January 27th, 2017 by Bob Bly
Last week I asked ace graphic designer Dwight Ingram for some
ideas on how to improve the performance of our direct mail and
online marketing through changes in design.
“Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest
difference. I’m often called upon to ‘freshen up’ a fatiguing
control, and I’ve developed a toolkit of small design changes
that can revitalize a promotion without having to create a whole
Here are 7 of Dwight’s go-to design tips you can use to boost
response and breathe new life into your control:
1–Change the envelope or the outside of the mail piece. If the
design is too busy, remove or move something. If the design is
too simple, add something.
Use a new teaser, freshen up the design, and try new fonts. Use
the back … think of the extra space like a buckslip. It’s a great
place to showcase the product and reinforce the offer.
2–Use bigger buttons. For e-mails and landing pages, try a bigger
button, a different color, or change the shape. Add a button to
the top or bottom in a key location near the offer language.
3–Simplify. Make the order process clean and fast, especially in
digital efforts. Don’t make your audience jump through hoops to
One of the first things to look at is how many fields are on a
form? Are there too many choices, and is the process intuitive?
Decide what information you must ask for and what you can
4–Change the order form. Enhance the format of your form by
adding a notch, or make it an L-shape. Strengthen your offer
language, focus on the key benefits. Add an offer summary box.
Stress the deadline. Use more personalization, but not too much,
and use it appropriately.
5–Add an insert. A lift note, buck slip, or other element can
focus your prospect on the right features or benefits of the
product. Highlight the guarantee, the premium, or a unique
feature of your product or service.
6–If you use a business reply envelope (BRE), change the color.
Using a different paper color for the BRE can lift response.
7–Make sure your e-mails, landing pages, and order pages are
coded to display optimally not only on PCs but on mobile
devices including tablets and smart phones. (I’ll have an entire
chapter on designing e-mails for smart phones in my forthcoming
book “The Ultimate E-Mail Handbook” from Skyhorse Publishing.)
Remember, it’s all about clarity and thinking like a potential
customer. If your offer is hidden, or too complicated, or if
you’re asking for too much information, your response will be
affected. Make it easy.