Direct Mail Advertising

  • There are many types of direct mail advertising, such as letters, postcards, catalogs, brochures,and even dimensional mailers. Direct mail marketing is a great way to connect with prospects. Research shows that up to eighty percent of potential customers open direct mail, even if it appears to be junk mail. About half prefer direct mail to email offers. The more eye-catching the product, container, or mailer, the better, as people decide within about ten seconds whether to read the message or open the container. Creative direct mail, such as one that includes a small gift, a gift card, or a coupon, will drive customer interest.

    Direct Mail Advertising

    Catalogs offer the opportunity to show multiple products in the same mailer, increasing the chance that one or more of the items advertised will appeal to a buyer. For example, a catalog could include clothing, shoes, cosmetics, household items, and appliances in one mailing. Catalogs may contain any number of pages and sometimes include tear-off coupons so that the advertiser can track interest when the coupons are redeemed. A catalog with an eye-catching front page will be more likely to be read, and tying the front page to a current holiday and then following up inside with more products tied to that holiday may entice the customer to look further.

    Dimensional Mailers

    Dimensional mailers, such as a bag with the company name and address printed on the outside and a coupon inside, are more expensive than some others, but they often generate a higher response rate, making them worth the extra cost. Some mailers are small boxes or tubes that might contain a dishwashing detergent sample or a new toothpaste, with a coupon enclosed to encourage the patron to buy the larger item in a store. Coupons often contain bar codes, enabling the seller to track the effectiveness of the mailer. A good strategy is to include a regular coupon that can be used anytime and another with an extra percentage off if used by a certain date.


    Laminated postcards are less expensive to mail than letters, and there is no envelope to open and throw away. Postcards are affordable, efficient, and effective. The message is right in front of the customer as soon as the person takes the card out of the mailbox. Full-color ads on postcards stand out right away, and the message can be printed on both sides. Postcards immediately identify the brand with brief, targeted messages that help potential consumers decide quickly to read more about the product or service offered. Postcards can be tailored to specific audiences by using identifiers such as age, demographics, and geography to target potential customers. Postcards usually include a call to action by including coupons to be used in a store or online, an invitation for a free gift card on the company’s website, or a phone number to call for more information or to redeem an offer. The promotional code or coupon enables the seller to track results, see what is working, and what might need to be changed.

    Plastic Postcard Mailers

    Plastic postcard mailers are the latest trend in postcard advertisements, even though these postcards are more expensive to produce than laminated cards. Plastic postcards are eye-catching and heavier than laminated postcards, capturing the potential consumer’s attention right away. Plastic postcards often include durable pop-out wallet-size cards and even small pop-out keyring cards. People can put these cards in a wallet or on a keyring right away and then use them when needed. Examples are rewards cards for grocery stores or hotels or prescription savings cards. A great idea might be to send one pop-out card to the customer along with another card to give to a friend, doubling the seller’s outreach. These types of mailers have proven to be quite effective in driving customer action.

    Direct Mail Advertising Strategies

    The marketer should follow the 40/40/20 rule when designing the advertisement. Forty percent of success will come from having a targeted, effective mailing list. The next forty percent depends on how compelling the offer is. The final twenty percent comes from the design, images, text, size, and delivery date. Once these strategies have been employed, the seller will want to have a strong call to action (CTA). By including a tear-off coupon or a percentage discount for a particular store or service when the mailer is brought in, the mailer prompts the potential customer to act. Directing customers to a website with a promise of entry into a contest or including a QR code for free items are other good ways to prompt action on the part of the consumer.

    Coordinate Direct Mail with Digital Marketing To Double Results

    The strategy is to send the direct mail first, then follow up with at least four emails. Companies use direct mail to drive customers to digital offers. Sellers should create a strong call to action and then test results from both the initial direct mail and the email campaign. Sellers want to keep the message simple and consistent. Advertisers can include a QR code or URL landing page, blending the direct mail with digital channels to reach customers more effectively. Sellers invite the customer to enter a name and email in the gating process of the digital platform to move the potential buyer through a sales funnel, with the sale as the final goal. Advertisers should use just one call to action (scan the QR code or go to a website), rather than multiple choices, so it is easy for the customer to know exactly what to do. Sellers can ask for one small action at first rather than going for a hard sell right away, directing the consumer to take the next step, then the next, and so on through the whole process.

    Direct Mail Advertising Works!

    If direct mail advertising is done well, the seller will garner a high response rate for a relatively low investment. The direct mailer can entice consumers to engage with an online website, call for more information, or patronize local retail establishments. All are good ways to generate sales.