Customer Experience and Engagement, Document Design, How-to Guides

Increase ROI with Well-Designed Customer Documents

FSSI logo Kelly McConville on April 22, 2020

girl holding a printed financial statement.

Document Design Tips for Transactional Documents

Transactional customer documents are an integral part of any business. They offer the opportunity to regularly communicate with your customers. Whether you produce your monthly transactional statements in-house or work with an outsourcing print-mail vendor like FSSI, understanding the structure and value of statements, bills, invoices or marketing letters can help you maximize the impact of each interaction with a customer.

Looks do matter! The old saying goes, “you only get one chance to make a first impression,” and truer words have never been spoken when it comes to marketing communications. Proven design optimizations and call-to-action strategies can bring your company valuable business. Document design is a lot like your wardrobe. You wouldn’t want your wardrobe screaming old-fashioned and out-of-date, and stuck in the 80s (kids nowadays might disagree), so why should your monthly mailings be any different?

At FSSI, we have 40 years of experience with layout, whitespace management, personalization and call-to-action optimized design elements to enhance your document communication strategy. We’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. Our simple but effective document design checklist will help you create impactful communications and identify how to improve the usability of your company’s marketing efforts. Even everyday letters and notices can benefit from these time-tested layouts and design insights.

How to Begin the Design Process

For best results, we recommend approaching document layout from the customers’ perspective. Be honest and objective. Put yourself in their shoes and view each page as if for the very first time. If you believe customers would respond positively to the content and layout, you’re probably on the right track.

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Use these four strategies to create a clear and effective customer communications campaign.

Customer Document Design Checklist – 6 Essential Elements

There are six essential elements of an effective transactional document:

  • Intended Purpose: Is the document meant to summarize information, encourage payment remittance, or fulfill a compliance requirement? Is the communication effective? Could a simple message, graphic, or color highlighting important information enhance the intended purpose?
  • Age: When was the document last reviewed or improved? By today’s standards, does it seem old or dated? Does it feature the company’s latest logo and/or corporate branding scheme?
  • Layout: Does the design seem cramped or cluttered? Does the information flow logically and seamlessly from one section to the next? Is everything easy to find and understand?
  • Color: Are you intentionally using color to emphasize or draw attention to vital information, such as transaction dates, account balance, payment due date and amount? Have you made the switch from black and white documents to full-color to enliven on-page graphics or imagery?
  • Voice: Is your company’s message clear, friendly, accurate and informative? Are you taking advantage of on-page messaging as an economical and effective method of educating, cross-selling, and upselling?

Now that you’ve gathered the essential elements of well-designed documents, you are ready to analyze the functionality of your documents. Compliant production, digital color, and customer understanding can all increase the business benefit of your documents. Transform customer-facing financial statements, documents and marketing mail beyond merely fulfilling their original intended purpose. Below are five document design layout tips to get the most out of your customer documents.

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Here are some simple document design best practices to make sure you are getting the most value out of both transactional documents and marketing communications.

5 Document Design Best Practices

  1. Utilize white space: Include all the important information, but don’t overwhelm customers with too much text. White space guides the reader’s eyes through your document to help customers better retain information.
  2. Don’t be repetitive: Every single inch of a customer document is a new opportunity to communicate; don’t waste space by repeating messages.
  3. Keep it simple: Simplify your messaging by removing duplicate fields and redundant text to focus on your company’s target message. Keeping things simple leaves space to add marketing messages, coupons, announcements and other call-to-actions.
  4. Maintain consistency: Keeping design elements consistent across all communication channels with an omnichannel marketing strategy grants your customers a seamless experience across all platforms, making it easy for them to quickly find information.
  5. Use a legible font: Find a font that provides a good user experience and aesthetically complements your brand.

advantages of well designed customer documents graphic.
A well-designed document offers a variety of benefits. Here are 4 of the biggest advantages of document design make sure you are getting the most business value out of each and every document.

Advantages of Well-Designed Customer Documents

  • Improved Readability
  • Increased Customer Comprehension
  • Reduced Printing and Mailing Costs
  • Prompt Customer Response

Once your documents are ready, you’re not quite done just yet. Combining your transactional documents with your company’s marketing efforts can be an effective way to get more bang for your buck.

Combining Transactional and Marketing Strategies

Many of FSSI’s clients have taken advantage of combining transactional documents with marketing strategies, such as variable data printing, omnichannel advertising, eStatements and SMS integration to streamline their customer communications campaigns. Creating a balance in your statement design is essential to your overall customer communications strategy.

Complimentary Samples from FSSI

For a complimentary second opinion about any of your current documents, including layout, color use, whitespace management, or copywriting/content, contact an FSSI Marketing Services Specialist today. We have a seasoned staff of designers, writers, programmers, and color experts in-house ready to help you improve your overall customer experience. You may also request samples from our before-and-after archive. Click to see a list of industries served, including credit unions, auto finance, banks, and other financial institutions.

For more information about document design best practices, check out Document Redesign.

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