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What is Direct Mail? A Definitive Guide

What is Direct Mail? A Definitive Guide

150 150 Myles Robinson

What is Direct mail? The Definitive Guide to Mail Marketing

Direct mail is the marketing strategy and promotion process, which involves sending a piece of physical promotional material to the targeted area.

It goes through the courier services or from particular postal services like from the US/UK or (any other country) to the targeted businesses or home.

Most recipients address it as “junk mail” because they arrive without an invitation.

It includes various marketing techniques, flyers, brochures, letters, newsletters, postcard marketing, catalogues, packages and coupon envelopes and many more.

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Does direct mail marketing still work?

Many people may think that paid search and other digital marketing mediums have significantly reduced the effectiveness of direct mail marketing.

But you will be glad to know that direct mail eventually returns a higher ROI than other marketing channels like paid ads and display ads.

Verily, direct mail is so effective, and it is considered the second-highest ROI provider competing next to the social media channels.

On the other hand, according to the survey from recent ad revenue results from different mediums, direct mail provides more than 5.3% higher response. In contrast, email marketing provides only a 0.6% response rate for advertisers.

So, it’s for sure that direct mail still works very effectively as a marketing medium for any business. Similarly, blanket leaflet distribution services are effective for large-scale marketing.

The mailing list for your direct mail campaign

This is the very beginning task when you start setting up a direct mail campaign for promotional purposes.

Direct mail works too effectively and provides a higher response rate only when you land an appropriate message on the doorstep of the targeted people.

In other marketing mediums, everyone is expected to hear the message and reply. Still, direct mail only connects with those who need that service, someone promoting directly on their doorstep.

That’s why direct mail speaks more than traditional or online marketing, such as paid PPC ads or display ads.

What is your target market, and how should you define it?

Selecting the right customers and triggering them to send promotional materials is one of the challenging parts of direct mail marketing.

It mainly depends on the selection procedure and whether you’re targeting the right audiences.

If the right customers receive your mail, it will be very effective and give you a higher response rate.

So, here are the parameters that you should consider before making the mail ready to deliver:

·        Age

·        Gender

·        Monthly or yearly approx. income

·        Homeowner or not

·        Car owner or not

·        Educational Qualifications or level

·        Kids at home

·        Employees or not

Those above are basic things, and the answers must be collected before starting your first direct mail campaign.

Besides, it will make a list very specific for the right targeted customers.

The more information you can collect about the customers, the more responses you will get from them.

You can also add more parameters to the above list. It will be more specific to the customer service you’re offering.

For instance, you can add items on the list like pets, own stock, hardwood floors or have asthma. It will depend on the service you promote through the direct mail campaign.

Direct Mail Marketing: Pros

·        Higher chances of getting a positive customer response from the receiver

·        You can track and analyse the result

·        It is cheaper than regular mail

·        It’s very flexible in executing and reaching out to the targeted audience

·        Individualised way of marketing

Direct Mail Marketing: Cons

·   A higher percentage of customers refer to direct mail as a junk mail service since it is sent uninvited. Moreover, they don’t tend to read the inside information in the mail.

·        It might be a waste of money if the emails are unopened and fail to collect customers’ attention.

·        The response rate is lower compared to other direct marketing actions.

Postage Brackets

Advertising Mail:

Your mail will fall under advertising mail if you are promoting a sale, a charity asking for a donation, a contribution, or a cause to be supported.

Business Mail:

Your mail will fall under business mail which is more expensive than advertising mail. For example, if you let customers know you have moved location, this would be classed as business mail. Sending bills or invoices by post and general customer service updates will also be business mail.

We know this may seem confusing but don’t panic. We are here to help. When you send your artwork by PDF, we can determine which bracket your mail falls in.

Email today, and we will come back to you within minutes –

Why should you use direct mail marketing in-home businesses?

Taking the right decision and setting up the goal:

When conducting a direct mail campaign targeting a particular area, first, you need to create a mailing list.

The list will be filtered as much as possible by setting different parameters like age, gender, income, homeowner or car owner, etc.

Then, you will need to specify why you’re going to run this direct mailing campaign and what your customer wants from your direct mail services.

How will they get benefited? Could you cover everything from a customer perspective and organise them well inside your mail? If things are done accurately, you have a higher chance of getting positive feedback from the customer.

What is the type of mail that you will send:

Most home businesses prefer to mail a postcard.

It is less expensive but has limits to including information inside the mail.

A postcard has a higher chance of getting read than a letter that needs the recipient to open and look over the content inside.

How you should design the mailing:

The success rate of direct mailing largely depends on a captivating mailer.

For this, you will need to understand copywriting.

It’s difficult to understand the user’s intention and what they look for and demand.

You’ll need to find and trigger out an alluring presentation that talks about and describes their needs.

The inside information of the mailing must be aimed at providing direct mail solutions to their problems.

Another great thing is that you can put information in an envelope.

So, could you put an enticing message on the envelope to convince the recipient and convert them into your customer?

This could bring you a massive response from the recipients. Trust me!

Identifying the target market:

It refers to the targeted people who will receive and open the mail.

So, could you ensure whether you send a cold mail by purchasing a ready mail list or contact past customers?

If you’re planning and looking for a ready list, do enough research before finalising the mail to send.

Quality and updated lists are very important to give you an impressive response.

Additionally, follow the owner’s rules to send mail from whom you bought the mailing list.

For instance, most ready-list mail sellers only allow sending mail to the respective mail owner. No worries! You can convert them to your regular mailing list when you get a response from them.

Get connected with the local post office, such as Royal Mail, to use bulk mail:

Bulk mailing is the cheapest procedure to send direct mail.

But remember, never add any misleading or incomplete information that may seem vulnerable to the customers’ perspective.

Start an initial campaign for testing purposes:

Processing and delivering the mail to the entire mailing list is expensive spending.

So, you mustn’t send campaigns that won’t provide results as per your marketing plan, right?

For that, you should do a test run on direct mailing to a smaller list of the entire list and monitor if it succeeds in getting results and allows you to broaden the response rate.

Track the response rate and analyse them:

After preparing the promo for the mailing list, go to the local post office and present it to them.

When a successful campaign is conducted, start calculating the ROI and take further actions according to the result you got from the earlier campaign.

7 Ways to Use Direct Mail

Almost everyone thinks according to the terms of regular mailing ads while considering direct mailing ads. But, it’s not something to be done only following the terms of regular mailing ads.

You can use direct mail for different purposes to diversify your direct mail marketing. There are several ways where you can implement direct mail to get clients and customers.

Promote products catalogue and services: It impresses the customers as they will see examples of your offer products catalogue and get an overview of your services. You can also include coupon codes or discounts for the recipients, encouraging them to buy and take your service.

Adding special discounts: Unlike another marketing prospectus, why you wouldn’t include a special deal and discounts for the customers instead of just sending them a letter or a postcard? Such as adding a percentage by giving convincing products and services at an affordable and cheaper price.

You can specify discount offers or coupon codes for first-time customers. It’s a great approach to draw the attention of your targeted customer and mail recipients.

Reminders: Sending reminders to the customers and making them aware of the ongoing situations is very good for connecting them to your business.

Although it depends on the service and product, you’re offering to the customers, for example, if you have a business providing tax consultation, you can send a reminder in December to take the deductions before the year ends. Also, you can notice them get ready for their upcoming tax-paying deadline.

Include valuable tips or items: Many realtors send calendars and recipes to their clients and customers. These items are helpful in our daily life. So, people keep them in their homes, and thus your business also gets introduced to the house owner.

People remember the name of the realtor whenever they check the calendar and recipe guides; essentially, you can also do that to promote your business.

But, make sure that you are offering something to the recipients who would really need it and be helpful.

Samples: It’s another great action you can take with the mail you deliver to your targeted people. People like free products, and they love to test them. But, the product mustn’t be cost-effective, which can harm your overall budget for the campaign.

A free sample product can bring customers converted from junk mail recipients.

Newsletters: An email newsletter is good enough and most affordable to deliver information to your regular email list. But yet print and mail news can be compelling too.

Using a newsletter, you can combine many items like discounts, services, valuable tips and announcements and present them to the customers.

Announcements: When you’re about to launch a new product or service, you should let all your existing clients, prospects and customers know about your newly arriving product or service.

So, once again, it will be a great way to present your upcoming services or products through direct mail. 

Benefits of a direct mail marketing

Several immense benefits accrue from using the direct mail advertising method. It not only creates a positive impact on your business but also helps to convert your business as a brand to customers and consumers. So the benefits are-

Highly targeted and converting them to potential customers: The most useful advantage of direct mail advertising is targeting the exact audience who’s intentional about getting a service or purchasing particular products. You can purchase a readymade mailing list from specific distributors or outsource the seller. Then, prepare them for your direct mailing campaign to get potential customers into your business.

For example, If you’re a store owner and sell health and vitamin products in your shop, you can collect the list of people who usually purchase those types of products and set up your direct mailing campaign.

Highly Measurable: It is a highly measurable marketing channel for any business owner. A small company can easily measure their ROI for one or multiple direct mail campaigns.

You can get an immense conversion rate by adding coupons or discounts inside the mail. At the same time, you can also monitor the response rate to take action further.

Individualised way of marketing: Direct mail is a form of marketing that is highly individualised.

Several computer programs can address consumers with their names in direct mail. It works well, especially for small companies. Therefore, it seems like speaking to the customer directly as if the owner is talking to them face to face. Besides, addressing someone by their name is highly convertible to long discussions and creating values as well.

Extremely Flexible: Direct mail advertising is very flexible as it requires less effort and saves costs.

Different manufacturers tend to attach a free product and mailing to attract customers and drive them into their business. Also, a business person can add as much information as possible in their direct mail and its envelope. Not to mention that it also varies depending on customer intention and buying intensity. 

How will you send direct mail?

You can use two main ways to send direct mail, and those are standalone mail or shared mail.

Shared mail is mainly used by small business owners who share the space with other businesses in the same mail.

On the other side, standalone mail is solely sent from a business when they advertise themselves own. Let’s dive into the procedures for both shared mailing and standalone mailing.

Standalone Mail: When you pay for everything that includes performing a successful direct mail campaign, it will be considered standalone mail. It is more expensive than shared mail as the respective business owner spends for everything.

Before sending mail to the expected customers, you will need to purchase a readymade list from a seller or outsource them. It needs to send postcards directly when you use standalone mail for direct mail marketing.

There are higher possibilities to format and present standalone mail to the customers. Although, it depends on the budget as you have some limitations to spending it creatively.

Shared Mail: It is also known as marriage mail marketing, where the advertisers share space and split their expenditures.

Distributors or different business owners have a predefined mailing list where they pay for postage.

So, as the cost divides into a group, it becomes cheaper and even as low as a few cents for every household. Some examples of shared mail are RedPlum, Clipper Magazine and Valpak.

Final Thoughts

Nowadays, every business owner constantly tries to create a positive impact on the market, and that’s why they need quality customers who will represent them.

If things are correctly done in a direct mail campaign, it’s for sure that it will be highly efficient and beneficial for the business.

It may have the reputation of being spammy, but it is still worth the value to recreate a brand and lead it to success.

At The Direct Mail Company, we offer 5* customer service throughout your campaign. For any help you require, please email


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