Creative Direct Mail Campaigns

Rural American Mail Box

You open your mailbox and see a postcard with your name on it. No, it’s not your favorite aunt sending warm wishes from Las Vegas, it’s a promotion from a local grocery store that you frequent. Chances are, you aren’t too disappointed to hear from your grocer instead of your aunt. If you are like many rural Americans, that direct mail marketing campaign that you are holding got your attention and piqued your interest

Direct Mail Stats

Direct mail marketing may seem like it belongs in the days when your aunt’s wardrobe was still in style, but actually, direct mail may be more effective now than ever. The amount of mail that we get has declined by almost 30% since 2006.¹ That means that most of us pay more attention to what we do get in the mail. The average American receives about two pieces of mail each day, but they are exposed to about 63 display ads and they receive over 100 emails on top of that.² Where do you think your ad has the most opportunity to stand out?

Not only does direct mail stand out, but it also delivers a high response rate. According to the Data and Marketing Association, direct mail house lists (your business’s customers and contacts) conjure a response rate of 9%, and the response rate for prospect lists (people who have shown an interest in products similar to yours) is 5%. Sure, that doesn’t seem like much, but compared to 1% from digital and social media and 0.3% from display ads², they seem pretty good.

Direct Mail Best Practices

An efficient and effective direct mail campaign begins with the mailing list. Many companies are in the business of compiling and selling mailing lists, but of course, this comes with a price tag. If you already have contact information for potential or past customers, then you have a good start to your mailing list. Even if you don’t already have a list, you can still create one on your own. It will just take more time and effort on your part.³

When compiling your list, keep in mind who you are wanting to target. Is your target audience homeowners? Retirees? Young families? Pet owners? Whoever they are, make sure you know where they are so you don’t waste money sending mail to people you are not trying to target.

Another way to individualize your campaign is to send past customers promotions for their birthday or holidays. Birthday promotions show a level of personalization that your customers will value. After all, who doesn’t like getting mail on their birthday?

So, you know direct mail can work for your business, and you have your mailing list ready. Now, you need to develop your campaign. Like all marketing campaigns, yours should be original and creative. Just how creative you can (and should) get depends on your budget and your target audience, but here are some ideas for a variety of needs.

  1. Print using different textures and finishes. This can be a cost-effective option that will still grab people’s attention by appealing to their senses.
  2. If you use an envelope, make the most of it. Put your call to action on the envelope and include a unique envelope design. Make sure the piece will stand out in a mailbox and the recipient sees your message before discarding.
  3. Use humor. Get the attention of your targeted audience and put them in a good mood.
  4. Opt for pop-ups. Anything in 3-D will add a little surprise to your mail.
  5. Utilize interactive content. Things like pull tabs, scratch-offs and sliding or die cut windows will encourage the recipient to interact with your promotion and maybe even show it to someone else.
  6. Send a free gift. This can be a great method to express appreciation for customers’ loyalty or a creative approach to stand out and make a memorable impression on a targeted list of prospects.
  7. Mail catalogs. These require more resources to produce and send, but can be very effective when sent to people determined to have a strong interest in buying.⁴

Integrating Direct Mail and Digital

Digital marketing paired with direct mail can create a very effective integrated marketing campaign. According to a study, a direct mail and digital advertising integrated strategy produces 28% higher conversion rates.² One way to integrate the two is to drive customers to your website through your direct mail. Use a call-to-action or encourage them to take action with a special online offer. At the same time, encourage them to connect with you on social media, or download your app if you have one.

Another option is to use email in conjunction with direct mail. If you have email addresses for your mailing list and have sent a promo through the mail, send a reminder email to follow up and remind your customers to check out your offer. Provide a link to your landing page where they can redeem a promo code from the direct mail. Through analytics, you’ll be able to follow how many hits your landing page gets and see how effective your mail promos are.⁵

Don’t forget about social media! Consider creating a social media contest, where customers on your mailing list can post pictures including your mail campaign with a certain hashtag for a chance to win a prize. This extra exposure can reach many more people with no additional cost.

Direct mail can make a long-lasting impression. It can help you stand out from the noise that accompanies advertising in today’s world, and show your potential customers that you are serious about getting their business. Whether it is used on its own or in addition to a digital component, direct mail can offer unique opportunities to differentiate your brand among a rural American audience.

1 USPS total mail volume 2004-2018 – Statista
2 Is Direct Mail Dead? – Mail Shark
3 3 Steps to Finding the Right Mailing List – DMNews
4 12 Dazzling Examples of Direct Mail Design – Creativebloq
5 How to Integrate Direct Mail and Digital Marketing – Hansel Group Marketing