Direct Mail: 9 Things You Need To Know

What is direct mail? Click here to learn about its definition, purpose and components that make a successful campaign

Direct mail in this age of information sounds old-fashioned and a waste of time. Despite the enormous growth in digital marketing, there are a number of classic mediums that remain highly effective. In fact, over half of Aussies not only open their mail but take the time to read it thoroughly.   

Direct mail is a type of marketing in which businesses send letters, postcards, or other promotional materials to past, current or potential customers. It is almost always a response-oriented medium.

The history behind this medium is rather interesting. In the year 1000 B.C, an Egyptian landowner wrote an advertisement on a piece of papyrus offering gold for the return of a runaway slave. 

You’ll find a classic direct mail package contains an outer envelope, a letter, brochure and a reply card. The format of your direct mail will vary depending on your objective but the sales letter is the heart of the package. The sales letter does most of the selling; the brochure is used to highlight sales points, illustrate a product and provide technical information not covered in the letter. Speak to a copywriter for their advice on the format.

a classic direct mail package contains an outer envelope, a letter, brochure and a reply card.

Now that you know the definition, below are benefits of a direct mail campaign.

You stand out

People’s inbox continues to fill up with emails while mailboxes are seeing a decrease in activity. This can be an advantage for your business as people are likely to appreciate a beautifully presented package over an automated email.    

Personalised touch

A letter is a one-to-one communication as opposed to space advertising which will be seen by thousands of people. Although direct mail is mass-produced and distributed in bulk mailings, the reader views mail more personal over a magazine.

Direct mail should not sound spammy. Avoid hype to stimulate a personal feel and increase your response rate.

Store for reference

Given that 54% of readers store your letter for later reference means that they are most likely to contact you when they are ready to make a purchase. Quite simply, you are not going to get a 100% response rate with any campaign. However, your direct mail addresses the consideration stage of the customer buying cycle because you are giving them something tangible.

Now that you know the benefits, let’s take a look at the essential components that make a direct mail campaign, a successful one.

Database

Another way to increase your response rate is knowing your audience. This information will form your database. While it would be nice to send your direct mail to thousands of addresses, you must do the research first and know who you are marketing to. Indeed, you want to avoid costly mistakes such as mailing a babysitting campaign to a retirement village.

Eye-catching design

We all know the saying: first impressions count. Since you have 3 seconds to capture their attention, the design of the envelope is essential. It must not look cheap or spammy otherwise it will end up in the bin.

The most effective direct mail campaigns connect with the reader on an emotional level before the reader can process any logical information. While the design of your envelope will come down to budget constraints, it’s worth the investment. 

The sales letter

This is the hardest working part of the package. The words must have a nice flow with a tone of enthusiasm and sincerity. Above all, identify the problem and the solution to it.

The offer

Let’s face it, people are offered discounts and freebies day in and day out. And unfortunately, it comes to the point where many are desensitised to such offers. Having said that, your offer must be something of value in return for prospects responding to your letter; think of a customised offer rather than a generic one. Time is a valuable resource so it works very well in this case. Consider free consultation, trial offer on a product or service, just to name a few.

A clear call-to-action

This is not the same as the offer; however, it may include an offer but a call-to-action tells the prospect what to do next. An example might be to visit your website for more information, call the office, book an appointment, etc.

Timing

Timing is everything. While it is impossible to predict when a prospect is going to spend money, you can focus on constraints of seasons, government incentives, economic factors etc. This will help you make an informed decision on the timing of your direct mail campaign.  

In short, direct mail can be an effective marketing medium if it is done properly. Curious to know if this strategy is right for your business? Speak to a copywriter to discuss your options today.

Do you have some copy goals that you want to achieve? I’d love to help you! Send me a message at hello@toniwells.com.au.

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About Toni Wells

Toni Wells is a professional copywriter with a genuine desire to help businesses achieve their copy and content goals. Toni is also a Justice of Peace (QUAL) and volunteers once a month to help out her local community.

6 Comments

  1. It works quite well for me

  2. This is truly useful, thanks.

  3. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I will certainly return.

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