10 Direct Mail Marketing Tips

When it comes to direct mail marketing, our team at Sun Print Solutions has seen our fair share of campaigns! We’ve helped satisfied customers with both the strategy and the actual printing for their direct mailing efforts and learned a thing or two over the years.

Here are 10 Direct Mail Marketing Tips:

  1. Specify a Clear Call to Action
  2. Refine Your Address List
  3. Be Interactive
  4. Create an Eye-Catching Design
  5. Get to the Point
  6. Don’t Forget Branding
  7. Plan Far Enough in Advance
  8. Personalize It
  9. Combine Direct Mail with Digital Marketing
  10. Use a Direct Mail + Printing Service Provider
Direct mail print samples


The Direct Mail Strategy

Specify a Clear Call to Action

What is the purpose of your direct mail marketing campaign?


And, make it worth their while. Mediocre promotions or advertising with no offered value get tossed straight into the trash can.

Not only is a clear call to action important for getting people to respond the way you want them to, but it also helps you track the success of your direct mail campaign. Without a clear action to be taken, someone might receive your mailer and be interested in the product or service you offer, but then they stick your mailer to the fridge or throw it in the trash where it is forgotten and never acted upon. 

Not every recipient will be interested in your mailer, but a clear call to action is vital for converting those who are. It should be simple, with clear instructions on how to proceed. The worst case scenario is reaching someone who wants to act, but gets confused or lost in the process! When someone pulls your piece from the mail, you have a very limited amount of time and space to communicate clear value and invite the person to a simple action. Don’t waste the limited time or space you have on things that don’t help your potential customer to take action.

We recommend starting your direct mail strategy with your call to action decided first. Then you can build your recipient list and mailer design around that action.

Refine Your Address List

Once you know what action you want your recipients to take, you need to define who your recipients will be.

Here’s the Sun Print Solutions tip for building your address list: 

Quality over Quantity.

Now let us be clear—we aren’t saying you shouldn’t try to reach a large quantity of people. You SHOULD send your direct mail piece to enough addresses to be worth the running the campaign. But it’s important that you have a well-defined target audience who you’ve determined is most likely to act on your call to action.

A poor direct mail strategy is to just send out your mailer to as many addresses in a given area that you can afford with your budget, without any thought given to who might be receiving it. That would be a preference for quantity over quality.

So, how do you determine what constitutes a quality address? It depends on your call to action and the product or service you are offering.

Are you offering something that a business would want, but a household would not? Don’t send your mailer to people’s homes then—send it to business addresses.

Are you offering a deal on a subscription service in your city? Don’t send it to the addresses already receiving your service.

Refine your address list so that your time and money have the best chance of earning a return.

Be Interactive

The call to action or other messaging on your direct mail piece doesn’t have to be just text and phone number. A good direct mail piece connects interactively with other experiences the recipient can have with your company.

  • QR Code to a promotional video
  • A scratch-off section with prizes or a hidden message
  • Puzzle or brain teaser
  • Scents, textures, or audio elements

These are just some of the possible ways to take a direct mailer to the next level and become more than just a piece of information. It can become an experience.

As technology advances, new possibilities are opening up in areas such as video in print, beacon technology, augmented and virtual reality, and more.

Think of ways you can help people actually interact with your mailer and you’re bound to get better response rates. Not to mention, your campaign and brand will be much more memorable!

crafting direct mail flyers

The Mailer Design and Printing

Create An Eye-Catching Design

This tip seems obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many boring mailers still get printed!

Direct mail marketing can still be an effective way to reach a target audience if you do it right. But remember, you aren’t the only company or organization sending them out. People are used to getting ads in the mail. If yours doesn’t make them pause for an extra second and think, “What is this one about?”, then you’ve probably lost an opportunity.

Make sure the color, text size, images, shape, and flow of information look clean and distinct. The mailer design itself presents its own unspoken message. Even the type of paper on which the mailer is printed can help you stand out. 

It doesn’t hurt to test out a few design ideas with focus groups or even to send out a couple different versions of a mailer to see which one gets the better response rate.

Get To The Point

With only a small area to communicate your message, you can’t afford to get too wordy with your mailer text.

Don’t worry about communicating everything there is to know about your brand, product, or service. Instead, make sure you clearly offer value (why they should act), and a call to action (how they can act). 

If the messaging around your call to action is clear and catchy, interested people will take the next steps to find out all those other good things about you. But you definitely don’t want to let the purpose of the mailer get lost in information that isn’t as important.


Don’t Forget Branding

A great offer or message is useless without the potential customer knowing who sent them the mailer. Don’t forget to incorporate your brand into the mailer design.

Obviously, your logo should be printed somewhere. But that’s just the most basic level of branding. The best direct mail designs are ones in which the defining characteristics of the brand are communicated throughout. 

  • Font
  • Color Scheme
  • Branded Phrases
  • Style
  • Personality

Thing about what a mailer might look like if it came from a local night club.

Now, picture a direct mail piece sent out by Apple…

They would probably be pretty different, right? That doesn’t mean one design would be better than the other. It just means that your direct mail campaigns should reflect and match your brand. 

Even if someone doesn’t act right away after receiving your mailer, they might remember your brand and recognize it down the road.

important factors paper choice


The Execution

Plan Far Enough In Advance

An amazing direct mail campaign can crash and burn if the timing isn’t taken into account.

If you want to promote a seasonal sale, one-time event, or anything else that has a specific “limited time” criteria, it’s crucial that you get your direct mail pieces sent out soon enough that the recipients have time to respond. But not too far in advance.

Things to take into consideration when planning future direct mail marketing include:

  • Time needed for planning the campaign and mailer design
  • Time needed for printing the mailers
  • Delivery time
  • How soon you want the recipients to receive your mail

Personalize It

As much as possible, we recommend personalizing your marketing items.

At Sun Print Solutions, we already have the technology to apply the individual addresses to each piece being mailed out. But having well-defined audiences allows you to personalize your direct mail even more with design and messaging specifically tailored to the recipient.

Some examples of this extra personalization would be:

  • A mailer to current customers vs one going to potential customers
  • Different cities/states being targeted
  • Targeting address you are also targeting with digital advertising vs addresses where you are not

Combine Direct Mail with Digital Marketing

Direct mail marketing can be made even more effective when it is combined with digital marketing and advertising.

For example, you could geo-target a city with display ads that show up when people in that city go online. And then you could send a direct mail piece that continues the messaging they saw online.

Or, you could include a call to action on your mailer that invites people to sign up with an email address in order to participate in a contest or event. Then you could use those responses to build an email list for sending newsletters. 

These are just a couple of quick examples. The possibilities are endless!

Use a Direct Mail + Printing Service Provider

Our final tip: save yourself a ton of time and money by using a company that can take care of both your direct mail printing and mailing needs.

At Sun Print Solutions, we have lots of experience with both digital printing mailers as well as getting them sent off to their target audience lists. We are proud to be a one-stop shop that can help our customers avoid headaches and save money in their direct mail marketing.

Check out our Direct Mail Printing Services to learn more about how Sun Print Solutions can get your best design in front of the right people.

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