contractors and designers and flippers tend to agree on four key goals. We think they work in direct marketing, too.

Here’s the first one: Improve the flow of the space.

In house terms, flow refers to how inhabitants are able to move from one space to another. If there are small hallways, awkwardly placed doors, or cramped areas, then it means the flow of the house is poor: you can’t function in the space with comfort and effect.

Just as people want to be able to move from one room to another effortlessly, your customers should be able to read through a letter or brochure with ease, without obstacles or confusion.

How do you do that?

Start with big, clear headlines. Let your readers know immediately what your piece is about. Include or imply a benefit to further entice them to read it. Then, break the text into more approachable chunks, giving each new section a clear subhead.

Don’t get carried away with multiple fonts. Interior designers will tell you to stick to one style in your home, but most marketers know that to create a consistent and inviting look, they should stick to two, no more than three, font types in your text. Printing all headlines and subheads in one font and the descriptive text in another helps readers mentally organize what they’re reading and navigate your brochure or promotion.

Understand how people tend to look at pages: from the top left to the bottom right. Design your layout with that in mind, making sure all of your elements are arranged in a logical sequence, with the most important images or text at the top.

Keep similar items together. Don’t make it hard for readers to see the “big picture” or to follow your logic. If you’re identifying the top three benefits of a product and you call it out as such, list all three benefits together. Likewise, put all of your contact details together in one place, not scattered throughout your mail piece.

Leave space. When everything we put into a promotion has a cost—time, talent, and materials—we sometimes try to milk a printed piece for all it’s worth. But overcrowding a space can have negative consequences. You wouldn’t leave a coffee table too close to the couch if you kicked the corner every time you tried to sit down, would you? Likewise, you shouldn’t leave painful objects—excessive text or imagery—on direct mail pieces when they hinder your audience’s movement from one element to another. White space is a marketer’s best friend.

Improving the flow is just one lesson you can take from home renovation shows to improve your direct mail marketing. Check back next week for tip #2.

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