What’s really cool about direct mail these days is that nobody expects to receive it because everything is so online!!

Talk about a great way to stand out!

Direct Mail is a marketing technique that is a unique blend of advertising and sales. It can be a glossy brochure, a photocopied flier, or a sales letter attached to a sample product. Whatever the promotional piece, Direct Mail is exactly that, a form of advertising material mailed directly to the potential customer with the intent to sell or promote a product or service.

Direct mail has many uses:

  • Primarily to sell or promote a product or service.
  • To gain exposure to a larger market and be used to test or trial new markets.
  • Prepare prospects for a telephone follow up, so that a “cold call” might be received a little warmer.

No matter the desired result, all industry professionals agree that the success of your direct mail campaign relates to the quality of your mailing list. You may be selling the most fabulous product at the most exceptional price, but it will never be a successful campaign if sent to the wrong kind of customer.


  • The more targeted your mailing list, the greater the potential to generate sales.
  • Understand who your market is. You can buy the best list but if your market research on a target customer is wrong, the likelihood of your direct mail response succeeding greatly diminishes.
  • Ensure your list is current. A lot can happen in a year and last year’s customer base may be quite outdated and now irrelevant to this year’s campaign.

Most direct mail experts will tell you to expect a 0.5% – 1% response rate to a purchased mail list. So if you send out 5,000 Direct Mail pieces, you could expect 50 responses or sales to be generated. Therefore, if your cost to prepare and mail out the 5,000 pieces exceeds the profits from 50 sales, then it is likely Direct Mail is not the going to be the best option for you.

Direct Mail can also be very successful when using your own database from previous advertising campaigns and customer sales, providing you keep your details current. Encouraging loyalty programs, special offers and customer benefits all through Direct Mail can keep your customers returning, loyal to your business and buying your products and services, not the competitions’.


  • You can target your message to a very specific audience. By keeping detailed information of your customer base, your next campaign can be streamlined to a certain type of customer appealing directly to their specific needs and likes and heightening your chances of heightened sales responses.
  • It builds relationships. Over time and with some monitoring of your database, the probability of making a sale greatly increases as you build relationships with existing customers, and therefore your strike rate should become greater.
  • You can track your response rate accurately. Unlike advertising in a publication where it may be more difficult to evaluate where each sale lead came from.
  • You can personalise your message. For instance, if you offer your customer a “special promotion”, it makes them feel more important than being just a one off customer.
  • Company branding. Every time you send out a mail piece you are reinforcing your company brand and keeping top-of-mind recognition with your customers. (See our article Work Your Brand if you want to learn more.)



  • Customer benefits should be quite clear from the beginning. You only have seconds to capture your audience and the message needs to be loud and clear.
  • Keep the offer simple and easy to understand, but use persuasive language.
  • Tell your potential customer what they need to do next. Tell them to “call today” or “go to our website”.
  • Limit the offer to a specified time frame. This will encourage them “to act now”, and not put the mail out down and never return to it amid all good intentions!
  • Make it easy to place an order. Include all of your contact details up front including business registration numbers to look as legitimate as possible – particularly if this a first introduction to your business. Include an order form with enough room for all details and a clear returns policy if they are dissatisfied with their purchase.
  • Know your market and incorporate designs that appeal to them and fits with your company image. What works for one group of people may not necessarily work for everyone.
  • Include a sample. If your product is unique and revolutionary, try and include a sample to make your selling points more valid.

Above all, offer a great product or service with a very competitive price point and mail out to a top quality database. Otherwise, you’ll just be relying on good luck to sell your business services and products, and this generally doesn’t work!

Melissa x

If you want to speak with Melissa in greater detail about how to get direct mail working for you, then please contact us and we can have an obligation-free chat.


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