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Direct Mail 101: Where & How to Start

Before the Internet became a primary marketing medium, companies sent a variety of physical mail to their customers and prospects.

These physical mail options included letters, postcards and other direct mail pieces. While the emphasis on physical mail might have waned due to the Internet, it’s still a highly effective marketing medium for many types of businesses. In fact, direct mail may become increasingly effective as companies redirect their efforts toward virtual marketing campaigns.

Getting Started with Direct Mail

Direct mail campaigns are about more than sending out postcards and hoping for the best. They require that your company think carefully about how to use direct mail campaigns so that you reach your intended audience, achieve your purpose and do so within budget.

Many companies handle mailing and fulfillment services for direct mail and can help you with your mail-out. But before you engage their services, you’ll want to make the following determinations on your own:

Defining Your Purpose. Hiring a professional literature fulfillment company is great, but they can’t help you any more than your stack of unpaid bills if you don’t know what it is that you want to accomplish with your mailer. Whether you’re looking to reinforce customer relationships or to capture new business, knowing your “why” is the key to it all. It focuses your demographic selection, determines what type of mail piece you’ll be sending out and defines the frequency of your mailing.

Choosing Your Demographic. Who are you trying to reach with your mail pieces? It’s not everyone. There is a specific group of potential customers that is best suited to what you have to offer. Clearly define your demographic so that you can create a more effective direct mail campaign.

Figure Out What You Have to Offer. What kind of product or service are you offering with your direct mail piece, and why should people buy? Defining the needs of your demographic and what type of offer will appeal to them best – like a discounted price or a two-for-one special – will give you a better idea of what to offer through direct mail.

Once you’ve got these areas determined, you can begin to develop a direct mail piece that will speak much louder than an Internet ad or billboard. The next trick is to place it in the right hands, and that’s where mailing and fulfillment services can help.

Remember: All the addressing, packing and shipping are useless if your direct mail ends up in the hands of people with absolutely no interest or no need of your product or service. By relying on a fulfillment service to maintain your mailing lists and organize all the mailers you intend to send, you’ll quickly narrow down your demographic to just those people who are interested in what you have to offer — saving you time, money and frustration.


November 25, 2014
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