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What is Direct Mail Marketing? (Does it Work?)

In order to have a successful and thriving business, you must reach your customers using efficient and cost-effective methods. No company wants to throw away money on unsuccessful advertising campaigns and services by pursuing individuals who are not in their target market. It is imperative that a company focus on the demographic who care about what they do, sell, or say.  Although not a modern or flashy technique, direct mail marketing remains highly successful.

What is Direct Mail Marketing?

Direct marketing focuses on sending advertising to specific customers. Most companies rely on research tools to target their most likely customers. Through the use of creative strategies, graphic designers, copywriters and direct mail companies work with clients to instantly grab the attention of the consumer base with the goal of pushing them to purchase goods, services, or taking part in whatever action is desired.

Direct Mail Marketing Still Holds a Valuable Place in the Modern Business World


The classic use of postcards, coupons, special offers, free newspapers, catalogs, free trial CDs, advertising circulars, and application incentives are all forms of direct mail marketing. With the modern era of electronics, email marketing has also risen in popularity. However, great care should be taken when launching an email campaign because 37 states have instigated laws that focus on ‘spam’ or ‘unwanted junk email’.

In order to maintain their reputation, most companies offer an ‘opt-in’ policy before launching any email marketing. This allows them to only target interested customers and avoid spamming individuals who truly care very little for your business. Although direct mail marketing might seem like a prehistoric beast compared to lightning fast email, companies should still not turn their backs on a classic without doing more research.

The Importance of Direct Mail Marketing

With the electronic era upon us, many business owners have forgotten how effective a direct mail marketing campaign can be. The thought of printing up thousands of paper flyers and then mailing them out using the postal service seems like a huge undertaking. However, depending on a business’s target client demographic, they may be losing out on valuable customers who still respond to receiving a piece of mail that they can physically touch and hold onto.

Creating Your Campaign: Best Practices

Any successful business owner knows that they must invest funds into marketing to stay afloat and bring in new customers. If you are considering direct mail marketing then you must factor in the ROI which is typically broken down to the 40/40/20 rule. You will obtain a 40 percent success rating from an effective mail list, an additional 40 percent hinges on how compelling you make the offer presented in the marketing strategy. The remaining 20 percent includes everything else such as making copies, mailing, design, images, delivery date, and method used.

Here are a few valuable things to do when creating your direct mail marketing campaign:

Take Time to Design

Take time to work with a professional graphic designer to figure out how to create an aesthetically pleasing marketing piece. Unfortunately, once your postcard, flyer, brochure etc is sent out, you cannot change the look of it.

Target Your Audience

Sending out mass mailings to everyone in a certain zip code is a waste of money. You need to target your audience so you don’t end up wasting money and time.

Test a Small Sample Market


Do not send out mass mailings. Instead, focus on a small area to test out the market and measure the success of the ROI along the way. You can run several tests to small market dynamics to figure out what works best.

Create a Compelling Call to Action

It is imperative that you have a compelling call to action to truly grab peoples’ attention. Some people offer a sale discount, others use a contest or a promotion as an incentive. You should encourage people to fill out an online survey so you can figure out how successful your direct mail marketing campaign has been at reaching people.


Prior to sending out any mail, you should always proofread to ensure quality. A glaring typo is unprofessional and looks horrible to the reader. Poor print quality and formatting issues are other stand-out flaws that will cause the flyer to end up the trash bin.

Keeping Track of Your Conversions

Failure to keep track of your direct mail marketing strategy means that you will be left to wonder at its true success. Keeping track should involve the use of coupons, sale number comparisons, and even requiring that the piece of mail be brought in with the customer. These ideas are all manageable and allow you to interact with your customers in a one-on-one fashion.

Push on Online Focus

Using classic direct mail marketing, you can actually push your customers to seek out the business online. This provides you with the best of both worlds.

What are Some Direct Mail Marketing Strategies?

If you think that you would like to give direct mail marketing a try then here are a few direct mail marketing strategies that have proven successful.

  • Postcards: Postcards are very to the point. There is no reason to rip open an envelope which appeals to many people who prefer less effort especially when it comes to possible ‘junk’ mail.
  • Self Mailers: Self-mailers do require opening but they often entice customers.
  • Letters: Some people feel like a letter is more personalized and treasured.
  • Dimensional Mailers: A dimensional mailer is nicer than a brochure. They can offer in-depth information about your company and brand which appeals to consumers.
  • Catalog: Undoubtedly, regardless of a person’s age, everybody enjoys looking through catalogs.

Many in the younger generation will proclaim direct mail dead.

It is true that in the last decade there has been a slowdown, but it remains a viable method. In fact, the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) analyzed Epsilon and Bizo date which showed a 4.4 percent response rate which surpassed that of email which was only 0,12 percent.

Amazingly, the response to direct mail marketing stood at 10 to 30 times higher than all other forms of digital. Nowadays, many people do not waste time to open an unwanted email. They simply hit delete without ever seeing what is in the message. However, they will take the time to peruse a postcard, brochure, catalog, mailer, or letter that arrives.

At Action Mailing, we believe in the concept and success of direct mail marketing. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help your business grow through direct mail.

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