10 Tips for Creating a Successful Direct Mailing Campaign

Did you know that almost half of direct mail recipients read the mail they receive? Many of them even convert, and most Americans say they like to be contacted by mail.

Clearly, the direct mailing campaign is still alive and well. Even in the age of email and social media, paper and postcards draw your target customers in.

Of course, not every campaign will be a roaring success. If you want to increase your chances of getting a great response rate and better ROI, use these ten tips.

1. Build Your List

The first thing you should do is begin building a list of people you want to send mail to. Remember that you’ll need their full, complete address.

You may have several personas that will receive different direct mail from you. You’d likely send a different offer to your existing customers than to new prospects. If you have affiliates, they’ll be interested in receiving different kinds of mail from you.

You can build your own list, particularly if you’re targeting groups associated with you. If you’re looking to move into a new area or find new leads, purchasing a mailing list can be a good idea.

2. Divide and Conquer

Effective direct mail campaigns work because they reach large numbers of people with the same trait. You might want to target people based on:

  • Their age
  • Their gender
  • The neighborhood they live in
  • Their income
  • Their occupation

You may also want to consider variables such as home-ownership or parenthood. Someone who just became a parent is likely interested in receiving baby-related advertising.

Segmenting lists by demographic features can help you reach the right people with the right offers.

3. Focus on Your Offer

That brings us to the next tip. Take a moment and ask why you’re sending this piece of direct mail. What’s in it for the customer?

Sometimes, direct mail can simply be about sharing information. If you just opened up a new dental office, you might want to send a flyer to people living nearby.

Your campaign will be more successful if you include an offer to get new patients in the office. Offer them complimentary whitening or an introductory discount.

The offer should come with clear instructions. Invite the customer to book an appointment or visit your website to redeem a special offer.

4. Work with a Great Design Team

Now that you’ve thought about who you’re sending your flyer to and what you’re offering them, it’s time to design the flyer or postcard.

Direct mail design influences what customers pay attention to. Bold colors can make your flyer stand out in a pile of mail.

The right fonts draw their eye to the important information. Imagery can engage a reader. Good design also makes it easier to read your flyer and understand what’s on offer.

5. Use the 40/40/20 Rule for a Mailing Campaign

The 40/40/20 rule has been around for a while, and it’s still good advice to follow. When you’re trying to decide where to put your effort, you should split it up as follows:

  • 40 percent to building your list
  • 40 percent to your offer
  • 20 percent to everything else

As you can see, 80 percent of your effort should be directed at creating your list and supporting your offer. Everything else, including the actual design and mailing, fall under the remaining 20 percent.

6. Make Your Campaign Stand Out

The next thing you should do is make sure your campaign stands out. There are many direct mail marketing ideas that can help with this aspect of your campaign.

First, consider the orientation of your flyer. Is it horizontal? A vertical mailer stands out more, because fewer pieces of mail use this orientation.

You can also include features like magnets or scratch-off areas. If you’re offering a discount or a contest entry, then including a scratch-off area is a great way to engage people.

7. Pick the Right Printer

You want to make sure your design prints out clean and crisp, so choosing the right printer is key to making sure your direct mail gets noticed.

Always ask a printer what type of paper they’ll print on. Card stock is the best, since it withstands travel through the mail better than regular paper.

The finish on your flyer is also important. Adding gloss can really make your design shine. It also makes your marketing materials look more professional.

8. Save on Mailing Costs

The bulk of costs with direct mail marketing come with mailing itself. Postage is usually the largest portion.

If you want to improve your ROI, you can look for ways to reduce your mailing costs. You may think handling the mailing yourself is cost-effective.

You’re actually better off working with a mail house. You may be able to save money on addressing and presorting services, which will lower your costs.

Better yet, you may qualify for bulk postage discounts. As your costs come down, your ROI increases.

9. Personalize the Mail

More recent direct mail examples show a trend toward personalization.

It’s no secret consumers want more personalization. They’re tired of being offered discounts and deals that don’t fit their needs.

A direct mail campaign gives you a chance to personalize offers, first by targeting particular groups of people.

Go a step further by adding the recipient’s name to the mailer. People are much more likely to pay attention when something is addressed to them directly.

10. Invest in Tracking and Follow up

Finally, you should make sure you have a way to track the success of your direct mailing campaign.

It might seem difficult to measure how many responses you get to direct mail, but there are a few options. You can set up a campaign-specific email address, or issue coupon codes.

These tracking methods let you see how successful your campaign is. They also give you a chance to follow up with potential customers. When someone sends you an email, you can now respond to them and help them on their buying journey.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

The direct mailing campaign is far from outdated. With the right list and a great offer, you can reach more of your future customers.

Looking for more great marketing ideas for your business? We have a library of tips, tricks, and how-tos.


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