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How To Use Colour In Direct Mail Advertising: Part 1

Everyone appreciates the value that colour adds to printed promotional materials such as direct mail and transpromotional documents. But how can marketers maximize the impact of colour to reach their audience?

Using Colour In Direct Mail Advertising

Consider the following statistics from research by the Pantone Institute:

  • Colour printing is 55 percent more likely to be read than black-and-white
  • Response time for coloured material is 30 percent faster
  • Full colour promotions increase the likelihood of purchase by 80 percent

The research argues that despite the fact that consumers have come to expect coloured print promotional materials, there has never been any dispute of the ability of colour to grasp the reader’s attention more than basic black-and-white.

But marketers understand that simply using colour to avoid the monotonous black-and-white design, without careful thought of the design and delivery of the material, diminishes the impact that the item may have. One way to increase the impact of colour in direct marketing is by mixing it with personalization information.

Combining colour with personalization

Research suggests that the use of colour in combination with other elements creates a more powerful effect than using colour alone. In one study by David Broudy to determine the effective of these combinations on the response rate of a direct mail campaign, the results were as follows:

  • Black-and-white mailing with no personalization (control) yielded a response rate of 0.46%, which was lower than the industry average of 1%
  • Full colour mailing with no personalization increased the response rate by 44 percent to reach 45%
  • Basic personalization alone, such as adding the recipient’s name resulted in a similar 45% response rate
  • The combination of full colour with and basic personalization – adding the recipient’s name – increased the response rate to 135%

These findings show the importance of using colour in combination with other elements, such as personalization to maximize the impact of your direct mail marketing campaign. In fact, simply using colour without customization may actually be more costly than basic personalization alone, because of the cost of colour printing. So marketers need to create a proper marketing plan to not only maximize the impact of their marketing campaign, but also make the most of their advertising dollars.

Interested in adding direct mail marketing to your advertising mix? Please call our Toronto mailing house at 1-866-486-0423. Troi spells success, one letter at a time!

About: Seamus Barton
Seamus Barton - Author
Seamus Barton joined Troi Mailing Services in 2014 after graduating from York University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Writing. As a manager of print and direct mail solutions, he sees how words play an important role in personalizing any experience. Seamus’ passion for writing motivates him to provide frequent direct marketing content that supports each Client’s individual needs. Please chat with Seamus about commercial printing and direct mailing campaigns, or about how to marry digital and physical strategies for optimal Smartmail Marketing success.

You can connect with Seamus on LinkedIn or by calling Troi Mailing Services at 1-866-486-0423 or via email at Read his latest article featured in Direct Marketing Magazine on “Dimensional Mail: Marketing’s Buffet Lobster

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