Direct Mail Marketing

As a business owner, you want to acquire new customers, but may not know how to find them.  Direct mail is direct marketing in which businesses send promotional materials to past, current and potential customers.  Direct mail marketing is a perfect opportunity to get your name in the hands and minds of customers.  Below are some direct mail marketing tips to generate leads and convert them into customers.

Start With the Basics

Direct mail is a powerful marketing tool.  It provides you the opportunity to improve and hone its effectiveness through your design, your message, your offers, and targeting of audiences.  Developing successful direct-mail campaigns is not as difficult as it sounds, for a successful campaign; here are five strategies from PsPrint:

1.                   Mailing list.  The quality of your mailing list is responsible for 40% of your direct-mail profitability.

2.                   Free offers.  The free offer is perhaps the most effective in all of business.  When people are willing to take something free, they are usually also willing to share demographics data, contact information, and opinions you can then use in future campaigns.  What’s more, a free offer is like a carrot on a stick, you can use it to draw customers into buying your products or services in the future.

3.                   Postcards.  Simple postcards are the best solution to direct mail marketing for those on a tight budget.  Your message is short and directly to the point.  Postcards do not have to be opened, and therefore start selling at a glance, allowing you to be able to hold each customer’s attention.

4.                   Booklets and Newsletters.  A booklet or newsletter presents the opportunity to inform and entertain consumers while promoting your products and services.  Just about any business can share useful information through a booklet mailing, and by virtue of being useful, many customers will hold on to your guides as reference material.

People Aren’t Opening Emails…But Still Sort through Their Mail

Look at your email inbox, how many unread messages are there?  Some people are able to keep their Inbox clean, but most of us have SEVERAL unopened emails.  Unlike email, people are sorting through their physical mail.  The U.S. Postal Service found that 98% of people check their mail daily.  Epsilon found that 77% of people who check their physical mail, also sort through it.  As seen with these statistics, if you mail something out, there’s a high likelihood that consumers will see it.  According to the CMO Council, marketers still rely on email because it’s cost effective; the ROI of email marketing is quadruple that of direct mail ($28.50 vs. $7.00).  The most important line of your email is the subject, that will determine if your email is open or simply sorted.

Companies that send direct mail marketing campaigns ultimately reduce their costs and scale tactical outreach.  Just as easily as with email, your company can use an application programming interface (API) to control your sends, personalize campaign elements, and track performance.  Harvard Business Review found that response rates for direct mail are more than twice as high as email and digital ads.

People Enjoy Receiving Postal Mail

Today, our mailboxes are filled with bills and coupons.  So, when we receive a piece of mail from a company we like, it excites us.  Direct mail allows businesses to connect with consumers, which leads to more sales, brand awareness, and a deeper sense of connection.  According to USPS, 69% of people feel that direct mail is more personal than email.  You’re receiving something tangible, and 55% of those surveyed say they “look forward” to learning what they’ve received in the mail.

Physical Mail Leaves an Imprint in the Brain

Millward Brown found that physical media leaves a deeper footprint in the brain than digital media.  If people can see and touch something tangible, they’re more likely to be engaged and commit it to memory.  According to the Direct Mail Association, nearly two-thirds of people have bought something because of a direct mail piece.  Additionally, 70% of customers have re-started a relationship because of direct mail.  Roughly, 66% of people have bought something because of direct mail.  Some marketers worry that direct mail messages will go unread or will go to random addresses; don’t.  Your messages won’t go to a junk folder.  If you send out consistent mailings, people will see your brand often in their mailbox.

Direct Mail Marketing Tips

Understanding and Targeting Your Ideal Customers

Identify your market.  Knowing about your best customers is a key factor in targeted direct marketing.  Where will you be sending your pieces and why?  Knowing the customers’ basic demographics, such as age, race, or gender, is a start.  However, a more complete understanding of your customers’ profiles (purchasing behavior and attitudes toward products, trends, and marketing) can help you become even more effective in your lead selection and advertising.

Pick and Create a Mailing List

Thorough direct mailing lists are vital to the success of your direct mail campaign.  The best chosen/developed mailing list will contain your most valuable prospective customers; but remember, the rule of thumb is that mailing lists should only be “opt-in” or they are considered spam.  When you are determining what type of mailing list is best for your business, consider the following:

•                    Cloned Lists allow you to find customers similar to current customers

•                    Custom Mailing Lists allow you to select the consumer criteria that meets your services and products

•                    Specialty Lists allow you to identify your target audience

Once you decide on the best type of mailing list for your business, you need to create an effective message to be delivered.  The copywriting needs to be a direct call to action, represent your brand, and make it consistent with what you are selling.  Be clear on what you want the reader to do—call you, visit your website, buy a product?  In addition, ensure that your message focuses on how your product/service will benefit the consumer rather than the features of the product or service.  For instance, if you are an air conditioning company, focus on your prompt arrival and customer quotes more than the number of years you have been in business.

Optimize Your Direct Mail at Scale

Make the direct mail personal.  With direct mail marketing, the subtlest personalization of a mail ad can make a big difference.  Ensure the names and addresses of your intended readers are accurate; no one likes to receive mail with their names misspelled or addressed to the wrong person.

Consider experimenting with different mailing list types and offers by targeting different portions of your list.  Doing so, and by tracking the results, you will learn with method works best with each type of consumer.  However, regardless of your approach, remember that direct mail marketing cannot stand-alone.  Companies that see the highest response rate from their direct mail campaigns are those that integrate it with other marketing efforts.[1]  Furthermore, one single mailing will NOT be effective; you will have to send out a series of mailings to create a better response rate: consistency is key.  Moreover, of course, as you follow up and receive feedback from consumer response rates, make sure to keep those mailing lists current.


The takeaway is, direct mail marketing is a powerful and dynamic tool, and it is no longer enough to simply send out a postcard with your logo on the front and hope for revenue.  The key to capturing consumers’ attention is to offer something of benefit, such as a discount or free promotion item.  Even if you tweak your campaign just a little with a few of the above tips, you will see measurable results.


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