Direct Mail Musings: Does Your Mail Format Fit Your Audience and Product?


Direct-Mail-Musings-Does-Your-Mail-Format-Fit-Your-Audience-and-Product.jpgIf you’re considering a direct mailing for your business or organization, you have a lot of options when it comes to formats. There are self-mailer brochures, conventional letter packages, postcards or even jumbo (oversized) self-mailers. So which format fits your mailing needs best?

In direct mail, we tend to use “format” to describe the physical characteristics (size, weight, etc.) of the mailing, but it’s helpful to think a little more broadly than that when choosing the kind of mailer you plan to send your audience. It’s about having content, an offer and a design that matches the personality of the audience and the product or service being presented.

Using direct mail successfully requires both appropriate information (content) and appropriate presentation. Here’s a quick look at what that means:


Is a flashy, glitzy, in-your-face, look-at-me design wrong? Not necessarily. We all know a big part of direct mail success is making sure someone notices your mailing. If you’re trying to make customers aware of a big auto sales event, big and bold and “urgent” may be appropriate. If you’re trying to reach potential clients for your financial services company, you may want to go with a slightly more reserved approach—one that inspires confidence and trust.


Some products and services don’t need a lot of explanation. People generally understand what burgers and pizzas are all about. What your audience is interested in is whether you can offer it faster, more conveniently or cheaper than your competitor. A limited-time coupon may be all the information that’s required for those situations. On the other hand, if you’re selling enterprise software, your prospects are looking for more specific information—and data about how well the solution works.


A coupon mailing or BOGO deal may be a great tactic to use for selling shoes, but it’s not going to work for someone considering buying a home or purchasing a high-end car. In fact, the BOGO is specifically designed to get a sale. Someone looking for information about a house or a luxury automobile is never going to make a purchase based on a mailing. Those individuals aren’t shopping for goods; they are tracking down information that will help them make a major decision later. Click here for some additional information about creating compelling direct mail offers.

When you’re planning a mailing, don’t decide on the format first and then hope to get your audience to respond. Study your audience. Think about your product or service. Then think about which format (design/content/offer) gives you the best chance to reach your specific audience with the information they want or need.

21 Tips to Improve Your Direct Mail