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6 Tips To Create Effective Direct Mail Campaigns

Direct mail ideas you can implement starting today.

With the rise of digital marketing, you have to wonder if trying to create an effective direct mail campaign is worth the effort. The short answer is “Yes!”

Despite the popularity and convenience of digital marketing strategies, creating direct mail campaigns is still a viable marketing option for nearly all businesses. In many cases, it's actually more effective than digital marketing—including email.

Yeah, really.

But, you can't just slap some text and images together and expect incredible results. You have to put some effort into the creation of your mailers in order to get the desired responses from the people that receive them.

What are some good direct mail tips for a successful campaign?

While there are a nearly infinite set of direct mail marketing tips you could find online from a wide variety of sources, there are a select few that are applicable to all types of campaign mailers across all industries and sectors. For that reason, it's important to take all the advice you find about direct mail marketing online with a grain of salt, knowing that what's best for the direct mail campaigns of others may not be exactly what's best for yours, too.

To help provide some insight based on our observations and experience working with customers across a wide variety of industries on a wide variety of direct mail campaigns, we've developed 6 simple tips you can start using on your next mailing to improve your interaction rates and ROI mailer over mailer into the future.

The key to a successful direct mail campaign is to create something unique that will get the recipients' attention. One of the best ways to attract and captivate customer interest is to use marketing strategies that will delight and excite them. People need more than black and white text, plain backgrounds and basic geometric shapes to grab their attention. If they think your direct mail is ‘boring then they'll quickly dismiss your mailer regardless of how amazing your actual offer is. To get started, below is a list of ways to get your recipients' attention and avoid being boring.

6 Effective Direct Mail Ideas You Can Start Using Today

1. Include bonus items.

Everyone loves opening up their direct mail to find exciting little extras Personalized calendars, notepads, or magnets are both affordable and effective. You can hint to these extras on the outside with text like, “Free gift inside!” This ensures the small and lightweight gift creates enough of a lump to jumpstart your customers curiosities. Even if your motives are transparent to the savvy consumer, most will want to know what their gift is, and will be willing to open the envelope just to find out. This approach increases the rate people open your envelope, which ultimately increases your chance of overall success.

2. Let your direct mailers double as coupons.

Many customers will throw away your mailers after they've looked at them. Mailers that double as coupons, on the other hand, have a greater perceived value, and are less likely to be discarded.

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If a new bookstore uses direct mail to announce its store opening, and only provides store information on the mailer, it is likely to be thrown away immediately. But, if that same bookstore uses the opportunity to provide an offer, such as “two books for the price of one when you present this coupon”, the recipient will be much more likely to retain the mailer (even if its never redeemed).

3. Use unique techniques to help you stand out.

If you want to peak the interest of consumers, be unique. Unique and personalized messaging can grab and hold the recipients attention long enough to make a positive impression. Instead of using standard-sized paper with black text on light-colored backgrounds, go for bolder colors or over-sized pieces. For example, a 6x9 postcard or a 8.5x11 flat will stand out over other direct mail pieces and even standard sized envelopes.

What are the best resources for direct mail marketing?

One of the most important things to keep in mind is to avoid receiving your tips from online vendors of direct mail products. The reason for this is that they are most likely—and may not be doing so intentionally—trying to sell more of their products. The bias that information from those who work in the direct mailing industry alone may provide you with doesn't necessarily fit your business' needs and application of direct mail. Therefore, it is important to consult sources that have specialized information about your industry in general and who don't focus on direct mail related products exclusively.

We know this may sound sort of hypocritical coming from an online printer that also provides direct mail resources and services, but that is exactly why we won't promise our advice is guaranteed to work with your business application. We also like to speak mostly from experience when it comes to providing opinions and suggestions for other business' direct mailing business, but we do occasionally generalize when we notice that there are a large enough number of applicable incidents to merit considering the piece of advice a generalized one.

4. Include high quality images.

Ineffective mailers only include text-based content. If you really want to grab the attention of your recipients, include at least one large, high quality image in your direct mail advertising. Make one side of your postcard a large, single image, then on the other side, include more imagery to enhance the copy. Use high resolution photographs or graphics to provide a polished look for your brand. Low quality pixelated images are not only ineffective, but reflect poorly on your brand.

5. Target The Right People.

Just because a mailing list has worked in the past doesn't mean it will continue to work. Using the same process for selecting recipients could lead to diminishing results. Don't be afraid to test new markets and choose new types of recipients. If you're not Take notes on how audiences interact with your catalog, and learn from themsatisfied with your direct mail results, it could be as simple as sending them to a new segment or a more targeted audience. Be sure to make any necessary content changes to keep your messaging tailored and relevant.

6. The Most Effective Direct Mail Is Interactive

The basic goal of your direct mail is to engage your recipients and inspire them to take an action. Scanning and discarding is the worst case scenario, and all efforts should be made to avoid this fate. Creating a design with great images and exciting text will grab peoples attention. Giving them a compelling reason to take action will drive real business results.

How effective are Direct Mail PURLs for marketing?

PURLs are customized, often short-form links that are often auto-generated and allow your direct mail recipients to visit specific content related to the mailer online while also recording their activities as they interact with that content so you can better understand how effective the mailer was at generating interest among your audience. To some, they may seem like a quick and easy solution for the complex and seemingly insurmountable task of measuring response rates to direct mail, but it's important to remember that they're a tool that's only made useful through proper, continued usage, much like a piece of exercise equipment. If you use it with every mailer you send out but you don't have the capability or knowledge of how to actually measure and monitor the usage of your PURLs beyond the most basic stats like interaction rate or open rate, then you could only be getting a small portion of the total benefits you could be getting from utilizing the technology.

In a marketing campaign, for example, using PURLs wouldn't be nearly as effective if the only data you gather from their usage is interaction rates (how many people interacted by visiting their link vs those that did not). If you're able to make full usage of the data you gather, the efficiency and effectiveness of the usage of the technology would exponentially increase.

When used to their fullest potential, the usage of PURLs can give you complete sets of information about the recipients you mailed them to, such as how interested they are in your product or service or how likely they are to take a certain secondary action that you're pushing as the primary call to action in your piece. This makes them a very effective tool when used properly with CRM databases of customer information and marketing data.

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