What is Direct Mail and Why Use It


Direct mail is a marketing effort that uses a mail service to deliver promotional printed pieces to target audiences, including everything from postcards and catalogs to brochures and sales letters.

Many view direct mail as an outdated marketing strategy, favoring digital marketing that has only grown in popularity over the years, but the truth is that it is a potentially invaluable asset to your marketing efforts.

The Advantage of Direct Mail

Unlike other forms of advertising, direct mail lets you communicate one-on-one with audiences, allowing you to control who receives your message, when it’s specifically delivered, what’s in each envelope, and how many people your marketing efforts reach.

If you want to create an effective direct mail campaign, begin by getting your name on as many listings as you can, Junk mail isn’t junk if you want to learn more about direct mail. Take a note from competitors and see what they do that leaves you impressed, and learn from what they’re doing.

Use a Good Combination of Colors and Words

The most effective direct mail inserts typically use good wording and colors to appeal to their audience. You should also use the appropriate image. For instance, while a neon color scheme might be good for party planners or gift basket companies, you should choose more neutral colors for businesses such as financial planners or lawyers.

Engage Readers with Interactive Mail Pieces

If you want to involve your audience in the ordering process, you can include stickers that say “yes” or “no” that can be put on the order form. Businesses like Publisher’s Clearing House use this approach and take it even farther by asking recipients to find hidden stickers in mailing that they can put on the sweepstakes entry, and asks them to choose their prizes.

Educate Yourself

The next step is to read more about direct mail marketing and the many ways you can use it to improve your marketing campaigns. Some publications you may want to take a look at include weekly trade paper DM News, along with the monthly Direct Magazine.

You can also get book suggestions from the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), which is a national trade organization for direct marketing professionals. Their brochure can also detail a list of direct marketing institutes and national seminars.

The more you learn about the industry, the more you’ll be able to keep up with the latest direct mail marketing trends and use them to your advantage.

Follow Up

After this, it’s important to remember to follow-up with your direct mail efforts. Mailings with phone follow-ups are typically the most effective, and make sure you don’t wait too long to contact customers. After a few days, call to ask if the recipient has received your mailpiece. If they have, it’s time to make your sales pitch.

Ultimately, with a solid direct mail marketing campaign, your business can thrive above the competition. Your business will be able to get the results you want more effectively if you utilize this marketing strategy.