Design by Ted Kikoler
One of the greatest direct mail designers is Canadian Ted Kikoler, who has more controls than a lamb has fleece. Here are some of the concepts he shared with Don Jackson and me for our book, “2,239 Tested Secrets for Direct Marketing Success.”
Jolt the reader. Sameness puts people to sleep, whereas a jolt keeps them alert. Jolt them by having as many components as economically feasible in your envelope. It’s better to break messages into two or three smaller pieces of paper rather than saving money by crowding it all on one. Give each piece a separate theme such as: guarantee, free bonus, early bird bonus, testimonials, etc.
It’s important that every component in your envelope looks different. There should be different sizes, shapes, colors, typefaces, folds, etc. Yes, it can look like a three-ring circus, but it jolts the reader and increases your response.
Make the reader’s eyes go where you want them to go. His mind will follow. Here are some things that work:
• The eye normally goes from: dark areas to light areas; large objects to small; and bright areas to drab areas.
• The eye zeros in on things that are out of place (color, size, shape and position).
• Have photos and illustrations face the copy or be in the direction you want the reader to go. Every photo has direction.
• Captions and call-outs get high readership.
• If everything looks alike, the reader can make the mistake that he’s already seen one of your messages.
• Make each side of a two-sided piece look different.
Never forget Lew Smith’s succinct three-word dictum: “Neatness rejects involvement.”
Seattle guru Bob Hacker said it in two words: “Ugly works.”
Denny Hatch is a freelance direct marketing consultant and copywriter. Visit him at www.dennyhatch.com, or contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.