4 Secrets to Direct Mail Success for Small Businesses


If you’ve never given it a go, direct mail can feel like a risky business. After all, it’s so much quicker and easier to blast off a quick email or put together an online newsletter. You might even think that successful businesses don’t do direct mail campaigns anymore. Surely today’s marketing happens on the Internet? Truth is, the overload of digital marketing has made direct marketing more attractive than ever, not least of which is because it gets people’s attention where email fails.

Here are some other secrets that make direct mail so successful:

Tangible and Long Lasting

Emails are easily ignored. People sign up for dozens of newsletters, end up on lists they didn’t sign up for or simply lose interest in a marketers’ content. If nothing jumps out following a quick glance through the subject lines, email won’t even get opened.

With direct mail, the recipient has to handle it. Recent research revealed that up to 98% of people check and deal with their physical mail every day. Researcher has also shown that people set aside direct mail to deal with later, and because it remains in plain sight, it tends not to get forgotten. Instantly more direct and attention grabbing, physical mail has an immediate advantage over digital mail.

Integrates Perfectly with Online Marketing

Combining direct mail with online marketing expands reach and gives the best of both worlds. Current technology offers many ways to achieve this, and the fact that so many people now expect to access businesses they’re interested in at any time of the day or night, integrating perfectly matches current market expectations. Ways in which such integration happens include:

  • NFC technology
  • Personalized landing pages
  • Social media integration
  • Exclusive online voucher codes

Maximizing the multifaceted possibilities offered by direct mail is a key secret to success.

Customizable and Personal

Everyone likes to be singled out for special treatment. One of the easiest ways to make someone feel special is to call them by name. Use names on envelope messages as well as in the writing inside your offer. Customizing possibilities include creating an unusual or unique piece of mail. You could use a smaller or larger format than normal, or include small gifts that are both useful and create additional advertising opportunities. If, for instance, you ask someone to fill in a form, send them a free pen with your business name on it to help them with the task.

Compelling Call to Action

The call to action is where you ask for the sale, so crafting an effective one is vital. Tips include:

  • Use a different color font to draw attention
  • Indicate tear or cut lines on printed forms
  • Use clear wording so recipients know exactly what to do
  • Leave some white space around the CTA to help it stand out
  • Give recipients options where possible, such as including phone numbers or URLs

Focus on benefits, define any no-risk features, and make it clear what you want people to do next. Woolly thinking has no place in the CTA, so concentrate on being clear rather than clever or exciting.

Direct mail is alive and kicking, despite the march of digital marketing. Adding to your marketing arsenal fills the gaps other methods leave.

Direct Mail Best Practices