How To Do Direct Mail - Midwest Direct


November 24, 2015

How To Do Direct Mail

Direct Mail in 8 Simple Steps



Direct mail campaigns remain a trusted, go-to marketing tactic for scores of businesses, large and small.  A well-planned and smartly executed direct marketing plan delivers a brand-boosting, measurable ROI. Whether you are going solo, or hiring a professional mail service, it’s a good idea to get a grasp on the basics associated with putting together a direct mail campaign.

1. Select your target: Thanks to increasingly smart and nimble uses of data, you can get very specific in your audience targeting. The narrower your niche, the more your prospects will relate to your message.

2. Begin with compelling, benefit-oriented copy:  What “pain points” will you address and resolve for your customers?  Don’t just tout your services; rather, show you’re offering real solutions for actual customer needs and problems. Define your key message, and design / write around it.

Ex: “We’ve been in business 34 years!” lacks the connection-building power of, “One easy 15 minute phone call can launch your first direct mail campaign!” Launching a direct mail program might seem intimidating … and that copy point addresses a common concern among potential mailers.

3. Provide a clear call to action:  Do you want to offer a free estimate? Gain newsletter subscribers? Educate clients through a PDF download from your website?  

For a direct mail promotion we’re doing here at Midwest, our campaign goal is simple: We want partners to sign up for a webinar and a Lunch n’ Learn.  We aren’t pushing our services specifically; rather, we’re promoting education about how to do mailings.  Marketing is not always about selling – at different points in the buying cycle, consumers have different needs … including a desire to learn more on their own.

4. Effective mail piece design: It’s a tragic thing to design a brilliant mail piece that is not USPS-compliant, and is not compatible with high-speed mail sorting equipment!  It’s equally sad to create a piece that sails through mail sorters, only to land with no impact at all in the hands of your prospects. Striking this balance between marketing design and USPS compliance is not easy; and, a mailing should also capitalize on all available mail commingling and presort postage savings

Mail piece design is complex: Study up, or get expert help on this portion of your campaign, even if you decide to go solo the rest of the way.  When it comes to mail piece design and postal discount qualifications, there’s simply no room for guessing or error.

5. Harness the power of integrated marketing:  The real power of direct marketing is unleashed when it’s married to a digital component. Print can direct a customer to a digital channel like a customized web page, for example. Combining mail, emails and customized web pages causes a dramatic spike in consumer responses, and your integrated marketing campaign captures incredibly valuable customer data while you’re at it.

6. Use great data: A direct mail campaign is the ideal time to get your customer data in order. You want an accurate starting list, and you want to capture and update client information as your campaign starts to pull results. Data hygiene is a critical part of direct mail, beginning with a quality, targeted list of prospects … and ending with a cleaner, updated list of hot prospects.

7. Personalize your printed messages:  The difference between your mail piece getting tossed into the “junk pile,” and getting read and acted upon, is often personalized data. Variable data printing allows for a personalized print message: It’s the special touch that facilitates a connection with your customer.

8. Follow up: Your prospects are, statistically speaking, very receptive to a call from you about 10 – 14 days after your mailing is sent. Direct marketing campaign building software can automate this process, triggering an email to your sales teams reminding them to follow up. It’s called a direct mail campaign for a reason – “campaign” implies ongoing action. Don’t warm up your prospects, only to let them chill back out.


Direct mail is used so often – by so many diverse companies and organizations – because it works.  It’s measurable, trackable, and can be fully integrated as part of a digital campaign. Marketing is tough enough these days, as we attempt to break through the 24 hour avalanche of messages which have become a regular part of our lives.  Add in mail – with all the rules and regulations, mail piece design, postage, etc. – and you may very well feel intimidated.

Yes, mail can appear challenging. But an expert partner takes the fear right out of the process. With a little education and coaching, you too can be an effective direct marketer!

tags: , , , , , ,