10 Tips for Direct Mail Marketing

Profit from these direct mail marketing tips and strategies
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10 Tips for Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing is one of the most effective sales & marketing strategy. It helps you to directly connect with your potential customers and showcase your message, products & services along with industry-specific knowledge.

As per the Data & Marketing Association, 42% people read mailed in catalogs and made a purchase. According to USPS, 121 billion pieces of mail was sent out to U.S. households this year. These statistics prove that direct mailing as a marketing strategy is highly influential and can boost your outreach campaigns.

We all know that online ad management has a lot of competition and the investment required to keep your sales growing keeps on changing rapidly. As compared to direct mail marketing the prices are consistent throughout and can be banked upon thus proving that mailing someone is more cost effective compared to running ads on various channels.

The most important part of direct mail marketing is to ensure your mail reaches the right contact and delivers the right message enabling the receiver of the mail to take an action.

Here are 10 tips that will improve your direct mail marketing strategy:

1. Create Mailing List

To start your direct mail marketing campaign you need to create a list of mailing addresses of your potential customers.

There are many services that can be used to create a mailing list which would require some basic investment, however, I am a bit of an old school and love to do things myself. If you need something to be done perfectly then you have to do it yourself and I follow this advice religiously.

I usually do this manually using online directories and an excel file. In order to create a perfect mailing list, I recommend using these guidelines:

  1. Know your target: You would need to understand who is your target audience and then find them online. Example: If you are targeting local plumbers then I would visit directories like Yelp, WhitePages, YellowPages and gather all the information provided in the directory into an excel file.
  2. Collect details: Try to collect as much information as you can like the business name, owner name, phone number, address, email ID, and opening hours.
  3. Time management: You may need to spend at least 5-10 hours in order to create a productive mailing list, so you need to manage your time accordingly or even consider hiring a virtual assistant to get this done.
  4. Send invite: Instead of manually collecting a mailing address, you can also create a Google Form online which is free and email the businesses or professionals you are targeting and ask for their mailing address in return for a knowledgeable guide or gift that would be useful for them.
  5. Explore forums: You can also collect mailing addresses by joining forums where your target audience hangs out, Forums are really interactive thus you can expect a good response rate. Once you find the right forum, simply add the Google Form link asking for the mailing address and offer some value in return.

These five points will help you get that desired results to create an awesome mailing list and increase your chances of building higher engagement and conversions.

Once you crack the question about where your customers hang out things would get really easy in creating a direct mailing list.

2. Verify the Address

When a mailed letter does not reach the right contact it leads to waste of time and money. Sometimes calling the business and speaking to the receptionist along with using simple online tools can help.

You need to ensure that this does not happen to your direct mail marketing campaign and this is how you can do so:

  1. Use USPS zip code by address tool.
  2. Call the business to verify the address.
  3. Check for multiple locations and verify head office.
  4. Visit their website and check the contact page.
  5. Send mail to a specific department or person at the location.
  6. Find how mail is distributed once delivered.
  7. Use online tracking for delivery confirmation.
  8. Check Google maps listing.
  9. Connect with the concerned person via LinkedIn.
  10. Use reverse phone number check.

Just like emailing marketing stuff to someone unknown is considered as spamming, in the same way, mailing someone can also be considered a negative marketing strategy.

In order to ensure that the above-mentioned problem does not interrupt your direct mailing campaign, follow these tips:

  1. Call the business and see if it is ok for you to send a mail which would offer something of value, usually, I call businesses and speak to the concerned person to inform them that I have a presentation based on the latest studies which could help them boost sales and I offer it for free.
  2. Send an email with an impressive title enabling them to take action. You can create a page on your website which allows them to accept mail delivery and enter their details in return they would be able to download their industry-specific reports and case studies.
  3. Check if the address is not listed under the do not mail list for solicitation and other marketing campaigns. This even applies to general consumers like households and local businesses.
  4. Connect with the company or person on social media platforms that they are highly active on. This method works every time for me and helps me connect with the concerned person directly and seek permission to send out a mail.
  5. Start with giving a free lunch or a gift in the mail. Everybody hates sales proposal mail so instead of starting with a sales pitch, offer something valuable and interesting to the concerned person or the entire team. Free lunches are a big hit to break that shell of communication and make sure to start with that in that mail.
  6. Introduce yourself to the recipient and share the intention behind your mail. Even the core purpose of the mail is sales driven still try to communicate as a professional rather than a salesperson.
  7. Make the right first impression through your mail, thus you need to create the first 3 pages really appealing, informative and present yourself as market leaders. This would avoid your mail to end up in the trashcan and would serve its purpose.

I am sure that following these methods will enable your mail to be more effective and achieve your ultimate goal.

Reaching the right person and making sure the mail is considered of value is the key parameter of the direct mail marketing approach.

3. Find Decision Maker

This one is a must and you should follow this tip at all times. Never send out a mail to a company without knowing the name of the decision maker. A company has multiple employees even a small business has at least 3-5 employees thus when you send out a mail without a name and put just the companies name on the package this means anyone can open it once delivered.

The owner of the mail may find it helpful however an employee may consider the mail as a sales pitch and just throw it away or the receptionist who usually receives the mail for the company and forwards them to the individuals may be confused about whom the mail is for and may not send it out.

In order to find a decision maker consider these key elements to get the right results:

  1. Visit companies website and check for the team and about us pages which would definitely have the top decision-makers in every department.
  2. Call the company and get the name of the department head or the business owner from the reception.
  3. Search LinkedIn profiles and check for connections with the company name you are targetting. This would give you a list of professionals working in the company along with their designations.
  4. Try Google, usually just by searching for the owner or decision maker online would give you the results. Simply search with the keywords like “Owner of [company name]” or “Marketing head of [company name].
  5. Check on Crunchbase, it holds a list of top companies and the people behind it.

If you tried everything and still could not find the name of the decision maker then consider entering the person’s title in the company and the name of the department they manage. Example, if I am selling a business security software then I would contact the IT head in the IT department.

Sending a mail inattention to a person’s name helps you to be more appealing in your approach.

Read: How to use Offline Marketing to your Benefit?

4. Select Type of Direct Mail

There are various types of direct mail options to choose from thus you need to consider which one suits you the best in order to achieve your goal.

The right direct mail type would help you showcase your intent and grab the recipients attention towards your brand.

Here are 10 types of direct mail options to choose from:

  1. Postcard
  2. Brochure
  3. Self-Mailer
  4. Newsletter
  5. Lead Letter
  6. Flyer
  7. Mailing List
  8. Personalized Letter
  9. Dimensional Mailer
  10. Catalog

I have noticed that small businesses appreciate the heavy content and bulk information whereas the big businesses like something direct, small and to the point.

Regardless of the type of direct mail you chose make sure that you add your own personality and purpose to it.

Read: Four P’s Of Marketing To Boost Your Business

5. Design Your Mail

If you are planning to send out the old-fashioned whitepaper in your mail then you are taking a big risk as whitepaper usually is boring and does not add that attractive vibe to it. I would suggest designing your mail carefully with the right colors, images, infographics and then send it out.

If you understand your audience then you would also be able to find out what type of mailer will attract them and build your reputation, so be creative and put your thinking cap on. If you cannot find your thinking cap then consider these design ideas:

  1. Use the right typography: You do not want the receiver of the mail to read your mail using a magnifying glass or read a serious proposal which is written using the comic sans font.
  2. Choose one color scheme: Your mail should look professional and not like a child’s color book, you can avoid this by sticking to one color scheme and making it look subtle. People tend to overdo things especially when they are trying direct mailing for the first time so do not let this happen to you.
  3. Keep it sweet & simple: Your message should be clear and precise and should not confuse the reader. Make sure the title, fonts, paragraphs, body, images are simple and pass on the right information to the reader.
  4. Focus on images: A image can speak a thousand words and an image can also leave you confused. When choosing to add images to your mailer try adding some text on it.
  5. Make it spacious: An overcrowded mail is a mistake commonly made by direct mailers to save money and try to provide as much information as they can. Avoid doing this as it’s really not worth it because the higher chance is the recipient will throw your mailer away. Make your mail relaxed and use the space wisely and elegantly.
  6. Give attention: When sending a mail, ensure you have the person’s name, their company logo on the cover and envelope or package. This builds trust and is good for presentation. Inside the message try to add their name in front of sentences and address them inside different section of your message.

You can use the help of a graphic designer to get a perfect mailer designed for yourself. Regardless of the type of direct mail option you chose, it needs to be designed in a way that showcases the recipient that you did spend time and effort to reach out to them. This makes them feel that you are serious about your approach and encourages them to take respective action accordingly.

Read: What Is Agile Marketing & What Are Its Key Characteristics

6. Use Eye-Catching Packaging

Be it an envelope or a box package that you choose to send in your direct mail it has to be impressive.

You are not going to be the only one sending out a direct mail to this person or business nor is your recipient a stranger to marketing mailers, so try to be different and let your direct mail appeal to the receiver even before they open it. In short, make them want to open your mailer.

In order to get your mail to stand out of the crowd and get noticed, you need to follow some basic brand strategies:

  1. Choose branding colors.
  2. Add your logo.
  3. Show recipients name and company name.
  4. Choose the right fonts.
  5. Use images of people or yourself.
  6. Go green with environmentally friendly packaging.
  7. Enter brand message.
  8. Consider high-quality envelopes or boxes.
  9. Try some humor (Avoid if you are not good at it).
  10. Print it using quality printers.
  11. Keep it elegant & professional.
  12. Make it inline with the trend.
  13. Don’t share everything on the box or envelope.
  14. Give bold colors a chance.
  15. Avoid the use of plastic and go for paper.
  16. Experiment with different shapes of boxes and envelopes.
  17. Monitor price of the packaging and do not overspend.

Spending time on designing your envelope, box or package will definitely be worth it. You will be able to see that the response ratio is much higher as compared to sending out a regular mailer.

Your potential customer would definitely notice your effort in the direct mail packaging and this would increase your chances of conversion.

7. Provide Valuable Information

From a customers point of view in any and every business, their ultimate goal is to see and find how a service or product can add value to their business or life.

You need to show value to the recipient in your mailer upfront when it comes to direct mail marketing. If the receiver does not get or see value in your mail they might simply ignore it no matter how impressive everything else is.

I managed to create some key elements for you to show that the mailer and the proposal inside is valuable:

  1. Add reports & study data: When you provide your potential customer with rare and detailed reports and study data that may showcase their marketing trends, industry strategies and effective results it is considered highly impressive and builds your reputation in their eyes.
  2. Provide a value ladder: Be strong in providing your audience a value ladder that showcases the benefits and achievements they would accomplish if they use your services or products.
  3. Share your present client database: Everyone wants to work with an expert rather than a rookie thus showing them your present clients from the same niche would encourage and gain their trust faster.
  4. Offer a gift or a team lunch: If you are looking for time over the phone or a face to face meeting then this strategy works the best.
  5. Solve their problem: Everything that you sell definitely solves a problem be it a product or service, create a list of problems faced by the target audience and show them how your product or services can solve them.
  6. Ask them for an interview: Your mailer does not really have to be about sales instead it can also focus on starting a conversation with them and the best way to do so is to invite them for an interview. Your mailer can say that you consider them as an industry expert and their viewpoint upon a certain topic can be helpful and you will feature this interview on your blog or YT channel. Make sure you record this interview and upload it.
  7. Give a free demo or trial: More free stuff, more free stuff, more free stuff! This is the mantra you can follow. If you are selling a product or service then you could simply say that we are so confident in our brand that we will let you try it for free. I bet this would get them crawling to you.
  8. Share your achievements: Direct your customers to reviews left by customers, this can be done by adding a print out of the reviews page from Google, Yelp and other places.

This pointer is aimed at conversion and in order to convert a prospect into a client you need to give them something to trust you and build your value in their eyes. It’s an old saying it takes money to make money, in the same way, give value to get value.

8. Personalize Your Message

Nobody likes a stranger and no one likes a sales pitch from a stranger. Lack of personalization is the number one reason why people switch brands and avoid a new business relationship. Don’t make this mistake and start personalizing with your current and new customers.

Use these important factors in order to personalize with your prospects when using direct mail marketing:

  1. Use their first name
  2. Implement business jargons
  3. Share data
  4. Show after sale support channels
  5. Avoid using tough words
  6. Compliment them (For a blog, interview, press release)
  7. Offer a personal project manager
  8. Follow them on social media
  9. Talk about their latest blog/product
  10. Be friendly with words (Don’t be a salesperson)

Regardless of the business type, you will always be benefited by using personalized communication strategies in your approach. You will see customers interact more and stay with you longer regardless of how big the competition or their offer is.

My clients get approached by various competitors and they always turn them down then share their communication with me. Trust me, personalization is the key to keep growing.

9. Make it Easy to Take Action

Based on the goal you want to achieve with your direct mail marketing campaign, it is also important to make sure you provide an easy way for them to take action and simplify the process to take action.

If you are selling products via app or store then use QR codes which enables them to easily download the app or visit the store to make a purchase. If you are selling services then add your phone number and email ID for them to communicate with you or you can also give them a direct link to your website.

Types of actions you can add to your direct mail:

  1. Phone number
  2. Email
  3. Website URL
  4. QR Code
  5. Social media page name (Twitter handle, FB page name)
  6. Toll-free number

What would make your potential customer to take action, this is something you really want to focus on thus providing some encouragement would be really nice. Follow these tips that would encourage your customers to take action:

  1. Give discounts
  2. Provide free trial & demo
  3. Present yourself as a market leader
  4. Offer high-quality content
  5. Provide operational incentives (like addon services free)
  6. Assure guaranteed results or money back
  7. Provide advanced industry guide
  8. Free training for employees
  9. Show social proof
  10. Give exclusive giveaway code

Once you give reason to the customer to take action and also provide an easy way to complete the required target it becomes easier for the direct mail marketing to be successful.

Sales and conversion is the ultimate goal that you want to achieve with your mailer and using these tips make it easier to achieve them.

10. Follow up on Phone

You sent a mail to all your prospective customers and waited for a 3 days after delivery to see if they took the necessary action required. If they took an action then call them to introduce yourself and thank them for it and If they did not, then you need to call them and see if they got your mailer and find out the reason why they did not take an action.

By doing so you will be able to improve your mailer campaigns even further and achieve potential target easily. Key areas you need to focus on when making a follow-up call would be:

  1. Create a calling script
  2. Call during the first half of the business hours
  3. Leave a voicemail when the prospect is not available
  4. Address them by their first name
  5. Sound confident and professional
  6. Don’t talk like a telemarketer
  7. Sound friendly and create a bridge
  8. Ask if they have any questions or doubt
  9. Get a feedback on the mailer
  10. Start your sales pitch at the end unless the prospect initiates it first
  11. Give them your designation and name in the beginning
  12. Maintain call control and direct the conversation towards sales
  13. Follow up again if required
  14. Listen more and talk when required
  15. Personalize and build a relationship
  16. Fix next phone appointment with them

A phone follow up can close the deal right on the spot, however, can also go the other way if the client is not interested, so be ready to be turned down as well. If this happens simply move on to the next one.

All in all, following up via phone will showcase that you are serious about your proposal and take your customers seriously as well. Make sure that your tone matches to that of the prospect and everything else will fall in its place.

Read: How To Create A Successful Telemarketing Campaign


If you ask me direct mail marketing is a cost-effective and a reliable way to grow your client base and keep the sales growing.

When done the right way direct mailers can prove to be your major source of gaining new clients.

I hope these tips will help you in creating that perfect direct mail campaign and if did those do share your success story with me if you have any further information to further enhance the marketing method do share it in the comments below.

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Posted on September 27, 2018 in Branding

Author: Jobin John
I am the founder & CEO of Egochi. I share my knowledge and experience on a variety of digital marketing topics, including SEO best practices, social media marketing strategies, content marketing tips, and local SEO techniques. My goal is to help small businesses and marketing professionals stay up to date with the latest trends and techniques in the industry, and to provide them with actionable advice that they can use to grow their online presence and reach their marketing objectives.
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