Teaching Your Old Direct Mail System New Tricks

By | August 26, 2013

Does your business need direct mail marketing in this age of digital advertising? While many people think ‘no’, direct mail still has a place in marketing. It all depends on how you are utilizing this medium. Don’t mass mail plain old letters, that’s not going to bring in customers any more effectively than placing a plain website with just your logo on it into cyberspace. There are some tricks that will get your mail noticed instead of tossed.

Grab Attention

Think about it – when people go through their mail, what do they do? Most people scan the envelopes and decide what they’re keeping before they’ve made a few steps. An eyecatching logo or slogan on the outer envelope can avoid your mail ending up in the trash.

Envelopes should match the type of business you are advertising. Bright, flashy envelopes will not work with a company trying to portray a smart, professional appearance. One way that may entice potential customers to open mail is that the envelope is professional looking.


Postcards are an effective method for reaching an audience right at the mailbox. The postcards are easy to scan for information. A quick message can be conveyed to an audience without forcing them to open an envelope. People are aware of what they’ve received as opposed to blank envelopes that do not give any indication that the material inside is advertising.


While it might sound counter to what you’ve learned about direct mail, sending advertising through snail mail may cost the same or even a little less than digital advertising. The follow through on direct mail can be higher than that of pay per click advertising. Clicks may not result in a sale, while still costing your business up to or well over the amount of postage per direct letter. Even with the addition of printing and envelopes, you may spend far less on direct mail than digital advertising.

PR and Marketing Cost

Another pro in the direct mail corner is that a direct mail campaign does not need a dedicated SEO staff or content to be created more than once. Social marketing online must be updated and monitored every day, blogs must be updated, and to do this you need to have dedicated staff. Email campaigns can be automated, but for the best results a dedicated PR staff member or outside contractor is needed.

Web content can be expensive, though effective. Think of direct mail as another avenue for content. However, this content only needs to be updated if you change your campaign.

Don’t discount direct mail as old fashioned or out of date. Many people still live without internet or use it sparingly. Direct mail can reach these potential customers who are often less jaded toward marketing than the typical internet user. Keep an eye on the responses you receive during such a campaign and you might be surprised at how effective direct mail can be for your business.

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5 thoughts on “Teaching Your Old Direct Mail System New Tricks

  1. Shelley Sweeney

    Good read and great tips! I’ve been seeing a lot of great blog posts on direct mail recently and I try and chime in when I can because the topic is core to what I help customers with every day. As I’ve mentioned previously, compared to 50 years ago, companies today need to take a different approach to targeting and grabbing consumers’ attention when it comes to direct mail. Even with the influx of digital media, I believe direct mail is still important and is a very beneficial and useful form of marketing. Gordon Kaye, editor and publisher at Graphic Design USA, offers this insight: “print endures because its nature touches something human in all of us and, executed properly, forges emotional connections between and among people.”

    Check out this blog, which discusses ways to successfully implement direct marketing services, emphasizing the importance of data and the need to understand the way end-users think: http://bit.ly/13DnCzg.

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