Studies show that a reader takes less than 11 seconds after opening a piece of mail to decide if they're going to throw it away or read it.
This same study also shows that pictures and headlines are what reader's focus on during those 11 seconds. This means that your compelling sales copy isn't given any attention until after the reader has browsed drawings and photos. By knowing this piece of information you can now facilitate the direction your mail recipients read by strategically placing graphics and photos in your sales copy.
Pictures usually facilitate the direction people read in. This means that readers will follow the path that photos point to on a page. Knowing this information, it's a good idea to place important copy as close to graphics as possible. Always place your text to the right of your graphics or below it.
Expand Reader's Vision
Broaden what your readers see by putting your most attention grabbing graphic to the far left of the page of a two page layout. The reason for this is because with this kind of layout people generally will begin reading from the upper right corner and then skim sideways. If you put a strong graphic at the far left you will broaden the vision of the reader by giving them a more detailed view of the left page. Another thing you can do to produce this effect is to add graphics with color on the left side and put black and white photos on the right. With this technique, the reader will see more of your marketing message and not just what's on the right side of the page. Putting graphics with people in them on left will produce the same results.
Effectively Use Shapes
Studies show that vertical shapes draw more attention from readers than horizontal ones. A diagonal shape will get even more attention. Readers pay closer attention to circles than they do to squares. Shapes that are closed get focused on faster than those that are open. Another important fact about shapes is that bursts or explosions are immediately focused on by readers.
The use of graphics can significantly increase the response rate to your sales copy. Once you know how readers respond to certain graphic elements you can use them to direct the flow of your readers and point their eyes in the direction of your most important sales message. Without the use of graphics people will follow the usual pattern of reading from top to bottom and left to right. This may be good for reading a book, but can cause your target audience to miss the most important parts of your message if they decide to stop reading your sales copy before they get to it.