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9 Tips To Create Effective Direct Mail Campaigns

Effective Direct Mail Campaign Ideas

Despite the popularity and convenience of digital marketing strategies, creating direct mail campaigns is still a viable marketing option.

In fact, results from direct mail marketing have increased over the years and direct mail is actually more effective than digital marketing—including email, social media, and display ads.

Yes, it’s true! Response rates for direct mail can reach 9%, which is more than all three digital marketing options listed above combined.

However, you can’t just slap some text and images together and expect incredible results. You’ll have to put some effort into the creation of your mailers and strategy so you can launch an effective direct mail campaign.

What are Some Good Direct Mail Tips for a Successful Campaign?

Direct Mail Marketing Campaign

The key to a successful direct mail campaign is to create something unique that will grab your audiences’ attention as well as making sure you’re reaching the right target audience for your goals.

If you’re not reaching the right audience, then your direct mail campaign isn’t going to be effective.

And once you have your target audience, you’ll need a marketing message that attracts and captivates your specific audience.

To help you get started, below we put together 9 tips to create truly effective direct mail campaigns.

9 Effective Direct Mail Ideas You Can Start Using Today

1. Include an Irresistible Offer

Every direct mail campaign needs to include an offer that your audience can’t refuse.

When your direct mailers include an offer or an intriguing call to action (CTA), they have a greater perceived value and are less likely to be discarded.

For example, if a new bookstore uses a direct mail campaign to announce its grand opening and only provides store information, it’s likely to be thrown away. But, if that same bookstore uses the opportunity to provide an offer, such as “two books for the price of one", their audience will be much more likely to visit them.

Consumers are drawn to discounts and deals and when you include an offer on your direct mailers, you’re sure to gain amazing results.

2. Personalize Your Direct Mailers

To peak the interest of consumers, you need to be unique. And Unique personalized messaging can grab and hold recipients’ attention even longer giving your direct mail piece enough time to make a positive impression.

Personalized printed materials.

Plus, research shows that people engage more with advertisements that are customized just for them and when you personalize your direct mailers for each individual recipient, you can increase your direct mail response rate by 135%.

Try using variable data printing in your next direct mail campaign to include personal details that are specific to each individual. This could include a name, image, and more.

3. Combine Your Direct Mail with Digital Marketing

One common marketing mistake marketers make is not marketing on multiple channels.

To increase the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign, you need to market online and offline.

You need to reach your audience on every marketing channel to have a highly effective marketing campaign. Try running a campaign where your message is delivered through a direct mailer, an email, and through social media to build better brand awareness and to increase the chances your audience takes you up on your offer.

4. Choose the Right Materials

Each direct mail product has a different purpose. For example, postcards are meant to promote a short message that generates immediate responses, catalogs are perfect for promoting multiple products, and services, or sharing detailed information about your company, and brochures are great for that in the middle message when you don’t want to unveil too many details but still want to share enough to inform and attract your audience.

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And once you decide on the right material, you need to choose the right size.

The size of your direct mailer will have an impact on the overall effectiveness of your direct mail campaign. Take postcard sizes for example, while smaller postcards like a 4x6 or 5x7 postcard will generate results, if you’re looking to make your message really stand out, you should try a larger postcard like a 6x9 or 6x11.

To help you decide on what materials may work best for your message, you can take advantage of our free Direct Mail Idea pack so you can see and feel some of the most popular direct mail materials.

5. Include Bonus Items

Everyone loves opening their direct mail to find exciting little extras like personalized calendars, notepads, stickers, or magnets which are all affordable and effective.

If your direct mailer includes an envelope, hint to these extras on the envelope with text like, “A Free Gift Just for You!” This ensures the small and lightweight gift creates enough of a lump to jumpstart your customers’ curiosity.

You can also include a bonus on other direct mailers that don’t need an envelope as well. For example, on your postcard design, include a link for your audience to follow to redeem a free gift card or other gift.

This approach increases the rate people open an envelope or visit your website, which ultimately increases your chance of overall success.

6. Target the Right Audience

You can have the most well-designed postcard with the perfect call to action, but if you send it to an uninterested audience, your direct mail campaign will be pointless.

You need to make sure you’re reaching your specific target audience and not just a random group of people. To help you compile your targeted mailing list, check out our blog “How to Perfect Your Direct Mail Targeting in 5 Simple Steps.” 

Targeted Mailing List

You also need to remember that just because a mailing list has worked in the past, doesn’t mean it will continue to work.

Using the same list or even the same process for selecting recipients could lead to diminishing results. Don’t be afraid to test new markets. If you’re not satisfied with your direct mail campaign results, it could be as simple as reaching a new segment or a more targeted audience. Also, be sure to make any necessary content changes to keep your messaging tailored and relevant.

7. Reach Out to Your Current Customers

Direct mail campaigns aren’t just for reaching new audiences. In fact, to ensure effective direct mail campaigns, you should incorporate direct mail in every stage of your marketing funnel. 

And direct mail is extremely effective at strengthening your current customer relationships.

When you engage with previous customers and give them a reason to make another purchase, you’ll begin generating repeat business. And with repeat customers spending 67% more than new customers, this direct mail tip should not be ignored.

Try promoting your rewards program or offer customers a discount on their next order to really give your customers an incentive to return.

8. Send Multiple Mailings

Success with multi-drop campaigns.

Another marketing mistake is sending your direct mail campaign out only once.

An extremely effective direct mail campaign idea is to send your direct mailers out to a smaller, more targeted audience, at least 3 times.

This is because often, people need to see something several times before they become fully aware of it. So, when you reach out to an audience for the first time you may receive a handful of responses, but when you reach out to that same audience 3 times, you gain a better chance of generating an even higher response rate and return on investment.

9. Automate Your Direct Mail Campaign

Another effective direct mail campaign tip is to integrate your campaign into your CRM or marketing automation platform by taking advantage of Direct Mail Automation. 

This solution allows you to send out your direct mail just like you would an email. You can even set up triggers, so your mailers are sent at exactly the right time to each of your recipients. For example, if one of your sales reps sends a specific email to a lead, a postcard that coincides with the email message will automatically be sent to that recipient as well.

This is an effective direct mail strategy because it takes the hassle out of planning and sending your mailers so you can focus on optimizing your direct mail campaign. It’s also effective because it helps you reach your audience at the most relevant time for them, improving the chances that your recipients will respond.

Measuring The Effectiveness of Your Direct Mail Campaign

Project your direct mail ROI using just a few campaign details.
The direct mail ROI calculator makes it easy to project your campaign's ROI using just a few of its parameters.

Just like any marketing strategy, you need to measure the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign so for one, you know that it’s effective and two, so you can gain insight into what improvements could be made to increase its effectiveness even more.

Below are some ways you can easily track the results of your direct mail campaigns. Also, to determine the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign based on your direct mail ROI, check out this Direct Mail ROI Calculator. 

Trackable PURLs

PURLs are customized, often short-form links that allow your direct mail recipients to visit specific online content related to the direct mailer. And when used to their full advantage, they can help you record your audiences’ activities as they interact with the content so you can better understand how effective your direct mailer was at generating interest including measuring stats like response rate and open rate.

QR Codes

QR codes work similarly to PURLs as they allow you to track website activity and measure how many people visited your website because of your direct mail piece. However, rather than your direct mail recipients having to type out the PURLs in their browser’s search bar, all they need to do is scan the QR code with their smartphone camera.

Coupon Codes

Coupon codes are perfect for when you are promoting a product or service that can be ordered on your website. Just create custom coupon codes unique to your direct mail campaign so that when someone places an order using that discount code, you know they received and took action on your direct mail message.

The Bring it in Technique

This technique for measuring the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign is easy. Within the offer or coupon, you include within your direct mailers, just include a note that says the offer can be redeemed if they bring in the direct mailer or coupon cut out. This way you can gather enough information about how many people took action on your offer. Plus, this is the perfect way to get to know your new customers and to begin building a strong customer relationship.

Trackable Phone Numbers

If your audience needs to call you to take advantage of your offer, you can include a call tracking number so you can see who is calling you because of your direct mail marketing campaign.


Creating an effective direct mail campaign can seem challenging, but when you take advantage of the above effective direct mail campaign tips, we guarantee you’ll improve your response rates, and ROI.

These tips and ideas are based on our observations and experiences working with our customers across a wide variety of industries on a wide variety of direct mail campaigns. And while who you target, how well your message and design is, how often you reach out to your audience, and what materials you use will all impact the effectiveness of your campaign, we want you to know that we are here to help you create the perfect direct mail campaign for your specific goals and budget.

Feel free to reach out to our direct mail experts at any time with questions or for help getting started. If you’re interested in exploring all our direct mail marketing options, check out our advanced mailing page by clicking here and if you’re interested in receiving our free Direct Mail Idea pack just click the button below! This idea pack includes 6 full-size mail piece examples to help you get an idea of your direct mail product options.

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