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On July 14, 2014

10 Essential Things for Improving the Readability of Your Direct Mail

You are starting a dialog between your business and the recipient when you create a successful direct mail campaign. There should be a specific call to action that is inspired in the reader by this dialog. However, getting your recipient to read your mail is the first step in persuading them. To help you make your letters easier to read, generate more responses, and to just make them more inviting, we have put together these tips:

  1. Include a Greeting – Include a salutation in your direct mailing. Forgetting to do so is similar to starting a conversation without first introducing yourself. Also, try to address each of the recipients properly. For example, instead of saying, “Dear Mr. John Doe.” Go with “Dear Mr. Doe” or “Dear John” (depending on how formal you want to be.)
  2. Letters Should Look Like Letters – Direct mail postcards are great but if you’re going to create a sales or business letter make sure you print your letter out on your business’s letterhead, and create the perception that you have sent a personal letter.
  3. Spell Out Abbreviations – When you first mention a phrase or organization that is typically referenced in its acronym form, spell out the phrase. For example, you would write “return on investment (ROI)” then just refer to “ROI” for the remainder of the letter. If the reader has to research what an abbreviation or acronym means, they may give up on the letter.
  4. Use Serif Fonts – For your letter copy, use Courier, Times Roman, Georgia, or some other serif font. Serif typefaces have been proven to reduce eye strain and enhance reading flow, since they have little protrusions at their base. If you look at any book on your shelf or newspapers, you will see a serif font is used.
  5. Use the Same Pen for Handwritten Portions – Often times, to add a personalized touch, direct mailings will include a “handwritten” or a digitally produced note in the margins. One mistake we often see is that a different pen or script font will be used for the signature in the closing. If you are going to add these touches, be sure the pen markings are consistent looking.
  6. Pages Should End in the Middle of a Sentence – If you are sending a multiple page letter, you want your recipients to be motivated to turn the page. If your sentences bleed over into the following page, then readers will be more likely to turn the page to finish the sentence…and from there they read more.
  7. Indent Paragraphs – Letters are more readable with indented paragraphs. Studies show that indenting catches the eyes as they move down the page.
  8. Use Short Paragraphs – To keep your copy flowing and interesting, you should vary your paragraph lengths. However, be sure to limit each paragraph to five lines at most as a rule of thumb.
  9. Use Twelve Point Font or Larger – This will also reduce eye strain.
  10. Double Space between Paragraphs – Also, use wide margins, and keep the paragraphs left justified with it ragged to the right.

You will experience measurable improvements by making these simple changes to your letters.

  • By Hal.Cohen  0 Comments