Direct Mailing and How To Approach It

Direct Mail reaches people every day.

Many people look forward to receiving their daily mail. In fact, 98 percent of consumers bring in their mail the day it’s delivered, and 77 percent sort through it immediately. In addition to that kind of exposure, Direct Mail offers these benefits:

It’s targeted.
Mass advertising (TV, print, radio, etc.) can be expensive and isn’t always an option for small businesses. But Direct Mail can focus on a smaller group of individuals who are more likely to respond to your offer, giving you more bang for your buck.

It’s personal.
With Direct Mail, you can address your customers by name, speak to them individually, and appeal to their interests. And when customers feel that you understand their needs, they’re more likely to respond. In fact, 55 percent of consumers “look forward” to discovering the mail they receive.

It’s flexible.
From letters to postcards to brochures, there is a large variety of inexpensive and easy formats you can use to create your direct mail campaign. You can add impact by including a special offer or free sample in the envelope.

It’s tangible.
Direct Mail allows you to physically place your message in your customers’ hands and encourage interaction. Along with an engaging message, you can make an unforgettable impression by incorporating elements that actively involve the customer, like stickers, and coupons.

It’s measurable.
Direct Mail is one of the few media channels that gives you the ability to track the success of your campaign. It’s as simple as counting the inquiries you received or counting the number of coupons redeemed. By tracking and analyzing your results, you’ll see what's working and can make adjustments to future mailings if needed.

It’s easy and cost-effective.
You don’t have to be a Direct Mail expert with a big budget to advertise with the mail. With a computer, some desktop publishing software, and a little know-how, you can create your own professional-looking Direct Mail piece. One you have the piece designed, get a mailing list and let us do the rest.

Start out right by nailing down the big picture.

Who are you trying to reach? The first choice is usually your existing customers. Perhaps it's potential new customers who mirror your current customers. Or maybe you want to do a test mailing to a brand new set of prospective customers. Whoever you are trying to reach you should plan your message and offer to match what you think that target audience wants.Plan your approach with these simple steps:

1. Make a compelling offer.
Your offer is the reason for your mailing. With the right incentive, you can attract attention, build interest, and compel customers to respond.

Your offer should be based on who you are targeting, whether it’s existing customers who you’d like to see again, potential new customers who can benefit from your products or services, or a whole new market.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Why do my customers need this product or service?
  • How does my product or service benefit my customers?
  • How is my product or service different from others on the market?
  • What do I want my customers to do when they read this Direct Mail piece?


Your offer should:

  • Relate to the audience.
  • Contribute to your business objectives.
  • Appeal to your customers’ emotions.
  • Create excitement.
  • Foster a sense of urgency.
  • Make it easy for people to take action.


How will customers reply to your offer?
You may invite your customer to your store or choose to provide your customer with a prepaid postcard, a phone number, an email address or Web site so that they may reply to your offer.

How will you measure the success?
With the right tools, you can easily track the success of your Direct Mail campaign. It can be as simple as counting the inquiries you received or the number of coupons redeemed. By tracking and analyzing your results, you’ll see what's working and can make adjustments to future mailings.

2. Determine your budget.
Starting out with a good estimate of your potential costs is imperative. Get informed and make the right choices early in the game.

How much do you have to spend?

Now that you’ve set your objective and determined your offer, you need to decide how much money you can spend on your mailing. Remember, setting a budget during the early planning stages helps you stay on track and determine the most cost-effective way to create and deliver your message.


Research potential costs:

  • How much will it cost to rent a mailing list?
  • How much will it cost to hire a writer and/or graphic designer?
  • What are the costs of printing Direct Mail pieces yourself versus at a print shop?
  • What kind of postage will this mailing require?
  • Are you using the most efficient size and format for your mailing?


Estimate Mailing Costs
Component Estimated cost per piece
(based on 100,000 pieces)
Creative $0.1125
Art & Preparation $0.0975
Printing Production $0.2344
Mailing Lists $0.1235
Computer Processing $0.0232
Lettershop Production $0.0403
Allocated Fees $0.1355
Postage $0.2420
Source: DMA Statistical Fact Book 2007

3. Find your audience.
Save time and money by advertising to the right folks by learning how to target to those who would have a desire or need for your offer.

Picture your ideal customer.

Who do you imagine responding to your offer? A great way to start is by studying your current customers. New customers will likely be similar to the people who currently do business with you.

Where to start?

  • Casually talk to your current customers and get to know as much about them as possible.
  • Conduct a simple survey to learn about customers’ tastes.
  • Pay attention to characteristics such as age and income.
  • Look at your records—sales slips, invoices, delivery information. These tell you who your customers are, what they buy, how often they shop, and how much they spend.


How to target effectively
With Direct Mail you can save money and reduce your environmental impact by pursuing your best prospects—and not spending extra on those who wouldn’t likely be interested in your product or service. You can carefully determine the characteristics of your audience, tailor your message to match their needs and interests, and increase the chances that they’ll act on your offer.

Did you know?
81% of households read or scan advertising mail they receive.
Source: Household Diary Study