Direct Mail Still Rocks. Here’s How to Boost Its Effectiveness

by | Last Updated: Apr 17, 2022 | Business Strategies, Marketing | 0 comments

Even though digital marketing is evolving at an astonishing pace, your audiences still understand and memorize better the things they read on paper. Traditional marketing forms are often considered more formal, reliable, and trustworthy. And, one of the most popular types of old-school marketing that generates amazing results is direct mail. 

This article will prove that direct mail is not the thing of the past, as well as provide a few tips on how to improve your future direct mail campaigns.

The Benefits of Direct Mail

When planned and executed strategically, direct mail can benefit your marketing strategy on multiple levels. Here are some of its major benefits.

  • It generates high ROI

Email marketing and social media marketing have the highest ROI of all marketing tactics. They are followed by direct mail that has an amazing median ROI of 29%, outpacing paid search and online display ads. 

  • Direct mail has a longer lifespan 

According to RetailWire, direct mail has an average lifespan of 17 days. On the other hand, email has a lifespan of only two seconds.

  • It increases brand recall

While only 44% of people say they can recall a brand after seeing a digital ad, 75% of them remember a brand right after receiving direct mail.

  • It’s less aggressive

Statistics say that 70% of people say they receive too many emails. Given that it’s not surprising that 54% of customers prefer to get printed catalogs in their mail, compared to 49% that prefer email.

  • Direct mail engages and converts faster

According to the Direct Marketing Association, 79% of consumers act on direct mail immediately, as opposed to 45% of those that act on email marketing instantly. Moreover, direct mail has a 4.4% response rate, while its digital counterpart has a response rate of only 0.12%.

Types of Direct Mail 

Before you start creating a direct mailing strategy, you should first know the types of direct mail and understand their differences.

  • Classic package: This is the most common type of direct mail. It includes an envelope, with a letter and a business reply card. Instead of the design of the package, you should focus on the letter. It should be personalized, engaging, and persuasive. Additionally, you can send different kinds of promotional materials, such as flyers and brochures. 
  • Self-mailers: Just like its mere name says, a self-mailer is a large piece of paper that is folded down to the size of a standard envelope or brochure. As they often fit one piece of paper, they can cut your costs significantly.
  • Postcards: Postcards are also a powerful way to engage and convert your leads. Their price depends on their size. Therefore, to reduce expenses, design standard-size postcards. 
  • Newsletters: Similar to email newsletters, directly mailed newsletters increase your business’ transparency and build stronger relationships. Their main goal is to keep customers updated about your company’s accomplishments, news, sales, discounts, etc.
  • Letters – Personalize user experiences and communicate directly with your customers.
  • Catalogs, brochures, booklets: These content formats serve to display your key products and services and engage leads with high-quality photos and descriptions.

The idea is to know when to use each of these marketing types. Flats have the highest response rate at 6.6%, followed by postcards and letters.

Also, statistics say that certain forms of content are perfect for your direct marketing campaigns, while some work better when sent via email. Customers prefer to receive brochures, welcome packs, catalogs, bills, loyalty rewards, and issues and complaints via direct mail. It’s often considered more trustworthy, personal, and reliable. Email outpaces direct email when it comes to receiving reminders, follow-up messages, and news and updates. 

How to Get the Most out of Direct Mail

Now that you know how direct mail can benefit you and what its major types are, let’ see what factors will help you build a direct marketing campaign that converts. 

Know your Target Market

Understanding who your target customers are helps you customize your direct mail tactics to their needs and preferences. For starters, review your current email list and see who engages with your messages the most. You can also conduct surveys and listen to your customers on social to determine your target audience more accurately. Based on this data, create buyer personas that will help you deliver highly personalized content to each customer.


Personalization is a crucial part of any marketing strategy, be it online or offline. According to Deloitte, customers don’t just want personalized communication with brands – they also expect to see products and services that are adjusted to them. Namely, 36% stated they would buy personalized products, while 48% of them would wait longer to receive them.

Personalization increases customers’ experiences and builds stronger relationships with them. Sometimes, even the most basic information, such as your recipients’ names, will help your mail stand out.

Choose Authentic Design

Most customers will throw away mail from companies they haven’t heard of. To grab their attention and inspire them to read your letter, you need to invest in a catchy and powerful design. There are numerous things to pay attention to:

  • Make it on-brand. No matter if it’s a catalog, a newsletter, or a brochure, insert your brand logos, colors, typography, and tone of voice to build a consistent brand image.
  • Add high-quality photos and graphics. This is particularly important for creating postcards, brochures, and catalogs. Instead of using dull stock photos, invest in the design that stands out. If possible, use the photos of your products. That’s where many original companies decide to hire a professional designer. For example, Synthesis Quatro, an international architectural biro, hired Infostarters to create an innovative brochure, both digital and print-ready. The idea was to highlight their unique projects through simple and powerful design. 
  • Stand out. It takes about 8 seconds to grab your prospects’ attention. Therefore, use quality design, bright colors, legible fonts, and larger mailers to encourage them to keep reading. You can also invest in sophisticated tech solutions, such as adding sound bites to your direct mail so your customers can hear your message. You can also use augmented reality features, such as a video screen. Sure, these options are more expensive, so first determine whether they’re a good fit for your budget.
  • Use white space. Your customers read and you should make your message easily digestible and memorable.

Boost your Writing Skills

The way your letters, brochures, newsletters, and catalogs are written impact your overall brand image. Your writing style tells how professional and reliable you are. Above all, it should engage your audience and inspire them to take action immediately.

  • Start with your headline. As most of your recipients will only scan their mail, your headline should catch their eye and intrigue them right away. Make it short, concise, and clear. It should be informative and tell your customers what your direct mail is about Finally, use power words and avoid confusing industry jargon.
  • Apart from your title, there are a few additional hotspots to pay attention to, such as your first paragraph, last paragraph, and post scriptum. These are the elements your recipients read the most.
  • Edit your copy several times and eliminate any typos and grammatical mistakes.
  • Elicit emotions and empathy with user-generated content, testimonials, choice of words, and typography. 
  • Use customer research and reviews to understand their major problems. Address these problems in your direct mail and show how you can help them. The idea is not to sell products, but the solutions to the issues your customers face.
  • Add powerful and persuasive CTAs that will convince leads to take the desired action.

Over to You

Direct mail is still a powerful tactic to use. However, to get the most out of it, you need to plan and execute it strategically. Set clear goals, choose your metrics, and track the performance of your campaigns continuously. Then, make future decisions according to the data you collect.

Hope these tips help!

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