Direct Mail Marketing Isn’t Dead: 4 Tips to Succeed

Direct Mail Marketing Isn’t Dead: 4 Tips to Succeed

Direct mail marketing doesn’t get the buzz that social media or email marketing does, but, make no mistake, it’s not dead. It might be an older marketing tool, but research from 2013 shows 65 percent of consumers of all ages have made a purchase as a result of a direct mail.

Download our free retail customer loyalty success guide to learn how to drive customers back 2x more.

Whether your business is already using direct mail, or is thinking about dusting off this classic advertising method, here are some tips for success:

1. Sell a solution, not a product

Consumers aren’t interested in your product; they’re interested in what your product can do for them. Consumers want solutions. Make sure the message that you convey in your direct mail message offers a solution to a problem.

For example, a landscaping service might send a mailer with this message, “No time to mow the lawn this summer? Let us cut the grass while you hit the beach.” It offers a time management solution rather than an hourly mowing service.

What problem does your product or service solve? Use that as your key message, and combine that with an offer that entices the consumer to act. Remember to give the consumer an easy way to claim the offer too.

2. Include a product sample

Sending a coupon or a special offer is standard fare for direct mail, but if you include a product sample you’ll transform your offer into a free trial. Everyone loves free stuff.

Send a sample of a new tea your shop is about to debut, or a new shampoo that’s now on sale at your salon.

The free sample allows consumers to try your product without pressure. Once they’ve tried it, they’ll realize how much they love it.

Here’s a cool sample from a seed company. The spoon contains a sample of flower seeds that the company sells.


Make sure the mailer includes a coupon so the consumer can buy the product ASAP at a great price.

Free samples are great at targeting new consumers that aren’t familiar with your product, but they can also be used to retain customers.

Consider segmenting your list and sending specialized samples to certain groups. For example, a vape shop might send a new accessory to a list of customers that recently bought a specific product kit.

3. Use testimonials

Testimonials from satisfied customers show others that your product or service is worthy of their trust. Research shows 88 percent of consumers trust word of mouth recommendations, so they make a great addition to your overall marketing message.

When using testimonials, make sure you have the customer’s permission first. Once that’s crossed off the list, you’ll want to select a quote for your marketing material.

Make sure the quote is short and simple. Consumers won’t take the time to read long paragraphs, so plan to go with a short sentence.

Include a picture of the customer as well. It gives the testimonial validity. Here’s a format that’s popular on websites, but could also be effective on direct mail:


4. Make tracking a priority

Before your cool package hits mailboxes, make sure you have a way to measure the campaign’s success. If you can’t track the response rate, you won’t know if the campaign is worth your time and money.

Here are a few ways to track your mailer’s success:

  • Include a URL to a specific landing page where you can measure website traffic.
  • Include a specific coupon code that must be entered to claim the deal online, or ask customers to bring the coupon in to redeem it.
  • Include a piece of mail that the consumer can send back, like an application or an RSVP card for an event.

Direct mail marketing might seem a little dated, but many businesses say it’s making a comeback. The growing number of print companies like Vistaprint has helped the revival. Many small businesses can create a direct mail campaign in a few hours from their office computer.

Combine an online print company with the tips mentioned above and your business can have a successful direct mail campaign in the works by end of business.

Does your company use direct mail? What’s your experience with it? Is it successful? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Lisa Furgison
About the Author
Lisa Furgison

Lisa is a writer at Fivestars, a freelance journalist, and co-owner of a media company, McEwen's Media.

Leave a Comment