The Right Way to Do Direct Mail Marketing: 8 Steps

Direct marketing has advanced to the digital age, but physical formats delivered via mail are far from obsolete.

In fact, this type of physical correspondence can be used to your advantage as a marketer if you do things the right way, giving you an edge over the competition.

Yes, there are still huge opportunities within direct mail marketing – you just need to execute correctly.

We’ve compiled eight sequential steps you need to create the most effective direct mail marketing campaign possible, giving your brand a leg-up in a competitive landscape. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Start with Targeting

Marketing experts know that every great advertising effort starts at the same place: targeting. With direct mail, we’re dealing in the physical world, which means that location plays a greater role in your quest for success.

Depending on the scope of your business and the goals of your campaign, you can focus in on specific cities, zip codes, neighborhoods, or even go street-by-street. Keep in mind relevant factors like income, family arrangements, and other demographic details.

All marketers should be familiar with the targeting process, and direct mail is a classic exercise in this domain.

Step 2: Craft a Core Message

At the center of every effective mail campaign is an impactful, unforgettable message. You should be able to boil it down into just a few words, with a clear concept anyone can understand.

It could be simple as “visit our new location at X address” or “this new product is perfect for your lifestyle”. If you need long paragraphs and complex diagrams to explain what’s on offer, you’ve already lost.

Remember that this message will only have a few seconds to seep in as recipients shuffle through their mail, so make it loud and clear with minimal fluff.

Step 3: Include Key Details

Direct mail assets are not built for fine print. Big, bold letters work best, and there should be no question about the who, what, where, when, and other vital information.

With that said, you don’t want to overload the viewer with information, so determine the most crucial details and put them front and center. You can always add a link that allows interested people to “find out more” and keep them moving down the funnel towards a sale.

Step 4: Test Mailer Formats

To stand out in the daily stack of “junk” that fills the average American mailbox, you’ll need to think creatively and test ideas that might not seem obvious.

Experiment with unorthodox formats in terms of materials, dimensions, color schemes, and typesets (styles of lettering and font variations). Simply by leveraging a distinctive material and format type, your ad will earn a second look.

Use that uniqueness to separate yourself from the usual riff-raff of pamphlets and flyers, and your ad will make a powerful impression.

Step 5: Add an Interactive Element

Give recipients a reason to hold on to your direct mail asset and they’ll make sure to keep it. Maybe the flyer simply looks appealing, featuring some cool artwork and doubling as a bookmark.

The asset may also have a useful component to it, like a checklist or a punch-card element that encourages walk-ins to your business. This is the real-life advantage of direct mail that you can use to draw in crowds and build a following that isn’t only on social media.

Step 6: Link the Physical and Digital

Speaking of social, you should always leave room for those all-important social media icons somewhere on your direct mail assets. Instagram, Facebook – whatever you’ve got – make your presence known.

This reminds customers that your brand is with the times and involved in the digital space. It also serves to drive traffic online and gives your brand momentum across all channels.

Keep up with those social media accounts to boost engagement at every opportunity.

Step 7: Incorporate an Offer

It’s not enough to just get your name out there via direct mail.

For your campaign to be worth the resources, direct mail assets must present a clear, concise offer that is designed to convert – or at least spark interest.

Better yet, create an offer unique to your direct mail campaign that inspires immediate action, whether it’s a discount or promotion for a specific product.

Step 8: Follow Up and Grow

Your work isn’t finished once you earn a new customer from a direct mail campaign. Give these new leads a reason to return and tell friends and family about your business.

From there, you can expand the scope of your campaigns, connect them with online efforts, and build your business empire beyond all limitations.

Master Direct Mail for Great Results

Despite the dominance of online marketing, the fundamentals of direct mail still hold strong. Use these suggestions from great direct mail campaigns of the past to get outstanding results today.


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