Lob's website experience is not optimized for Internet Explorer.
Please choose another browser.

Arrow Up to go to top of page
Picture-Perfect: The Guide to Direct Mail Images
Direct Mail
February 9, 2023

Picture-Perfect: The Guide to Direct Mail Images

Author Avatar
Guest Author

Visual content is a crucial component of any marketing campaign.

In 2019, the internet saw an explosion of visual content. Among B2C marketers, 69% said they increased their visual and audio content use. So, it's no longer an option. To remain competitive, you must be purposeful with your designs, imagery, and overall approach to visual content — and your direct mail ideas are no exception.

So, to stand out in 2023 and beyond, you must create visually compelling and engaging designs, sending mail to the right customer at the right time. Whether you're aiming to revamp old designs or create a new campaign, here's what to consider when choosing direct mail images.

Why direct mail images matter

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words — and as a marketer, you're well aware of the impact images have on campaigns. The combination of online and offline channels is the backbone of any successful omnichannel strategy, which is why you need to consider how images influence each channel.

The stats are overwhelming concerning images, so prioritize digital and direct mail best practices. These stats showcase how images impact conversion rates and your ROI.

  • Thoughtfully-selected images grab attention, increasing the chance that text is read by 80%.
  • If you create a Tweet with an image, you'll get 150% more retweets than if you didn't include one. This trend is seen across all social media networks, content marketing, email marketing, etc.

Most trends and stats focus on social, email, and other online channels. However, images aren't just required for digital marketing — they also matter for direct mail campaigns. Not only do direct mail images draw a recipient in, they also provide a means of personalization, which is an area where this channel shines.

Some additional reasons to include images on direct mail pieces include:

  • The ability to visually demonstrate a product or service
  • Allowing the reader to perceive information quickly, which can draw them in
  • Easily set the mood
  • Showcase your brand — especially if you want to be perceived as a creative company

Top tips for image use in your direct mail campaigns

When it comes to direct mail images and direct mail best practices, consider the following tips.

Making sure its the right size

When selecting a preparing an image, be mindful of the material based on your direct mail ideas. For example, do you plan on sending a postcard, flyer, or promotional buck slip?

When working with an automated direct mail platform like Lob, you will gain access to the tools and resources to simplify and optimize this process. Each JPG, PNG, and PDF file passed to Lob's Print & Mail API is measured to ensure the provided file's dimensions match the medium's dimensions. For example, a 4.25" x 6.25" postcard requires an image of at least 1275 x 1875 pixels. Calipers were built to improve Lob's API performance, offering the fastest way to measure image size.

Picking the right colors

Colors can influence mood and emotion — known as the psychology of color. So, the color you choose can have a dramatic effect on messaging. It's an aspect of marketing that is interesting and controversial but still highly relevant.

Although there are no clear-cut guidelines surrounding color choices, the colors you choose can significantly impact how recipients perceive your mail pieces. You can pinpoint color choices based on the latest research or trend. However, the best colors for your direct mail campaigns are those that represent your brand.

Tip: Consider how paper impacts color when printing direct mail pieces. The brightness, coating, and quality influence how digital colors look once printed.

Ensure proper placement of images

Aside from ensuring images match the messaging, placement is one of the most crucial factors. Where do you want the recipient's eye to go when they first see your mail? One psychological hack many graphic designers use to draw viewers’ eyes to the most important elements is to have the subject of the image looking at the text, or even pointing at the text to draw the viewers’ attention to the text.

Picture-Perfect: The Guide to Direct Mail Images image 2
Source: Who's Mailing What!

When selecting your image, think about the format you're using. Are you sending a brochure, postcard, letter, or something else? The format will determine the placement of your image.

Similar to text on your mailer, you also want to leave white space around your images.

Recommended reading: Bare Bones: White Space in Your Direct Mail Design

Tip: Make sure you don't cover the address box or postage. You need to account for these designated spaces when selecting photos. Although a grid layout won't be practical for all formats, this approach can help you effectively fit everything you want to include without risking any overlap.

Consider testing the effectiveness of your images

Today, direct mail marketing is on par with digital marketing concerning analytics and tracking. The more information you have, the deeper your insights. You can adapt as you learn what's working and what's not. Taking this step will help you maximize your budget.

When using images, you have the option to invest in A/B testing. Send two mailers, each identical except for the image, to an equal number of people. Add a URL or QR code to see which generated a higher response.

Learn more: 6 Strategies for A/B Testing Your Direct Mail

Make your direct mail picture-perfect with Lob plugins

If your marketing and graphic design team works in Figma, we’ve made it easier to do your picture-perfect direct mail creative there and easily connect it with Lob. This feature is currently in beta, but it’s one more step toward making our low-code marketing automation software easier than ever to use in your marketing workflows.

Learn more about the Lob and Figma plugin.

Continue Reading