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8 Tips to Improve Your Direct Mail


8 Tips to Improve Your Direct MailToo many marketers have already dismissed direct mail as an old-fashioned or obsolete method of getting the company message in front of the right audience. This idea could not be further from the truth. Over $45 billion was spent on direct marketing in 2013 according to and the number continues to grow. Social media, mobile ads, and SEO all make sense. But when one of the biggest online companies in the world, Google, uses postal direct mail for its campaigns, it makes sense to pay attention.

Are you convinced? Now that you are ready to get started, these eight tips can help you improve marketing to a postal contact list and get you a better response to every mailer you send.

1 – Get it to the Right People

One of the most effective ways to improve marketing happens before any marketing takes place. A message on a direct mail piece will ever be only as effective as the list or database it targets.

A well-targeted list means a better response overall. Identify an ideal audience based on demographics, firmographics for B2B companies, and other factors. 

2 – Minimize the Undeliverable Rate

Direct mail recipients who were once a part of your ideal audience may move, change their contact information, or change their habits, interests, or budget. Identifying people’s changing interests is virtually impossible unless you talk to them personally. The other factors are part of the vital practice called list cleaning.

Undeliverable mail equals wasted money and zero chance of building your brand or attracting a new customer or client. Use a list management service or find a way to clean the mailing list yourself by weeding out old and incorrect data. 

3 – Send Something New and Unique 

Not only should the information you share about your business and offer be unique, but sending out an out-of-the-ordinary mailer grabs more attention than a plain postcard or envelope. If you look like everyone else, your card or letter will get the same treatment as everyone else’s. It will eventually take  a short trip into the recycle bin. Consider over-sized postcards, bulky envelopes, or odd colors or shapes. 

4 – Capture Attention Fast 

Whether your mail piece has neon yellow starbursts or a pithy slogan printed in bold lettering across the front, you need to catch the recipient’s attention. Besides unique mailers as mentioned above, use words and phrases that clearly demonstrate you deliver exactly what they want. 

5 – Give Value for Free 

Before any B2B or B2C target opens their wallet and buys something or hires your company, they want to know you can deliver quality. Giving them something of value for free through direct mail does not mean samples or extensive printed reports. In order to get a better response, send a link to a website page where they can get free information. Aditionally, mail a quick facts card along with a letter of introduction. 

6 – Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse 

When you figured out the ideal audience needed to improve marketing and get a better response, you identified precisely what these people or businesses wanted from you. Give it to them. Combine a powerful call to action with valuable free information and ignoring the direct mail piece becomes much more difficult. Not only will the conversion rate go up, your brand reputation will too. 

7 – Create a Clear Call to Action 

Failure to finish up with clear instructions to take a particular desired action often results in failure to get a better response with any direct mail marketing campaign. People procrastinate, fail to do things due to doubt, and lead very busy lives where a non-vital task lies forgotten more often than not. Craft a CTA that inspires immediate response by making it worth their while, simple to do, and time-sensitive. 

8 – Follow Up the Right Way 

The majority of mail recipients will not take action no matter how eye-catching and specific you make the mail piece. First contacts may introduce the company, product, or service, but not convince them to pick up the phone or open a web browser to learn more.

To get an overall better response from a campaign, plan out a series of mailers or other follow up methods that keep what you have to offer in the forefront of their minds in a positive way.

Professionals who use negative terms like “snail mail” might be guilty of dismissing a powerful marketing medium just because the initial contact is less swift than today’s digital standard. Another complaint is cost. Postage does cut into the budget a bit more than email marketing. However, time and again, companies who use direct postal mail effectively report a higher return on their investment than those that only use electronic means. With these eight tips, your direct mail campaigns can result in a better response and more profit overall.

David James

President, Bethesda List Center, Inc + Bethesda Emedia Marketing.