You’ve Only Got a 2% Chance, Make it Count!

Print, printing, blog, bloggins

In the digital world, we’re bombarded by online ads for every product or service imagineable.  We’re asked to “like” this, “tweet” that, and “click here” for an amazing deal.

But there’s another place we face ads: our physical mailboxes. After we sort through the bills, we’re often left with what we all call “junk mail.”  If you’re the advertiser, that’s bad news. You spent good money on the design, printing, and postage for that ad.

How can you increase your chances that your ad won’t end up in the recycle bin? We’ve got five steps to help:

1. Make Your Logo Memorable

After all, it’s what instantly defines you and your company (or at least it should.)  There’s a good reason we all know what someone’s talking about when they say, “The Golden Arches.” McDonald’s has spent years at the top of the fast food chain, so much that we recognize them by a simple description of their logo.

Here’s a list of some of the most recognizable logos:

Did you notice a common thread? Each of these logos gets straight to the point and doesn’t clutter up their message with any unneeded text or design elements.

2. Don’t crowd the ad with too much copy

Years of marketing research has shown that when text is difficult to read, the reader stops reading. So even if you have the best deal of the year for your audience, most (if not all) readers won’t even have the chance to digest your information.

Put yourself in your typical mindset when you’re sifting through your mail. You’ve probably just gotten off work, you’ve got a lot on your mind: what to do for dinner, give the kids a hug and listen to their daily adventures, pat the dog on the head for good measure, and check each piece of mail.

With all of the typical distractions, we simply don’t have the time or attention spans to sift through a flier that is cluttered and difficult to read. Typically, these end up in the discard pile.

The industry standard for direct mail response rates is only 2.61%. Read more about that right here.

So a simple math equation tells us that if Company X sends out 1,000 direct mail pieces, only 26 are going to be actually useful.

Our thought: If you’re going to make the investment in direct mail, make sure your offering is the one the reader is going to invest in.

3. Use only high quality images

Think of your print ad as you would a wall in your home. We all have family pictures that we treasure. They might be vacation pictures, a family wedding, or even a family portrait. Now think back to when you took that family photo. Did the photographer get it right on the first try? Probably not. The tenth? Probably not. The fiftieth? Maybe.

The point is, you’re only going to choose the very best photo out of the bunch to hang up. Treat your ad the same way: only choose the very best images to reflect you and your brand.

Especially if you are a product-based business, the quality of the image needs to be amazing. No one is going to respond to an ad that has poor quality photographs. Worse, they might even think the poor quality extends to your product. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

4. Include a CTA

A what? CTA is a quick way to refer to a CALL TO ACTION. But what’s that? Think of it as the goal of the advertisement. What do you want the readers to do? Do you want them to go to your website for additional information? Maybe you want them to call you and make an appointment. Retailers want people to come through their front doors and buy.

As humans, we sometimes need to be treated like small children and told exactly what to do. Here’s a good example:



We’re waiting.


Still waiting.


Why didn’t you tap the square on your screen? That’s what we wanted you to do. Oh, duh! We didn’t tell you that.

An advertisement without a call to action accomplishes what you just experienced. The reader needs to know what their next course of action is. Make it simple for them.

5. Don’t forget to include a contact point (Address, Phone, email, or website.)

You wouldn’t send an invitation to a party without the address would you? Of course not. You’d have potential party guests wandering aimlessly with bottles of wine and confused looks on their faces.

But I’m an online retailer only.

Easy enough, make sure your website is in a prominent place in your ad. We suggest even putting it twice, once at the top and once at the bottom. That way, even if the ad is only glanced at, you’ve doubled your chance that someone will contact you.

I’m an appointment-based business, I don’t want my lobby jammed up with lookie-loos.

No problem, make sure you tell potential clients how to book your service: if you want them to email you, give them the email address, not just a website.

If you want them to call, make sure your phone number (and the hours the phone is manned) is clear. If you are reaching to an audience outside of your area code, consider having a toll free number.

If you are struggling with any of these areas, or not seeing the results you want from your print advertising, please feel free to contact us right here. (See, that’s a Call To Action)

For examples of iconic ads that have stood the test of time, check our blog from last week, He Likes It! He Really, Really Likes It!