4 Direct Mail Best Practices Everyone Should Be Using

Direct mail best practices

These days, it’s fashionable to declare direct mail “dead.” In reality, however, nothing could be further from the truth.

While it’s true the number of direct mail pieces showing up in your mailbox is steadily declining––down from 176 billion in 2009 to 155.4 billion today––less mail only means more visibility for those who still take advantage of this extremely viable channel.

Despite the stigma of junk mail, research by a global marketing firm suggests 59% of Americans value direct mail for brand communication and 73% appreciate its convenience in the mailbox. Eight out of 10 homes sort through this mail daily.

Still the leader in ROI

Even with the rapid rise of new digital channels, direct mail still enjoys a significantly high return rate for companies that do it right.

In the U.S., companies spend an average of $167 per person to achieve a $2,905 return. That’s 1,300% ROI––a success rate email can’t hold a candle to.

With such high returns, it’s no wonder 80% of marketers continued to use direct mail to grow their reach throughout 2013 and 28% actually increased their spend.

This all begs an important question:

How do you actually create a direct marketing campaign that can do that well?

To answer that question, it’s important to nail the basics first. With that in mind, here are 4 absolutely essential direct mail best practices to use in 2016 and beyond:

1: Provide several ways for recipients to respond

Convenience is more important than ever to consumers today. Given that, it’s crucial to make it easy for them to engage with your message or offer in more ways than one.

Direct mail pieces are most effective when they give reader a variety of engagement options to choose from. Web-savvy people tend to prefer a way to to get to your website as quick and easy as possible through short URLs or QR codes while the older crowd still prefers to pick up the phone.

Either way, make these transitions as easy, quick and hassle-free as possible.

2. Readers tend to scan so keep it short

People live busy lives and don’t have much time to spend rifling through the mail.

Chances are, you’ll have as much time to catch their attention and get your message across as it takes them to walk back from the mailbox so keep that in mind as you design your piece.

If you’ve got a lot to say, break it up into a split format by pulling the key bullet points onto one side, and leaving the chunks of text on the other. Simplicity and readability is key.

3. Make your call-to-action as big and bold as possible

The perfect mailer has three calls to action, each giving your reader an opportunity to stop reading and actually act on your offer.

While the message of your mailer must be compelling, you only have a few seconds to find your reader’s eye with what to do next. Make the action, clear, bold, and easy to follow.

4. Include a P.S.

Believe it or not, the P.S. is the most read part of any mailer. With that in mind, you should take advantage of it to encapsulate your core message and restate your offer clearly and concisely.

This is your last, but often most effective call-to-action. To be extra effective, include a deadline to your offer to get your reader off the fence and taking action.

Best practices like these form the foundation of nearly every great direct mail campaign. While reaching customers through the mailbox is nothing new, marketers have had years to refine the formula behind successful campaigns for years.

Today, direct mail is a science that requires a complete understanding knowledge of your recipients along with the creative mind to create an offer and message that will resonate with them.

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Topics: Print production, Personalization