With all the shiny, new digital technologies available, it can be easy to forget about one tried and true staple of marketing: direct mail. This form of communication is still relevant, even in today’s digital world. According to a 2020 blog article by Compu-Mail, 73% of American consumers prefer to be contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read it whenever they want. Additionally, 68% of marketing respondents said combining digital and direct mail ended up increasing their website visits. To make it most effective, remember these five direct mail best practices:


Best Practice No. 1: Get Personal.

Know your audience. A successful direct mail piece starts with a well-developed mailing list. Be specific when identifying your target audience, then create the piece with their preferences in mind. Personalizing the mailer with their name is an easy step to take. But you can also personalize by promoting and sharing products that align with the customers’ interests.


Best Practice No. 2: Think Dimensional.

In order to follow direct mail best practices, be sure to think about what will set your piece apart in the customer’s mailbox. Sending a dimensional mailer is sure to capture the attention of your customer. They can’t help but wonder what’s inside the mysterious tube or box that just arrived. They just have to open it! Flat mailers are easier to overlook or toss straight into the recycling bin. We sent out a dimensional mailer to students at Mercy College of Health Sciences that included custom branded socks enclosed in an IV bag as a nod to the healthcare focus at the school. There were 2,400+ mailers that were shipped, which influenced a 17.6% increase in year-over-year new student enrollment. Additionally, year-over-year there was a 53% increase in inquiries. The piece caught people’s attention, engaged them and led to successful engagement and enrollment.

Mercy College of Health Sciences IV bag direct mail example


Best Practice No. 3: Include a Call to Action.

The dimensional mailer described above was so successful because we had a strong call to action to buy along with a coupon to entice the sale. Ask your team, what are you trying to achieve? Be sure your call to action is clear. Do you want them to buy? Set up a demo? Inquire for more information? Visit a website to learn more? Whatever it is, make sure the customer knows what to do next. At the same time, make sure the experience you drive them to is well executed and aligns with the promise outlined in the mailer.


Best Practice No. 4: Incorporate Technology.

Just because the piece is traveling via snail mail doesn’t mean you can’t engage your audience digitally. Technology has advanced enough that you can send full video players in the mail that will let customers start and stop pre-loaded videos, and even switch between several videos. People will be driven by their curiosity to watch the video simply because it arrived in their mailbox. Meanwhile, you’re telling your story to an engaged audience, introducing new products, and looking tech-savvy all at the same time!



Best Practice No. 5: Track Results.

To close out direct mail best practices, it is key to keep track of your results. You won’t know the success of the campaign unless you have a measurable call to action. Keep track of the redemptions, website hits or purchases so you can make adjustments before you run your next campaign.


Next Steps for Direct Mail Best Practices

So what comes next? If you think your audience would be a great target to use with a direct mail piece, we can help you from start to finish. Contact our team today and we will work with you to create a top-of-mind and eye-catching direct mail piece that will capture your audience’s attention.

Additional successful Lessing-Flynn direct mailer campaigns


Originally published June 8, 2015