Basics and Direct Mail Best Practices

Meet the writer: Karen Pieper

Hi, I'm Karen! I've been in the industry for 21 years and can't wait to share my perspective on all things direct mail. I'm currently the Digital Marketing Manager at Letter Jacket Envelopes and deal with tasks from managing the website, facilitating conversations with customers, and much more!

Direct Mail Now is our series covering what is currently happening in the direct mail world along with the most up-to-the-minute advice, strategies and direct mail best practices. Our last post talked about how direct mail is far from dead as far as marketing is considered, even in this digital age. In fact, direct mail has seen a bit of a resurgence thanks to the increasing sophistication of multi-channel marketing strategies combined with the newfound novelty of paper media.

Marketers for brands both large and small can leverage these two advantages in order to use direct mail as a key prong in accomplishing their goals. Wielded properly, direct mail can have an impact that is hard to duplicate in other media. Smart multi-channel marketing strategies can therefore use direct mail’s powers to prompt the desired consumer actions while reinforcing long-term strategies that chart a distinct customer journey.

In this light, here are our six basic tips and best practices for making direct mail a central part of your overall channel-agnostic marketing strategy:

  1. Recognize that the Power of Direct Marking Is Real

Your first step is to shake off all the tired and frankly unfounded talk about how direct marketing is a dying channel. If anything, the ubiquity of digital screens has provided direct mail with a rare power for capturing attention and prompting action.

As an example of how powerful direct marketing can still be:

  • 40% of consumers will try a new business after receiving direct mail.
  • 59% of U.S. survey respondents and 65 percent of Canadian respondents agreed that they “enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products.”
  • 72% of mail recipients check their mail daily, bringing it in as soon as possible.
  • Customers spend an average of 30 minutes reading mail.
  • 56% of postcard recipients read them in their entirety, a far higher “open” rate than the average email marketing.


Facts like these should motivate marketers to take advantage of direct mail and incorporate it within their overall strategy.

  1. Maintain a Clean, Regularly-Updated Database

Unlike emails, home addresses are harder to come by and more likely to have out-of-date inaccuracies. Have a single source for capturing home address information from leads, and apply qualifiers to sort through your intended recipients by age, income, geography, last response time, last receiving time and other critical metrics.

Have someone sift through the database regularly to clean up entries and flag inaccuracies. You can also use methods like special landing pages or website surveys to request address confirmation for those on your mailing list.

  1. Define Your Journey

Direct mail must fit into your larger marketing campaign, which means that exposures to direct mail should work within larger goals and branding impact targets as part of a carefully-crafted strategy. Define your journey, your audiences and the specific role direct mail will play in reaching them. Note that direct mail CTAs often correspond with the end of the buyer journey, the desired action usually being a store visit or a purchase.

  1. Aim for Personalization

Personalization is a key advantage of direct mail since the act of receiving mail is a one-to-one experience. Leverage this capability by building out accurate customer profiles based on demographics, action histories and personas. Segment your audiences and tailor your offer or CTA to resonate best with their personal sensibilities.

  1. Only Use Strong, Clear CTAs

People tend to skim through print materials faster than digital ones since the entire page is viewable at once. Because of this effect, your CTA must be strong, compelling and repeated in order to increase the chances it will be followed.

Game your odds even more by giving your recipient multiple, convenient simple ways to fulfill the CTA. QR codes work great, as do shortened URL shortcut addresses. You can also provide postage paid return postcard slips, order form inserts, coupons that can be redeemed both in-person and online along with many other techniques. The more options someone has, the more likely they are to take a conversion action.

  1. Learn More Direct Mail Best Practices by Reading Our Blog!

We have even more posts about best practices like these that can increase your overall marketing returns and boost your branding. You can also look at our high-quality custom envelopes to send your direct marketing messages in eye-catching, professional style.


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