Ray worked with B-2-B and Consumer clients throughout the world ... including USA, Canada, Mexico, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle-East, Central & South America, Africa.

This website is a compilation of Ray's 10 years on the Web.


Power Direct Marketing: The Book

Getting Started with Creative by the Numbers:
A List of 99 Creative Ideas

81. Be square -- or at least rectangular.

Your coupon in a space ad and a response card in direct mail should be square or rectangular. Please, no coupons that are triangles, circles, or shapes of people or things. They are hard to read and—even more important—hard to use!

In space ads, ask for right-page placement in magazines and the same in newspapers, preferably on the lower right part of the page. Position the coupon in the same place, lower outside edge, usually lower right.

Should you experiment with other coupon locations? Sure! Try the top of the page, center, and top outside corner. Tradition and testing have found that the bottom is usually best—but that does not lock you out from new ideas. (However, I do recommend that you do not "float" your coupon in the middle of the page . . . results are usually disastrous.)

82. Create a usable order form.

Your order form in your mail-order package or catalog must be clear, easy to find, and easy to read, with sufficient space to list all the information you require to fulfill the order. Give instructions which are easy to read and easy to understand, both on the order form and adjacent to it.

83. On your order form list your 800 number or other telephone number so your audience can call you if they wish, rather than filling in and mailing their order.

Include your company name, your logo, the complete mailing address, too. Even if this information is elsewhere in the mail package or print ad, if the only element your prospect has is the reply device, make certain they have every opportunity to reply.

84. Upper and lower case is easier to read.

Your headlines, your subtitles, and other attention-getting areas in your brochure should use upper and lower case—not all upper case.


85. Make different sections of your brochure look different. Make both sides of each piece look different.

Yes, they must "flow." They must look like they go together. By using screens and different rectangular blocks and borders and other graphic devices to make it more interesting to read, you will gain more action.

The eye goes to anything out of order. The eye goes dark to light, from large to small, from bright to drab. Try it.

86. Handwritten notes get noticed.

This little trick always works.

A handwritten note in the margin or as the second P.S., to draw attention to a specific point, will often increase your response. Try it.

87. Avoid the "crick in the neck" syndrome!

A small amount of italic type can be pretty and certainly italic typefaces have their uses. But long passages of type set in italic are a problem. It’s not that any one word is difficult to read, but the collective effect gets pretty tiring. It’s the "crick in the neck" syndrome.

88. The copy in your direct mail letter, your brochure, and your print ad should be ragged right. Not with justified right margins.

With word processors, electronic typewriters, and other mechanical capabilities, it is now possible to easily justify the right-hand margin. But it makes it harder to read, because the spacing between words is often uneven. Use ragged right margins.

89. The Magazine Publishers Association, using data from a Starch Tested Copy report, shows us how much effect position, color, and size really have on response.

The base number is 100. Those positions with higher numbers enjoyed a greater readership. Those with a lower number had less readership. Of course, these are averages. Your product in a specialty magazine will be different. These are only words (and numbers) for thought:

Covers vs. Inside Page
Inside Position 100
Second Cover 118
Third Cover 118
Fourth (Back) Cover 132
Size of Ad
Full Page 100
Half Page 69
Two-Page Spread 128
Color of Ad
Black & White 100
Two-Color 83
Four-Color 141
Size & Color Combined
Full Page
Half Page
Black & White 100 74 116
Two-Color 90 61 N/A
Four-Color 132 100 171
Left vs. Right Pages
Left Page
Right Page
1 Page-Color 100 101
1 Page-Black & White 100 100
Bleed vs. Non-Bleed Ads
1 Page-Color 115 100
1 Page-Black & White 111 100
Position in Magazine
Read Most
First Third 105 103 93
Middle Third 100 100 100
Last Third 101 104 101

90. Type should be seen and not heard.

  1. Type has a first impression. Make sure yours is a good one.
  2. Type has personality. Short. Tall. Skinny. Fat. Tough. Weak. Plain. Fancy. Which looks like your business?
  3. Type has "sound." Lots of it big and bold is a SHOUT. Lesser and smaller is quiet. Some is uptown . . . some downtown. What "sound" do you want to make?
  4. Type creates mood. The Salvation Army needs to look poor if they expect donations. The Rolls dealership needs to look like what they are. What are you?
  5. Type must be readable. Why any is not is a total mystery to me. Why have it if it can’t be read? Don’t pick anything—style or size—that is unreadable.
  6. Type is background. Its purpose is to get you to read and understand the message. Not be the message. There is a big difference. Pick type to create atmosphere—not be atmosphere.
  7. Type rarely in reverse. That means don’t do white on black. It is too hard to read. Small amounts sometimes may be OK. But rarely.
  8. Type is family. Keep the family together. Don’t mix typestyles on the same piece. (You may use different typestyles on different pieces inside the same package.)
  9. Type breathes. White space between words and paragraphs is needed. Allow them to breathe. So they can be easily read. Like this book.
  10. Type stands alone. Overprinting anything may be nice for art directors, but it is death to readers. Type is communication—let it communicate.

(Ideas for these 10 points
stolen from a book
by friends Ken Erdman
and Murray Raphel.)

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