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Direct mail marketing is a marketing strategy that uses direct communication and information distribution to target existing or potential customers via mail outs such as flyers, pamphlets, and catalogues.

Despite what most people under the age of 35 who grew up in an ever-increasingly digital world might think, direct mail marketing is still as effective and lucrative as online marketing. You just have to know what you’re doing and have a strong direct mail marketing strategy in place.

With that in mind, here are some useful direct mail marketing tips that can help you get your brand noticed and bring a tried-and-true marketing technique into the 21st century without overextending your marketing spend.

The Do’s of Direct Mail Marketing

Follow the 40/40/20 Rule  

From the planning stages right down to distribution, every last detail of your direct mail marketing strategy must be ironed out carefully to guarantee optimal results and success.

According to the well-known 40/40/20 rule in marketing, there are three distinct categories that you should focus on to get the results you want.

  • 40% of your direct mail marketing depends on your audience
  • 40% depends on how compelling your offer is based on what you know about your audience, and
  • 20% depends on all other advertising components (e.g., phrasing/wording, design layout, images, delivery times, delivery methods, etc.).

Marketing material presentation and messaging are vital because they significantly influence customers’ perceptions of your business and how they relate to your brand.

Define Your Audience

At some point or another, we’ve all received promotional offers or mailers that we simply disregarded as junk mail without giving a second glance. The common mistake that these brands are making is failing to speak directly to specific audience members.

You spend a lot of time and money designing, printing, and distributing direct mail marketing material. But if you’re not advertising to the right or appropriate audience members, then your message will just get lost in the mix.

With over 70,000 lists on the market, it’s really critical to the success of the campaign to know what type of list to use. In some cases, all you may need is a local residential or business list to reach potential new customers. The majority of major successful mailers need highly targeted lists based on past purchase behavior history. Only a seasoned list professional would know which lists or type of lists would be ideal for you and your company.

Proofread and Implement Quality Control

No one is impressed by marketing material that’s full of spelling and grammatical errors. While most people can generally overlook one or two missing commas or regional spelling styles, it’s a lot harder to ignore blatantly poor-quality advertisements. In fact, it could actually get you the wrong kind of attention in the sense that people might laugh at your errors.

Take the time to thoroughly proofread ad copy and implement strong quality control standards to fix or reformat the layout of your marketing material to make it more palatable for your target audiences.

Go Through a Trial-and-Error Process

As much as you test, plan, and design your marketing campaigns, the truth is that you never really know how they’re going to be received until you’ve put them out there for the world to see and judge.

The best you can do is learn from your mistakes and use this knowledge to improve upon your future marketing campaigns. That could entail redesigning or reformatting your ads, testing out new target audiences or demographics, or completely rebranding your entire business based on the type of response you receive.

If you’re an up-and-coming or new business, then it’s a good idea to do a test run with a limited direct mail marketing campaign just to see how much interest you can generate in specific areas.

Use Personalized Mail

One of the main goals of direct mail marketing is to speak directly to prospective and existing customers. A good way to establish a strong direct connection with your target audience is to create personalized direct mail marketing materials.

Personalizing mailers effectively captures the interest of recipients and forces them to pay attention to the marketing material with which they’re presented. Personalized marketing material should include the person’s address and address them specifically by name.

The Don’ts of Direct Mail Marketing

Include More Than One Call-to-Action

A call-to-action gives a brief description of what your business does and how you can be reached. It also prompts customers to act and contact your business directly if they have questions, need help placing an order, want to make an appointment, or simply want more information.

Make sure your call-to-action is clear, succinct, and easy to find, so that customers can contact you immediately.

Forget to Follow-Up with Customers

Tracking the impact of your direct mail marketing efforts is critical. You can do this by assessing whether business has increased since you initially sent out the mailers. Are customers using coupon codes or referencing ads that were sent to them in the mail? This is all vital information that can help determine the success of the direct mail marketing campaign.

Write Boring Headlines and Confusing Content

Your marketing material headlines and content should be on-brand, easy to understand, and enticing enough to fully engage your audience members. Anything less and you run the risk of losing customers fast.

Implementing a detailed multistep proofreading initiative can help you avoid confusing or convoluted semantics.

Waste Too Much Time on Design

While the design and layout of your marketing materials are certainly important, they’re not everything. Above all else, the messaging is what matters most, so don’t spend an excessive amount of time obsessing about appearances, especially if you have deadlines to meet.

Forget about Online Traffic Altogether

Although we focus largely on direct mail marketing, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the importance of directing traffic online as well. Modern business models need to form the perfect marriage between the direct mail marketing tactics of the past and current social media marketing standards to maximize overall success.

Direct mail marketing materials should include your business’s website and social media handles, so that people know how and where to find you online. Moreover, you can also advertise tandem social media and direct marketing campaigns to entice more customers.

Get More Direct Mail Marketing Tips from North American Media

Interested in trying out a direct mail marketing campaign but don’t know where to start? North American Media can map out affordable, effective, and feasible direct mail marketing or multimedia solutions for your business. Contact us at (475) 256-0303 or e-mail us at for more information.