top of page

How to Maximize Return on Your Direct Mail Campaign

Direct mail pieces opened by a strategically targeted audience

Many businesses have turned away from printed marketing materials, like direct mail, or substantially reduced their investment in the medium. Long gone are the days of sifting through a mailbox full of coupons and advertisements from local businesses. With the promised reach you get from advertising online, it’s hard to blame many businesses for making the decision to go digital. However, the trend to completely cut print marketing from budgets may have been too extreme, and it has left a void for savvy businesses to take advantage.

As of October 2022, over 3 million businesses were advertising on Facebook, according to statistics provided by Meta for Business. Another study found that 78% of businesses rely on advertising via search engines and social media. But independent research has found that the amount of money businesses need to invest in advertising online to see a return has increased over the years, making it cost-prohibitive for many small businesses.

So, if you are planning to return to the “traditional marketing” method of direct mail, how can you put yourself in a better position to see a return on your investment?

Identify Your Target Audience

When putting together a direct mail campaign, you have the ability target a very specific group of people and businesses (depending on your product or service) with multiple demographic variables or cast a wide net without much filtering. Before producing a direct mail campaign, the best practice is to identify the audience you want to target for your promotion.

If you do not have a list of addresses and you are working with a commercial printer to produce your direct mail pieces, they should be able to help you get a list of customers. Some common variables to consider are:

  • Location

  • Consumer vs. Business

  • Income Level or Annual Revenue

  • Industry (if a business)

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Race

  • Employment

  • Education Level

Some of these variables may not be important to consider for your specific product or service. So, if a demographic identifier is not important, do not limit your reach more than necessary.

Generate Urgency or Solve a Need

To get a recipient to react, you need to give them a reason to do so by creating a sense of urgency or highlighting a problem or need that you can solve. A marketing piece that just provides product or service information lacks a call-to-action (CTA) that will get people to act.

Limited-time promotions are a popular strategy for getting people to act within a specified amount of time. This method is great to drive short-term traffic to your website or physical business. Make sure to include a promotion code or instructions for redemption so you can track where customers originated.

Another popular strategy is to highlight an issue or need that recipients are likely to have and identify how you can help. This is a great method if you properly identify your target audience and send your direct mail to that audience. For example, home repair services to homeowners, or retirement planning services to employed men and women that are over 40. You know who benefits the most from your product or service.

Design to Stand Out

VIP scratch off marketing piece revealing a 50% off coupon

A well-planned direct mail campaign can fall flat if the materials lack a design that makes recipients see it, read it, and act. Get creative with the shape, colors, graphics, and interactive features. When many people think of direct mail, they think of a flat piece of cardstock or a letter size envelope with materials inside. That is typically the low-cost, low-return option.

Utilize creativity and best practices when designing your marketing piece:

  • Add color throughout the piece. A black and white printed piece won’t grab anyone’s attention.

  • Highlight your main message or promotion with text and/or color that contrasts the rest of the piece. This should be the first thing the recipient’s eyes go to.

  • Avoid low quality graphics or photos. In the eyes of the recipient, a poor image equates to a poor product or service.

  • Limit the amount of text. Use the piece as a quick-read introduction and your website or physical business location as the place for more information.

  • Make the piece interactive with folding, slots, inserts, or other elements that get the recipient engaging with the piece.

  • Include a personalized element, such as a first name. There is a psychologic trigger that makes people respond to something that has a personal element they relate to, such as a name or birthday.

Build Brand Recall

Creating a one-time advertisement, digital or printed, is unlikely to generate enough of an impression to build brand recall. You should plan a campaign that includes a sequence of multiple advertisements that will trigger a person to recall your brand, as well as the products and services you offer.

A campaign is likely to be more successful with a multimedia approach, or a combination of both digital and traditional marketing. This strategy reaches people with multiple touchpoints and in different media, with which they are likely to interact in different ways. For example, you can create a campaign that includes a direct mail piece, a Google advertisement, and a Facebook advertisement, all of which have a similar look and message or promotion, so the recipient/viewer repeatedly sees your brand and is more likely to react.

Measure Results

Contact form with a how did you hear about us dropdown question

One of the most important aspects of putting together a direct mail campaign (or any marketing campaign), which many people forget to consider, is methods for measuring the results. Measuring results will help you not only determine if a campaign was successful, but also adjust strategies and elements as necessary.

There are several ways to measure the results of your direct mail:

  • Use a unique coupon code that is only used by direct mail recipients.

  • Create a unique website landing page that is listed on the direct mail piece. Your website analytics will allow you to see how many people visited that page and how many resulted in conversions.

  • Include a QR code in the design of the direct mail. This can lead to a unique landing page or an existing page on your website. Your website analytics will allow you to see how many people originated from the QR code.

  • Add a questionnaire when someone contacts you or checks out that asks how they heard of your business or where they heard about the promotion.

  • If your call to action is a phone call, set up a dedicated toll-free phone number that forwards to your business number and track how many calls come from the toll-free number. Or you can pay for a call tracking software that tracks where calls originated, and many will also record calls that you can later play back.

Let Omega High-Impact Print Solutions Help

Capitalize on the “novelty” of direct mail marketing for your business. At Omega High-Impact Print Solutions, we can assist with your direct mail marketing in multiple ways:

  • Create a verified list of addresses based on your target audience. This list can be as large or small as you need, based on your desired reach and budget.

  • Provide variable data printing (VDP), which allows personalization of individual pieces and can enhance your marketing initiative.

  • Graphic design services to develop pieces with eye-catching graphics.

  • Marketing services to develop a results-driven campaign to get the most from your investment.

Contact us today for your direct mail marketing initiative!

Written by Omega High-Impact Print Solutions Marketing Director, Jake Coburn


bottom of page