Designing Direct Mail Like You Are Designing for SEO

If you approach direct mail design like you do with website SEO, your messaging will be clearer and easier to read and process. Find out how in this article.




August 19, 2020

When you think of direct mail, search engine optimization (SEO) likely doesn’t come to mind, because of course there is no such thing as a search engine in regular mail.

But believe it or not, the same principles that you use when you are designing for SEO - establishing keywords, making sure they are used in certain spots on the website, and making sure that the post is accessible and readable - can be implemented in direct mail to improve clarity and readability of the piece.

Here, we outline some tips for designing direct mail like you are designing for SEO.

  1. Choose a keyword

When you are designing a direct mail piece, it can be tempting to pack a lot of information in. You need people to know who you are and what you do, what you’re selling, and how they can make a purchase.

As you sit down to write the copy, ask yourself: what’s the #1 thing I want people to know when they are reading this piece? Use your answer as the keyword, and make sure that you are using it throughout the piece.

  1. Keyword placement

With online SEO, you want to make sure the keywords are used in titles, descriptions, image titles, and more. (HubSpot has a really great resource on keyword placement.)  

With direct mail “SEO” you want to make sure the keywords are used in headings (especially paired with the person’s name or other personalization element) offers, and calls-to-action.

Postcard example for pet care company

In this example, the direct mail “keywords” might be “health” and “cat tree” – you can see them used in the callout on one side, in the message, and in the offer.

This helps the reader easily identify that this mail piece is from a pet store, advertising health products for their cat.

  1. Accessibility and readability

When you are designing a web page, accessibility and readability includes adding high contrast images with alt-text and image descriptions, minimal text on the page with a lot of white space, and fonts that are large or can be enlarged, and other considerations.

When you are designing direct mail, accessibility and readability also includes high-contrast images as well, minimal text with white space, and fonts that are no smaller than 14pt, unless it’s a side note or legal disclaimer.

This helps your piece remain accessible by older people as well as people with disabilities.

The Bottom Line

If you approach direct mail design like you do with website SEO, your messaging will be clearer and easier to read and process.

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