Direct Mail Marketing: DO’s, Dont’s and Best Practices

Some people may think that direct mail marketing is outdated, but as the saying goes, “If it isn’t busted, don’t repair it.” The benefits of direct mail marketing are unique and can significantly impact your business.

But what to do and what not?

To learn more about direct mail marketing best practices and how they can meet your specific business goals, scroll down to the bottom of the page.

Does direct mail marketing still work?

Below are answers to all of these queries and more. Continue reading to learn more about direct mail marketing and how it may fundamentally alter the way you manage your company and sell your brand.

“If you want to build your online business, research shows that one of the best ways to do it is to use direct mail to drive prospects to your site. The combination of direct mail with an online presence packs such a powerful marketing punch. Even Google, probably one of the iconic internet businesses, sends out direct-mail campaigns.” – Craig Simpson

According to the DMA study, the average response rate for direct mail marketing is 9%. Consumers have engaged with 91 percent of all the direct mails in Q2 of 2019, according to a new JICMAIL report. This percentage rose to 96% by Q2 2020.

Does Direct Mail Marketing Still Work?

The effectiveness of direct mail is unchanged. Due to recent advancements, organizations cannot take advantage of this marketing strategy. Direct mail can affect your marketing plan, generating extra leads and increasing revenue. Consumers still like direct mail as a desirable means of marketing.

Here’s why direct mail can still be beneficial to your company:

1. It Is More Personal

Digital marketing frequently lacks a sense of personalization, with emails that frequently contain typos in the receivers’ names and other sensitive information. However, because it is something targets receive directly in a more welcoming and possibly eye-catching presentation, direct mail feels more personal.

Additionally, compared to a straightforward email, it gives the impression that more work was put into generating and designing the marketing materials, which is more likely to impress receivers. Though emails typically don’t, direct mail elements can be designed and presented in various ways.

“Direct Marketing is evolving every day; in some cases, it seems that we have come full circle. A few years ago, there was a rush to telemarketing, and the rush came to the internet. Now marketers are starting to understand that all of these – telephone, mail, internet, email, so-called ‘new media’ – are simply alternative channels that enable direct contact with a customer.” – Audrey Price-Dix.

2. People Will Trust You More

Gaining the trust of potential customers is a primary concern in every marketing effort, so you must ensure your promotional materials are effective. However, because direct mail appears less suspect than internet marketing initiatives, people are more likely to trust them.

Finding other strategies to win clients’ trust is vital as more and more people are coming to distrust the internet. Through authentic letters that demonstrate the effort put into them, direct mail provides a chance to win that confidence more readily.

3. Direct Mail Provides Greater Engagement Opportunities

As per Ballantine, People read or scan their direct mail at a rate of about 42%. People are more likely to recall direct mail they have received over a long time since it is less common and personal. People take the time to read and pick through their mail, encouraging them to respond more strongly to these items.

In-depth direct mail can offer more information and calls to action than online marketing campaigns. For example, the direct mail response rate increased from 4% to 5% between 2004 and 2010, showing that what some people believed to be a dying type of advertising has thrived in recent years. Nevertheless, results today will probably be better than they were ten years ago.

Direct Mail Outlook For 2022

Consumers are experiencing digital ad fatigue, which is not surprising given that they have spent the last two years in front of screens. A 2021 direct marketing survey indicated that 75% of consumers feel overwhelmed by their everyday exposure to digital ads and agree that persistent ads interfere with their use of apps and websites. As a result, customers are completely leaving websites.

By connecting consumers offline with direct mail marketing, smart businesses are combating digital apathy and maximizing advertising budgets, and it’s working. In a recent Adweek article, CMOs talked about how good modern direct mail has been over the past two years in converting high-quality customers, moving prospects farther down the sales funnel, and increasing customer loyalty.

In addition, direct mail volumes have increased by 34% since 2020, and it’s anticipated that they will do so as marketers expand their future investments in the channel.

What To Do When Using Direct Mail Marketing?

When preparing a direct mail campaign, there are a few steps you shouldn’t skip:

1. Make Your Ad’s Design Attractive, And Polished

Not all direct mail companies have in-house, expertly trained graphic designers. Some businesses may outsource this procedure or employ a non-graphic designer, endangering the advertising and reputation of your business.

When it comes to direct mail marketing, you want it to look fantastic and convey your marketing message and special offer. In addition to being a work of art, it must generate queries, leads, and sales.

You could employ specific tools to produce a desirable appearance, but if you lack the necessary skills, it’s preferable to contact a trustworthy direct mail marketing business.

2. Include A Special Offer That Is Better Than Others

The goal of your offer is to influence the recipient to act. If you don’t give your target a compelling cause, they will likely not respond. Make them a deal they won’t be able to refuse.

A fantastic offer is very valuable to potential customers. It doesn’t necessarily mean you spent a lot of money on it, but it does convey that the receiver values it. It should be simple to understand, easy to express, and straightforward.

3. Use Performance Indicators and Metrics

If you don’t track your results, you’ll never know if your objectives have been reached or your marketing budget is being well used.

You should build a system for monitoring results from the start of the project development.

Before the campaign’s launch, you should establish a plan to ensure all leads are sufficiently gathered, easily accessible, and included in your reports.

To get the most out of metrics and increase your ROI, you can utilize various software solutions to combine your tracking URL, phone number, or CRM analytics success factors with other tools in your network.

What Not To Do When Using Direct Mail Marketing?

The following are some things to avoid doing during your campaign:

1. Send Letters Without The Anticipated Follow-Ups

Making a follow-up plan is the third major component of a direct marketing strategy after obtaining the correct list and developing an offer that has value for the recipient.

Close the deal often requires follow-up on your campaign’s success metrics and analytics. Without a follow-up plan, you risk losing a transaction, leaving your consumer in the dark about important questions, or jeopardizing the applicability of your campaign’s outcomes.

2. Send Mail Without First Analyzing Your Target Audience

Nothing you say or do will be effective if you are not speaking with the appropriate individual. Most direct marketers base their target selection on a combination of two factors:

  • How they have acted
  • Their identity (demographics)

The more important factors that influence reaction will always be the behavioral characteristics of the two.

3. Send Mail Without Split Testing

A/B testing, also known as a split/bucket test, is the ideal technique to assess the efficacy of your campaign. Testing is one of the most crucial components of the direct mail plan. Send out control and an alternate direct mail item.

Both mailings will be the same aside from one difference, such as a different call to action, mailing list, or format.

Direct Mail Marketing Best Practices

Develop a strategy that will improve the success of your campaign and eventually increase sales before you launch a new direct mail campaign or introduce direct mail as a marketing tool in your integrated marketing plan. About 66% of individuals have bought something due to receiving direct mail.

A well-planned direct mail campaign can significantly impact current and potential customers’ decisions to make further purchases. Here are some of the best practices to follow for direct mail marketing:

1. Be Sure To Design Your Mailers With Your Intended Audience In Mind

When creating your direct mail creative, knowing your target audience is essential. Regardless of the marketing strategy, you are developing. It is imperative to connect your design and messaging to your target demographic. Consider your ideal client for this campaign before you begin your design.

Once you know the answer, begin designing while keeping them in mind ensuring it will be eye-catching. Don’t forget to include your website and other contact information so that the end-user can continue their investigation or contact you directly. They may want more information from you.

2. Incorporate Your Audience’s Needs into A Larger Marketing Plan

A lead conversion does not necessarily occur just because a potential consumer receives a mailer once. Instead, it’s critical to repeatedly target the same persona and audience list. You have to target marketing to the same audience repeatedly to position your business as a competitor for the end user’s business, whether through the usage of the same mailer, with a different design but the same message, or various marketing strategies.

Be confident in your strategy and aware that it can take a few tries for sales to materialize. You have already done the work to ensure you target the proper audience with the right creativity. Direct mail is preferred by 73% of respondents as a form of advertising.

3. Timing Is Also Crucial

The sweet spot is when your target customer receives your direct mail item in their hands just as they consider making a purchase. Since you are the expert in your field, you are also the best qualified to identify the target market for your goods.

The process leading up to the purchase decision may be quick or extensive, depending on your organization and the purchase amount. Knowing the duration of the purchase decision journey is also crucial. Consider how long your target market takes to research a product and decide whether to buy it.

When formulating your direct mail strategy, including when to send your first mailer and how soon after, you should consider this time frame. Also, consider this when using other marketing strategies in addition to direct mail.


Last but not least, direct mail marketing is successful because it is not a digital form of communication. Weekly, we get hundreds of emails, but very little of that comes in the form of direct mail. It adds a crucial personal touch in the busy world of today. And any effective marketer knows that personalization always pays off.